Isaiah 53:10
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
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(10) Yet it pleased the Lord . . .—The sufferings of the Servant are referred not to chance or fate, or even the wickedness of his persecutors, but to the absolute “good-pleasure” of the Father, manifesting itself in its fullest measure in the hour of apparent failure. (Comp. Psalm 22:15.)

When thou shalt make . . .—Better, if his soul shall make a trespass offering, he will see his seed; he will prolong his days . . . The sacrificial character of the death of the Servant is distinctly defined. It is a “trespass offering” (Leviticus 6:6; Leviticus 6:17; Leviticus 14:12), an expiation for the sins of the people. The words declare that such a sacrifice was the condition of spiritual parentage (Psalm 22:30), of the immortality of influence, of eternal life with God, of accomplishing the work which the Father had given him to do (John 17:4). The “trespass offering” was, it must be remembered, distinct from the “sin offering,” though both belonged to the same sacrificial group (Leviticus 5:15; Leviticus 7:1-7), the distinctive element in the former being that the man who confessed his guilt, voluntary or involuntary, paid his shekels, according to the judgment of the priest, and offered a ram, the blood of which was sprinkled upon the altar. It involved, that is, the idea not of an atonement only, but of a satisfaction, according to the nature of the sin.



Isaiah 53:10

We have seen a distinct progress of thought in the preceding verses. There was first the outline of the sorrows and rejection of the Servant; second, the profound explanation of these as being for us; third, the sufferings, death and burial of the Servant.

We have followed Him to the grave. What more can there be to be said? Whether the Servant of the Lord be an individual or a collective or an ideal, surely all fitness of metaphor, all reality of fact would require that His work should be represented as ending with His life, and that what might follow His burial should be the influence of His memory, the continued operation of the principles He had set agoing and so on, but nothing more.

Now observe that, however we may explain the fact, this is the fact to be explained, that there is a whole section, this closing one, devoted to the celebration of His work after His death and burial, and, still more remarkable, that the prophecy says nothing about His activity on the world till after death. In all the former portion there is not a syllable about His doing anything, only about His suffering; and then when He is dead He begins to work. That is the subject of these last three verses, and it would be proper to take them all for our consideration now, but fur two reasons, one, because of their great fulness and importance, and one because, as you will observe, the two latter verses are a direct address of God’s concerning the Servant. The prophetic words, spoken as in his own person, end with Isaiah 53:10, and, catching up their representations, expanding, defining, glorifying them, comes the solemn thunder of the voice of God. I now deal only with the prophet’s vision of the work of the Servant of the Lord.

One other preliminary remark is that the work of the Servant after death is described in these verses with constant and very emphatic reference to His previous sufferings. The closeness of connection between these two is thus thrown into great prominence.

I. The mystery of God’s treatment of the sinless Servant.

The first clause is to be read in immediate connection with the preceding verse. The Servant was of absolute sinlessness, and yet the Divine Hand crushed and bruised Him. Certainly, if we think of the vehemence of prophetic rebukes, and of the standing doctrine of the Old Testament that Israel was punished for its sin, we shall be slow to believe that this picture of the Sinless One, smitten for the sins of others, can have reference to the nation in any of its parts, or to any one man. However other poetry may lament over innocent sufferers, the Old Testament always takes the ground: ‘Our iniquities, like the wind, have carried us away.’ But mark that here, however understood, the prophet paints a figure so sinless that God’s bruising Him is an outstanding wonder and riddle, only to be solved by regarding these bruises as the stripes by which our sins were healed, and by noting that ‘the pleasure of the Lord’ is carried on through Him, after and through His death. What conceivable application have such representations except to Jesus? We note, then, here:-

1. The solemn truth that His sufferings were divinely inflicted. That is a truth complementary to the other views in the prophecy, according to which these sufferings are variously regarded as either inflicted by men {‘By oppression and judgment He was taken away’} or drawn on Him by His own sacrificial act {‘His soul shall make an offering for sin’}. It was the divine counsel that used men as its instruments, though they were none the less guilty. The hands that ‘crucified and slew’ were no less ‘the hands of lawless men,’ because it was ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God’ that ‘delivered Him up.’

But a still deeper thought is in these words. For we can scarcely avoid seeing in them a glimpse into that dim region of eclipse and agony of soul from which, as from a cave of darkness, issued that last cry: ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani?’ The bruises inflicted by the God, who made to meet on Him the iniquities of us all, were infinitely more severe than the weales of the soldiers’ rods, or the wounds of the nails that pierced His hands and feet.

