Isaiah 53:11
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
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(11) He shall see of the travail . . .—Better, On account of the travail of his soul, he shall see, and be refreshed. We may find the truest explanation in the words, “To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The refreshment after travail, because of the travail, was already present to the sufferer’s consciousness.

By his knowledge . . .—The phrase admits of two meanings, objective and subjective: (1) by their knowledge of Him; or (2) by His own knowledge; and each expresses a truth. Men are saved by knowing Christ. To know Him and the Father is eternal life (John 17:3). On the other hand, the Christ Himself makes His knowledge of the Father the ground of His power to impart that knowledge to men, and so to justify and save them (John 17:25). Without that knowledge He could not have led them to know God as He knew. If we dare not say that the prophet distinctly contemplated both meanings, we may rejoice that he was guided to use a phrase which includes both. Isaiah 11:2 and Malachi 2:7 are in favour of (2).

For he shall bear.—The conjunction is not necessarily more than and. The importance of the renewal of the assurance given in Isaiah 53:4 lies in its declaring the perpetuity of the atoning work. The sacrifice of the Servant is “for ever” (Hebrews 10:12). He “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25). He taketh away the sin of the world, through the æons of all duration (John 1:29).



Isaiah 53:11

These are all but the closing words of this great prophecy, and are the fitting crown of all that has gone before. We have been listening to the voice of a member of the race to whom the Servant of the Lord belonged, whether we limit that to the Jewish people or include in it all humanity. That voice has been confessing for the speaker and his brethren their common misapprehensions of the Servant, their blindness to the meaning of His sufferings and the mystery of His death. It has been proclaiming the true significance of these as now he had learned them, and has in Isaiah 53:10 touched the mystery of the reward and triumph of the Servant.

That note of His glory and coronation is caught up in the two closing verses, which, in substance, are the continuation of the idea of Isaiah 53:10. But this identity of substance makes the variety of form the more emphatic. Observe the ‘My Servant’ of Isaiah 53:11, and the ‘I will divide’ of Isaiah 53:12. These oblige us to take this as the voice of God. The confession and belief of earth is hushed, that the recognition and the reward of the Servant may be declared from heaven. An added solemnity is thus given to the words, and the prophecy comes round again to the keynote on which it started in Isaiah 52:13, ‘My Servant.’ Notice, too, how the same characteristic is here as in Isaiah 53:10 -that the recapitulation of the sufferings is almost equally prominent with the description of the reward. The two are so woven together that no power can part them. We may take these two verses as setting forth mainly two things-the divine promise that the Servant shall give righteousness to many, and the divine promise that the Servant shall conquer many for Himself.

As to the exposition, ‘of’ here is probably casual, not partitive, as the Authorised Version has it; ‘travail’ is not to be understood in the sense of childbirth, but of toil and suffering; ‘soul’ is equivalent to life. This fruit of His soul’s travail is further defined in the words which follow. The great result which will be beheld by Him and will fill and content His heart is that ‘by His knowledge He shall justify many.’ ‘By His knowledge’ certainly means, by the knowledge of Him on the part of others. The phrase might be taken either objectively or subjectively, but it seems to me that only the former yields an adequate sense. ‘My righteous servant’ is scarcely emphatic enough. The words in the original stand in an unusual order, which might be represented by ‘the righteous one, My servant,’ and is intended to put emphasis on the Servant’s righteousness, as well as to suggest the connection between His righteousness and His ‘justifying,’ in virtue of His being righteous. ‘Justify’ is an unusual form, and means to procure for, or impart righteousness to. ‘The many’ has stress on the article, and is the antithesis not to all, but to few. We might render it ‘the masses,’ an indefinite expression, which if not declaring universality, approaches very near to it, as in Romans 5:19 and Matthew 26:28. ‘He shall bear,’ a future referring to the Servant in a state of exaltation, and pointing to His continuous work after death. This bearing is the root of our righteousness.

We may put the thoughts here in a definite order.

