Isaiah 63:2
Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like him that treads in the winefat?
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63:1-6 The prophet, in vision, beholds the Messiah returning in triumph from the conquest of his enemies, of whom Edom was a type. Travelling, not as wearied by the combat, but, in the greatness of his strength, prepared to overcome every opposing power. Messiah declares that he had been treading the wine-press of the wrath of God, Re 14:19; 19:13, and by his own power, without any human help, he had crushed his obstinate opposers, for the day of vengeance was determined on, being the appointed season for rescuing his church. Once, he appeared on earth in apparent weakness, to pour out his precious blood as an atonement for our sins; but he will in due time appear in the greatness of his strength. The vintage ripens apace; the day of vengeance, fixed and determined on, approaches apace; let sinners seek to be reconciled to their righteous Judge, ere he brings down their strength to the earth. Does Christ say, I come quickly? let our hearts reply, Even so, come; let the year of the redeemed come.Wherefore art thou red? - The inquiry of the people. Whence is it that that gorgeous apparel is stained with blood?

And thy garment like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? - Or rather the 'wine-press.' The word used here (גת gath) means the place where the grapes were placed to be trodden with the feet, and from which the juice would flow off into a vat or receptacle. Of course the juice of the grape would stain the raiment of him who was employed in this business, and would give him the appearance of being covered with blood. 'The manner of pressing grapes,' says Burder, 'is as follows: having placed them in a hogshead, a man with naked feet gets in and tread the grapes; in about an hour's time the juice is forced out; he then turns the lowest grapes uppermost, and tread them for about a quarter of an hour longer; this is sufficient to squeeze the good juice out of them, for an additional pressure would even crush the unripe grapes and give the whole a disagreeable flavor.' The following statement of I. D. Paxton, in a letter from Beyrout, March 1, 1838, will show how the modern custom accords with that in the time of Isaiah: 'They have a large row of stone vats in which the grapes are thrown, and beside these are placed stone troughs, into which the juice flows. People get in and tread the grapes with their feet. It is hard work, and their clothes are often stained with the Juice. The figures found in Scripture taken from this are true to the life.' This method was also employed in Egypt. The presses there, as represented on some of the paintings at Thebes, consisted of two parts; the lower portion or vat, and the trough where the men with naked feet trod the fruit, supporting themselves by ropes suspended from the roof (see Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, ii, 155). Vitringa also notices the same custom.

Huc, pater O Lenae, veni; nudataque musto

Tinge nero mecum direptis crura cothurnis.

Georg. ii. 7, 8

This comparison is also beautifully used by John, Revelation 14:19-20 : 'And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press even unto the horses' bridles.' And in Revelation 19:15, 'And he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.' The comparison of blood to wine is not uncommon. Thus in Deuteronomy 32:14, 'And thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.' Calvin supposes that allusion is here made to the wine-press, because the country around Bozrah abounded with grapes.

Wherefore art thou red in thy apparel,.... Christ having satisfied the church as to her first question, concerning his person, who he was; she puts a second to him, about the colour of his garments, which was red, and the reason of it. His garments at his transfiguration were white as snow, whiter than any fuller on earth could whiten them; his robe of righteousness is fine linen, clean and white; the garment of his human nature, or his form as man, was white and ruddy; but this, through his bloody sufferings, became red, being all over bloody through the scourges he received, the crown of thorns he wore, the piercing of his hands, feet, and sides, with the nails and spear; but here it appears of this colour not with his own blood, but with the blood of his enemies, as is hereafter explained:

and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? or winepress, into which clusters of grapes are cast, and these are trodden by men, the juice of which sparkles on their garments, and stains them, so that they become of a red colour.

{c} Why art thou red in thy apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine press?

(c) Another question, to which the Lord answers.

The following strophe expresses one side of the divine promise, on which the hope of that lofty and universally acknowledged glory of Jerusalem, for whose completion the watchers upon its walls so ceaselessly exert themselves, is founded. "Jehovah hath sworn by His right hand, and by His powerful arm, Surely I no more give thy corn for food to thine enemies; and foreigners will to drink thy must, for which thou hast laboured hard. No, they that gather it in shall eat it, and praise Jehovah; and they that store it, shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary." The church will no more succumb to the tyranny of a worldly power. Peace undisturbed, and unrestricted freedom, reign there. With praise to Jehovah are the fruits of the land enjoyed by those who raised and reaped them. יגעתּ (with an auxiliary pathach, as in Isaiah 47:12, Isaiah 47:15) is applied to the cultivation of the soil, and includes the service of the heathen who are incorporated in Israel (Isaiah 61:5); whilst אסּף (whence מאספיו with ס raphatum) or אסף (poel, whence the reading מאספיו, cf., Psalm 101:5, meloshnı̄; Psalm 109:10, ve-dorshū, for which in some codd. and editions we find מאספיו, an intermediate form between piel and poel; see at Psalm 62:4) and קבּץ stand in the same relation to one another as condere (horreo) and colligere (cf., Isaiah 11:12). The expression bechatsrōth qodshı̄, in the courts of my sanctuary, cannot imply that the produce of the harvest will never be consumed anywhere else than there (which is inconceivable), but only that their enjoyment of the harvest-produce will be consecrated by festal meals of worship, with an allusion to the legal regulation that two-tenths (ma‛ăsēr shēnı̄) should be eaten in a holy place (liphnē Jehovah) by the original possessor and his family, with the addition of the Levites and the poor (Deuteronomy 14:22-27 : see Saalschtz, Mosaisches Recht, cap. 42). Such thoughts, as that all Israel will then be a priestly nation, or that all Jerusalem will be holy, are not implied in this promise. All that it affirms is, that the enjoyment of the harvest-blessing will continue henceforth undisturbed, and be accompanied with the grateful worship of the giver, and therefore, because sanctified by thanksgiving, will become an act of worship in itself. This is what Jehovah has sworn "by His right hand," which He only lifts up with truth, and "by His powerful arm," which carries out what it promises without the possibility of resistance. The Talmud (b. Nazir 3b) understand by עזו זרוע the left arm, after Daniel 12:7; but the ו of ובזרוע is epexegetical.
2. The prophet asks why His garments are "dyed" and "red."

winefat—rather, the "wine-press," wherein the grapes were trodden with the feet; the juice would stain the garment of him who trod them (Re 14:19, 20; 19:15). The image was appropriate, as the country round Bozrah abounded in grapes. This final blow inflicted by Messiah and His armies (Re 19:13-15) shall decide His claim to the kingdoms usurped by Satan, and by the "beast," to whom Satan delegates his power. It will be a day of judgment to the hostile Gentiles, as His first coming was a day of judgment to the unbelieving Jews.

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel - For ללבושך lilebushecha, twenty-nine MSS. (nine ancient) of Kennicott's, and thirty of De Rossi s, and one edition, have ללבושיך lilebusheycha in the plural; so the Septuagint and Syriac. And all the ancient Versions read it with מ mem, instead of the first ל lamed. But the true reading is probably מלבושך malbushecha in the singular, as in Isaiah 63:3. - L.
Isaiah 63:1
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