The Servant of Jehovah:
The Sufferings of the Messiah
and the Glory That Should Follow
by David Baron
But most precious and beautiful as this Old Testament prophetic gem is in itself, its lustre is greatly intensified by its setting.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.
A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE NON-MESSIANIC
INTERPRETATIONS OF ISAIAH 53.
"I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this?
of himself, or of some other?"Acts 8:34.
THE PROPHETIC GEM AND ITS SETTING
The great Scripture we are about to consider has sometimes been called "the fifth Gospel." "Methinks," said Augustine, "Isaiah writes not a prophecy but a gospel." This he said of the whole book, but it is especially true of this chapter. Polycarp, the disciple of John, called it "the golden Passional of the Old Testament"; and a great German scholar writes: "It looks as if it had been written beneath the cross of Golgotha and was illuminated by the heavenly brightness of the שב לימיני, shebh limini ('Sit Thou at My right hand'). It is the unravelling of Psalms 22 and Psalm 110 . It forms the inmost centre of this wonderful book of consolations (as the Rabbis called the second half of Isaiah), and is the most central, the deepest, and the loftiest thing that Old Testament prophecy, outstripping itself, has ever achieved." Luther said that every Christian ought to be able to repeat it by heart.
"It is prelude to much that is most distinctive in New Testament doctrine, and is the root from which not a little of the thinking of Christian ages has grown. Its phraseology has entered largely into Christian speech, and it has supplied more texts to the gospel preacher than any other portion of the Old Testament. There are individual phrases in it resembling peaks, from which we faintly descry vast realms of truth which we cannot yet explore, but which shine with a mystic light whose source is Divine. Beyond question, this chapter is the heart of the Hebrew prophetic writings. It embraces and harmonizes the ideas contained in such seemingly discordant predictions as Psalms 2, 22, 72, and 110; and from the standpoint which it furnishes we are enabled to see the consistency of Messianic prophecy throughout.
"Elsewhere, indeed, we find greater splendour of language, force of passion, wealth of imagery, and imaginative elevation, but nowhere so full, minute, and vivid forthshowing of God's purpose. Truths elsewhere seen in twilight and transitory glimpses here stand forth for calm inspection in the light of day. Elsewhere we find line or touch or feature in keeping with what is here; but nowhere so finished and complete a portraiture. It is as if the prophet had shaded and filled up with colours the outlines elsewhere given. The hints of One passing through shame and suffering to victory, which elsewhere appear as 'dark sayings,' here kindle into a great life-filled picture, in which we see not only His surpassing sorrow, but also the mystery of its meaning, and the glory which finally comes of it. Not merely is there broad outline, but those more delicate lines and contours which give perfect individuality to the portrait.
"The chapter holds much the same place in Old Testament prophecy that the narrative of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection holds in New Testament history; and with this chapter all Hebrew prophecy as a Divine thing stands or falls."1
1. The Man of Sorrows and the Joy that was Set before Hima very excellent booklet by the late James Culross, D.D., published by the Drummond Tract Depository, to which I shall have occasion to make many references in the exposition.
The second half of the Book of Isaiah, consisting of the last twenty-seven chapters, is the sublimest and richest portion of Old Testament revelation. It forms a single continuous prophecy which occupies the same position in the prophetic Scriptures as the Book of Deuteronomy in the Pentateuch, and the Gospel of John in relation to the Synoptic Gospels. It is true that "it does not flow on in even current like a history," and to the superficial reader it may have a desultory appearance, but "after patient study the first sense of confusedness is got over, and we perceive its magnificent and harmonious completeness as it rounds itself into one glorious vision."
It may be called the prophetic Messianic epic of the Old Testament. It is sublime in its very style and language, and wonderful in its comprehensivenessanticipating, as it does, the whole order of the New Testament. It begins, where the New Testament begins, with the ministry of John the Baptist"the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (40:3) and it ends, where the New Testament ends, with the new heavens and a new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness (65:17-20, 66:22).
On examining the glorious prophecy closely, we find that the twenty-seven chapters range themselves into three equal divisions of nine chapters each, all ending with nearly the same solemn refrain, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (48:22; 57:21; 66:24).
One great line of thought unfolded in the whole prophecy is the development of evil and the final overthrow of the wicked, who are excluded from the blessings of Messiah's Kingdom; and the sufferings but final glory of the righteous remnant, who are the subjects of that Kingdom, and whose King is described as leading the way along the same path of suffering into glory. This subject becomes developed and intensified as we go on, until it reaches its climax in the last chapter.
The first section is brought to a close at the end of chapter 48, where the blessedness of the righteous who are "redeemed" (v 20), and peacefully led and satisfied even in the desert, is contrasted with the state of the wicked to whom "there is no peace" (v 22).
In the second division the same subject becomes intensified; there is development of both evil and good, righteousness and wickedness, and it ends with chapter 57, where "Peace! peace!" (v 19) is announced to the righteous, but the wicked have not only "no peace" (v 21), but have become "like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (v 20).
In the last division the destiny of both is brought to a climax and becomes fixed for ever. "Therefore thus saith Jehovah God, Behold, My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, My servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, My servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed; behold, My servants shall sing for joy, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart and shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto My chosen, for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name" (65:13-15). This contrast is continued until finally we find the righteous dwelling for ever in the new heavens and the new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness (66:22); while as to the wicked who have transgressed against God, "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh" (66:24).
In the first section (chaps 40-48) the restoration from Babylon (which, however, is portrayed in terms which far exceeded what actually took place at that restoration, and which will only be exhaustively fulfilled in the greater restoration of Israel "from the four corners of the earth") is the starting-point, and the appointed instrument in God's hand to bring about that restoration, Cyrus, is the central figure.
In the second or central section (chaps 49-52) the grand redemption to be accomplished by One greater than Cyruseven by Him, who in this series of chapters is pre-eminently the Ebhed Yehovahthe "Servant of Jehovah," who is sent not only to raise up "the tribes of Jacob," and to restore "the preserved of Israel," but to be "a light also to the Gentiles," and God's salvation "unto the end of the earth," is the theme with which the prophet's heart overflows (49:6); and in the third or last section the blessed condition of restored and converted Israel, who shall then be the channel and active propagators of the blessings of Messiah's gospel among all nations, is the outstanding subject.
