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Isaiah 61:1 Freedom to Prisoners!

January 12, 2009

Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

Again, I want to look at who this is for first:  prisoners. What are prisoners? Let’s take a look and see!

Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Definitions says this about prisoners:

H631
אסר
‘âsar
BDB Definition:
1) to tie, bind, imprison
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to tie, bind
1a2) to tie, harness
1a3) to bind (with cords)
1a4) to gird (rare and late)
1a5) to begin the battle, make the attack
1a6) of obligation of oath (figurative)
1b) (Niphal) to be imprisoned, bound
1c) (Pual) to be taken prisoner
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

This is an action word. There is an action taking place against someone. The way I see it, we can be acted upon by others AND we can act against ourselves…or at least put ourselves in a position that leaves us vulnerable to being taken “prisoner”. It is someone who is bound up, tied up, harnessed, under attack. A prisoner can be physical…but I also see those who are harnessed to non-physical things. Things like…hatred, unforgiveness, or abuse. Harnessed to drugs and alcohol or to lies and false beliefs. There are many things that can make us prisoners.

I am not sure why there are two different words used for captives and for prisoners. Perhaps, someone more knowledgeable can show me that. I just know that words mean things. There is much to be uncovered as we look at words and their roots and what other words share their roots. Perhaps Webster’s will shed some light:

Prisoner
PRIS’ONER, n. One who is confined in a prison by legal arrest or warrant.

1. A person under arrest or in custody of the sheriff, whether in prison or not; as a prisoner at the bar of a court.

2. A captive; one taken by an enemy in war.

3. One whose liberty is restrained, as a bird in a cage.

I think that this word seems to show more of the taken by force aspect…that a person is a prisoner due to outside forces, while the definition of “captive” expands beyond that.

And what is given to the prisoners? Freedom!

From BDB again:

H6495
פּקח־קוח
peqacḣqôach
BDB Definition:
1) opening (of eyes), wide
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H6491 redoubled

Hmmm…the opening of the eyes. The thought that comes to mind here for me is that so many of us are prisoners to things we cannot even see that we are prisoners to. Or, that we know we are prisoners, but cannot see the way out. Yahweh opens our eyes and shows us the key to freedom.  Yeshua  said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, then you are truly my talmidim (disciple/follower). You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Joh 8:31-32 HNV)

We who are His that are prisoners…if we remain in His word…will be set free. His word reveals HIS truth (opens our eyes)…and it is His truth that sets us prisoners free…not our truth.  Hallelujah!

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