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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 50:6

 

 

I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And my cheeks to them that plunked off the hair - The greatest indignity that could possibly be offered. See the note on Isaiah 7:20; (note).

I hid not my face from shame and spitting - Another instance of the utmost contempt and detestation. It was ordered by the law of Moses as a severe punishment, carrying with it a lasting disgrace; Deuteronomy 25:9. Among the Medes it was highly offensive to spit in any one's presence, Herod. 1:99; and so likewise among the Persians, Xenophon, Cyrop. Lib. i., p. 18.

"They abhor me; they flee far from me;

They forbear not to spit in my face."

Job 30:10.

"And Jehovah said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days?" Numbers 22:14. On which place Sir John Chardin remarks, that "spitting before any one, or spitting upon the ground in speaking of any one's actions, is through the east an expression of extreme detestation." - Harmer's Observ. 2:509. See also, of the same notions of the Arabs in this respect, Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 26. It so evidently appears that in those countries spitting has ever been an expression of the utmost detestation, that the learned doubt whether in the passages of Scripture above quoted any thing more is meant than spitting, - not in the face, which perhaps the words do not necessarily imply, - but only in the presence of the person affronted. But in this place it certainly means spitting in the face; so it is understood in St. Luke, where our Lord plainly refers to this prophecy: "All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished; for he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spitted on, εμπτυσθησεται, " Luke 18:31, Luke 18:32, which was in fact fulfilled; και ηρξεαντο τινες εμπτυειν αυτῳ, "and some began to spit on him," Mark 14:65, Mark 15:19. If spitting in a person's presence was such an indignity, how much more spitting in his face?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-50.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I gave my back to the smiters - I submitted willingly to be scourged, or whipped. This is one of the parts of this chapter which can be applied to no other one but the Messiah. There is not the slightest evidence, whatever may be supposed to have been the probability, that Isaiah was subjected to any such trial as this, or that he was scourged in a public manner. Yet it was literally fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:26; compare Luke 18:33).

And my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair - literally, ‹My cheeks to hose who pluck, or pull.‘ The word used here (מרט māraṭ ) means properly to polish, to sharpen, to make smooth; then to make smooth the head, to make bald; that is, to pluck out the hair, or the beard. To do this was to offer the highest insult that could be imagined among the Orientals. The beard is suffered to grow long, and is regarded as a mark of honor. Nothing is regarded as more infamous than to cut it off (see 2 Samuel 10:4), or to pluck it out; and there is nothing which an Oriental will sooner resent than an insult offered to his beard. ‹It is a custom among the Orientals, as well among the Greeks as among other nations, to cultivate the beard with the utmost care and solicitude, so that they regard it as the highest possible insult if a single hair of the beard is taken away by violence.‘ (William of Tyre, an eastern archbishop, Gesta Dei, p. 802, quoted in Harmer, vol. ii. p. 359.) It is customary to beg by the beard, and to swear by the beard. ‹By your beard; by the life of your beard; God preserve your beard; God pour his blessings on your beard,‘ - are common expressions there. The Mahometans have such a respect for the board that they think it criminal to shave (Harmer, vol. ii. p. 360). The Septuagint renders this, ‹I gave my cheeks to buffering‘ ( εἰς ῥαπίσμα eis rapisma ); that is, to being smitten with the open hand, which was literally fulfilled in the case of the Redeemer Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65. The general sense of this expression is, that he would be treated with the highest insult.

I hid not my face from shame and spitting - To spit on anyone was regarded among the Orientals, as it is everywhere else, as an expression of the highest insult and indignity Deuteronomy 25:9; Numbers 12:14; Job 30:10. Among the Orientals also it was regarded as an insult - as it should be everywhere - to spit in the presence of any person. Thus among the Medes, Herodotus (i. 99) says that Deioces ordained that, ‹to spit in the king‘s presence, or in the presence of each other, was an act of indecency.‘ So also among the Arabians, it is regarded as an offence (Niebuhr‘s Travels, i. 57). Thus Monsieur d‘Arvieux tells us (Voydans la Pal. p. 140) ‹the Arabs are sometimes disposed to think, that when a person spits, it is done out of contempt; and that they never do it before their superiors‘ (Harmer, iv. 439). This act of the highest indignity was performed in reference to the Redeemer Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30; and this expression of their contempt he bore with the utmost meekness. This expression is one of the proofs that this entire passage refers to the Messiah. It is said Luke 17:32 that the prophecies should be fulfilled by his being spit upon, and yet there is no other prophecy of the Old Testament but this which contains such a prediction.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-50.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 50:6

