Isaiah 53:9 Commentaries: His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Isaiah 53:9
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) And he made his grave . . .—Literally, one (or, they) assigned him a grave . . . The words are often interpreted as fulfilled in our Lord’s crucifixion between the two robbers and his burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. It has to be noted, however, (1) that this requires an inversion of the clauses; (2) that it introduces a feature scarcely in harmony with the general drift of the description; (3) that the laws of parallelism require us to take the “rich” of one clause as corresponding to the “wicked” of the other, i.e., as in the sense of the wrongfully rich, the oppressors, as in Psalm 49:6; Psalm 49:16; Psalm 73:3-5. Men assigned to the Servant not the burial of a saint, with reverence and honour (such, e.g., as that of Stephen, Acts 8:2), but that of an unjust oppressor, for whom no man lamented, saying, “Ah lord! Ah my brother! Ah his glory!” (Jeremiah 22:18), and this although (not “because”) he had done no violence to deserve it. (Comp. Job 16:17.) The rendering “because” has been adopted as giving a reason for the honourable burial which, it has been assumed, the words imply. It may be questioned, however, when we remember Isaiah’s words as to Shebna (Isaiah 22:16), whether he would have looked on such a burial as that recorded in the Gospels, clandestine, and with no public lamentation, as an adequate recognition of the holiness of the victim. The point of the last two clauses is that they declare emphatically the absolute rectitude of the sufferer in act, his absolute veracity in speech.

Isaiah 53:9. And he made his grave with the wicked — And although he did not die for his own sins, but only for those of mankind, yet he was willing to die like a malefactor, or like a sinner, as all other men are, and to be put into a grave as they use to be; which was a further degree of his humiliation. He saith, he made his grave, because this was Christ’s own act, and he willingly yielded up himself to death and burial. And that which follows, with the wicked, does not denote the sameness of place, as if he should be buried in the same grave with other malefactors, but the sameness of condition. But the words may be rendered, A grave was appointed for him with the wicked; but he was with the rich at his death. Or, as Bishop Lowth reads it, His grave was appointed with the wicked; but with the rich man was his tomb. See his notes. “As our Lord was crucified between two thieves, it was doubtless intended he should be buried with them. ‘Thus his grave was appointed with the wicked;’ but Joseph of Arimathea came and asked for his body, and Pilate, convinced that he had committed no crime, readily granted Joseph’s request. Thus ‘he was with the rich at his death,’ that is, till his resurrection: and this took place contrary to the intention of his enemies, because he had done no violence, &c., for otherwise Joseph would scarcely have requested Pilate, and probably Pilate would not have consented, to deliver up the body of a crucified malefactor.” — Scott. But this latter clause may be connected with the following verse, and rendered, Although he had done no violence, &c., yet it pleased the Lord, &c. In this light it is considered by Bishop Lowth and many others.53:4-9 In these verses is an account of the sufferings of Christ; also of the design of his sufferings. It was for our sins, and in our stead, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We have all sinned, and have come short of the glory of God. Sinners have their beloved sin, their own evil way, of which they are fond. Our sins deserve all griefs and sorrows, even the most severe. We are saved from the ruin, to which by sin we become liable, by laying our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. Our sins were the thorns in Christ's head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side. He was delivered to death for our offences. By his sufferings he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls. We may well endure our lighter sufferings, if He has taught us to esteem all things but loss for him, and to love him who has first loved us.And he made his grave with the wicked - Jerome renders this, Et dabit impios pro sepultura et divitem pro morte sua. The Septuagint renders it, 'I will give the wicked instead of his burial (ἀντὶ τῆς ταφῆς anti tēs taphēs), and the rich in the place, or instead of his death' (ἀντὶ τοῦ θανάτου anti tou thanatou). The Chaldee renders it, 'He will deliver the wicked into Gehenna, and the rich in substance who oppress, by a death that is destructive, that the workers of iniquity may no more be established, and that they may no more speak deceit in their mouth.' The Syriac renders it beautifully, 'the wicked gave a grave.' Hengstenberg renders it, 'They appointed him his grave with the wicked (but he was with a rich man after his death); although he had done nothing unrighteous, and there was no guile in his mouth.' The sense, according to him, is, that not satisfied with his sufferings and death, they sought to insult him even in death, since they wished to bury his corpse among criminals. It is then incidentally remarked, that this object was not accomplished. This whole verse is exceedingly important; and every word in it deserves a serious examination, and attentive consideration. It has been subjected to the closest investigation by critics, and different interpretations have been given to it. They may be seen at length in Rosenmuller, Gesenius, and Hengstenberg. The word rendered 'he made' (נויתן vayitēn, from נתן nâthan) is a word of very frequent occurrence in the Scriptures. According to Gesenius, it means:

1. To give, as:

(a) to give the hand to a victor;

(b) to give into the hand of anyone, that is, the power;

(c) to give, that is, to turn the back;

(d) to give, that is, to yield fruit as a tree;

(e) to give, that is, to show compassion:

(f) to give honor, praise, etc.:

(g) to give into prison, or into custody.

2. To sit, place, put, lay;

(a) to set before anyone;

(b) to set one over any person or thing;

(c) to give one's heart to anything; that is, to apply the mind, etc.

3. To make;

continued...

9. Rather, "His grave was appointed," or "they appointed Him His grave" [Hengstenberg]; that is, they intended (by crucifying Him with two thieves, Mt 27:38) that He should have His grave "with the wicked." Compare Joh 19:31, the denial of honorable burial being accounted a great ignominy (see on [854]Isa 14:19; Jer 26:23).

and with … rich—rather, "but He was with a rich man," &c. Gesenius, for the parallelism to "the wicked," translates "ungodly" (the effect of riches being to make one ungodly); but the Hebrew everywhere means "rich," never by itself ungodly; the parallelism, too, is one of contrast; namely, between their design and the fact, as it was ordered by God (Mt 27:57; Mr 15:43-46; Joh 19:39, 40); two rich men honored Him at His death, Joseph of Arimathæa, and Nicodemus.

in his death—Hebrew, "deaths." Lowth translates, "His tomb"; bamoth, from a different root, meaning "high places," and so mounds for sepulture (Eze 43:7). But all the versions oppose this, and the Hebrew hardly admits it. Rather translate, "after His death" [Hengstenberg]; as we say, "at His death." The plural, "deaths," intensifies the force; as Adam by sin "dying died" (Ge 2:17, Margin); that is, incurred death, physical and spiritual. So Messiah, His substitute, endured death in both senses; spiritual, during His temporary abandonment by the Father; physical, when He gave up the ghost.

because—rather, as the sense demands (so in Job 16:17), "although He had done no," &c. [Hengstenberg], (1Pe 2:20-22; 1Jo 3:5).

violence—that is, wrong.

He made his grave with the wicked; and although he did not die for his own, but only for his people’s sins, yet he was willing to die like a malefactor, or like a sinner, as all other men are, and to be put into the grave, as they used to be; which was a further degree of his humiliation. He saith, he made his grave, because this was Christ’s own act, and he willingly yielded up himself to death and burial. And that which follows, with the wicked, doth not note the sameness of place, as if he should be buried in the same grave with ether malefactors, but the sameness of condition; as when David prayeth, Psalm 26:9, Gather not my soul (to wit, by death) with sinners, he doth not mean it of the same grave, but of the same state of the dead.

With the rich in his death: this passage is thought by many to signify that Christ should be buried in the sepulchre of Joseph, who is said to be both rich, Matthew 27:57, and honourable, Mark 15:43, which they conceive to be intimated as a token of favour and honour showed to him; which to me seems not probable, partly because this disagrees with the former clause, which confessedly speaks of the dishonour which was done to him; and partly because the burial of Christ, whatsoever circumstances it was attended with, is ever mentioned in Scripture as a part of his humiliation, Ac 2 24,27. And it seems more reasonable, and more agreeable to the usage of the Holy Scripture, that this clause should design the same thing with the former, and that by rich he means the same persons whom he now called wicked, not as if all rich men were or must needs be wicked, but because for the most part they are so; upon which ground riches and rich men do commonly pass under an ill name in Scripture; of which see Psalm 37:10 49:6 Luke 6:24 18:24 Jam 1:11 5:1.