The heart and climax of the whole prophecy is to be found in the brief section which forms its inmost centre (chaps 52:13 to 53:12), which, instead of a prophecy uttered centuries in advance, reads like an historic summary of the Gospel narrative of the sufferings of the Christ and the glory that should follow.
Taking our position at this central point, we are almost overwhelmed with the evidence of design in the very structure of this prophecy, for on closer examination we find that each book is subdivided into three sections of three chapters each, nearly corresponding to the divisions in the Authorized Version. Thus the middle book is chapters 49-52. The middle section of the middle book is chapters 52, 53, 54, and chapter 53 is the middle chapter of the middle section of the middle bookforming, as it were, the heart and centre of this wonderful Messianic poem, as well as the heart and centre of all Old Testament prophecy. The central verse of this central paragraph, which begins properly with chapter 52:13, is: "He was wounded far our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement with a view to our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."
The doctrine it enshrines, namely, substitution, is one of the leading truths unfolded in Old and New Testaments, and it forms the central thought in this great prophecy. It is, moreover, the essence of the message of comfort with which the prophet begins (40:1,2), solving the problem as to how "her iniquity is pardoned."
THE ANCIENT JEWISH INTERPRETATION OF ISAIAH 53.
There is truth in the observation of a scholarly writer that this great prophecy was "an enigma which could not be fully understood in the days before Christ, but which has been solved by the sufferings, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Him who was both Son of Man and Son of God."2
2. Dr. C. H. H. Wright, The Servant of Jehovah.
It is therefore not surprising to find that in the Talmud and Rabbinic Midrashim there is much confusion and contradiction in the various interpretations advanced by the Rabbis. But though it may be true, as Professor Dalman observes,3
that the Messianic interpretation was not the general one, or the one officially recognized in Israel (any more than any of the other interpretations can be said to have been either generally or officially recognized), yet from most ancient times there have not been wanting authoritative teachers who interpreted the chapter of the Messiahin spite of the fact that the picture of the Redeemer which is here drawn is utterly opposed to the disposition and to the perverted hopes and expectations in reference to the Messiah which have developed in Rabbinic Judaism.
3. Jesaja 53, Das Prophetenwort, vom Suhnleiden des Heilmittlers.
In proof of this, the following few brief extracts from ancient Jewish interpretations will interest the Christian reader:
First, let me quote Jonathan ben Uzziel (first century A.D.), who begins his Targum with, "Behold, my Servant Messiah shall prosper; He shall be high and increase, and be exceeding strong." And then, to reconcile the interpretation of this scripture of the Messiah with his reluctance to recognize that the promised Deliverer must suffer and die for the sins of the nation, he proceeds to juggle with the scripture in a most extraordinary manner, making all the references to exaltation and glory in the chapter to apply to the Messiah, but the references to tribulation and sufferings to Israel. In illustration of the method by which this is accomplished I need quote only his paraphrase of the very next verse (52:14), which reads: "As the House of Israel looked to Him during many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men."
In the Talmud Babylon,4
among other opinions, we find the following: "The Messiahwhat is His name? . . . The Rabbis say the 'leprous one';5
4. Sanhedrin, fol. 98b.
(those) of the house of Rabbi (say), 'the sick one,' as it is said, 'Surely He hath borne our sicknesses.'"6
5. This is based on a wrong interpretation of the word נגוע, nagua"stricken" or "plagued," as meaning "leprous." 6. The other names of the Messiah mentioned in this passage are; "Shiloh," with reference to Genesis 49:10, "until Shiloh come"; "Yinnon," with reference to Psalm 72:17, "His name shall endure for ever; before the sun (was created) his name was Yinnon"; "Haninah," in reference to Jeremiah 16:13, "where no Haninah (favour) will be given to you"; "M'nahem," son of Hezekiah, in reference to Lamentations 1:16, "the Comforter (M'nahem) that should restore my soul is far from me."
That the generally received older Jewish interpretation of this prophecy was the Messianic is admitted by Abrabanel, who himself proceeds in a long polemic against the Nazarenes to interpret it of the Jewish nation. He begins: "The first question is to ascertain to whom (this scripture) refers: for the learned among the Nazarenes expound it of the man who was crucified in Jerusalem at the end of the second Temple, and who according to them was the Son of God and took flesh in the virgin's womb, as is stated in their writings. Jonathan ben Uzziel interprets it in the Targum of the future Messiah; and this is also the opinion of our learned men in the majority of their Midrashim."
Similarly another (Rabbi Mosheh el Sheikh, commonly known as Alshech, second half of the sixteenth century), who also himself follows the older interpretation, at any rate of the first three verses (52:13-15, which, however, as we shall see when we come to the interpretation, contain a summary of the whole prophecy), testifies that our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the King Messiah.
In fact, until Rashi7
(Rabbi Solomon Yizchaki) applied it to the Jewish nation, the Messianic interpretation of this chapter was almost universally adopted by Jews, and his view, which we shall examine presently, although received by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and others, was rejected as unsatisfactory by Maimonides, who is regarded by the Jews as of highest authority, by Alshech (as stated above), and many others, one of whom8
7. Rashi, 1040-1105.
says the interpretation adopted by Rashi "distorts the passage from its natural meaning," and that in truth "it was given of God as a description of the Messiah, whereby, when any should claim to be the Messiah, to judge by the resemblance or non-resemblance to it whether he were the Messiah or no." And another9
8. R. Mosheh Kohen Iben Crispin, of Cordova, and afterwards of Toledo (fourteenth century). He rightly says of those who for controversial reasons applied this prophecy to Israel that by so doing "the doors of the literal interpretation of this Parashah were shut in their face, and that they wearied themselves to find the entrance, having forsaken the knowledge of our teachers, and inclined after the stubbornness of their own hearts and of their own opinions."
says: "The meaning of 'He was wounded for our transgressions, . . . bruised for our iniquities,' is that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for them himself."
9. R. Eliyya de Vidas, 1575 A.D.
Before proceeding to an examination of the modern Jewish interpretation of this chapter, let me add two further striking testimonies to its more ancient Messianic interpretationtaken this time, not from any Targum, or Midrash, or Rabbinical Commentary, which might be said to express the individual opinion of this or that Rabbi, but from the Jewish liturgy, which may be said to bear upon it the seal of the authority and usage of the whole Synagogue.
