Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes[c] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e] ; by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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Isaiah 53 Commentary

Chapter 53

The person. (1-3) sufferings. (4-9) humiliation, and exaltation of Christ, are minutely described; with the blessings to mankind from his death. (10-12)

Verses 1-3 No where in all the Old Testament is it so plainly and fully prophesied, that Christ ought to suffer, and then to enter into his glory, as in this chapter. But to this day few discern, or will acknowledge, that Divine power which goes with the word. The authentic and most important report of salvation for sinners, through the Son of God, is disregarded. The low condition he submitted to, and his appearance in the world, were not agreeable to the ideas the Jews had formed of the Messiah. It was expected that he should come in pomp; instead of that, he grew up as a plant, silently, and insensibly. He had nothing of the glory which one might have thought to meet with him. His whole life was not only humble as to outward condition, but also sorrowful. Being made sin for us, he underwent the sentence sin had exposed us to. Carnal hearts see nothing in the Lord Jesus to desire an interest in him. Alas! by how many is he still despised in his people, and rejected as to his doctrine and authority!

Verses 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.

Verses 10-12 Come, and see how Christ loved us! We could not put him in our stead, but he put himself. Thus he took away the sin of the world, by taking it on himself. He made himself subject to death, which to us is the wages of sin. Observe the graces and glories of his state of exaltation. Christ will not commit the care of his family to any other. God's purposes shall take effect. And whatever is undertaken according to God's pleasure shall prosper. He shall see it accomplished in the conversion and salvation of sinners. There are many whom Christ justifies, even as many as he gave his life a ransom for. By faith we are justified; thus God is most glorified, free grace most advanced, self most abased, and our happiness secured. We must know him, and believe in him, as one that bore our sins, and saved us from sinking under the load, by taking it upon himself. Sin and Satan, death and hell, the world and the flesh, are the strong foes he has vanquished. What God designed for the Redeemer he shall certainly possess. When he led captivity captive, he received gifts for men, that he might give gifts to men. While we survey the sufferings of the Son of God, let us remember our long catalogue of transgressions, and consider him as suffering under the load of our guilt. Here is laid a firm foundation for the trembling sinner to rest his soul upon. We are the purchase of his blood, and the monuments of his grace; for this he continually pleads and prevails, destroying the works of the devil.

Cross References 52

  • 1. S Isaiah 28:9; Romans 10:16*
  • 2. S Psalms 98:1; S Isaiah 30:30
  • 3. John 12:38*
  • 4. S 2 Kings 19:26; S Job 14:7; S Isaiah 4:2
  • 5. S Isaiah 11:10
  • 6. Isaiah 52:14
  • 7. Psalms 69:29
  • 8. ver 4,10; S Exodus 1:10; S Matthew 16:21; Luke 18:31-33; Hebrews 5:8
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 31:17; Isaiah 1:15
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 2:30; S Psalms 22:6; Matthew 27:29; John 1:10-11
  • 11. Matthew 8:17*
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 5:24; S Job 4:5; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 25:34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Micah 5:2-4; Zechariah 13:7; John 19:7
  • 13. S ver 3; S Genesis 12:17; S Ruth 1:21
  • 14. S Psalms 22:16
  • 15. S Exodus 28:38; S Psalms 39:8; S John 3:17; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 9:28
  • 16. Psalms 34:18
  • 17. S Isaiah 50:6
  • 18. S Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:1
  • 19. Isaiah 1:6; Matthew 27:26; John 19:1
  • 20. S Deuteronomy 32:39; S 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 Peter 2:24-25
  • 21. S Psalms 95:10; 1 Peter 2:24-25
  • 22. S 1 Samuel 8:3; Isaiah 56:11; Isaiah 57:17; Micah 3:5
  • 23. ver 12; S Exodus 28:38; Romans 4:25
  • 24. Isaiah 49:26
  • 25. S Mark 14:61; 1 Peter 2:23
  • 26. Matthew 27:31; S John 1:29
  • 27. S Psalms 44:22
  • 28. Mark 14:49
  • 29. Psalms 88:5; Daniel 9:26; Acts 8:32-33*
  • 30. ver 12; S Psalms 39:8
  • 31. Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:32; John 19:18
  • 32. Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43-46; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-41
  • 33. Isaiah 42:1-3
  • 34. S Job 16:17; 1 Peter 2:22*; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 14:5
  • 35. Isaiah 46:10; Isaiah 55:11; Acts 2:23
  • 36. ver 5
  • 37. S ver 3; S Genesis 12:17
  • 38. S Leviticus 5:15; John 3:17
  • 39. S Psalms 22:30
  • 40. S Joshua 1:8; S Isaiah 49:4
  • 41. John 10:14-18
  • 42. S Job 33:30
  • 43. S Isaiah 20:3; Acts 7:52
  • 44. S Isaiah 6:7; John 1:29; Acts 10:43; S Romans 4:25; Romans 5:18-19
  • 45. S Exodus 28:38
  • 46. S Isaiah 6:1; S Philippians 2:9
  • 47. S Exodus 15:9; S Psalms 119:162; Luke 11:22
  • 48. Mt 26:28,38,39,42
  • 49. Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27*; Luke 22:37*; Luke 23:32
  • 50. S ver 6; 1 Peter 2:24
  • 51. Hebrews 9:28
  • 52. Isaiah 59:16; S Romans 8:34

Footnotes 8

  • [a]. Or "From arrest"
  • [b]. Or "generation considered" / "that he was cut off from the land of the living," / "that he was punished for the transgression of my people?"
  • [c]. Hebrew "though you make"
  • [d]. Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint); Masoretic Text does not have "the light of life."
  • [e]. Or (with Masoretic Text) 11"He will see the fruit of his suffering" / "and will be satisfied"
  • [f]. Or "by knowledge of him"
  • [g]. Or "many"
  • [h]. Or "numerous"

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the mean appearance of Christ in human nature, his sufferings in it, and the glory that should follow. It begins with a complaint of the small number of those that believed the report concerning him, the power of God not being exerted, Isa 53:1, the reason of this general disbelief was the meanness of his outward circumstances, and the want of comeliness in him; hence he was treated with general neglect and contempt, Isa 52:2,3 was the more unkind and ungenerous, since it was the griefs and sorrows of others he bore, and their sins also, for which he was wounded and bruised, that they might have healing, Isa 53:4-6, yet he took and bore all patiently, like a lamb at the slaughter, and the sheep under the shearer, Isa 53:7, which was the more extraordinary, since he was used, both in life and at death, in so rigorous and barbarous a manner, and all for the sins of others, having been guilty of none himself, Isa 53:8,9, and, what is most amazing, the Lord himself had a hand in grieving and bruising him, Isa 53:10, though for his encouragement, and a reward to him, as man and Mediator, for all his sufferings, it is intimated that he should succeed and prosper, have a numerous issue, should justify many, and have a portion and spoil divided with the great and mighty, Isa 53:10-12.

Isaiah 53 Commentaries

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