In his death, Heb. in or at (or after, as this particle is frequently taken, as hath been already noted) his deaths; for Christ’s death might well be called deaths, in the plural number, because he underwent many kinds of death, and many deadly dangers and pains, which are frequently called by the name of death in Scripture, of which instances have been formerly given; and he might say, with no less truth than Paul did, 1 Corinthians 15:31, I die daily, and 2 Corinthians 11:23. I was in deaths oft. Because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth: this some suppose to be added as a reason of the last branch of the foregoing clause, why God so overruled matters by his providence, that Christ should not be buried in the same grave, or in the same ignominious manner, as malefactors were, but in a more honourable manner, in Joseph’s own tomb. But the last part of the foregoing clause cannot, without violence, be pulled asunder from the former, wherewith it is so closely joined, not only by a conjunction copulative, and, but also by being under the government of the same verb; and therefore this latter clause of the verse, if thus rendered, must be added as the reason of what is said to be done in the former. And so the sense of the place may be thus conceived, This was all the reward of the unspotted innocency of all his words and actions, to be thus ignominiously used. But these words may well be and are otherwise rendered, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters, either thus, although he had done, &c., or rather thus, not for (as these two same particles placed in the very same order are rendered by our translator, and others, Job 16:17) any violence (or injury, or iniquity) which he had done, nor for any deceit which was in his mouth; not for his own sins, but, as hath been said before, for his people’s sins; in which translation there is nothing supplied but what is most frequent in Scripture also. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,.... These words are generally supposed to refer to a fact that was afterwards done; that Christ, who died with wicked men, as if he himself had been one, was buried in a rich man's grave. Could the words admit of the following transposition, they would exactly agree with it, "and he made his grave with the rich; and with the wicked in his death"; for he died between two thieves, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man. Or the meaning perhaps in general is, that, after his death, both rich men and wicked men were concerned in his sepulchre, and about his grave; two rich men, Nicodemus and Joseph, in taking down his body from the cross, in embalming it, and in laying it in the tomb of the latter; and wicked men, Roman soldiers, were employed in guarding the sepulchre, that his disciples might not take away the body. Or the sense is, "he" the people, the nation of the Jews, through whose enmity against him he suffered death, "gave", intended, and designed, that "his grave" should be with "the wicked"; and therefore accused him to the Roman governor, and got him condemned capitally, and condemned to a Roman death, crucifixion, that he might be buried where such sort of persons usually were; and then it may be supplied, "but he made it"; that is, God ordered and appointed, in his overruling providence, that it should be "with the rich in his death", as it was. Aben Ezra observes, that the word which we translate "in his death", signifies a structure over a grave, "a sepulchral monument"; and then it may be rendered impersonally thus, "his grave was put or placed with the wicked, but his tomb", or sepulchral monument, was "with the rich"; his grave was indeed put under the care and custody of the wicked soldiers; yet a famous tomb being erected over it, at the expense of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, which was designed for himself, made the burial of Christ honourable: which honour was done him,

because he had done no violence: or injury to any man's person or property; had not been guilty of rapine and oppression, theft and robbery; murder and cruelty; he had not been a stirrer up of sedition, an encourager of mobs, riots, and tumults, to the harm of the civil government:

neither was any deceit in his mouth: no false doctrine was delivered by him; he was no deceiver of the people, as he was charged; he did not attempt to seduce them from the true worship of God, or persuade them to believe anything contrary to the law of Moses, and the prophets; he was no enemy to church or state, nor indeed guilty of any manner of sin, nor given to any arts of trick and dissimulation; see 1 Peter 2:22. Some render the words, "though" (y) "he had done no violence", &c. and connect them with the following.

(y) "quamvis", Vatablus, Calvin, Noldius; "licet", Syr. Interpr.

{n} And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

(n) God the Father delivered him into the hands of the wicked, and to the powers of the world to do with him what they would.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. The unrelenting antipathy which the Servant experienced through life is continued even after his death, and expresses itself in the manner of his burial.