The first is taken from the Liturgy for the Day of Atonementthe most solemn day in the Jewish yearand reads as follows: "We are shrunk up in our misery even until now! Our Rock hath not come nigh to us; Messiah our righteousness (or 'our Righteous Messiah') has departed from us: Horror hath seized upon us, and we have none to justify us. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities and our transgressions, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on His shoulder, that He may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by His wound at the time the Eternal will create Him (Messiah) as a new creature. O bring Him up from the circle of the earth, raise Him up from Seir to assemble us the second time on Mount Lebanon, by the hand of Yinnon."10
10. This prayer or hymn forms part of the Musaph Service for the Day of Atonement. The author, according to Zunz (Literatur geschichte der Syn. Poesie, p. 56, etc.), was Eleazer ben Kalir, who lived in the ninth century. Yinnon, as will be seen from the quotation from Talmud
Sanhedrin on p. 12, was one of the names given by the Rabbis to the Messiah, and is derived from Psalm 72:17, which the Talmud renders, "Before the sun was, His name"a rendering and explanation which implies a belief in the pre-existence of the Messiah.
The other passage is also from the Machsor (Liturgy for the Festival Services) and will be found among the prayers on the Feast of Passover. It is as follows: "Flee, my beloved, until the end of the vision shall speak; hasten, and the shadows shall take their flight hence: high and exalted and lofty shall be the despised one; he shall be prudent in judgment, and shall sprinkle many! Lay bare thine arm! cry out, and say: 'The voice of my beloved; behold he cometh!'"11
11. David Levi, the English translator of the Machsor, a Jew, says in a note that this verse referred to "the true Messiah."
THE MODERN JEWISH AND RATIONALISTIC CHRISTIAN
INTERPRETATION OF ISAIAH 53.
On examining the different non-Messianic and controversial interpretations of this great prophecy, given by Jewish and unbelieving Christian Rabbis, it is an important fact to be borne in mind, as Pusey points out, that next to nothing turns upon renderings of the Hebrew. "The objections raised by Jewish controversialists (and I may add by the non-Messianic Christian interpreters) in only four, or at most five, words turn on the language." It is not then a question of knowledge of Hebrew Grammar, or Philology; and ordinary intelligent English readers, with the Authorized or Revised Version of the Scriptures in their hands, are well able to judge of the merits of the different interpretations which are advanced.
"The characteristics in which all agree are, that there would be a prevailing unbelief as to the subject of the prophecy, lowly beginnings, among circumstances outwardly unfavourable, but before God, and protected by Him; sorrows, injustice, contempt, death, which were the portion of the sufferer; that he was accounted a transgressor, yet that his sufferings were, in some way, vicarious, the just for the unjust; his meek silence; his willing acceptance of his death; his being with the rich in his death; his soul being (in some way) an offering for sin, and God's acceptance of it; his prolonged life; his making many righteous; his continued intercession for transgressors; the greatness of his exaltation, in proportion to the depth of his humiliation; the submission of kings to him; his abiding reign."12Now these characteristics stand out in all literal translations (as distinguished from mere paraphrases) whether made by Jews or Christians, in the east or in the west. "The question," as the writer whom I have just quoted observes, "is not, 'What is the picture?'in this all are agreedbut 'Whose image or likeness does it bear?'"
12. Pusey in his Introduction to The Jewish Interpreters of Isaiah 53.
It is not necessary for us to examine those Jewish interpretations which apply this chapter to Jeremiah, Isaiah himself, Hezekiah, Josiah, or Job, etc., for they have been sufficiently refuted by Jewish writers themselves, but I may quote Hengstenberg's observation in reference to those Christian writers who have followed in the same lines.
"Among the interpretations which refer the prophecy to a single individual other than the Messiah," he says, "scarcely any one has found another defender than its own author. They are of importance only in so far as they show that the prophecy does most decidedly make the impression that its subject is a real person, not a personification; and further, that it could not by any means be an exegetical interest which induced rationalism to reject the interpretation which referred it to Christ."
The most generally accepted modern Jewish interpretation of this prophecy is that which makes it apply to the Jewish nation.
The first mention we have of this explanation is by Origen,13
who, in his work against Celsus, says, "I remember once having used these prophecies in disquisition with those called wise among the Jews, whereon the Jews said that these things were prophesied of the whole people as one which was both dispersed abroad and smitten." But this may then have been the opinion of that particular Rabbi, or the counter-explanation may have been advanced by him (as has been done by later Rabbis and Jewish commentators) as a device, "in order to answer heretics" who were pressing them with the remarkable resemblance between the prophecy and its fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth.
13. Born, 185 or 186 A.D.; died, 253.
The first of the authoritative Jewish commentators who applied this chapter to the Jewish nation was Rashi, and since his time it has become more and more the "generally received" interpretation among the Jews. And that unbelieving Israel should have departed from the ancient interpretation which applied this prophecy to the Messiah is really not to be wondered at, for first the idea of a suffering expiatory Messiah became more and more repugnant to Rabbinic Judaism, which lost the knowledge of sin and the consciousness of the need of salvation, such as alone could make the doctrine of a vicariously suffering Redeemer acceptable. "Not knowing the holiness of God, and being ignorant of the true import of the Law," as Hengstenberg observes, "they imagine that in their own strength they can be justified before God. What they longed for was only an outward deliverance from their misery and oppressors, not an inward deliverance from sin. For this reason the Synagogue occupied itself exclusively with those Scriptures which announce a Messiah in glory, which passages also it misinterpreted."
Secondly, lacking or rejecting the key to the true understanding of this prophecy, namely, its fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth, Jewish commentators were encountered by great difficulties and inexplicabilities in their attempts to expound it. This picture of a Messiah, which represented Him as passing through the deepest humiliation and suffering, and pouring out His soul unto death, appeared to them irreconcilable with those prophecies which speak of the Messiah as coming in power and glory.
