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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 53

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

The speaker, according to Horsley, personates the repenting Jews in the latter ages of the world coming over to the faith of the Redeemer: the whole is their penitent confession. This view suits the context (Isaiah 52:7-9), which is not to be fully realized until Israel is restored. Also the "we" and "our," in Isaiah 53:2-6, suit the penitent Jews. However, primarily, it is the abrupt exclamation of the prophet: "Who hath believed our report" (that of Isaiah and the other prophets) as to Messiah? The infidels' objection from the unbelief of the Jews is anticipated, and hereby answered: that unbelief and the cause of it (Messiah's humiliation, whereas they looked for One coming to reign) were foreseen and foretold.

Who hath believed our report? ( lishmu`aateenuw (H8052)) - literally, that which they have heard from us, repeating the term from the previous verse (Isaiah 52:15); whereas 'they who had not heard (the Gentiles) shall consider' 'who (of the Jews) have believed what they have heard from us;' referring to which sense Paul, quoting this verse, saith, "So, then, faith cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:16-17)

And to whom is the arm - power (Isaiah 40:10), exercised in miracles and in saving men (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18). The prophet, as if present during Messiah's ministry on earth, is deeply moved to see how few believed on Him (Isaiah 49:4; Mark 6:6; Mark 9:19; Acts 1:15). Two reasons are given why all ought to have believed:

(1) The "report" of the 'ancient prophets;'

(2) 'The arm of Yahweh' exhibited in Messiah while on earth. In Horsley's view this will be the penitent confession of the Jews, 'How few of our nation, in Messiah's days, believed in Him!'

Verse 2

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.

For he - `the Servant of Yahweh' (Isaiah 52:13).

Shall grow up before him - before God; as in God's presence. Though unknown to others, Messiah was known to Yahweh, who had accurately appointed by His counsel all the circumstances of His birth, in consonance with the character which He was to sustain (Vitringa). (John 1:11.) The Hebrew for "shall grow" is the prophetic preterite. 'He grew up,' the prophet beholding the future as though it were already an is the prophetic preterite. 'He grew up,' the prophet beholding the future as though it were already an accomplished fact.

As a tender plant - Messiah grew silently and insensibly, as a sucker from an ancient stock seemingly dead (namely, the house of David, then in a decayed state, note, Isaiah 11:1).

And as a root - i:e., a sprout from a root.

He hath no form (Hebrew, toar) - beautiful form: sorrows had marred His once beautiful form.

And when we shall see - rather (as the parallelism to "there is no beauty, that we should desire Him" requires), joined with the previous words, 'nor comeliness (attractiveness), that we should look (with delight) on Him.' So Symmachus, Lowth, and Hensgtenberg. The studied reticence of the New Testament as to His form, stature, colour, etc., was designed to prevent our dwelling on the bodily, rather than on His moral beauty, holiness, love, etc.; also a providential protest against the making and veneration of images of Him. The letter of P. Lentulus to the Emperor Tiberius, describing His person, is spurious; so also the story of His sending His portrait to Abgar, king of Edessa; and the alleged impression of His countenance on the handkerchief of Veronica. The former part of this verse refers to His birth and childhood, the latter to His first public appearance (Vitringa).

Verse 3

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.

He is ... rejected of men - `forsaken of men" (Gesenius). 'Most abject of men.' Chadal (H2310) 'iyshiym (H376) - literally, 'He (is one who) ceases from men;' i:e., He is no longer regarded as a man (Hengstenberg). Note, Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 49:7.)

A man of sorrows - i:e., whose distinguishing characteristic was sorrows.

And acquainted with - as an associate; familiar by constant contact with.

Grief - literally, sickness; figurative for all kinds of calamity. So "hurt" is used in Jeremiah 6:14. Leprosy especially represented this, being a direct judgment from God. It is remarkable Jesus is not mentioned as having ever suffered under sickness

And we hid as it were (our) faces - rather, as one who causes men to hide their faces from Him (in aversion) (Maurer). But kªmacteer (H4564) means not, cause to hide, but causing to lie hidden hiding. Or, 'He was as an hiding of the face before it;' 'as one before whom is the covering of the face;' before whom one covers the face in disgust (Gesenius). The Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, and Chaldaic take the Hebrew, mimmennu, as 'from us.' 'He was as one hiding His face from us;' as a leper, or one affected with a loathsome disease (Leviticus 13:45). But the parallel clause that follows favours the English version. We - the prophet identifying himself with the Jews. See Horsley's view (note, Isaiah 53:1).

