Isaiah Chapter 53  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Isaiah 53
Isa 53:1(top)
Isa 53:2(top)
Isa 53:3

“man.” The Hebrew is ’iysh (#0376 אִישׁ) man. The Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would be a man, and this is one of those places, although there is no extant written record that the ancient Jews considered Isaiah 53:3 to be a Messianic prophecy, even though Christians today know it is, and verses like Matthew 8:17 confirm that it is. The Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah foretold that he would be a human being. He would be the offspring of Eve (Gen. 3:15); a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18), a descendant of Judah (Gen. 49:10); a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15); a son of David (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Isa. 11:1); a king ruling under Yahweh (Ps. 110:1); and a ruler from among the people of Israel (Jer. 30:21).

“one who knew sickness.” The Hebrew word translated “knew” is the common Hebrew word for “know,” which is yada (#03045 ידע), which occurs over 900 times in the Old Testament and often refers to knowing something by experiencing it. Jesus “knew” sickness in many different ways. One was that he ministered to the sick and infirm. Another was that he bore our sicknesses on the cross, and even did so in a certain sense when he healed the sick, and this is the likely emphasis in this passage, as Matthew 8:17 says.

However, there is every reason to believe Jesus also got sick. Although he did not have a sin nature, he was a fully human being who lived in a fallen world that was full of things that made people sick. Thus, it is extremely unlikely that he lived for 30 years without once getting sick, even if by such things as food poisoning, which was common since the modern ways of preserving food and/or preventing it from being spoiled were mostly not available. We agree with the essence of the translation in the Word Biblical Commentary: “a man of pains who was visited by sickness.” Also, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin, and sickness is one of the huge temptations common to humankind, and leads to many kinds of sin, such as denying God, cursing, stealing, lying, and even suicide.

In large part due the doctrine of the Trinity and the belief that Jesus is “God the Son,” there has been teaching that Jesus could not get sick, but that is not a valid argument; Jesus was fully human. But it is in large part due to the belief that Jesus did not or could not get sick that the Hebrew the REV translates as “knew sickness” gets translated in many versions as “acquainted with sickness;” that is, he was familiar with it but never experienced it himself.

Isa 53:4(top)
Isa 53:5(top)
Isa 53:6(top)
Isa 53:7(top)
Isa 53:8(top)
Isa 53:9(top)
Isa 53:10

“Yet it pleased Yahweh.” Israel (indeed, every human) sinned, and the only way for God to atone for that sin and grant everlasting life to people was for someone—a human without blemish (i.e., sin)—to die in place of the other humans, because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Thus it pleased God to be able to have His Son die so that everyone else could live. As Romans 5:18 says, “So then just as one transgression [Adam’s sin] resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one act of righteousness [Christ’s atoning death] resulted in righteousness that brings life for all people.”

“a guilt offering.” The Hebrew word is used of the “guilt offering” (some versions translate it “trespass offering”) in Leviticus 7 and 14, and in other places in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ was offered as a sacrifice that paid for our guilt and sin. This is also stated in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Israel sinned in so many ways that many of the sacrifices in the Mosaic Law applied to the death of Christ. Here in Isaiah 53:10, God specifically mentions the “guilt offering,” emphasizing the great deprivation of God and other humans when people live in sin. For example, God was deprived of much of Israel’s service to Him due to their sin, so a guilt offering was certainly appropriate.

“The guilt offering was a specialized kind of sin offering required in cases when someone had been denied his rightful due. …The offerer’s part in the ritual was probably identical to that of the sin offering…As with the sin offering, the animal went to the priest as food. …The guilt offering was commended in instances when another party had suffered some deprivation. [For example, in the case of a leper] the LORD was deprived of the service due from the infected person so long as his disease kept him outside the pale of the ritually clean society (Lev. 14:12-18)” (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, “Sacrifices and Offerings”).

Isa 53:11(top)
Isa 53:12

“was counted among the transgressors.” That is, that the Messiah was thought to be one of the transgressors, the criminals.


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