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The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication

4

The Lord God has given me

the tongue of a teacher,

that I may know how to sustain

the weary with a word.

Morning by morning he wakens—

wakens my ear

to listen as those who are taught.

5

The Lord God has opened my ear,

and I was not rebellious,

I did not turn backward.

6

I gave my back to those who struck me,

and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;

I did not hide my face

from insult and spitting.

 

7

The Lord God helps me;

therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like flint,

and I know that I shall not be put to shame;

8

he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

Let us stand up together.

Who are my adversaries?

Let them confront me.

9

It is the Lord God who helps me;

who will declare me guilty?

All of them will wear out like a garment;

the moth will eat them up.

 


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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" (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 (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 1Pe 3:18); in their case, on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed to them (Ro 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. 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 Scripture.




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