We esteemed him not - negative contempt: the previous words express positive.

Verse 4

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Here follows the explanation of the sorrows and contempt which He endured, as has been just described-namely, His being our Sin-bearer, and so suffering the penalty of our sins; which, however, the Jews did not comprehend, but thought that it was His own sin which He suffered for.

Surely he hath borne our griefs - literally, 'But yet (akeen) He hath taken (or borne) our sickness' - i:e., they who despised Him because of His human infirmities ought rather to have esteemed Him on account of them: for thereby "Himself took OUR infirmities" (bodily diseases). So Matthew 8:17 quotes it. The repetition of the same words as in Isaiah 53:3 - "grief ... sorrows:" chaalaayeenuw (H2483) ... mak'obeeynuw (H4341) - marks the vicarious appropriation of the full penalty of our sin by the Redeemer. In the Hebrew ( naasa' (H5375)) for "borne," or took, there is probably the double notion, He took on Himself vicariously (so Isaiah 53:5-6; Isaiah 53:8; Isaiah 53:12), and so He took away. His perfect humanity, whereby He was bodily afflicted for us, and in all our afflictions (Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 4:15), was the ground on which He cured the sick of our human sicknesses; so that Matthew's quotation is not a mere accommodation. See note 42 of Archbishop Magee, 'Atonement.' The word Himself in Matthew implies a personal bearing on Himself of our maladies, spiritual and physical, which included as a consequence His ministration to our bodily ailments. These latter are the reverse side of sin. His bearing on Him our spiritual malady involved with it His bearing sympathetically, and healing, the outward, which is its fruit and its type. Hengstenberg rightly objects to Magee's translation 'taken away' instead of "borne," that the parallelism to "carried" would thereby be destroyed. Besides, the Hebrew word elsewhere, when connected with sin, means to bear it and its punishment (Ezekiel 18:20). Matthew elsewhere also sets forth Christ's vicarious atonement (Matthew 20:28). Nasa is the term here used, with an allusion to the sin offering, Leviticus 10:17; the scape goat, Leviticus 16:22; and Aaron as mediating high priest, Exodus 28:38; so Ezekiel typically, Ezekiel 4:5-6; Lamentations 5:7: cf. as to Christ, John 1:29; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24: cf. also this Isaiah 53:11-12, end.

And carried our sorrows - literally, 'and (as for) our sorrows, He carried them' ( cªbaalaam (H5445)). The notion of substitution strictly. "Carried," namely, as a burden. "Sorrows," i:e., pains of the mind: as "griefs" refer to pains of the body (Psalms 32:10; Psalms 38:17). Matthew 8:17 might seem to oppose this: "And bare our sicknesses." But he uses "sicknesses" figuratively for sins, the cause of them. Christ took on Himself all man's "infirmities," so as to remove them: the bodily by direct miracle, grounded on His participation in human infirmities; those of the soul by His vicarious suffering, which did away with the source of both. Sin and sickness are ethically connected as cause and effect (Isaiah 33:24; Psalms 103:3; Matthew 9:2; John 5:14; James 5:15).

Yet we did esteem him stricken - judicially (Lowth) - namely, for His sins; whereas it was for ours. 'We thought Him to be a leper' (Jerome, Vulgate), leprosy being the direct divine judgment for guilt (Leviticus 13:1-59, as it was in the case of Miriam; Numbers 12:10; Numbers 12:15; and Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:18-21). Smitten of God - by divine judgments.

And afflicted - for His sins: this was the point in which they so erred (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17; 1 Corinthians 2:8). He was, it is true, "afflicted," but not for His sins.

Verse 5

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.

But he was wounded - a bodily wound: not mere mental sorrow; mªcholaal (H2490), from chaalal (H2490) - literally pierced; minutely appropriate to Messiah, whose hands, feet, and side were pierced (Psalms 22:16). Margin, wrongly, from a Hebrew root, chuwl (H2342), to writhe, translates, 'tormented.'