I. The great work which the Servant carries on.

It consists in giving or imparting righteousness. It seems to me that it is out of place to be too narrow here in interpreting so as to draw distinctions between righteousness imparted and righteousness bestowed. We should rather take the general idea of making righteous, making, in fact, like Himself. Note that this is the work which is Christ’s characteristic one. All thoughts of His blessings to the world which omit that are imperfect.

II. The preparation for that making of us righteous.

The roots of our being made righteous by the righteous Servant are found in His bearing our sins. His sin-bearing work is basis of our righteousness. Christ justifies men by giving to them His own righteousness, and taking in turn their sins on Himself that He may expiate them.

Not only ‘did He bear our sins in His own body on the tree,’ but He will bear them in His exaltation to the Throne, and only because He continuously and eternally does so are we justified on earth and shall we be sanctified in heaven.

III. The condition on which He imparts righteousness.

‘His knowledge,’ which is to be taken in the profound Biblical sense as including not only understanding but experience also.

Parallels are found in ‘This is life eternal to know Thee’ {John 17:3}, and in ‘That I may know Him’ {Php 3:10}. So this prophecy comes very near to the New Testament proclamation of righteousness by faith.

IV. The grand sweep of the Servant’s work.

‘The many’ is indefinite, and its very indefiniteness approximates it to universality. A shadowy vision of a great multitude that no man can number stretches out, as to the horizon, before the prophet. How many they are he knows not. He knows that they are numerous enough to ‘satisfy’ the Servant for all His sufferings. He knows, too, that there is no limit to the happy crowd except that which is set by the necessary condition of joining the bands of ‘the justified’-namely, ‘the knowledge of Him.’ They who receive the benefits which the Servant has died and will live to bring cannot be few; they may be all. If any are shut out, they are self-excluded.

V. The Servant’s satisfaction.

It may be that the word employed means ‘full,’ rather than ‘content,’ but the latter idea can scarcely be altogether absent from it. We have, then, the great hope that the Servant, gazing on the results of His sufferings, will be content, content to have borne them, content with what they have effected.

‘The glory dies not and the grief is past.’

And the ‘grief’ has had for fruit not only ‘glory’ gathering round the thorn-pierced head, but reflected glory shining on the brows of ‘the many,’ whom He has justified and sanctified by their experience of Him and His power. The creative week ended with the ‘rest’ of the Creator, not because His energy was tired and needed repose, but because He had fully carried out His purpose, and saw the perfected idea embodied in a creation that was ‘very good.’ The redemptive work ends with the Servant’s satisfied contemplation of the many whom He has made like Himself, His better creation.

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.He shall see of the travail of his soul - This is the language of Yahweh, who is again introduced as speaking. The sense is, he shall see the fruit, or the result of his sufferings, and shall be satisfied. He shall see so much good resulting from his great sorrows; so much happiness, and so many saved, that the benefit shall be an ample compensation for all that he endured. The word rendered here 'travail' (עמל ‛âmâl), denotes properly labor, toil; wearisome labor; labor and toil which produce exhaustion; and hence, sometimes vexation, sorrow, grief, trouble. It is rendered 'labor' Psalm 90:10; Psalm 105:44; Jeremiah 20:18; Ecclesiastes 2:11-20; 'perverseness' Numbers 21:21; sorrow' Job 3:10; 'wickedness' Job 4:8; 'trouble' Job 5:6-7; Psalm 73:5; 'mischief' Job 15:35; Psalm 7:13; Psalm 10:7-14; Psalm 94:20; 'travail,' meaning labor, or toil Ecclesiastes 4:4-6; 'grievousness' Isaiah 10:1; 'iniquity' Habakkuk 1:13; 'toil' Genesis 41:51; 'pain' Psalm 25:18; and 'misery' Proverbs 31:7. The word 'travail' with us has two senses, first, labor with pain, severe toil; and secondly, the pains of childbirth. The word is used here to denote excessive toil, labor, weariness; and refers to the arduous and wearisome labor and trial involved in the work of redemption, as that which exhausted the powers of the Messiah as a man, and sunk him down to the grave.

