Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 63:1Who - The church makes enquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture? Edom - Idumea, where Esau dwelt. It is put for all the enemies of the church. Bozrah - The capital city of Idumea. Here is also an allusion to the garments of this conqueror, Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage. Glorious - Such as generals march before their armies in. Righteousness - Here Christ gives an answer, wherein he both asserts his fidelity, that he will faithfully perform what he hath promised, and that he will truly execute justice. Mighty - I have power to accomplish salvation.
isa 63:3Trodden - I have destroyed the enemies of my people, I have crushed them as grapes are crushed, this being an usual metaphor to describe the utter destruction of a people.
isa 63:4Of vengeance - To take vengeance on the enemies of my church.
isa 63:5None to help - Not that he needed it, but to see what men would do, in regard his people needed it; therefore the standing, or not standing by his people, is the same thing with standing, or not standing by him. Uphold - A metaphor, taken from a staff, that is an help to one that leans on it.
isa 63:6Drunk - They go as it were to and fro, not knowing what to do with themselves. Bring down - Whatever it is wherein their strength lies, he will bring to the very dust, to nothing.
isa 63:7Mention - Here begins a new matter, which contains the prophet's prayer, to the end of chap. 64, wherein he begins with mentioning the great kindnesses that God had shewn the Jews, and that emphatically, setting them forth with the greatest advantages.
isa 63:8He said - When he made a covenant with our fathers, and brought them out of Egypt. Not lie - That will keep my covenant. So he - Not Cyrus, Zerubbabel, or Nehemiah, but Christ himself.
isa 63:9The angel - The same that conducted them through the wilderness; the Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to Moses in the bush. Saved them - From the house of bondage. Carried - He carried them in the arms of his power, and on the wings of his providence. And he is said to do it of old, To remember his ancient kindness for many generations past.
isa 63:11He remembered - This relates, either To the people, and then he is collectively taken, and so it looks like the language of the people in Babylon, and must be read, he shall remember. Or, It may look back to their condition in the wilderness, and thus they may properly say, Where is he? Or that God who delivered his people of old, to do the like for us now? There is a like phrase used by God, as it were recollecting himself, Where is he? Where am I with my former bowels, that moved me to help them of old? His people - What great things he had done for them by Moses. The sea - Here God speaks of himself, as in the former clause, that divided the sea for them. Shepherds - Moses and Aaron. Holy spirit - Those abilities and gifts, wherewith God furnished Moses, as properly proceeding from the Spirit.
isa 63:13As an horse - With as much ease and tenderness, as an horse led by the bridle. Not stumble - That, tho' the sea were but newly divided, yet it was dried and smoothed by the wind, that God sent, as it were to prepare the way before them.
isa 63:14The valley - A laden beast goeth warily and gently down the hill. Rest - Led them easily, that they should not be over - travelled, or fall down, through weariness; thus Jeremiah expresses it, Jer 31:2, and thus God gave them rest from their enemies, drowning them in the sea, and in their safe conduct, that they could not annoy or disturb them, leading them 'till he found them a place for resting; the word for leading, and resting, being much of a like notion, Zac 10:6, pointing at their several rests by the way, Num 10:33, or it may be read by way of interrogation, as all the foregoing words, and be the close of that enquiry, And where is the spirit, that caused then to rest? Or, he led them to Canaan the place of their rest.
isa 63:15Look - Now the prophet begins to expostulate with God, and to argue both from the goodness of his nature, and from the greatness of his works. God sees every where, and every thing, but he is said to look down from heaven, because there is his throne whereon he sits in majesty. Behold - Not barely see, but behold with regard, and respect thy poor people. Where - What is become of that love, which of old would not let thee suffer thy people to be wronged? Strength - That power of thine manifested in those great acts? The founding - This is spoken of God after the manner of men.
isa 63:16Abraham - He who was our father after the flesh, though he be dead, and so ignorant of our condition. Redeemer - This is urged as another argument for pity; because their Father was their Redeemer. From everlasting - Thou hast been our Redeemer of old.
isa 63:17Made us - Suffered us to err. Hardened - Suffered it to be hardened. Thy fear - The fear of thee. Servants sake - For our sakes, that little remnant that are thy servants. Inheritance - The land of Canaan, which God gave them as an inheritance.
isa 63:18People - The people set apart for his servants. A little while - Comparatively to the promise, which was for ever. Sanctuary - The temple.
isa 63:19Thine - We continue so; we are in covenant, which they never were; and thus it is an argument they use with God to look upon them. Never - Not in that manner thou didst over us. They - Neither owned thee, nor were owned by thee.