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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 53

The Suffering of Jehovah’s Servant: Its Meaning and Results

See introductory note to chapters


Isaiah 52:13-15. The contrast between the Servant’s humiliation and exaltation; its effect upon the world.

Isaiah 53:1-12. The import of the Servant’s sufferingnot understood. The vicarious nature and triumphant issue of the Servant’s suffering.

Verses 1-12

1-3. The tenses are past (prophetic perfect), the future being viewed as already accomplished.

1. The questions are asked by the prophet, and the implied answer is ’No one.’ None or few received the divine message, or recognised the working of Jehovah’s power in His Servant.

Arm] cp. Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 52:10.

2. The people here speak. There was nothing in the servant’s appearance to attract them. Shall grow] RV ’grew.’ Before him] i.e. before God. Tender plant, etc.] not like a stately tree, but like a lowly plant, struggling in arid soil. So the human life of the Messiah was one of obscurity and humility.

3. Sorrows.. grief] lit. ’pains.. sickness.’ He was despised, etc.] literally fulfilled in the attitude of His contemporaries generally towards our Lord: cp. John 1:10-11; John 8:48; John 9:24; John 10:20.

4-6. Though they thought him the object of Jehovah’s wrath, he was in truth afflicted that they might be delivered; the penalty of their sin fell on him, instead of recoiling upon the transgressors. A remarkable prophecy of Christ, Himself sinless, suffering that men might be delivered from their sins and the penalty due to them.

5. Chastisement of our peace] i.e. resulting ia our peace.

7. The v. expressively sets forth the meekness of the Messiah under persecution. See the literal fulfilment recorded in Matthew 26:63; Matthew 27:12, Matthew 27:14 and parallel passages.

8. Read, ’By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off,’ etc. (RV); i.e. his persecution ended in death, but his contemporaries did not understand that this was for his peopled transgressions, not for his own. The ignorance of those who crucified Christ (Acts 3:17; Acts 13:27; 1 Corinthians 2:8) is here foreshadowed.

9. He made.. because] RV ’they made.. although.’ Though himself guiltless, he was, in his end, associated with malefactors. Rich is parallel to wicked, and stands for the wrong-fully rich (Psalms 49:6; Proverbs 11:16). The words received their fulfilment in detail in the crucifixion of Christ between two robbers.

10. Yet it pleased] His sufferings were in accordance with the divine purpose (cp. Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28). Offering for sin] lit. ’trespass-offering’ (Leviticus 5:14.). Sin is an infringement of God’s honour and rights, and the life of the Servant is the satisfaction paid for it. This sacrifice of the Servant is the condition (a) of spiritual parentage, (b) of continued life after death, and (c) of the fulfilment of his divine mission (Isaiah 49:5-6). The prophet here plainly teaches the atoning efficacy of the death of the Messiah, the accomplishment of His work through His sacrifice and His glorious after-life.

11. His knowledge] i.e. either (a) the knowledge which he possesses (cp. John 17:25), or (b) knowledge of him (cp. John 17:3). Justify many] RV ’make many righteous,’ by delivering them from the guilt and consequences of their sins.

12. Jehovah gives him victory as a great ruler of mankind because of his willing selfsacrifice.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 53". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.