Isaiah 61

1 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, because Jehovah hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; and to the bound the opening of the prison;
2 To proclaim the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

VERSE 1. In respect to “Jehovih,” as distinguished from ” Jehovah,” see above, Chap. iii. 15, note and Exposition.
The Divine Truth which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which was then Himself, is here “the Spirit of Jehovih.” A. C. 9818.
Jehovah hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, &c.-These things are said concerning the Lord. By “the poor, to whom Jehovah anointed Him to preach good tidings,” are signified those who are in few Truths, and yet desire them, that their souls may be thereby sustained; by “the broken-hearted,” are understood those who are thence in grief; by “the captives, to whom He should proclaim liberty,” are denoted those who are secluded from Truths, and thence from Goods, to whom Truths shall be opened, whereby they shall be imbued with Goods; by “them that are bound, and him that is deprived of eyes,” are signified those to whom it was denied to see Truths; thus the Gentiles are understood, who afterwards received Truths from the Lord. A. E. 811.
Verses 1, 2. He hath sent Me,-to proclaim the year oj the good pleasure of Jehovah, &c.-That these things are said concerning the Lord and His advent, may be seen in Matt. v. 3, and following verses; and in Luke iv, 16-22. The advent itself is understood by “the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah,” and by “the day of vengeance of our God.” By “the poor, to whom the Lord should evangelize or preach good tidings,” likewise by “the captives, the bound, and the blind,” are understood the Gentiles, who are called such because they were in ignorance of Truth, by reason of their not having the Word. The Gentiles are also understood, in Matthew, by “the poor, who hear the Gospel.” A. E. 612.
By “the year of good pleasure” is signified the time and state of the men of the church when they require aid from Love; wherefore it is also said, “to comfort all that mourn.” A. E. 295.

3 To impart [gladness] to the mourners of Zion; to give them a crown, instead of ashes; the oil of gladness, instead of sorrow; the mantle of praise, instead of the spirit of heaviness: that they may be called the Trees of Justice, the Plantation of Jehovah, to glorify Himself.

Verse 3. The oil of gladness, instead of sorrow, &c.-As “oil” is here mentioned, and as, in the first verse of this chapter, the Lord is said to be “anointed to preach good tidings,” &c., it may be well to explain what is signified by “oil,” as used in the holy things of worship, and what is meant by “anointing.” That in ancient times “they anointed stones which were set up as statues,” appears from Gen. xxviii. 18, 19, 22. That “they also anointed warlike arms, targets, and shields.” (2 Sam. i. 21; Isa. xxi. 5.) That “they were commanded to prepare holy oil, with which they were to anoint all the holy things of the church,” and that with it “they anointed the altar and all the vessels thereof, as also the Tabernacle and all things appertaining to it.” (Exod. xxx. 22-28; xl, 9-11; Lev. viii. 10-12; Numb. vii. 1, 10.) That with it “they anointed those who exercised the priestly office, and their garments.” (Exod. xxix. 7, 29; xxx. 30, 31; Lev. viii. 12; Psalm cxxxiii. 1-3.) That with it “they anointed the prophets.” (1 Kings xix. 15, 16.) That with it “they anointed kings,” and that therefore kings were called “Jehovah’s anointed.” (1 Samuel x. 1; xv. 1.; xvi. 3, 6, 12; 1 Kings i. 34, 35; xix. 15, 16; 2 Kings ix. 3; xxiii. 30; Lam. iv. 20· Psalm ii. 2, 6; xlv, 1, 7.) The reason why unction with the holy oil was commanded is, because “oil” signifed the Good of Love, and represented the Lord, who, as to His Humanity, is the Real and Only “Anointed of Jehovah,” anointed not with oil, but with the Divine Good itself of Divine Love; wherefore He is also named “Messiah” in the Old Testament, and “Christ” in the New, (John i. 41; iv. 25.) and “Messiah” and “Christ” signify the Anointed. Hence it is that “priests,” “kings,” and all things appertaining to the church were anointed, and when they were anointed they were called, “holy;” not that in themselves they were holy, but because they thereby represented the Lord as to His Divine Humanity. This is the reason why it was a sacrilege to hurt a king, because he was the “anointed of Jehovah.” – (1 Samuel xxiv. 6, 10; xxvi, 9.) Moreover it was a received custom for people to anoint themselves and others, to testify “joyfulness of mind and benevolence, but with common oil, and not with “holy oil.” That ” it was not lawful to anoint themselves or others with the holy oil,” see Exod. xxx. 32, 33. A. R. 779.