And they (R.V.) made his grave with the wicked] The subject is indefinite, the construction being equivalent to a passive: “And his grave was made” &c. “With the wicked” need not imply that a special burial-ground was set apart for them as a class, but only that such persons were buried ignominiously and away from the family sepulchre, like Absalom (2 Samuel 18:17). From Jeremiah 26:23 (cf. 2 Kings 23:6) it appears that it was a disgrace to be buried among the “common people.” In this case the “wicked” probably means the notoriously wicked, criminals, apostates, and such like. With these the Servant was numbered because his calamities had seemed to mark him out as a heinous sinner in the sight of God.

and with the rich in his death] This clause must express the same idea as the preceding. To take the two antithetically: “they meant his grave to be with the wicked, but he was with the rich in his death” (Delitzsch) is utterly unwarrantable. It is, no doubt, somewhat difficult to justify this sense of “rich” as synonymous with “wicked” from O.T. usage, although it might perhaps be suggested by the common identification of poverty with piety. This explanation, however, is not quite satisfactory, and several emendations have been proposed, such as “the oppressor” (עָשׁוֹקִ for עָשִׁיר), “the defrauder” (עָשִׁיק, Aramaic), “evil-doers” (עֹשֵׂי רַע).

in his death] lit. “in his deaths.” The use of the plural is variously explained. Some find in it an intimation of the collective character of the subject spoken of under the name of the Servant; but even if the Servant be a collective idea, it is inconceivable that the writer should have here abandoned the personification which he has so strictly maintained throughout. Nor is it any relief to say that it means “in his state of death.” It is better to read the singular with the LXX. There is, however, another reading found in a few MSS. and adopted by many commentators, according to which the clause would form a perfect parallelism with the first line:

“And with the rich (or oppressor, &c.) his sepulchral mound.” But the word bâmâh (= high-place) is not elsewhere used in this sense.

