An Exposition of Isaiah 53

The Servant of Jehovah:
The Sufferings of the Messiah
and the Glory That Should Follow

by David Baron

(1922)

 

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

PART II
THE EXPOSITION.

"Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same
scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."—Acts 8:35.

 

CHAPTER 1
JEHOVAH'S INTRODUCTION OF HIS SERVANT AND
A SUMMARY OF HIS REDEEMING WORK.

We will now seek, apart from controversy and criticisms, to look into the heart of this great prophecy, and I will make no further apologies if in the handling of this chapter I do so in the full light which is thrown upon it in the New Testament as well as the Old. The whole prophecy divides itself into three sections.

The first section consists of verses 13-15 of chapter 52, and may be described as God's Ecce Homo. In it God introduces His Servant, and seeks to direct the attention of all men to Him. This introductory section is really a summary of the whole prophecy, and contains in brief the whole story of Messiah's sufferings and the glory which should follow.

The second section, consisting of verses 1-9 of chapter 53, is primarily the lament and confession of penitent Israel in the future, when the spirit of grace and of supplications shall be poured upon them, and their eyes are opened to behold Him whom they have pierced.

The third section, consisting of the last three verses, sets forth the blessed fruit of Messiah's sufferings, or the glory which should follow.

The prophecy really begins and ends with a description of the exaltation and glory of the Righteous Servant, but in between the mountain-tops of glory lies the deep valley of shame and suffering, which "for us men and our salvation" He has to pass.

"Behold My Servant"

The prophecy begins with the word הנה, hinneh ("behold").

This is the little word by which in Scripture God seeks to call the attention of men to matters which are of the utmost importance for them to know. Here it is on His beloved and only-begotten Son in the form of a servant that He would have our eyes fixed.

We may note in passing that several different times is the Messiah introduced in the Old Testament by this word "behold," and in four different aspects. Here (as in Zechariah 3:8, which refers back to the passages about the Servant of Jehovah in the second part of Isaiah) it is "Behold My Servant."

In Zechariah 6:12 we read, "Behold the Man whose name is the Branch"; and in chapter 9:9 of the same prophecy, the announcement to the daughter of Zion is, "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee"; while the proclamation in the sublime prologue to the second half of Isaiah unto the cities of Judah is, "Behold your God"; and that it is of the Epiphany of God in the person of the Messiah that the prophet speaks is evident from the whole context of those chapters. Under these four different aspects also is Messiah spoken of by the name of "Branch"—"the Branch of Jehovah" (Isa 4:2); "the Branch of David" (Jer 23:5,6); "My Servant, the Branch" (Zech 3:8); and "the Man whose name is the 'Branch'" (Zech 6:12).

The Man—the Servant—the Son of David—and the Son of God.

And this fourfold portraiture of the Redeemer in the Old Testament corresponds (as I first pointed out in a small work many years ago)1 to the fourfold picture of our Saviour in the New Testament.

We have four different and independent accounts of the Life of Christ, and so harmonious and similar are the main features and facts about His character and work in all the Four Gospels that no one who has ever read them has had to be told that they all speak of the same blessed Person. Yet each one of the Evangelists was led by the Spirit of God to portray a different aspect of His character.

Over the Gospel of Matthew—which was primarily written for the Jews, and which sets forth Christ as the Redeemer-King of Israel, the Messiah promised to the fathers—the inscription may be written, "Behold thy King."

Over the Gospel of Mark—a summary more of His deeds than of His words, written, in the first instance, for the practical Roman world of power and action—the words, "Behold My Servant" are, so to say, inscribed, for there it is the Servant aspect of our Saviour that is portrayed before us—"how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed with the devil; for God was with Him."

In the Gospel of Luke, written primarily for the Greek, who, in the New Testament, stands as the representative of the Gentile world, it is as the Son of Man that He is pictured to us, who, by His human nature, stands related as Kinsman-Redeemer to the whole race, and is therefore able and willing to save men of all nations and kindreds and peoples who turn to God through Him. Over this Gospel the words, "Behold the Man whose name is the Branch," may be written; while over the Gospel of John, which was designed neither for Jews nor Gentiles, neither for Greek nor Roman, but for the Church—the congregation of the faithful, those whose eyes are opened to behold His glory, "the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth"—the words, "Behold your God" are graven in letters of gold.

In our chapter, however, it is as the Servant that He is introduced to us by the Father—as One who is sent to accomplish a work and to fulfil a mission. And it is with special satisfaction and complacency that God speaks of His only-begotten Son in His character as Servant. "Behold My Servant," whom I uphold; Mine elect ("My chosen One"), "in whom My soul delighteth"—one reason being, perhaps, because in this respect this ideal Servant stands out as the great contrast, not only to Israel nationally, who was called to be God's servant, but proved unfaithful, but to all other men. The curse of man and the cause of his ruin is pride, self-will—the striving to be independent of God, and seeking to strike out a career for himself. By seeking to be free, and thinking that freedom consists in doing, not what he ought, but what he pleases, man landed himself in bondage to sin and Satan.

But here is One who says, "Lo, I am come; in the scroll of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy Law is within My heart," and who, when on earth, could say, "I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me"; "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work."

Insignificant, fallen man ever aims at exalting himself, but here is One who, though in the form of God counted not His equality with God a prize ("to be grasped" at), but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant "and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the Cross." No wonder, then, that the Father points with delight to Him, saying, "Behold My Servant," and would have our eyes fixed on Him, not only as our Saviour, but as our example, that we might follow in His footsteps.

This true Servant of Jehovah, we read, "shall deal prudently." The verb השכיל, his'kil, primarily means "to act wisely," but since "wise action as a rule is also effective," and leads to prosperity, the verb is used also sometimes as a synonym for "prosperously." It is used in such passages as 1 Samuel 18:14, "And David was acting wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him"; and in David's charge to Solomon (1 Kings 2:3), "And keep the charge of the Lord thy God ... in order that thou mayest act wisely in all that thou doest."

In Jeremiah 23:5, this verb is used directly of the Messiah, and describes one feature of His blessed rule, "Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper (his'kil, 'deal wisely'), and shall execute judgment and justice in the land." Here, in Isaiah 52:13, it is used to describe the action of the Servant of Jehovah in relation to the great task which is entrusted to Him. "He shall 'deal wisely' and accomplish His great work skilfully"—an assurance, as it were, at the very outset, that "the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand."

He shall be exalted and extolled ("lifted up"), and be very high. There is an ancient Rabbinic Midrash on this sentence, which says, "He shall be exalted above Abraham; He shall be lifted up above Moses, and be higher than the ministering angels." I sometimes think that when the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews sat down to write that wonderful and comprehensive treatise on the supremacy and greater glory of the Messiah, and took for his keynote the little phrase "better than" (Heb 1:4), and proceeded to show how Christ was greater, and higher, and "better" than the angels, than Moses, than Joshua, than Aaron and the whole Aaronic priesthood and ritual, and than all the types and shadows of the Old Covenant, the substance and fulfillment of which are to be found in Him alone—he must have had the thought expressed in this Midrash in his mind.

Yes, our Lord Jesus is exalted above Abraham, the father of the faithful, who stands at the head of the history of the peculiar people, whose history also prefigures and unfolds the story of Redemption, inasmuch as He is not only Abraham's Son but Abraham's Lord, whose day Abraham rejoiced to see "from afar" (John 8:56), through whom the great promise that in Abraham's seed all the families of the earth should be blessed is realized, and in and through whom the history of Abraham and of the nation which sprang from his loins receives its true significance and glory.

And "He is lifted up above Moses" because He is the Mediator of a better covenant which rests upon better promises, who brings us out of a greater bondage than that of Egypt, and whose "law of the spirit of Life" implanted in our hearts enables us to render that obedience to God which the mere letter of the law graven on tablets of stone could not do.

And "He is higher than the angels, for to which of the angels did God say at any time, Sit thou on My right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet?" which is the height of exaltation attained by the Servant of Jehovah as the Son of Man, who through the deepest sufferings enters into glory.2

The climax in the height of His exaltation, as set forth by the three verbs in this sentence, is expressed by the word מאד, m'od, lit. very much, with which the sentence ends. "He shall be exalted and lifted up and be high very much, or exceedingly."

Of the glorious fulfillment of it in the person of out Lord Jesus we are told in the New Testament. "Wherefore"—because for our salvation He descended so low, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross—"God also hath highly exalted Him"; yes, "far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph 1:20-23; Phil 2:9-11).

But after what may be called this preface of glory, which tells us at the very outset what shall be the end of His path of humiliation, the next verse of this introductory section gives a glimpse of the valley of sorrow and suffering through which the Servant of Jehovah has first to emerge—the valley which is, so to say, lengthened out and extended in the more detailed account of His sufferings in the next section. Verses 14 and 15 are in the Hebrew linked together by the words כאשר, ka'asher, "like," or, "just as," and כן, ken, "so." They express, if I may so put it, the balance of proportion, and announce in advance that the effect shall be commensurable with the greatness of the cause. Let me first translate these verses literally.

"Like (or, 'just as') many were astonished at Thee (so marred, or 'disfigured,' or 'distorted' was His visage more than that of any man, and His form more than the sons of men)3 —so shall He sprinkle many nations," etc.

It is generally agreed among commentators that the words which I have enclosed in brackets must be regarded as a parenthesis and explain the reason of the astonishment at Him on the part of many. The verb שמם, shamem, which is rendered "astonished," means to be desolate or waste; to be thrown by anything into a desolate or bereaved condition; to be startled, confused, as it were petrified by paralysing astonishment.4 Even to such an extent will many be astonished at Him because of the greatness of His suffering, which shall cause His blessed countenance and form to be so "marred" that it shall appear, as it were, "disfigurement" itself, without any trace of the grace and beauty which belong to the human face and figure.5

By these strong words and expressions the Spirit of God seeks to give us a glimpse into the depth and intensity of the vicarious sufferings of our Saviour, and of the greatness of the cost of our redemption; and as we contemplate this picture of the Man of Sorrows, with the "face" which for us was "marred" more than that of any man, and with His form bowed and disfigured more than the sons of men, may our hearts be stirred with shame and sorrow for the sin which was the cause of it all, and with greater love and undying gratitude to Him who bore all this for us!

But as His humiliation and sufferings were great, yea, "more than that of any other man," so also shall the blessed fruit and consequences of them be. The fifteenth verse is, so to say, the antithesis to the fourteenth, and sets forth the state of glory after the suffering. "Like (or 'just as') many were astonished at Thee (because His visage and form were distorted by suffering 'beyond men')—so shall He sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at Him" with astonishment and reverence, for that which could not "have been told them" by any man, and which was previously altogether unheard of, shall they now "see" and "understand"; or, in the words of the seventh verse of chapter 49, which might be described as Isaiah 53 in miniature, for it summarizes in few words the sufferings of the Messiah and the glory which should follow—"Kings shall see and arise, princes and they shall worship, because of Jehovah that is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who hath chosen Thee"—they shall see that the One whom man humbled God has exalted; that He who was despised of man, and abhorred of the nation, is, after all, He whom the Holy One of Israel hath chosen; that in spite of their vain counsels, and their individual and united efforts, His kingdom progresses, and is destined to triumph—and they shall "arise" from their thrones in token of reverence, and shall signify their submission and allegiance by prostrating themselves before Him in worship; and all this "because of Jehovah that is faithful" to His covenants and promises, "even the Holy One," who will never draw back from His word, and shall, by espousing and vindicating His Servant's cause, make it manifest in the sight of the whole world that He hath chosen Him!