4 And they shall build up the wastes of old times; they shall restore the former desolations; and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Verse 4. “Wastes” here and elsewhere signify evils; “desolations” denote falses; to “build is applied to the former, but to “restore” [or erect] to the latter. A. C. 153.
The desolations of many generations.-That ” generatlons” are predicated of Faith, does not appear from the sense of the letter, which is historical, but, in the internal sense, the things of Faith are understood by “generations,” as in Isaiah:-“Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shall be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in;” (lviii. 12.) where all things signify the things of Faith,-“old waste places” the celestial things of Faith, and the “foundations of many generations” the spiritual things of Faith, which from ancient times had been fallen. A. C. 613.

5 And strangers shall stand up and feed your flocks; and the sons of the alien shall be your husbandmen and your vine-dressers.

Verses 5, 6. In the Jewish church the internal church was represented by “Judah” and “Israel,”-by “Judah” the celestial church, and by “Israel” the spiritual, and by “Jacob” the external church; but those who placed worship in externals only were represented by the nations or Gentiles whom they called “strangers” and “aliens,” who should be their servants, and perform menial services in the church, as in Isaiah:-“Strangers shall stand up and feed your flocks; and the sons of the alien shall be your husbandmen,” &c. Those, who placed worship in externals only are called “the sons of the alien,” who should serve in the fields and vineyards, but celestial men are here called “the priests of Jehovah,” and spiritual men “the ministers of our God.” Again, in the same Prophet:-“The sons of the alien shall build up thy walls;” (lx. 10.) where, in like manner, the menial services of such as are in mere externals of worship, without internals, are represented. A. C. 1097.

6 But ye shall be named the Priests of Jehovah; the Ministers of our God shall ye be called: the wealth of the nations shall ye eat, and in their glory shall ye boast.

Verse 6. Priests are called “ministers” because they represented the Lord as to the Good of love, and hence they who arein the Good of love are, in the Word, called “priests,” as may be seen in A.C. 2015; 6148; from this circumstance also it is that they are called “the ministers of God.” Hence it is that the function of Aaron and his sons is called, a “ministry,” as likewise that of the Levites the “‘priests;” and that to enter into the tent of the assembly, and officiate in the ministry, as also to approach the altar, and there officiate in the ministry, is called to “minister,”as may be seen in Exod. xxviii. 35; xxxi. 10; Numb. viii. 15,19, 24, 25, 26. And in Jeremiah:-“My covenant shall become void with the Levites the priests, My ministers”. (xxxiii. 21.) That “Aaron” represented the Lord as to the Good of love, may be seen in A. C. 9806, 9966; that the “priests,” in general, signified the same, see A. C. 2015. That hence by the “priesthood,” in the Word, is signified the Divine Good of the Lord’s Divine Love, see A. C. 9806.· A. E. 155.
“The wealth of the nations shall ye eat,” signifies to appropriate Goods to themselves; “in their glory shall ye boast,” means to enjoy Truths; thus, to have joy and felicity from what is Good and True. ‘That “nations,” in a good sense, signify Goods, may be seen in A. C. 1259; and, that “glory” is Truth from the Lord, is shewn in n. 9429. A. C. 9809.