2. The staggering mystery of His sinlessness and sufferings.

The world has been full from of old of stories of goodness tortured and evil exalted, which have drawn tears and softened hearts, but which have also bewildered men who would fain believe in a righteous Governor and loving Father. But none of these have cast so black a shadow of suspicion on the government of the world by a good God as does the fate of Jesus, unless it is read in the light of this prophecy. Standing at the cross, faith in God’s goodness and providence can scarcely survive, unless it rises to be faith in the atoning sacrifice of Him who was wounded there for our transgressions.

II. The Servant’s work in His sufferings.

The margin of the Revised Version gives the best rendering-’His soul shall make an offering for sin.’ The word employed for ‘offering’ means a trespass offering, and carries us at once back to the sacrificial system. The trespass offering was distinguished from other offerings. The central idea of it seems to have been to represent sin or guilt as debt, and the sacrifice as making compensation. We must keep in view the variety of ideas embodied in His sacrifice, and how all correspond to realities in our wants and spiritual experience.

Now there are three points here:-

a. The representation that Christ’s death is a sacrifice. Clearly connecting with whole Mosaic system-and that in the sense of a trespass offering. Christ seems to quote this verse in John 10:15, when He speaks of laying down His life, and when He declares that He came to ‘give His life a ransom for many.’ At any rate here is the great word, sacrifice, proclaimed for the first time in connection with Messiah. Here the prophet interprets the meaning of all the types and shadows of the law.

That sacrificial system bore witness to deep wants of men’s souls, and prophesied of One in whom these were all met and satisfied.

b. His voluntary surrender.

He is sacrifice, but He is Priest also. His soul makes the offering, and His soul is the offering and offers itself in concurrence with the Divine Will. It is difficult and necessary to keep that double aspect in view, and never to think of Jesus as an unwilling Victim, nor of God as angry and needing to be appeased by blood.

c. The thought that the true meaning of His sufferings is only reached when we contemplate the effects that have flowed from them. The pleasure of the Lord in bruising Him is a mystery until we see how pleasure of the Lord prospers in the hand of the Crucified.

III. The work of the Servant after death.

Surely this paradox, so baldly stated, is meant to be an enigma to startle and to rouse curiosity. This dead Servant is to see of the travail of His soul, and to prolong His days. All the interpretations of this chapter which refuse to see Jesus in it shiver on this rock. What a contrast there is between platitudes about the spirit of the nation rising transformed from its grave of captivity {which was only very partially the case}, and the historical fulfilment in Jesus Christ! Here, at any rate, hundreds of years before His Resurrection, is a word that seems to point to such a fact, and to me it appears that all fair interpretation is on the side of the Messianic reference.

Note the singularity of special points.

a. Having died, the Servant sees His offspring.

The sacrifice of Christ is the great power which draws men to Him, and moves to repentance, faith, love. His death was the communication of life. Nowhere else in the world’s history is the teacher’s death the beginning of His gathering of pupils, and not only has the dead Servant children, but He sees them. That representation is expressive of the mutual intercourse, strange and deep, whereby we feel that He is truly with us, ‘Jesus Christ, whom having not seen we love.’

b. Having died, the Servant prolongs His days.

He lives a continuous life, without an end, for ever. The best commentary is the word which John heard, as he felt the hand of the Christ laid on his prostrate form: ‘I became dead, and lo, I am alive for evermore.’

c. Having died, the Servant carries into effect the divine purposes.

‘Prosper’ implies progressive advancement. Christ’s Sacrifice carried out the divine pleasure, and by His Sacrifice the divine pleasure is further carried out.

If Christ is the means of carrying out the divine purpose, consider what this implies of divinity in His nature, of correspondence between His will and the divine.

But Jesus not only carries into effect the divine purpose as a consequence of a past act, but by His present energy this dead man is a living power in the world today. Is He not?

