Isaiah 53:8
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
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(8) He was taken from prison . . .—The Hebrew preposition admits of this rendering, which is adopted by many commentators, as describing the oppression and iniquitous trial which had preceded the death of the servant. It admits equally of the sense, through oppression and through judgment; and, on the whole, this gives a preferable sense. The whole procedure was tainted with iniquity.

Who shall declare his generation?—The words are, perhaps, the most difficult of the whole section, and have been very differently explained: (1) “Who shall declare his life, the mystery of his birth, his eternal being?” (2) “Who shall count his spiritual offspring?” as in Psalm 22:30. (3) “As to his generation (i.e., his contemporaries, as in Jeremiah 2:31), who will consider rightly?” (4) “Who shall set forth his generation in all the intensity of their guilt?”—to say nothing of other renderings, which render the noun as “his dwelling,” i.e., the grave, or his “course of life,” or his “fate.” Of these (3) seems most in harmony with the context, the words that follow pointing to the fact which ought to have been considered, and was not, that though the Servant of Jehovah was smitten, it was not for his own sins, but theirs.

Isaiah 53:8. He was taken from prison and from judgment — As we do not find that imprisonment was any part of Christ’s sufferings, the marginal reading seems to be preferable here. He was taken away by distress and judgment; that is, he was taken out of this life by oppression, violence, and a pretence of justice: or, as Bishop Lowth has it, By an oppressive judgment he was taken off. In Acts 8:33, where we find this passage quoted, the reading of the LXX. is followed exactly, Εν τη ταπεινωσει η κρισις αυτου πρθη, In his humiliation his judgment was taken away; that is, in his state of humiliation he had no justice shown him; to take away a person’s judgment, being a proverbial phrase for oppressing him. Or, as Dr. Doddridge explains it, “Jesus appeared in so humble a form, that, though Pilate was convinced of his innocence, he seemed a person of so little importance that it would not be worth while to hazard any thing to preserve him.” They who prefer the translation given in our text, as Beza and many other commentators do, think the words refer to Christ’s being taken, by his resurrection, from his confinement in the grave, (which they suppose to be here called a prison, as it is termed a house, Job 30:23, and a pit, Psalm 69:15,) and from the judgment, or sentence, which had been executed upon him: “agreeable to which Mr. L’Enfant renders it, His condemnation was taken away by his very abasement; that is, his stooping to death gave occasion to his triumph.” And who shall declare his generation — “This is one of the many passages of the Old Testament prophecies,” says Dr. Doddridge, “in which it is not so difficult to find a sense fairly applicable to Christ, as to know which to prefer of several that are so. Many ancient, as well as modern writers, have referred it to the mystery of his Deity,” his eternal generation, “or his incarnation,” his miraculous conception. “But Calvin and Beza say, this was owing to their ignorance of the Hebrew, the word דורnot admitting such a sense; and it is certain it very ill suits the connection with the following clause.” Some understand it as referring to his not having any witnesses to appear for him and give an account of his life and character. This interpretation is preferred by Bishop Lowth, who therefore renders the clause, And his manner of life who would declare? Others again, among whom are Calvin and Beza, think it is as if the prophet had said, “Who can declare how long he shall live and reign, or count the numerous offspring that shall descend from him?” But, “not to say that this idea is much more clearly expressed by the prophet, Isaiah 53:10, which, on this interpretation, is a tautology,” it does not appear that דור, generation, and זרע, seed, are ever used as synonymous terms. The former of these words, in the Hebrew, signifies the same with a generation of men, in English, who are contemporaries; (see Genesis 7:1; Jdg 2:10; Psalm 95:10; Psalm 109:13;) and γενεα, in the LXX., by which it is here rendered, has most frequently this sense. “Therefore, I suppose,” says Dr. Doddridge, “with Dr. Hammond, the sense to be, ‘Who can describe the obstinate infidelity and barbarous injustice of that generation of men, among whom he appeared, and from whom he suffered such things?’” For he was cut off — Namely, by a violent death; out of the land of the living — By the wicked hands of those whom he came to save: see Acts 2:23. For the transgression — Or, as some render, מפשׁע עמי, By the transgression of my people was he stricken — Hebrew, נגע למו, the stroke was on him; that is, he was stricken, was crucified and slain, by or through the wickedness of the Jews. The former, however, is doubtless the sense intended, for, as the angel testified to Daniel, (Daniel 9:24; Daniel 9:26,) the Messiah was to be cut off, not for himself, but for the sins and salvation of mankind. And this, though asserted Isaiah 53:4-6, is here repeated as a doctrine that cannot be too frequently inculcated, or too much regarded; and to prevent men’s mistakes about, or stumbling at, the humiliation of Christ, as though he had suffered and died for his own sins.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.He was taken from prison - Margin, 'Away by distress and judgment.' The general idea in this verse is, that the sufferings which he endured for his people were terminated by his being, after some form of trial, cut off out of the land of the living. Lowth renders this, 'By an oppressive judgment he was taken off.' Noyes, 'By oppression and punishment he was taken away.' The Septuagint renders it, 'In his humiliation (ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει en tē tapeinōsei), his judgment (ἡ κρίσις αὐτοὺ hē krisis autou), (his legal trial. Thomson), was taken away;' and this translation was followed by Philip when he explained the passage to the eunuch of Ethiopia Acts 8:33. The eunuch, a native of Ethiopia, where the Septuagint was commonly used, was reading this portion of Isaiah in that version, and the version was sufficiently accurate to express the general sense of the passage, though it is by no means a literal translation.

