Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
53:1 Who - Who, not only of the Gentiles, but even of the Jews, will believe the truth of what I say? And this premonition was highly necessary, both to caution the Jews that they should not stumble at this stone, and to instruct the Gentiles that they should not be seduced with their example. The arm - The Messiah, called the arm or power of God, because the almighty power of God was seated in him. Revealed - Inwardly and with power.
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
53:2 As a root - And the reason why the Jews will generally reject their Messiah, is, because he shall not come into the world with secular pomp, but he shall grow up, (or spring up, out of the ground) before him, (before the unbelieving Jews, of whom he spake ver.1, and that in the singular number, as here, who were witnesses of his mean original; and therefore despised him) as a tender plant (small and inconsiderable) and as a root, or branch, grows out of a dry, barren ground. No form - His bodily presence shall be mean and contemptible. No beauty - This the prophet speaks in the person of the unbelieving Jews. We - Our people, the Jewish nation.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
53:3 We hid - We scorned to look upon him.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
53:4 Yet - Our people believed that he was thus punished by the just judgment of God.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
53:5 Wounded - Which word comprehends all his pains and punishments. For our iniquities - For the guilt of their sins, which he had voluntarily taken upon himself, and for the expiation of their sins, which was hereby purchased. The chastisement - Those punishments by which our peace, our reconciliation to God, was to be purchased, were laid upon him by God's justice with his own consent. Healed - By his sufferings we are saved from our sins.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
53:6 We - All mankind. Astray - From God. Have turned - In general, to the way of sin, which may well be called a man's own way, because sin is natural to us, inherent in us, born with us; and in particular, to those several paths, which several men chuse, according to their different opinions, and circumstances. Hath laid - Heb. hath made to meet, as all the rivers meet in the sea. The iniquity - Not properly, for he knew no sin; but the punishment of iniquity, as that word is frequently used. That which was due for all the sins of all mankind, which must needs be so heavy a load, that if he had not been God as well as man, he must have sunk under the burden.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
53:7 He opened not - He neither murmured against God, nor reviled men.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
53:8 Taken away - Out of this life. By distress and judgment - By oppression and violence. and a pretence of justice. His generation - His posterity. For his death shall not be unfruitful; when he is raised from the dead, he shall have a spiritual seed, a numberless multitude of those who shall believe in him. Cut off - By a violent death. And this may be added as a reason of the blessing of a numerous posterity conferred upon him, because he was willing to be cut off for the transgression of his people.
And 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.
53:9 With the wicked - This was a farther degree of 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.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when 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.
53:10 He - God was the principal cause of all his sufferings, tho' mens sins were the deserving cause. When - When thou, O God, shalt have made, thy son a sacrifice, by giving him up to death for the atonement of mens sins. His soul is here put for his life, or for himself. Shall see - He shall have a numerous issue of believers reconciled by God, and saved by his death. Prolong - He shall live and reign with God for ever. The pleasure - 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, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
53:11 Shall see - He shall enjoy. The travel - The blessed fruit of all his labours, and sufferings. Satisfied - He shall esteem his own and his father's glory, and the salvation of his people, an abundant recompence. By his knowledge - By the knowledge of him. Justify - Acquit them from the guilt of their sins, and all the dreadful consequences thereof. And Christ is said to justify sinners meritoriously, because he purchases and procures it for us. Many - An innumerable company of all nations. For - For he shall satisfy the justice of God, by bearing the punishment due to their sins.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
53:12 I - God the father. A portion - Which is very commodiously supplied out of the next clause. With the strong - God will give him happy success in his glorious undertaking: he shall conquer all his enemies, and set up his universal and everlasting kingdom in the world. Because - Because he willingly laid down his life. Transgressors - He prayed upon earth for all sinners, and particularly for those that crucified him, and in heaven he still intercedes for them, by a legal demand of those good things which he purchased; by the sacrifice of himself, which, though past, he continually represents to his father, as if it were present.