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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Isaiah 52

Verses 1-2

ISAIAH - CHAPTER 52:1-12

ZION’S JOY IN THE SALVATION OF JEHOVAH

Vs. 1-2: DIVINE SUMMONS TO A NEW EXODUS

1. Zion (Jerusalem, as representative of the nation) is summoned, as in Isaiah 51:17, to arise from her stupor of grief and humiliation.

2. She is to clothe herself properly for that to which she is divinely called.

a. With strength - "the joy of the Lord" (Nehemiah 8:10).

b. With her beautiful garments - of salvation and praise, (Isaiah 61:3; Isaiah 61:10; Psalms 110:3; Exodus 28:2; Exodus 28:40; Zechariah 3:4; comp. Isaiah 49:18).

3. Henceforth to be a holy city indeed (Zechariah 14:20-21), she will never again be invaded by the uncircumcised and unclean, (Isaiah 35:8; Joel 3:17; Nahum 1:15).

4. Shaking off the dust of her mourning (Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 29:4; comp. Job 2:12-13), and loosing herself from the bonds of her captivity (Isaiah 47:6), she is to arise (Isaiah 60:1) and enter into the exalted position which divine love and mercy alone could have provided for her, (vs. 2; contrast Isaiah 47:1).

Verses 3-6

Vs. 3-6: A SALE WITHOUT PROFIT

1. In "selling" Israel into the hands of their enemies, the Lord has gained nothing, (vs. 3; Deuteronomy 32:30; Psalms 44:12; Judges 2:14; Jeremiah 15:13); and He will redeem them without money (Isaiah 45:13) - their liberation being the fruit of His gracious compassion.

a. The same is true of those whom He redeems from the guilt and condemnation of sin.

b. It is ALL "according to the riches of His grace:" (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

2. In time of famine, the family of Jacob went to sojourn in the land of Egypt where an Assyrian (Pharaoh - descendant of Nimrod) oppressed them without a cause, (vs. 4; Genesis 46:6-7).

3. Not only has God received no compensation from those who cruelly oppress His people; but, His name, which is worthy of the highest honor and praise, is constantly blasphemed, (vs. 5; Romans 2:22-24; Ezekiel 20:9; Ezekiel 20:14; Ezekiel 36:20-23).

4. In the day when Israel’s Redeemer presents Himself in her behalf, she will truly KNOW His nature, character, and power, as represented by His Name, (vs. 6; Isaiah 49:23 b; 41:20; 43:10; 60:15-16).

Verses 7-10

Vs. 7-10: BEAUTIFUL FEET AND GOOD TIDINGS

1. The figure of feet upon the mountains is "good news" to those who trust in God; they are harbingers of deliverance!

a. Isaiah uses the figure in connection with the deliverance (salvation) of Zion through the destruction of Babylon - at the end of the age, (vs. 7); her God REIGNS! (comp. Isaiah 24:21-23; Psalms 93:1).

b. To the government (mountain) of Assyria, they are the crushing feet of divine judgment; while to Judah they represent deliverance from the Assyrian (Nahum 1:15), which means PEACE.

c. Paul uses the figure to represent the "good tidings" of deliverance from the guilt, power, condemnation, and bondage of sin, (Romans 10:15).

2. Those who have faithfully proclaimed God’s holy intention to restore His ancient people (not just the ancient prophets, but His faithful "watchmen" in all ages), will rejoice together as they hail the return of Jehovah to Zion in the faithful execution of His holy covenant, (vs. 8; Jeremiah 6:16-19; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:7-9; Isaiah 62:6-7; comp. Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17).

3. There is a two-fold basis for the joy and singing described in verse 9.

a. The Lord’s word of comfort, (Isaiah 51:12; Isaiah 66:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; comp. Luke 24:19; Acts 27:22; Romans 15:5-6).

b. The Lord’s work of redemption, (Isaiah 43:1-3).

c. And such a word of comfort, and work of deliverance, may be the basis of our constant joy and song through the Holy Spirit, (John 16:14-15; 2 Corinthians 1:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

4. In the redemption of His people, Jehovah reveals His holy arm (Isaiah 51:9; Psalms 98:1-3; comp. Exodus 15:6; Ezekiel 20:34) in such a marvelous and majestic display of divine power that "all the ends of the earth" may observe His saving strength, (vs. 10; Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 48:20).