And, thirdly, this explanation was not only "too flattering to the national feeling not to be extensively adopted,"14
as Pusey observes, but it has really something plausible from their point of view as its basis. Is not Israel called Ebhed Yehovahthe Servant of Jehovahin this very Book of Isaiah? And has not Israel among the nations suffered humiliations, and wrongs, and tortures, and massacres, such as have been the lot or experience of no other people? In this connection it is an interesting fact that the explanation of this chapter, which made the Jewish nation to be the innocent sufferer for the guilt of the other nations, originated in what has been described as "the iron age of Judaism." Its author, Rashi, at an earlier period of his lifewhen he wrote his Commentary on the Talmudactually followed the older interpretation, which applied Isaiah 53 to the Messiah, but he very probably wrote his Commentary on the Bible (in which the new interpretation is first introduced) after the second Crusade, when the hideous massacres of Jews in Spire, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, by the wild profligate swarm which gathered, after the first Crusaders were gone, might well have occasioned it. "Before the time of the first Crusade, the Jews in Germany" (says the Jewish historian and apologist Graetz, who counts as oppression any disparity of condition between them and any people among whom they sojourned) "were neither in a condition of oppression nor contempt, nor were shut out from holding property. In what has been called 'the iron age of Judaism,' there was too much occasion for representing them (as far as man was concerned) as guiltless sufferers."
14. "Every truly Christian reader feels humbled as he reads this portion of Scripture, because he sees in it a description of his Saviour, and the cost of his redemption; almost every Jew is likely to feel lifted up, because he sees in it a description of the value of Israel to the nations of the world, and of his own sufferings as a means of peace and prosperity to Gentiles. There is thus a fundamental difference in the two interpretations of the chapter, answering to the fundamental difference that there is between Judaism and Christianitythe one a religion which magnifies human efforts, the other one which makes humiliation of soul necessary to true exaltation."Canon A. Lukyn Williams in Christian Evidence for Jewish People.
To give Christian readers a good idea of what this modern Jewish interpretation involves and how consistently it is carried through, I reproduce the exposition of Manasseh-ben-Israel,15
which is an embodiment of practically all that Jewish controversialists and rationalistic Christian writers who have followed on the same lines, have to say on this subject. He calls his Commentary the Reconciliation, or an answer to the question, "If this chapter is to be interpreted of the people of Israel, how came Isaiah to say that it bore the sin of many, whereas every one, according to the testimony of Ezekiel, 18:20, pays only for his own guilt?" and proceeds:
15. Born about 1604; died, 1657; Rabbi at Amsterdam; advocate before Cromwell and his Parliament for the readmission of Jews into England.
"The subject of this question demands long argument, and for our verses to be perfectly understood it will be necessary to explain the whole of the chapter, which we shall do with all possible brevity, without starting any objections which may be made against other expositions, as our intention is solely to show what our own opinion is. Accordingly, for greater clearness I shall set down the literal text with a paraphrase of my own, and then illustrate it by notes.
- The extreme prosperity of Israel at the time of the Messiah.
- The wonder of all the nations at seeing the rise from such a low state to grandeur.
- How they will perceive their mistake, acknowledging themselves to be the sinners and Israel to be innocent.
- What they will think of their various sects.
- The patience of the people in suffering the troubles of the captivity; and the reward they will receive for their suffering.
Literal Translation Paraphrase Behold, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted, and shall be extolled, and shall be raised 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 man:
Behold, my servant Israel shall understand; he shall be exalted, extolled, and raised very high, at the coming of the Messiah.
As many of the nations were astonished at thee, O Israel, saying at the time of the captivity, Truly he is disfigured above all mankind in his countenance and form:
So will he cause many nations to speak; kings shall shut their mouths at him; what had not been told them they shall see; and what they had not heard they shall understand. So at that time they shall speak of thy grandeur; even kings themselves shall shut their mouths in astonishment: for what they had never been told they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall understand. Who will believe our report? and upon whom hath the arm of Adonai been manifested? Who would have believed (the nations will say) what we see, had it been related to them? And look upon what a vile nation the arm of the Lord has manifested itself. And he came up before him as a branch, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness; and we saw him, and there was no appearance that we should covet it. He came up miraculously as a branch and a root out of a dry ground, for he had no form nor comeliness; we saw him, but so hideous, that it did not seem to us an appearance, for which we should envy him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, accustomed to sickness; and as they hid their faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was despised and rejected from the society of men, a man of sorrows, accustomed to suffer troubles; we hid our faces from him, he was despised and unesteemed among us. Surely he bare our sicknesses, and endured our sufferings; and we esteemed him wounded, smitten by God, and afflicted. But now we see that the sicknesses and troubles which we ought in reason to have suffered, he suffered and endured, and we thought that he was justly smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pained by our transgressions, was crushed by our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his wounds we were healed. Whereas he suffered the sicknesses and sufferings which we deserved for our sins: he bore the chastisement which our peace and felicity deserved; but his troubles appear to have been the cure of ourselves. All we like sheep went astray, we turned every one to his own way; and Adonai (God) caused the sin of all to meet upon him. All we like sheep went astray: we followed every one his own sect, and so the Lord seems to have transferred on him the punishment of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, and he opened not his mouth; he was carried as a lamb to the slaughter and was dumb as a sheep before its shearers; and he opened not his mouth. He was oppressed and afflicted: he was taken by us as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers, depriving him of life and property: and he was dumb and opened not his mouth. He was taken from imprisonment and judgment, and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression of my people they were stricken. From prison and these torments he is now delivered: and who would have thought of this his happy age when he was banished from the holy land? Through the wickedness of my people (each nation will say) this blow came upon them. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his deaths, although he had not acted falsely and there was no deceit in his mouth. He was buried with malefactors, and suffered various torments with the rich, without having committed crime or used deceit with his mouth. And Adonai wished to crush him, made him sick: if he offer his soul as an expiation, he shall see seed, he shall prolong days, and the will of Adonai shall prosper in his hand. But it was the Lord (the prophet says) who wished to make him sick and afflict him, in order to purify him: if he offer his soul as an expiation, he shall see seed, he shall prolong his days, and the will and determination of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. From the trouble of his soul he shall see, shall be satisfied: by his wisdom my righteous servant shall justify many: and he shall bear their iniquities. For the trouble which his soul suffered in captivity, he shall see good, shall be satisfied with days: by his wisdom my righteous servant Israel shall justify the many, and he will bear their burdens. Therefore I will distribute to him with many, and with the strong he shall divide the spoil: because he gave up his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many: and he prayed for the transgressors. Therefore I will give him his share of spoil among the many and powerful of Gog and Magog, because he gave himself up unto death for the sanctification of my name; and was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the offence of many, even praying for the very transgressors from whom he received injuries."