For our transgressions ... for our iniquities (Rom. 4:28; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 3:18) - the cause for which He suffered, not His own, but our sins.

He was bruised - with crushing inward and outward suffering (note, Isaiah 53:10).

The chastisement of our peace, [Hebrew, muwcar (H4148); the Septuagint, paideia (G3809)] - literally, the correction inflicted by a parent on children for their good (Hebrews 12:5-8; Hebrews 12:10-11). Not punishment strictly, so far as He individually was concerned; for this can take place only where there is guilt, which He did not have; but, He took on Himself the chastisement whereby the peace (reconciliation with our Father; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14-15; Ephesians 2:17) of those who were already in the divine purpose the children of God was to be effected (Hebrews 2:14).

Was upon him - as a burden: parallel to "hath borne" and "carried."

With his stripes - minutely prophetic of His being scourged (Matthew 27:26; 1 Peter 2:24).

We are healed - spiritually (Psalms 41:4; Jeremiah 8:22). As "griefs," the term for mental ailments, is used of bodily ailments, Isaiah 53:4, so conversely, "healed," the term for bodily cure, is here used of the cure of the sold.

Verse 6

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. The extent of our malady, and our urgent need of cure, are next set forth. The words following are the penitent confession of believers, and of Israel in the last days (Zechariah 12:10).

All we like sheep have gone astray - (Psalms 119:176; 1 Peter 2:25). The antithesis is, 'In ourselves we were scattered; in Christ we are collected together: by nature we wander, driven headlong to destruction; in Christ we find the way to the gate of life' (Calvin). True, also, literally of Israel, before its coming restoration (Ezekiel 34:5-6; Zechariah 10:2; Zechariah 10:6: cf. with Ezekiel 34:23-24; Jeremiah 23:4-5; also Matthew 9:36).

We have turned every one to his own way - implying that the apostasy of men is both universal and individual: of the race in general, and of each one in particular: one in guilt, diverse in its several manifestations.

And the Lord hath laid on him - `hath made to light on Him' (Lowth). Rather, 'hath made to rush upon Him:' hipgiya` (H6293), from paaga` (H6293), to meet: hath made to meet upon Him (Maurer).

The iniquity of us all - i:e., its penalty: or rather its guilt, as in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." He was not merely a sin offering (which would destroy the antithesis to "righteousness"), but "sin for us:" sin itself vicariously; the representative of the aggregate sin of all mankind; not sins in the plural, but "sin," and here, in Isaiah, "iniquity:" for the "sin" of the world is one (Romans 5:16-17); thus we are made not merely righteous, but righteousness, even "the righteousness of God." The innocent was punished as if guilty, that the guilty might be rewarded as if innocent. This verse could be said of no mere martyr.

Verse 7

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 oppressed, and he was afflicted. Lowth, after Cyril, translates, 'It was exacted ( nigas (H5065)), and He was made answerable' ( na`ªneh (H6031)). The former verb means, to have payment of a debt sternly exacted (Deuteronomy 15:2-3), and so to be oppressed in general; the exaction of the full penalty for our sins in His sufferings is probably alluded to.

And he was afflicted, yet he - or, and yet He suffered, or bore Himself submissively and, etc. (Hengstenberg and Maurer.) Lowth's translation, 'He was made answerable,' is hardly admitted by the Hebrew [ `aanaah (H6031)], which is not used elsewhere, of legal responsibility. Symmachus and Vulgate ('ipse voluit') support, 'He suffered submissively:' 'He submitted Himself.' The Niphal has the reflective meaning (cf. Philippians 2:8).

Opened not his mouth - Jeremiah in Jeremiah 11:19, and David in Psalms 38:13-14; Psalms 39:9, prefiguring Messiah (Matthew 26:63; Matthew 27:12; Matthew 27:14; 1 Peter 2:23). In this verse the one and only point of comparison is to the sheep's voiceless endurance of shearing; not that Christ's suffering is from this to be regarded as not penal and sacrificial, because the sheep is not spoken of as being killed. But what the sheep is in being sheared, that Christ was in being killed.

Verse 8

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.

