The prophetic mission to Zion (Isa 61:2-61:3)

“Yahweh has sent me

To proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor.

He has sent me

To proclaim the day of rescue of our God.

He has sent me

To comfort all who mourn.

He has sent me

To provide for those who mourn in Zion.

He has sent me

To give them a garland

Instead of ashes.

He has sent me

To give the oil of gladness

Instead of the oil of mourning.

He has sent me

To give the mantle of praise

Instead of a faint spirit.”

There was a clear mission to Zion. This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor with a rescue day for those who needed comforting in their mourning for Zion. This would indicate a prophet more than a servant. This individual was sent to give flower garlands and not ashes. He was to give the oil of gladness and not the oil of mourning. He was sent to give a coat of praise rather than a faint spirit. In this sense he was more like a servant comforter to the people of Zion.

The anointed one (Ps 45:6-45:9)

“Your throne!

O God!

Endures forever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.

You love righteousness.

You hate wickedness.

Therefore God,

Your God!

Has anointed you

With the oil of gladness.

Thus you are beyond your companions.

Your robes are all fragrant

With myrrh, aloes, and cassia.

From ivory palaces

Stringed instruments make you glad.

Daughters of kings are

Among your ladies of honor.

At your right hand

Stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”

Is this throne the throne of God or the king that endures forever? Once again, the scribe psalmist treats the king like a mini-god. The royal crown helps insure equality. Then we have the famous saying about being anointed with the oil of gladness that had such a resonance with Christian prayers about anointing. This is a royal anointing of the new king. This new king was beyond his companions. His robes were fragrant or smelly. They were filled with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Myrrh was an aromatic perfume from the Asian bushes. Aloes was a bitter tasting leaf that was used in perfumes. Cassia is an Asian evergreen tree with an aromatic bark that also was used in perfumes. Ivory and stringed instruments were also there. All this adds to the concept of wealth. Of course stringed instruments and beautiful ladies of honor were also added to the scene. Then there was queen in her gold from the mysterious unknown but often mentioned Ophir.