About Isaiah 42:3

Back in early March, Caution-Lady’s esteemed parents came to visit on the occasion of Seventy-Six’s first birthday extravaganza.  My father-in-law takes an active interest in theology and Bible-study to the point where he finds himself regularly at odds with the Wesleyan tenets of the denomination to which he’s belonged since childhood.   Whenever he’s here, he spends a great deal of his time reading whatever theological works he finds on our shelves.

One evening he asked me what I thought Isaiah 42:3 was talking about, quoting the verse to refresh my memory.  He said he’d never heard it preached exigetically, just the usual sentimental, sweet sort of interpretation that states the Messiah won’t harm anyone, but will simply comfort the afflicted.

I got out my Complete Word Study Old Testament, and pretty much looked up every word in the verse.  As I read the definitions, I thought them juxtaposed as the words appeared in the verse and was surprised by the depth and apparent meaning of the text.

Note the obvious references to debased manhood and unclean womanhood followed by negations of human expectations of the righteous God of all creation, then declaration of the manner in which the Messiah will transform those shameful conditions by restoring his original intent for Man and Woman.

Below, I’ve pasted the verse (with numeric concordance refs) cadged from a very old copy of E-Sword, a useful, free Bible software package – I recommend it for the believer as well as anyone interested in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.  The Word Study Old Testament provided, in one or two instances, considerably more information about the words defined.

Isa 42:3 A bruised(7533 ) reed(7070) shall he not(3808) break(7665), and the smoking(3544) flax(6594) shall he not(3808) quench(3518): he shall bring forth(3318) judgment(4941) unto truth(571).

H7533
רצץ
râtsats
raw-tsats’
A primitive root; to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively: – break, bruise, crush, discourage, oppress, struggle together.

H7070
קנה
qâneh
kaw-neh’
From H7069; a reed (as erect); by resemblance a rod (especially for measuring), shaft, tube, stem, the radius (of the arm), beam (of a steelyard): – balance, bone, branch, calamus, cane, reed, X spearman, stalk.

H3808
לה    לוא    לא
lô’  lô’  lôh
lo, lo, lo
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles: –  X before, + or else, ere, + except, ig [-norant], much, less, nay, neither, never, no ([-ne], -r, [-thing]), (X as though . . . , [can-], for) not (out of), of nought, otherwise, out of, + surely, + as truly as, + of a truth, + verily, for want, + whether, without.

H7665
שׁבר
shâbar
shaw-bar’
A primitive root; to burst (literally or figuratively): – break (down, off, in pieces, up), broken ([-hearted]), bring to the birth, crush, destroy, hurt, quench, X quite, tear, view [by mistake for H7663].

H3544
כּהה
kêheh
kay-heh’
From H3543; feeble, obscure: – somewhat dark, darkish, wax dim, heaviness, smoking.

H6594
פּשׁתּה
pishtâh
pish-taw’
Feminine of H6593; flax; by implication a wick: – flax, tow.

H3518
כּבה
kâbâh
kaw-baw’
A primitive root; to expire or (causatively) to extinguish (fire, light, anger): – go (put) out, quench.

H3318
יצא
yâtsâ’
yaw-tsaw’
A primitive root; to go (causatively bring) out, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, direct and proximate: –  X after, appear, X assuredly, bear out, X begotten, break out, bring forth (out, up), carry out, come (abroad, out, thereat, without), + be condemned, depart (-ing, -ure), draw forth, in the end, escape, exact, fail, fall (out), fetch forth (out), get away (forth, hence, out), (able to, cause to, let) go abroad (forth, on, out), going out, grow, have forth (out), issue out, lay (lie) out, lead out, pluck out, proceed, pull out, put away, be risen, X scarce, send with commandment, shoot forth, spread, spring out, stand out, X still, X surely, take forth (out), at any time, X to [and fro], utter.

H4941
משׁפּט
mishpâṭ
mish-pawt’
From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: –  + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.

H571
אמת
’emeth
eh’-meth
Contracted from H539; stability; figuratively certainty, truth, trustworthiness: – assured (-ly), establishment, faithful, right, sure, true (-ly, -th), verity.

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One thought on “About Isaiah 42:3

  1. The male/female references are rather striking – and comforting to me as a woman. It’s always comforting when God makes kind references to women in particular. We don’t always notice how forgotten we feel as a gender, until we are singled out by gender for comfort. It’s the difference between being called a child of God and a daughter of God. There’s something even sweeter and more personal there.

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