And shall be satisfied - That is, evidently, he shall be permitted to see so much fruit of his labors and sorrows as to be an ample recompence for all that he has done. It is not improbable that the image here is taken from a farmer who labors in preparing his soil for the seed, and who waits for the harvest; and who, when he sees the rich and yellow field of grain in autumn, or the wain heavily laden with sheaves, is abundantly satisfied for what he has done. He has pleasure in the contemplation of his labor, and of the result; and he does not regret the wearisome days and the deep anxiety with which he made preparation for the harvest. So with the Redeemer. There will be rich and most ample results for all that he has done. And when he shall look on the multitude that shall be saved; when he shall see the true religion spreading over the world; when he shall behold an immense host which no man can number gathered into heaven; and when he shall witness the glory that shall result to God from all that he has done, he shall see enough to be an ample compensation for all that he has endured, and he shall look on his work and its glorious results with pleasure.

We may remark here that this implies that great and most glorious results will come out of this work. The salvation of a large portion of the race, of multitudes which no man can number, will be necessary to be any suitable remuneration for the sufferings of the Son of God. We may be assured that he will be 'satisfied,' only when multitudes are saved; and it is, therefore, morally certain that a large portion of the race, taken as a whole, will enter into heaven. Hitherto the number has been small. The great mass have rejected him, and have been lost. But there are brighter times before the church and the world. The pure gospel of the Redeemer is yet to spread around the globe, and it is yet to become, and to be for ages, the religion of the world. Age after age is to roll on when all shall know him and obey him; and in those future times, what immense multitudes shall enter into heaven! So that it may yet be seen, that the number of those who will be lost from the whole human family, compared with those who will be saved, will be no greater in proportion than the criminals in a well-organized community who are imprisoned are, compared with the number of obedient, virtuous, and peaceful citizens.

By his knowledge - That is, by the knowledge of him. The idea is, by becoming fully acquainted with him and his plan of salvation. The word knowledge here is evidently used in a large sense to denote all that constitutes acquaintance with him. Thus Paul says Philippians 3:10, 'That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.' It is only by the knowledge of the Messiah; by an acquaintance with his character, doctrines, sufferings, death, and resurrection, that anyone can be justified. Thus the Saviour says John 17:3, 'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' People are to become acquainted with him; with his doctrines, and with his religion, or they can never be regarded and treated as righteous in the sight of a holy God.

Shall my righteous servant - On the meaning of the word 'servant,' as applied to the Messiah, see the notes at Isaiah 52:13. The word 'righteous' (צדיק tsadiyq), Lowth supposes should be omitted. His reasons are:

1. That three manuscripts, two of them ancient, omit it.

2. That it makes a solecism in this place, for, according to the constant usage of the Hebrew language, the adjective, in a phrase of this kind, ought to follow the substantive; and,

3. That it makes the hemistich too long.

But none of these reasons are sufficient to justify a change in the text. The phrase literally is, 'the righteous, my servant;' and the sense is, evidently, 'my righteous servant.' The word righteous, applied to the Messiah, is designed to denote not only his personal holiness, but to have reference to the fact that he would' make many righteous (יצדיק yitseddiyq). It is applicable to him, because he was eminently holy and pure, and because also he was the source of righteousness to others; and in the work of justification it is important in the highest degree to fix the attention on the fact, that he by whom the sinner was to be justified was himself perfectly holy, and able to secure the justification and salvation of all who entrusted their souls to him. No man could feel secure of salvation unless he could commit his soul to one who was perfectly holy, and able to 'bring in everlasting righteousness.'