He was taken from prison and from judgment - rather, 'He was taken, away (i:e., cut off, answering to the following, 'He was cut off out of the land of the living') BY (through) oppression and BY (through) a judicial sentence:' a hendiad for 'by an oppressive judicial sentence' (Lowth and Hengstenberg). The Hebrew particle min (H4480) expresses sometimes the starting point from which a thing takes its rise: from, owing to, through. Gesenius, not so well, 'He was delivered from oppression and punishment' only by death. The English version also translates, "from ... from," not 'by ... by.' So the Vulgate, 'de augustia et de judicio sublatus. est.' The Syriac also supports the English version. But "prison" is not true of Jesus who was not incarcerated; restraint and bonds (John 18:24) more accord with the Hebrew [ `otser (H6115) - literally, shutting up, or restraint, from `aatsar (H6113), to restrain]. Acts 8:33 translates as the Septuagint: "In His humiliation His is judgment ( krisis (G2920), legal trial) was taken away" - the virtual sense of the Hebrew, as rendered by Lowth, and sanctioned by the inspired writer of Acts. The same Hebrew in Psalms 107:39, mee`otser (H6115), is translated "through oppression." He was treated as one so mean that a fair trial was denied Him (Matthew 26:59; Mark 14:55-59). Both His betrayer and His judge declared His innocence. The Hebrew, laquach, is used of taking away by a violent death (Jeremiah 15:15; Ezekiel 24:16). Jerome explained it of Christ's being taken up to glory.

Who shall declare his generation? (Hebrew, dowrow (H1755)) - who can set forth (the wickedness of) His generation? i:e., of His contemporaries (Alford on Acts 8:33), which suits best the parallelism, 'the wickedness of his generation' corresponding to 'oppressive judgment.' But Luther, 'His length of life' - i:e., there shall be no end of His future days (Isaiah 53:10; Romans 6:9). Calvin includes the days of His Church, which is inseparable from Himself. Hengstenberg, 'His posterity.' He, indeed, shall be cut off, but His race - i:e., His spiritual seed, shall be so numerous that none can fully declare it. Chrysostom, etc., 'His eternal Sonship and miraculous incarnation.' But the clauses both before and after refer to His humiliation, not to His subsequent eternity of days, which is not stated until Isaiah 53:10.

For he was cut off - implying a violent death (Daniel 9:26).

For the transgression of my people - Isaiah, including himself among them by the word "my" (Hengstenberg). Rather, Yahweh (H3068) speaks in the person of His prophet, "my people," by the election of grace (Hebrews 2:13).

Was he stricken - Hebrew, 'the stroke (was laid) upon Him.' Gesenius says that the Hebrew, laamow (H3807a), means them; the collective body, whether of the prophets or people, to which the Jews refer the whole prophecy. But Jerome, the Syriac and Ethiopic versions translate it Him. So virtually the Septuagint (eechthee eis thanatou). So the suffix (-mow) is singular in some passages: Psalms 11:7, His; Job 27:23, Him; Isaiah 44:15, thereto. Perhaps the Septuagint for the Hebrew, laamow (H3807a), 'upon Him,' read the similar words, lamawet (H4194), 'unto death;' which would at once set aside the Jewish interpretation, 'upon them.' Origen, who laboriously compared the Hebrew with the Septuagint, so read it, and urged it against the Jews of his day, who would have denied it to be the true reading if the word had not then really so stood in the Hebrew text (Lowth). Messiah was the representative of the collective body of all men; hence, the equivocal plural-singular form, laamow (H3807a).

Verse 9

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.

And he made his grave with the wicked - rather, 'His grave was appointed,' or 'they appointed Him His grave with the wicked' (Hengstenberg) - i:e., they intended (by crucifying Him with two thieves, Matthew 27:38) that He should have His grave "with the wicked" (cf. John 19:31), the denial of honourable burial being accounted a great ignominy (note, Isaiah 14:19; Jeremiah 26:23).

