Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 9th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 50

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-11

Chapter 50

Now in chapter 50 another marvelous prophecy of Jesus Christ and of the humiliation that He would receive from His own people.

Thus saith the LORD ( Isaiah 50:1 ),

Talking to Israel now.

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 ( Isaiah 50:1 ).

So God is declaring that the nation was divorced. It was put away because of the transgressions. And that God did not sell them to their enemies. They sold themselves by their own iniquities. They had turned from God, the fountain of living water. They worship the other gods; they sold themselves.

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? ( Isaiah 50:2 )

God said, "I called but you didn't answer. I came but no one met Me." And so Jesus came to His own, His own received Him not. He called unto them; they would not respond. "Have I no power to deliver?"

behold, at my rebuke I can dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and they die for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. The Lord GOD ( Isaiah 50:2-4 )

And, of course, here's the prophecy now directly of Jesus Christ.

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 ( Isaiah 50:4-5 ).

Now here is the Lord Jesus Christ speaking as the servant and as the obedient servant of the Father. You remember He said, "I came not to do My will but the will of Him who sent Me" ( John 5:30 ). I do always those things that please the Father" ( John 8:29 ). Here he said, "The Lord God hath opened my ear, I was not rebellious, neither turned away back."

In the Old Testament time if you were a slave, you served a six-year term of slavery. It was the responsibility of your master to take care of all of your needs. If you were of marriageable age, he could give to you a bride. But in reality, you could own nothing for yourself. And so the bride, you really didn't own her nor the children that were born. They still belong to your master though you be married to her and you have children by her. Now in the sixth year, after the six years of service, in the seventh year, you could go forth free. But if you say, "But I love my wife. And I love my children. And I love serving here. I want to stay on and I want to serve you." Then he would bring you... He would call the elders of the city. He would bring you to the doorpost of his house. He'd take an awl and drive it through the lobe of your ear. He would open your ear with the awl. He would pin your ear. You'll be pinned to the doorpost by your ear. And then they would put a gold ring through that pierced ear and you would then be a bondslave, a servant by choice for life. Now the Lord said, "He hath opened mine ear that I was not rebellious." That is, He submitted Himself to the Father's will. It's a beautiful picture of the submission of Jesus Christ unto the Father, even to the death of the cross.

I gave my back to the smiters ( Isaiah 50:6 ),

We are told in the scripture that Pilate had Him scourged. Now the scourging was a beating of thirty-nine stripes laid across the back of a prisoner with a whip that they call the cat-of-nine-tails whip. It was a leather whip with little bits of cut glass and lead imbedded in it that would rip open the flesh. The purpose of the scourging was to elicit confessions. It was the third-degree techniques of the Roman government in order to get confessions from convicted felons. In order that they might clear up much of the crime. And a few licks on the back and anybody would confess, even the hardest of criminals. And the idea was with each confession, the next lick would be a little easier and so it sort of encouraged confession. A refusal to confess, each lick would be a little harder, again, to encourage confession. "And as the lamb before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth" ( Isaiah 53:7 ). He said, "I gave my back to the smiters." But He had no sins or crimes against man to confess. And Jesus was scourged by the Roman government. He received thirty-nine stripes, laid across His back. We will read more about this and study more about this next Sunday night as we get into the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and we discover there the purposes of God in His being smitten.

my cheeks also ( Isaiah 50:6 )

We are told that they covered His face and they began to buffet Him. They began to hit Him. And they said, "Prophesy, who was it that hit You?" Now when you can see a blow coming, you have certain natural reflexes of fainting with that blow so that you more or less cushion the blow by an automatic reflex of pulling your head back as you see the blow coming. Our bodies are marvelously coordinated. And you can step off of a curb very smoothly because of the coordination of your body. However, if you've ever stepped off and you didn't know the curb was there, and your mind was not coordinating the activities of the body to step off gracefully, just six inches can be a horrible jar.

When we were over in Israel this last trip, we stayed in the King David Hotel. And in this one fire escape kind of an exit, which we oftentimes used because the elevators were slow, there is one step that is about an inch-and-a-half deeper than the other steps. And we had a lady on our trip who was coming down the steps and when she came to the one step that was just an inch-and-a-half deeper than the other steps, because her mind was not coordinating, it was coordinating for a six-inch step, when she came to the seven-and-a-half inch step, just that extra inch-and-a-half broke her ankle in two places. Because her mind wasn't coordinating to cushion the blow.

