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 (De 24:1), or that He had "sold" His and her
"children," as a poor parent sometimes did (Ex 21:7;
2Ki 4:1; Ne 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].
no man—willing to believe in and obey
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
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—(Ex 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
fish stinketh—the very judgment
inflicted on their Egyptian enemies at the first exodus (Ex 7:18, 21).
3. heavens … blackness—another of
the judgments on Egypt to be repeated hereafter on the last enemy of
God's people (Ex 10:21).
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; Ex 4:11; Mt 7:28, 29; 13:54).
speak a word in season—(Pr 15:23;
25:11). Literally, "to succor
by words," namely, in their season of need, the "weary" dispersed ones
of Israel (De 28:65-67). Also, the spiritual "weary" (Isa
42:3; Mt 11:28).
wakeneth morning by morning,
&c.—Compare "daily rising up early" (Jer 7:25; Mr
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 (Heb 5:8).
5. opened … ear—(See on 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 Ps 40:6-8, with Php 2:7; Isa 42:1; 49:3, 6; 52:13;
53:11; Mt 20:28; Lu 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 (Heb 10:5-10).
6. smiters—with scourges and with the
open hand (Isa 52:14; Mr 14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mt
27:26; 26:27; Lu 18:33). To
"pluck the hair" is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental
(2Sa 10:4; La 3:30). "I gave" implies the voluntary nature
of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mt 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; Mt 27:30; Lu 18:32).
7. Sample of His not being "discouraged"
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 (Ps 138:8; Ro 8:32-34). But "justify" in His
case, is God's judicial acceptance and vindication of Him on the ground
of His own righteousness (Lu 23:44-47; Ro 1:4;
1Ti 3:16, with which compare
3:18); in their case,
on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed
to them (Ro
stand together—in judgment, to try the
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. Re 12:10).
9. (Compare "deal," or "proper," Isa 52:13, Margin; Isa
53:10; Ps 118:6; Jer 23:5).
as a garment—(Isa 51:6,
8; Ps 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
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
obeyeth … servant—namely,
Messiah. The godly "honor the Son, even as they honor the Father"
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 (Ps 112:4; 97:11;
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) (Ec 11:9). The
image is continued from Isa 50:10,
"darkness"; human devices for salvation (Pr 19:21; 16:9, 25) are like the spark that goes out in an
instant in darkness (compare Job 18:6; 21:17, with Ps
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
3:25). In exact proportion to
mystic Babylon's previous "glorifying" of herself shall be her sorrow
(Mt 25:30; 8:12; Re 18:7).