And with the rich in his death (Hebrew, deaths) - rather, 'but He was with a rich man at His death' - i:e., when He was dead. So the Hebrew preposition [bª-] is sometimes used (Leviticus 11:31). Gesenius, for the parallelism to "the wicked," translates 'ungodly' (the effect of riches being to make one ungodly); but the Hebrew [ `aashiyr (H6223)] everywhere means rich, never by itself ungodly; the parallelism, too, is one of contrast, namely, between their design and the fact, as it was ordered by God (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:43-46; John 19:39-40); two rich men honoured Him at His death-Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus. Lowth translates, 'His tomb;' bªmotaayw (H4194), from a different root, bamah (H1116), meaning high places, and so mounds for burial (Ezekiel 43:7). But all the old versions, the Septuagint, Chaldaic, Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic oppose this, and the Hebrew hardly admits it. The plural deaths intensifies the force: as Adam by sin 'dying died' (Genesis 2:17, margin) - i:e., incurred death physical and spiritual. So Messiah, His substitute, endured death in both senses: spiritual, during His temporary abandonment by the Father; physical, when He expired. It is a minute point of accuracy that "the rich" in the Hebrew is singular, 'a rich man'-namely, Joseph of Arimathea; "the wicked" is plural-namely, the thieves.

Because he had done - or, as the sense suggests (so in Job 16:17, 'although [ `al (H5921)] there is not injustice in mine hands'), 'although He had done,' etc. (Hengstenberg). So the Syriac. But the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Arabic confirm the English version, which follows naturally what precedes. God interposed to do Him honour in appointing Him to be "with the rich in His death, because He had done no violence." Thus the way is prepared for His exaltation, which follows in Isaiah 53:10. Hengstenberg is driven, by translating 'although' to read in a parenthesis "with the rich in His death" (1 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 3:5).

No violence - i:e., wrong.

Verse 10

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.

Transition from His humiliation to His exaltation.

Yet it pleased the Lord - the secret of His sufferings. They were voluntarily borne by Messiah, in order that thereby He might 'do Yahweh's will' (John 6:38; Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:9), as to man's redemption; so at the end of the verse, "the pleasure of the Lord shah prosper in His hand."

Bruise - Hebrew, dak'ow (H1792) (see Isaiah 53:5, the same Hebrew, "He was bruised for our iniquities"); Genesis 3:15, was hereby fulfilled though the Hebrew word yªshuwpkaa (H7779) for "bruise," there, is not the one used here. The Hebrew there may mean to overwhelm with darkness. Messiah's time of darkness was temporary (Matthew 27:45), answering to the bruising of His heel. Satan's is to be eternal, answering to the bruising of his head (Isaiah 50:10).

He hath put him to grief - recapitulating Isaiah 53:4, "He hath borne our griefs" (the same Hebrew as here, hechªliy (H2470)).

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin ( taasiym (H7760), second person singular masculine) - rather, as mary. (Hebrew, third person feminine), 'when His soul (i:e., He) shall have made an offering for sin.' In the English version the change of person is harsh: from Yahweh, addressed in the second person (Isaiah 53:10), to Yahweh speaking in the first person in Isaiah 53:11. The margin rightly makes the prophet, in the name of Yahweh Himself to speak in this verse. Thus translated, the clause indicates the Saviour's voluntary laying down of His life (John 10:17-18; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14). So the Vulgate.

Offering for sin - (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10); asham, sin, with reference to its guilt and penalty. So a sin offering 2 Corinthians 5:21 accords with the English version, "He (the Father) hath made Him (the Son) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

He shall see his seed - really His seed, not in mere figure, because they derive all their life from Him (1 Peter 1:3). His spiritual posterity shall be numerous (Psalms 22:30); nay, more, though He must die He shall see them. A numerous posterity was accounted a high blessing among the Hebrews; still more so for one to live to see them (Genesis 48:11; Psalms 128:6).

He shall prolong his days - also esteemed a special blessing among the Jews (Psalms 91:16), in contrast to His past shortening of life as one "cut off out of the land of the living." Messiah shall, after death, rise again to an endless life (Psalms 21:4; Hosea 6:2; Romans 6:9).

And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand - that "pleasure of the Lord" to which the opening words of the verse allude: "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him." Compare Colossians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:9-10; Isaiah 52:13, margin.

Verse 11

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.

