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Thus says the L ord:

Where is your mother’s bill of divorce

with which I put her away?

Or which of my creditors is it

to whom I have sold you?

No, because of your sins you were sold,

and for your transgressions your mother was put away.


Why was no one there when I came?

Why did no one answer when I called?

Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?

Or have I no power to deliver?

By my rebuke I dry up the sea,

I make the rivers a desert;

their fish stink for lack of water,

and die of thirst.


I clothe the heavens with blackness,

and make sackcloth their covering.


The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication


The Lord G od 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.


The Lord G od has opened my ear,

and I was not rebellious,

I did not turn backward.


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.



The Lord G od 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;


he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

Let us stand up together.

Who are my adversaries?

Let them confront me.


It is the Lord G od who helps me;

who will declare me guilty?

All of them will wear out like a garment;

the moth will eat them up.



Who among you fears the L ord

and obeys the voice of his servant,

who walks in darkness

and has no light,

yet trusts in the name of the L ord

and relies upon his God?


But all of you are kindlers of fire,

lighters of firebrands.

Walk in the flame of your fire,

and among the brands that you have kindled!

This is what you shall have from my hand:

you shall lie down in torment.


6. I exposed my body to the smiters. With the reproaches, jeers, and insolence of wicked men, he contrasts the unshaken courage which he possesses; as if he had said that, “whatever resistancemay be attempted by the despisers of God, yet he will baffle all their insults, so that he will never repent of the labors which he has undertaken.” Yet this passage plainly shows that the ministers of the word cannot perform their office faithfully without being exposed to a contest with the world, and even without being fiercely assailed on all sides; for as soon as Isaiah says that he has obeyed the command of God, he likewise adds that “He has exposed his body to the smiters.” The faithful servants of God, when they administer the doctrine of the word, cannot escape from this condition, but must endure fights, reproaches, hatred, slanders, and various attacks from adversaries, who loathe that liberty of advising and reproving which it is necessary for them to use. Let them, therefore, arm themselves with steadfastness and faith; for a dreadful battle is prepared for them. And not only does he describe the persecutions of wicked men, but the reproach of the world; because wicked men desire to be thought to have good cause for opposing the ministers of the word and persecuting their doctrine, and wish that those ministers should be regarded as criminals and malefactors, and held up to universal hatred and abhorrence. For these reasons they lead them with various slanders, and do not refrain from any kind of reproach, as we know well enough by experience in the present day, when our adversaries call us heretics, deceivers, seditious persons, and assail us with other slanders, which were also directed against Christ and the Apostles. (Matthew 27:63; John 7:12; Acts 16:20.)

My face I did not hide from shame and spitting. He not only says that open and outward foes spat and inflicted blows on him, but glances at the slanders which he is compelled to bear from foes who are within and belong to the household; for out of the very bosom of the Church there always spring up wicked men and despisers of God, who insolently attack the prophets. They who wish to serve God must be prepared to endure all these things calmly, that they may walk through evil report and through good report, (2 Corinthians 6:8,) and may despise not only banishment, stripes, imprisonment, and death, but likewise reproaches and disgrace, though they may sometimes appear harder to endure than death itself. While this doctrine belongs to all believers, it belongs especially to the teachers of the word, who ought to go before others, and to be, as it were, standard-bearers.

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