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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 52:15

Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.

Adam Clarke Commentary

So shall he sprinkle many nations - I retain the common rendering, though I am by no means satisfied with it. "יזה yazzeh, frequent in the law, means only to sprinkle: but the water sprinkled is the accusative case; the thing on which has על al or אל el . Θαυμασονται, ό, makes the best apodosis. ינהג yenahag would do. ינהרו yinharu is used Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 31:12; Jeremiah 51:14, but is unlike. 'Kings shall shut,' etc., is good, but seems to want a first part." - Secker. Munster translates it, faciet loqui, (de se); and in his note thus explains it: יזה yazzeh proprie significat spargere et stillas disseminare; hic hero capitur pro loqui, et verbum disseminare. "יזה yazzeh properly signifies to sprinkle, and to scatter about drops; but it here means to speak, and to disseminate the word." This is pretty much as the Rabbins Kimchi and Sal. ben Belec explain it, referring to the expression of "dropping the word." But the same objection lies to this as to the common rendering; it ought to be גוים על (דבר )יזה yazzeh (debar ) al goyim . Bishop Chandler, Defence, p. 148, says, "that to sprinkle is used for to surprise and astonish, as people are that have much water thrown upon them. And this sense is followed by the Septuagint." This is ingenious, but rather too refined. Dr. Duress conjectures that the true reading may be יהזו yechezu, they shall regard, which comes near to the θαυμασονται of the Septuagint, who seem to give the best sense of any to this place.

"I find in my papers the same conjecture which Dr. Durell made from θαυμασονται in the Septuagint. And it may be added that חזה chazah is used to express 'looking on any thing with admiration,' Psalm 11:7; Psalm 17:15; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 63:2; Song of Solomon 6:13. It is particularly applied to 'looking on God,' Exodus 24:11, and Job 19:26. Gisbert Cuper, in Observ. lib. Job 2:1, though treating on another subject, has some observations which show how nearly ὁραω and θαυμαζω are allied, which, with the peculiar sense of the verb חזה chazah above noted, add to the probability of θαυμασονται being the version of יחזו yechezu in the text: οἱ δε νυ λαοι Παντες ες αυτον ὁρωσι . Hesiod., id est. cum veneratione quadam adminantur. Hinc ὁραω et θαυμαζω junxit Themistius Or. 1: Ειτα παυσονται οἱ ανθρωποι προς σε μονον ὁρωνες, και σε μονον θαυμαζοντες. Theophrastus in Charact. c. 3. Ενθυμη ὡς αποβλεπουσιν εις σε οἱ ανθρωποι. Hence the rendering of this verse seems to be -

"So many nations shall look on him with admiration

Kings shall stop their mouths."

Dr. Jubb.

Does not sprinkling the nations refer to the conversion and baptism of the Gentiles? Many nations shall become proselytes to his religion.

Kings shall shut their mouths at him - His Gospel shall so prevail that all opposition shall be finally overcome; and kings and potentates shall be overwhelmed with confusion, and become speechless before the doctrines of his truth. When they hear these declared they shall attentively consider them, and their conviction of their truth shall be the consequence.

For that which had not been told them - The mystery of the Gospel so long concealed. See Romans 15:21; Romans 16:25.

Shall they see - With the eyes of their faith; God enlightening both organ and object.

And that which they had not heard - The redemption of the world by Jesus Christ; the conversion of the Gentiles, and making them one flock with the converted Jews. - Trapp

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 52:15

So shall He sprinkle many nation

Sprinkling the nations

“Sprinkle;” possibly “startle,” cause to rise up in wonder and reverence.
The nations were familiar with the afflictions and abjectness of the Servant; suddenly, and without intimation of it, they see His elevation and stand up in reverential silence, before Him
. (A.B. Davidson, D.D.)

The peculiar doctrines of Christianity the subject of ancient prophecy

I. THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS PROPHECY IN GENERAL. This prophecy hath been in part already accomplished, in the diffusive spread of the Gospel throughout the world: many nations whereof have been plentifully sprinkled with its Divine doctrines, and made nominal Christians; and many individuals in those nations been made real converts, by virtue of that “blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.”

II. SOME OF THOSE PECULIAR DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY WHICH WE MAY SUPPOSE TO BE HERE REFEREED TO, most of which were in a great measure, and some of them altogether, unknown to the world, before the Messiah came.