I gave My back to the smiters

The shame and smiting

I.
AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD. In the person of Christ Jesus, God himself came into the world, making a special visitation to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, but at the same time coming very near to all mankind. When our Lord came into this world as the representative of God, He came with all His Divine power about Him (Isaiah 50:2). He did equal marvels to those which were wrought in Egypt when the arm of the Lord was made bare in the eyes of all the people. It is true He did not change water into blood, but He turned water into wine. He did not make their fish to stink, but by His word He caused the net to be filled even to bursting with great fishes. He did the works of His Father, and those works bare witness of Him that He was come in His Father’s name. But when God thus came among men He was unacknowledged. What saith the prophet? “Wherefore when I came was there no man? when I called was there none to answer?” A few, taught by the Spirit of God, discerned Him and rejoiced; but they were so very few that we may say of the whole generation that they knew Him not. Yet our Lord was admirably adapted to be the representative of God, not only because He was God Himself, but because as man His whole human nature was consecrated to the work, and in Him was neither flaw nor spot. This is especially the sin of those who have heard the Gospel and yet reject the Saviour, for in their case the Lord has come to them in the most gracious form, and yet they have refused Him.

II. I want to set the Lord Jesus before you AS THE SUBSTITUTE FOR HIS PEOPLE.

III. AS THE SERVANT OF GOD.

1. Christ was personally prepared for service (Isaiah 50:4).

2. This service knew no reserve in its consecration. Our blessed Master was willing to be scoffed at by the lewdest and lowest of men.

3. There is something more here than perfect consecration in the mere form of it, for its heart and essence are manifest in an obedient delight in the will of the Father. The words seem to express alacrity. It is not said that He reluctantly permitted His enemies to pluck His hair, or smite His back, but “I gave My back to the smiter, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.”

4. There was no flinching in Him. They spat in His face, but what says He in the seventh verse? “I have set My face like a flint.” Oh, the bravery of our Master’s silence! Cruelty and shame could not make Him speak.

5. And do you notice all the while the confidence and quiet of His spirit! He almost seems to say, “You may spit upon Me, but you cannot find fault with Me. You may pluck My hair, but you cannot impugn My integrity. You may lash My shoulders, but you cannot impute a fault to Me,” etc. Be calm then, O true servant of God! In patience possess your soul. Serve God steadily and steadfastly though all men should belie you.

6. The last two verses of the chapter read you a noble lesson. “He gave His back to the smiters;” if, then, any of you walk in darkness, this is no new thing for a servant of God. The chief of all servants persevered, though men despised Him. Follow Him, then. Stay yourselves upon God as He did, and look for a bright ending of your trials.

IV. AS THE COMFORTER OF HIS PEOPLE.

1. Our blessed Lord is well qualified to speak a word in season to him that is weary, because He Himself is lowly, and meek, and so accessible to us. When men are in low spirits they feel as if they could not take comfort from persons who are harsh and proud. The comforter must come as a sufferer. Your Master “gave His back to the smiters, and His cheek to them that plucked off the hair,” and therefore He is the Comforter you want.

2. Remark not only His lowliness, but His sympathy. Are you full of aches and pains? Jesus knows all about them, for He “gave His back to the smiters.” Do you suffer from what is worse than pain, from scandal and slander? “He hid not His face from shame and spitting.” Have you been ridiculed of late? Jesus can sympathize with you, for you know what unholy mirth they made out of Him. In every pang that rends your heart your Lord has borne His share. Go and tell Him.

3. In addition to His gentle spirit and His power to sympathize, there is this to help to comfort us--namely, His example, for He can argue thus with you, “I gave My back to the smiters. Cannot you do the like! Shall the disciple be above his master?”

4. His example further comforts us by the fact that He was calm amid it all.

5. Our Saviour’s triumph is meant to be a stimulus and encouragement to us. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The back given to the smiters

In Psalms 129:3 the same figure is applied to the sufferings of Israel as a nation. (Prof. J. Skinner, D.D.)

