Isaiah 42:21 MEANING

Isaiah 42:21
(21) The Lord is well pleased . . .--The tenses require a change: The Lord was well pleased . . . He made His law great and glorious. This had been His purpose, and he had not failed in it. He had done all that it was possible to do. (Comp. Isaiah 5:4; Romans 9:4.)

Verse 21. - The Lord is well pleased; rather, the Lord was pleased, or it pleased the Lord. For his righteousness' sake; "because of his own perfect righteousness." He will magnify the Law; rather, to magnify the Law - to set it forth in its greatness and its glory before his people. It is not the original giving of the Law at Sinai only that is meant, but also its constant inculcation by a long series of prophets. Israel's experience (ver. 29) had included all this; but they had not profited by the instruction addressed to them.

42:18-25 Observe the call given to this people, and the character given of them. Multitudes are ruined for want of observing that which they cannot but see; they perish, not through ignorance, but carelessness. The Lord is well-pleased in the making known his own righteousness. For their sins they were spoiled of all their possessions. This fully came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation. There is no resisting, nor escaping God's anger. See the mischief sin makes; it provokes God to anger. And those not humbled by lesser judgments, must expect greater. Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake,.... This may be either understood of what the Lord had done for these people in time past, and which is mentioned as an aggravation of their stupidity, disobedience, and ingratitude; he had delighted in them, and chose them above all people upon the earth, and distinguished them with his favours, which he did for the sake of his own righteousness or faithfulness to his promises made to their fathers:

he magnified them with the law, and made them honourable (a); gave them a law which made them great and honourable in the esteem of others; see Deuteronomy 10:15 or it may be interpreted of what the Lord would do hereafter, either in a way of grace and favour; that though they were now so ignorant and disobedient, yet in the times of salvation, in the days of the Messiah, these blind shall see, and deaf shall hear, not for their sakes, but for his righteousness sake; when he will magnify his law and make it honourable, and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of him; this way go the Jewish commentators: or rather in a way of judgment, that the Lord would be well pleased in glorifying his justice or righteousness, in the rejection of such a blind and stupid people, who refused to receive the Messiah, against so much light and evidence; and would "magnify the law", and support the authority of it, and "make it honourable", by punishing the transgressors of it; but I am inclined to think that this has respect to a remnant among these people, according to the election of grace; or to the Lord's people in common, whether Jews or Gentiles, with whom he "is well pleased", or in whom he delights. The Lord is well pleased with his Son, and with him as his servant, as Mediator, for his righteousness sake, as in Isaiah 42:1 to which there may be some respect; and he is well pleased with all his people as considered in him; the love he bears to them, is a love of complacency and delight: the choice he has made of them; the things he has laid up for them; the care of their persons in Christ, and salvation by him; the marrying of them to him, and the taking them into his family, show how well pleased he is with them: he delights in them, as they are regenerated and sanctified by his Spirit; the exercise of their graces, and the performance of their duties and services, are acceptable to him through Christ; his presence with them, the fellowship with himself he grants unto them, the account he makes of them as his jewels, fully demonstrate his well pleasedness in them: but this is not on their own account; for they are polluted and loathsome creatures in themselves, guilty of sin, deserving of wrath; and not for any righteousness of their own, which is imperfect, filthy, and not answerable to the law; which, instead of being made honourable, is dishonoured by it; there is no justification by it, and no acceptance with God through it; but for the sake of the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect, pure, and spotless; which justifies from all sin, and makes comely and beautiful, and glorifies the justice of God, as well as his righteous law, as follows:

he will magnify the law, and make it honourable: that is he for whose righteousness sake God is well pleased: the law of God is great and honourable in itself, from the author, matter, and usefulness of it; and it becomes more so by Christ the Son of God being made under it; by his perfect obedience to it, and by his bearing the penalty of it, in the room and stead of his people; and by holding it forth in his hands, as a rule of walk and conversation to them; by all which it receives more honour and glory than by all the obedience of creatures to it, angels or men, though ever so perfect.

(a) "magnificabat (eum) doctrina et reddebat magnificum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "magnificum illum ficit lege et condecoravit", Vitringa.

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