Isa 50:1-11. THE JUDGMENTS ON ISRAEL WERE PROVOKED BY THEIR CRIMES, YET THEY ARE NOT FINALLY CAST OFF BY GOD.
1. Where . . . mothers divorcement--Zion is "the mother"; the Jews are the children; and God the Husband and Father (Isa 54:5 62:5 Jer 3:14). GESENIUS thinks that God means by the question to deny that He had given "a bill of divorcement" to her, as was often done on slight pretexts by a husband (De 24:1), or that He had "sold" His and her "children," as a poor parent sometimes did (Ex 21:7 2Ki 4:1 Ne 5:5) under pressure of his "creditors"; that it was they who sold themselves through their own sins. MAURER explains, "Show the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom . . . ; produce the creditors to whom ye have been sold; so it will be seen that it was not from any caprice of Mine, but through your own fault, your mother has been put away, and you sold" (Isa 52:3). HORSLEY best explains (as the antithesis between "I" and "yourselves" shows, though LOWTH translates, "Ye are sold") I have never given your mother a regular bill of divorcement; I have merely "put her away" for a time, and can, therefore, by right as her husband still take her back on her submission; I have not made you, the children, over to any "creditor" to satisfy a debt; I therefore still have the right of a father over you, and can take you back on repentance, though as rebellious children you have sold yourselves to sin and its penalty (1Ki 21:25). bill . . . whom--rather, "the bill with which I have put her away" [MAURER].
2. I--Messiah. no man--willing to believe in and obey Me (Isa 52:1,3). The same Divine Person had "come" by His prophets in the Old Testament (appealing to them, but in vain, Jer 7:25,26), who was about to come under the New Testament. hand shortened--the Oriental emblem of weakness, as the long stretched-out hand is of power (Isa 59:1). Notwithstanding your sins, I can still "redeem" you from your bondage and dispersion. dry up . . . sea--(Ex 14:21). The second exodus shall exceed, while it resembles in wonders, the first (Isa 11:11,15 51:15). make . . . rivers . . . wilderness--turn the prosperity of Israel's foes into adversity. fish stinketh--the very judgment inflicted on their Egyptian enemies at the first exodus (Ex 7:18,21). 3. heavens . . . blackness--another of the judgments on Egypt to be repeated hereafter on the last enemy of God's people (Ex 10:21). sackcloth--(Re 6:12). 4. Messiah, as "the servant of Jehovah" (Isa 42:1), declares that the office has been assigned to Him of encouraging the "weary" exiles of Israel by "words in season" suited to their case; and that, whatever suffering it is to cost Himself, He does not shrink from it (Isa 50:5,6), for that He knows His cause will triumph at last (Isa 50:7,8). learned--not in mere human learning, but in divinely taught modes of instruction and eloquence (Isa 49:2 Ex 4:11 Mt 7:28,29 13:54). speak a word in season--(Pr 15:23 25:11). Literally, "to succor by words," namely, in their season of need, the "weary" dispersed ones of Israel (De 28:65-67). Also, the spiritual "weary" (Isa 42:3 Mt 11:28). wakeneth morning by morning, &c.--Compare "daily rising up early" (Jer 7:25 Mr 1:35). The image is drawn from a master wakening his pupils early for instruction. wakeneth . . . ear--prepares me for receiving His divine instructions. as the learned--as one taught by Him. He "learned obedience," experimentally, "by the things which He suffered"; thus gaining that practical learning which adapted Him for "speaking a word in season" to suffering men (Heb 5:8). 5. opened . . . ear--(See on Isa 42:20; Isa 48:8); that is, hath made me obediently attentive (but MAURER, "hath informed me of my duty"), as a servant to his master (compare Ps 40:6-8, with Php 2:7 Isa 42:1 49:3,6 52:13 53:11 Mt 20:28 Lu 22:27). not rebellious--but, on the contrary, most willing to do the Father's will in proclaiming and procuring salvation for man, at the cost of His own sufferings (Heb 10:5-10).
6. smiters--with scourges and with the open hand (Isa 52:14 Mr 14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mt 27:26 26:27 Lu 18:33). To "pluck the hair" is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2Sa 10:4 La 3:30). "I gave" implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mt 5:39). spitting--To spit in another's presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job 30:10 Mt 27:30 Lu 18:32).
7. Sample of His not being "discouraged" (Isa 42:4 49:5). set . . . face like . . . flint--set Myself resolutely, not to be daunted from My work of love by shame or suffering (Eze 3:8,9). 8. (Isa 49:4). The believer, by virtue of his oneness with Christ, uses the same language (Ps 138:8 Ro 8:32-34). But "justify" in His case, is God's judicial acceptance and vindication of Him on the ground of His own righteousness (Lu 23:44-47 Ro 1:4 1Ti 3:16, with which compare 1Pe 3:18); in their case, on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed to them (Ro 5:19). stand together--in judgment, to try the issue. adversary--literally, "master of my cause," that is, who has real ground of accusation against me, so that he can demand judgment to be given in his favor (compare Zec 3:1, &c. Re 12:10). 9. (Compare "deal," or "proper," Isa 52:13, Margin;Isa 53:10 Ps 118:6 Jer 23:5). as a garment--(Isa 51:6,8 Ps 102:26). A leading constituent of wealth in the East is change of raiment, which is always liable to the inroads of the moth; hence the frequency of the image in Scripture. 10. Messiah exhorts the godly after His example (Isa 49:4,5 42:4) when in circumstances of trial ("darkness," Isa 47:5), to trust in the arm of Jehovah alone. Who is, &c.--that is, Whosoever (Jud 7:3). obeyeth . . . servant--namely, Messiah. The godly "honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" (Joh 5:23). darkness--(Mic 7:8,9). God never had a son who was not sometimes in the dark. For even Christ, His only Son, cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" light--rather, "splendor"; bright sunshine; for the servant of God is never wholly without "light" [VITRINGA]. A godly man's way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and light. A wicked man's way may be bright, but his end shall be utter darkness (Ps 112:4 97:11 37:24). let him trust in the name of the Lord--as Messiah did (Isa 50:8,9). 11. In contrast to the godly (Isa 50:10), the wicked, in times of darkness, instead of trusting in God, trust in themselves (kindle a light for themselves to walk by) (Ec 11:9). The image is continued from Isa 50:10, "darkness"; human devices for salvation (Pr 19:21 16:9,25) are like the spark that goes out in an instant in darkness (compare Job 18:6 21:17, with Ps 18:28). sparks--not a steady light, but blazing sparks extinguished in a moment. walk--not a command, but implying that as surely as they would do so, they should lie down in sorrow (Jer 3:25). In exact proportion to mystic Babylon's previous "glorifying" of herself shall be her sorrow (Mt 25:30 8:12 Re 18:7).