The Roman lash

The lash is nothing among us compared with what it was among the Romans. I have heard that it was made of the sinews of oxen, and that in it were twisted the hucklebones of sheep, with slivers of bone, in order that every stroke might more effectually tear its way into the poor quivering flesh, which was mangled by its awful strokes. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Plucking off the hair

Of the beard (Ezra 9:3; Nehemiah 13:25); an extreme insult to an Oriental, to whom the beard is the symbol of dignity. (Prof. J. Skinner, D.D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 50:6". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-50.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting."

Luke 18:31,32 records Jesus' quotation of things mentioned in this verse, declaring that all these things would be accomplished unto the Son of Man; and the gospels faithfully relate how practically all of the things mentioned here were actually done unto Jesus. Cheyne pointed out that plucking the hair off the cheeks is not specifically reported in the gospels as something endured by Jesus, and supposed that the expression was figurative.[11] The very fact, however, that such indignities were often inflicted by such men as mocked the Christ is the only proof needed that this too was fulfilled upon the Lord. Besides that, our prophecy states that he gave his cheeks to the men who did such things; and that Jesus most certainly did. Furthermore, Christ stated in Luke 18:31 that "all the things" written in the prophets concerning him would be accomplished; and we cannot believe the plucking of the hair off the cheeks was omitted. This is another instance where the whole truth is discovered only by taking into account both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Another instance is that of the piercing of Jesus' feet in the crucifixion.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-50.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I gave my back to the smiters,.... To Pontius Pilate, and those he ordered to scourge him, Matthew 27:26.

and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; of the beard; which, is painful, so a great indignity and affront. The Septuagint renders it, "and my cheeks to blows"; εις ραπισματα, a word used by the evangelists when they speak of Christ being smitten and stricken with the palms of men's hands, and seem to refer to this passage, Mark 14:65,

I hid not my face from shame and spitting; or from shameful spitting; they spit in his face, and exposed him to shame, and which was a shameful usage of him, and yet he took it patiently, Matthew 26:67, these are all instances of great shame and reproach; as what is more reproachful among us, or more exposes a man, than to be stripped of his clothes, receive lashes on his bare back, and that in public? in which ignominious manner Christ was used: or what reckoned more scandalous, than for a man to have his beard plucked by a mob? which used to be done by rude and wanton boys, to such as were accounted idiots, and little better than brutesF24"------------barbam tibi vellunt Lascivi pueri", Horace. "Idcirco stolidam praebet tibi vellere barbara Jupiter?" Persius, Satyr. 2. ; and nothing is more affronting than to spit in a man's face. So Job was used, which he mentions as a great indignity done to him, Job 30:10. With some people, and in some countries, particular places, that were mean and despicable, were appointed for that use particularly to spit in. Hence Aristippus the philosopher, being shown a fine room in a house, beautifully and richly paved, spat in the face of the owner of it; at which he being angry, and resenting it, the philosopher replied, that he had not a fitter place to spit inF25Laertius in Vita Aristippi. .


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-50.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

I gave my back to the k smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

(k) I did not shrink from God for any persecution or calamity. By which he shows that the true ministers of God can look for no other recompense of the wicked, but after this sort, and also that is their comfort.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-50.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-50.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

I gave — I patiently yielded up myself to those who smote me.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-50.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.I exposed my body to the smiters. With the reproaches, jeers, and insolence of wicked men, he contrasts the unshaken courage which he possesses; as if he had said that, “whatever resistancemay be attempted by the despisers of God, yet he will baffle all their insults, so that he will never repent of the labors which he has undertaken.” Yet this passage plainly shows that the ministers of the word cannot perform their office faithfully without being exposed to a contest with the world, and even without being fiercely assailed on all sides; for as soon as Isaiah says that he has obeyed the command of God, he likewise adds that “He has exposed his body to the smiters.” The faithful servants of God, when they administer the doctrine of the word, cannot escape from this condition, but must endure fights, reproaches, hatred, slanders, and various attacks from adversaries, who loathe that liberty of advising and reproving which it is necessary for them to use. Let them, therefore, arm themselves with steadfastness and faith; for a dreadful battle is prepared for them. And not only does he describe the persecutions of wicked men, but the reproach of the world; because wicked men desire to be thought to have good cause for opposing the ministers of the word and persecuting their doctrine, and wish that those ministers should be regarded as criminals and malefactors, and held up to universal hatred and abhorrence. For these reasons they lead them with various slanders, and do not refrain from any kind of reproach, as we know well enough by experience in the present day, when our adversaries call us heretics, deceivers, seditious persons, and assail us with other slanders, which were also directed against Christ and the Apostles. (Matthew 27:63; John 7:12; Acts 16:20.)