The sole explanation of the vitality of Christianity, and the sole reason which makes its message a gospel to any soul, is Christ’s death for the world and present life in the world.Isaiah 53:10-11. It pleased the Lord to bruise him — Although he was perfectly innocent, it pleased God, for other just and wise reasons, to expose him to sufferings and death. He hath put him to grief — His God and Father spared him not, though he was his only and beloved Son, but delivered him up for us all, to ignominy and torture, delivered him by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, (Acts 2:23,) into the power of those whose wicked hands he knew would execute upon him every species of cruelty and barbarity. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin — When thou, O God, shalt have made thy Son a sacrifice, by giving him up to death for the atonement of men’s sins. His soul is here put for his life, or for himself, or his whole human nature, which was sacrificed, his soul being oppressed with a sense of the wrath of God due to our sins, his body crucified, and his soul and body separated by death. Or, the words, נפשׁו אם תשׁים אשׁם, may be rendered, when, or, if his soul shall make an offering for sin, or, a propitiatory sacrifice: whereby it may be implied, that he did not lay down his life by compulsion, but willingly. He shall see his seed — His death shall be glorious to himself and highly beneficial to others, for he shall have a numerous seed of believers, reconciled to God, and saved by his death. He shall prolong his days — He shall be raised to immortal life, and live and reign with God for ever. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand — God’s gracious decree, for the salvation of mankind, shall be effectually carried on by his ministry and mediation. He shall see of the travail of his soul — He shall enjoy the comfortable and blessed fruit of all his hard labours and grievous sufferings: and shall be satisfied — He shall esteem his own and his Father’s glory, and the salvation of his people, an abundant recompense. By his knowledge — By the knowledge of, or an acquaintance with himself, that knowledge which is accompanied with faith, love, and obedience to him; shall my righteous servant justify many — Shall acquit them that believe in and obey him from the guilt of all their sins, and save them from the dreadful consequences thereof. Justification is here, as in most other places of the Scriptures, one or two excepted opposed to condemnation: and Christ is said to justify sinners, because he does it meritoriously, procuring justification for us by his sacrifice; as God the Father is commonly said to justify authoritatively, because he accepted the price paid by Christ for that blessing, and the pronouncing of the sentence of absolution is referred to him in the gospel dispensation. For he shall bear their iniquities — For he shall satisfy the justice and law of God for them, by bearing the punishment due to their sins; and therefore, on the principles of reason and justice, they must be acquitted, otherwise the same debt would be twice required and paid.53:10-12 Come, and see how Christ loved us! We could not put him in our stead, but he put himself. Thus he took away the sin of the world, by taking it on himself. He made himself subject to death, which to us is the wages of sin. Observe the graces and glories of his state of exaltation. Christ will not commit the care of his family to any other. God's purposes shall take effect. And whatever is undertaken according to God's pleasure shall prosper. He shall see it accomplished in the conversion and salvation of sinners. There are many whom Christ justifies, even as many as he gave his life a ransom for. By faith we are justified; thus God is most glorified, free grace most advanced, self most abased, and our happiness secured. We must know him, and believe in him, as one that bore our sins, and saved us from sinking under the load, by taking it upon himself. Sin and Satan, death and hell, the world and the flesh, are the strong foes he has vanquished. What God designed for the Redeemer he shall certainly possess. When he led captivity captive, he received gifts for men, that he might give gifts to men. While we survey the sufferings of the Son of God, let us remember our long catalogue of transgressions, and consider him as suffering under the load of our guilt. Here is laid a firm foundation for the trembling sinner to rest his soul upon. We are the purchase of his blood, and the monuments of his grace; for this he continually pleads and prevails, destroying the works of the devil.Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him - In this verse, the prediction respecting the final glory and triumph of the Messiah commences. The design of the whole prophecy is to state, that in consequence of his great sufferings, he would be exalted to the highest honor (see the notes at Isaiah 52:13). The sense of this verse is, 'he was subjected to these sufferings, not on account of any sins of his, but because, under the circumstances of the case, his sufferings would be pleasing to Yahweh. He saw they were necessary, and he was willing that he should be subjected to them. He has laid upon him heavy sufferings. And when he has brought a sin-offering, he shall see a numerous posterity, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper through him.' The Lord was 'pleased' with his sufferings, not because he has delight in the sufferings of innocence; not because the sufferer was in any sense guilty or ill-deserving; and not because he was at any time displeased or dissatisfied with what the Mediator did, or taught. But it was:

1. Because the Messiah had voluntarily submitted himself to those sorrows which were necessary to show the evil of sin; and in view of the great object to be gained, the eternal redemption of his people, he was pleased that he would subject himself to so great sorrows to save them. He was pleased with the end in view, and with all that was necessary in order that the end might be secured.

2. Because these sufferings would tend to illustrate the divine perfections, and show the justice and mercy of God. The gift of a Saviour, such as he was, evinced boundless benevolence; his sufferings in behalf of the guilty showed the holiness of his nature and law; and all demonstrated that he was at the same time disposed to save, and yet resolved that no one should be saved by dishonoring his law, or without expiation for the evil which had been done by sin.

3. Because these sorrows would result in the pardon and recovery of an innumerable multitude of lost sinners, and in their eternal happiness and salvation. The whole work was one of benevolence, and Yahweh was pleased with it as a work of pure and disinterested love.

To bruise him - (See the notes at Isaiah 53:5). The word here is the infinitive of Piel. 'To bruise him, or his being bruised, was pleasing to Yahweh;' that is, it was acceptable to him that he should be crushed by his many sorrows. It does not of necessity imply that there was any positive and direct agency on the part of Yahweh in bruising him, but only that the fact of his being thus crushed and bruised was acceptable to him.

He hath put him to grief - This word, 'hath grieved him,' is the same which in another form occurs in Isaiah 53:4. It means that it was by the agency, and in accordance with the design of Yahweh, that he was subjected to these great sorrows.