The Chaldee renders this verse, 'From infirmities and retribution he shall collect our captivity, and the wonders which shall be done for us in his days who can declare? Because he shall remove the dominion of the people from the land of Israel; the sins which my people have sinned shall come even unto them.' The Hebrew word which is here used (עצר ‛otser, from עצר ‛âtsar, "to shut up, to close," means properly "a shutting up," or "closure"; and then constraint, oppression, or vexation. In Psalm 107:39, it means violent restraint, or oppression. It does not mean prison in the sense in which that word is now used. It refers rather to restraint, and detention; and would be better translated by confinement, or by violent oppressions. The Lord Jesus, moreover, was not confined in prison. He was bound, and placed under a guard, and was thus secured. But neither the word used here, nor the account in the New Testament, leads us to suppose that in fact he was incarcerated. There is a strict and entire conformity between the statement here, and the facts as they occurred on the trial of the Redeemer (see John 18:24; compare the notes at Acts 8:33).

And from judgment - From a judicial decision; or by a judicial sentence. This statement is made in order to make the account of his sufferings more definite. He did not merely suffer affliction; he was not only a man of sorrows in general; he did not suffer in a tumult, or by the excitement of a mob: but he suffered under a form of law, and a sentence was passed in his case (compare Jeremiah 1:16; 2 Kings 25:6), and in accordance with that he was led forth to death. According to Hengstenberg, the two words here 'by oppression,' and 'by judicial sentence,' are to be taken together as a hendiadys, meaning an oppressive, unrighteous proceeding. So Lowth understands it. It seems to me, however, that they are rather to be taken as denoting separate things - the detention or confinement preliminary to the trial, and the sentence consequent upon the mock trial.