In a measure this has already been fulfilled. Because "He hath humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, therefore also God hath highly exalted Him, and given unto Him the Name which is above every name; that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Already before the crucified Nazarene kings must rise from their thrones, and princes fall in the dust, not, indeed, necessarily because their hearts have been subdued by His grace, or their eyes opened to His essential glory as the Son of God, but because they have found out by experience that it is no longer safe to resist His power. But even though the obedience be feigned, and the worship be outward, it is still a testimony to Christ's exaltation, and to the faithfulness of Jehovah, in lifting Him out of the valley of humiliation, and appointing Him His "First-born, higher than the kings of the earth." But we are looking forward to a fuller, more visible, and universal fulfillment, when He who was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," shall be the acknowledged King over the whole earth, and when—

"He shall have dominion from sea to sea
And from the River unto the ends of the earth.
They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him;
And His enemies shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts:
Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him"
(Psa 72:8-11).
But I must return for a moment to the first sentence in this fifteenth verse, concerning which there has been much discussion. Most modern scholars object to the rendering of the word יזה, yazzeh, by "He shall sprinkle," as is given in the Authorized and Revised Versions of the English Bible, and translate the phrase, "so shall He startle," or "make to tremble," or "cause to leap"—i.e. either for joy or fear—on the ground chiefly that the parallelism between the fourteenth and fifteenth verses demands that this phrase should express "a change in those who formerly abhorred the Servant," or, as another prominent Bible scholar puts it, as a parallel to the words, "were astonished at Thee, we have the word yazzeh (which he renders, 'He shall make to tremble')—in other words, the effect which He produces by what He does stands over against the effect produced by what He suffers." But to this it has been replied that the real parallel (or, rather, contrast) to the words, "as many were astonished," in the fourteenth verse are the words, "kings shall shut their mouths" in the fifteenth verse, as is shown by the correspondence of the words, "at Thee," and "at Him" in these two sentences. I shall not enter into a minute controversial disquisition on this point, as nothing of a fundamental character really turns on it.

The priestly and atoning functions of the Servant of Jehovah stand out prominently enough in the next section of the prophecy. I will only briefly state my own grounds for retaining the rendering "sprinkle," first and chiefly because of the general usage of the Hebrew word.

The verb נזה, nazah, occurs in very many passages in the Old Testament, and the hiphil form of it, הזה, hizzah (which is used in Isaiah 52:15) invariably signifies "to sprinkle."

It is true also, as another writer observes, that it is specially set apart and used for the sprinkling with the blood of atonement and the water of purification.6

It is true that hizzah (to sprinkle) is usually construed with the accusative, in which case the preposition על, al, "upon," should follow the verb. But slight deviations and irregularities in the construction of phrases do sometimes occur in the Hebrew Bible; they do not, however, alter the meaning of words, and in this case, though hizzah al would mean "sprinkle upon," hizzah by itself still means "sprinkle," or, more properly, "besprinkle."

Secondly, the only other passage in the second half of Isaiah where another form of this same verb occurs7 is chapter 63:3, and there the word most certainly means "sprinkle." It is alleged against the rendering of the phrase, "so shall He sprinkle," that "there would be something very abrupt in the sudden representation of the Servant as priest"; but there is no more abruptness, it seems to me, in the introduction of this idea of priesthood in this passage than in the sudden transition from the exaltation described in the thirteenth verse to the depth of humiliation in the fourteenth verse.

In this introductory section we have, as stated at the beginning, a brief summary in terse, condensed form, of the whole prophecy, which is fully developed in the 53rd chapter. And to my mind it would seem strange if there were no reference also to the priestly atoning function of the Servant (of which the next section is so full), in this introductory summary.

 

CHAPTER 2
ISRAEL'S PENITENTIAL CONFESSION:
THE HISTORY OF THE SERVANT OF JEHOVAH UNFOLDED.

The second section, into which the whole prophecy divides itself, is, as stated above, primarily the sorrowful lament and confession of repentant Israel in the future. We are transplanted in these verses, by the spirit of prophecy, into that future solemn day of Israel's history which is described in the last chapters of Zechariah—when the spirit of grace and supplications shall be poured upon them, and their eyes shall be opened to look upon Him whom they have pierced. It is then, in the great mourning and weeping which are there described, that they shall break out with this plaintive hymn, which is musical in its sadness and betrays the agony of a broken heart and contrite spirit.

Let me say, at the beginning of this exposition, that the tenses in these verses are perfects, the future being regarded prophetically as already past. "Who hath believed our report?"—literally, "that which we hear," namely, the wonderful story about this glorious Servant of Jehovah, who, through His self-humiliation and vicarious suffering even unto death, has accomplished for us so great a salvation, and is now exalted to such height of glory—"and the arm of Jehovah over (or 'upon') whom has it been revealed?"

The arm of Jehovah is the emblem of divine power. In the 51st chapter we have the remnant of Israel appealing to it: "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times" (v. 9). And in the 52nd chapter we read: "Jehovah hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (v. 10).

From the context we see that it is the manifestation of this power of God in and through the Messiah that is here spoken of. "In the Servant of Jehovah who is depicted in this prophecy," an old writer truly observes, "the redeeming arm of Jehovah manifests itself: so to say, personifies itself. The Messiah Himself is, as it were, the outstretched arm of Jehovah," and the message (the proclaiming) concerning Him, "the power of God unto salvation to all who believe." But who hath believed this message? and whose eyes were opened to behold in this despised and humiliated Servant the very embodiment of the power of God and the wisdom of God? The answer implied in the first question is that very few, if any, did believe it; and to the second question, that only such upon whom an operation of divine power has been performed, only those "over" or "upon" whom the arm of Jehovah has been revealed, could believe it—so marvellous, so utterly incredible to mere human thought and imagination is the wonderful story which, in all its saving power and glory, is now made plain to us. Truly, the message, or "report," of a full and perfect salvation through a suffering Messiah, who through humiliation and death enters into glory, could not have been known or believed, and much less invented, by either Jew or Gentile; but all the more it bears upon it the seal of Divine wisdom and Divine power. "As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit" (1 Cor 2:9,10).

 

(1) The Early Years and Unobtrusive Character
of the Servant of Jehovah

In the plaintive confession which follows there is incidentally unfolded also the whole earthly life-story of the Servant of Jehovah, beginning with His tender youth, which gradually develops into a manhood of suffering, and ends in a violent and ignominious death.

"For (or 'And') He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground,"

"Jehovah's Servant," as has been well said by another, "does not burst upon the world all at once in sudden splendour of daring or achievement, dazzling all eyes and captivating all hearts. He conforms to God's slow, silent law of growth. This law holds in every province of God's empire. Great lives are built up under this law:—a babe on mother's lap, opening its fringed eyelids to look forth wonderingly on an unknown world; a child learning to prattle and play; a boy at school; a young man with bloom on his cheek and splendid purpose in his eye; and so onward throughout successive stages. . . . Even so did 'Jehovah's Servant' grow by a natural human growth." (James Culross)
The word
יונק, yoneq, translated "tender plant," liter ally means "suckling," but is used here figuratively (in a horticultural sense) for the tender twig upon a tree or trunk, or stalk (Eze 17:22). Taken in connection with chapter 11:1, we see that it springs up out of the decayed stump of Jesse, "after the proud cedar of the Davidic monarchy had been felled." But the second verse of Isaiah 53 presents not only a parallel but also a contrast to chapter 11. There, the figure is that of a strong, vigorous shoot coming out of the root of the decayed house of David; here, it is the frail "tender twig" or sapling, struggling out of the dry ground. Here, men are represented as turning away in disappointment, if not in disgust, from this "root" springing up out of such unpromising surroundings; there, we read in the tenth verse, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, which standeth for an ensign of the peoples, unto Him shall the nations seek, and His resting place shall be glory."

The difference is explained by the fact that whereas in chapter 53 it is Messiah's sufferings and rejection which are depicted, it is especially His millennial glory and reign, the beneficent effects of which extend even to the animal creation, which are described in chapter 11.

But, to return for a moment to a more minute examination of the second verse. We have here incidentally a prophetic description of our Lord Jesus during the early years of His life, concerning which there is so little recorded in the Gospel narrative. According to the manifest suggestion of the passage, "He grew up in obscurity and lowliness. Not as a prince royal, on whom the hopes and eyes of a nation are fixed, and all whose movements are chronicled in Court Gazette or Circular. Here is one living a lowly life in lowly environments. . . . Men expected 'a plant of renown,' fairer and statelier than all the trees in the garden of God, with boughs lifted cedar-like in majesty; instead, there is a suckling, a sprout from the root of a tree that had been cut down, with nothing fair or magnificent about it. It owes nothing to the soil in which it grows. The ground is dry, an arid waste without moisture; the plant is a tender one; and in that unpropitious soil whence no sweet juices can be drawn it grows up stunted, dwarfed, unattractive."

The expression "out of dry ground" (which, as Delitzsch correctly observes, belongs to both figures, namely "tender twig," or "suckling," and "root") is intended to depict "the miserable character of the external circumstances in the midst of which the birth and growth of the Servant would take place." The "dry ground" describes the then-existing state of the enslaved and degraded nation; i.e. "He was subject to all the conditions inseparable from a nation that had been given up to the power of the world, and was in utter ignorance; in a word, the dry ground is the corrupt character of the age" (Delitzsch).

And yet, in spite of all the obscure and adverse circumstances of His earthly environment, "He grew up before Him" that is, before Jehovah—"increasing in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men," with the eye of His heavenly Father ever complacently resting upon Him.

In rendering the last part of the second verse, most modern commentators depart from the accents of the Massoretic text, and translate, "He had no form and comeliness that we should look on Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him" but the English Authorized and Revised Versions properly adhere to the punctuation of the Hebrew text, and render, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him."

There was nothing in His appearance or surroundings that the carnal or worldly minded could be attracted by; everything was so different from what they had pictured or anticipated.

It is not inconsistent with the language of the text to suppose that

"there may have been in His aspect, power, grace, majesty, blended with sorrow and meekness. The heart of the thing is, that men did not see the beauty that was there; He did not answer to their ideal; He wanted the qualities which they admired; His greatness was not shaped to their thoughts. Having misread the prophecies, having imagined another Deliverer than God had promised, being blind to the heavenly, while their souls lay open to the carnal and earthly, they found nothing worth gazing upon in Jehovah's Servant when He came. They would have welcomed a plumed and mail-clad warrior, riding forth to battle against the oppressor, would have shouted before him, 'Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and with thy majesty!' They have no admiration and no welcome for One who comes, meek and lowly, to make His soul an offering for sin, and to be God's salvation to the end of the earth. It was not sin that troubled them: how should a Saviour from sin delight them? What was there in a Bringer-in of righteousness to inspire such hearts?" (Culross)
 

(2) The Despised and Rejected of Men

The penitential confession proceeds in the third verse to set forth the positive aversion and hostility which the nation in its former ignorance manifested towards Jehovah's righteous Servant. "He was despised and rejected (or 'forsaken') of men."

The first description of Him in this line—נבזה, nibhzeh, "despised"—takes our thoughts back once more to what has already been said of Jehovah's Servant in the seventh verse of the 49th chapter: "Thus saith Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth."8

If, instead of prophecy uttered centuries before His advent, it were history written subsequent to the events, no more terse or graphic description could be given of the attitude and feeling of the Jewish nation in relation to Jesus of Nazareth: "despised and rejected of men"—"whom man despiseth and the nation abhorreth."

No person in the history of the Jews has provoked such deep-seated abhorrence as He who came only to bless them, and who even on the cross prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." When on earth, at the end of His three-and-a-half years of blessed ministry among them, they finally rejected Him. Their hatred was intense and mysterious. "Away with this man; release unto us Barabbas. . . . Crucify Him, crucify Him!" was their cry. And all through the centuries no name has provoked such intense abhorrence among the Jews as the name of Jesus.