Justify - (יצדיק yatsediyq). The word צדק tsâdaq is of very frequent occurrence in the Bible; and no word is more important to a correct understanding of the plan of salvation than this, and the corresponding Greek word δικαιῶ dikaiō. On the meaning of the Greek word, see the notes at Romans 1:17. The Hebrew word means to be right, straight, as if spoken of a way Psalm 23:3. Hence,

1. To be just, righteous, spoken of God in dispensing justice Psalm 55:6; and of laws Psalm 19:10.

2. To have a just cause, to be in the right;

(a) in a forensic sense Genesis 38:26; Job 9:16-20; Job 10:15; Job 13:18;

(b) of disputants, to be in the right Job 23:12;


11. Jehovah is still speaking.

see of the travail—He shall see such blessed fruits resulting from His sufferings as amply to repay Him for them (Isa 49:4, 5; 50:5, 9). The "satisfaction," in seeing the full fruit of His travail of soul in the conversion of Israel and the world, is to be realized in the last days (Isa 2:2-4).

his knowledge—rather, the knowledge (experimentally) of Him (Joh 17:3; Php 3:10).

my … servant—Messiah (Isa 42:1; 52:13).

righteous—the ground on which He justifies others, His own righteousness (1Jo 2:1).

justify—treat as if righteous; forensically; on the ground of His meritorious suffering, not their righteousness.

bear … iniquities—(Isa 53:4, 5), as the sinner's substitute.

He shall see, he shall receive or enjoy, as this word commonly signifies,

of the travail of his soul, 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 recompence for all his sufferings.

By his knowledge; either,

1. Actively, by that knowledge of God’s will, and of the way of salvation, which is in him in its highest perfection, and which by him is revealed unto men, and by his Spirit is imprinted in the minds and hearts of his people, so as to produce faith and obedience in them. Or,

2. Passively, by the knowledge of him, as my fear and thy fear are put for the fear of me and of thee, Psalm 5:7 Jeremiah 32:40; knowledge being here, as it is most frequently in Scripture, taken practically, for that kind of knowledge which worketh faith, and love, and obedience to him. So the sense is the same in both cases.

My righteous servant; which title is here given to Christ, partly to vindicate him from those false imputations of wickedness which were fastened upon him by his adversaries, and which found the more belief because of his most grievous and unexampled sufferings both from God and men; and partly to show his fitness for this great work of justifying sinners, because he was exactly

holy, and harmless, and undefiled, Hebrews 7:26, and

fulfilled all righteousness, according to his duty, Matthew 3:15; and therefore his person and performance must needs be acceptable to God, and effectual for the justification of his people, which was the great design of his coming into the world. Justify acquit them from the guilt of their sins, and all the dreadful consequences thereof; for justification is here opposed to condemnation, as appears from the following clause, and from many other passages in this chapter, and as it is used in all places of Scripture, one, or two at most, excepted, where it is mentioned. And Christ is said to justify sinners meritoriously, because he purchaseth and procureth it for us; as God the Father is commonly said to do it authoritatively, because he accepted the price paid by Christ for it, and the pronunciation of the sentence of absolution is referred to him in the gospel dispensation.

Many; which word is seasonably added, partly by way of restriction, to show that Christ will not justify all, but only such as believe in him and obey him; and partly by way of amplification, to declare that this blessed privilege shall not now be, as hitherto it had in a manner been, confined to Judea, and the Jews, but shall be conferred upon an innumerable company of all the nations of the world.

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 by the principles of reason and justice they must be justified or acquitted, otherwise the same debt should be twice required and paid.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied,.... "The travail of his soul" is the toil and labour he endured, in working out the salvation of his people; his obedience and death, his sorrows and sufferings; particularly those birth throes of his soul, under a sense of divine wrath, for the allusion is to women in travail; and all the agonies and pains of death which he went through. Now the fruit of all this he sees with inexpressible pleasure, and which gives him an infinite satisfaction; namely, the complete redemption of all the chosen ones, and the glory of the divine perfections displayed therein, as well as his own glory, which follows upon it; particularly this will be true of him as man and Mediator, when he shall have all his children with him in glory; see Hebrews 12:2. The words are by some rendered, "seeing himself or his soul freed from trouble, he shall be satisfied" (c); so he saw it, and found it, when he rose from the dead, and was justified in the Spirit; ascended to his God and Father, was set down at his right hand, and was made glad with his countenance, enjoying to the full eternal glory and happiness with him: and by others this, "after the travail (d) of his soul, he shall see a seed, and shall be satisfied"; as a woman, after her travail and sharp pains are over, having brought forth a son, looks upon it with joy and pleasure, and is satisfied, and forgets her former pain and anguish; so Christ, after all his sorrows and sufferings, sees a large number of souls regenerated, sanctified, justified, and brought to heaven, in consequence of them, which is a most pleasing and satisfactory sight unto him,