When thou shalt make his soul - Margin, 'His soul shall make.' According to the translation in the text, the speaker is the prophet, and it contains an address to Yahweh, and Yahweh is himself introduced as speaking in Isaiah 53:11. According to the margin, Yahweh himself speaks, and the idea is, that his soul should make an offering for sin. The Hebrew will bear either. Jerome renders it, 'If he shall lay down his life for sin.' The Septuagint renders it in the plural, 'If you shall give (an offering) for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived posterity.' Lowth renders it, 'If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice.' Rosenmuller renders it, 'If his soul, that is, he himself, shall place his soul as an expiation for sin.' Noyes renders it, 'But since he gave himself a sacrifice for sin.' It seems to me that the margin is the correct rendering, and that it is to be regarded as in the third person. Thus the whole passage will be connected, and it will be regarded as the assurance of Yahweh himself, that when his life should be made a sacrifice for sin, he would see a great multitude who should be saved as the result of his sufferings and death.

His soul - The word rendered here 'soul' (נפשׁ nephesh) means properly breath, spirit, the life, the vital principle Genesis 1:20-30; Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23. It sometimes denotes the rational soul, regarded as the seat of affections and emotions of various kinds Genesis 34:3; Psalm 86:4; Isaiah 15:4; Isaiah 42:1; Sol 1:7; Sol 3:1-4. It is here equivalent to himself - when he himself is made a sin-offering, or sacrifice for sin.

An offering for sin - (אשׁם 'âshâm). This word properly means, blame, guilt which one contracts by transgression Genesis 26:10; Jeremiah 51:5; also a sacrifice for guilt; a sin-offering; an expiatory sacrifice. It is often rendered 'trespass-offering' Leviticus 5:19; Leviticus 7:5; Leviticus 14:21; Leviticus 19:21; 1 Samuel 6:3, 1 Samuel 6:8, 1 Samuel 6:17). It is rendered 'guiltiness' Genesis 26:10; 'sin' Proverbs 14:9; 'trespass' Numbers 5:8. The idea here is, clearly, that he would be made an offering, or a sacrifice for sin; that by which guilt would be expiated and an atonement made. In accordance with this, Paul says 2 Corinthians 5:21, that God 'made him to be sin for us' (ἁμαρτίαν hamartian), that is, a sin-offering; and he is called ἱλασμὸς hilasmos and ἱλαστήριον hilastērion, a propitiatory sacrifice for sins Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10. The idea is, that he was himself innocent, and that he gave up his soul or life in order to make an expiation for sin - as the innocent animal in sacrifice was offered to God as an acknowledgment of guilt. There could be no more explicit declaration that he who is referred to here, did not die as a martyr merely, but that his death had the high purpose of making expiation for the sins of people. Assuredly this is not language which can be used of any martyr. In what sense could it be said of Ignatius or Cranmer that their souls or lives were made an offering (אשׁם 'âshâm or ἱλασμὸς hilasmos) for sin? Such language is never applied to martyrs in the Bible; such language is never applied to them in the common discourses of people.

He shall see his seed - His posterity; his descendants. The language here is taken from that which was regarded as the highest blessing among the Hebrews. With them length of days and a numerous posterity were regarded as the highest favors, and usually as the clearest proofs of the divine love. 'Children's children are the crown of old men' Proverbs 17:6. See Psalm 127:5; Psalm 128:6 : 'Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.' So one of the highest blessings which could be promised to Abraham was that he would be made the father of many nations Genesis 12:2; Genesis 17:5-6. In accordance with this, the Messiah is promised that he shall see a numerous spiritual posterity. A similar declaration occurs in Psalm 22:30, which is usually applied to the Messiah. 'A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.' The natural relation between father and son is often transferred to spiritual subjects. Thus the name father is often given to the prophets, or to teachers, and the name sons to disciples or learners. In accordance with this, the idea is here, that the Messiah would sustain this relation, and that there would be multitudes who would sustain to him the relation of spiritual children. There may be emphasis on the word 'see' - he shall see his posterity, for it was regarded as a blessing not only to have posterity, but to be permitted to live and see them. Hence, the joy of the aged Jacob in being permitted to see the children of Joseph Genesis 48:11 : 'And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face; and lo, God hath showed me also thy seed.

He shall prolong his days - His life shall be long. This also is language which is taken from 'the view entertained among the Hebrews that long life was a blessing, and was a proof of the divine favor. Thus, in 1 Kings 3:14, God says to Solomon, 'if thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days' (see Deuteronomy 25:15; Psalm 21:4; Psalm 91:16; Proverbs 3:2). The meaning here is, that the Messiah, though he should be put to death, would yet see great multitudes who should be his spiritual children. Though he should die, yet he would live again, and his days should be lengthened out. It is fulfilled in the reign of the Redeemer on earth and in his eternal existence and glory in heaven.