7 Instead of your shame, there shall be double; and instead of ignominy, they shall rejoice in their portion: for in their land they shall possess double; and everlasting gladness shall be unto them.
8 For I Jehovah love judgment; I hate robbery by iniquity: and I will give them the reward of their work in truth, and an everlasting covenant will I make with them;

Verse 7. That to “receive double” is predicated of retribution and of remuneration, and signifies much, may be seen above, Chap. xl. 1, 2, Exposition.
Verse 8. For I Jehovah love judgment;-and I will give them the reward of their work in truth, and an everlasting covenant will I make with them-By the” judgment” which Jehovah loves, is understood Truth in faith, in affection, and in act; for man has judgment from Truth, as well when he thinks and wills it, as when he speaks and acts according to it; and whereas this is signified by “judgment,” therefore it is said-” I will give them the reward of their work in truth,” that is, heaven, according to the faith and affection of Truth in act; and whereas there is conjunction with the Lord, from whom reward comes, therefore it is also said-“I will make with them an everlasting covenant;” for by “covenant,” in the Word, is signified conjunction by love, -and by “an everlasting covenant” conjunction by the love of Good and Truth; for this love conjoins, inasmuch as it is of the Lord Himself, because it proceeds from Him. A. E. 695.
“I hate robbery by iniquity,” signifies that anyone should wish to justify himself by his own works. (Swedenborg’s Notes on Isaiah, p. 150.)

9 And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring in the midst of the peoples: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are a seed which Jehovah hath blessed.

Verse 9. These words also are spoken concerning the church to be established by the Lord. By “the seed which shall become known among the nations,” is signified the Divine Truth which will be received by those who are in the Good of life; and by “the offspring in the midst of the peoples,” is signified life according thereto. By” those who see them acknowledging that they are the seed,” is understood illustration that it is genuine Truth which they receive; “which Jehovah hath blessed,” denotes that it is from the Lord. Such is the signification of these words in the sense abstracted from persons, but, in the strict sense, they are understood who will receive Divine Truth from the Lord. A. E. 768.

10 I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah; my soul shall exult in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; He hath covered me with the robe of justice; as the bridegroom decketh himself with a priestly crowd, and as the bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Verse 10. To “rejoice in Jehovah,” signifies in the Divine Good; to “exult in God,” signifies in the Divine Truth : for the Lord is called “Jehovah” from Divine Good, and “God” from Divine Truth, and all spiritual joy is from Him, To be “clothed with the garments of salvation,” means to instruct and gift with Truths; and to “cover with the robe of justice,” signifies to fill with all Truth derived from Good,-“robe” denoting all Truth, because it denotes Truth in general, and “justice” is predicated of Good. A.E. 395.
As the bridegroom decketh himself with a priestly crowd [or head-dress], and as the bride adorneth herself with her jewels.-To “put on the crown” is to put on wisdom, and to “adorn herself with jewels” denotes with the knowledges of Truth. Again:-“As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” (Isa. lxii. 5.) That the Lord is understood, in the supreme sense, by the “Bridegroom,” and the church by the “bride,” is evident in the Evangelists; as when the disciples of John inquired concerning fasting, Jesus said-“So long as the Bridegroom is with them, the sons of the bride-chamber cannot fast; the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then shall they fast.” (Matt. ix. 15; Mark ii. 19, 20; Luke v. 34, 35.) There the Lord calls Himself the “Bridegroom,” and the men of the church He calls the “sons of the bride-chamber;” by “fasting” is signified mourning on account of a deficiency of Truth and Good. So again in Matthew:-“The kingdom of the heavens is like to ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went forth to meet the Bridegroom;” (xxv. 1.) where also by the “Bridegroom” is understood the Lord, by “virgins” the church, and by “lamps” are signified the Truths of faith.. A. E. 1189.

11 For as the earth putteth forth her shoots, and as a garden maketh its seeds to spring forth: so shall the Lord Jehovih cause justice to spring forth, and praise, before all the nations.

Verse 11. As a garden maketh its seeds to spring forth, so shall the Lord Jehovih cause justice to spring forth, &c.- The man of the church is, as to intelligence, like a “garden,” when he is in the Good of love from the Lord, because the spiritual heat which vivifies him is love, and spiritual light is intelligence; hence, that from these two things, namely, heat and light, gardens in the world flourish, is known. It is, similar in heaven, where there appear paradisaical gardens, with fruit-bearing trees, according to their wisdom derived from the Good of love from the Lord; and around those who are in intelligence, and not in the Good of love, no garden appears, but only grass; whereas about those who are in faith separate from charity, there does not even appear grass, but sand. A. R. 90.
As to the further meaning of a “garden,” see above, Chap. li. 3; lviii. 11, Exposition.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]