My face I did not hide from shame and spitting. He not only says that open and outward foes spat and inflicted blows on him, but glances at the slanders which he is compelled to bear from foes who are within and belong to the household; for out of the very bosom of the Church there always spring up wicked men and despisers of God, who insolently attack the prophets. They who wish to serve God must be prepared to endure all these things calmly, that they may walk through evil report and through good report, (2 Corinthians 6:8,) and may despise not only banishment, stripes, imprisonment, and death, but likewise reproaches and disgrace, though they may sometimes appear harder to endure than death itself. While this doctrine belongs to all believers, it belongs especially to the teachers of the word, who ought to go before others, and to be, as it were, standard-bearers.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-50.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Ver. 6. I gave my back to the smiters.] Ecce pro impio pietas flagellatur, &c., saith Ambrose. (a) "Behold the man" (as Pilate once said), "the just" man scourged "for the unjust," [1 Peter 3:18] wisdom derided for the fool’s sake, truth denied for the liar’s sake, mercy afflicted for the cruel man’s sake, life dying for the dead man’s sake. What are all our sufferings to his? how oft have we been whipped, depiled, despitefully spat upon, &c., for his sake? Oh that I might have the maidenhead of that kind of suffering! said one of the martyrs in the Marian times; for I have not heard that you have yet whipped any. Bishop Bonner afterwards, with his own hands, whipped some, and pulled a great part of their beards off.

I hid not my face from shame and spitting.] That is, from shameful spitting. See Matthew 26:48; Matthew 27:30. {See Trapp on "Matthew 26:48"} {See Trapp on "Matthew 27:30"} Discamus etiam hoc loco, saith Oecolampadius; Learn here also what is the character of a true Christian minister, namely, to express Christ to the world as much as may be, viz., by apt utterance, seasonable comforts, divine learning, ready obedience, constant patience, exemplary innocence, discreet zeal, &c.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-50.html. 1865-1868.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Isaiah

THE SERVANT’S VOLUNTARY SUFFERINGS

Isaiah 50:6.

Such words are not to be dealt with coldly. Unless they be grasped by the heart they are not grasped at all. We do not think of analysing in the presence of a great sorrow. There can be no greater dishonour to the name of Christ than an unemotional consideration of His sufferings for us. The hindrances to a due consideration of these are manifold; some arising from intellectual, and some from moral, causes. Most men have difficulty in vivifying any historical event so as to feel its reality. There is no nobler use of the historical imagination than to direct it to that great life and death on which the salvation of the world depends.

The prophet here has advanced from the first general conception of the Servant of the Lord as recipient of divine commission, and submissive to the divine voice, to thoughts of the sufferings which He would meet with on His path, and of how He bore them.

I. The sufferings of the Servant.

The minute particularity is very noteworthy, scourging, plucking the beard, shame, all sorts of taunts and buffets on the face, and the last indignity of spitting. Clearly, then, He is not only to suffer persecution, but is to be treated with insult and to endure that strange blending, so often seen, of grim infernal laughter with grim infernal fury, the hyena’s laugh and its ferocity. Wherever it occurs, it implies not only fell hate and cruelty, but also contempt and a horrible delight in triumphing over an enemy. It is found in all corrupt periods, and especially in religious persecutions. Here it implies the rejection of the Servant.

The prophecy was literally fulfilled, but not in all its traits. This may give a hint as to the general interpretation of prophecy and may teach that external fulfilment only points to a deeper correspondence. The most salient instance is in Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem riding on an ass, which was but a finger-post to guide men’s thoughts to His fulfilling the ideal of the Messianic King. And yet, the minute correspondences are worth noticing. What a strange, solemn glimpse they give into that awful divine omniscience, and into the mystery of the play of the vilest passions as being yet under control in their extremest rage!

We must note the remarkable prominence in the narratives of the Passion, of signs of contempt and mockery; Judas’ kiss, the purple robe, the crown of thorns, ‘wagging their heads,’ ‘let be, let Elias come,’ etc.