Of his "Commentary" I am only able, for lack of space, to reproduce his notes on those verses which speak particularly of the vicariousness of the sufferings of Jehovah's righteous servant. He says, on chapter 52:13:
"'Servant' was one of the many titles of honour with which the blessed God honoured Israel (Isa 41:8; Jer 30:10; Eze 37:25; Psa 136:22). And as the prophet in this chapter praises the fidelity with which Israel, as loyal servants, were ever in the service of the blessed Lord, suffering innumerable persecutions in this captivity, he therefore applies this title to them here. Whence it appears that the sole subject of this prophecy is the people of Israel; and that is the true meaning of it; and the certainty of this is further proved by its connection with the preceding chapter, where the prophet says, 'Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion,' etc. (52:1-12); and then he continues (v 13), 'Behold my servant shall prosper, or understand, etc.'
"The prophet addresses himself to the people, and shows that in the same manner as the nations of the world wondered at their low estate and fortunes, even going so far as to charge them with being disfigured, having a form unsuitable to man, and unlike other mortals, so at that period will they wonder at their prosperity and elevated state; for, seeing the sudden change in the fortune of Israel, rising from such extreme meanness to such extensive empire, all the kings of the earth will wonder and discourse on the subject. And he gives the reason of this, namely, because what had never been told them of any nation they see in the people of Israel, whose grandeur none ever equalled, and what they had never heard from their false teachers, they now understand. Or יקפצו, yiqp'tsu, signifies they will shut their mouth, speaking with great respect and modesty of that people which they had shortly before known as captives, subject to the will of their tyrannous power (Micah 7:15-16)."
On verses 4-7 he puts the following words into the mouth of the Gentile nations:
"We unbelievers more justly merited the troubles and calamities which this innocent people suffered in their captivity. But we were so blind that we considered him to be wounded, smitten, and afflicted by God, and not through ourselves, and that all this came on them for keeping themselves apart from the truth, and not joining with us in our religion.
"But it was quite the contrary, for our wickedness alone was the cause of his troubles; did they not arise from any hatred God bore them. The punishment (מוסר, musar) or discipline of our peace, was upon him, for, as grief always accompanies pleasure, the chastisement of this happiness appears to have fallen on him. Or it may also mean, when in the enjoyment of peace adversaries were wanting, we immediately turned our arms against this people, and what we established for the discipline and good government of our states all redounded in measures against him, decrees of death, banishment, and confiscation of property, as experience daily shows. Or otherwise, the doctrine (מוסר, musar) taught by our preachers was that our tranquillity depended upon our being irritated against him, and ultimately we should find health in wounding him.
"But all we like sheep went astray, etc. That is, they will not only acknowledge the ill-treatment and bodily inflictions they had made Israel suffer, but at the same time their errors, attributing their wickedness thereto; for many will say, We all (Ishmaelites and Idumeans) like sheep went astray, each in his own way following a new sect, just as the prophet Jeremiah says (16:19). And the Lord made to fall on him the wickedness of us all. That is, we erred; they followed the truth; consequently they suffered the punishments which we deserved.
"We deprived them of their property as tribute, and afflicted their bodies with various kinds of torture, yet he opened not his mouth, etc. The experience of this is seen every day, particularly in the cruelties of the Inquisition, and the false testimony raised against them to take their wool and rob them of their property. And it is exactly this that the Psalmist says, 'Thou hast given us, O Lord, like sheep appointed for meat' (44:11); and further on, 'For thy sake are we killed every day; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter' (44:22), suffering daily with the greatest patience these acts of tyranny and fearful calamities."
On verse 9 he says:
"The nations continue, We have frequently condemned this people to death, and buried them with malefactors, and with the rich, במותיו, in their various deaths, though it is certain that, in order to take away their property, we raised against them innumerable false testimonies, and martyred them, without them having committed any crime or our having any charge against them, except of having accumulated wealth, although he had committed no חמם, robbery, and there was no deceit in his mouth, that is, allowing themselves to be robbed of the property they had not robbed, and to be killed for the sanctification of the Lord, and refusing to acknowledge with their mouth any other religion.
"From verse 10 onward the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and relates the reason why these troubles were suffered, and the reward to be hoped from them. And, firstly, he says that the will and determination of the Lord has been to crush them and to make them sick by so many different calamities, that, being purified by these means, they may become worthy of such great felicity. If he offer his soul as an expiation,אשם, surrendering it for the sake of the Law; or, if he give himself up and acknowledge himself guilty, becoming repentant, as Joseph's brethren, who said, 'But we are guilty' (Gen. 42:21), he shall see seed, that is, they shall multiply infinitely (Eze 36:37; Zech 10:10; Deut 30:5). He shall prolong days. The same prophet confirms this where he says, 'As the days of the tree,' that is, the tree of life, 'are the days of my people' (Isa 65:22); and Zechariah, 'And every man with his staff in his hand from multitude of days' (8:4). Lastly, and the will of the Lord, which is to oppress him and make him sick with punishments for his greater glory, shall prosper in his hand, for the purpose and end to which they are directed will be attained. Or, the will of the Lord, which is that all should be saved and come to the holy knowledge of himself, will prosper through his hand and means and take effect.
"By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many. That is, Israel, who is termed 'a righteous people and holy nation,' justifies many by his knowledge and wisdom, bringing them with brotherly love over to the true religion, and separating them from their vain sects; and this at the very time that he bears their iniquities, patiently suffering the tyranny of their wickedness. Or it may otherwise mean, At that time my servant Israel will justify and make many nations meritorious (Micah 4:2; Zech 8:23).
"And he shall bear their iniquities. For, being a most religious and holy people, he will take charge of the spiritual administration of the observance of the Law as Moses says to Aaron, 'Thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary' (Num 18:1).
"Because he poured out his soul unto death, etc. The prophet here attributes four merits to them, for which they justly deserve the reward of that happiness; and again in the form of a compendium he recapitulates the contents of the chapter, (1) Because he delivered himself up to death, allowing himself to be killed for the sanctification of the Lord's name and the observance of His most holy Law. (2) Because he was reckoned among the wicked, patiently enduring to be called a heretic. (3) For having borne the sin of many, the wickedness and tyranny of others falling on his shoulders. (4) Lastly, in having observed the precept of Jeremiah, 'Seek the welfare of the city whither I have caused you to be carried captive' (29:7); and this, too, so carefully that in all their prayers they pray for the health of the prince, and the peace of the kingdom or province wherein they reside; and, what is more, it may be even for the welfare of those from whom they are receiving insult and wrong, which is highly meritorious, and a convincing proof of the constancy and patience with which they receive from the Lord's hand the yoke of captivity and the sufferings of its misfortunes."
