Isaiah 50:5
The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
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(5, 6) The Lord God.Jehovah Adonai, as before. The Servant continues his soliloquy. What has come to him in the morning communings with God is, as in the next verse, that he too is to bear reproach and shame, as other disciples had done before him. The writer of Psalm 22:7, the much-enduring Job (Job 30:10), the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:7), were but foreshadowings of the sufferings that should fall on him. And all this the true Servant-Scholar accepts willingly. because it is his Father’s will. Here again we cannot fail to trace the influence of Isaiah’s words in all our Lord’s utterances as to His passion. (Comp. Matthew 16:21; Mark 10:34; Luke 18:32.)



Isaiah 50:5

I. The secret of Christ’s life, filial obedience.

The fact is attested by Scripture. By His own words: ‘My meat is to do the will of My Father’; ‘For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness’; ‘I came down from heaven not to do My own will.’ By His servant’s words: ‘Obedient unto death’; ‘Made under the law’; ‘He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.’ It is involved in the belief of His righteous manhood. It is essential to true manhood. The highest ideal for humanity is conscious dependence on God, and the very definition of righteousness is conscious conformity to the Will of God. If Christ had done the noblest acts and yet had not always had this sense of being a servant, He would not have been pure and holy.

It is not inconsistent with His true Divinity. We stand afar off, but we can see this much.

The completeness of that obedience. It was continuous and it was entire.

The living heart of it: ‘I delight to do Thy Will.’ The Father’s Will was not a force without, but Christ’s whole being was conformed to it, and it was shrined within His heart and had become His choice and delight.

The expressions of His obedience were His perfect fulfilment of the divine commands, and His perfect endurance of the divine appointments.

Thus God’s Will was the keynote, to which Christ’s will struck the full chord.

II. The yet deeper mysteries which that perfect obedience discloses.

1. A sinless human life must be more than human. The contrast with all which we have known-the impossibility of retaining belief in the perfect obedience of Jesus unless we have underlying it the belief in His divinity. ‘There is none good but one, that is God.’

2. The sinless human life suffers not for itself but for us. The combination of holiness and sorrow leads on to the mystery of atonement. The sinlessness is indispensable to the doctrine of His sacrificial death.

III. The glorious gifts which flow from that perfect obedience.

1. It gives us a living law to obey.

2. It gives us a transforming power to receive.

3. It gives us a perfect righteousness to trust to.

This perfect obedience may be ours. Being ours, our lives will be strong, free, peaceful.

That obedience becomes ours by faith, which leads to love, and love to the glad obedience of sons.Isaiah 50:5-6. The Lord hath opened mine ear — Hath given me a power and will to hear and receive his commands. And I was not rebellious — I readily did and suffered what he required of me. Neither turned away back — From hearing or obeying his will, how difficult or dangerous soever the work might be to which he called me. He seems to allude to some of the former prophets, who had shrunk back, and for a time refused such work as God called them to, as Moses, Exodus 3:11; Jonah, chap. 1:3, and others. I gave my back to the smiters — I patiently yielded up myself to the will of those who smote me: I was willing, not only to do, but to suffer the will of God, and the injuries of men: and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair — Which was a contumely or punishment sometimes inflicted on malefactors, Nehemiah 13:25. I hid not my face from shame — From any manner of reproachful usage, but did knowingly and willingly submit myself thereunto; and spitting — Spitting in a man’s face was used in token of contempt and detestation. All these things were literally fulfilled in Christ, as is expressly affirmed in the gospels; but we read of no such things concerning Isaiah, and therefore it is most safe and reasonable to understand this passage of Christ, and the rather, because it is not usual with the prophets to commend themselves so highly as the prophet here commends the person of whom he speaks.50:4-9 As Jesus was God and man in one person, we find him sometimes speaking, or spoken of, as the Lord God; at other times, as man and the servant of Jehovah. He was to declare the truths which comfort the broken, contrite heart, those weary of sin, harassed with afflictions. And as the Holy Spirit was upon him, that he might speak as never man spake; so the same Divine influence daily wakened him to pray, to preach the gospel, and to receive and deliver the whole will of the Father. The Father justified the Son when he accepted the satisfaction he made for the sin of man. Christ speaks in the name of all believers. Who dares to be an enemy to those unto whom he is a Friend? or who will contend with those whom he is an Advocate? Thus St. Paul applies it, Ro 8:33.The Lord God hath opened mine ear - This is another expression denoting that he was attentive to the import of the divine commission (see Psalm 40:6).