I have known personally most amiable, and as men, lovable characters among the Jews; but immediately the name "Jesus" was mentioned, a change came over their countenances, and they would fall into a passion of anger. In the course of my missionary experiences these past thirty-five or forty years, how often has it been my lot to witness some of my people almost mad with rage—clenching their fists, gnashing their teeth, and spitting on the ground at the very mention of the Name which to the believer "is as ointment poured forth"! Israel's attitude to our Lord Jesus may be gathered also from their literature. In the filthy legends about Him in the Talmud and more modern productions, the very names by which He is called are blasphemous. The precious name Yeshua ("Jesus," Saviour) has been changed into "Yeshu," made up of initial letters which mean, "Let His name and His memory be blotted out."

The Holy One who knew no sin nor was guile found in His mouth, is often styled "the Transgressor"; and another term frequently in the mouth of the Jews is "Tolui" ("the hanged one"), which is equivalent to "the accursed one." There are also other hateful designations, such as "Ben Stada," or "Ben Pandera," which imply blasphemies not only against Him, but against her who is "blessed among women."

And Israel's blind hatred to the Messiah does not stop short at His person, or His virgin mother, but extends to His words and works, and particularly to those of their nation who are ready to take upon them His reproach and to follow Him. Thus His works are still ascribed to witchcraft and Beelzebub; His gospel (the Evangelium) is called Aven or Avon-gillajon, "the sinful or mischievous writing"; while Rabbinic hatred to His followers (especially from among the Jews) was not satisfied with classing them as "apostates" and "worse than heathen," but rose to the height of instituting a daily public prayer in the most solemn part of their liturgy, that "the Nazarenes" may, together with all apostates, "be suddenly destroyed," without hope, and be "blotted out of the book of life"!

This may be painful reading to some Christians, and the Lord knows it is far from my thoughts to write anything which might tend to foster unchristian prejudice against my people, but it is necessary to show how literally the prophetic forecast has been verified, and how deep-seated and mysterious Jewish hatred has been to Him who, according to His human nature, is flesh of their flesh, and bone of their bone, and in whom is bound up all their hope and salvation.

Let it be remembered also that Jewish hatred to Christ and His followers, at any rate in more modern times, is partly to be traced to the sufferings which they have endured at the hands of so-called Christians, and also that it is not our Lord Jesus as we know Him, that Israel in ignorance thus blasphemes, but the caricature of Him as presented to them by apostate persecuting Christendom in the dark ages and since. Often the only way left to the Jews to avenge their terrible sufferings and massacres was to write blasphemously of Him in whose name they were ignorantly perpetrated.

Neither is it to be forgotten that if Christ has been, and alas! to a large extent still is, "abhorred of the nation," there has always been a remnant in the nation to whom He has been "the fairest of ten thousand and altogether lovely," and who, for the love of Him, counted not even their lives dear unto them. It was a man of Israel and a Pharisee who wrote: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I might win Christ" (Phil 3:7,8).

And when the "blindness in part " which has befallen Israel shall be removed, and their eyes are open to behold the true glory of Him whom they have pierced, then the whole nation shall show an example of love and zeal for their Messiah, such as has not been known in the world.

The phrase חדל אישים, chadal ishim, "rejected (or 'forsaken') of men" has been variously rendered. To quote only two or three examples, Hengstenberg translates the clause, "the most unworthy among men"; Moses Margoliouth, "the meanest of men"; and Von Orelli, "shunned of men." But it seems to me that Franz Delitzsch has caught the true force of the Hebrew idiom.

"The predicate chadal ishim" (rendered in the Authorized Version "rejected of men"), he says, "is misunderstood by nearly all the commentators, inasmuch as they take ishim, the word for 'men,' as synonymous with b'ne Adam (children of men), whereas it is rather used in the sense of b'ne ish (men of high rank, lords) as distinguished from b'ne Adam (ordinary men, or common people). Hence Cocceius explains it thus: 'wanting in men,' i.e. having no respectable men with Him to support Him with their authority. In Hebrew חדל, chadal, has not only the transitive meaning to discontinue or 'leave off' a thing, but the intransitive to cease, or be in want, so that chadal ishim may mean one in want of men of rank, i.e. finding no sympathy from such men. The chief men of His nation who towered above the multitude, the great men of this world, withdrew their hands from Him: He had none of the men of any distinction at His side."
And this, alas! is still the case. The great, mighty, and noble in the world, the "men of high degree" (with few exceptions, for which God be praised), still ignore and despise Him, and use their power and influence to hinder rather than to advance His cause and kingdom. It was a reproach brought against Christianity by Celsus and other early pagan writers, that it was the religion of slaves, and Jewish Rabbis still taunt believers from among their nation that it is to the poor that the gospel is preached, and that those who have been drawn to Christ belong for the most part to "the common people." "Have any of the rulers believed on Him, or of the Pharisees?" (John 7:47,48). And not only was He "despised and forsaken," especially by the men of high rank, the leaders of the nation, but He was ish-makh'obhoth vidua choli—"a man of sorrows" (or, "a man of pains," the Hebrew idiom denoting "sorrow of heart in all its forms"), a man whose chief distinction was that "His life was one of constant, painful endurance"—and "acquainted" (or, "well acquainted") with grief (or, "sickness"), the meaning of which, as Delitzsch explains, is not that He had by nature a sickly body, falling from one disease into another (as some would explain), but that "the wrath instigated by sin, and the zeal of self-sacrifice (Psa 69:9), burnt like the fire of a fever in His soul and body." The point emphasised is that sorrow and grief were the very characteristics of the Servant of Jehovah, "the tokens we know Him by."
"We have all seen grief and sorrow in our time," writes one; "no one can live long without doing so, God knows; but it is not one sorrow, or two, that makes one 'a man of sorrows,' nor one meeting, or two, with grief that makes him the acquaintance of it.

"How the Servant endured, with what fortitude and patience, with what faith in God and acquiescence in His will, is not here brought into view, but simply the fact that sorrows came thick and heavy upon Him, like wind-driven rain beating on an unsheltered head, and that grief was present with Him as His close companion through life."

And the chief causes of His sorrows and grief were not personal ills, or physical pain, though these were great enough. It was heart sorrow and grief of soul. "A noble nature, repelled in all its efforts to bless, is pained unspeakably more by that repulse than by the crowding in of merely personal ills, or by all the slings and arrows of adversity: and His sorrow came, thus, because His brethren rejected the help He brought, repelled the Helper, and abode in their lost state."

The last two sentences in the third verse form, so to say, a climax in the sorrow and humiliation which the righteous Servant of Jehovah had to endure.

The words kh'master panim mimmennu (rendered in the Authorized Version, "we hid as it were our faces from Him") have been variously rendered. The marginal reading in the A.V. and R.V. is, "He hid as it were His face from us," which is the translation adopted by Hengstenberg, who sees in it an allusion to the law in relation to the leper, who, according to Leviticus 13:45, had to cover his face, and cry "Unclean, unclean"; also by Margoliouth, who translates, "as one who would hide his face from us," by not revealing to us His true character and glory. But it is now pretty generally agreed among scholars that the word master is a verbal noun, and that the true translation is that given in the text of the English versions, namely, "As one from whom men hide their face"9 "i.e. like one whose repulsive face it is impossible to endure, so that men turn away their face or cover it with their dress" (Delitzsch); or, as another expresses it: "Instead of meeting Him with a joyful gleam in their eyes responding to His grace and help, men turned away from Him—as one looks the other way to avoid the eye of a person whom he dislikes, or as one shrinks from an object of loathing" (Culross).

Lastly, all the predicates of shame and sorrow are summed up in the word with which also this third verse began, נבזה, nibhzeh, "He was despised"—to which, however, is added a negative preposition which the Hebrew idiom requires to mark the depth of the contempt in which He was held—"and we esteemed Him not." Instead of counting Him dear and worthy, we formed a very low estimate of Him, or rather we did not estimate Him at all, or, as Luther forcibly expresses it: "we estimated Him at nothing."

This, dear Christian reader, will be Israel's brokenhearted confession on the day when the Spirit of grace and supplications is poured upon them, and their eyes are opened at last to the fearful error which they committed as a nation in the rejection of their Messiah. But, as we read these sad and solemn words, "He was despised, and we esteemed Him not," may we not pause for a moment to ask ourselves if this is not true also in professing Christendom to-day?

"How often," writes another Hebrew Christian brother, "do we meet Christians expatiating on the atrocious wickedness of the Jews in crucifying the Lord of Glory; implying, in fact, that if He had appeared amongst them, He would have met with a more favourable reception. There was a horrid custom once in the Christian Church, which rendered the Jews especial objects of hatred and insult during Lent, and more particularly during the ceremonies of Easter week. The Bishop used to mount the pulpit of the Cathedral, and address the people to the following effect: 'You have among you, my brethren, the descendants of the impious wretches who crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, whose Passion we are soon to commemorate. Shew yourselves animated with the spirit of your ancestors; arm yourselves with stones, assail the Jews with them, and thus, as far as in you lies, revenge the sufferings of that Saviour who redeemed you with His own blood.' Alas! this custom still prevails in some countries. You may be sure, however, that if Christ humbled Himself once more, and appeared visibly amongst us, He would be treated in the same way as He was by the Jews; yea, 'crucified afresh, and put to an open shame.' He would again have to listen to the dogmas of insolent reasoning; He would once more be disgusted with the fiend-like sneers of reprobate men, and the polished cavils of fashionable contempt." (Moses Margoliouth)
And what about ourselves, who by the grace of God do believe on Him? Do we estimate our Lord Jesus at His true worth? Is He indeed to us the chiefest of ten thousand and altogether lovely? Are we prepared for His dear sake to forsake all and to follow Him outside the camp, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt?

 

(3) The Vicarious Character of His Sufferings

The veil lifted from their eyes, Israel sees the true cause of Messiah's sufferings, and, "bearing witness against himself, laments his former blindness to the mediatorial vicarious character of the sufferings both of soul and body that were endured by Him" (Delitzsch). Oh, it was for us—they now say—that He endured all the shame and agony. To translate the 4th verse literally: "Verily they were our griefs (or 'sicknesses') which He bore, and our sorrows (or 'pains') with which He burdened Himself, but we regarded Him as one stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." No plainer or stronger words could be used to express the thought of vicarious suffering than those employed in the original of this verse.

The verb נשא, nasa, "to bear," is continually used in Leviticus of the expiation effected by the appointed sacrifices, as, for instance, Leviticus 16:22, "The goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a solitary land."

