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).