1. The doctrine of man’s apostacy, and the way wherein moral evil made its first entrance into the world.

2. The method of man’s recovery from the miseries of his apostate state, by the mediation and redemption of Christ.

3. The renovation of our natures by the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit.

4. The doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity.

5. The incarnation of the Son of God.

6. The doctrine of grace.

7. The gracious and effectual operations of the Holy Spirit on the heart of man.

8. The resurrection of the body.

9. Several particular circumstances relating to the final judgment are the peculiar discoveries of the Christian revelation, that Christ will be the Judge, etc.

10. The undoubted certainty of a future state of rewards and punishments. (A. Mason, M.A.)

The risen Christ winning the nations

Bishop George Augustus Selwyn was a splendid type of the muscular Christian. As a missionary he was a mighty force, and as a friend he was universally beloved. An incident in his career as Missionary Bishop of New Zealand well shows what manner of man he was. Governor Grey and Bishop Selwyn were out together on a walking expedition, and it was Easter Sunday. “Christ has risen!” Selwyn reverently welcomed the day, and his companion joined, “He has risen indeed!” They were communing in that spirit when a bundle of letters was brought into the tent. One to Selwyn the news of the death of Siapo, a Loyalty Islander, who had become a Christian under his teaching, and who was being educated with other natives at his seminary in Auckland. The Bishop, overcome with grief, burst into tears; then he broke some moments of silence with the words, “Why, you have not shed a single tear! “No,” said the Governor, “I have been so wrapped in thought that I could not weep. I have been thinking of the prophecy that men of every race were to be assembled in the kingdom of heaven. I have tried to imagine the wonder and joy prevailing there at the coming of Siapo, the first Christian of his race. He would be glad evidence that another people of the world had been added to the teaching of Christ.” “Yes, yes,” said Selwyn, drying his tears, “that is the true idea to entertain, and I shall not weep any more.” (Christian Age.)

The kings shall shut their mouths at Him

The wondrous monarchy

I. THE UNIQUE SPECTACLE WHICH CHRIST PRESENTS. All that is great in this spectacle gathers round what this Servant is to be and do. We observe five distinguishing features--

1. Wondrous wisdom. “My Servant shall deal prudently.” Jesus was filled with the spirit of Wisdom and understanding; with a keen and piercing glance He saw men through and through. But it was not only in confounding His enemies that His superhuman wisdom was shown; it was also in the means He used for establishing that kingdom which He came to found. Means on which the world would have relied He forbade and abjured. Means never tried before were the only ones He would use. He would have no sword employed either to defend Himself, or to, extend His sway, but equipped His warriors only with “power from on high” !

2. Wondrous sorrow (Isaiah 52:14). He was “a man of sorrows “

3. Wondrous elevation. “He shall arise, and be lifted up, and be glorified exceedingly.” These words exactly indicate the resurrection, the ascension and the exaltation to mediatorial glory.

4. Wondrous redeeming efficacy. “So shall He sprinkle many nations.” As His sorrow was intense, so shall His redeeming power be large, as if the one were a recompense for the other. There were (among others) two kinds of sprinkling enjoined by the Mosaic law, to either or to both of which a reference may be intended here. The sprinkling of blood, being towards and on the mercy-seat, was God-wards; the sprinkling of water, as on the Levite or leper, was on the person, manwards. So the work of Christ has this double aspect. The blood-shedding was God’s own atoning act in Him, for us; the cleansing grace is God’s purifying act, through Him, in us.

5. Wondrous uniting power. “So shall He sprinkle many nations.” He would absolve and sanctify, not the Jew only, but also the Greek, “and thus abolish the wall of partition between Israel and the heathen, and gather into one holy Church with Israel, those who had hitherto been pronounced unclean. How vividly is the fulfilment of this portrayed in Acts 10:1-48.

II. WHAT IS THERE HERE THAT SHOULD LEAD KINGS, IN PARTICULAR, TO DO THIS? Is it that though kings and princes know all that earth has to give of luxury and splendour, they see here a pomp that outshines all beside? That may be so, but we think the mason lies deeper still. It is evidently on account of something before unknown that they are to “shut their mouths,” for the text goes on to say, “That which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Around what do the thoughts and associations of kings gather? Do they not gather round the sceptre, crown and empire? Do they not naturally weigh in the balance one monarchy against another? Surely. Well, here is such a monarchy as earth had never known before, and one that will ever stand absolutely alone.

1. In this monarchy alone right and might are entirely equal.

2. This monarchy is based on the King s own self-sacrifice.

3. How did He set up this kingdom? A few poor fishermen undertook to instruct and convert the world. The success was prodigious.