"When construed with the accusative of the sin," as Delitzsch properly explains, "'nasa' signifies to take the debt of sin upon oneself, and carry it as one's own, i.e. to look at it and feel it as one's own (e.g., Lev 5:1,17), or more frequently to bear the punishment occasioned by sin, i.e. to make expiation for it (Lev 20:19,20; 24:15), and in any case in which the person bearing it is not himself the guilty person ('nasa' signifies) to bear sin in a mediatorial capacity for the purpose of making expiation for it. It is evident that both the verbs used in this verse, 'He hath borne,' and 'He carried,' are to be understood in the sense of an expiatory bearing, and not merely of taking away, as has been recently maintained in opposition to the satisfactio vicaria, as we may see clearly enough from Ezekiel 4:4-8, where seth 'avon ('bearing iniquity') is represented by the prophet in a symbolical action. But in the case before us, where it is not the sins, but 'our diseases' and 'our pains' that are the object, this mediatorial sense remains essentially the same. The meaning is not merely that the Servant of God entered into the fellowship of our sufferings, but that He took upon Himself the sufferings which we had to bear, and deserved to bear, and therefore not only took them away (as Matt 8:17 might make it appear), but bore them in His own person, that He might deliver us from them. But when one person takes upon himself suffering which another would have had to bear, and therefore not only endures it with him, but in his stead, this is called substitution or representation—an idea which, however unintelligible to the understanding, belongs to the actual substance of the common consciousness of man, and the realities of the divine government of the world as brought within the range of our experience, and one which has continued even down to the present time to have much greater vigour in the Jewish nation, where it has found its true expression in sacrifice and the kindred institutions, than in any other, at least so far as its nationality has not been entirely annulled."
As I have already explained, in the more literal translations of the text of the 3rd and 4th verses, the words rendered in the English versions, "our griefs" and "our sorrows," mean also "our sicknesses" (or "diseases") and "our pains," and it is in this sense that the Evangelist Matthew quotes this passage from Isaiah 53. After recording some of His precious works of healing—how He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick, he adds: "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases.'"

The question has been raised how Christ's miraculous works of healing can be a fulfillment of this Scripture which sets forth Messiah's vicarious sufferings for sinners, and in what sense did He Himself "take our infirmities and bear our sicknesses"? The answer is that these cures were in fact and in strictness a fulfillment of this Scripture because wrought in His character as Saviour. As one has said:

"Christ was sent for the general purpose of removing by the sacrifice of Himself the evil which sin had brought into the world. And this work He commenced when He cured bodily diseases, for these diseases were the consequences and punishment of sin. And more—they were types of another disease, of the moral and spiritual effects of man's fall, which the prophecy has principally in view, as is evident from the words which follow." (William De Burgh, D.D., The Messianic Prophecies of Isaiah)
To put it still more simply, the mission of the Messiah was to accomplish a full redemption for His people, and this He did not only by taking upon Himself our sins, but our "infirmities" and "diseases," which are the direct consequences of sin, though not always of the sin of the individual. The blessed results of His redeeming work to us therefore are not only pardon and regeneration, but the ultimate redemption of body as well as of spirit in resurrection life.

The miracles of healing not only served to certify Him as the Redeemer, and as "signs" of the spiritual healing which He came to bring, but were, so to say, pledges also of the ultimate full deliverance of the redeemed, not only from sin but from every evil consequence of it in body as well as in soul. Hence our full salvation includes not only the perfecting of our spirits, but the "fashioning anew of the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of His glory."

The self-accusing confession of their former blindness as to the true cause of Messiah's sufferings is continued in the second half of the verse. It was for us that He bore all this; it was our crushing burden that He took upon Himself, they say, "but we regarded Him as stricken (or 'plagued'), smitten of God, and afflicted."

Every one of the three expressions, נגוע, nagua', "one stricken, i.e. afflicted with a hateful, shocking disease"—hence used particularly of "the plague" of leprosy (of which נגע is, so to say, the nomen proprium), and מכה-אלהים, mukeh Elohim, "one smitten of God" ("one who has been defeated in conflict with God his Lord"—Delitzsch), and מענה, m'unneh, "one bowed down by suffering," is intended to describe one suffering terrible punishment for sin.

The error confessed, as Hengstenberg well observes, is not in their having considered the sufferings which the Servant of Jehovah endured, as a punishment of sin, but in having considered them as the punishment for the sins which He Himself had committed. This, alas! is what spiritually blinded Israel has thought for all these centuries, and what most of the Jews still do think. Thus our Lord Jesus, the only sinless man who trod this earth, is called the Poshethe transgressor—who, according to such illustrious exponents of the spirit of Rabbinic Judaism as Moses Maimonides,10 well deserved the violent death which He suffered; while in the Talmud Jesus of Nazareth is placed in Hell alongside of Titus and Balaam, and as undergoing not only the severest but the most degrading form of punishment.11

We can well imagine, therefore, the deep contrition and heartbrokenness of repentant Israel when their eyes are at last opened by the Spirit of God to the true character of this holy Sufferer, and when they perceive that it was for them and in their stead that He endured it all. "In that day" of weeping and mourning over Him whom they have pierced, we can hear, as it were, the sob which will accompany their confession: How base was our ingratitude! How intense was our ignorance! How thick our darkness! How profound our blasphemy against that Holy One, who in His love and compassion condescended to bear our griefs and to be laden with our sorrows! "Yet we regarded Him as plagued, smitten of God, and afflicted.

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."

The והוא, v'hu ("and He"), as contrasted with ואנהנו, v'anach'nu ("and we") in verses 3 and 4, continue to set forth the true cause of Messiah's sufferings in contrast to our former false judgment with regard to Him. "We" in our former blindness and ignorance regarded Him as plagued and smitten of God for His own sin and guilt, while "He"—which is the emphatic word in the 5th verse—this Holy One, whose true glory as our Redeemer we now behold, endured all in our stead, paying with His own life for the "transgressions" and "iniquities" which we have committed. And how great were His sufferings, both in life and in death! He was wounded, literally, "He was pierced through" (as the verb חלל, chalal, primarily means)—or, "wounded to death," as Von Orelli, and others, render it—an expression which reminds us of Zechariah 12:10: "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced" though the verb for piercing used there is not exactly the same as here. And "He was bruised," literally "crushed" (m'duka), by the heavy burden of our sin which He took upon Himself, weighted by the wrath of God.

And it was all—to repeat once again—for our iniquities and "for our transgressions." What else, we ask again, can these words mean than that He suffered vicariously? Not merely with, but for others? By no exegesis is it possible to escape this conclusion. And there is nothing in the conclusion that need surprise us.

"It is in keeping with what we know otherwise. You would not abolish vicariousness by getting it eliminated from the Bible. No one can be unfamiliar with instances of one taking upon himself the penalty of another's recklessness or folly, even within the range of what we call 'natural law.' A child, for instance, playing in a room beside his mother, moves a bar which he has been forbidden to touch, and overturns a vessel of scalding water. The mother sees the danger to her child, and in an instant throws herself between him and the deadly peril, voluntarily taking upon herself her child's penalty, and saving his life at the cost of cruel suffering for herself. Cases less or more resembling this are not uncommon within the range of ordinary observation.

"To leave out vicarious suffering were to erase the brightest pages from the story of the past,—of all golden deeds,—of men who have died for their country,—of martyrs who have gone to stake or scaffold for the truth's sake, and helped to pay the purchase-price of our religious light and freedom; and would leave history but a poor record of ignoble selfishness or mean ambition, a record unutterably sad, little better than the record of a herd of wolves or a Newgate Calendar. Seldom, indeed, has there been love absolutely pure from the taint of selfish feeling; and yet it has been strong enough to take upon itself much suffering in the stead of others; and has taught us at least to acknowledge that it is a sweeter thing to do good than to enjoy selfish ease and pleasure, a nobler thing to suffer for others than to win the world's renown.

"Among the Jews, the idea of vicarious suffering was far from strange; their sacrificial system distinctly expressed it. Sin (said the sacrificial system) is an offence unspeakably odious to God, which He cannot look upon, but must punish. Death is the due punishment of sin. But God has no pleasure in the sinner's death. He is full of mercy, and has Himself opened up a channel, through sacrifice, whereby sin may be expiated, and pardon granted in righteousness. The sacrifices under the law had no intrinsic efficacy to put away sin; but only symbolized substitution—the substitution of Jehovah's righteous Servant in place of the guilty. Men may indeed exclaim against the propriety of one suffering for others, and may insist that every man be wounded for his own transgressions and bruised for his own iniquities. But there is no moral reason, so far as I can see, to forbid love from voluntarily stepping in and suffering for others, to save them from badness and misery. Now in this prophecy, here is One suffering for sins which He never committed—enduring what others deserved—standing in the transgressor's place, as if Himself the transgressor.

"Within the human bosom, the world over, are self-accusings and poignant regrets because of ill that has been done, and dread of what may be, when God shall reckon with us. The case may not be clear to the man himself; but the sense of guilt is there, ineradicable;—it is done; I did it; I cannot undo it; no tears or repentings can change the fact; and I dread the future, for I hear a Voice which proclaims with mysterious, awful sovereign authority, 'Woe unto the wicked; it shall be ill with him.' And so the conscience of the sinner is in a condition of pain, varying from mere uneasiness to darkest and intensest remorse.

"A fire smoulders within that may blaze up any hour into fierce misery. Under such conditions, there can be no true peace with God, no true love to Him, no true joy in Him, no true walking before Him; but revolt and aversion whenever His will thwarts and crosses ours.

"Oh, if only that guilty past were blotted out and made as if it had never been! Oh, if only I could go forward into that unknown future a pardoned man! But the question of blotting out that guilty past is not so simple as at first it seems.

"The forgiveness of sins is a question of righteousness as truly as of mercy. If God cannot forgive in righteousness, then He cannot forgive at all. If He were to forgive simply because He is compassionate, or because (being sovereign) He so wills it, or out of mere good nature, He would remove the very ground on which my conscience plants itself in all its moral operations. It behoves that the glory of His character and the rectitude of His government should suffer no eclipse, but, on the contrary, be demonstrated. But now light is thrown on the case—though still deep mystery remains—when it is said, 'The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.' Through His suffering for others, they obtain 'peace,' in the sense of reconcilement to God." (Culross)

The phrase musar sh'lomenu—the "chastisement (or punishment) of our peace"—denotes "the chastisement which leads to our peace," or, as more fully expressed by Von Orelli, "The punishment of our well-being—i.e. by the bearing of which, on His part, our peace or well-being is secured—was upon Him" i.e. He bore the burden of it in our stead. The same thought is differently expressed in the last supplementary clause in this verse: "By His stripes" (ubhachabhuratho, literally His wounds) "we were healed (or, healing was brought to us)."12 Peace and healing—two most blessed results which accrue to us from the vicarious suffering and atoning death of our Saviour. Peace with God because of His justifying grace on the ground of what Messiah bore and did for us; and peace in our own conscience, which can never be at peace until sin is expiated—and "healing." This, I believe, goes beyond justification, and hints at the regenerating, sanctifying grace in the souls of the justified, for the work of our Saviour not only procures pardon and reconciliation with God, but is the ground also of the work of the Holy Spirit, who accomplishes within us His mission of renewal and sanctification, so that, delivered from spiritual disease and moral blemish, we may become conformed to His own image.

 

(4) The Moral Necessity of Messiah's Sufferings

The 6th verse, as is well observed by Dr. J. A. Alexander, describes the occasion, or rather the necessity, of the sufferings of the Servant of Jehovah, which are spoken of in the verses which precede: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and Jehovah hath laid (literally, 'caused to meet') upon Him the iniquity of us all." It is because men are wholly estranged from God, and an atonement was required for their reconciliation, that Messiah suffered and died.