And who shall declare his generation? - The word rendered 'declare' means to relate, or announce. 'Who can give a correct statement in regard to it' - implying either that there was some want of willingness or ability to do it. This phrase has been very variously interpreted; and it is by no means easy to fix its exact meaning. Some have supposed that it refers to the fact that when a prisoner was about to be led forth to death, a crier made proclamation calling on anyone to come forward and assert his innocence, and declare his manner of life. But there is not sufficient proof that this was done among the Jews, and there is no evidence that it was done in the case of the Lord Jesus. Nor would this interpretation exactly express the sense of the Hebrew. In regard to the meaning of the passage, besides the sense referred to above, we may refer to the following opinions which have been held, and which are arranged by Hengstenberg:

1. Several, as Luther, Calvin, and Vitringa, translate it, 'Who will declare the length of his life?' that is, who is able to determine the length of his future days - meaning that there would be no end to his existence, and implying that though he would be cut off, yet he would be raised again, and would live forever. To this, the only material objection is, that the word דור dôr (generation), is not used elsewhere in that sense. Calvin, however, does not refer it to the personal life of the Messiah, so to speak, but to his life in the church, or to the perpetuity of his life and principles in the church which he redeemed. His words are: 'Yet we are to remember that the prophet does not speak only of the person of Christ, but embraces the whole body of the church, which ought never to be separated from Christ. We have, therefore, says he, a distinguished testimony respecting the perpetuity of the church. For as Christ lives for ever, so he will not suffer his kingdom to perish' - (Commentary in loc.)

2. Others translate it, 'Who of his contemporaries will consider it,' or 'considered it?' So Storr, Doderlin, Dathe, Rosenmuller and Gesenius render it. According to Gesenius it means, 'Who of his contemporaries considered that he was taken out of the land of the living on account of the sin of my people?'

3. Lowth and some others adopt the interpretation first suggested, and render it, 'His manner of life who would declare?' In support of this, Lowth appeals to the passages from the Mishna and the Gemara of Babylon, where it is said that before anyone was punished for a capital crime, proclamation was made before him by a crier in these words, 'Whosoever knows anything about his innocence, let him come and make it known.' On this passage the Gemara of Babylon adds, 'that before the death of Jesus, this proclamation was made forty days; but no defense could be found.' This is certainly false; and there is no sufficient reason to think that the custom prevailed at all in the time of Isaiah, or in the time of the Saviour.

4. Others render it, 'Who can express his posterity, the number of his descendants?' So Hengstenberg renders it. So also Kimchi.

5. Some of the fathers referred it to the humanity of Christ, and to his miraculous conception. This was the belief of Chrysostom. See Calvin in loc. So also Morerius and Cajetan understood it.

But the word is never used in this sense. The word דור dôr (generation), means properly an age, a generation of human beinigs; the revolving period or circle of human life; from דור dûr, a circle Deuteronomy 23:3-4, Deuteronomy 23:9; Ecclesiastes 1:4. It then means, also, a dwelling, a habitation Psalm 49:20; Isaiah 38:12. It occurs often in the Old Testament, and is in all other instances translated 'generation,' or 'generations.' Amidst the variety of interpretations which have been proposed, it is perhaps not possible to determine with any considerable degree of certainty what is the true sense of the passage. The only light, it seems to me, which can be thrown on it, is to be derived from the 10th verse, where it is said, 'He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days;' and this would lead us to suppose that the sense is, that he would have a posterity which no one would be able to enumerate, or declare. According to this, the sense would be, 'He shall be indeed cut off out of the land of the living. But his name, his race shall not be extinct. Notwithstanding this, his generation, race, posterity, shall be so numerous that no one shall be able to declare it.' This interpretation is not quite satisfactory, but it has more probabilities in its favor than any other.

For - (כי kı̂y). This particle does not here denote the cause of what was just stated, but points out the connection (compare 1 Samuel 2:21; Ezra 10:1). In these places it denotes the same as 'and.' This seems to be the sense here. Or, if it be here a causal particle, it refers not to what immediately goes before, but to the general strain and drift of the discourse. All this would occur to him because he was cut off on account of the transgression of his people. He was taken from confinement, and was dragged to death by a judicial sentence, and he should have a numerous spiritual posterity, because he was cut off on account of the sins of the people.

He was cut off - This evidently denotes a violent, and not a peaceful death. See Daniel 9:26 : 'And after threescore and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.' The Septuagint renders it, 'For his life is taken away from the earth.' The word used here (גזר gâzar), means properly "to cut, to cut in two, to divide." It is applied to the act of cutting down trees with an axe (see 2 Kings 6:4). Here the natural and obvious idea is, that he would be violently taken away, as if he was cut down in the midst of his days. The word is never used to denote a peaceful death, or a death in the ordinary course of events; and the idea which would be conveyed by it would be, that the person here spoken of would be cut off in a violent manner in the midst of his life.

For the transgression of my people - The meaning of this is not materially different from 'on account of our sins.' 'The speaker here - Isaiah - does not place himself in opposition to the people, but includes himself among them, and speaks of them as his people, that is, those with whom he was connected' - (Hengstenberg). Others, however, suppose that Yahweh is here introduced as speaking, and that he says that the Messiah was to be cut off for the sins of his people.

Was he stricken - Margin, 'The stroke upon him;' that is, the stroke came upon him. The word rendered in the margin 'stroke' (נגע nega‛), denotes properly a blow Deuteronomy 17:8 :Deuteronomy 21:5; then a spot, mark, or blemish in the skin, whether produced by the leprosy or any other cause. It is the same word which is used in Isaiah 53:4 (see the note on that verse). The Hebrew, which is rendered in the margin 'upon him' (למו lâmô) has given rise to much discussion. It is properly and usually in the plural form, and it has been seized upon by those who maintain that this whole passage refers not to one individual but to some collective body, as of the people, or the prophets (see Analysis prefixed to Isaiah 52:13), as decisive of the controversy. To this word Rosenmuller, in his Prolegomena to the chapter, appeals for a decisive termination of the contest, and supposes the prophet to have used this plural form for the express purpose of clearing up any difficulty in regard to his meaning. Gesenius refers to it for the same purpose, to demonstrate that the prophet must have referred to some collective body - as the prophets - and not to an individual. Aben Ezra and Abarbanel also maintain the same thing, and defend the position that it can never be applied to an individual. This is not the place to go into an extended examination of this word. The difficulties which have been started in regard to it, have given rise to a thorough critical examination of the use of the particle in the Old Testament, and an inquiry whether it is ever used in the singular number. Those who are disposed to see the process and the result of the investigation, may consult Ewald's Hebrew Grammar, Leipzig, 1827, p. 365; Wiseman's Lectures, pp. 331-333, Andover Edit., 1837; and Hengstenberg's Christology, p. 523. In favor of regarding it as used here in the singular number and as denoting an individual, we may just refer to the following considerations:


8. Rather, "He was taken away (that is, cut off) by oppression and by a judicial sentence"; a hendiadys for, "by an oppressive judicial sentence" [Lowth and Hengstenberg]. Gesenius not so well, "He was delivered from oppression and punishment" only by death. English Version also translates, "from … from," not "by … by." But "prison" is not true of Jesus, who was not incarcerated; restraint and bonds (Joh 18:24) more accord with the Hebrew. Ac 8:33; translate as the Septuagint: "In His humiliation His judgment (legal trial) was taken away"; the virtual sense of the Hebrew as rendered by Lowth and sanctioned by the inspired writer of Acts; He was treated as one so mean that a fair trial was denied Him (Mt 26:59; Mr 14:55-59). Horsley translates, "After condemnation and judgment He was accepted."

who … declare … generation—who can set forth (the wickedness of) His generation? that is, of His contemporaries [Alford on Ac 8:33], which suits best the parallelism, "the wickedness of His generation" corresponding to "oppressive judgment." But Luther, "His length of life," that is, there shall be no end of His future days (Isa 53:10; Ro 6:9). Calvin includes the days of His Church, which is inseparable from Himself. Hengstenberg, "His posterity." He, indeed, shall be cut off, but His race shall be so numerous that none can fully declare it. Chyrsostom, &c., "His eternal sonship and miraculous incarnation."