because he had done no violence &c.] Render with R.V. although (“in spite of the fact that”) &c. as in Job 16:17. With this assertion of his innocence the narrative of the Servant’s career reaches its conclusion. While absolute sinlessness is not explicitly predicated of him, but only freedom from “violence” and “deceit,” yet the image of the lamb led to the slaughter, and his patient resignation to the will of God, strongly suggest that the prophet had in his mind the conception of a perfectly sinless character.Verse 9. - And he made his grave with the wicked; rather, they assigned him his grave with the wicked. The verb is used impersonally. Those who condemned Christ to be crucified with two malefactors on the common execution-ground - "the place of a skull" - meant his grave to be "with the wicked," with whom it would naturally have been but for the interference of Joseph of Arimathaea. Crucified persons were buried with their crosses near the scene of their crucifixion by the Romans. And with the rich in his death; or, and (he was) with a rich one after his death. In the preceding clause, the word translated "the wicked" is plural, but in the present, the word translated "the rich" is singular. The expression translated "in his death" means "when he was dead," "after death" (comp. 1 Kings 13:31; Psalm 6:5). The words have a singularly exact fulfilment in the interment of our Lord (Matthew 27:57-60). Because. The preposition used may mean either "because" or "although." The ambiguity is, perhaps, intentional. He had done no violence; or, no wrong (see Genesis 16:5; 1 Chronicles 12:17; Job 19:7; Psalm 35:11 (margin); Proverbs 26:6). The LXX. give ἀνομία while St. Peter renders the word used by ἀμαρτία (1 Peter 2:22). The sinlessness of Christ is asserted by himself (John 8:46), and forms the main argument in the Epistle to the Hebrews for the superiority of the new covenant over the old (Hebrews 7:26-28; Hebrews 9:14). It is also witnessed to by St. Peter (1 Peter 2:22), by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 5:21), and by St. John (1 John 3:5). As no other man was ever without sin, it follows that the Servant of the present chapter must be Jesus. On the contrary, the impression produced by His appearance was rather repulsive, and, to those who measured the great and noble by a merely worldly standard, contemptible. "He was despised and forsaken by men; a man of griefs, and well acquainted with disease; and like one from whom men hide their face: despised, and we esteemed Him not." All these different features are predicates of the erat that is latent in non species ei neque decor and non adspectus. Nibhzeh is introduced again palindromically at the close in Isaiah's peculiar style; consequently Martini's conjecture לא וגו נבזהוּ is to be rejected. This nibhzeh (cf., bâzōh, Isaiah 49:7) is the keynote of the description which looks back in this plaintive tone. The predicate chădal 'ı̄shı̄m is misunderstood by nearly all the commentators, inasmuch as they take אישׁים as synonymous with בני־אדם, whereas it is rather used in the sense of בני־אישׁ (lords), as distinguished from benē 'âdâm, or people generally (see Isaiah 2:9, Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 2:17). The only other passages in which it occurs are Proverbs 8:4 and Psalm 141:4; and in both instances it signifies persons of rank. Hence Cocceius explains it thus: "wanting in men, i.e., having no respectable men with Him, to support Him with their authority." It might also be understood as meaning the ending one among men, i.e., the one who takes the last place (S. ἐλάχιστος, Jer. novissimus); but in this case He Himself would be described as אישׁ, whereas it is absolutely affirmed that He had not the appearance or distinction of such an one. But the rendering deficiens (wanting) is quite correct; compare Job 19:14, "my kinsfolk have failed" (defecerunt, châdelū, cognati mei). The Arabic chadhalahu or chadhala ‛anhu (also points to the true meaning; and from this we have the derivatives châdhil, refusing assistance, leaving without help; and machdhûl, helpless, forsaken (see Lane's Arabic Lexicon). In Hebrew, châdal has not only the transitive meaning to discontinue or leave off a thing, but the intransitive, to case or be in want, so that chădal 'ı̄shı̄m may mean one in want of men of rank, i.e., finding no sympathy from such men. The chief men of His nation who towered above the multitude, the great men of this world, withdrew their hands from Him, drew back from Him: He had none of the men of any distinction at His side. Moreover, He was מכאבות אישׁ, a man of sorrow of heart in all its forms, i.e., a man whose chief distinction was, that His life was one of constant painful endurance. And He was also חלי ידוּע, that is to say, not one known through His sickness (according to Deuteronomy 1:13, Deuteronomy 1:15), which is hardly sufficient to express the genitive construction; nor an acquaintance of disease (S. γνωστὸς νόσῳ, familiaris morbo), which would be expressed by מידּע or מודע; but scitus morbi, i.e., one who was placed in a state to make the acquaintance of disease. The deponent passive ירוּע, acquainted (like bâtuăch, confisus; zâkbūr, mindful; peritus, pervaded, experienced), is supported by מדּוּע equals מה־יּרוּע; Gr. τί μαθών. The meaning is not, that He had by nature a sickly body, falling out of one disease into another; but that the wrath instigated by sin, and the zeal of self-sacrifice (Psalm 69:10), burnt like the fire of a fever in His soul and body, so that even if He had not died a violent death, He would have succumbed to the force of the powers of destruction that were innate in humanity in consequence of sin, and of His own self-consuming conflict with them. Moreover, He was kemastēr pânı̄m mimmennū. This cannot mean, "like one hiding his face from us," as Hengstenberg supposes (with an allusion to Leviticus 13:45); or, what is comparatively better, "like one causing the hiding of the face from him:" for although the feminine of the participle is written מסתּרת, and in the plural מסתּרים for מסתּירים is quite possible, we never meet with mastēr for mastı̄r, like hastēr for hastı̄r in the infinitive (Isaiah 29:15, cf., Deuteronomy 26:12). Hence mastēr must be a noun (of the form marbēts, marbēq, mashchēth); and the words mean either "like the hiding of the face on our part," or like one who met with this from us, or (what is more natural) like the hiding of the face before his presence (according to Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 54:8; Isaiah 59:2, and many other passages), i.e., like one whose repulsive face it is impossible to endure, so that men turn away their face or cover it with their dress (compare Isaiah 50:6 with Job 30:10). And lastly, all the predicates are summed up in the expressive word nibhzeh: He was despised, and we did not think Him dear and worthy, but rather "esteemed Him not," or rather did not estimate Him at all, or as Luther expresses it, "estimated Him at nothing" (châshabh, to reckon, value, esteem, as in Isaiah 13:17; Isaiah 33:8; Malachi 3:16).

The second turn closes here. The preaching concerning His calling and His future was not believed; but the Man of sorrows was greatly despised among us.

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