"As the sea furnishes a thousand illustrations of life or truth to the 'inhabiters of the isles,' so the shepherd and the flock to the Hebrew prophets and psalmists. The picture is that of the scattered flock, all wandering from the pasture and the protection and care of the shepherd. It is not, as in the parable, the wandering of one sheep out of a hundred, ninety-and-nine being left, but the scattering of the whole flock. Under this figure is represented our iniquity, the word implying both the sinful act and its guilt. Sheep are not to blame for wandering; they know no better; but in men, with reason, conscience, and heavenly light, wandering means sin." (Culross)
Thus, to repeat, "we all" without any exception, are involved in this sin and guilt and consequent misery of having strayed from the Great Shepherd, who is Himself also the fountain of life and all blessedness. But while "the sinful alienation is universal, the modes of its manifestation are as various as men and their tendencies." "We have turned every one,"13 or, more literally, each (one) man, "to his own way," which is the very opposite of the way of God. "We have turned," so that we are not only involved in the sin of the mass, but stand also under a load of personal and individual guilt which we have incurred. But let us not forget that it is primarily still the penitential confession of the remnant of Israel, and the special applicability of the figure employed in this verse to the nation, which, because they have wandered away from God, have for many centuries been a scattered flock, and as sheep having no shepherd.
"Any one taking a view of the state of the Jewish nation, both spiritual and temporal, since they rejected their Messiah," writes a Hebrew Christian brother, "cannot fail to be struck with the graphic description in this concise inspired sentence. 'We have each one of us turned to his own way.' We have all gone in the path which we chose. There was no union in the service of God; no common bond to unite us; we have not entered into the thoughts of God, nor endeavoured to follow His ways, but we went on the broad way of our own. We were like sheep which are scattered; which have no shepherd, which wander where they please, with no one to collect, defend, or guide them. One would wander in one direction, and another in another; and of course solitary and unprotected, they would be exposed to the more danger. Such has been the state of the Jewish nation since they have rejected the Lord of Glory; they have been sifted among all nations like as corn is sifted, and everywhere they turn to their own way; they have neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor Ephod."
Disunion among themselves as well as corporate wandering from God has marked their history in dispersion. But to return to the more immediate context: while ours was the sin and guilt, Jehovah, in infinite grace and mercy, "laid (or more literally, caused to meet, or caused to alight14 ) upon Him the iniquity of us all."

עון, avon ("iniquity"), is used to denote not only the transgression itself, but also the guilt incurred thereby, and the punishment to which it gives rise. The last word, kullanu, translated "of us all," is the very same also with which this verse began, rendered "all we." It is repeated to give emphasis that it is the sin of "all we," primarily of all redeemed Israel, but inclusively also of all the redeemed from among all the nations, yea, of every individual sinner, who in repentance and faith turns to God, for as "all we" are included in the sin and guilt, so also are we all included in the provision of God's redeeming grace.

And it is Jehovah Himself who caused "all this great multitude of sins, and mass of guilt, and 'weight of punishment' (Delitzsch), to light upon Him." The previous verses have shown man's guilty hand in the case, now we must mark Jehovah's action. He it was who placed this awful burden on His shoulders. This was at once His deepest humiliation and His most glorious distinction (Culross). "There is a striking antithesis in this verse," writes one. "In ourselves we are scattered"—"astray"—"each one turned to his own way"; in Christ Jesus we are collected together. By nature we wander and are driven headlong towards destruction; in Christ we find the way by which we are led to the gate of life. Yes, Jehovah hath caused to meet in Him the iniquity of us all. He was the object on which all the rays collected on the focal point, fell. These fiery rays which would have fallen on all mankind diverged from divine justice to the east, west, north, and south, were deflected from them and converged in Him. So the Lord caused to meet in Him the punishment due to the iniquity of all. How wonderful are God's judgments! (Margoliouth)

 

(5) The Voluntary Character of His Sufferings.

But while men, in their ignorance of His true character, "and with wicked hands," heaped humiliations and sufferings upon Him, and Jehovah Himself "laid upon Him the iniquity of us all," the righteous Servant of Jehovah endured all the shame and sorrow voluntarily. This is set forth in the next three verses, which describe the manner of Messiah's vicarious life and death and burial.

There has been much discussion over the first part of the seventh verse, and quite a number of different renderings have been suggested by the commentators. The Authorized Version reads:

"He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; and He opened not His mouth" which the Revised Version has altered to, "He was oppressed, yet when He was afflicted He opened not His mouth."
Delitzsch translates, "He was ill-treated, whilst He bowed Himself," i.e. "suffered voluntarily"; and Von Orelli, "He was used violently, though He humbled Himself." To these I may add the rendering given by Bishop Lowth, which is the same as already suggested by Cyril (among ancient writers) and by De Dieu, Tremellius, and others, namely: "It was exacted, and He was made answerable, and He opened not His mouth."

This last rendering comes, according to my judgment, nearer to the true sense of the original, but while נגש, niggas (rendered in the English versions, "He was oppressed") does indeed mean to exact, and may here be used in the impersonal sense, the rendering of the second verb (נענה, na'aneh) by "He was made answerable" is not in accord with its usage in the original, for the word nowhere else conveys the notion of legal responsibility. Margoliouth, on the ground that נגש, niggas, is sometimes applied to the rigorous exaction of debts, paraphrases the first part of the verse thus:

"He was rigorously demanded to pay the debt, and He submitted Himself, and did not open His mouth."
That the Messiah in His love and compassion for man became our surety and took upon Himself our great moral debt, paying the ransom with His own life, is a truth set forth in the whole of this great prophecy, even if it be not fully expressed in this particular sentence. What this passage does emphasize is that He "bowed Himself" under this heavy burden, which He took upon our account voluntarily. "He was oppressed," "He was used violently," "He was treated tyrannically" (which is yet another suggested meaning of the word niggas), and He—which is the emphatic word in the verse—"He Himself" it was who "bowed," or "humbled," or "submitted" Himself, and opened not His mouth.

This voluntary endurance is in the second half of the verse set forth in a simile: "As a sheep that is led to the slaughter" and "As a lamb before its shearers is dumb, and opened not His mouth."

"The object of the whole passage is to mark the meek and quiet subjection of our Redeemer in His prolonged suffering. He was the subject of cruel and unjust oppression, yet His persecutors were not crushed. God allowed them to pursue their course and to accumulate sorrows on the head of the Holy One; and He patiently and meekly bowed His head to the infliction, and opened not His mouth." (B. W. Newton)

"When we suffer," writes one, "how hard we find it to be still! The flames of resentment—how they leap up in our bosom, and flush our cheek with angry red! What impatience there often is, what murmuring, what outcry, what publishing of our sorrow! Or if there is silence, it is at times akin to stoicism, the proud determination not to let men see how we feel. But the spirit of the Servant is loftier and grander unutterably. In sublime and magnanimous silence He endures to the uttermost, sustained by His mighty purpose and by the conviction, Jehovah wills it. I see the temper of His mind in this silence; I see His strength; I see His rest in God; and I look down into the unfathomed mystery of Love. He came to do what only Love was equal to—that is abundantly clear—and He shrank from no suffering; raised not His arm, opened not His mouth, in His own defence, wearied not, fainted not, but was dumb with silence." (Culross)

But we may, I believe, go a step further. In this wonderful patience and silence of the Servant—which in the history of fulfillment was exhibited in the silence of our Lord Jesus before the Jewish Sanhedrin and before the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate—we see not only His lamb-like meekness and "His love for man, which made Him content to suffer for our redemption," but His acquiescence in the justice of God in the punishment of sin, the whole burden of which He bore. To the Christian this verse is specially precious because of the prominence given to it in the New Testament. Not only was it "from this Scripture" that the evangelist Philip "preached Jesus" unto the Ethiopian eunuch; and not only does the Apostle Peter use it as the basis of his exhortation to believers to be patient in suffering and to follow the example of Him, "who when He was reviled, reviled not again, and when He suffered He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously"; but, as Delitzsch truly observes, "All the references in the New Testament to the Lamb of God (with which the corresponding allusions to the Passover are interwoven) spring from this passage in the book of Isaiah."

 

(6) The Unjust Trial and Violent Death of the Servant of Jehovah

We now come to perhaps the most difficult verse in this great prophecy, the main purport of which is to describe the closing portion of the life of the Servant of Jehovah and the manner of death that He should die. "No three words in the Hebrew Bible (with the exception perhaps of the four words which follow) have been more variously rendered," says Dr. Henderson, than those which constitute the first sentence in this eighth verse. It would not be to much profit were we to enter into examination of the many translations and paraphrases of these three words in ancient and modern versions and commentaries. The Authorized Version reads, "He was taken from prison and from judgment" and the Revised Version, "By oppression and judgment was He taken away." A suggestive reading, first given by Dr. Henderson, and adopted by Margoliouth, is: "Without restraint and without a sentence He was taken away" which of course fits in with the fulfillment of the prophecy in our Lord Jesus, who exercised no manner of restraint over His persecutors, and was given over to a cruel death in violation of every principle of justice, and without a proper trial or sentence. But this, though a possible and suggestive rendering, does somewhat strain the meaning of the words from their general usage. On the whole, I prefer the reading given by Delitzsch, Von Orelli, and others: "He was taken away from prison and from judgment" which is almost, though not quite, the same as that in the Authorized Version. The principal emphasis (in the sentence) is not laid upon the fact that He was taken away from suffering, but that it was out of the midst of suffering that He was carried off.

The idea that is most prominent in the word לקח, luqqach ("taken away"), is that of being snatched or hurried away. (See, e.g., chap. 52:5; Eze 33:4.) The word עצר, otser (rendered "prison"), primarily means a violent constraint.

"Here, as in Psalm 107:39, it signifies a persecuting treatment which restrains by outward force, such as that of prison or bonds. . . . The word mishpat ('judgment') refers to the judicial proceedings, in which He was put upon His trial, accused and convicted as worthy of death—in other words, to His unjust judgment . . . Hostile oppression and judicial persecution were the circumstances out of which He was carried away by death." (Delitzsch)
The second sentence in this verse, consisting of the four words ואת דורו מי ישוחח, V'eth doro mi y'soche-ach, has also been very variously rendered and interpreted by translators and commentators.

The Authorized Version reads: "And who shall declare His generation?"

The Revised Version connects the sentence with the words that follow, and translates: "And as for His generation, who among them considereth that He was cut off from the land of the living for the transgression of My people?" etc., which is practically the same as that given by Delitzsch and others. Von Orelli translates: "And among His contemporaries who was concerned."

Of other suggested renderings I may mention the following:—

  1. "As to His generation, who shall set it forth?" i.e., in all the guilt of their iniquity.
  2. "Who shall declare His life?" i.e. the mystery of His Being.
  3. "Who can declare the number of His generation?"—i.e. of those inspired by His spirit or filled with His life (Hengstenberg). Luther, Calvin, and Vitringa understand the clause to mean, "Who can declare the length of His life hereafter?"; Kimchi, like Hengstenberg, explains it to mean, "Who can declare His posterity?" Yet another rendering based on the fact that דור (dor) sometimes stands for "habitation," or "dwelling," is that given by Hoffmann and Margoliouth, namely, "As for His dwelling, who cares for it?" (or who can speak of it?)15

This great variety of opinions by Bible scholars, both ancient and modern, Jewish and Christian, will give the reader an idea of the difficulty of coming to a positive conclusion as to the actual meaning of this clause, and how unbecoming it would be to speak with anything like dogmatism. Yet I may venture to suggest an explanation which seems to me the most probable. In the Hebrew Bible דור (dor rendered "generation") signifies "an age," or "the men living in a particular age"; or, in an ethical sense "the entire body of those who are connected together by similarity of disposition," or likeness of moral character.

The Pillel verb רוחח, soche'-ach (rendered in A.V. "declare," and in R.V. "considereth"), signifies, "a thoughtful consideration," "meditation,"16 but it means also "to speak," "to complain," "to lament," and is used in at least one or two places to describe an exercise very much akin to prayer. As, for instance, Psalm 55:17, "Evening, morning, and at noonday will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice." The words "will I pray" (the R.V. has, "will I complain") are a translation of this same verb.17 I would therefore translate "As for His generation—who (among them) poureth out a complaint?" (i.e. at His treatment); or, "who among them uttereth a prayer?" (i.e. on His behalf). In either case there may be, as suggested already by Bishop Lowth, a prophetic allusion to the custom which prevailed among the Jews in the case of trials for life to call upon all who had anything to say in favour of the accused, to come and "declare it," or "plead" on his behalf.