And the pleasure of the Lord - That is, that which shall please Yahweh; the work which he desire and appoints.

Shall prosper - (See the notes at Isaiah 52:13, where the same word occurs).

In his hand - Under his government and direction. Religion will be promoted and extended through him. The reward of all his sufferings in making an offering for sin would be, that multitudes would be converted and saved; that his reign would be permanent, and that the work which Yahweh designed and desired would prosper under his administration.

10. Transition from His humiliation to His exaltation.

pleased the Lord—the secret of His sufferings. They were voluntarily borne by Messiah, in order that thereby He might "do Jehovah's will" (Joh 6:38; Heb 10:7, 9), as to man's redemption; so at the end of the verse, "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."

bruise—(see Isa 53:5); Ge 3:15, was hereby fulfilled, though the Hebrew word for "bruise," there, is not the one used here. The word "Himself," in Matthew, implies a personal bearing on Himself of our maladies, spiritual and physical, which included as a consequence His ministration to our bodily ailments: these latter are the reverse side of sin; His bearing on Him our spiritual malady involved with it His bearing sympathetically, and healing, the outward: which is its fruits and its type. Hengstenberg rightly objects to Magee's translation, "taken away," instead of "borne," that the parallelism to "carried" would be destroyed. Besides, the Hebrew word elsewhere, when connected with sin, means to bear it and its punishment (Eze 18:20). Matthew, elsewhere, also sets forth His vicarious atonement (Mt 20:28).

when thou, &c.—rather, as Margin, "when His soul (that is, He) shall have made an offering," &c. In the English Version the change of person is harsh: from Jehovah, addressed in the second person (Isa 53:10), to Jehovah speaking in the first person in Isa 53:11. The Margin rightly makes the prophet in the name of Jehovah Himself to speak in this verse.

offering for sin—(Ro 3:25; 1Jo 2:2; 4:10).

his seed—His spiritual posterity shall be numerous (Ps 22:30); nay, more, though He must die, He shall see them. A numerous posterity was accounted a high blessing among the Hebrews; still more so, for one to live to see them (Ge 48:11; Ps 128:6).

prolong … days—also esteemed a special blessing among the Jews (Ps 91:16). Messiah shall, after death, rise again to an endless life (Ho 6:2; Ro 6:9).

prosper—(Isa 52:13, Margin).

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; but although he was perfectly innocent, it pleased God for other just and wise reasons to punish him.

He hath put him to grief; God was the principal Cause of all his sorrows and sufferings, although men’s sins were the deserving cause.

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin; when thou, O God, shalt make, or have made, thy Son a sacrifice, by giving him up to death for the atonement of men’s sins. His

soul is here put for his life, or for himself, or his whole human nature, which was sacrificed; his soul being tormented with the sense of God’s wrath, and his body crucified, and soul and body separated by death. Or the words may be rendered, when his soul shall make, or have made, itself

an offering for sin; whereby it may be implied that he did not lay down his life by force, but willingly.

He shall see his seed; his death shall be glorious to himself, and highly beneficial to others; for he shall have a numerous issue of believers reconciled to God, and saved by his death.

He shall prolong his days; he shall be raised to immortal life, and shall live and reign with God for ever; he shall die no more, Ro 6 9, and of his kingdom there shall be no end, Luke 1:33.

The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; God’s gracious decree for the redemption and salvation of mankind shall be effectually carried on by his ministry and mediation. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,.... The sufferings of Christ are signified by his being "bruised"; See Gill on Isaiah 53:5, and as it was foretold he should have his heel bruised by the serpent, Genesis 3:15, but here it is ascribed to the Lord: he was bruised in body, when buffeted and scourged, and nailed to the cross; and was bruised and broken in spirit, when the sins of his people were laid on him, and the wrath of God came upon him for them: the Lord had a hand in his sufferings; he not only permitted them, but they were according to the counsel of his will; they were predetermined by him, Acts 2:23, yea, they were pleasing to him, he took a kind of delight and pleasure in them; not in them simply considered as sufferings, but as they were an accomplishment of his purposes, a fulfilment of his covenant and promises, and of the prophecies in his word; and, particularly, as hereby the salvation of his people was brought about; see John 10:17,

he hath put him to grief; when he awoke the sword of justice against him; when he spared him not, but delivered him up into the hands of wicked men, and unto death: he was put to grief in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful; and on the cross, when he was nailed to it, had the weight of his people's sins, and his Father's wrath, on him; and when he hid his face from him, which made him cry out, "my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" or, "hath put him to pain": suffered him to be put to pain, both in body and mind:

when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin: not his soul only, but his body also, even his whole human nature, as in union with his divine Person; for it was he himself that was offered up in the room and stead of his people, to make atonement and satisfaction for their sins, Hebrews 9:14, or, "when thou shalt make his soul sin" (z); so Christ was made by imputation, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and when he was so made, or had the sins of his people imputed to him, then was he bruised, and put to pain and grief, in order to finish them, and make an end of them, and make reconciliation for them: or, "when his soul shall make an offering" (a) "for sin", or "sin" itself; make itself an offering; for Christ offered up himself freely and voluntarily; he gave himself an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweetsmelling savour, Ephesians 5:2, he was altar, sacrifice, and priest.