cut off—implying a violent death (Da 9:26).

my people—Isaiah, including himself among them by the word "my" [Hengstenberg]. Rather, Jehovah speaks in the person of His prophet, "My people," by the election of grace (Heb 2:13).

was he stricken—Hebrew, "the stroke (was laid) upon Him." Gesenius says the Hebrew means "them"; the collective body, whether of the prophets or people, to which the Jews refer the whole prophecy. But Jerome, the Syriac, and Ethiopiac versions translate it "Him"; so it is singular in some passages; Ps 11:7, His; Job 27:23, Him; Isa 44:15, thereto. The Septuagint, the Hebrew, lamo, "upon Him," read the similar words, lamuth, "unto death," which would at once set aside the Jewish interpretation, "upon them." Origen, who laboriously compared the Hebrew with the Septuagint, so read it, and urged it against the Jews of his day, who would have denied it to be the true reading if the word had not then really so stood in the Hebrew text [Lowth]. If his sole authority be thought insufficient, perhaps lamo may imply that Messiah was the representative of the collective body of all men; hence the equivocal plural-singular form.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: these words are understood either,

1. Of Christ’s humiliation or suffering; and then the words are to be thus rendered,

He was taken away (to wit, out of this life, as this word is used, Psalm 31:13 Proverbs 1:19, and elsewhere; he was put to death) by distress (or violence, or tyranny, as this word is used with this preposition before it, Psalm 107:39) and judgment; by oppression and violence, under a form and pretence of justice. Or rather,

2. Of Christ’s exaltation, because of the following clause; which is not unseasonably mentioned in the midst of his sufferings, to take off the scandal which might have arisen from Christ’s sufferings, if there had not been a prospect and assurance of his victoriousness over them, and his glory after them; and so the words may be rendered, He was taken up (or, taken away, freed or delivered) from prison (i.e. from the grave, which being called a house, Job 30:23, and a pit, in which men are shut up Psalm 69:15, may fitly be called a prison; or, from distress or affliction, or oppression, from the power and malice of his enemies, and from the torments of his own soul, arising from the sense of men’s sins and God’s displeasure) and from judgment, i.e. from all the sufferings and punishments inflicted upon him, either by the unrighteous judgment of men, or by the just judgment of God, punishing him for those sins which he had voluntarily taken upon himself; or, which is the same tiling, from the sentence of condemnation, and all the effects of it; for in this sense judgment is very commonly taken both in Scripture and other authors.

Who shall declare? who can declare it? the future being taken potentially, as it is frequently; no words can sufficiently express it.

His generation; either,

1. His age, or the continuance of his life. So the sense is, that he shall not only be delivered from death, and all his punishments, but also shall be restored to an inexpressible or endless life; and to an everlasting kingdom. Thus great interpreters understand it; with whom I cannot comply, because I do not find this Hebrew word to be ever used in Scripture of the continuance of one man’s life. Or rather,

2. His posterity; and so this word is unquestionably used, Genesis 15:16 Exodus 20:5 Deu 23:2,3,8, and in many other places. And so the sense of the place is this, that Christ’s death shall not be unfruitful, and that when he is raised from the dead, he shall have a spiritual seed, as is promised, Isaiah 53:10; a numberless multitude of those who shall believe in him, and be regenerated and adopted by him into the number of his children, and of the children of God, John 1:12 Hebrews 2:10,13,14. He was cut off, to wit, by a violent death. And this may be added as a reason, both of his exaltation, and of the blessing of a numerous posterity conferred upon him, because he was willing to be cut off for the transgression of his people; and, as it followeth, Isaiah 53:10, made his soul an offering for sin; Christ’s death being elsewhere declared to be the only way and necessary means of obtaining both these ends. Luke 24:26,46 Joh 12:24,32,33 Php 2 8,9. But these words may be rendered, although he was cut off, to signify that his death should not hinder these glorious effects.

