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Go to Bible: Isaiah 50
“This is what Yahweh says.” In Isaiah 50, the first three verses (Isa. 50:1-3), and the last two (Isa. 50:10-11), are Yahweh speaking. The middle verses, Isaiah 50:4-9, are the Messiah speaking.
“divorce.” Israel sinned so egregiously that God divorced her (cp. Jer. 3:8).(top)
“Why was no one there when I came?” God is making the point that He had come to Israel and called to Israel to bring them back to Himself, but Israel would not repent and return to Him.(top)
“sackcloth.” A rough cloth made of goathair, which was generally black in the biblical world. So to be covered in sackcloth was to be covered in black.(top)
“The Lord Yahweh has given me.” Isaiah 50:1-3 were God speaking, but now Isaiah 50:4-9 is the Messiah speaking. The “me” in Isaiah 50:4 is the Messiah. Isaiah 50:4-11 is the third of the four “Servant Songs” in Isaiah. Isaiah contains four sections that the scholars refer to as “Servant Songs,” in which Isaiah portrays the Messiah as the Servant of Yahweh. The Songs are Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-7; 50:4-11, and 52:13-53:12.
The start of the first Servant Song, Isaiah 42:1, is quoted in Matthew 12:18 and positively identifies the “servant” as the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 50, the Servant is mentioned in Isaiah 50:10. [For more information on the Servant Songs, see commentary on Isa. 52:13].(top)
|Isa 50:5||- (top)|
“my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard.” Slapping someone on the face, pulling out someone’s beard, or spitting on them, were all terrible insults in the biblical culture. For more on slapping the face, see commentary on Luke 6:29.(top)
|Isa 50:7||- (top)|
“declares me righteous.” The Hebrew word is tsadaq (#06663 צָדַק ), and here in Isaiah 50:8 it is in the Hiphel aspect of the verb, and can mean to give one justice or bring justice to someone; to acknowledge or declare that someone is right, righteous, or not guilty; to pronounce someone, or treat someone, as not guilty (innocent); or to help someone gain his rights. Here in Isaiah 50:8, in the context of the coming Messiah who was accused of being a criminal, tsadaq carries a couple of those meanings. God would declare (and prove) that Jesus was righteous by raising him from the dead, and He would help Jesus gain his rights by making him Lord and giving him all authority in heaven and on earth. It is impossible to bring all that into English without writing a greatly expanded translation, and so most English translations choose either “justify” or “vindicate” as a translation. The REV went with “declares me righteous” because the person who is declared righteous in the sight of God will then get whatever they rightly deserve as well, and it connects the righteous Messiah with all the other righteous people in the Bible.(top)
“the moth will eat them up.” The moth eating up a garment is a picture of destruction. Those who condemn the Messiah will be destroyed.
It is worth noting that this verse is one that portrays destruction for the unsaved sinner, not eternal torment. Garments that are eaten by moths are gone, totally destroyed. This is an accurate picture of the unsaved. They will not “be tormented in hell forever,” they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and burned up; annihilated. [For more on the annihilation of the unsaved, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.”(top)
“Who among you fears Yahweh.” Isaiah 50:1-3 was God speaking, Isaiah 50:4-9 was the Messiah speaking, and now Isaiah 50:10-11 is Yahweh speaking again.
Isaiah 50:10 is translated a little differently in the English versions, primarily because it involves an ellipsis. A quite literal translation of the Hebrew text would be: “Who among you fears Yahweh, hearing the voice of his servant” with “hearing” having the meaning of obeying. If we complete the ellipsis, the reading becomes something like, “Who among you fears Yahweh? Who obeys the voice of His Servant?” The two lines together make the point that the person who fears Yahweh will obey the voice of His Servant, the Messiah.(top)
“Walk in the light of your fire.” This is irony; sarcasm, to get people to think about their actions. The desire of God, of course, is that people would not walk in the light of their own fire. The prophets sometimes used irony to get people to think about what they were doing, as long as it was clear from the context and subject matter that the prophet’s words were indeed irony. For example, Amos said, “Go to Bethel, and sin.” Bethel had become a center of the worship of pagan gods, but Amos was certainly not encouraging people to go and sin, he, like Isaiah, was using irony. Amos and Isaiah were contemporaries.(top)