So our minds have an automatic reflex action, even as you blink your eyes there is a certain pulling back reflex when you see a blow coming that cushions the blow. Otherwise, boxers would kill each other all the time in the ring. But you see how they are moving and you do that instinctively and automatically. Now they covered the face of Jesus so He could not see the blows coming. So that He could not instinctively pull back. So that the blows landed on His face with full force until they had beaten Him to the place where His face was so bloated and so marred that you look at Him and you would not even know that He was a human being. We'll get to that in Isaiah 52:1-15 next Sunday.

Now here is the prophecy, "I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks,"

to those that plucked off the hair ( Isaiah 50:6 ):

They evidently pulled out His beard by the fistful. And with these beatings, His face was so distorted that you could not even recognize Him as a human being.

I hid not my face from shame and spitting ( Isaiah 50:6 ).

Spitting is a sign in the oriental culture of total disdain and disgust. The Arabs have quite a disdain many times for American tourists. And we have been spit upon or at (good dodger), but they oftentimes disdain the American tourists there. And especially if they try to sell you something and you say, "No, I don't want it." Many times they'll spit at you, just to show their absolute disgust and disdain. It's just a part of their oriental culture. And thus, the Jews not only rejected Him, but they spit upon Him. "My cheeks to the smiters, and I did not hide my face from their shame and their spitting."

Isaiah, in chapter 52, we'll get there next week also, really this all comes together. Chapter 50 begins with the humiliation of Christ and goes on through. It said, "And as many as saw Him were astonished, shocked, and we hid as it were our faces from Him" ( Isaiah 53:3 ). Jesus was not a pretty picture when He redeemed you from your sin. His face was a bloody, bloated mass, swollen and distorted beyond recognition. Covered with spit. His back laid open by the beating. A crown of thorns upon his head. And Pilate said, "Behold the man!" But you couldn't even recognize that He was a man. And yet He did it. He endured it. He did not turn away. His ear was open. He submitted to the will of the Father because He loved you. "And who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" ( Hebrews 12:2 ), though He despised the spitting, even as you would. And the shame of the whole thing. He despised it. But yet He endured it because His love for you was stronger than anything else. And the joy of being able to wash you and redeem you and to cleanse you from all of your sins was the thing that kept Him going in that moment of disgrace and ignominy. How much He loved us. Oh, God, help us to respond to that love.

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore I will not be confounded: therefore have I set my face as flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed ( Isaiah 50:7 ).

His trust was in the Father. He had committed Himself unto God and to the will of God completely.

He is near that justifies 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 walks in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and put his trust upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire ( Isaiah 50:8-11 ),

In the last verse he refers to a little pagan ceremony that they went in, that they did.

All ye that kindle a fire put a circle of sparks around you: that you might walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow ( Isaiah 50:11 ).

You that have gone after the false gods. You that are worshipping these false idols. You that are worshipping in this false system. This you're going to have from me. You're going to go down in sorrow.

I do not know how a Jew can read these scriptures and not recognize that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. I do not know how they can look at these and deny the prophecy of Jesus Christ or the fulfillment of Jesus Christ of these prophecies.

Father, we thank You for the great love that You have for us, though we realize how unworthy we are and undeserving. Yet, Lord, You have loved us with an everlasting love. And You have drawn us with Your cords of kindness. And Lord, You sent Your Son, how thankful we are. And now, Lord, we receive Your love. And Father, we love You and we thank You that You chose us that we should be Your disciples, that we should bring forth fruit. That we should serve You and that we should be with You in Your kingdom. We thank You, Lord, that You called us. We thank You, Lord, that You have redeemed us in the blood of Jesus Christ. And that You have accepted us in Him. And now, Lord, we are Your children. May we walk as children in this dark and perverse world. In Jesus' name. Amen.

And now may the Lord be with you. And may the Lord bless you and keep you through this week. May the grace of God abound towards thee in all things. That you might experience the full richness of His love and of His grace towards you in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in His name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 50". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-50.html. 2014.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile