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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Isaiah 50



Verse 8

Israel rebuilt (49:8-50:3)

Once more God promises the return of the captive Jews to their homeland. God will protect them along the journey and help them as they rebuild their ruined country (8-10). Whether exiled in Babylon or scattered in other places, the people will return home amid much rejoicing (11-13).

Some of the Jews thought God had forgotten them. God now shows that for him this is impossible (14-16). Israel will return and rebuild its homeland. Opponents who try to ruin Israel's work will not be successful and will leave in shame and defeat (17-18). People born in exile will flock to the rebuilt Jerusalem. The land previously uninhabited and in ruins will become well populated and prosperous again (19-21). Scattered Jews in other countries will also return, helped by generous aid from the nations among whom they have lived (22-23).

Among the exiles were some who apparently doubted the prophet's promise of restoration, for Babylon seemed unconquerable. How can a captive people possibly be freed when they are in the grip of such a powerful tyrant (24)? God replies that he can do it. He reminds the doubting exiles that he is the all-powerful God and Israel's covenant redeemer. He will crush the Babylonians in a judgment suited to the cruel oppression that they inflicted on their helpless victims (25-26).

Other Jews blamed God for their troubles, as if he had cast them off like a husband who divorces his wife or a father who sells his children to pay off his debts. God replies that they have no evidence to support such an accusation, for he has neither 'divorced' them nor 'sold' them. Rather their sins are the cause of their troubles (50:1). They ignored God when he spoke to them through his servants the prophets. But he still loves them and has the power to save them. Nothing in all creation can withstand his power (2-3).

Verses 4-11

The servant's patient endurance (50:4-11)

In this, the third Servant Song, the words again may have an application to the experiences of Israel among the nations. In particular they reflect the experiences of the few faithful Jews who tried to teach, warn and comfort their ungodly fellow exiles in Babylon. The song becomes even more meaningful when applied to the experiences of the Messiah himself.

The servant is taught by God day by day, so that he can give teaching and encouragement to those who need it. Although people respond with opposition and physical violence, the servant does not give up. He learns the meaning of obedience by the things he suffers (4-6). He perseveres because he knows that he has acted blamelessly and that God is with him. And if God is on his side, no one can triumph over him. Those who make accusations against him will not prove him guilty, but will themselves be put to shame (7-9).

In a world of darkness faithful believers walk confidently and do not fall, because they trust in God. Others, who do not trust in God but who make their own 'fire' to give them light, will find in the end that the fire burns them. In other words, when people depend on human scheming instead of depending on God, they will find in the end that their scheming is the cause of their downfall (10-11).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Isaiah 50:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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