This, then, is the modern Jewish view of this prophecy. "Among Christians," to quote the words of a great German Bible student, "the interpretation has taken nearly the same course as among the Jews. Similar causes have produced similar effects in both cases. By both, the true explanation was relinquished, when the prevailing tendencies had become opposed to its results. And if we descend to particulars, we shall find a great resemblance even between the modes of interpretation proposed by both. Even a priori, we could not but suppose otherwise than that the Christian Church, as long as she possessed Christ, found Him here also, where He is so clearly and distinctly set before our eyesthat as long as she in general still acknowledged the authority of Christ and of the Apostles, she could not but, here too, follow their distinct, often-repeated testimony. And so, indeed, do we find it to be. With the exception of a certain Silesian called Seidelwho, given up to total unbelief, asserted that the Messiah had never yet come, nor would ever comeand of Grotius, both of whom supposed Jeremiah to be the subjectno one of the Christian Church has, for seventeen centuries, ventured to call in question the Messianic interpretation.
"On the contrary, this passage was always considered to be the most distinct and glorious of all the Messianic prophecies. It was reserved to the last quarter of the eighteenth century to be the first to reject the Messianic interpretation. At a time when Naturalism exercised its sway, if could no longer be retained. For, if this passage contains a Messianic prophecy at all, its contents offer so striking an argument with the history of Christ that its origin cannot at all be accounted for in the natural way. Expedients were therefore sought for; and these were so much the more easily found that the Jews had, in this matter, already opened up the way.
"All that was necessary was only to appropriate their arguments and counter-arguments, and to invest them with the semblance of solidity by means of a learned apparatus."
THE UNTENABLENESS OF THE MODERN INTERPRETATION.
I shall now proceed to show the untenableness of this modern interpretation; but before doing so it is necessary to point out that, like most of the false teaching of the present day, it contains a germ of truth which lends plausibility to the error.
The germ of truth contained in this explanation is that, as has already been observed above, the term "Servant of Jehovah" is indeed again and again applied to Israel in the second half of the Book of Isaiah. Thus, in the very first instance where the phrase occurs, we read: "But thou, Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend" (Isa 41:8). Again; "Ye are My witnesses, saith Jehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He" (Isa 43:10). "Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen" etc. (Isa 44:1).
This is Israel's high calling, but, alas! in this, as in the other great relationships to God, to which he was called, namely, that of a son to his father, and of a wife to her husband, Israel has failed and proved himself unfaithful.
Israel's failure to apprehend that for which he was apprehended of God, and his unfaithfulness as Jehovah's Servant, is forcibly depicted in many passages in these very chapters of Isaiah. "Hear, ye deaf" God complains in the 42nd chapter; "and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but My servant? or deaf, as My messenger that I send? Who is blind as he that was called to be perfect (or 'as he that is at peace'), and blind as Jehovah's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; his ears are open, but he heareth not" (Isa 42:18-20).
But Israel's sins and disobedience cannot frustrate
the purpose of God. The ideal to which the nation
could not rise is gloriously realized in Him who is both
the Head and Heart of Israel. In the words of Von
Orelli, "The idea, Servant of Jehovah, which was united
from the first in God's purpose with the people of Israel,
outgrew this national limit, even as the idea, 'Son of
God,' which was likewise at first attributed to the people,
also became a separate Person and was definitely
assigned to the Messiahi.e. the Lord's Anointed"
(as, for instance, in
Psa 2). It is true that both these
designations ("Servant" and "Son") remain as marks
of the character indelebilis impressed by God's grace on
this nation, and in and through their Messiah, and in union with Him, will yet become true of their actual condition and experience; hence, wherever this grace speaks, and restored and converted Israel in the future is prophetically contemplated, the nation still wears these names of honour, as, for instance, in the passages from chapters 41, 43, and 44, quoted above. "But the more the nation as a whole shows itself incapable of rising to the high calling implied in it, and the less the Lord is willing to renounce the realizing of this high idea, the more plainly the term 'Servant of Jehovah' detaches itself from the national multitude and becomes a personally conceived ideal, which acquires such independence that the nation itself becomes the object of the Servant's redeeming work."16
In chapter 49 especially we see this One Individual who is out of the nation, and yet towering high above it, invested with the name and the mission to which the whole people was called in the first instance.
16. The following suggestive note is from Franz Delitzsch on Isaiah: "The idea of the Servant of Jehovah assumed, so to speak, figuratively, the form of a pyramid. The base was Israel as a whole; the central section was that Israel which was not merely Israel according to the flesh, but according to the spirit also; the apex is the person of the Mediator of Salvation springing out of Israel. And the last of the three is regarded (1) as the centre of the circle of the promised kingdomthe second David; (2) the centre of the circle of the people of salvationthe second Israel; (3) the centre of the human racethe second Adam. Throughout the whole of these prophecies, in chapters 40-46, the knowledge of salvation is still in its second stage, and about to pass into the third. Israel's true nature as a servant of God, which had its roots in the election and calling of Jehovah, and manifested itself in conduct and action in harmony with its calling, is all concentrated in Him the One, as its ripest fruit. The gracious purposes of God toward the whole human race, which were manifested even in the election of Israel, are brought by Him to their full completion.
"Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far; Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name.
"And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and He hath made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He kept me close;
"And He said unto me, Thou art My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
"But I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and for vanity: yet surely my judgment is with Jehovah, and my recompence with my God.
"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: (for I am honourable in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God is become my strength;)
"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 give thee for a light to the Gentiles, and that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth" (Isa 49:1-6).
That it is not of the nation of Israel that this prophecy speaks is clear, and manifest to every unbiased mind, since the One who is here thus dramatically introduced as proclaiming His own call and enduement for His office, and whom Jehovah addresses, is the One who is sent as the Redeemer of Israel, namely, "to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel," i.e. not only to their land, but to their God.
Here God says to him, "Thou art My servant, O Israel" (or, "Thou art Israel"). He is invested with the name of Israel because He, "as Israel's inmost centre, as Israel's highest head," realizes the idea and carries out the mission to which the nation which had originally been called to the task of carrying out God's saving purpose in relation to the world does not respond.