He shall see his seed; or, "a seed"; a spiritual seed and offspring; a large number of souls, that shall be born again, of incorruptible seed, as the fruit of his sufferings and death; see John 12:24, this he presently began to see after his resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven; when great numbers were converted among the Jews, and after that multitudes in the Gentile world, and more or less in all ages; ever since has he had a seed to serve him; and so he will in the latter day, and to the end of time:

he shall prolong his days: live long, throughout all ages, to all eternity; though he was dead, he is alive, and lives for evermore; lives to see all the children that the Father gave him, and he has gathered together by his death, when scattered abroad, and see them all born again, and brought to glory. Some connect this with the preceding clause, "he shall see a seed that shall prolong its days" (b); for Christ will never want issue, his church will never fail, his seed will endure for ever, Psalm 89:29. So the Targum, paraphrasing the words of Christ and his seed,

"they shall see the kingdom of their Messiah; they shall multiply sons and daughters; they shall prolong their days:''

and so Aben Ezra says these words are spoken of the generation that shall return to God, and to the true religion, at the coming of the Messiah.

And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; the work of man's redemption, put into the hands of Christ, which he undertook to accomplish; which was with him and before him, when he came into this world, and was his meat and drink to do; this he never left till he had finished it; so that it succeeded and prospered with him: and this may well be called "the pleasure of the Lord"; it was the good pleasure of his will; it was what he purposed and resolved; what his heart was set upon, and was well pleasing to him, as effected by his Son. Likewise the setting up of the kingdom and interest of Christ in the world, and the continuance and increase of it; the ministry of the word, and the success of that as the means thereof, may be also meant; for the Gospel will be preached, and a Gospel church still continued, until all the elect of God are gathered in.

(z) "quum posueris delictum animam ejus", De Dieu. (a) "Ubi posuit satisfactionis pretium anima ejus", Cocceius; "si posuerit delictum sua anima", Montanus. (b) "videbit semen quod prolongabit dies", Cocceius; "videbit semen longaevum", V. L.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when {o} thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

(o) Christ by offering up himself will give life to his Church, and so cause them to live with him forever.

10. Yet it pleased … grief] The sentence must be a restatement of the fact that the Servant has suffered by the will of Jehovah, this being repeated in order to introduce the explanation of Jehovah’s purpose in imposing chastisement upon him. The second clause, he hath put him to grief, represents a single Hebrew word, which is vocalised and translated by the LXX. as the noun for “sickness” (Isaiah 53:3). The meaning intended by the punctuators is probably “he hath made him sick” (R.V. marg.), although the form is anomalous and the syntax uncertain. Since it is too short to form an independent line, it must be closely attached to what precedes: hence the rendering of Dillmann and others, “It pleased Jehovah to crush him incurably,” i.e. grievously (cf. Micah 6:13; Nahum 3:19). This is perhaps the best that can be made of the received reading, but it is most probable that the textual derangement which prevails in these verses begins here.

when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin] Rather “if (or when) his soul should present a guilt-offering.” The difficulty here does not lie in the analogy of the guilt-offering, for this probably signifies nothing more than has been already expressed in plain words, that the Servant’s death is the means of removing guilt (Isaiah 53:4-6). It does not appear that the distinctive ritual and function of the guilt-offering (’âshâm, see Leviticus 5:14 ff., &c.) throws any light on this passage. The chief difficulty is the hypothetical character of the sentence, of which no satisfactory explanation has been given. No doubt the atoning effect of the sufferings is the condition of Jehovah’s great purpose being attained, but the condition has been already fulfilled, whereas it is here spoken of as an event which is, if not problematic, at least future.—The subject is ambiguous, but on every ground it is better to suppose that “his soul” is subject than that Jehovah is addressed. Ewald and Cheyne, however, prefer to read (with the change of a consonant) “when he shall make his soul a guilt-offering.”

he shall see a seed (cf. Genesis 50:23) he shall prolong his days] i.e. shall enjoy long life. His “seed” are the true spiritual Israel of the future, those who by his means are converted to the knowledge of Jehovah.

the pleasure (i.e. the purpose, see on Isaiah 44:28) of the Lord] the establishment of the universal religion, the eternal salvation. The verse returns on itself by repetition of the opening idea (as Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 53:6-7)—“palindromically,” as Delitzsch would say.

