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The next verse exhibits, as many of the Psalms had already done, the great anxiety, and almost despair, of the human soul of Jesus, at a certain period of the Saviour's passion, when he seemed in his humiliation to labour in vain, being rejected and despised by all :
4. But I said,
“ In vain have I laboured; for nought,
Even at this very time, when he seemed to be rejected of all, a portion was to be given him, a remnant according to the election of grace; not only among the Jews, but also among the Gentiles.
But the prophecy next reverts to the promise of greater things :
5. And now Jehovah hath said,
He that formed me in the womb to be his servant,
These are the pleadings of the once rejected Saviour, now our Advocate with the Father; the subject of his plea is the promised restoration of Israel, and he prevails with God.
6. He said moreover:
It is a small thing that thou shouldst be my servant,
See Bishop Lonth.
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
The prayer concerning. Israel is evidently answered; not denied, and something given to the petitioner instead; but his request is granted, and something given him in addition. The call of the Gentiles, therefore, while Israel is rejected, cannot be the ultimate view of the prophecy; but that greater blessing to the world, which Israel's restoration is to be, when the nations are to rejoice with his people. This is corroborated by what follows:
7. Thus hath Jehovah said:
O! Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One;'
The difficulties of this passage may be acknowledged. But I conceive that, like the preceding and following verses, it is addressed by the Father to his incarnate Son respecting Israel --the long despised, the long enslaved
Or, " his sanctified one." That this term applies to the incarnate Saviour, is plain from Luke, iv. 34; where the evil spirit exclaims, “I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God.” St.
Peter tells the Jews, “ they had denied the Holy One, and the Just One.” Acts, iii. 14.
? “Contemptus ab animâ.”Sim. Lex.
Israel. * He calls him, and acknowledges him as the Redeemer of Israel; the term in the original is that expressive of kindred and blood. + This could not in strictness be applied to the Father, but to him only who had taken upon him the seed of Abraham; that, in right of blood, he might ransom and avenge his kinsmen. # The term holy, sanctified, or consecrated 'one, I would illustrate from our Lord's own words, John, xvii. 17 : “ And for their sakes I sanctisy myself, that they may be sanctified through the truth." He was the tried champion of his redeemed people, in whom the sanctity — the holiness which is to invest his chosen people in the presence of a holy God was put to the severest test; as we read in the passage before us, “ Thou art the Holy ‘One' of Israel, and · Jehovah' is well pleased in thee, or hath proved thee”-hath proved thee instead of Israel. Hence all the absolute holiness of the people of God. As we read : “ For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. · For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” || Thus is Christ made of God to his people sanctification, as well as righteousness; and hence the future prosperity of the chosen seed of Abraham.
In the next verse we contemplate again the successful Advocate with the Father:
In a season of favour have I heard thee,
To give in possession the desolated inheritances, 9. To say to the prisoners, Go forth:
And to them that are in darkness, Appear.
Israel, as a nation, is one day to feel the effects of that covenant,
through the blood” of which “ Jesus becomes the great Shepherd of the sheep." His intercessions, at length, prevail; and, like a flock of sheep, they are described as led back to their restored country by his guiding hand : and they are gathered, we see, from all quarters of the globe:
Beside the ways shall they feed,
And on all the downs shall be their pasture. 10. They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Nor shall the heat, nor the sun, strike them.
And will guide them to the springs of water. 11. And I will make all my mountains walks,
And my causeys shall be raised up. 12. Lo, these shall come from afar;
And lo, these from the north and from the west,
All nature is invited to congratulate this event; for the gathering of the dispersed of Israel is an event, as we have seen, closely connected with universal deliver
The Chinese, according to Brotier : Pelusiuın intelligit Bochartus : Syenen, Michaelis.
* Compare Deut. xxxii, 43.
13. Sing, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth;
Break forth into singing, O mountains;
This is the season before anticipated," when Zion's warfare should be accomplished ;” but, as was long before foretold, it would be at a time when the hope of Israel had been almost extinguished in despair : *
14. But Zion said,
Jehovah hath forsaken me,
-- But no, the covenanted love of Jehovah is unchangeable and eternal to all the objects of his grace; and Israel, as a people, will one day experience this, when “ the consummation decreed" shall be finished:
15. Can a woman forget her sucking babe ?
- Lose her tenderness for the child of her womb?!
But though she should forget,
Yet will not I forget thee. 16. Lo, I have engraven thee on the palms of my hand,'
Thy walls are continually before me.
Compare verse 36; in the song of remembrance.
? « Behold, on the palms of my hands I have delineated thee."
This," says Bishop Lowth, is certainly an allusion to some practice cominon among the Jews of that time, of making marks on their
bands or arms, by punctures on the skin ; with some sort of sign or figure of the city, or temple, &c." I rather agree
with those who suppose a kind of ancient scal referred to, which was so worn as to be enclosed in the palm of the hand.