And I was not rebellious - I willingly undertook the task of communicating the divine will to mankind. The statement here is in accordance with all that is said of the Messiah, that he was willing to come and do the will of God, and that whatever trials the work involved he was prepared to meet them (see Psalm 40:6-8; compare Hebrews 10:4-10).

5. opened … ear—(See on [836]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).

Hath opened mine ear; hath revealed unto me; or rather, hath given me a power and will to hear and receive his commands, as this phrase is used, Psalm 40:6 Isaiah 35:5, and elsewhere.

I was not rebellious; I readily did and suffered what he required of me.

Neither turned away back: the same thing repeated in other words. I did not turn away mine ear from hearing any of God’s commands, nor my feet from gong where God sent me, how difficult or dangerous soever my employment was. He seems to allude to the former prophets, who had, divers of them, shrunk back, and for a time refused such work as God called them to, as Moses, Exodus 3:11,13, Jonah 1:8, and others. The Lord God hath opened mine ear,.... To hear most freely, and receive most fully, what is said by him, and to observe and do it: the allusion seems to be to the servant that had his ears bored, being willing to serve his master for ever, Exodus 21:5 which phrase of boring or opening the ear is used of Christ, Psalm 40:6. It is expressive of his voluntary obedience, as Mediator, to his divine Father, engaging in, and performing with the greatest readiness and cheerfulness, the great work of man's redemption and salvation.

And I was not rebellious; not to his earthly parents, to whom he was subject; nor to civil magistrates, to whom he paid tribute; nor to God, he always did the things that pleased him: he was obedient to the precepts of the moral law, and to the penalty of it, death itself, and readily submitted to the will of God in suffering for his people; which obedience of his was entirely free and voluntary, full, complete, and perfect, done in the room and stead of his people; is the measure of their righteousness, and by which they become righteous; is well pleasing to God, and infinitely preferable to the obedience of men and angels:

neither turned away back; he did not decline the work proposed to him, but readily engaged in it; he never stopped in it, or desisted from it, until he had finished it; he did not hesitate about it, as Moses and Jeremy; or flee from it, as Jonah.

The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
5. hath opened mine ear] The phrase used of the imparting of a prophetic communication in 1 Samuel 9:15 (cf. Psalm 40:6, different verbs).

