Isaiah 50

1 Thus says the Lord: Where is your mother's bill of divorce with which I put her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? No, because of your sins you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was put away.
2 Why was no one there when I came? Why did no one answer when I called? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? By my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.
4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.
6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.
9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant, who walks in darkness and has no light, yet trusts in the name of the Lord and relies upon his God?
11 But all of you are kindlers of fire, lighters of firebrands. Walk in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that you have kindled! This is what you shall have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.

Isaiah 50 Commentary

Chapter 50

The rejection of the Jews. (1-3) The sufferings and exaltation of the Messiah. (4-9) Consolation to the believer, and warning to the unbeliever. (10,11)

Verses 1-3 Those who have professed to be people of God, and seem to be dealt severely with, are apt to complain, as if God had been hard with them. Here is an answer for such murmurings; God never deprived any of their advantages, except for their sins. The Jews were sent into Babylon for their idolatry, a sin which broke the covenant; and they were at last rejected for crucifying the Lord of glory. God called on them to leave their sins, and prevent their own ruin. Last of all, the Son came to his own, but his own received him not. When God calls men to happiness, and they will not answer, they are justly left to be miserable. To silence doubts concerning his power, proofs of it are given. The wonders which attended his sufferings and death, proclaimed that he was the Son of God, ( Matthew 27:54 ) .

Verses 4-9 As Jesus was God and man in one person, we find him sometimes speaking, or spoken of, as the Lord God; at other times, as man and the servant of Jehovah. He was to declare the truths which comfort the broken, contrite heart, those weary of sin, harassed with afflictions. And as the Holy Spirit was upon him, that he might speak as never man spake; so the same Divine influence daily wakened him to pray, to preach the gospel, and to receive and deliver the whole will of the Father. The Father justified the Son when he accepted the satisfaction he made for the sin of man. Christ speaks in the name of all believers. Who dares to be an enemy to those unto whom he is a Friend? or who will contend with those whom he is an Advocate? Thus St. Paul applies it, ( Romans 8:33 ) .

Verses 10-11 A child of God is afraid of incurring his displeasure. This grace usually appears most in believers when in darkness, when other graces appear not. Those that truly fear God, obey the voice of Christ. A sincere servant of God may for a long time be without views of eternal happiness. What is likely to be an effectual cure in this sad case? Let him trust in the name of the Lord; and let him stay himself upon the promises of the covenant, and build his hopes on them. Let him trust in Christ, trust in that name of his, The Lord our Righteousness; stay himself upon God as his God, in and through a Mediator. Presuming sinners are warned not to trust in themselves. Their own merit and sufficiency are light and heat to them. Creature-comforts are as sparks, short-lived, and soon gone; yet the children of this world, while they last, seek to warm themselves by them, and walk with pride and pleasure in the light of them. Those that make the world their comfort, and their own righteousness their confidence, will certainly meet with bitterness in the end. A godly man's way may be dark, but his end shall be peace and everlasting light. A wicked man's way may be pleasant, but his end and abode for ever will be utter darkness.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or [die on the thirsty ground]
  • [b]. Cn: Heb [of those who are taught]
  • [c]. Syr: Heb [you gird yourselves with firebrands]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 50

This chapter is a prophecy of the rejection of the Jews, for their neglect and contempt of the Messiah; and of his discharge of his office as Mediator, and fitness for it. The rejection of the Jews is signified by the divorce of a woman from her husband, and by persons selling their children to their creditors; which is not to be charged upon the Lord, but was owing to their own iniquities, Isa 50:1, particularly their disregard of the Messiah, and inattention to him, as if he was an insufficient Saviour; whereas his power to redeem is evident, from his drying up the sea and rivers below, and clothing the heavens above with black clouds, and eclipsing the luminaries thereof, Isa 50:2,3, his fitness for his prophetic office is expressed in Isa 50:4. His obedience to his Father, and his patience in sufferings, while performing his priestly office, Isa 50:5,6, and his faith and confidence in the Lord, as man and Mediator, that he should be helped, carried through his work, and acquitted; and not be confounded, overcome, and condemned, Isa 50:7-9, and the chapter is closed with an exhortation to the saints to trust in the Lord in the darkest times; and a threatening to such who trust in themselves, and in their own doings, Isa 50:10,11.

Isaiah 50 Commentaries