For the transgression of my people was he stricken: this is repeated again, as it was fit it should be, to prevent men’s mistakes about and stumbling at the death of Christ, and to assure them that Christ did not die for his own sins, but only for the sins and salvation of his people. He was taken from prison, and from judgment,.... After he had suffered and died, and made satisfaction to divine justice; or after he had been arrested by the justice of God, and was laid in prison, and under a sentence of condemnation, had judgment passed upon him, and that executed too; he was taken in a very little time from the prison of the grave where he lay, and from the state of condemnation into which he was brought, and was acquitted, justified, and declared righteous, and his people in him; a messenger was sent from heaven to roll away the stone, and set him free: though some render it,

he was taken by distress and judgment; that is, his life was taken away in a violent manner, under a pretence of justice; whereas the utmost injustice was done him; a wrong charge was brought against him, false witnesses were suborned, and his life was taken away with wicked hands; which sense seems to be favoured by the quotation in Acts 8:32 "in his humiliation his judgment was taken away": he had not common justice done him:

and who shall declare his generation? which is not to be understood of his divine generation, as the Son of God, which is in a way ineffable and inconceivable; nor of his human generation, as the Son of Man, which is unaccountable, being born of a virgin; nor of the duration of his life after his resurrection, he dying no more, but living for ever, which is more probable; nor of the vast number of his spiritual offspring, the fruit of his sufferings, death, and resurrection; but of the age, and men of it, in which he lived, whose barbarity to him, and wickedness they were guilty of, were such as could not be declared by the mouth, or described by the pen of man. The Targum is,

"and the wonderful things which shall be done for us in his days, who can declare?''

for he was cut off out of the land of the living; was not suffered to live, was taken off by a violent death; he was cut off in a judiciary way, as if he had been a malefactor; though lest it should be thought it was for his own sins he was cut off, which is denied, Daniel 9:26 it is added,

for the transgression of my people was he stricken; that is, either through the malice and wickedness of the people of the Jews, whom the prophet calls his people, he was stricken, not only with the scourges of the whip, but with death itself, as the efficient cause thereof; or rather because of the transgressions of God's elect, in order to make satisfaction for them, he was stricken by divine justice, and put to death, as the meritorious cause thereof; and so they are the words of God the Father; and this, with the preceding clause, give a reason, showing both why he was taken from the prison of the grave, acquitted, and exalted, and why the wickedness of his age could not be declared; he being stricken and cut off in such a manner, when he was an innocent person; and since it was only for the transgressions of others, even of God's covenant people, the people he chose, and gave to Christ, Matthew 1:21.

He was taken from {l} prison and from judgment: {m} and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

(l) From the cross and grave, after that he was condemned.

(m) Though he died for sin, yet after his resurrection he will live forever and this his death is to restore life to his members, Ro 6:9.

8. He was taken from prison and from judgment] Every word here is ambiguous. The principal interpretations are as follows: (1) “Without hindrance and without right he was taken away,” i.e. he was put to death without opposition from any quarter, and in defiance of justice. The only exception that can fairly be taken to this view is the translation “hindrance,” a sense of the noun for which there are no parallels. Yet the verb from which the noun is derived occurs in the sense of “detain” (1 Kings 18:44, &c.), and as the noun is very uncommon, the rendering cannot be pronounced impossible. (2) “Through oppression and through judgement he was taken away” (so virtually R.V.). “Judgement” here means “judicial procedure,” and the rendering “oppression” is guaranteed by Psalm 107:39. “Oppression and judgement” may mean (as explained by Cheyne) an oppressive judgement (“through distressful doom,” see his Introduction, p. 428), the idea being that the Servant’s death, like that of our Lord, was a judicial murder. For “taken away” in the sense of “put to death” see on ch. Isaiah 52:5, and cf. Ezekiel 33:4 (where, however, a different part of the verb is used). (3) “From oppression and from judgement he was taken away,” i.e. released by death, or taken by God to Himself (2 Kings 2:10). Here the sense of “oppression and judgement” is indeterminate; the meaning might either be simply that by death he was finally released from his troubles, or that God took him away from the malice of his persecutors. The rendering “imprisonment” instead of “oppression” could be justified from the usage of the verb (2 Kings 17:4 &c.), although not of the noun itself; only in this case we must not read, “From imprisonment … he was led away (to execution),” for that is an idea which could hardly have suggested itself apart from the fulfilment of the prophecy in the crucifixion of Christ. Of the three interpretations the last seems the most natural, although everything turns on the question whether the death of the Servant is conceived as caused directly by men or by God through sickness. (see below on the last clause of this verse.)