Yah eh is still speaking Yahweh is still speaking.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied - He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul, not a part of the travail of His soul; so the min (H4480) means in mee`ªmal (H5999). `Amal (H5998) does not refer to travail in childbirth, but the labour of the farmer, whence follows the gladdening harvest. He shall see such blessed fruits resulting from His sufferings (Matthew 26:38) as amply to repay Him for them (Isaiah 49:4-5; Isaiah 50:5; Isaiah 50:9). The 'satisfaction' in seeing the full fruit of His travail of soul in the conversion of Israel and the world is to be realized in the last days (Isaiah 2:2-4). The Hebrew for "shall be satisfied," yisbaa` (H7646), is, to be saturated; to be abundantly full.

By his knowledge - rather, by the knowledge (experimentally) of Him (John 17:3; Philippians 3:10).

Shall my righteous servant - `the righteous One, my Servant;' Messiah (Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 52:13).

Righteous - the ground on which He justifies others; His own righteousness (1 John 2:1).

Justify many - make many to be treated or accounted as if righteous, forensically, on the ground of His meritorious suffering and righteousness, not their righteousness. The Hiphil, or causative yatzeddiqu means makes righteous in the eye of the law, forensically, not referring to inherent moral improvement, but imputed righteousness. In Hebrew ( laarabiym (H7227)), the preposition lª- 'to' precedes "many," implying the actual communication of justification to believers. So Isaiah 14:3, Hebrew, 'My righteous Servant shall obtain justification for many.' [Compare with hitsediquw (H6663) tsªdaaqowt (H6666) the Greek New Testament terms, dikaiooo (G1344) dikaiosunee (G1343).] Isaiah 45:24; Jeremiah 23:6; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:21; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:5-8; Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9.

For he shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:4-5) - as the sinner's substitute.

Verse 12

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.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great - as a conqueror dividing the spoil after a victory (Psalms 2:8; Luke 11:22. 'When a stronger than he (Satan) shall come upon him and overcome him, He (Christ) taketh from Him all his armour, wherein he trusted, and divideth (his spoils').

Him - for Him.

With the great. Hengstenberg translates, 'I will give Him the great (or mighty) for a portion.' Compare the Septuagint and Vulgate, which support this view. But the parallel clause, "with the strong," favours the English version. His triumphs shall be not merely among the few and weak, but among the many and mighty. He shall triumph over the strong one, Satan himself. He shall divide the spoil with the strong - (Colossians 2:15: cf. Proverbs 16:19.) 'With the great: with the mighty,' may mean, as a great and mighty hero.

Because he hath poured out his soul unto death. "His soul" - i:e., His life, which was considered as residing in the blood (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 3:25).

And he was numbered with the transgressors - not that He was a transgressor, but was treated as such when crucified with thieves (Mark 15:28; Luke 22:37).

And made intercession for the transgressors. This office He began on the cross (Luke 23:34), and now continues in heaven (Isaiah 59:16; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1). Understand, because before 'He was numbered, He bare ... made intercession.' His meritorious death and intercession are the cause of His ultimate triumph. Maurer, for the parallelism, translates yapgiya` (H6293), 'He was put on the same footing with the transgressors. But the English version agrees better with the Hebrew, and with the sense and fact as to Christ. Maurer's translation would make a tautology after "He was numbered with the transgressors:" parallelism does not need so servile a repetition. "He made intercession for," etc., answers to the parallel, "He was numbered with," etc., as effect answers to cause; His intercession for sinners being the effect flowing from His having been numbered with them.

Remarks: The objection drawn from the rejection of Messiah by the Jews is anticipated and met by the prophet at the beginning of the fullest and clearest of the prophecies concerning Him. Men judge by outward appearances, rather than by the inward and everlasting truth. The "report" of the ancient prophets from the beginning, and "the arm of the Lord" manifested in the miracles, and in the divine teaching of Messiah on earth, were a two-fold evidence of His mission from God, which leaves the Jew and the infidel alike inexcusable in their unbelief. The lowliness of His manifestation has in all ages been a stumbling-block to the carnal and the worldly. The Jews regarded the crucifixion of the Saviour as the penalty of His own sins, whereas it was that of their sins and of those of the whole human race. But though "despised and rejected of men," He was 'before Yahweh' in His birth, His childhood, and His public ministry. The Father had accurately appointed, in His eternal counsels of love and wisdom, all the minute particulars of His life and death as man's Representative and awning Substitute.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 53". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/isaiah-53.html. 1871-8.
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