4. This monarchy was based on the King’s own priesthood.

5. The power of love is the only power that gathers men round the Cross

6. This monarchy was inaugurated by the issue of a royal pardon offered to the worst of sinners, “beginning at Jerusalem.”

7. This is a monarchy that, uniting men under its sceptre, creating a new power of love towards itself, creates also a new power of love for man towards man, as well as of man for Jesus; and, strange as it may seem, in gathering men of every tribe and tongue under its sceptre, it makes them forget their diversity, and brings them to feel their oneness in one common God and Father; and by the pulse-beat of a common life in all the nations, solves the long-vexed problem of the unity of the human race! Nor is this all.

8. Everywhere the one force which holds together the subjects of this Monarch is love!--not fear, not constraint, but love. Is there nothing in such a monarchy as this to give a clue to the meaning of the expression, “Kings shall shut their mouths at Him”? The expression evidently denotes the effect which the report or the sight of such a monarchy should produce upon them. Some take it as meaning that they should shut their mouths in silent fear. Others, that they should withdraw the edicts against Christianity. We rather, with Mr. Urwick, take it as indicating “the awe-inspiring power” of Christ. There may be yet a deeper meaning in the expression, “shall shut their mouths”--a meaning which applies only to Christian kings, and not to them simply as kings, but rather as Christians in common with others. The words may indicate the silence induced by deep emotion. (J. Culross, D.D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 52:15". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So shall he sprinkle many nations,.... This is not to be understood of water baptism, for though this has been administered in many nations, yet not by Christ, nor done by sprinkling; rather of the grace of the Spirit, which is expressed by water, and its application by sprinkling, and is of a cleansing and sanctifying nature, and which Gentiles are made partakers of; but better of the blood of Christ, called the blood of sprinkling, by which the conscience is purged from dead works, and the heart from an evil conscience, and by which multitudes of many nations are justified and sanctified; though it seems best of all to interpret it of the doctrine of Christ, which is compared to rain and dew, and is dropped, distilled, and sprinkled, and falls gently upon the souls of men, and has been published in many nations, with good effect and success. So Kimchi and Ben Melech say the phrase is expressive of speaking. This passage is applied to the Messiah by a Jewish writerF25Baal Hatturim in Lev. xvi. 14. . The Targum is,

"he will scatter many people;'

and Aben Ezra interprets it of pouring out their blood and taking vengeance on them.

The kings shall shut their mouths at him; astonished at the glories and excellencies of his person and office, as outshining theirs; at his wonderful works of grace and salvation, and as having nothing to object to his doctrines; and if they do not profess them, yet dare not blaspheme them. It seems to denote a reverent attention to them, and a subjection to Christ and his ordinances; and must be understood of their subjects as well as of themselves.

For that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider; or "understand"F26התבוננו, βυνησουσι, Sept.; intelligent, Calvin; "intellexerunt", Vitringa. ; this is applied to Christ and his Gospel, in the times of the apostles, Romans 15:20. The Gentiles had not the oracles of God committed to them; could not be told the things of the Gospel, and what relate to Christ, by their oracles, or by their philosophers; nor could they be come at by the light of nature, or by carnal reason; such as the doctrines of a trinity of Persons in the Godhead; of the deity, sonship, and incarnation of Christ; of salvation by him; of justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, and atonement by his sacrifice; of the resurrection of the dead, and eternal life: but now Christ and his Gospel are seen and understood by spiritual men; who, besides having a revelation given them, and the Gospel preached unto them, have their eyes opened, and indeed new eyes and understandings given them; so that they have a sight of Christ, of the glory, beauty, and fulness of his person by faith, through the glass of the word, so as to approve of him, appropriate him, and become like unto him; and of his Gospel, and the doctrines of it, so as to like and esteem them, believe them, distinguish them, and look upon them with wonder and pleasure.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

So p shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their q mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they r consider.

(p) He will spread his word through many nations.

(q) In sign of reverence, and as being astonished at his excellency.

(r) By the preaching of the gospel.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

to exult.” But the word universally in the Old Testament means either to sprinkle with blood, as the high priest makes an expiation (Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 16:18, Leviticus 16:19); or with water, to purify (Ezekiel 36:25; compare as to the Spirit, Acts 2:33), both appropriate to Messiah (John 13:8; Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2). The antithesis is sufficient without any forced rendering. Many were astonished; so many (not merely men, but) nations shall be sprinkled. They were amazed at such an abject person claiming to be Messiah; yet it is He who shall justify and purify. Men were dumb with the amazement of scorn at one marred more than the lowest of men, yet the highest: even kings (Isaiah 49:7, Isaiah 49:23) shall be dumb with awe and veneration (“shut … mouths”; Job 29:9, Job 29:10; Micah 7:16).

that … not … told them — the reason why kings shall so venerate them; the wonders of redemption, which had not been before told them, shall then be announced to them, wonders such as they had never heard or seen paralleled (Isaiah 55:1; Romans 15:21; Romans 16:25, Romans 16:26).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

So — His exaltation shall be answerable to his humiliation.