By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; Christ is the servant of the Lord; See Gill on Isaiah 53:1, Isaiah 49:3, Isaiah 52:13. He is said to be "righteous", because of the holiness of his nature, and the righteousness of his life as a man; and because of his faithful discharge of his work and office as Mediator; and because he is the author and bringer in of an everlasting righteousness, by which he justifies his people; that is, acquits and absolves them, pronounces them righteous, and frees them from condemnation and death; he is the procuring and meritorious cause of their justification; his righteousness is the matter of it; in him, as their Head, are they justified, and by him the sentence is pronounced: for this is to be understood not of making men holy and righteous inherently, that is sanctification; nor of a teaching men doctrinally the way and method of justifying men, which is no other than ministers do; but it is a forensic act, a pronouncing and declaring men righteous, as opposed to condemnation: and they are many who are so justified; the many who were ordained to eternal life; the many whose sins Christ bore, and gave his life a ransom for; the many sons that are brought by him to glory. This shows that they are not a few, which serves to magnify the grace of God, exalt the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ, and encourage distressed sinners to look to him for justification of life; and yet they are not all men, for all men have not faith, nor are they saved; though all Christ's spiritual seed and offspring shall be justified, and shall glory: and this is "by" or "through his knowledge"; the knowledge of him, of Christ, which is no other than faith in him, by which a man sees and knows him, and believes in him, as the Lord his righteousness; and this agrees with the New Testament doctrine of justification by faith; which is no other than the manifestation, knowledge, sense, and perception of it by faith.

For he shall bear their iniquities; this is the reason of Christ's justifying many, the ground and foundation of it; he undertook to satisfy for their sins; these, as before observed, were laid on him; being laid on him, he bore them, the whole of them, and all the punishment due to them; whereby he made satisfaction for them, and bore them away, so as they are to be seen no more; and upon this justification proceeds.

(c) "exemptum a molestia se ipsum (vel animam suam, Jun.); videns, satiabitur", Junius & Tremellius. (d) "Post laborem", Forerius.

He shall see of the {p} travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my {q} righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

(p) That is, the fruit and effect of his labour, which is the salvation of his Church.

(q) Christ will justify by faith through his word, while Moses could not justify by the law.

11. An amplification of the meaning of Isaiah 53:10. He shall see &c.] Lit. Of the travail of his soul he shall see, shall be satisfied. It is doubtful if the preposition “of” can express result, as the E.V. suggests, or can introduce the object of the verb “he shall see.” It may be used in its local sense (“away from,” or “free from”) or causally (“in consequence of”), hardly in a temporal sense (“after”). The asyndetic construction of the two verbs probably indicates that one is to be subordinated to the other: he shall see with satisfaction, sc. the cause of Jehovah prospering in his hand (as Isaiah 53:10). The LXX. deserves attention: “And it pleased the Lord to deliver (a variant reading of the last clause of Isaiah 53:10) (him) from the trouble of his soul: to cause him to see light” &c.

by his knowledge] The gen. is not that of the obj. (“by the knowledge of him”) but of the subj.; the knowledge of God and salvation which he possesses, and which he communicates to others. The reference is to the prophetic activity of the Servant (see Isaiah 42:1 ff., Isaiah 49:2, Isaiah 50:4 f.) which had seemed to be cut short by his death, but will be resumed and crowned with success in his exalted state.

shall my righteous servant justify many] Rather: shall a righteous one, my servant, make the many righteous; but the Hebr. is very peculiar. The ordinary sense of the word for “justify” (“declare righteous”) is here unsuitable, and the only other passage where it bears the ethical sense of “making righteous” is probably based on this verse (Daniel 12:3, “they that turn the many to righteousness”). The many contains a reference to Isaiah 52:14 f. The clause would read more smoothly if we could suppose that the word rendered “a righteous one” has arisen through dittography; but the source of the difficulty probably lies deeper.

he shall bear their iniquities] Cf. Isaiah 53:4.

