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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Isaiah 50

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The Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET

CHAPTER 50

Isa 50:1-11. THE JUDGMENTS ON ISRAEL WERE PROVOKED BY THEIR CRIMES, YET THEY ARE NOT FINALLY CAST OFF BY GOD.

      1. Where. . . mothers divorcement--Zion is "the mother"; the Jews are the children; and God the Husband and Father ( Isa 54:5 62:5 Jer 3:14 ). GESENIUS thinks that God means by the question to deny that He had given "a bill of divorcement" to her, as was often done on slight pretexts by a husband ( Deu 24:1 ), or that He had "sold" His and her "children," as a poor parent sometimes did ( Exd 21:7 2Ki 4:1 Neh 5:5 ) under pressure of his "creditors"; that it was they who sold themselves through their own sins. MAURER explains, "Show the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom. . .; produce the creditors to whom ye have been sold; so it will be seen that it was not from any caprice of Mine, but through your own fault, your mother has been put away, and you sold" ( Isa 52:3 ). HORSLEY best explains (as the antithesis between "I" and "yourselves" shows, though LOWTH translates, "Ye are sold") I have never given your mother a regular bill of divorcement; I have merely "put her away" for a time, and can, therefore, by right as her husband still take her back on her submission; I have not made you, the children, over to any "creditor" to satisfy a debt; I therefore still have the right of a father over you, and can take you back on repentance, though as rebellious children you have sold yourselves to sin and its penalty ( 1Ki 21:25 ).
      bill. . . whom--rather, "the bill with which I have put her away" [MAURER].

      2. I--Messiah.
      no man--willing to believe in and obey Me ( Isa 52:1, 3 ). The same Divine Person had "come" by His prophets in the Old Testament (appealing to them, but in vain, Jer 7:25, 26 ), who was about to come under the New Testament.
      hand shortened--the Oriental emblem of weakness, as the long stretched-out hand is of power ( Isa 59:1 ). Notwithstanding your sins, I can still "redeem" you from your bondage and dispersion.
      dry up. . . sea-- ( Exd 14:21 ). The second exodus shall exceed, while it resembles in wonders, the first ( Isa 11:11, 15 51:15 ).
      make. . . rivers. . . wilderness--turn the prosperity of Israel's foes into adversity.
      fish stinketh--the very judgment inflicted on their Egyptian enemies at the first exodus ( Exd 7:18, 21 ).

      3. heavens. . . blackness--another of the judgments on Egypt to be repeated hereafter on the last enemy of God's people ( Exd 10:21 ).
      sackcloth-- ( Rev 6:12 ).

      4. Messiah, as "the servant of Jehovah" ( Isa 42:1 ), declares that the office has been assigned to Him of encouraging the "weary" exiles of Israel by "words in season" suited to their case; and that, whatever suffering it is to cost Himself, He does not shrink from it ( Isa 50:5, 6 ), for that He knows His cause will triumph at last ( Isa 50:7, 8 ).
      learned--not in mere human learning, but in divinely taught modes of instruction and eloquence ( Isa 49:2 Exd 4:11 Mat 7:28, 29 13:54 ).
      speak a word in season-- ( Pro 15:23 25:11 ). Literally, "to succor by words," namely, in their season of need, the "weary" dispersed ones of Israel ( Deu 28:65-67 ). Also, the spiritual "weary" ( Isa 42:3 Mat 11:28 ).
      wakeneth morning by morning, &c.--Compare "daily rising up early" ( Jer 7:25 Mar 1:35 ). The image is drawn from a master wakening his pupils early for instruction.
      wakeneth. . . ear--prepares me for receiving His divine instructions.
      as the learned--as one taught by Him. He "learned obedience," experimentally, "by the things which He suffered"; thus gaining that practical learning which adapted Him for "speaking a word in season" to suffering men ( Hbr 5:8 ).