Sprinkle — With his word or doctrine; which being often compared to rain or water, may be said to be sprinkled, as it is said to be dropped, Deuteronomy 32:2; Ezekiel 20:46.

Kings — Shall be silent before him out of profound humility, reverence, and admiration of his wisdom.

For — They shall hear from his mouth many excellent doctrines, which will be new and strange to them. And particularly that comfortable doctrine of the salvation of the Gentiles, which was not only new to them, but strange and incredible to the Jews themselves.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.So shall he sprinkle many nations. Some explain it, “Shall cause to drop,” which they take to be a metaphorical expression for “to speak.” But since נזה signifies “to sprinkle,” and is commonly found to have this sense in Scripture, I choose rather to adopt this interpretation. He means that the Lord will pour out his Word over “many nations.” He next mentions the effect of doctrine, that kings shall shut their mouth, that is, in token of astonishment, but a different kind of astonishment from that which he formerly described. Men “shut their mouths,” and are struck with bewilderment, when the vast magnitude of the subject is such that it cannot be expressed, and that it exceeds all power of language.

What they have not heard. He means that this astonishment will not arise merely from Christ’s outward appearance, but, on the contrary, from the preaching of the Gospel; for, though he had risen from the dead, yet all would have thought that he was still a dead man, if the glory of his resurrection had not been proclaimed. By the preaching of the Gospel, therefore, were revealed those things which formerly had neither been seen nor heard; for this doctrine was conveyed to kings and nations that were very far off, and even to the very ends of the world.

Paul quotes this passage, and shows that it was fulfilled in his ministry, and glories on this ground, that he proclaimed the doctrine of the Gospel to those who had never heard of it at all. (Romans 15:21) This belongs to the office of an Apostle, and not to the office of every minister. He means that the kingdom of Christ is more extensive than merely to embrace Judea, and that it is not now confined within such narrow limits; for it was proper that it should be spread through all nations, and extended even to the ends of the world. The Jews had heard something of Christ from the Law and the Prophets, but to the Gentiles he was altogether unknown; and hence it follows that these words relate strictly to the Gentiles.

They shall understand. By this word he shows that faith consists in certainty and clear understanding. Wherever, therefore, knowledge of this kind is wanting, faith is unquestionably wanting. Hence it is evident how idle is the notion of the Papists about implicit faith, which is nothing else than gross ignorance, or rather a mere creature of imagination.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 52:15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they consider.

Ver. 15. So shall he sprinkle many nations.] With his doctrine, [Ezekiel 20:46 Amos 7:16] or with his blood, that blood of sprinkling. See Hebrews 10:22. Or with water in baptism, wherein sprinkling is sufficient.

Kings shall shut their mouths at him.] As being astonished at his prudence and prosperity. [Isaiah 52:13] They shall also silently and reverently submit to his sceptre, and to the laws of his kingdom, with all humble observance.

For that which had not been told them.] The mystery of the gospel so long time concealed. [Romans 15:21; Romans 16:25]

Shall they see,] viz., With the eyes of their faith, God enlightening both organ and object.

And that which they had not heard.] Gospel truths. See 1 Corinthians 2:9. {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 2:9"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary


READER! may it be your mercy and mine, that, while reading this blessed scripture, we may both awake, at the call of Jesus, and put on his beautiful garments of salvation, and find strength to our souls in his righteousness! May we have grace to shake ourselves from every defilement, and never let those souls of ours be again sullied with sin, after having been washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb.

And do thou Lord, who hast redeemed us without money, fulfil all thy precious promises, which this chapter contains. Give us to know thy name, and the glories of it; and may we make use of it, by faith, for every occurrence. Thy name is WONDERFUL and thou wilt perform wonders for thy people. Thy name is GRACIOUS and thou wilt be most gracious, in pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin. Thy name is the HEARER OF PRAYER and thou wilt be found of all them that call upon thee. Yea, Lord! so full and blessed is thy name, in every situation of thy people, that whatever names our wants may create, thou, Lord, hast a name infinitely beyond the whole, and able to answer all. Oh! then, cause me to know thy name, that I may put my trust in thee.

And while I read with what pleasure my God himself beholds the feet of his servants, whom he sends to publish, in his holy mountain, tidings of peace; let me welcome the faithful messenger, in the name of the Lord: and, above all, may it be my constant delight to sit at the feet of Jesus, to hear the gracious words that proceed out of his mouth!

Blessed servant of Jehovah! let me never cease to look on thee, never cease to love thee, never cease to adore thee! Let the kings and great ones of the earth shut their mouths at thee; be it my portion to behold thy face in righteousness, so shall I be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https: 1828.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Isaiah 52:15. Kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them, shall they see; and that which they had not heard, shall they consider.

MANY are advocates for the preaching of morality in preference to the unfolding of the mysteries of the Gospel, because they think that men will be more easily influenced by what they know and understand, than by any thing which surpasses their comprehension. But to judge thus is to be wiser than God, who has commanded his Gospel to be preached to all nations, and has appointed it as the means of converting the world unto himself. The most wonderful effects have been produced by it, not only on the vulgar, who might be thought open to deception, but on persons of the most cultivated minds, and most extensive influence. From the first promulgation of it to the present moment, events have justified the prediction before us; for “kings,” on hearing of a crucified Saviour, have “shut their mouths before him,” and acknowledged him as the foundation of all their hopes.

The terms in which this prophecy is expressed will lead us to consider, The means of conversion, and, The fruit and evidence of it:

I. The means of conversion—

God is not limited to the use of any means. He, who by a word brought the universe into existence, can, with a simple act of his will, produce any change in the state and condition of his creatures, or do whatsoever pleaseth him. Nevertheless he has appointed a method of converting souls to the knowledge of himself: and though we presume not to say what changes he may effect in the minds of unenlightened heathens, yet we have no reason to expect that he will dispense with the means where he has sent the light of his Gospel. The means which God has appointed for the conversion of men may be considered either as external or internal; the external is, The preaching of the Gospel; the internal is, The seeing and considering of that Gospel.

With respect to the external mean, the prophet speaks of it as “that which kings had not heard.” He has just intimated that the sufferings of the Messiah should exceed all that ever were experienced by man; but that, at the same time, they should avail for the expiating of our guilt, and the purifying of our souls from sin. He then adds, that the great and mighty of the earth should he made to consider these glad tidings; and that, after some opposition for a season, they should become the willing subjects of the Messiah’s kingdom. In this way St. Paul himself understood the words of our text; for he quotes them exactly in this sense; “So have I strived,” says he, “to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation; but as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see, and they that have not heard, shall understand [Note: Romans 15:20-21.].” And, indeed, this is a very just description of the Gospel; for, the productions of human wisdom were open to the view of kings: but the Gospel was far out of their sight; it was “a mystery hid in the bosom of the Father from the foundation of the world.”

This was the weapon which the apostles used in their warfare. They preached Christ in every place: Jesus and the resurrection were their constant theme: and so effectual did St. Paul find it for the conversion of men, that “he determined to know nothing, and to preach nothing, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” The same must be the constant tenour of our ministrations: there is no other subject that we can insist upon with equal effect. Philosophy leaves men as it finds them: it may afford some glimmering light to their minds; but it can never influence their hearts. Nothing can pull down the strong holds of sin, but that which points out a refuge for sinners.

But besides this external mean of conversion there is another no less necessary, the operation of which is altogether internal. Many hear the Gospel, and, instead of receiving benefit from it, have only their latent enmity brought forth, and their hearts made more obdurate. To feel its full effect, we must “see and consider it.” There are many things of which we may have but dark and confused views without sustaining any loss; but in our views of the Gospel we should be clear. Our minds must be enlightened to see the ends and reasons of Christ’s death. To know the fact, That he did suffer, will be of no more use than any other historical knowledge: we must know why he suffered; what necessity there was for his coming in the flesh; what need of his atonement; and what the virtue of his sacrifice. It is not necessary indeed that we should be able to descant upon these subjects for the instruction of others; but we must have such a knowledge of them as leads us to renounce every false ground of hope, and to rely on Christ alone for the salvation of our souls. We must so discern their excellence, as to be induced to “consider” them; to consider the death of Christ as the only sacrifice for sin; and to consider an interest in it as the only means for salvation.