Verse 11. - He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; rather, because of the travail of his soul he shall see, and be satisfied (comp. Philippians 2:7-11, "He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every name: that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"). No cross - no crown. First, suffering, then glory. Because Christ suffered, and was bruised, and put to grief, and made a sacrifice for sin; because of all this "travail of his soul," - therefore it was given him to see the happy results of his sufferings - the formation of that Church which will live with him for ever in heaven (Revelation 7:4-17), and therewith to be "satisfied." By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; i.e. "by his knowledge of the Divine counsels and purpose, which he will impart to his disciples, shall my righteous Servant justify many" (literally, the many), or, in other words, "turn them from sin to righteousness" (comp. Daniel 12:3). Nothing is so effectual in turning men to righteousness as teaching them the true knowledge of God - his nature, his purposes with regard to them, his feelings towards them. Christ, from his own knowledge, gave men this knowledge, and so did all that could be done to draw them to his Father. And his efforts were not without result. The fruit of his teaching has been the justification of many - ay, of "the many," as both Isaiah and St. Paul (Romans 5:19) testify. For he shall bear their iniquities; rather, and their iniquities he himself shall bear. The initial part of the clause is not "causal," but merely connective. There are two main things which Christ does for his people - he makes them righteous by infusing into them of his own righteousness; and he bears the burden of their iniquities, taking them upon himself, and by his perpetual intercession obtaining God's forgiveness of them. As Delitzsch says, "His continued taking of our trespasses upon himself is merely the constant presence and presentation of his atonement, which has been offered once for all. The dead yet living One, because of his one self-sacrifice, is an eternal Priest, who now lives to distribute the blessings which he has acquired" ('Commentary on Isaiah,' vol. 2:p. 338). Isaiah 53:11This great work of salvation lies as the great object of His calling in the hand of the deceased and yet eternally living One, and goes on victoriously through His mediation. He now reaps the fruit of His self-sacrifice in a continuous priestly course. "Because of the travail of His soul, He will see, and be refreshed; through His knowledge will He procure justice, my righteous servant, for the many, and will take their iniquities upon Himself." The prophecy now leaves the standpoint of Israel's retrospective acknowledgment of the long rejected Servant of God, and becomes once more the prophetic organ of God Himself, who acknowledges the servant as His own. The min of מעמל might be used here in its primary local signification, "far away from the trouble" (as in Job 21:9, for example); or the temporal meaning which is derived from the local would be also admissible, viz., "from the time of the trouble," i.e., immediately after it (as in Psalm 73:20); but the causal sense is the most natural, viz., on account of, in consequence of (as in Exodus 2:23), which not only separates locally and links together temporarily, but brings into intimate connection. The meaning therefore is, "In consequence of the trouble of His soul (i.e., trouble experienced not only in His body, but into the inmost recesses of His soul), He will see, satisfy Himself." Hitzig supplies בּטּוב (Jeremiah 29:32); Knobel connects בדעתּו, in opposition to the accents (like A. S. Th. ἐμπλησθήσεται ἐν τῇ γνώσει αὐτοῦ), thus: "He looks at His prudent work, and has full satisfaction therewith." But there is nothing to supply, and no necessity to alter the existing punctuation. The second verb receives its colouring from the first; the expression "He will see, will satisfy Himself," being equivalent to "He will enjoy a satisfying or pleasing sight" (cf., Psalm 17:15), which will consist, as Isaiah 53:10 clearly shows, in the successful progress of the divine work of salvation, of which He is the Mediator. בדעתו belongs to יצדּיק as the medium of setting right (cf., Proverbs 11:9). This is connected with ḻ in the sense of "procure justice," like ל רפא (Isaiah 6:10); ל הניח in Isaiah 14:3; Isaiah 28:12 (cf., Daniel 11:33, ל הבין, to procure intelligence; Genesis 45:7, ל החיה, to prolong life - a usage which leads on to the Aramaean combination of the dative with the accusative, e.g., Job 37:18, compare Job 5:2). Tsaddı̄q ‛abhdı̄ do not stand to one another in the relation of a proper name and a noun in apposition, as Hofmann thinks, nor is this expression to be interpreted according to דּוד המּלך (Ges. 113); but "a righteous man, my servant," with the emphatic prominence given to the attribute (cf., Isaiah 10:30; Isaiah 23:12; Psalm 89:51), is equivalent to "my righteous servant.'