Here, too, as in chapter 42:1-9, where the ideal personal Servant of Jehovah is contrasted with the nation whose failure and unfaithfulness is depicted in verses 18-25 of the same chapter, His mission extends, not only to Israel, whom He is to raise up and restore, and to whom He is to be, not only the mediator, but the very embodiment of "the covenant" which shall be everlastingly established between them and their God, but is to be the light also of the Gentiles, and God's salvation unto the very ends of the earth.
And as in chapters 42 and 49, so also in Isaiah 53 itself, "where the figure of the Servant of Jehovah unfolds its entire fullness of meaning," He is clearly and definitely distinguished from the nation. Thus, for instance, we read in the 8th verse, "For the transgressions of my people was He stricken." The speaker is either Jehovah or the prophet, but in either case עמי, ami, "my people," can apply only to Israel, and if the servant is stricken for Israel he cannot be Israel. But, apart from the fact that in chapters
53 (which begins 52:13), and
61, this ideal Servant stands out clearly distinguished from the nation, there are other conclusive reasons why the 53rd chapter in particular cannot be applied to Israel, for (1) the subject of the prophecy is an absolutely innocent sufferer who suffers for the guilt of othersone who has Himself "done no violence, nor can deceit be found in His mouth," but is "stricken," "smitten," and "afflicted of God" for others. (2) He is a voluntary suffererone who willingly "pours out His own soul unto death."
(3) He is an unresisting suffererone who is "led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, He openeth not His mouth"; and
(4) His sufferings end in death.
Now, none of these points is found in the Jewish nation. Israel has been suffering, and is suffering as no other nation has suffered. Truly "under the whole heaven," to use the words of Daniel, "hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem" (9:12) and upon her people during the many centuries of their dispersion. I have elsewhere given a condensed summary of the terrible story of Israel's sufferings since the destruction of the second Temple,17
17. See The Shepherd of Israel and His Scattered Flock.
Now, none of these points is found in the Jewish nation. Israel has been suffering, and is suffering as no other nation has suffered. Truly "under the whole heaven," to use the words of Daniel, "hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem" (9:12) and upon her people during the many centuries of their dispersion. I have elsewhere given a condensed summary of the terrible story of Israel's sufferings since the destruction of the second Temple,17
Modern Rabbis, in spite of the definite statement in the chapter itself, that it was "for the transgressions of My people" (Israel) that the righteous servant was stricken, put verses 1-9 into the mouth of the Gentile nations, and make them say that "he (i.e. Israel) suffered the sickness and sufferings which we Gentiles deserved"; but this is only part of the self-deception which characterizes the modern teachers and leaders of the Synagogue, and which has led them to perversive views of their own Scriptures and facts of history. It is this same spirit of pharisaic self-satisfaction which regards the dispersion among the nations as a blessing, and denies the necessity of atonement and of a mediator between God and man. But whether we will heed or not, the solemn fact remains that Israel's dispersion among the nations, and their many sufferings during the long period of their wanderings from the presence of God, are the direct consequences of their apostasy and sin.
At the very beginning of their history Moses foretold what the consequences would be if they departed from their God. "If ye will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me, then I will walk contrary unto you in fury: and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. . . . And I will make your cities a waste and your sanctuaries a desolation. . . . And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you, . . . And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you (far from atoning by their sufferings for the sins of the Gentile nations) shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands. And also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them." And this is to last until "they shall confess their iniquities, and the iniquity of their fathers in their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and also that because they walked contrary unto Me. . . . If then their uncircumcised heart be humbled and they accept of the punishment of their iniquity, then will I remember My covenant with Jacob; and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember ; and I will remember the land' (Lev 26:14-45).
And what Moses announced in advance in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, etc., is repeated and confirmed by all the prophets. We need only contemplate the picture of Israel as a nation given in this Book of Isaiah itself to be convinced that it cannot be of it that the prophet speaks in chapter 53. Far from being itself absolutely innocent (as the Servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 53 is described as being) and suffering for the guilt of others, the prophet speaks of them as "a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers" (Isa 1:2-9), whose iniquities have separated between them and their God, and whose sins have caused His face to be hid from them that He will not hear (Isa 59:2-15).
In the 42nd chapter Israel's suffering condition among the nations is described in graphic style and language. "But this is a people robbed and plundered; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore." But the prophet proceeds immediately to declare that Israel's sorrows and sufferings are not the result of mere chance, but are due to the direct acts of God in judgment on account of Israel's sins. "Who is there among you that will give ear to this, that will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not Jehovah? He against whom we have sinned, and in whose ways they would not walk, neither were they obedient unto His law" (Isa 42:23-25).
To evade the force of this truth, that the nation could not be the innocent sufferer set forth in the personal portraiture of the Servant of Jehovah in chapters 42, 49, 50, 53, and 61, some Jewish and rationalistic writers have interpreted this great prophecy of the godly remnant in the nation. But, though relatively the pious in the nation may be spoken of as righteous when compared with the godless majority, they are not absolutely righteous, and, far from being able to render a vicarious satisfaction for others, they cannot even stand themselves before God on the ground of their own righteousness.
It is indeed the godly remnant in the nation which is described in the second part of Isaiah as of "a contrite and humble spirit," who are themselves waiting for the salvation of God, which will be wholly of grace. It is they"the righteous ones"who confess for themselves and the entire nation that "we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away" (Isa 64:6).
It is perfectly true, therefore, that Isaiah speaks of the "entire nation as needing enlightening, redeeming, and reconciling to God," and the godly remnant of it, far from being represented in these chapters as rendering satisfaction for others by their sufferings, "appears on the contrary a fainting flock which the Servant of Jehovah is to release, and refresh, and for whose justification He is to suffer and die" (Von Orelli).
And as Israel is not an innocent sufferer so neither does he suffer voluntarily. "The Jews did not go voluntarily into captivity," as Hengstenberg well observes, "but were dragged into it by force," and so all through the centuries they did not voluntarily suffer the many oppressions and wrongs which they had to endure, but were forced to submit to them by the Gentile nations whom God used as His scourge.
