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The Defection of Israel Atoned for by the Servant of Jehovah.
The opening of this chapter continues the picture of the Lord and His Church, represented by Zion, His bride, whom He seeks with the faithfulness of His eternal love.
v. 1. Thus saith the Lord, in addressing the Jewish nation in general, all members of which were presumably members also of the Lord's Church, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, the reference being to the document which the Jewish Law provided for, Deuteronomy 24; Jeremiah 3:1, whom I have put away? The mother, Zion-Jerusalem, is here distinguished from her children or such as were commonly recognized as her children. Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? The picture is that of the sale of children to creditors, to be kept in peonage until the debt had been paid off by the labor of the children. Cf 2 Kings 4:1. Behold, for your iniquities, their many guilty actions, have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions, their many breaches of faith and of the covenant, is your mother put away, being obliged to bear the wickedness of her children to which she had yielded.
v. 2. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man, namely, to listen to the message of His prophets? when I called, was there none to answer? to assent to the preaching by which He intended to save their souls. The Jews had persisted in their disobedience and hardened their hearts against the Lord's merciful offers. Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Did He no longer possess almighty power to save His people? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, as when He made a path through the Red Sea for the children of Israel, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stinketh because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. Cf Exodus 14:21; Exodus 7:18-21.
v. 3. I clothe the heavens with blackness, as in Egypt, Exodus 10:21, and I make sackcloth their covering, the garment of mourning, whose color was dark. Since the Lord was the absolute Master of the elements, it was an easy matter for Him to protect Israel from the wrath of the enemies and to overthrow the tyrants everywhere. Yea, more: this was only a minor consideration, for the Lord had a complete salvation for His people in mind through the obedience of His Servant, who is now introduced as speaking.
v. 4. The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, one versed in the art of the orator, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary, to him that is of a broken and contrite spirit, Matthew 11:28. It is rightly said of the Messiah, Christ the Lord, "Never man spake as this man," John 7:46. Cf Matthew 7:29. He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned, to have the proper spiritual understanding of the Lord's will and to yield a glad obedience to it. Cf Psalms 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-7.
v. 5. The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, to listen with cheerful willingness, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back, not even when His soul was sorrowful even unto death and His human nature was trembling with the severity of the afflictions which He suffered. Cf Psalms 22:12-21; 1 Peter 2:22.
v. 6. I gave My back to the smiters, in the terrible seourgings to which He was subjected in His great Passion, Matthew 26:67-68; Matthew 27:26 ff. ; John 19, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, in the indignities heaped upon Him, which would arouse a storm of indignation in any other human being; I hid not My face from shame and spitting, accepting both blasphemous mockery and actions with the spirit of divine humility which characterized Him throughout His sufferings.
v. 7. For the Lord God, the all-powerful Jehovah, the God of the covenant, to whom He has appealed time and again, will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded, the assistance given to His soul by the strength of Jehovah keeping Him from being submerged in misery and shame; therefore have I set My face like a flint, meeting all mockery with the conquering power of His unflinching will, and I know that I shall not be ashamed, His vindication would finally be brought about.
v. 8. He is near that justifieth Me, His innocence being established in the last great Judgment; who will contend with Me? The guilt of all mankind was indeed imputed to Him, but in His own person He was ever the Holy One of God, whom no man could convict of sin. Let us stand together, appearing before the tribunal of the almighty Judge of the universe; who is Mine adversary? Let him who believes that he has a case against the Messiah step forward. Let him come near to Me. It is a defiant challenge which the Servant of Jehovah sends forth in the consciousness of His innocence.
v. 9. Behold, the Lord God will help Me, standing at His side against all enemies; Who is he that shall condemn Me? namely, by bringing a charge which may be substantiated. Lo, they, the adversaries, all shall wax old as a garment, falling into dust as it rots; the moth shall eat them up, such is their fate, since they have dared oppose the Holy One of God.
v. 10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, in the proper respect for His majesty, but not in slavish dread, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, which is the Word of God, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? this being the lot of such as side with the Lord. Let him trust in the name of the Lord, in the midst of all tribulation, and stay upon his God, since in Him is full and complete security for all believers.
v. 11. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, the adversaries who persist in their hatred of the Lord, that compass yourselves about with sparks, the reference being to the tying up of tarred tow around arrows, these being shot into a besieged city for the purpose of setting houses on fire; walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks that ye have kindled, to be consumed by the fire which they themselves had lighted. This shall ye have of Mine hand, namely, as their lot and punishment; ye shall lie down in sorrow, in the extremity of pain, in the tortures of hell. He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 50". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter