Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) He was wounded . . .—Bruised. Both words refer to the death which crowned the sufferings of the Servant. That also was vicarious.

The chastisement of our peacei.e., the punishment which leads to peace, that word including, as elsewhere, every form of blessing. (Comp. the “reproof of life” in Proverbs 15:31.) In Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:8-9, we have the thought which is the complement of this, that the chastisement was also an essential condition of the perfection of the sufferer.

With his stripes we are healed.—The words stretch wide and deep. Perhaps the most touching application is St. Peter’s use of them as a thought of comfort for the slaves who were scourged as He, their Lord, had been (1Peter 2:24).

53:4-9 In these verses is an account of the sufferings of Christ; also of the design of his sufferings. It was for our sins, and in our stead, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We have all sinned, and have come short of the glory of God. Sinners have their beloved sin, their own evil way, of which they are fond. Our sins deserve all griefs and sorrows, even the most severe. We are saved from the ruin, to which by sin we become liable, by laying our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. Our sins were the thorns in Christ's head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side. He was delivered to death for our offences. By his sufferings he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls. We may well endure our lighter sufferings, if He has taught us to esteem all things but loss for him, and to love him who has first loved us.But he was wounded - Margin, 'Tormented.' Jerome and the Septuagint also render this, 'He was wounded.' Junius and Tremellius, 'He was affected with grief.' The Chaldee has given a singular paraphrase of it, showing how confused was the view of the whole passage in the mind of that interpreter. 'And he shall build the house of the sanctuary which was defiled on account of our sins, and which was delivered on account of our iniquities. And in his doctrine, peace shall be multiplied to us. And when we obey his words, our sins shall be remitted to us.' The Syriac renders it in a remarkable manner, 'He is slain on account of our sins,' thus showing that it was a common belief that the Messiah would be violently put to death. The word rendered 'wounded' (מחלל mecholâl), is a Pual participle, from חלל châlal, to bore through, to perforate, to pierce; hence, to wound 1 Samuel 31:3; 1 Chronicles 10:3; Ezekiel 28:9. There is probably the idea of painful piercing, and it refers to some infliction of positive wounds on the body, and not to mere mental sorrows, or to general humiliation. The obvious idea would be that there would be some act of piercing, some penetrating wound that would endanger or take life. Applied to the actual sufferings of the Messiah, it refers undoubtedly to the piercing of his hands, his feet, and his side. The word 'tormented,' in the margin, was added by our translators because the Hebrew word might be regarded as derived from חול chûl, to writhe, to be tormented, to be pained - a word not unfrequently applied to the pains of parturition. But it is probable that it is rather to be regarded as derived from חלל châlal, "to pierce, or to wound."

For our transgressions - The prophet here places himself among the people for whom the Messiah suffered these things, and says that he was not suffering for his own sins, but on account of theirs. The preposition 'for' (מן min) here answers to the Greek διά dia, on account of, and denotes the cause for which he suffered and means, even according to Gesenius (Lex.), here, 'the ground or motive on account of, or because of which anything is done.' Compare Deuteronomy 7:7; Judges 5:11; Esther 5:9; Psalm 68:30; Sol 3:8. It is strikingly parallel to the passage in Romans 4:25 : 'Who was delivered for (διά dia) our offences.' Compare 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24. Here the sense is, that the reason why he thus suffered was, that we were transgressors. All along the prophet keeps up the idea that it was not on account of any sin of which he was guilty that he thus suffered, but it was for the sins of others - an idea which is everywhere exhibited in the New Testament.

He was bruised - The word used here (דכא dâkâ') means properly to be broken to pieces, to be bruised, to be crushed Job 6:9; Psalm 72:4. Applied to mind, it means to break down or crush by calamities and trials; and by the use of the word here, no doubt, the most severe inward and outward sufferings are designated. The Septuagint renders it, Μεμαλάκιστα Memalakista - 'He was rendered languid,' or feeble. The same idea occurs in the Syriac translation. The meaning is, that he was under such a weight of sorrows on account of our sins, that he was, as it were, crushed to the earth. How true this was of the Lord Jesus it is not necessary here to pause to show.

The chastisement of our peace - That is, the chastisement by which our peace is effected or secured was laid upon him; or, he took it upon himself,' and bore it, in order that we might have peace. Each word here is exceedingly important, in order to a proper estimate of the nature of the work performed by the Redeemer. The word 'chastisement' (מוּסר mûsâr), properly denotes the correction, chastisement, or punishment inflicted by parents on their children, designed to amend their faults Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:13. It is applied also to the discipline and authority of kings Job 22:18; and to the discipline or correction of God Job 5:17; Hosea 5:2. Sometimes it means admonition or instruction, such as parents give to children, or God to human beings. It is well rendered by the Septuagint by Παιδεία Paideia; by Jerome, Disciplina. The word does not of necessity denote punishment, though it is often used in that sense.

It is properly that which corrects, whether it be by admonition, counsel, punishment, or suffering. Here it cannot properly mean punishment - for there is no punishment where there is no guilt, and the Redeemer had done no sin; but it means that he took upon himself the sufferings which would secure the peace of those for whom he died - those which, if they could have been endured by themselves, would have effected their peace with God. The word peace means evidently their peace with God; reconciliation with their Creator. The work of religion in the soul is often represented as peace; and the Redeemer is spoken of as the great agent by whom that is secured. 'For he is our peace' (Ephesians 2:14-15, Ephesians 2:17; compare Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; Romans 10:15). The phrase 'upon him,' means that the burden by which the peace of people was effected was laid upon him, and that he bore it. It is parallel with the expressions which speak of his bearing it, carrying it, etc. And the sense of the whole is, that he endured the sorrows, whatever they were, which were needful to secure our peace with God.

And with his stripes - Margin, 'Bruise.' The word used here in Hebrew (חבורה chabbûrâh) means properly stripe, weal, bruise, that is, the mark or print of blows on the skin. Greek Μώλωπι Mōlōpi; Vulgate, Livore. On the meaning of the Hebrew word, see the notes at Isaiah 1:6. It occurs in the following places, and is translated by stripe, and stripes (Exodus 21:25, bis); bruises Isaiah 1:6; hurt Genesis 4:23; blueness Proverbs 20:30; wounds Psalm 38:5; and spots, as of a leopard Jeremiah 13:23. The proper idea is the weal or wound made by bruising; the mark designated by us when we speak of its being 'black and blue.' It is not a flesh wound; it does not draw blood; but the blood and other humors are collected under the skin. The obvious and natural idea conveyed by the word here is, that the individual referred to would be subjected to some treatment that would cause such a weal or stripe; that is, that he would be beaten, or scourged. How literally this was applicable to the Lord Jesus, it is unnecessary to attempt to prove (see Matthew 27:26). It may be remarked here, that this could not be mere conjecture How could Isaiah, seven hundred years before it occurred, conjecture that the Messiah would be scourged and bruised? It is this particularity of prediction, compared with the literal fulfillment, which furnishes the fullest demonstration that the prophet was inspired. In the prediction nothing is vague and general. All is particular and minute, as if he saw what was done, and the description is as minutely accurate as if he was describing what was actually occurring before his eyes.

We are healed - literally, it is healed to us; or healing has happened to us. The healing here referred to, is spiritual healing, or healing from sin. Pardon of sin, and restoration to the favor of God, are not unfrequently represented as an act of healing. The figure is derived from the fact that awakened and convicted sinners are often represented as crushed, broken, bruised by the weight of their transgressions, and the removal of the load of sin is repesented as an act of healing. 'I said, O Lord, be merciful unto me; heal my soul, for I have sinned againt thee' Psalm 41:4. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed' Psalm 6:2. 'Who forgiveth all thine, iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases Psalm 103:3. The idea here is, that the Messiah would be scourged; and that it would be by that scourging that health would be imparted to our souls.

It would be in our place, and in our stead; and it would be designed to have the same effect in recovering us, as though it had been inflicted on ourselves. And will it not do it? Is it not a fact that it has such an effect? Is not a man as likely to be recovered from a course of sin and folly, who sees another suffer in his place what he ought himself to suffer, as though he was punished himself? Is not a wayward and dissipated son quite as likely to be recovered to a course of virtue by seeing the sufferings which his career of vice causes to a father, a mother, or a sister, as though he himself When subjected to severe punishment? When such a son sees that he is bringing down the gray hairs of his father with sorrow to the grave; when he sees that he is breaking the heart of the mother that bore him; when he sees a sister bathed in tears, or in danger of being reduced to poverty or shame by his course, it will be far more likely to reclaim him than would be personal suffering, or the prospect of poverty, want, and an early death. And it is on this principle that the plan of salvation is founded. We shall be more certainly reclaimed by the voluntary sufferings of the innocent in our behalf, than we should be by being personally punished. Punishment would make no atonement, and would bring back no sinner to God. But the suffering of the Redeemer in behalf of mankind is adapted to save the world, and will in fact arrest, reclaim, and redeem all who shall ever enter into heaven.

(Sin is not only a crime for which we were condemned to die, and which Christ purchased for us the pardon of, but it is a disease which tends directly to the death of our souls, and which Christ provided for the cure of. By his stripes, that is, the sufferings he underwent, he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls; and to put our souls in a good state of health, that they may be fit to serve God, and prepare to enjoy him. And by the doctrine of Christ's cross, and the powerful arguments it furnisheth us with against sin, the dominion of sin is broken in us, and we are fortified against that which feeds the disease - Henry.)

5. wounded—a bodily wound; not mere mental sorrow; literally, "pierced"; minutely appropriate to Messiah, whose hands, feet, and side were pierced (Ps 22:16). The Margin, wrongly, from a Hebrew root, translates, "tormented."

for … for—(Ro 4:25; 2Co 5:21; Heb 9:28; 1Pe 2:24; 3:18)—the cause for which He suffered not His own, but our sins.

bruised—crushing inward and outward suffering (see on [853]Isa 53:10).

chastisement—literally, the correction inflicted by a parent on children for their good (Heb 12:5-8, 10, 11). Not punishment strictly; for this can have place only where there is guilt, which He had not; but He took on Himself the chastisement whereby the peace (reconciliation with our Father; Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14, 15, 17) of the children of God was to be effected (Heb 2:14).

upon him—as a burden; parallel to "hath borne" and "carried."

stripes—minutely prophetical of His being scourged (Mt 27:26; 1Pe 2:24).

healed—spiritually (Ps 41:4; Jer 8:22).

But; but this was a most false and unrighteous sentence.

He was wounded; which word comprehends all his pains and punishments, and his death among and above the rest.

For our transgressions; not by them, which is expressed by another particle, not by the wickedness of the Jews; but for or because of them, as this particle commonly signifies, for the guilt of their sins, which he had voluntarily taken upon himself, and for the expiation of their sins, which was hereby purchased and procured of God for men. Which interpretation is confirmed,

1. By the opposition of this truth to the false opinion mentioned in the foregoing clause, that he was smitten of God for the guilt of his own sins.

2. By the following clause, as we shall see.

3. By the nature of the thing; this being evident from scriptures both from the Old and New Testament, that Christ was not to suffer for his own, but for other men’s sins. See Daniel 9:24,26.

The chastisement of our peace; those punishments by which our peace, i.e. our reconciliation to God, and salvation, or happiness, was to be purchased.

Was upon him; was laid upon him by God’s justice with his own consent.

With his stripes we are healed; by his sufferings we are saved from our sins, and from the dreadful effects thereof. But he was wounded for our transgressions,.... Not for any sins of his own, but for ours, for our rebellions against God, and transgressions of his law, in order to make atonement and satisfaction for them; these were the procuring and meritorious causes of his sufferings and death, as they were taken upon him by him to answer for them to divine justice, which are meant by his being wounded; for not merely the wounds he received in his hands, feet, and side, made by the nails and spear, are meant, but the whole of his sufferings, and especially his being wounded to death, and which was occasionally by bearing the sins of his people; and hereby he removed the guilt from them, and freed them from the punishment due unto them:

he was bruised for our iniquities; as bread corn is bruised by threshing it, or by its being ground in the mill, as the manna was; or as spice is bruised in a mortar, he being broken and crushed to pieces under the weight of sin, and the punishment of it. The ancient Jews understood this of the Messiah; in one place they say (o),

"chastisements are divided into three parts, one to David and the fathers, one to our generation, and one to the King Messiah; as it is written, "he was wounded for our transgressions; and bruised for our iniquities":''

and in another place (p),

"at that time they shall declare to the Messiah the troubles of Israel in captivity, and the wicked which are among them, that do not mind to know the Lord; he shall lift up his voice, and weep over the wicked among them; as it is said, "he was wounded for our transgressions", &c.''

the chastisement of our peace was upon him; that is, the punishment of our sins was inflicted on him, whereby our peace and reconciliation with God was made by him; for chastisement here does not design the chastisement of a father, and in love, such as the Lord chastises his people with; but an act of vindictive justice, and in wrath, taking vengeance on our sins, of our surety, whereby divine wrath is appeased, justice is satisfied, and peace is made:

and with his stripes we are healed; or "by his stripe" (q), or "bruise": properly the black and blue mark of it, so called from the gathering and settling of the blood where the blow is given. Sin is a disease belonging to all men, a natural, hereditary, nauseous, and incurable one, but by the blood of Christ; forgiving sin is a healing of this disease; and this is to be had, and in no other way, than through the stripes and wounds, the blood and sacrifice, of the Son of God. Christ is a wonderful physician; he heals by taking the sicknesses of his people upon himself, by bearing their sins, and being wounded and bruised for them, and by his enduring blows, and suffering death itself for them. The Targum is,

"when we obey his words, our sins will be forgiven us;''

but forgiveness is not through our obedience, but the blood of Christ.

(o) Mechilta apud Yalkut, par. 2. fol 90. 1.((p) Zohar in Exod. fol. 85. 2. See also Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. and Zohar in Deut. fol. 117. 3. and R. Moses Hadarsan apud Galatia de Arcan. Cath. Ver. I. 8. c. 15 p. 586. and in I. 6. c. 2. p. 436. (q) "per livorem ejus", Munster; "livore ejus", V. L. Montanus, Vatablus; "tumice ejus", Junius & Tremellius; "vibico ejus", Cocceius; "vibicibus ejus" Vitringa.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the {h} chastisement for our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(h) He was chastised for our reconciliation, 1Co 15:3.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. In Isaiah 53:4 the people confess that the Servant was their substitute in his endurance of pains and sicknesses; here they penetrate more deeply into the meaning of his sufferings, perceiving the connexion between his passion and their own sin. The connexion is twofold; in the first place the Servant’s suffering was the penalty due to the people’s transgressions, and in the second place it was the remedy by which they were restored to spiritual health.

But he was pierced because of our rebellions,

Crushed because of our iniquities.

The strong verbs “pierced” (see ch. Isaiah 51:9) and “crushed” (Job 6:9) are probably metaphors expressing the fatal ravages of leprosy.

the chastisement of our peace] i.e. the chastisement needful to procure peace or well-being for us. “Chastisement” is pain inflicted for moral ends and with remedial intent (Proverbs 3:11 f. &c.). Cheyne’s assertion that the notion of punishment is the primary one in this word is not borne out by O.T. usage.

with his stripes] lit. weals (see ch. Isaiah 1:6).

That the people themselves had suffered for their sins is not excluded, but is apparently implied in the last words (“we are healed”), and is expressly said in other parts of the book (ch. Isaiah 40:2, Isaiah 42:24 f. &c.). What the verse teaches is that the people could not be healed by their own suffering; it was only through the Servant’s voluntary submission to the divine chastisement (Isaiah 53:7), and his bearing it in an extraordinary degree, that an atonement was effected between Jehovah and Israel (see on ch. Isaiah 40:2).Verse 5. - But he was wounded for our transgressions. This verse contains four asseverations of the great truth that all Christ's sufferings were for us, and constituted the atonement for our sins. The form is varied, but the truth is one. Christ was "wounded" or "pierced"

(1) by the thorns;

(2) by the nails; and

(3) by the spear of the soldier.

The wounds inflicted by the nails caused his death, He was bruised; or, crushed (comp. Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 19:10; Isaiah 57:15. Psalm 72:4). "No stronger expression could be found in Hebrew to denote severity of suffering - suffering unto death" (Urwick). The chastisement of our peace was upon him; i.e. "the chastisement which brought us peace," which put a stop to the enmity between fallen man and an offended God - which made them once more at one (comp. Ephesians 2:15-17, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off;" Colossians 1:20, "Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself"). With his stripes we are healed; rather, we were healed (comp. 1 Peter 2:24, "By whose stripes ye were healed"). Besides the blows inflicted on him with the hand (Matthew 26:27) and with the reed (Matthew 27:30), our Lord was judicially scourged (Matthew 27:26). Such scourging would leave the "stripe-marks" which are here spoken of. The prophecy concerning him passes now into an address to him, as in Isaiah 49:8 (cf., Isaiah 49:7), which sinks again immediately into an objective tone. "Just as many were astonished at thee: so disfigured, his appearance was not human, and his form not like that of the children of men: so will he make many nations to tremble; kings will shut their mouth at him: for they see what has not been told them, and discover what they have not heard." Both Oehler and Hahn suppose that the first clause is addressed to Israel, and that it is here pointed away from its own degradation, which excited such astonishment, to the depth of suffering endured by the One man. Hahn's principal reason, which Oehler adopts, is the sudden leap that we should otherwise have to assume from the second person to the third - an example of "negligence" which we can hardly impute to the prophet. But a single glance at Isaiah 42:20 and Isaiah 1:29 is sufficient to show how little force there is in this principal argument. We should no doubt expect עליכם or עליך after what has gone before, if the nation were addressed; but it is difficult to see what end a comparison between the sufferings of the nation and those of the One man, which merely places the sufferings of the two in an external relation to one another, could be intended to answer; whilst the second kēn (so), which evidently introduces an antithesis, is altogether unexplained. The words are certainly addressed to the servant of Jehovah; and the meaning of the sicut (just as) in Isaiah 52:14, and of the sic (so) which introduces the principal sentence in Isaiah 52:15, is, that just as His degradation was the deepest degradation possible, so His glorification would be of the loftiest kind. The height of the exaltation is held up as presenting a perfect contrast to the depth of the degradation. The words, "so distorted was his face, more than that of a man," form, as has been almost unanimously admitted since the time of Vitringa, a parenthesis, containing the reason for the astonishment excited by the servant of Jehovah. Stier is wrong in supposing that this first "so" (kēn) refers to ka'ăsher (just as), in the sense of "If men were astonished at thee, there was ground for the astonishment." Isaiah 52:15 would not stand out as an antithesis, if we adopted this explanation; moreover, the thought that the fact corresponded to the impression which men received, is a very tame and unnecessary one; and the change of persons in sentences related to one another in this manner is intolerably harsh; whereas, with our view of the relation in which the sentences stand to one another, the parenthesis prepares the way for the sudden change from a direct address to a declaration. Hitherto many had been astonished at the servant of Jehovah: shâmēm, to be desolate or waste, to be thrown by anything into a desolate or benumbed condition, to be startled, confused, as it were petrified, by paralyzing astonishment (Leviticus 26:32; Ezekiel 26:16). To such a degree (kēn, adeo) was his appearance mishchath mē'ı̄sh, and his form mibbenē 'âdâm (sc., mishchath). We might take mishchath as the construct of mishchâth, as Hitzig does, since this connecting form is sometimes used (e.g., Isaiah 33:6) even without any genitive relation; but it may also be the absolute, syncopated from משׁחתתּ equals משׁחתת (Hvernick and Stier), like moshchath in Malachi 1:14, or, what we prefer, after the form mirmas (Isaiah 10:6), with the original ă, without the usual lengthening (Ewald, 160, c, Anm. 4). His appearance and his form were altogether distortion (stronger than moshchâth, distorted), away from men, out beyond men, i.e., a distortion that destroys all likeness to a man;

(Note: The church before the time of Constantine pictured to itself the Lord, as He walked on earth, as repulsive in His appearance; whereas the church after Constantine pictured Him as having quite an ideal beauty (see my tract, Jesus and Hillel, 1865, p. 4). They were both right: unattractive in appearance, though not deformed, He no doubt was in the days of His flesh; but He is ideally beautiful in His glorification. The body in which He was born of Mary was no royal form, though faith could see the doxa shining through. It was no royal form, for the suffering of death was the portion of the Lamb of God, even from His mother's womb; but the glorified One is infinitely exalted above all the idea of art.)

'ı̄sh does not signify man as distinguished from woman here, but a human being generally.

