Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary


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Isaiah 61

Chapter Sixty-one:

v. 1: Compare this servant of God with the one described in 42:3.

Pronoun references and verb tenses are often fluid in Isaiah, and this chapter is a good example of the fluid pronoun references.  “I” here is distinct from “the LORD God” and refers to an anointed person (i.e., to a prophet, priest, king or someone who holds a combination of these three offices), but in v. 8 “I” refers to God.  The speakers also address the Jews sometimes in the second person (vs. 5-6) and sometimes they refer to them in the third person (vs. 1-4).

As for who the servant, the anointed one of vs. 1-4 is, I believe it is Jesus based on the testimony of Jesus himself (Luke 4:21).  Even if one believes Jesus was mistaken in applying the passage to himself, it seems as though the Jewish community of Jesus’s day accepted this passage as a reference to the Messiah; otherwise, they would not have been amazed at him for applying it to himself.


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