The following striking passage from the Talmud (Sanhedrin fol. 43) may be cited by way of illustration.

"There is a tradition: On the eve of the Sabbath and the Passover they hung Jesus. And the herald went forth before him for forty days crying, 'Jesus goeth to be executed, because he has practised sorcery and seduced Israel and estranged them from God. Let any one who can bring forward any justifying plea for him come and give information concerning it'; but no justifying plea was found for him, and so he was hung on the eve of the Sabbath and the Passover. Ulla said, 'But doest thou think that he belongs to those for whom a justifying plea is to be sought? He was a very seducer, and the All-merciful has said, Thou shalt not spare him, nor conceal him.' But the case of Jesus stood differently because he stood near to the Kingdom": or as others translate, "for his place was near those in power."
That this legend about Jesus has for its basis a well-known custom in the procedure of the Sanhedrin in trials for life, there is, I think, no doubt;18 for the principle by which they were supposed to be regulated was that "they sat to justify, and not to condemn; to save life, and not to destroy." That this humane custom of calling upon those who knew anything in favour of the accused to come and declare it, was not observed in the case of Jesus of Nazareth, and that the proceedings at this hasty, mock trial before the Sanhedrin were in flagrant contradiction with the regulations which were supposed to govern their procedure, are facts of history, but there is this much truth in this Talmudic passage, that none dared to appear in His favour; and that in the great crisis when the Christ of God stood on His trial before the corrupt hostile Jewish hierarchy and the representatives of the then great Gentile world power, no one came forward with a justifying plea "on His behalf" for fear of the Jews. Yea, at that solemn moment, when the sword awoke to smite the Shepherd, the sheep were all scattered; and even His own disciples, who later on when convinced of His resurrection became as bold as lions, and willingly laid down their lives for Him, became demoralized with fear and forsook Him and fled.

And in a sense our Lord Jesus is still on His trial. Are we, His professed disciples, ready now to take our stand as His witnesses in the face of a hostile Jewish and Gentile world, and make our "justifying plea" on His behalf not only in word but by showing forth the power of His gospel over our own hearts and lives?

But this has been somewhat of a digression. The next clause in this verse proclaims clearly the fact of His death, and the manner of it. "For He was cut off out of the land of the living." It is by wicked and violent hands that this righteous Servant of Jehovah dies—"cut off" as it were, in the midst of His days. And then, finally, in repudiation once again of their previous false notion that it was for His own sin that He was "stricken and smitten of God" (v 4), the vicarious atoning character of His sufferings and death is yet again emphasized: "For the transgression of My people the stroke fell upon Him."

Ewald, one of the chief fathers of the German rationalistic school of interpreters, who assigns a different (and earlier) authorship for 53rd chapter than the rest of the writings of the Great Unknown,19 with which according to him, it has somehow become incorporated, adduces the "frequent repetition of expressions and ideas which occur nowhere else" in the second part of Isaiah, as a ground of his theory; but these "frequent repetitions," as Dr. Alexander observes, so far from being rhetorical defects, or indications of another author, are used with an obvious design, namely, that of making it impossible for any ingenuity or learning to eliminate the doctrine of vicarious atonement from this passage by presenting it so often, and in forms so varied and yet still the same, that he who succeeds in expelling it from one place is compelled to meet it in another. Thus in this verse, which fills up the last particulars of the humiliation and sufferings of the Messiah even unto death, it is once again repeated that it was "for the transgression of My people" that the stroke fell upon Him.

As already pointed out in the introductory part, the term עמי, Ammi ("My people"), can only apply to Israel, and is one of the many internal marks which make it impossible to interpret the prophecy of the Jews as a nation, for the servant suffers and dies for the people, and therefore cannot be confounded with the people. Yes, the Good Shepherd laid down His life in the first instance for "My people"—the people which in a special sense He calls "His own," and that is the chief ground of our hope and confidence for Israel as a nation, but, blessed be God! He died, not for the nation only, but that "He might also gather into one the children of God that were scattered abroad" (John 11:51,52); and since Christ came, in whom this prophecy received its minute fulfillment, millions from among all the Gentile nations, "who in time past were no people," are now the people of God.20

 

(7) God's Special Interposition in the Burial of His Servant

The prophetic story of the Servant of Jehovah unfolded in this penitential confession moves on. From His life of vicarious suffering and atoning death we come to His burial.

"And they made (or 'appointed'21 ) His grave with the wicked,
And with a rich man in His death,
Because He hath done no violence,
Neither was deceit in His mouth."

"The predictions concerning Christ in this chapter," writes Moses Margoliouth, "are so numerous and so minute that they could not possibly have been dictated by any but by Him to whom all things are naked and open, and who worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will. The most insignificant circumstances connected with our Lord's death are set forth with as much accuracy as those which are most important. If we reflect but for a moment on the peculiar circumstances which attended our Saviour's last hours, we shall see reason to exclaim with Moses, 'The secret things belong unto the Lord our God'; or with Paul, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!' What could be more unlikely than that the Messiah should be crucified when crucifixion was not a Jewish but a Roman punishment? And yet David (in Psa 22) predicted that such would be the case centuries before Rome was founded. Again, the fulfillment of David's prediction was brought about by the Jews themselves contrary to their own law and tradition. The law expressly forbade to choose a heathen for their king, for the following are the words of Moses, whose disciples they averred they were: 'Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall choose; and from among thy brethren shalt thou set a king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother' (Deut 17:14,15).

Their Rabbinic law pronounced the most severe anathema against any one who should deliver a Jew to a heathen magistrate. But in this case—that the word of God may come to pass—they regard neither their law nor their tradition, but deliver Jesus to the judgment of the Roman Procurator and call upon him to pronounce sentence. And when Pilate, half in remonstrance and half in mockery, said: "Shall I crucify your King?" they replied, "We have no king but Caesar."

After the remarkable fulfillment of an extraordinary prophecy when Jesus was really put to death according to the Roman law, and was crucified between two malefactors, what more likely than that He should be treated as they were? But no: for when Pilate, yielding once more to the clamour of the Jews that the death of the victims should be hastened so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath—"The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other that were crucified with Him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs. Howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and straightway there came out blood and water ... These things came to pass that the scriptures might be fulfilled, a bone of Him shall not be broken—and again another scripture, They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced." Again, "what more insignificant than that the soldiers should part His garments and cast lots for His vesture! Yet that too, with a great number of other incidents equally minute, was circumstantially predicted."22 And so also was it with His burial.

The Jewish leaders, not content with the humiliations and sufferings they heaped upon Him; not appeased even by the cruel and shameful death to which at their will He was given over, followed Him with hatred even to the grave. "They appointed His grave with the wicked."

"In all countries, I suppose, it has been the rule that persons put to death as criminals have had ignominious sepulture," writes one. "Even after death shame has followed them, though after ages have ofttimes reversed the award and built monuments to them." But this was especially the case among the Jews. This was the law of the time, as stated by Josephus.23 "He that blasphemeth God let him be stoned, and let him hang upon a tree all that day, and let him be buried in an ignominious and obscure manner." Now, it was as a blasphemer that they condemned Him in their ignorance and blindness, and what more likely than that as He died with criminals He should also be buried with them? But—"with a rich man (He was) in His death."24

Modern scholars have sought to explain the word עשיר, 'ashir, as being a synonymous parallel to רשעים, rsha'im ("wicked"), in the previous clause. This explanation is, as far as I can trace it, first mentioned by Rabbi Sh'lomoh ben Melekh of Fez in his Mikhlol Yophi (about 1500 A.D.), where he says, "'Ashir (rich) is considered by Rabbi Yonah to be equivalent to rasha, 'wicked'"; but he himself adds that "it is not allowable to abandon the usual signification 'rich' merely on account of the parallel clause."

This explanation, which Franz Delitzsch properly says, is "untenable," has unfortunately been adopted by Luther, Calvin, and Gesenius, who regard the word "rich" here as suggesting the necessary idea of "one who sets his heart upon his wealth, or puts his trust in it," or makes an unlawful use of it. But this is so arbitrary that some of the later writers abandon the Hebrew usage altogether, and profess to derive the sense "wicked" from an Arabic root. But this, as Dr. Alexander truly says, "is doubly untenable; first, because the Hebrew usage cannot be put aside for an Arabic analogy without extreme necessity, which does not here exist; and secondly, because the best authorities (as Delitzsch also shows) find no such meaning in the particular Arabic word itself."25

It may seem surprising that this forced imposition of a new and foreign meaning on a word so familiar should be thus insisted on.

"Luther and Calvin, no doubt, simply followed the rabbinical tradition; but the later writers have a deeper motive for pursuing a course which, in other circumstances, they would boldly charge upon the Reformer's ignorance of Hebrew. That motive is the wish to do away with the remarkable coincidence between the circumstances of our Saviour's burial and the language of this verse, as it has been commonly understood since Capellus." (Alexander)
And this "remarkable coincidence" is truly wonderful, for, in the words of Delitzsch,
"if we reflect that the Jewish rulers would have given to Jesus the same dishonourable burial as to the two thieves, but that the Roman authorities handed over the body to Joseph the Arimathean, a 'rich man' (Matt 27:57), who placed it in the sepulchre in his own garden, we see an agreement at once between the gospel history and the prophetic words, which could only be the work of the God of both the prophecy and its fulfillment, inasmuch as no suspicion could possibly arise of there having been any human design of bringing the former into conformity with the latter."
And the reason assigned for this honourable burial, which was so different from what had been planned, or "appointed" for Him by His enemies, is that—"He hath done no violence, neither was deceit found in His mouth"—which is yet another reiteration of the absolute innocence of His outward actions and of the inward purity and gentleness of His character. It was vicarious sufferings that He endured; it was a death of atonement for others that He died; but immediately those sufferings were ended and that death accomplished, His humiliation was ended, and no further indignity to His blessed person could be permitted. And so, already, in His burial, He was "separated from sinners," and was laid in the tomb of the "rich man of Arimathea, wherein never man before was laid" (Luke 23:53).

 

CHAPTER III
THE RESURRECTION AND FUTURE GLORY
OF THE SERVANT OF JEHOVAH

With the 10th verse begins the account of the Messiah's exaltation and glory. But first it is once more reiterated and emphasized that they were not mere chance experiences which the Servant of Jehovah passed through. Nor was it merely that wicked men were allowed to work out the evil of their hearts in the sufferings and humiliations which they were permitted to heap upon Him, and thus make manifest by their treatment of "the Holy One" their enmity towards God.

No: "the supreme causa efficiens" as Delitzsch expresses it, was God, "who made the sin of men subservient to His pleasure, His will, and predetermined counsel."

"Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise (דכאו, dak'o, literally to crush) Him; He hath put Him to grief."26

This is the confession of the penitents whose eyes are now opened to see the true meaning of it all. He who "had done no violence nor was deceit found in His mouth," "whose actions were invariably prompted by pure love, and whose speech consisted of unclouded sincerity and truth," was yet "crushed" and put to grief by Jehovah. "Here is not only the mystery of suffering innocence; but of innocence suffering at the hands of righteousness and perfect love." Yes, mystery of mysteries; and apart from the explanation He Himself gives of it, it is the most inexplicable thing in God's moral government. But it is fully explained, not only in all that preceded in this chapter, but by the great purpose of redemption formed by the triune God before the world was founded, and which is progressively unfolded in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

In this light of God's own revelation the sufferings of the Messiah in which the good pleasure of God's will was accomplished, become a mystery of light in which there is no darkness at all. We see that this pleasure of Jehovah in the sufferings of the Righteous One, to use the words of another,

"does not proceed from caprice, but that He acted righteously as well as sovereignly in what He did.