      5. opened. . . ear--(See on JF & B for Isa 42:20; Isa 48:8 ); that is, hath made me obediently attentive (but MAURER, "hath informed me of my duty"), as a servant to his master (compare Psa 40:6-8, with Phl 2:7 Isa 42:1 49:3, 6 52:13 53:11 Mat 20:28 Luk 22:27 ).
      not rebellious--but, on the contrary, most willing to do the Father's will in proclaiming and procuring salvation for man, at the cost of His own sufferings ( Hbr 10:5-10 ).

      6. smiters--with scourges and with the open hand ( Isa 52:14 Mar 14:65 ). Literally fulfilled ( Mat 27:26 26:27 Luk 18:33 ). To "pluck the hair" is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental ( 2Sa 10:4 Lam 3:30 ). "I gave" implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept ( Mat 5:39 ).
      spitting--To spit in another's presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face ( Job 30:10 Mat 27:30 Luk 18:32 ).

      7. Sample of His not being "discouraged" ( Isa 42:4 49:5 ).
      set. . . face like. . . flint--set Myself resolutely, not to be daunted from My work of love by shame or suffering ( Eze 3:8, 9 ).

      8. ( Isa 49:4 ). The believer, by virtue of his oneness with Christ, uses the same language ( Psa 138:8 Rom 8:32-34 ). But "justify" in His case, is God's judicial acceptance and vindication of Him on the ground of His own righteousness ( Luk 23:44-47 Rom 1:4 1Ti 3:16, with which compare 1Pe 3:18 ); in their case, on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed to them ( Rom 5:19 ).
      stand together--in judgment, to try the issue.
      adversary--literally, "master of my cause," that is, who has real ground of accusation against me, so that he can demand judgment to be given in his favor (compare Zec 3:1, &c. Rev 12:10 ).

      9. (Compare "deal," or "proper," Isa 52:13, Margin; Isa 53:10 Psa 118:6 Jer 23:5 ).
      as a garment-- ( Isa 51:6, 8 Psa 102:26 ). A leading constituent of wealth in the East is change of raiment, which is always liable to the inroads of the moth; hence the frequency of the image in Scripture.

      10. Messiah exhorts the godly after His example ( Isa 49:4, 5 42:4 ) when in circumstances of trial ("darkness," Isa 47:5 ), to trust in the arm of Jehovah alone.
      Who is, &c.--that is, Whosoever ( Jdg 7:3 ).
      obeyeth. . . servant--namely, Messiah. The godly "honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" ( Jhn 5:23 ).
      darkness-- ( Mic 7:8, 9 ). God never had a son who was not sometimes in the dark. For even Christ, His only Son, cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
      light--rather, "splendor"; bright sunshine; for the servant of God is never wholly without "light" [VITRINGA]. A godly man's way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and light. A wicked man's way may be bright, but his end shall be utter darkness ( Psa 112:4 97:11 37:24 ).
      let him trust in the name of the Lord--as Messiah did ( Isa 50:8, 9 ).

      11. In contrast to the godly ( Isa 50:10 ), the wicked, in times of darkness, instead of trusting in God, trust in themselves (kindle a light for themselves to walk by) ( Ecc 11:9 ). The image is continued from Isa 50:10, "darkness"; human devices for salvation ( Pro 19:21 16:9, 25 ) are like the spark that goes out in an instant in darkness (compare Job 18:6 21:17, with Psa 18:28 ).
      sparks--not a steady light, but blazing sparks extinguished in a moment.
      walk--not a command, but implying that as surely as they would do so, they should lie down in sorrow ( Jer 3:25 ). In exact proportion to mystic Babylon's previous "glorifying" of herself shall be her sorrow ( Mat 25:30 8:12 Rev 18:7 ).

Introduction to Song of Solomon ← Prior Book
Introduction to Jeremiah Next Book →
Commentary on Isaiah 49 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on Isaiah 51 Next Chapter →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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