Verses 11-12

Vs. 11-12: EXODUS FROM BABYLON

1. Israel is instructed to depart from the midst of Babylon without taking anything Babylonish with her, (vs. 11a; comp. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18) a figure of the end-time deliverance of God’s people from this present world-system (Revelation 18:4).

2. In returning to their own land, they are to take the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, (2 Kings 25:14-15; Daniel 5:1); those who bear these vessels must be clean! (vs. 11b; Ezra 1:7-11).

3. In contrast to the exodus from Egypt, they were not to go in haste, (comp. Exodus 12:11; Exodus 12:22; Deuteronomy 16:3); nor were they to flee in fear (vs. 12a).

4. The presence of Jehovah, the God of Israel, before and behind them will be all the security they need, (vs. 12b; Isaiah 26:7; Isaiah 42:16; Isaiah 49:10-11).

Verses 13-15

ISAIAH - CHAPTER 52:13 - 53:12

THE VICARIOUS SUFFERING OF THE MESSIANIC SERVANT

The "Servant of Jehovah" is, at all times, described in individual terms. Though the figure sometimes refers to the nation, it is clear that it often surpasses all that Israel, or any individual in Israel, ever was - being descriptive of an Ideal Figure. He is to be Israel’s Redeemer - whose suffering will make the fulfillment of her task possible.

Few, in ancient Israel, considered "the Servant" to be a Messianic figure; but this does not justify one in rejecting an abundance of prophetic testimony which indicates that He was! The nation’s passionate desire for a political Messiah effectively blinded her to the possibility of a Messiah whose very suffering would be the organ through which His task would be accomplished!

It is quite evident that some in Israel (though unable to harmonize Messianic glory and humiliation) DID regard "the Servant" as a Messianic figure; thus, the formulation of the "two-Messiah philosophy". Messiah ben Joseph would suffer in humiliation (falling in battle), while Messiah ben David would conquer and rule the earth in righteousness. But, in retrospect, the prophecies concerning "the Suffering Servant," Who will yet be triumphant, are perfectly harmonized in the person and life of Jesus, the Christ!

Vs. 13-15: EXALTATION AND SUFFERING

1. These three verses introduce and summarize the entire prophecy concerning the Suffering Servant.

2. Speaking through the prophet, God calls Israel to "BEHOLD" His servant, (vs. 13a; comp. Isaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29; John 19:4-7).

a. He will "deal prudently": the very personification of wisdom and knowledge, He will, in all things, act in such a way as to glorify God - while providing indescribable and eternal blessing for mankind, (vs. 13b; Isaiah 11:2; Luke 2:40; Matthew 13:54; Colossians 2:3).

b. Though acquainted with the deepest humiliation, He will arise to a place of exaltation wherein He stands exceedingly high, (vs. 13c; Acts 2:36; Romans 14:9; Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 1:18; Luke 22:69; Philippians 2:9; Mark 16:19; Revelation 5:12).

3. He is foreseen as being a perpetual astonishment to men, (vs. 14; Matthew 7:28; Mark 5:42; Mark 7:37; Acts 9:6).

a. From His virgin birth to His vicarious death - His sinless life to His substitutionary sacrifice for sinners - men were amazed and astonished regarding Him, (John 7:46; Luke 5:26).

b. By the brutality which He suffered at the hands of men, His appearance was disfigured beyond the semblance of humanity!

c. But, through that very suffering, the Servant is triumphant! (vs. 15).

1) By means of this He is able to "sprinkle (cleansing by His blood) many nations", (Numbers 19:17-19; Ezekiel 36:24-25; Psalms 51:7; Titus 3:5-6; Hebrews 9:13-14; Hebrews 9:19-22; Hebrews 10:19-23).

2) Kings will stand in reverent and awed silence before Him, (Job 21:5; Job 29:9-10).

3) And the mystery of the Suffering Servant will be unfolded in the glory that follows His humiliation, (Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 15:8-21; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 52". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/isaiah-52.html. 1985.