Think of the exquisite pain of this to Christ. That He was sinless and full of love made it all the worse to bear. Not the physical pain, but the consciousness that He was encompassed by such an atmosphere of evil, was the sharpest pang. We should think with reverent sympathy of His perfect discernment of the sinful malignant hearts from which the sufferings came, of His pained and rejected love thrown back on itself, of His clear sight of what their heartless infliction of tortures would end in for the inflicters, of His true human feeling which shrank from being the object of contempt and execration.

II. His patient submission.

‘I gave,’-purely voluntary. That word originally expressed the patient submission with which He endured at the moment, when the lash scored His back, but it may be widened out to express Christ’s perfect voluntariness in all His passion. At any moment He could have abandoned His work if His filial obedience and His love to men had let Him do so. His would-be captors fell to the ground before one momentary flash of His majesty, and they could have laid no hand on Him, if His will had not consented to His capture. Fra Angelico has grasped the thought which the prophet here uttered, and which the evangelists emphasise, that all His suffering was voluntary, and that His love to us restrained His power, and led Him to the slaughter, silent as a sheep before her shearers. For he has pourtrayed the majestic figure seated in passive endurance, with eyes blindfolded but yet wide open behind the bandage, all-seeing, wistful, sad, and patient, while around are fragments of rods, and smiting hands, and a cruel face blowing spittle on the unshrinking cheeks. He seems to be saying: ‘These things hast thou done, and I kept silence.’ ‘Thou couldest have no power at all against Me unless it were given thee.’

III. His submission to suffering in obedience to the Father’s Will.

The context connects His opened ear and His not being rebellious with His giving His back to the smiters. That involves the idea that these indignities and insults were part of the divine counsel in reference to Him. That same combination of ideas is strongly presented in the early addresses of Peter, recorded in the first chapters of Acts, of which this is a specimen: ‘Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye with wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ The full significance of Christ’s passion as that of the atoning sacrifice was not yet clear to the apostle, any more than the Servant’s sufferings were to the prophet, but both prophet and apostle were carried on by fuller experience and reflection on what they already saw clearly, to discern the inwardness and depth of these. The one soon came to see that ‘by His stripes we are healed,’ and the other finally wrote: ‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’ And whoever deeply ponders the startling fact that ‘it pleased the Lord to bruise Him,’ sinless and ever obedient as He was, will be borne, sooner or later, into the full sunlight of the blessed belief that when Jesus suffered and died, ‘He died for all.’ His sufferings were those of a martyr for truth, who is willing to die rather than cease to witness for it; but they were more. They were the sufferings of a lover of mankind who will face the extremest wrong that can be inflicted, rather than abandon His mission; but they were more. They were not merely the penalty which He had to pay for faithfulness to His work; they were themselves the crown and climax of His work. The Son of Man came, indeed, ‘not to be ministered to but to minister,’ but that, taken alone, is but a maimed view of what He came for, and we must whole-heartedly go on to say as He said, ‘and to give His life a ransom for many,’ if we would know the whole truth as to the sufferings of Jesus.

Again, since Christ suffers according to the will of God, it is clear that all representations of the scope of His atoning death, which represent it as moving the will of the Father to love and pardon, are travesties of the truth and turn cause into effect. God does not love, because Jesus died, but Jesus died because God loved.

Further, it is to be noted that His sufferings are the great means by which He sustains the weary. The word to which His ears were opened, morning by morning, was the word to which He was docile when He gave His back to the smiters. It is His passion, regarded as the sacrifice for a world’s sin, from which flow the most powerful stimulants to service and tonics for weary souls, the tenderest comfortings for sorrow. He sustains and comforts by the example of His life, but far more, and more sweetly, more mightily, by that which flows to us through His death. His sufferings are powerful to sustain, when thought of as our example, but they are a tenfold stronger source of patience and strength, when laid on our hearts as the price of our redemption. The Cross is, in all senses of the expression, the tree of life.

Wonder, reverence, love, gratitude, should well forth from our hearts, when we think of these cruel sufferings, but the deepest fountains in them will not be unsealed, unless we see in the suffering Servant the atoning Son.


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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/isaiah-50.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I gave my back to the smiters; I patiently yielded up myself, and turned my back to those who smote me. I was willing not only to do, but to suffer, the will of God, and the injuries of men. This and the following passages were literally fulfilled in Christ, as is expressly affirmed, Matthew 26:57,67 27:26,30, and elsewhere; but we read of no such thing concerning Isaiah. And therefore it is most safe and reasonable to understand it of Christ; the rather, because it is not usual with the prophets to commend themselves so highly as the prophet here commends the person of whom he speaketh.