and I was not rebellious &c.] a circumstantial clause (“I being not rebellious” &c.). Comp. Jonah 1:3 and Jeremiah 20:9. The character and history of Jeremiah seem to have contributed many traits to the portrait of the “Servant of Jehovah.”Verse 5. - The Lord hath opened mine ear. Some understand this of the boring of the ear for perpetual service (Psalm 40:6; Exodus 21:6); but it is perhaps better to regard it as intended to mark a contrast between the true Servant and the professed servants, or children of Israel. They "did not hear; their ear was not opened; they were treacherous and rebellious from the womb" (Isaiah 48:8). His ear was opened to receive God's word perpetually; he was not rebellious, did not turn away back. Even when most tried, his final word was, "Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). There follows now a sceptical question prompted by weakness of faith; and the divine reply. The question, Isaiah 49:24 : "Can the booty indeed be wrested from a giant, or will the captive host of the righteous escape?" The question is logically one, and only divided rhetorically into two (Ges. 153, 2). The giant, or gigantically strong one, is the Chaldean. Knobel, in opposition to Hitzig, who supposes the Persian to be referred to, points very properly to Isaiah 51:12-13, and Isaiah 52:5. He is mistaken, however, in thinking that we must read עריץ שׁבי in Isaiah 49:24, as Ewald does after the Syriac and Jerome, on account of the parallelism. The exiles are called shebhı̄ tsaddı̄q, not, however, as captives wrested from the righteous (the congregation of the righteous), as Meier thinks, taking tsaddı̄q as the gen. obj.; still less as captives carried off by the righteous one, i.e., the Chaldean, for the Chaldean, even regarded as the accomplisher of the righteous judgment of God, is not tsaddı̄q, but "wicked" (Habakkuk 1:13); but merely as a host of captives consisting of righteous men (Hitzig). The divine answer, Isaiah 49:25, Isaiah 49:26 : "Yea, thus saith Jehovah, Even the captive hosts of a giant are wrested from him, and the booty of a tyrant escapes: and I will make war upon him that warreth with thee, and I will bring salvation to thy children. And I feed them that pain thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as if with new wine; and all flesh sees that I Jehovah am thy Saviour, and that thy Redeemer is the Mighty One of Jacob." We might take the kı̄ in Isaiah 49:25 as a simple affirmative, but it is really to be taken as preceded by a tacit intermediate thought. Rosenmller's explanation is the correct one: "that which is hardly credible shall take place, for thus hath Jehovah said." He has also given the true interpretation of gam: "although this really seems incredible, yet I will give it effect." Ewald, on the contrary, has quite missed the sense of Isaiah 49:24, Isaiah 49:25, which he gives as follows: "The booty in men which a hero has taken in war, may indeed be taken from him again; but Jehovah will never let the booty that He takes from the Chaldean (viz., Israel) be wrested from Him again." This is inadmissible, for the simple reason that it presupposes the emendation עריץ שׁבי עריץ noita; and this 'ârı̄ts is quite unsuitable, partly because it would be Jehovah to whom the case supposed referred, and still more, because the correspondence in character between Isaiah 49:24 and Isaiah 49:14 is thereby destroyed. The gibbōr and 'ârı̄ts is called יריבך in Isaiah 49:25, with direct reference to Zion. This is a noun formed from the future, like Jareb in Hosea 5:13 and Hosea 10:6 - a name chosen as the distinctive epithet of the Asiatic emperor (probably a name signifying "king Fighting-cock"). The self-laceration threatened against the Chaldean empire recals to mind Isaiah 9:19-20, and Zechariah 11:9, and has as revolting a sound as Numbers 23:24 and Zechariah 9:15 -passages which Daumer and Ghillany understand in the cannibal sense which they appear to have, whereas what they understand literally is merely a hyperbolical figure. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the Old Testament church was a nation, and that the spirit of revelation in the Old Testament assumed the national form, which it afterwards shattered to pieces. Knobel points to the revolt of the Hyrcanians and several satraps, who fought on the side of Cyrus against their former rulers (Cyrop. iv 2, 6, v. 1-3). All this will be subservient to that salvation and redemption, which form the historical aim of Jehovah and the irresistible work of the Mighty One of Jacob. The name of God which we meet with here, viz., the Mighty One of Jacob, only occurs again in Isaiah 1:24, and shows who is the author of the prophecy which is concluded here. The first half set forth, in the servant of Jehovah, the mediator of Israel's restoration and of the conversion of the heathen, and closed with an appeal to the heaven and the earth to rejoice with the ransomed church. The second half (Isaiah 49:14-26) rebukes the despondency of Zion, which fancies itself forgotten of Jehovah, by pointing to Jehovah's more than maternal love, and the superabundant blessing to be expected from Him. It also rebukes the doubts of Zion as to the possibility of such a redemption, by pointing to the faithfulness and omnipotence of the God of Israel, who will cause the exiles to be wrested from the Chaldean, and their tormentors to devour one another. The following chapter commences a fresh train of ideas.
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