"Not only did the Lord bruise Him, but it was the 'good pleasure of His will' to do so. He who has no pleasure in the death of the wicked was pleased to put His righteous Servant to grief—not, of course, because the death-agony was a pleasure to look upon, but as means to the fulfillment of a great purpose.

"Even a noble-minded man finds pleasure in contemplating heroic and self-sacrificing love in others, to accomplish glorious ends. We look back, for example, on our martyrs, who suffered cruel death for the Gospel's sake; we forget the physical torture they endured; or rather it ceases to be a horror in our eyes, and becomes a glory; we read of their sufferings with uplifted and joyful hearts, thanking God who gave such grace to men. And even so, we cannot help thinking, the Lord, whose pity is like unto a father's pity, had pleasure in the self-sacrifice of His Servant; yea, had pleasure in the very appointment which issued in the self-sacrifice. And if we add to this—as exhibited in what follows—the results which the sufferings achieved, in their nature, blissfulness, magnitude, and perpetuity, we shall understand how it comes to be said, 'Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him: He did put Him to grief.'" (Culross)

These blessed results the spirit of prophecy in the mouth of the penitent confessors now proceeds to enumerate, after emphasizing yet again that they are all conditioned on His sufferings and death.

"If (or when), His soul shall make an offering for sin."

The word תשים, tasim ("shall make"), is either second person masculine, in which case the rendering would be as in the Authorized and Revised Versions, "When Thou (i.e. God) shalt make His soul an offering for sin"; or third person feminine, "When His soul shall make an offering," which is the rendering accepted in the margin and by most modern scholars. The latter translation is preferable, as Jehovah is nowhere else addressed in this chapter. In either case the Servant of Jehovah gives His life as an offering for the sin of others and takes on Himself the penalty which their guilt had incurred. "Language could not more simply and unequivocally declare the significance of His death."

The word rendered "offering for sin" אשם, asham, really means "trespass," but just as the word חטאת, chattath, which is used for "sin offering," "denotes first the sin, then the punishment of the sin, and the expiation of the sin, and hence the sacrifice which cancels the sin; so asham signifies first the guilt or debt, then the compensation or penance, and hence the sacrifice which discharges the debt or guilt and sets the man free." There was much in common between the trespass offering and the "sin offering." Both are called kodesh-kadashim, "most holy" (Lev 6:17, 14:13), and as regards the manner in which the sacrifice was to be slain, and as to which portions were to be burnt on the altar, and what parts assigned to the priests, there was "one law for them both" (Lev 7:7).

Yet there were differences between the chattath (sin offering) and asham (trespass offering), and in their moral and typical significance each one of the sacrifices set forth a distinctive aspect of the great work of atonement which was to be accomplished by the Messiah27 and the blessed results accruing therefrom to sinful men. On the whole, it is correct to say with Dr. Culross, that while the sin offering looked to the sinful state of the offerer, the trespass offering was appointed to meet actual transgressions, the fruit of the sinful state. The sin offering set forth propitiation, the trespass offering set forth satisfaction. It was brought by the transgressor "to make amends for the harm that he hath done." "It symbolized rights violated and compensation rendered, debt contracted and satisfaction made." But whether it be a sin offering or a trespass offering it had to be slain, and its blood shed before it could become a sacrifice.

I. The first of the blessed results of Messiah's vicarious sufferings and atoning death which are enumerated in this 10th verse is expressed in the two Hebrew words, יראה זרע, yir'eh zera', "He shall see His (or more literally a) seed (or posterity)." Jewish controversialists, supported by some Gentile rationalistic writers, have based a quibble on this clause. Taking zera', "seed," in its literal sense as denoting natural offspring, they have argued that this prophecy cannot apply to Jesus of Nazareth, who had no natural progeny, overlooking the fact that this "seed" (like the other fruits of His atoning Passion set forth in the last three verses of the prophecy) follows His death, on which it is conditioned, and therefore cannot be taken in a literal sense.28 No; the Messiah's "seed," of which the spirit of prophecy speaks here, is the glorious spiritual progeny which He has begotten with "the travail of His soul," and the new family which He came to found, and which sprang, so to say, at His resurrection out of His empty tomb, is the new "seed of Israel," or the Household of Faith. This spiritual "seed"—the "bringing of many sons unto glory" (Heb 2:10)—was the chief joy which was set before Him, for the sake of which He endured the cross, despising the shame. Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit; and the Church of Christ, consisting of the multitude of the redeemed out of all nations, Jew and Gentile—which was born when He died, and which looks back to Him as the source of its life and the origin of its being—is the continuous living witness to this truth.

The parallel scripture to Isaiah 53 is Psalm 22. There also the sufferings of the Messiah are minutely foretold in advance as well as the glory which should follow. And among the blessed results which are there set forth as following from His death is, "A seed (zera) shall serve Him" (Psa 22:30); which shows that it is not a literal but a spiritual seed, namely, His disciples, or followers, who also "serve" Him.

II. "He shall prolong His days." How wonderful, how seemingly paradoxical! He "pours out His soul unto death," as a trespass offering; He is "cut off from the land of the living"; is dead and buried, and yet He shall live and have continuance of days!

How is it possible? The answer to this question is that the Messiah was not only to die for our sins but must rise again from the dead "according to the Scriptures." And in the light of the glorious fulfillment all these seeming paradoxes in the Old Testament in reference to the person and mission of the Messiah are cleared up.

Our Lord Jesus, who was delivered up for our offences, was raised again for our justification, and ascended into heaven, where He now sitteth at the right hand of God, whence His word of encouragement and assurance comes to His disciples; "Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; and I became dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of death and of Hades" (Rev 1:17,18).

This prediction that Messiah shall "prolong His days" after having died, is in accord also with what we read in other Scriptures, as for instance Psalm 16:10: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in (or to) Sheol; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption"; and Psalm 21:4: "He asked life of Thee, Thou gavest it Him, even length of days for ever and ever," which Jonathan in his Targum, and Kimchi in his Commentary, themselves explain that the expression orekh yamim, "length of days" refers to "the life of the world to come," and so in fact it must be, since it is for ever and ever.

III. "And the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand" i.e. God's will shall be fully accomplished by Him: the mission on which He is sent He shall triumphantly carry through. But if we want to know more particularly what this "pleasure of Jehovah" is, which is thus to be brought to prosperous issue "in His hand," we find the answer in the commission entrusted to the perfect Servant of Jehovah as set forth in this second part of Isaiah. Let me quote only two or three passages from preceding chapters.

"Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen, in whom My soul delighteth: I have put My Spirit upon Him, He shall bring forth judgment (or 'justice') to the nations. . . . I Jehovah have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thy right hand, and will keep Thee and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" "And now, saith Jehovah that formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, and that Israel be gathered unto Him: . . . yea, He saith, It is too light a thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." (Isa 42:1-7, 49:5,6)
This then, in brief, is the pleasure of Jehovah which shall prosper in His hand, or be brought to a triumphant accomplishment through His mediation, namely, the re-gathering of Israel, the bringing back of Jacob, not only to his land but into new covenant relationship with God, of which He Himself will be the bond; the illumination of the Gentile world with the light of the knowledge of the true and living God; the establishing of judgment and justice in the earth; the deliverance of men from spiritual blindness and the bondage of sin, and the bringing near of God's salvation to all men throughout the whole world, even "unto the end of the earth."

And to this we must add words from the New Testament which open up yet more illimitable vistas of this "good pleasure" of Jehovah which is to be realized in and through the mediation of the Messiah. "For it was the good pleasure of the Father," writes the Apostle Paul, "that in Him should all the fulness dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross . . . whether things upon the earth or things in heaven." And again, "Making known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Him unto a dispensation of the fulness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth . . . according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will" (Col 1:19,20; Eph 1:9-11). "Glorious consummation of redemption," exclaims one, "which is also the manifestation in its fulness of the Divine Love!"

 

CHAPTER IV
JEHOVAH'S FINAL WORD CONCERNING HIS SERVANT:
THE GLORIOUS AWARD FOR HIS SUFFERINGS.

In the last two verses "the prophecy leaves the standpoint of Israel's retrospective acknowledgment of the long-rejected Servant of Jehovah, and becomes once more the prophetic organ of God Himself, who acknowledges the Servant as His own" (Delitzsch). In this climax God puts, so to say, His own seal to the penitent confession of repentant Israel, and sets forth once again the glorious results of the vicarious sufferings and atoning death of His righteous Servant.

"He shall see of the travail of His soul (or, more literally, 'because,' or, 'in consequence of the toil or labour of His soul'), He shall see and be satisfied." This "travail of soul" includes, as has been well observed,

"all the toil, suffering, and sorrow through which He came, and has been outlined, if not unfolded, in the previous part of the prophecy. It culminated when He was cut off out of the land of the living, and His soul was made an offering for sin, accomplishing what the Levitical sacrifices only symbolized. No accumulation of mere bodily sufferings could satisfy these expressions. The 'travail' is that of the soul; it has its seat within, and is such as might find voice in those words reported from Gethsemane, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,' or in those other words reported from the cross, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' It is what the Greek litany calls 'unknown agonies.'" (Culross)
But what is it that He shall see, i.e. look upon with delight, and be abundantly satisfied?29 For answer we have, I believe, to go back to the verse which immediately precedes as well as to what follows. Abarbanel, followed by some Christian commentators, paraphrases, "He shall see, i.e. His seed; He shall be satisfied, i.e. with length of days." That is true, but it goes beyond and includes the full and final accomplishment of all "the pleasure of Jehovah." In part this is already being realized. He who for us men and our salvation endured agony and shame, and poured out His soul unto death, is now seated at the right hand of God, being endowed as the Son of Man with "length of days for ever and ever," and everywhere He beholds with joy "a seed that serveth Him."

Then, apart also from the multitude which no man can number, who have been redeemed by His precious blood and who out of love for Him have sought to do the will of His Father in heaven, the indirect influences of His gospel in almost all parts of the earth have been great and wonderful. But this is not all for which Christ suffered and died. This is not all the "pleasure of Jehovah," which He came to accomplish. It is only when Redemption is fully completed that "He shall see" a glorious completed church "without spot or wrinkle"; a restored and converted Israel which shall bear upon itself the inscription "Holiness unto Jehovah," and be "the priests of Jehovah" and the willing "ministers" of God in diffusing the blessings of their Messiah's gospel among all nations; a world which shall be "filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea"; and a new heaven and a new earth wherein shall dwell righteousness for evermore. Yes, He shall see all this as the outcome of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.

One of the most blessed results of the "travail of His soul," and that which at the same time forms no little part of the "satisfaction" for all the sufferings which He endured, is the prerogative with which He is endowed of removing guilt and imparting righteousness to those who, through faith in Him, seek communion with God.

"By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many" or, to give a more literal rendering of the words in the order in which they stand in the Hebrew, "By His knowledge shall make righteous (or, bring righteousness) the Righteous One (My Servant) many."

It cannot be positively stated whether בדעתו, beda'to (by His knowledge), is to be understood in a subjective sense of the Servant of Jehovah, i.e. "according to His knowledge," or objectively, "by the knowledge of Him." Grammatically it might be rendered either way, but it is correct to say with Delitzsch (who himself favours the subjective view) that nearly all the commentators who understand by the Servant of Jehovah the divine Redeemer, give preference to the latter of the two explanations, namely, by the knowledge of Him on the part of others. And this, it seems to me, is the more satisfactory view. The kind of "knowledge" expressed in the word is not only that which has reference to understanding with the mind, but a practical, experimental knowledge30 —a spiritual heart acquaintance with Him, a personal appropriation by a living faith of His redeeming work for sinners—such a "knowledge," for instance, as is implied in the words of Christ, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou didst send," or, in the prayer of the Apostle, "That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection."