Plucked off the hair; which was a contumely or punishment inflicted upon malefactors, Nehemiah 13:25.

I hid not my face from shame, from all manner of reproachful usages; but did knowingly and willingly submit myself there unto.

And spitting: spitting in a man’s face was used in token of contempt and detestation, Numbers 12:14 Job 30:10; and this was literally fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 26:67.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-50.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. I gave my back to the smiters — Spoken in reference to Christ’s willingly-borne sufferings. His obedience was perfect. Psalms 22:7; Psalms 69:8, find in this their perfect anti-typical fulfilment. “He offered his back to such as smote it, his cheeks to such as plucked the hair of his beard.” This was submission to the deepest degree of shame an Oriental could conceive of. See Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30; Luke 18:31-38.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-50.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Disdain and abuse are the inevitable consequences of obeying God consistently by declaring His messages. All the true servants of the Lord experience this to some extent ( 2 Timothy 3:12). This is only the second reference to the Servant as a sufferer (cf. Isaiah 49:7). This theme receives major exposition in the fourth Servant Song. The Servant said He gave Himself over to this type of treatment. It is one thing to endure such treatment, but it is quite another to gladly submit to it without defending oneself. These descriptions picture persecution that Jesus Christ endured literally (cf. Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30; Mark 14:65; Mark 15:16-20; Luke 22:63). If we did not have the fulfillment of this prophecy in the life of the Lord Jesus, it would be easy to interpret this verse as only a figurative, poetic description of suffering. The literal fulfillment of this and other first advent prophecies should encourage us to expect the literal fulfillment of second advent prophecies. Jesus laid down His life on His own initiative ( John 10:17-18).

"It would be impossible for any sinful human being, no matter how fine a person he was, to undergo the sufferings herein described without a spirit of rebellion welling up within him. And if a spirit of revenge took hold of him, we might well understand. Even Jeremiah complained at the way he was being used (cf. Jeremiah 20:9; Jeremiah 20:14 ff, and note Job 3). Only one who was entirely without sin could undergo such suffering without a rebellious spirit [cf. 1 Peter 2:22-23]." [Note: Young, 3:301.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/isaiah-50.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Spit. The greatest indignity, Job xxx. 10., and Deuteronomy xxv. 9. Yet this was the treatment of our Saviour, Luke xviii. 31., and Matthew xxvi. 67. (Calmet) --- "The great Grotius, (I wish he were great in explaining the prophets)" applies this to Jeremias. (Houbigant)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-50.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I gave, &c. Fulfilled in Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:26.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-50.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Smiters - with scourges and with the open hand (Isaiah 52:14). Mark 14:65; Matt. 28:26; 26:67 , inform us of the fufilment of this prophecy (Luke 18:31-33). 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 corresponded to His precept (Matthew 5:39).

I hid not my face from shame and 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).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-50.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
gave
Lamentations 3:30; Micah 5:1; Matthew 5:39; 26:67; 27:26; Mark 14:65; 15:19; Luke 22:63,64; John 18:22; Hebrews 12:2
my cheeks
The eastern people always held the beard in great veneration; and to pluck a man's beard is one of the grossest indignities that can be offered. D'Arvieux gives a remarkable instance of an Arab, who, having received a wound in his jaw, chose to hazard his life rather than suffer the surgeon to cut off his beard. See Note on 2 Sa 10:4.
that plucked
Nehemiah 13:25
I hid
Another instance of the utmost contempt and detestation. Throughout the East it is highly offensive to spit in any one's presence; and if this is such an indignity, how much more spitting in the face?

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-50.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

OUR SAVIOUR'S SUBMISSION TO SHAME AND SUFFERING

Isa . I gave my back to the smiters, &c.

It was for us that our Lord thus submitted to shame and suffering. May a spirit of tenderness, and thankfulness, and love, be given to us while we remember what He endured on our behalf!

I. OUR LORD'S HUMILIATION WAS VOLUNTARY.

He gave Himself up freely to suffer, the just for the unjust. And while He was upon earth, in pursuance of His designs, He never was at the mercy of His foes (Mat ). His sufferings were the unavoidable result of His voluntary determination to save us. And they were all foreseen. For the accomplishment of two great purposes, He cheerfully gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that pulled off the hair. These were the glory of God, and the salvation of sinners.

