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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 50

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 50:1-11. The judgments on Israel were provoked by their crimes, yet they are not finally cast off by God.

Where … mothers divorcement — Zion is “the mother”; the Jews are the children; and God the Husband and Father (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 3:14). Gesenius thinks that God means by the question to deny that He had given “a bill of divorcement” to her, as was often done on slight pretexts by a husband (Deuteronomy 24:1), or that He had “sold” His and her “children,” as a poor parent sometimes did (Exodus 21:7; 2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:5) under pressure of his “creditors”; that it was they who sold themselves through their own sins. Maurer explains, “Show the bill of your mother‘s divorcement, whom … ; produce the creditors to whom ye have been sold; so it will be seen that it was not from any caprice of Mine, but through your own fault, your mother has been put away, and you sold” (Isaiah 52:3). Horsley best explains (as the antithesis between “I” and “yourselves” shows, though Lowth translates, “Ye are sold”) I have never given your mother a regular bill of divorcement; I have merely “put her away” for a time, and can, therefore, by right as her husband still take her back on her submission; I have not made you, the children, over to any “creditor” to satisfy a debt; I therefore still have the right of a father over you, and can take you back on repentance, though as rebellious children you have sold yourselves to sin and its penalty (1 Kings 21:25).

bill … whom — rather, “the bill with which I have put her away” [Maurer].


Verse 2

I — Messiah.

no man — willing to believe in and obey Me (Isaiah 52:1, Isaiah 52:3). The same Divine Person had “come” by His prophets in the Old Testament (appealing to them, but in vain, Jeremiah 7:25, Jeremiah 7:26), who was about to come under the New Testament.

hand shortened — the Oriental emblem of weakness, as the long stretched-out hand is of power (Isaiah 59:1). Notwithstanding your sins, I can still “redeem” you from your bondage and dispersion.

dry up … sea — (Exodus 14:21). The second exodus shall exceed, while it resembles in wonders, the first (Isaiah 11:11, Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 51:15).

make … rivers … wilderness — turn the prosperity of Israel‘s foes into adversity.

fish stinketh — the very judgment inflicted on their Egyptian enemies at the first exodus (Exodus 7:18, Exodus 7:21).


Verse 3
blackness — another of the judgments on Egypt to be repeated hereafter on the last enemy of God‘s people (Exodus 10:21).

sackcloth — (Revelation 6:12).


Verse 4

Messiah, as “the servant of Jehovah” (Isaiah 42:1), declares that the office has been assigned to Him of encouraging the “weary” exiles of Israel by “words in season” suited to their case; and that, whatever suffering it is to cost Himself, He does not shrink from it (Isaiah 50:5, Isaiah 50:6), for that He knows His cause will triumph at last (Isaiah 50:7, Isaiah 50:8).

learned — not in mere human learning, but in divinely taught modes of instruction and eloquence (Isaiah 49:2; Exodus 4:11; Matthew 7:28, Matthew 7:29; Matthew 13:54).

speak a word in season — (Proverbs 15:23; Proverbs 25:11). Literally, “to succor by words,” namely, in their season of need, the “weary” dispersed ones of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:65-67). Also, the spiritual “weary” (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 11:28).

wakeneth morning by morning, etc. — Compare “daily rising up early” (Jeremiah 7:25; Mark 1:35). The image is drawn from a master wakening his pupils early for instruction.

wakeneth … ear — prepares me for receiving His divine instructions.

as the learned — as one taught by Him. He “learned obedience,” experimentally, “by the things which He suffered”; thus gaining that practical learning which adapted Him for “speaking a word in season” to suffering men (Hebrews 5:8).


Verse 5
ear — (See on Isaiah 42:20; Isaiah 48:8); that is, hath made me obediently attentive (but Maurer, “hath informed me of my duty”), as a servant to his master (compare Psalm 40:6-8, with Philemon 2:7; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 49:3, Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 20:28; Luke 22:27).

not rebellious — but, on the contrary, most willing to do the Father‘s will in proclaiming and procuring salvation for man, at the cost of His own sufferings (Hebrews 10:5-10).


Verse 6

smiters — with scourges and with the open hand (Isaiah 52:14; Mark 14:65). Literally fulfilled (Matthew 27:26; Matthew 26:27; Luke 18:33). To “pluck the hair” is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2 Samuel 10:4; Lamentations 3:30). “I gave” implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Matthew 5:39).

spitting — To spit in another‘s presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job 30:10; Matthew 27:30; Luke 18:32).


Verse 7

Sample of His not being “discouraged” (Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 49:5).

set … face like … flint — set Myself resolutely, not to be daunted from My work of love by shame or suffering (Ezekiel 3:8, Ezekiel 3:9).


Verse 8

(Isaiah 49:4). The believer, by virtue of his oneness with Christ, uses the same language (Psalm 138:8; Romans 8:32-34). But “justify” in His case, is God‘s judicial acceptance and vindication of Him on the ground of His own righteousness (Luke 23:44-47; Romans 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:16, with which compare 1 Peter 3:18); in their case, on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed to them (Romans 5:19).

stand together — in judgment, to try the issue.

adversary — literally, “master of my cause,” that is, who has real ground of accusation against me, so that he can demand judgment to be given in his favor (compare Zechariah 3:1, etc. Revelation 12:10).


Verse 9

(Compare “deal,” or “proper,” Isaiah 52:13, Margin; Isaiah 53:10; Psalm 118:6; Jeremiah 23:5).

as a garment — (Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:8; Psalm 102:26). A leading constituent of wealth in the East is change of raiment, which is always liable to the inroads of the moth; hence the frequency of the image in Scripture.


Verse 10

Messiah exhorts the godly after His example (Isaiah 49:4, Isaiah 49:5; Isaiah 42:4) when in circumstances of trial (“darkness,” Isaiah 47:5), to trust in the arm of Jehovah alone.

Who is, etc. — that is, Whosoever (Judges 7:3).

obeyeth … servant — namely, Messiah. The godly “honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

darkness — (Micah 7:8, Micah 7:9). God never had a son who was not sometimes in the dark. For even Christ, His only Son, cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

light — rather, “splendor”; bright sunshine; for the servant of God is never wholly without “light” [Vitringa]. A godly man‘s way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and light. A wicked man‘s way may be bright, but his end shall be utter darkness (Psalm 112:4; Psalm 97:11; Psalm 37:24).

let him trust in the name of the Lord — as Messiah did (Isaiah 50:8, Isaiah 50:9).


Verse 11

In contrast to the godly (Isaiah 50:10), the wicked, in times of darkness, instead of trusting in God, trust in themselves (kindle a light for themselves to walk by) (Ecclesiastes 11:9). The image is continued from Isaiah 50:10, “darkness”; human devices for salvation (Proverbs 19:21; Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 16:25) are like the spark that goes out in an instant in darkness (compare Job 18:6; Job 21:17, with Psalm 18:28).

sparks — not a steady light, but blazing sparks extinguished in a moment.

walk — not a command, but implying that as surely as they would do so, they should lie down in sorrow (Jeremiah 3:25). In exact proportion to mystic Babylon‘s previous “glorifying” of herself shall be her sorrow (Matthew 25:30; Matthew 8:12; Revelation 18:7).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-50.html. 1871-8.

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