Still less can it be asserted that Israel was an unresisting sufferer:
"Here is one described," writes another Hebrew Christian brother, "who bears all sorts of affliction and oppression, without making the slightest resistance, without even opening his mouth to utter reproachone who has the meekness and gentleness of a lamb, the inoffensiveness of a sheep. Surely this does not apply to the Jews. A very hasty glance at their history is sufficient to convince us of that. As long as ever they had the power, they did resist bitterly and bloodily. We freely acknowledge that their provocations were great. We have no wish to defend the wickedness of Christian nations. We grant that their treatment of the Jews is a blot and a stain. But that is not the question. The question is, Did the Jews bear all the oppression heaped upon them like lambs? Did they suffer evil without resisting it? History answers in the negative. The history of the Jewish captivity for the first seven centuries is a history of a series of insurrections, fierce and violent, against the nations. How desperate was the resistance to the Roman power which brought on the destruction of the temple by Titus! But when that was destroyed, the spirit of resistance still remained. A.D. 115, the Jews of Cyrene rebelled and slew 220,000 Libyans; and it was not until after several bloody battles that they submitted. A.D. 132, Bar Cochba appeared in the character of the Messiah at the head of an army, ready to shake off the Roman yoke. R. Akiba, one of those looked upon by the Rabbis as most righteous, supported his resistance to the Roman authority; a bloody war was the consequence, and it was only by force that this insurrection was put down. A.D. 415, the Jews of Alexandria revolted. A.D. 522, the Jews of Persia revolted under the conduct of R. Mid, or Miz, at their head, and declared war against the King of Persia. A.D. 535, the Jews in Caesarea rebelled. A.D. 602, the Jews at Antioch. A.D. 624, the Jews in Arabia took up arms against Mahomet. A.D. 613, they joined the armies of Chosroes, when he made himself master of Jerusalem, and put thousands to death."18Neither have the sufferings of the Jewish nation ended in death, as is the lot of the Servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 53. No; Israel, in spite of all the centuries of persecutions and oppressions, still lives and can say as of yore, "Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me." "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of Jehovah."
18. Doctrine and Interpretation of the Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah, by Dr. Alexander M'Caul.
And yet in spite of these facts a modern Jewish writer (Dr. A. Kohut, in Discussions on Isaiah 52:13-53:12) can allow himself to write: "We have suffered much and murmured less; the annals of history teem with the atrocious crimes of cruel Torquemadas, but fail to reproach us with even a breath of remonstrance. . . . We have whispered sweetly of our wrongs, not imprecations of revenge, but hope-fraught hymns of glad release." But it is a fact, as Dr. Lukyn Williams observes in reply, that "meekness is not, and never has been, a characteristic of Jews, and they have not hesitated to call down the vengeance of God upon their enemies in their private or public devotions. So, for example, in the Service for the Festival of the Dedication: 'When Thou shalt have prepared a slaughter of the blaspheming foe, I will complete with song and psalm the dedication of Thy altar,' and, at the end of the same piece, though omitted by Dr. Singer: 'Lay bare Thy holy arm, and bring the time of Thy salvation near. Take vengeance for the blood of Thy servants from the wicked nation'" (Christian Evidence for Jewish People, by Canon A. Lukyn Williams, vol. i. p. 168).
I must bring this introductory section to a close, but I may add to all that has been said that it is clear and manifest to all unprejudiced minds that the chapter cannot be applied to a collective body personified, but must refer to an individual person. To quote from another writer,
"Not one analogous instance can be quoted in favour of a personification carried on through a whole section, without the slightest intimation that it is not a single individual who is spoken of. In verse 3 the subject is called איש (ish, 'a man'); in verses 10 and 12 a soul is ascribed to Him; grave and death are used so as to imply a subject in the singular. Scripture never leaves anything to be guessed. If we had an allegory before us, distinct hints as to the interpretation would certainly not be wanting. It is, e.g., quite different in those passages where the prophet designates Israel by the name of the Servant of the Lord. In them, all uncertainty is prevented by the addition of the names of 'Jacob' and 'Israel'; and in them, moreover, the prophet uses the plural by the side of the singular to intimate that the Servant of the Lord is an ideal person, a collective."19No, this prophecy speaks of an individual, and there is only one person in the history of the world whom it fits. "Let any one steep his mind in the contents of this chapter," observes Professor James Orr, "and then read what is said about Jesus in the Gospels, and as he stands under the shadow of the Cross, say if there is not the most perfect correspondence between the two. In Jesus of Nazareth alone in all history, but in Him perfectly, has this prophecy found fulfillment. The meekness, the pathos of undeserved suffering, the atoning function, the final triumph, will suit no other." That there is a marked resemblance between the picture of the Servant of Jehovah in this chapter and the historic account of Jesus of Nazareth as given in the Gospels is acknowledged by many Jews.
19. Compare Isaiah 41:8; 44:1,2,21; 45:4, 48:20.
Thus Rabbi Abraham Farissol,20
who himself proceeds to misinterpret the prophecy of Israel, says: "In this chapter there seem to be considerable resemblances and allusions to the work of the Christian Messiah and to the events which are asserted to have happened to himso that no other prophecy can be found, the gist and subject of which can be so immediately applied to him." And as a matter of fact this glorious prophecy of the sufferings of the Messiah and the glory which should follow has been used of God more than any Scripture in opening the eyes of Jews to recognize in Jesus Israel's Redeemer-King.21
20. Rabbi Farissol, early in the sixteenth century, author of Iggereth Orechoth Olam; Itinera Mundi. 21. "Blessed, precious chapter, how many of God's ancient covenant people have been led by thee to the foot of Christ's cross!that cross over which was written, 'Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews!' And oh! what a glorious commentary shall be given of thee when, in the latter days, repentant and believing Israel, looking unto Him whom they have pierced, shall exclaim, 'Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted!'"Adolph Saphir, D.D., The Sinner and the Saviour.
Is this, perhaps, the chief reason why this chapter is omitted from the public readings in the Synagogue? We know, of course, that whereas the whole Torah (the Pentateuch) is read through on the Sabbaths in the course of the year, only selections from the prophets are appointed for the Haphtarahs, but it is none the less remarkable that in these "selections" the portion for one Sabbath should end with the 12th verse of the 52nd chapter, and the one for the following should begin with the 54th chapter, and that the whole of this sublime section about the suffering Servant, through the knowledge of whom the many are made righteous, is passed over.
It certainly gives ground for the statement that the 53rd of Isaiah is "the bad conscience of the Synagogue," which it dare not face because it reminds them too much of Him whom the nation, alas! in its blindness still despises and rejects, and considers "smitten of God and afflicted." But this very feeling and attitude on the part of the Jewish nation is one great proof that Jesus is the Messiah, and that it is to Him that this prophecy refers.
To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. 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. 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. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine 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 prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.
The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.
Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God. And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light 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.
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
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