"Father, how wide Thy glory shines!"

"Jesus, and can it ever be?"

II. OUR LORD'S HUMILIATION WAS EXTREME.

In the apprehensions of men, insults are aggravated in proportion to the disparity between the person who receives and who offers them. A blow from an equal is an offence, but would be still more deeply resented from an inferior. But if a subject, a servant, a slave, should presume to strike a king, it would be justly deemed an enormous crime. But Jesus, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, whom all the angels of God worship, made Himself so entirely of no reputation, that the basest of the people were not afraid to make Him the object of their derision, and to express their hatred in the most contemptuous manner.

1. They spat upon Him (Mat ; Mat 27:30). Great as an insult of this kind would be deemed amongst us, it was considered as still greater, according to the customs prevalent in Eastern countries. There, to spit even in the presence of a person, though it were only on the ground, conveyed the idea of disdain and abhorrence. But the lowest of the people spat in the face—not of an Alexander or a Cæsar—but of THE SON OF GOD!

2. They buffeted Him on the face, and when He meekly offered His cheek to their blows, they plucked off the hair. The beard was in the East accounted honourable (2Sa ). With savage violence they tore off the hair of His beard; while He, like a sheep before the shearers, was dumb, and quietly yielded Himself up to their outrages.

3. His back they tore with scourges, as was foretold by the psalmist (Psa ). The Jewish Council condemned Him to death for blasphemy, because He said He was the Son of God. Stoning was the punishment prescribed by the law of Moses, in such cases (Lev 14:16). But this death was not sufficiently lingering and tormenting to gratify their malice. To glut their insatiable cruelty, they were therefore willing to own their subjection to the Roman power to be so absolute, that it was not lawful for them to put any one to death (Joh 17:26), according to their own judicial law; and thus wilfully, though unwillingly, they fulfilled the prophecies: they preferred the punishment which the Romans appropriated to slaves who were guilty of flagitious crimes, and therefore insisted that He should be crucified. According to the Roman custom, those who were crucified were previously scourged. It was not unfrequent for the sufferers to expire under the severity and torture of scourging. And we may be certain that Jesus experienced no lenity from their merciless hands. The ploughers ploughed His back. But more and greater tortures were before Him. He was engaged to make a full atonement for human sin by His sufferings; and as He had power over His own life, He would not dismiss His spirit until He could say, "It is finished!"

"Behold the Man!" Behold the Son of God mocked, blindfolded, spit upon, and scourged!

1. Shall we continue in sin, after we know what it cost Him to expiate our sins? God forbid! (H. E. I. 4589, 4590.)

2. Shall we refuse to suffer shame for His sake, and be intimidated by the frowns or contempt of men from avowing our attachment to Him? We are, indeed, capable of this baseness and ingratitude. But if He is pleased to strengthen us by the power of His Spirit, we will account such disgrace our glory. In this, as in all things, let our Lord be our exemplar. Let us neither court the smiles of men, nor shrink at the thought of their displeasure. Let it be our constant aim to glorify God. This is the secret of Christian heroism. True magnanimity is evidenced by the real importance of the end it proposes, and by the steadiness with which it pursues the proper means of attaining that end; undisturbed by difficulty, danger, or pain, and equally indifferent to the applause or the scorn of incompetent judges. How gloriously did it shine forth in our Saviour! In this let us strive to follow Him!—John Newton: Works, pp. 706-709.

Messiah's sufferings and supports. I. His sufferings.

1. They were great and various.

2. He willingly undertook to sustain them all (H. E. I. 913). II. His supports.

1. Assurance of effectual succour (Isa ).

2. Assurance of a triumphant issue (Isa ).

Contemplate the holy sufferer—

1. As the predicted Saviour of the world.

2. As the great pattern of all holy obedience.—Charles Simeon, M.A.

Of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself or of some other? It is quite certain that Isaiah here wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ (Luk ). Of whom else could you conceive the prophet to have spoken if you read the whole chapter? (Luk 23:11.) Pilate, the governor, gave Him up to the cruel process of scourging. Behold your King! Turn hither all your eyes and hearts, and look upon the despised and rejected of men! The sight demands adoration.

