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Isaiah 49:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And to restore the preserved of Irsrae "And to restore the branches of Israel" - נצירי netsirey, or נצורי netsurey, as the Masoretes correct it in the marginal reading. This word has been matter of great doubt with interpreters: the Syriac renders it the branch, taking it for the same with נצר netser, Isaiah 11:1. See Michaelis Epim. in Praelect. xix.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And he said - That is, Yahweh said in his promise to the Messiah.

It is a light thing - Margin, ‹Art thou lighter than that thou,‘ etc. Lowth renders it, ‹It is a small thing.‘ Hengstenberg, ‹It is too little that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob.‘ The sense is, that God designed to glorify him in an eminent degree, and that it would not be as much honor as be designed to confer on him, to appoint him merely to produce a reformation among the Jews, and to recover them to the spiritual worship of God. He designed him for a far more important work - for the recovery of the Gentile world, and for the spread of the true religion among all nations. The Septuagint renders this, It is a great thing for thee to be called my servant.‘ The Chaldee proposes it as a question, ‹Is it a small thing for you that you are called my servant?‘

My servant - (See Isaiah 49:3).

To raise up the tribes of Jacob - Hebrew, (להקים lehâqiym ) - ‹To establish,‘ or confirm the tribes of Jacob; that is, to establish them in the worship of God, and in prosperity. This is to be understood in a spiritual sense, since it is to be synonymous with the blessings which he would bestow on the pagan. His work in regard to both, was to be substantially the same. In regard to the Jews, it was to confirm them in the worship of the true God; and in regard to the pagan, it was to bring them to the knowledge of the same God.

And to restore - To bring back (להשׁיב lehâshiyb ) that is, to recover them from their sin and hypocrisy, and bring them back to the worship of the true and only God. The Chaldee, however, renders this, ‹To bring back the captivity of Israel.‘ But it means, doubtless, to recover the alienated Jewish people to the pure and spiritual worship of God.

The preserved of Israel - Lowth renders this, ‹To restore the branches of Israel;‘ as if it were נצרי netsârēy in the text, instead of נצוּרי netsûrēy The word נצר nêtser means “branch” (see the notes at Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 14:9), and Lowth supposes that it means the branches of Israel; that is, the descendants of Israel or Jacob, by a similitude drawn from the branches of a tree which are all derived from the same stem, or root. The Syriac here renders it, ‹The branch of Israel.‘ But the word properly means those who are kept, or preserved (from נצר nâtsar “to keep, preserve”), and may be applied either literally to those who were kept alive, or who survived any battle, captivity, or calamity - as a remnant; or spiritually, to those who are preserved for purposes of mercy and grace out of the common mass that is corrupt and unbelieving. It refers here, I suppose, to the latter, and means those whom it was the purpose of God to preserve out of the common mass of the Jews that were sunk in hypocrisy and sin. These, it was the design of God to restore to himself, and to do this, was the primary object in the appointment of the Messiah.

I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles - I will appoint thee to the higher office of extending the knowledge of the true religion to the darkened pagan world. The same expression and the same promise occur in Isaiah 42:6 (see the notes at that verse).

That thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth - (See the note at Isaiah 42:10). The true religion shall be extended to the pagan nations, and all parts of the world shall see the salvation of God. This great work was to be entrusted to the Redeemer, and it was regarded as a high honor that he should thus be made the means of diffusing light and truth among all nations. We may learn hence, first, that God will raise up the tribes of Jacob; that is, that large numbers of the Jews shall yet be ‹preserved,‘ or recovered to himself; secondly, that the gospel shall certainly be extended to the ends of the earth; thirdly, that it is an honor to be made instrumental in extending the true religion. So great is this honor, that it is mentioned as the highest which could be conferred even on the Redeemer in this world. And if he deemed it an honor, shall we not also regard it as a privilege to engage in the work of Christian missions, and to endeavor to save the world from ruin? There is no higher glory for man than to tread in the footsteps of the Son of God; and he who, by self-denial and charity, and personal toil and prayer, does most for the conversion of this whole world to God, is most like the Redeemer, and will have the most elevated seat in the glories of the heavenly world.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The great Author of redemption shows the authority for his work. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, and all at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience; but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays to him for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never man spake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain. And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel will not be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise is in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and happy.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 63

The wise men departed alone from Jerusalem. The shadows of night were falling as they left the gates, but to their great joy they again saw the star, and were directed to Bethlehem. They had received no such intimation of the lowly estate of Jesus as was given to the shepherds. After the long journey they had been disappointed by the indifference of the Jewish leaders, and had left Jerusalem less confident than when they entered the city. At Bethlehem they found no royal guard stationed to protect the newborn King. None of the world's honored men were in attendance. Jesus was cradled in a manger. His parents, uneducated peasants, were His only guardians. Could this be He of whom it was written, that He should “raise up the tribes of Jacob,” and “restore the preserved of Israel;” that He should be “a light to the Gentiles,” and for “salvation unto the end of the earth”? Isaiah 49:6. DA 63.1

“When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshiped Him.” Beneath the lowly guise of Jesus, they recognized the presence of Divinity. They gave their hearts to Him as their Saviour, and then poured out their gifts,—“gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” What a faith was theirs! It might have been said of the wise men from the East, as afterward of the Roman centurion, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:10. DA 63.2

The wise men had not penetrated Herod's design toward Jesus. When the object of their journey was accomplished, they prepared to return to Jerusalem, intending to acquaint him with their success. But in a dream they received a divine message to hold no further communication with him. Avoiding Jerusalem, they set out for their own country by another route. DA 64.1

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 373

The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only “trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.” Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: “The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:1, 2. PK 373.1

This glorious Light of the world was to bring salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Of the work before Him, the prophet heard the eternal Father declare: “It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.” “In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.” Isaiah 49:6, 8, 9, 12. PK 373.2

Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream;” and he heard the commission, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.” Isaiah 66:12; 54:2, 3. PK 374.1

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 689

It was to Christ that the prophetic promise was given: “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth, ... thus saith the Lord, ... I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.... They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.” Isaiah 49:7-10. PK 689.1

The steadfast among the Jewish nation, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved, strengthened their faith by dwelling on these and similar passages. With exceeding joy they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings unto the meek,” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to declare “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1, 2. Yet their hearts were filled with sadness as they thought of the sufferings He must endure in order to fulfill the divine purpose. With deep humiliation of soul they traced the words in the prophetic roll: PK 689.2

“Who hath believed our report?
And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
PK 690.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 57

God declares: “I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea 2:23. “And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. 8T 57.1

God has poured out richly of His Holy Spirit upon the believers in Battle Creek. What use have you made of these blessings? Have you done as did the men upon whom the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost? Then “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. Has this fruit been seen in Battle Creek? Have the church been taught of God to know their duty, and to reflect the light which they have received? 8T 57.2

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