Isaiah 52:13

13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Isaiah 52:13 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 52:13

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently
Here properly a new chapter should begin, these three last verses treating of the same person and subject as the following chapter; even of Christ, his person, offices, humiliation, and exaltation, and the effects and fruits thereof; for of him undoubtedly the whole is to be understood. The Jews say it is a difficult prophecy; and so it is to them, being contrary to their notions and schemes, or otherwise it is plain and easy, respecting the Messiah; but rather than he should be thought to be meant, the modern ones have invented a variety of interpretations. Some apply this prophecy to Abraham; others to Moses; others to Ezra; others to Zerubbabel; and others to any righteous person: the more principal and prevailing opinions among them are, that it is to be understood either of the whole body of the people of Israel in captivity, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi; or of King Josiah, slain by Pharaohnecho, as Abarbinel; or of Jeremiah, as Saadiah Gaon; all which are weak and impertinent, and, as they disagree with each other, show the perplexity they are under F18. The Targum interprets it of the Messiah; and so did the ancient Rabbins, as Aben Ezra and Alshech confess; and several parts of the prophecy are applied to him, both by ancient and modern ones, as will be seen in the exposition of it. Christ, as man and Mediator, is the servant of God, of his choosing and calling, sending, bringing forth, and supporting; see ( Isaiah 42:1 ) , from whom he had both his work and his wages: the principal part of his service lay in working out the redemption and salvation of his people, in which he willingly and cheerfully engaged, and which he diligently and faithfully performed; in which he showed a regard to his Father's will, love to his people, and great condescension, as well as wisdom; for, as it is here promised he would, so he did deal "prudently": as in his infancy, when he disputed with the doctors in the temple, so throughout the whole of his public life, in preaching the Gospel, in answering the questions of his enemies, and in his behaviour at his apprehension, arraignment, condemnation, and crucifixion: or "he shall cause to understand F19"; make others wise and prudent; he caused them to understand his Father's mind and will, the Scriptures, and the Gospel in them; he made men wise unto salvation, and instructed in those things which belong to their peace; and he still does by his spirit, through the ministry of the word: or "he shall prosper" F20; the pleasure of the Lord prospered in his hands; he rode forth prosperously, destroying his and our enemies was very successful in working out salvation, as he is in his advocacy and intercession for his people, and in the ministration of his Gospel; and is the author of all prosperity in his churches, and to particular believers. The Targum is,

``behold, my servant the Messiah shall prosper;''
and so another Jewish writer says F21, that the section which begins with these words is concerning the Messiah: he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high;
as he has been exalted by his Father, by raising him from the dead, and giving him glory; by placing him at his own right hand, and giving him all power in heaven and in earth; by committing all judgment into his hands, that all men may honour him as they do the Father: and he is "extolled" by his people, in his person and offices, by giving him the glory of their salvation, in their hearts, thoughts, and affections, with their mouths and lips; and so he is in his house and ordinances, by his ministers and churches: and is made "very high"; higher than the kings of the earth; higher than the angels of heaven; higher than the heavens themselves. The Jews F23 say of the Messiah, in reference to these words, that he is exalted above Abraham, extolled above Moses, and made higher than the ministering angels; and in another ancient book F24 of theirs it is said, the kingdom of Israel shall be exalted in the days of the Messiah, as it is written, he shall be exalted and extolled


F18 See my book of the Prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus, p. 160
F19 (lyqvy) "erudict, sive intelligere faciet", Morus.
F20 "Prosperabitur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Calvin. So Ben Melech interprets it by (xyluy) , "he shall prosper." "Feliciter agit", Cocceius; "prospere aget", Vitringa.
F21 Baal Hatturim in Lev. xvi. 14.
F23 Tanchuma apud Yalkut in loc.
F24 Pesikta apud Kettoreth Hassammim in Targum in Numb. fol. 27. 2.

Isaiah 52:13 In-Context

11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
The King James Version is in the public domain.