I. Gaze upon your despised and rejected Lord as THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD. In Him God came into the world, making a special visitation to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, but at the same time coming very near to all mankind. He came to and called the people whom He had favoured so long, and whom He was intent to favour still (Isa ).

1. When our Lord came into this world as the representative of God, He came with all His divine power about Him. He fed the hungry, &c. He did equal marvels to those which were wrought in Egypt when the arm of the Lord was made bare in the eyes of all the people. He did the works of His Father, and those works bare witness of Him that He was come in His Father's name.

2. But when God thus came among men He was unacknowledged (Isa ). A few, taught by the Spirit of God, discerned Him and rejoiced; but they were so very few that we may say of the whole generation that they knew Him not.

3. Yet our Lord, when He came into the world, was admirably adapted to be the representative of God, not only because He was God Himself, but because as man His whole human nature was consecrated to the work, and in Him was neither flaw nor spot. His course and conduct were most conciliatory, for He went among the people, and ate with publicans and sinners; so gentle was He that He took little children in His arms, and blessed them; for this, if for nothing else, they ought to have welcomed Him right heartily, and rejoiced at the sight of Him. This is especially the sin of those who have heard the Gospel and yet reject the Saviour, for in their case the Lord has come to them in the most gracious form, and yet they have refused Him. This is in reality a scorning and despising of the Lord God, and is well set forth by the insults which were poured upon the Lord Jesus.

II. See the Lord Jesus as THE SUBSTITUTE FOR HIS PEOPLE. When He suffered thus, it was not on His own account, nor purely for the sake of His Father; but He was "wounded for our transgressions," &c. There has risen up a modern idea which I cannot too much reprobate, that Christ made no atonement for our sin except upon the cross: whereas in this passage we are taught as plainly as possible that by His bruising and stripes, as well as by His death, we are healed. Never divide between the life and the death of Christ. How could He have died, if He had not lived? How could He suffer except while He lived? Death is not suffering, but the end of it. Guard also against the evil notion that you have nothing to do with the righteousness of Christ, for He could not have made an atonement by His blood, if He had not been perfect in His life. He could not have been acceptable, if He had not first been proven to be holy, harmless, and undefiled. The victim must be spotless, or it cannot be presented for sacrifice. Draw no nice lines and raise no quibbling questions, but look at your Lord as He is, and bow before Him. Jesus took upon Himself our sin, and being found bearing that sin, He had to be treated as sin should be treated. All this was voluntary. "He gave His back to the smiters." They did not seize and compel Him, or, if they did, yet they could not have done it without His consent. That Christ should stand in our stead by force were a little thing, even had it been possible; but that He should stand there of His own free will, and that being there He should willingly be treated with derision, this is grace indeed. Here is matter for our faith to rest upon.

III. See the Lord Jesus Christ as THE SERVANT OF GOD. He took upon Himself the form of a servant when He was made in the likeness of man. This is to be the guide of our life.

1. As a servant, Christ was personally prepared for service. He was thirty years and more here below, learning obedience in His Father's house, and the after years were spent in learning obedience by the things which He suffered.

2. Our text assures us that this service knew no reserve in its consecration. We generally draw back somewhere. Our blessed Master was willing to be scoffed at by the lewdest and the lowest of men. Such patience should be yours as servants of God.

3. Beside, there was an obedient delight in the will of the Father. How could He delight in suffering and shame? These things were even more repugnant to His sensitive nature than they can be to us; and yet, "For the joy," &c.

4. There was no flinching in Him. Notice all the while the confidence and quiet of His spirit? He almost seems to say, "You may spit upon me, but you cannot find fault with me," &c.

IV. AS THE COMFORTER OF HIS PEOPLE.

1. Our blessed Lord is well qualified to speak a word in season to him that is weary, because He Himself is lowly, and meek, and so accessible to us.

2. Beside, He is full of sympathy.

3. Then there is His example. "I gave my back," &c. Cannot you do the like? &c. He was calm amid it all. Never was there a patience like to His. This is your copy.

4. Our Saviour's triumph is meant to be a stimulus and encouragement. "Consider Him that endured," &c. (Heb ). Though once abased and despised, now He sitteth at the right hand of God, and reigns over all things; and the day is coming when every knee shall bow before Him, &c. Be like Him, then, ye who bear His name; trust Him, and live for Him, and you shall reign with Him in glory for ever.—C. H. Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 1486.


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-50.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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