The antithesis follows in Isaiah 52:15 : viz., the state of glory in which this form of wretchedness has passed away. As a parallel to the "many" in Isaiah 52:14, we have here "many nations," indicating the excess of the glory by the greater fulness of the expression; and as a parallel to "were astonished at thee," "he shall make to tremble" (yazzeh), in other words, the effect which He produces by what He does to the effect produced by what He suffers. The hiphil hizzâh generally means to spirt or sprinkle (adspergere), and is applied to the sprinkling of the blood with the finger, more especially upon the capporeth and altar of incense on the day of atonement (differing in this respect from zâraq, the swinging of the blood out of a bowl), also to the sprinkling of the water of purification upon a leper with the bunch of hyssop (Leviticus 14:7), and of the ashes of the red heifer upon those defiled through touching a corpse (Numbers 19:18); in fact, generally, to sprinkling for the purpose of expiation and sanctification. And Vitringa, Hengstenberg, and others, accordingly follow the Syriac and Vulgate in adopting the rendering adsperget (he will sprinkle). They have the usage of the language in their favour; and this explanation also commends itself from a reference to נגוּע in Isaiah 53:4, and נגע in Isaiah 53:8 (words which are generally used of leprosy, and on account of which the suffering Messiah is called in b. Sanhedrin 98b by an emblematical name adopted from the old synagogue, "the leper of Rabbi's school"), since it yields the significant antithesis, that he who was himself regarded as unclean, even as a second Job, would sprinkle and sanctify whole nations, and thus abolish the wall of partition between Israel and the heathen, and gather together into one holy church with Israel those who had hitherto been pronounced "unclean" (Isaiah 52:1). But, on the other hand, this explanation has so far the usage of the language against it, that hizzâh is never construed with the accusative of the person or thing sprinkled (like adspergere aliqua re aliquem; since 'eth in Leviticus 4:6, Leviticus 4:17 is a preposition like ‛al, ‛el elsewhere); moreover, there would be something very abrupt in this sudden representation of the servant as a priest. Such explanations as "he will scatter asunder" (disperget, Targum, etc.), or "he will spill" (sc., their blood), are altogether out of the question; such thoughts as these would be quite out of place in a spiritual picture of salvation and glory, painted upon the dark ground we have here. The verb nâzâh signified primarily to leap or spring; hence hizzâh, with the causative meaning to sprinkle. The kal combines the intransitive and transitive meanings of the word "spirt," and is used in the former sense in Isaiah 63:3, to signify the springing up or sprouting up of any liquid scattered about in drops. The Arabic nazâ (see Ges. Thes.) shows that this verb may also be applied to the springing or leaping of living beings, caused by excess of emotion. And accordingly we follow the majority of the commentators in adopting the rendering exsilire faciet. The fact that whole nations are the object, and not merely individuals, proves nothing to the contrary, as Habakkuk 3:6 clearly shows. The reference is to their leaping up in amazement (lxx θαυμάσονται); and the verb denotes less an external than an internal movement. They will tremble with astonishment within themselves (cf., pâchădū verâgezū in Jeremiah 33:9), being electrified, as it were, by the surprising change that has taken place in the servant of Jehovah. The reason why kings "shut their mouths at him" is expressly stated, viz., what was never related they see, and what was never heard of they perceive; i.e., it was something going far beyond all that had ever been reported to them outside the world of nations, or come to their knowledge within it. Hitzig's explanation, that they do not trust themselves to begin to speak before him or along with him, gives too feeble a sense, and would lead us rather to expect לפניו than עליו. The shutting of the mouth is the involuntary effect of the overpowering impression, or the manifestation of their extreme amazement at one so suddenly brought out of the depths, and lifted up to so great a height. The strongest emotion is that which remains shut up within ourselves, because, from its very intensity, it throws the whole nature into a suffering state, and drowns all reflection in emotion (cf., yachărı̄sh in Zephaniah 3:17). The parallel in Isaiah 49:7 is not opposed to this; the speechless astonishment, at what is unheard and inconceivable, changes into adoring homage, as soon as they have become to some extent familiar with it. The first turn in the prophecy closes here: The servant of Jehovah, whose inhuman sufferings excite such astonishment, is exalted on high; so that from utter amazement the nations tremble, and their kings are struck dumb.

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