Thus, in order to our being effectually converted to God, Christ must become our meditation and delight. The height and depth, and length and breadth of his unsearchable love must occupy our minds, and inflame our hearts with love to him. Nor is it in our first conversion only, but in every subsequent period of our lives, that we must thus have respect to his death. In all our approaches to God we must come, pleading the merits of the Redeemer’s blood, and trusting only in his all-sufficient atonement. It is this alone that will preserve our souls in peace, or enable us to manifest to others,

II. The fruit and evidence of conversion—

The hearts of men are the same in all ages; and the effects produced on them by the Gospel are the same: the very first fruit and evidence of our conversion by it is, that our “mouths are shut at, or before the Lord Jesus.” First, with respect to the vindicating of ourselves. Natural men, according to the external advantages they have enjoyed, will acknowledge more or less the depravity of their hearts. But, whatever difference there may be in their outward confessions, there is very little in their inward convictions. All entertain a favourable opinion of themselves: they cannot unfeignedly, and with the full consent of their minds, acknowledge their desert of God’s wrath: they have some hidden reserves: they secretly think that God would be unjust if he were to condemn them: they cannot persuade themselves that their iniquities merit so severe a doom. They pretend to hope in God’s mercy; but their hope does not really arise from an enlarged view of his mercy, so much as from contracted views of their own sinfulness. But, in conversion, these “high imaginations are cast down.” The soul, enlightened to behold its own deformity, dares no longer rest on such a sandy foundation. Others may go presumptuously into God’s presence, “thanking him that they are not as other men;” but the true convert “stands afar off,” and, with an unfeigned sense of his own unworthiness, “smites on his breast, and cries for mercy.” Instead of preferring himself before others, he now “prefers others before himself,” and accounts himself “the very chief of sinners.” Nor, however eminent his attainments afterwards may be, will he ever exalt himself. Paul indeed, when compelled to assert the dignity of his apostolic office, did declare that he was “not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles: ”but, to shew how far such declarations were from being either agreeable to himself, or voluntary, he repeatedly called himself “a fool in boasting,” and said, that, after all, “he was nothing.” Thus any other Christian may be necessitated on some occasion to vindicate his own character; but, so far from priding himself in it, he will lothe himself in dust and ashes, crying with the convicted leper, “Unclean, unclean!” The habitual frame of his mind will be like that of Job, “Behold, I am vile.”

Further, the mouth of every true convert will be shut with respect to the raising of objections against the Gospel. The doctrine of the cross is foolishness in the eyes of the natural man. To renounce all dependence on our works, and rely wholly on the merits of another, is deemed absurd. The way of salvation by faith alone is thought to militate against the interests of morality, and to open a door to all manner of licentiousness. On the other hand, the precepts of the gospel appear too strict; and the holiness and self-denial required by it are judged impracticable, and subversive both of the comforts and duties of social life. But real conversion silences these objections. When the Gospel is “seen and considered” in its true light, Christ is no longer made “a butt of contradiction [Note: Luke 2:34.]:” the glory of God as shining in his face is both seen and admired, and the union of the divine perfections as exhibited in the mystery of redemption is deemed the very masterpiece of divine wisdom. The believer finds no disposition to open his mouth against these things, but rather to open it in devoutest praises and thanksgivings for them. As for the way of salvation by faith alone, how suitable, how delightful does it appear! He is convinced that, if salvation were less free or less complete than the Gospel represents it, he must for ever perish. He sees that it is exactly such a salvation as was most fit for God to give, and for man to receive; for that, if it were not altogether of grace, man would have whereof to boast before God; and that, if one sinless work were required of him, he must for ever sit down in utter despair. Nor does he now think the precepts of the Gospel too strict: there is not so much as one of them that he would dispense with; not one which he would have relaxed. He would account it an evil, rather than a benefit, to be released from his obligation to obey them. He never now complains, “How strict are the commandments!” but rather, “How vile am I, that I cannot yield to them a more cordial and unreserved obedience!” And so far is he from condemning those who are most holy and heavenly in their deportment, he wishes that he were like them; and strives to follow them as they follow Christ.

Such are the fruits that are found on all true converts without exception; even “Kings shut their mouths.” They indeed, from their high station, are less under the controul of human laws, and are ready on that account to suppose themselves less amenable also to the laws of God: but, when the Gospel comes with power to their souls, they no longer ask, “Who is Lord over us?” but prostrate themselves before the Saviour with unreserved submission both to his providence and grace.

