Isaiah 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 ( Isaiah 54:5 , 62:5 , Jeremiah 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 ( Deuteronomy 24:1 ), or that He had "sold" His and her "children," as a poor parent sometimes did ( Exodus 21:7 , 2 Kings 4:1 , Nehemiah 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" ( Isaiah 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 ( 1 Kings 21:25 ).
bill . . . whom--rather, "the bill with which I have put her away" [MAURER].
no man--willing to believe in and obey Me ( Isaiah 52:1 Isaiah 52:3 ). The same Divine Person had "come" by His prophets in the Old Testament (appealing to them, but in vain, Jeremiah 7:25 Jeremiah 7:26 ), 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 ( Isaiah 59:1 ). Notwithstanding your sins, I can still "redeem" you from your bondage and dispersion.
dry up . . . sea--( Exodus 14:21 ). The second exodus shall exceed, while it resembles in wonders, the first ( Isaiah 11:11 Isaiah 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 ( Exodus 7:18 Exodus 7:21 ).
4. Messiah, as "the servant of Jehovah" ( Isaiah 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 ( Isaiah 50:5 Isaiah 50:6 ), for that He knows His cause will triumph at last ( Isaiah 50:7 Isaiah 50:8 ).
learned--not in mere human learning, but in divinely taught modes of instruction and eloquence ( Isaiah 49:2 , Exodus 4:11 , Matthew 7:28 Matthew 7:29 , 13:54 ).
speak a word in season--( Proverbs 15:23 , 25:11 ). Literally, "to succor by words," namely, in their season of need, the "weary" dispersed ones of Israel ( Deuteronomy 28:65-67 ). Also, the spiritual "weary" ( Isaiah 42:3 , Matthew 11:28 ).
wakeneth morning by morning, &c.--Compare "daily rising up early" ( Jeremiah 7:25 , 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 ( Hebrews 5:8 ).
5. opened . . . Isaiah 48:8 ); that is, hath made me obediently attentive (but MAURER, "hath informed me of my duty"), as a servant to his master (compare Psalms 40:6-8 , with Philippians 2:7 , Isaiah 42:1 , Isaiah 49:3 Isaiah 49:6 , 52:13 , 53:11 , Matthew 20:28 , Luke 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 ( Hebrews 10:5-10 ).
6. smiters--with scourges and with the open hand ( Isaiah 52:14 , 14:65 ). Literally fulfilled ( Matthew 27:26 , 26:27 , Luke 18:33 ). To "pluck the hair" is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental ( 2 Samuel 10:4 , Lamentations 3:30 ). "I gave" implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept ( Matthew 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 , Matthew 27:30 , Luke 18:32 ).
7. Sample of His not being "discouraged" ( Isaiah 42:4 , 49:5 ).
set . . . face like . . . flint--set Myself resolutely, not to be daunted from My work of love by shame or suffering ( Ezekiel 3:8 Ezekiel 3:9 ).
8. ( Isaiah 49:4 ). The believer, by virtue of his oneness with Christ, uses the same language ( Psalms 138:8 Romans 8:32-34 ). But "justify" in His case, is God's judicial acceptance and vindication of Him on the ground of His own righteousness ( Luke 23:44-47 , Romans 1:4 , 1 Timothy 3:16 , with which compare 1 Peter 3:18 ); in their case, on the ground of His righteousness and meritorious death imputed to them ( Romans 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 Zechariah 3:1 , &c. Revelation 12:10 ).
9. (Compare "deal," or "proper," Isaiah 52:13 , Margin; Isaiah 53:10 , Psalms 118:6 , Jeremiah 23:5 ).
as a garment--( Isaiah 51:6 Isaiah 51:8 , Psalms 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 ( Isaiah 49:4 Isaiah 49:5 , 42:4 ) when in circumstances of trial ("darkness," Isaiah 47:5 ), to trust in the arm of Jehovah alone.
Who is, &c.--that is, Whosoever ( Judges 7:3 ).
obeyeth . . . servant--namely, Messiah. The godly "honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" ( John 5:23 ).
darkness--( Micah 7:8 Micah 7:9 ). 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 ( Psalms 112:4 , 97:11 , 37:24 ).
let him trust in the name of the Lord--as Messiah did ( Isaiah 50:8 Isaiah 50:9 ).
11. In contrast to the godly ( Isaiah 50:10 ), the wicked, in times of darkness, instead of trusting in God, trust in themselves (kindle a light for themselves to walk by) ( Ecclesiastes 11:9 ). The image is continued from Isaiah 50:10 , "darkness"; human devices for salvation ( Proverbs 19:21 , Proverbs 16:9 Proverbs 16:25 ) are like the spark that goes out in an instant in darkness (compare Job 18:6 , 21:17 , with Psalms 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 ( Jeremiah 3:25 ). In exact proportion to mystic Babylon's previous "glorifying" of herself shall be her sorrow ( Matthew 25:30 , 8:12 , Revelation 18:7 ).