And who shall declare his generation?] A still more difficult clause. The Hebr. word for “generation” (dôr) may mean (a) the time in which he lived, (b) the circle of his contemporaries, (c) those like-minded with him (Psalm 12:7; Psalm 14:5; Proverbs 30:11 ff.); but is never used with any such significance as “length of life,” or “life-history,” or “posterity.” In neither of its three senses does it supply a suitable object to the verb declare or rather consider (Psalm 143:5 “meditate”). We may, however, take it in the sense (b), and render with R.V. and as for his generation who (among them) considered &c. (On this construction see Davidson, Synt. § 72, Rem. 4). Yet the construction as direct obj. of the verb is so much the more natural that any suggestion would be acceptable which might enable us to retain it. Duhm (following Knobel) takes the word in its Aramaic sense of “dwelling-place” (see on ch. Isaiah 38:12) and translates “who enquires after his dwelling-place” (with God)? It would be better, perhaps, to understand “dwelling-place” exactly as in Isaiah 38:12, of the earthly dwelling-place, the place that once knew him but knows him no more: “Who enquires after it, or thinks about it?” he has vanished from the thoughts of men.

for he was cut off (Psalm 88:5; Ezekiel 37:11) out of the land of the living] Comp. again Jeremiah 11:19. The R.V. makes this clause an object sentence governed by the verb “considered” (reading that instead of for). This is perhaps necessary if the R.V. rendering of the previous line be adopted.

for the rebellion of my people was he stricken (lit. “(was) a stroke upon him”)] The last word in the Hebr. (לָמוֹ) would be translated most naturally “upon them” (but see Davidson, Gram. § 19 R. c.); hence some render “because of the rebellion of my people, the stroke (due) to them.” A far more satisfactory sense is obtained by the help of the LXX. Read למות and change the preceding noun into a passive verb (nugga‘ for nega‘) and render was he stricken unto death. The expression “stricken” is from the same verb which in Isaiah 53:4 suggested leprosy as the cause of the Servant’s disfigurement; and its use here in connexion with his death is in favour of the view that he died of his sickness and not by the hands of his persecutors. If this conclusion be sound it confirms the view expressed above as to the sense of the first clause of this verse.Verse 8. - He was taken from prison and from judgment; rather, by oppression and a judgment was he taken away; i.e. (us Dr. Kay says) "by a violence which cloaked itself under the formalities of a legal process." The Septuagint Version, which is quoted by Philip the deacon in the Acts (Isaiah 8:33), must have been derived from quite a different text. It preserves, however, the right rendering of the verb, "was he taken away," i.e. removed from the earth. Who shall declare his generation? literally, his generation who considereth? The meaning is obscure. Dr. Kay understands by "his generation," his lifetime or his life, comparing Isaiah 38:12, "Mine age is departed," where the same word is used and accompanied by a pronominal suffix. Mr. Urwick suggests that it includes

(1) his origin;

(2) his earthly life; and

(3) his everlasting reign in heaven.