10–12. These difficult verses describe, partly in the prophet’s own words and partly in those of Jehovah, the Divine purpose which is realised through the sufferings of the Servant. In Isaiah 53:10-11 it is impossible to trace a clear connexion of ideas; the grammar also is peculiar, and in all probability there is considerable textual disorder. The main thought, however, is that the Servant is to be the instrument in establishing the true religion, by removing the burden of guilt and bringing many to righteousness. As the reward of his sufferings he will enjoy a brilliant future and have a numerous spiritual offspring. He will become a great power in the world, attaining a position like that of a mighty conqueror. The idea of a resurrection from the dead appears to be necessarily implied. If the Servant be a personification of Israel, this is merely a figure for national restoration from exile; but if he be an individual, then his resurrection must be accepted as a literal fact, just as his death must be literally understood.Verse 10. - Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him (see the comment on ver. 6, ad fin.). The sufferings of Christ, proceeding from the "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23), and being permitted by him; were in some sort his doing. It "pleased him," moreover, that they should be undergone, for he saw with satisfaction the Son's self-sacrifice, and he witnessed with joy man's redemption and deliverance effected thereby. He hath put him to grief; rather, he dealt grievously - a sort of hend-adys. "He bruised him with a grievous bruising." When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. It is proposed (Ewald, Cheyne), by the alteration of a letter, to make the passage run thus: "When he shall make his soul an offering," etc., and argued that "he who offers the Servant's life as a sacrifice must be the Servant himself, and not Jehovah" (Cheyne). No doubt the Servant did offer his own life (see Matthew 20:28," He gave his soul a ransom for many"); but that fact does not preclude the possibility of the Father having also offered it. "Believest thou not," said our Lord to Philip, "that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). This perienchoresis, as the ancient theologians called it, makes it possible to predicate of the Father almost all the actions which can be predicated of the Son - all, in fact, excepting those which belong to the Son's humanity, or which involve obedience and subordination. As the Father had "laid on Christ the iniquity of us all" (ver. 6), as he had "bruised him and put him to grief," so he might be said to have "made his soul an offering for sin." All was settled in the Divine counsels from all eternity, and when the ideal became the actual, God the Father wrought with God the Son to effectuate it. "Offerings for sin," or "guilt offerings," were distinct from "sin offerings." The object of the former was "satisfaction," of the latter "expiation." The Servant of Jehovah was, however, to be both. "As in ver. 5 the Divine Servant is represented as a Sin Offering, his death being an expiation, so here he is described as a Guilt Offering, his death being a satisfaction" (Urwick, 'The Servant of Jehovah,' p. 151). He shall see his seed. The "seed" of a teacher of religion are his disciples. St. Paul speaks of Onesimus as one whom he had "begotten in his bends" (Philemon 1:10). He calls himself by implication the "father" of his Corinthian converts (1 Corinthians 4:15). Both he and St. John address their disciples as "little children" (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 2:1, 18, 25 I:3:7, 18 I:4:4 I:5:21). It had long previously been promised that "a seed should serve" Messiah (Psalm 22:30). Our Lord himself occasionally called his disciples his "children" (Mark 10:24; John 21:5). He has always "seen his seed" in his true followers. He shall prolong his days. A seeming contradiction to the statement (ver. 8) that he should be "cut off" out of the land of the living; and the more surprising because his death is made the condition of this long life: "When thou shalt make his soul an offering [or, 'sacrifice'] for sin," then "he shall prolong his days." But the resurrection of Christ, and his entrance upon an immortal life (Romans 6:9), after offering himself as a Sacrifice upon the cross, exactly meets the difficulty and solves the riddle (comp. Revelation 1:18). The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. "In his hand" means "by his instrumentality." The "pleasure of the Lord" is God's ultimate aim and end with respect to his universe. This would "prosper" - i.e. be advanced, wrought out, rendered effectual - by the instrumentality of Christ. "Taking the verse as a whole, it sets forth

(1) the origin,

(2) the nature, and

(3) the result of the Saviour's sufferings.