The construction of the phrase צדיק עבדי, Tsaddiq 'abhdi, is unusual, and is intended to emphasize the unique character of the Servant of Jehovah and to explain in part how it is that He is the bringer of righteousness to others.

"It is in the Hebrew language as a rule, that the adjective should be placed after the substantive to which it belongs. But in the passage before us that rule is transgressed. 'Righteous' is not placed after 'Servant,' but stands before it, and that without the article. The omission of the article before words which are, nevertheless, definite, indicates both in Hebrew and Greek that the person or thing denoted is to be regarded as standing in a sphere of its own—singular, isolated, or pre-eminent. So it is here. We must translate 'One that is righteous,' or 'the Righteous One.' The omission of the article indicates that the person thus spoken of held in earth a position of righteousness that was singular and isolated, and that there was none like it. The peculiar position of the word 'righteous' preceding, and not following its substantive, is intended to give especial prominence to the thought it expresses. Our minds are intended to rest on the righteousness of the Righteous One as the procuring cause of the blessing spoken of in this verse. In virtue of having been the Righteous One, He becomes the causer, or bringer of righteousness to His believing people.

"Yet whilst prominence is thus given to the great fact of His righteousness, it is important also to observe that the words 'My Servant' are added. . . .

"It is not in virtue of that essential righteousness that pertains to Him as God—one with the Father and the Holy Ghost—that He brings to us righteousness. The righteousness by which we are constituted righteous is a service, an obedience which He became man in order to render, and which He commenced and finished in the earth. It commenced when He said, 'Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.' It terminated when He had become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, and said, 'It is finished.' It is true, indeed, that unless He had been one to whom righteousness essentially belonged, He could not have wrought out the righteousness which He did work out as the Servant. The service of that Servant had in it a superhuman excellency, for that Servant was Immanuel—God manifest in the flesh." (B. W. Newton)

The word יצדיק, yats'dik, followed as it is by the preposition ל, le, ought, as I have already suggested, to be rendered "shall cause, or bring righteousness."

The רבים, rabbim ("many"), to whom He thus brings righteousness, or constitutes righteous, is the mass of mankind, or all—not only in Israel, but amongst the nations also—who shall respond to His call, and by a living faith enter into an acquaintance with Him. It is probable that this passage was in the mind of our Saviour when, on the night of His betrayal, He took the cup and said to His disciples, "This is my blood of the New Covenant which is poured out for many" (το περι πολλων) (Matt 26:28), and it is almost certain that it was in the mind of the Apostle Paul when writing Romans 5:12-21, which is an inspired unfolding and application of the same doctrine of substitution which is set forth in this great Old Testament prophecy. After writing of the consequence of Adam's transgression to the whole of mankind, he says: "But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many be dead, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto many, . . . For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One shall the many (οι πολλοι), be made righteous." To repeat, it is the righteousness of faith which is the consequence of justification on the ground of the atoning work of the Messiah which is set forth in this passage, yet those are not altogether wrong who maintain that it includes also that "righteousness of life which springs by an inward necessity out of those sanctifying powers that are bound up with the atoning work which we have made our own" (Delitzsch). For though this is not the ground of our acceptance before God, it is yet important to remember that the doctrine of justification does not stand alone in the Bible, and that God does not constitute any one righteous to whom He does not also impart the power to be righteous. We are justified that we may also be sanctified and glorified, and the outward seal of the true followers of Christ is that they "depart from iniquity" and "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." But to return to our immediate context. "Because our righteousness has its roots in the forgiveness of sins as an absolutely unmerited gift of grace without works, the prophecy returns once more from the justifying work of the Servant of Jehovah to His sin-expunging work as the basis of all righteousness."

"And their iniquities He shall bear." The introduction of the pronoun, as Dr. Alexander observes, makes a virtual antithesis suggesting the idea of exchange or mutual substitution. They shall receive His righteousness, and He shall bear the heavy burden31 of their iniquities.

"From this doctrine the heart that is self-righteous, hard, and proud may turn scornfully away—as Naaman did when told to dip seven times in Jordan; but to the man who knows himself to be a ruined and helpless sinner, and who has been made to sigh for reconcilement and peace with God, the news of grace to the ill-deserving manifested in righteousness will be welcome beyond all thought, and mighty to produce newness of life." (Culross)
Before we pass on to the last verse let me quote also a note by Delitzsch on this last clause:
"This yisbol (He shall bear)," he says, "which stands along with future verbs, and being also future itself, refers to something to be done by the Servant of Jehovah after the completion of the work to which He is called in this life, and denotes the continued operation of His 'bearing,' or 'carrying' (v 4) through His own active mediation. His continued lading of our trespasses upon Himself is merely the constant pressure and presentation of His atonement which has been offered once for all. The dead yet living One, because of His one self-sacrifice, is an eternal Priest, who now lives to distribute the blessings that He has acquired."
The last verse takes us back, as it were, to the very beginning of this prophecy (chapter 52:13-15), and sets forth again the personal exaltation of the One who has been despised and rejected of men, and the victor's prize, which He shall receive on His triumphant emergence from the conflict with the powers of darkness.

"Therefore will I divide (or 'allot') to Him a portion among (or 'in') the many (or 'great'), and with the strong shall He divide the spoil."32 The award is bestowed upon Him by Jehovah's own hand—"I will divide Him a portion"—and the prize is glorious beyond conception, for the rabbim, "many," who form His portion include not only "His own" nation, whom He saves and blesses, and who shall yet render Him such loyal devotion and service as the world has not known, but extends beyond the bounds of Israel to the Gentile nations.

"What is meant by His having His portion among the rabbim (the 'many,' or 'great')" observes Delitzsch, "is clearly seen from such passages as chapters 52:15 and 49:7, according to which the great ones of the earth will be brought to do homage to Him, or, at all events, to submit to Him." But this is only a mere outline. For the full extent of His "portion" as the Son of David and Son of Man, who, in order to carry out the pleasure of Jehovah in the redemption of the world, took upon Himself the form of a servant, we have to go to a Scripture like the 2nd Psalm: "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession"; or Psalm 72:

"He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.
And from the River unto the ends of the earth.
They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him;
And His enemies shall lick the dust.

Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him:
All nations shall serve Him."

But while His portion is "divided" or allotted to Him of God, He Himself "divides spoil" "with" or "among" the strong. These
עצומים (atsumim, "strong" or "mighty ones") are those who flock to His banner and go forth with Him to the conflict against the powers of darkness. They are those of whom we read in the third verse of the 110th Psalm: "Thy people offer themselves willingly (or 'are all willingness,' or 'thorough devotion') in the day of Thy power." They are those whom the beloved John beheld in vision as "the armies of heaven," following in His train as He rides forth in glorious majesty, conquering and to conquer, "riding upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure" (Rev 19:14).

With these He condescends to share His triumph and to divide the spoil taken from the enemy by making them partners with Himself in His kingdom and glory, even as they were sharers in His sufferings. And truly He and no one else is worthy to be thus exalted, and deserves the glorious award which God bestows upon Him. This is emphasized in the recapitulation of His peerless merit in the last words of this wonderful prophecy.

"Because He poured out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. And He (Himself) bore the sin of many. And He made intercession for the transgressors."
The phrase
תחת אשר, tachath asher, expresses more distinctly than the English rendering "because" the idea of compensation or reward. It has been translated by some "instead of," or
"in return for that, i.e. the glorious portion or allotment which is divided to Him by the Father is 'in return' for the great Redemption which He has accomplished with His own life's blood. The word הערה, he'erah (rendered 'poured out'), means 'to strip,' 'lay bare,' 'empty,' or to 'pour clean out,' even to the very last remnant." (Delitzsch)
And it was "His soul," which stands here for His life-blood, which He thus completely emptied out "unto death."

And although all this was in accord with the pre-determinate counsel of God, He did it voluntarily, for this also is implied in the original verb, which accords again with His own word, which has already been quoted: "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life. . . . No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down Myself." And not only did He thus voluntarily pour out His soul unto death as an atonement for sinners, but "He was numbered" (or, as Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, and others more properly translate the reflexive verb נמנה, nim'nah, He suffered Himself, i.e. voluntarily, to be numbered, or "reckoned ") "with transgressors," פשעים, posh'im—that is, not only ordinary sinners, such as all men are, but criminals—open transgressors of the laws of God and of man, with whom to be associated would be a great humiliation for ordinary men, and how much more to the "Holy One." To the believer it is precious and interesting to remember that this clause formed one of the direct quotations from this chapter made by our Lord Jesus Himself just before His betrayal and crucifixion. "This which is written," He said, "must be fulfilled in Me, And He was reckoned among transgressors" (Luke 22:37). It was, indeed, as another writer observes, "one of those remarkable coincidences which were brought about by Providence between the prophecies and the circumstances of our Saviour's passion" (J.A. Alexander) that the Christ should have been crucified between "two thieves" (or, more literally, "robbers"), but this one striking incident did not exhaust the scope of the prophetic word.

He suffered Himself also to be reckoned with transgressors "in the judgment of His countrymen, and in the unjust judgment (or 'sentence') by which He was delivered up to death as a wicked apostate and transgressor of the law" (Delitzsch). "And He"—the pronoun is emphatic—"He Himself bare the sin of many"—blessed words which are again and again joyously echoed in the New Testament, as, for instance, in 1 Peter 2:24: "Who His own self bare" (or "carried up") "our sins in His own body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sin, might live unto righteousness"; and Hebrews 9:26-28, where there is also an underlying allusion to the great Old Testament prophecy: "But now once at the end of the ages hath He been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after death the judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him unto salvation."

Yes, He Himself, the Holy One, who knew no sin, bare our sin right "up to the tree," and "was made sin for us," enduring the penalty due to it on our behalf, that we might for ever be freed from the accursed load and "become the righteousness of God in Him."

The whole prophetic picture of the sufferings of the Messiah and of the glory that should follow closes with a brief but pregnant reference to His priestly function:

"And He made (or 'maketh') intercession for the transgressors."
The verb יפגיע, yaph'gia' ("made intercession"), is an instance of the imperfect or indefinite future, and expresses a work begun, but not yet ended. Its most striking fulfillment, as Delitzsch observes, was the prayer of the crucified Saviour, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." But this work of intercession which He began on the cross He still continues at the right hand of God, where He is now seated, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and the forgiveness of sins. Wherefore also He is able to save to the uttermost (or "completely," "all along") them that draw near unto God through Him, "seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hence also the triumphant challenge of the Apostle, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea, rather that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

But remember, dear Christian reader, that He who is now our Advocate (or blessed Paraclete) with the Father, by whose unceasing priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary our life of fellowship with God is maintained, bears also "His own" nation Israel on His heart. It was for them primarily that He prayed on the cross. And now at God's right hand He still pleads for them, "For Zion's sake will I not hold My peace" He says, "and for Jerusalem's sake will I not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness and her salvation as a lamp that burneth"—because it is not till then that the glory of Jehovah shall fill this earth as the waters cover the sea, and our Lord Jesus Christ shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Will you not for love of Him share in this ministry of intercession for the people which, in spite of all their sins and apostasies, are still beloved for the fathers' sakes, and whose receiving again into God's favour will be as life from the dead to the whole world?

"I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night. Ye that are Jehovah's remembrancers, take ye no rest, and give Him no rest till He establish and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

 


ENDNOTES

Isaiah 11
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

 

Romans 5:12-21
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Appendix Table of Contents

Copyright © 2006 JCR
This book has been edited.