Let us learn then from hence,

1. The evil and danger of prejudice—

It is difficult to conceive what destruction this evil principle brings upon the world. Thousands of persons in every place take exceptions against Christ and his Gospel without ever examining for themselves: they even shut their ears against every thing which may be said in vindication of the truth; and thus harden themselves in their iniquities, till they perish without a remedy. Whence is it that so many have their mouths opened against the followers of Christ, stigmatizing every godly person as an enthusiast or deceiver? Have they searched into, and acquainted themselves with the real effects of the Gospel? And have they been careful to distinguish between the tendency of the Gospel itself, and the faults of those who embrace it? No: they have never considered, never seen, perhaps scarcely ever so much as heard, the Gospel: they have listened to some vague reports; they have gladly entertained every story which could in any wise confirm their aversion to the truth; and then they think they cannot exclaim too bitterly against it. But let us guard against indulging such an unreasonable disposition: let us hear and examine candidly for ourselves: let us consider whether the Gospel be not suited to our own particular case: and let us beg of God to open our eyes, and to “give us a right judgment in all things.” If we use not these means of conversion, we shall be utterly inexcusable before God: but if we use them in dependence upon God, we shall surely be brought at last to the knowledge of the truth, and to the enjoyment of those blessings which that truth is sent to convey.

Let us further learn from this subject,

2. The excellency of the Gospel—

If we compare the effects of the Gospel with those wrought by philosophy, we shall see that the latter never was able to produce any general reformation, while the former, in the space of a few years, triumphed over all the lusts and prejudices of mankind. And, at this hour, the Gospel has the same power, wherever it is faithfully preached, and cordially received: there is no lust, however inveterate, which it will not subdue; no enmity, however rooted, which it will not slay; no pride, however stubborn, which it will not humble. The more it is examined, the more it prevails: it needs only to be “seen and considered;” and it will soon remove every objection, and commend itself with irresistible evidence to the soul. Let us then consider, and reflect upon this glorious subject: let us meditate on it, till our hearts are inflamed with love towards our adorable Redeemer: and let our mouths be never opened more, but in thanksgivings to God and to the Lamb.

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

So; his exaltation shall be answerable to his humiliation.

Shall he sprinkle; either,

1. With his blood, which is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24; or, shall justify them, as it follows, Isaiah 53:11, which is frequently expressed by washing, as Psalms 51:2,7 Eze 16:9, and by sprinkling clean water, Ezekiel 36:25. Or,

2. With his word or doctrine; which being oft compared to rain or waters, as Deuteronomy 32:2 Isaiah 55:10,11 Hab 2:4, &c, may be said to be sprinkled, as it is said to be dropped, Deuteronomy 32:2 Ezekiel 20:46 21:2. And this sense seems to be most favoured by the following words.

The kings shall shut their mouths at him; shall be silent before him, out of a profound humility, and reverence, and admiration of his wisdom, and an eager desire to hear and receive counsels and oracles from his mouth. Compare Job 29:9-11,21. They shall no more contend with him, nor blaspheme the true God and religion, as they formerly used to do.

For that which had not been told them shall they see; for they shall hear from his mouth many excellent doctrines, which also will be new and strange to them, such as men are very desirous to hear. And particularly they shall hear from him that comfortable doctrine concerning the conversion and salvation of the Gentiles, which was not only new to them, but was strange and incredible to the most of the Jews themselves.

Shall they consider; or, they shall understand; which is added to show that the seeing in the former clause was meant of discerning these things with the eyes of their minds.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Servant"s sufferings, however, would have worldwide effects; He would sprinkle "many nations."

The interpretation of the Hebrew word yazzeh, translated "sprinkle" or "startle," has led students of this verse to two different understandings of the prophet"s line of thought. If "sprinkle" is correct, Isaiah meant that even though the Servant was such an unlikely candidate as Yahweh"s representative, He would still perform the priestly function of cleansing the world of its sins (cf. Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 8:11; Leviticus 14:7; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Hebrews 10:22).

"Men regarded the servant as himself unclean and in need of purification, whereas he himself as a priest will sprinkle water and blood and so purify many nations." [Note: Young, 3:339. Cf. Delitzsch, 2:308; Baron, pp64-66; and Ortlund, p354. See John 19:34.]

If "startle" is correct, the prophet meant that since the Servant was such an unlikely candidate as Yahweh"s representative, He would shock the world (when He made His claims and when God would exalt Him). Both meanings are possible, and both harmonize with other revelation about the Servant. Most English translations have "sprinkle," and this is probably the primary meaning. There are other priestly allusions in the following verses ( Isaiah 53:6-7; Isaiah 53:10-11). I think Isaiah may have used a double entendre at this point so his readers would see both truths. Isaiah was a master of multiple allusions, as we have seen.