Others (Delitzsch, Gesenius, Cheyne) take "his generation" to mean "the men of his generation," and join the clause with what follows: "As for those of his generation, which of them considered that he was cut off," etc.? He was cut off; i.e. taken away before his time, cut down like a flower (comp. Job 14:2; Lamentations 3:54; Ezekiel 37:11). The land of the living. The present world, the earth (see Isaiah 38:11; and comp. Job 28:13; Psalm 27:13; Psalm 52:5; Psalm 116:9; Psalm 142:2; Jeremiah 11:19). For the transgression of my people was he stricken. The sentiment is the same as in ver. 5, but with the difference that there it was suffering only, here it is death itself, which the Servant endures for man. "My people" may be either "God's people" or "the prophet's people," according as the speaker is regarded as Isaiah or Jehovah. Jehovah certainly becomes the Speaker in vers. 11, 12. The confession, which follows, grows out of the great lamentation depicted by Zechariah in Zechariah 12:11. "And he sprang up like a layer-shoot before Him, and like a root-sprout out of dry ground: he had no form, and no beauty; and we looked, and there was no look, such that we could have found pleasure in him." Isaiah 53:2, as a sequel to Isaiah 53:1, looks back to the past, and describes how the arm of Jehovah manifested itself in the servant's course of life from the very beginning, though imperceptibly at first, and unobserved by those who merely noticed the outside. The suffix of לפניו cannot refer to the subject of the interrogative sentence, as Hahn and Hofmann suppose, for the answer to the quis there is nemo; it relates to Jehovah, by which it is immediately preceded. Before Jehovah, namely, so that He, whose counsel thus began to be fulfilled, fixed His eye upon him with watchfulness and protecting care, he grew up כּיּונק, like the suckling, i.e., (in a horticultural sense) the tender twig which sucks up its nourishment from the root and stem (not as Hitzig supposes, according to Ezekiel 31:16, from the moisture in the soil); for the tender twig upon a tree, or trunk, or stalk, is called ינקת (for which we have יונק here): vid., Ezekiel 17:22, the twig of a cedar; Psalm 80:12 (11), of a vine; Job 8:16, of a liana. It is thought of here as a layer, as in Ezekiel 17:22; and, indeed, as the second figure shows when taken in connection with Isaiah 11:1, as having been laid down after the proud cedar of the Davidic monarchy from which it sprang had been felled; for elsewhere it is compared to a shoot which springs from the root left in the ground after the tree has been felled. Both figures depict the lowly and unattractive character of the small though vigorous beginning. The expression "out of dry ground," which belongs to both figures, brings out, in addition, the miserable character of the external circumstances in the midst of which the birth and growth of the servant had taken place. The "dry ground" is the existing state of the enslaved and degraded nation; i.e., he was subject to all the conditions inseparable from a nation that had been given up to the power of the world, and was not only enduring all the consequent misery, but was in utter ignorance as to its cause; in a word, the dry ground is the corrupt character of the age. In what follows, the majority of the commentators have departed from the accents, and adopted the rendering, "he had no form and no beauty, that we should look at Him" (should have looked at Him), viz., with fixed looks that loved to dwell upon Him. This rendering was adopted by Symmachus and Vitringa (ἳνα εἴδωμεν αὐτόν; ut ipsum respiceremus). But Luther, Stier, and others, very properly adhere to the existing punctuation; since the other would lead us to expect בּו ונראה instead of ונראהוּ, and the close reciprocal relation of ולא־מראה ונראהוּ, which resembles a play upon the words, is entirely expunged. The meaning therefore is, "We saw Him, and there was nothing in His appearance to make us desire Him, or feel attracted by Him." The literal rendering of the Hebrew, with its lively method of transferring you into the precise situation, is ut concupisceremus eum (delectaremur eo); whereas, in our oriental style, we should rather have written ut concupivissemus, using the pluperfect instead of the imperfect, or the tense of the associated past. Even in this sense ונראהוּ is very far from being unmeaning: He dwelt in Israel, so that they had Him bodily before their eyes, but in His outward appearance there was nothing to attract or delight the senses.
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