But does בדעתו mean per cognitionem sui, or per cognitionem suam? The former gives a sense which is both doctrinally satisfying and practically correct: the Righteous One makes others partakers of righteousness, through their knowledge of Him, His person, and His work, and (as the biblical ידע, which has reference not only to the understanding, but to personal experience also, clearly signifies) through their entrance into living fellowship with Him. Nearly all the commentators, who understand by the servant of God the Divine Redeemer, give the preference to this explanation (e.g., Vitringa, Hengstenberg, and Stier). But the meaning preferred is not always the correct one. The subjective rendering of the suffix (cf., Proverbs 22:17) is favoured by Malachi 2:7, where it is said that "the priest's lips should keep da‛ath (knowledge);" by Daniel 12:3, where faithful teachers are called matsdı̄qē hârabbı̄m (they that turn many to righteousness); and by Isaiah 11:2, according to which "the spirit of knowledge" (rūăch da‛ath) is one of the seven spirits that descend upon the sprout of Jesse; so that "knowledge" (da‛ath) is represented as equally the qualification for the priestly, the prophetic, and the regal calling. It is a very unseemly remark, therefore, on the part of a modern commentator, when he speaks of the subjective knowledge of the Servant as "halting weakly behind in the picture, after His sacrificial death has already been described." We need only recall to mind the words of the Lord in Matthew 11:27, which are not only recorded both by the synoptists and by John, but supported by testimony outside the Gospels also: "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." Let us remember also, that the Servant of Jehovah, whose priestly mediatorial work is unfolded before us here in chapter 53, upon the ground of which He rises to more than regal glory (Isaiah 52:15, compare Isaiah 53:12), is no other than He to whom His God has given the tongue of the learned, "to know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary, i.e., to raise up the wary and heavy laden" (Isaiah 50:4). He knows God, with whom He stands in loving fellowship; He knows the counsels of His love and the will of His grace, in the fulfilment of which His own life ascends, after having gone down into death and come forth from death; and by virtue of this knowledge, which rests upon His own truest and most direct experience, He, the righteous One, will help "the many," i.e., the great mass (hârabbı̄m as in Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:39; Daniel 12:3; cf., Exodus 23:2, where rabbı̄m is used in the same sense without the article), hence all His own nation, and beyond that, all mankind (so far as they were susceptible of salvation equals τοῖς πολλοῖς, Romans 5:19, cf., πολλῶν, Matthew 26:28), to a right state of life and conduct, and one that should be well-pleasing to God. The primary reference is to the righteousness of faith, which is the consequence of justification on the ground of His atoning work, when this is believingly appropriated; but the expression also includes that righteousness of life, which springs by an inward necessity out of those sanctifying powers, that are bound up with the atoning work which we have made our own (see Daniel 9:24). The ancients recognised this connection between the justitia fidei et vitae better than many of the moderns, who look askance at the Romish justitia infusa, and therewith boast of advancing knowledge. Because our righteousness has its roots in the forgiveness of sins, as an absolutely unmerited gift of grace without works, the prophecy returns once more from the justifying work of the Servant of God to His sin-expunging work as the basis of all righteousness: "He shall bear their iniquities." This yisbōl (He shall bear), which stands along with futures, and therefore, being also future itself, refers to something to be done after the completion of the work to which He is called in this life (with which Hofmann connects it), denotes the continued operation of His sebhâlâm (Isaiah 53:4), through His own active mediation. His continued lading of our trespasses upon Himself is merely the constant presence and presentation of His atonement, which has been offered once for all. The dead yet living One, because of His one self-sacrifice, is an eternal Priest, who now lives to distribute the blessings that He has acquired.

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