Another problem is why the kings would be speechless. Would it be because of His lowly appearance ( Isaiah 52:14) or because of His exaltation ( Isaiah 52:13)? According to the first view, even kings would be shocked at the lowly state of the Servant (cf. John 19:19). What they had not known was that Israel"s redeemer would be a humble Servant. According to the second view, even kings would be speechless at the Servant"s exaltation (cf. Isaiah 52:13). They had never heard that one who took such a lowly place could ever sit on the throne of God.

Again, since people and kings were shocked at both the Servant"s humiliation and His exaltation, it is very hard to tell what was in Isaiah"s mind. Perhaps the first view is better because the thought of Isaiah 52:15 flows directly out of Isaiah 52:14. However, the Apostle Paul applied this verse to the preaching of the gospel in virgin and largely Gentile territory, and the gospel includes both the sufferings and glory of Messiah (cf. Romans 15:21).

"Kings shall shut their mouths-both from amazement and from their inability to say anything by way of self-justification." [Note: Archer, p646.]

Suffering in God"s service leads to exaltation and glorification.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sprinkle with baptism, (Haydock) and his manifold graces. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "so many nations shall wonder at him." (Haydock) --- Mouth, out of reverence. How many great princes have submitted to his yoke? (Calmet) --- Beheld. The Gentiles (Menochius) embrace the faith, at the sight of Christ's miracles. (Calmet)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

SO. Corresponding with the "As" of Isaiah 52:14.

sprinkle = cause to leap or spring up for joy. Hebrew. nazah. When used of liquids it means to spurt out, as in Isaiah 63:3, the only other occurrence in Isaiah, and that in judgment (compare 2 Kings 9:33). The usual word for ceremonial sprinkling is zrak, not nazah. The astonishment and the joy of many nations is set in contrast with the astonishment of the many people of Isaiah 52:14. The Septuagint reads "shall admire". Moreover, the verb is in the Hiphil conjugation, and we can say "cause to leap up for joy", but not "cause to sprinkle". With this, Gesenius, Fuerst, Lowth, Parkhurst, and others agree.

shut their mouths: i.e. be dumb with the astonishment.

that which had, &c. = they to whom it had been told shall see.

that which they, &c. = they which had not heard shall consider. Quoted in Romans 15:21.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) So shall he sprinkle many nations . . .—The words have been very differently rendered by, He shall cause to spring up, i.e., shall startle, He shall scatter, He shall fling away, or, Many nations shall marvel at him. On the whole, however, admitting the difficulty of the passage, the Authorised version seems preferable. The “sprinkling” is that of the priest who cleanses the leper (Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 4:17), and this was to be done by Him who was Himself counted as a leper “smitten of God” (Isaiah 53:4). We may probably trace an echo of the words in the “sprinkling clean water” of Ezekiel 36:25, in the “blood of sprinkling,” of Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 12:24. Here it comes as an explanation of the paradox that the Servant of Jehovah was to bring in “many nations” into the holy city, and yet that the “uncircumcised and unclean” were not to enter it (Isaiah 52:1).

The kings shall shut their mouths . . .—The reverence, as in Isaiah 49:7, Job 29:9; Job 40:4, is that of silent wonder at the change which has passed over the suffering Servant. Wisdom of Solomon 5:1-5 presents an interesting parallel, the reference there being to the person of the ideal righteous sufferer. In that case, as in this, there was, so to speak, a transfiguration “beyond all that men looked for.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Numbers 8:7; Ezekiel 36:25; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:33; Titus 3:5,6; Hebrews 9:13,14; 10:22; Hebrews 11:28; 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2
49:7,23; Job 29:9,10; 40:4; Psalms 72:9-11; Micah 7:16,17; Zechariah 2:13
51:5; 55:5; Romans 15:20,21; 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:5-9

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Isaiah 52:15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Isaiah 52:15"So shall he sprinkle many nations" - Comments- The sprinkling is a reference to the blood sprinkling of Jesus, His redemption by the shedding of His blood ( Exodus 24:8, Hebrews 9:13-14; Hebrews 12:24, 1 Peter 1:2).

Exodus 24:8, "And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words."

Hebrews 9:13-14, "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Hebrews 12:24, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."

1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."

Isaiah 52:15 — "and that which they had not heard shall they consider" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Ephesians 3:5, "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;"

Isaiah 52:15Comments- This is a similar message to Isaiah 64:4, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Isaiah 52:15". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https: 2013.

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