Taking the last clause by itself, we have

(1) the Divine complacency in the purpose of human salvation; and

(2) the successful issue of that purpose as administered by the Messiah" (Urwick, 'The Servant of Jehovah,' p. 153). Those who formerly mistook and despised the Servant of Jehovah on account of His miserable condition, now confess that His sufferings were altogether of a different character from what they had supposed. "Verily He hath borne our diseases and our pains: He hath laden them upon Himself; but we regarded Him as one stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." It might appear doubtful whether אכן (the fuller form of אך) is affirmative here, as in Isaiah 40:7; Isaiah 45:15, or adversative, as in Isaiah 49:4. The latter meaning grows out of the former, inasmuch as it is the opposite which is strongly affirmed. We have rendered it affirmatively (Jer. vere), not adversatively (verum, ut vero), because Isaiah 53:4 itself consists of two antithetical halves - a relation which is expressed in the independent pronouns הוּא and אנחנוּ, that answer to one another. The penitents contrast themselves and their false notion with Him and His real achievement. In Matthew (Matthew 8:17) the words are rendered freely and faithfully thus: αὐτὸς τὰς ἀσθενείας ἡμῶν ἔλαβε καὶ τὰς νόσους ἐβάστασεν. Even the fact that the relief which Jesus afforded to all kinds of bodily diseases is regarded as a fulfilment of what is here affirmed of the Servant of Jehovah, is an exegetical index worth noticing. In Isaiah 53:4 it is not really sin that is spoken of, but the evil which is consequent upon human sin, although not always the direct consequence of the sins of individuals (John 9:3). But in the fact that He was concerned to relieve this evil in all its forms, whenever it came in His way in the exercise of His calling, the relief implied as a consequence in Isaiah 53:4 was brought distinctly into view, though not the bearing and lading that are primarily noticed here. Matthew has very aptly rendered נשׂא by ἔλαβε, and סבל by ἐβάστασε. For whilst סבל denotes the toilsome bearing of a burden that has been taken up, נשׂא combines in itself the ideas of tollere and ferre. When construed with the accusative of the sin, it signifies to take the debt of sin upon one's self, and carry it as one's own, i.e., to look at it and feel it as one's own (e.g., Leviticus 5:1, Leviticus 5:17), or more frequently to bear the punishment occasioned by sin, i.e., to make expiation for it (Leviticus 17:16; Leviticus 20:19-20; Leviticus 24:15), and in any case in which the person bearing it is not himself the guilty person, to bear sin in a mediatorial capacity, for the purpose of making expiation for it (Leviticus 10:17). The lxx render this נשׂא both in the Pentateuch and Ezekiel λαβεῖν ἁμαρτίαν, once ἀναφέρειν; and it is evident that both of these are to be understood in the sense of an expiatory bearing, and not merely of taking away, as has been recently maintained in opposition to the satisfactio vicaria, as we may see clearly enough from Ezekiel 4:4-8, where the עון שׂאת is represented by the prophet in a symbolical action.

But in the case before us, where it is not the sins, but "our diseases" (חלינוּ is a defective plural, as the singular would be written חלינוּ) and "our pains" that are the object, this mediatorial sense remains essentially the same. The meaning is not merely that the Servant of God entered into the fellowship of our sufferings, but that He took upon Himself the sufferings which we had to bear and deserved to bear, and therefore not only took them away (as Matthew 8:17 might make it appear), but bore them in His own person, that He might deliver us from them. But when one person takes upon himself suffering which another would have had to bear, and therefore not only endures it with him, but in his stead, this is called substitution or representation - an idea which, however unintelligible to the understanding, belongs to the actual substance of the common consciousness of man, and the realities of the divine government of the world as brought within the range of our experience, and one which has continued even down to the present time to have much greater vigour in the Jewish nation, where it has found it true expression in sacrifice and the kindred institutions, than in any other, at least so far as its nationality has not been entirely annulled.

(Note: See my Jesus and Hillel, pp. 26, 27.)

Here again it is Israel, which, having been at length better instructed, and now bearing witness against itself, laments its former blindness to the mediatorially vicarious character of the deep agonies, both of soul and body, that were endured by the great Sufferer. They looked upon them as the punishment of His own sins, and indeed - inasmuch as, like the friends of Job, they measured the sin of the Sufferer by the sufferings that He endured - of peculiarly great sins. They saw in Him נגוּע, "one stricken," i.e., afflicted with a hateful, shocking disease (Genesis 12:17; 1 Samuel 6:9) - such, for example, as leprosy, which was called נגע κατ ̓ ἐξ (2 Kings 15:5, A. ἀφήμενον, S. ἐν ἁφῆ ὄντα equals leprosum, Th. μεμαστιγωμένον, cf., μάστιγες, Mark 3:10, scourges, i.e., bad attacks); also אלהים מכּה, "one smitten of God" (from nâkhâh, root נך, נג; see Comm. on Job, at Job 30:8), and מענּה bowed down (by God), i.e., afflicted with sufferings. The name Jehovah would have been out of place here, where the evident intention is to point to the all-determining divine power generally, whose vengeance appeared to have fallen upon this particular sufferer. The construction mukkēh 'Elōhı̄m signifies, like the Arabic muqâtal rabbuh, one who has been defeated in conflict with God his Lord (see Comm. on Job, at Job 15:28); and 'Elōhı̄m has the syntactic position between the two adjectives, which it necessarily must have in order to be logically connected with them both.

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