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.
4. Surely … our griefs—literally, "But yet He hath taken (or borne) our sicknesses," that is, they who despised Him because of His human infirmities ought rather to have esteemed Him on account of them; for thereby "Himself took OUR infirmities" (bodily diseases). So Mt 8:17 quotes it. In the Hebrew for "borne," or took, there is probably the double notion, He took on Himself vicariously (so Isa 53:5, 6, 8, 12), and so He took away; His perfect humanity whereby He was bodily afflicted for us, and in all our afflictions (Isa 63:9; Heb 4:15) was the ground on which He cured the sick; so that Matthew's quotation is not a mere accommodation. See Note 42 of Archbishop Magee, Atonement. The Hebrew there may mean to overwhelm with darkness; Messiah's time of darkness was temporary (Mt 27:45), answering to the bruising of His heel; Satan's is to be eternal, answering to the bruising of his head (compare Isa 50:10).
carried … sorrows—The notion of substitution strictly. "Carried," namely, as a burden. "Sorrows," that is, pains of the mind; as "griefs" refer to pains of the body (Ps 32:10; 38:17). Mt 8:17 might seem to oppose this: "And bare our sicknesses." But he uses "sicknesses" figuratively for sins, the cause of them. Christ took on Himself all man's "infirmities;" so as to remove them; the bodily by direct miracle, grounded on His participation in human infirmities; those of the soul by His vicarious suffering, which did away with the source of both. Sin and sickness are ethically connected as cause and effect (Isa 33:24; Ps 103:3; Mt 9:2; Joh 5:14; Jas 5:15).
we did esteem him stricken—judicially [Lowth], namely, for His sins; whereas it was for ours. "We thought Him to be a leper" [Jerome, Vulgate], leprosy being the direct divine judgment for guilt (Le 13:1-59; Nu 12:10, 15; 2Ch 26:18-21).
smitten—by divine judgments.
afflicted—for His sins; this was the point in which they so erred (Lu 23:34; Ac 3:17; 1Co 2:8). He was, it is true, "afflicted," but not for His sins.