Page images


The latter Part of the Fifty-second, and the Fifty-third


THE division of the chapters should have been in this place, beginning with the thirteenth verse. This divine. oracle contemplates the future greatness and glory of the Messiah; but states, at the same time, with great clearness, that "he must first suffer many things," and be rejected by his professed people; and "by their wicked hands be delivered up," so that he may be offered as a propitiatory victim for the sins of his people. No doubt this was one of the many passages on which the risen Saviour grounded his reproof of the two disciples journeying to Emmaus, when they were at a loss to reconcile the sufferings and death of Jesus of Nazareth with his claim to be the promised Messiah" Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?"

The context, we shall bear in mind, has led us to the manifestation of the Redeemer in his glorious majesty to Zion, who was prepared to welcome him with loud hosannahs. But the heavenly vision now points to him in his humiliation, and seems to say: This is he that is to be exalted so high: but this can only be after a season of the lowest debasement, and most afflictive sufferings; for so the redemption of his people requires:

13. Behold my servant shall prosper,'

He shall be raised, and exalted, and become exceeding great.

14. Like as many were shocked at 'seeing' him,

His countenance marred more than man's,

And his form more than that of the sons of men;

15. So shall he astonish many nations,

Before him shall kings shut their mouths.


For what had not been told them shall they see,
And what they had not heard shall they discern.

The subjection of so many of the civilized nations of the earth to the religion of the once afflicted, rejected, and crucified Messiah, may be supposed to be an inceptive fulfilment of this prophetic picture. But its full amount, we cannot doubt, is to contrast together the appearance of the Redeemer at his first and at his second coming. Many were offended at him at his first appearance, and were shocked at the spectacle of misery and grief which he then exhibited. So on his future appearance shall the excess of his splendour and majesty, surpassing all that had been heard or seen, be the astonishment of monarchs and nations.


'So Bishops Lowth and Stock, or “shall grow mature in wisdom," or "shall become firm in strength." -See SIMON in verbo.

2 See Bishop Lowth's note. He inclines to the conjecture of Dr. Durell, that the true reading was, which comes near, to the θαυμασονται of the Septuagint. He quotes Dr. Jebb's translation; "So

many nations shall look on him with admiration." Bishop Stock has, "So shall he startle many nations." Simon renders r, "exsultare faciet admiratione (propriè

saliit, exsiliit, expersus fuit saliendo) salire, exultare, fecit lætitia." Horsley retains the sense of "sprinkling."

But the vision forebodes that "all will not believe" this report concerning the divine destination and future greatness and exaltation of this poor, afflicted, and despised man, whom they contemplate growing up among them:

1. WHO hath believed our report,

And to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?
And in whose sight did he grow up as a sucker,
And as a shoot out of the thirsty soil?

That is to say, who contemplated, or, how few did contemplate, the Saviour in his humiliation as that shoot from the root of Jesse, the subject of so many prophecies, who was afterwards to become so great! No, he was a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of Israel."

2. He possessed no form nor majesty,


And we looked on him, but he had no appearance that we should desire him.

3. He was despised and rejected of men, '.

A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
He was as one' from whom we hid our faces,
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4. Notwithstanding, he took off our griefs,
And loaded himself with our pains:*
Yet we esteemed him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted:

[blocks in formation]


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our correction1 ́ And by his stripes we were healed. 6. All we, like sheep, have gone astray,

We have turned aside each to his own way.

And Jehovah hath caused to light on him
The iniquity of us all.

was laid'

7. He was brought forward and he was questioned,' But he opened not his mouth:

Like a lamb that is borne to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
So he opened not his mouth.

lift up," in order to take on or off, as a burden: so that the quotation in St. Matthew is clearly contained in the original: Αυτος τας ασθενείας ημων ελεβε, καὶ τας νόσους εβαστασεν. And this aggravated the ingratitude of the people, in despising him who visibly relieved their griefs, and who, they should have known, in his own affliction bore the burden for them.

upon him,


8. By the authority and by the sentence of the judge' he was taken off,

But his generation who can declare??

"The chastisement that makes us perfect," according to that of the apostle, "in bringing many sons to glory, he was' made perfect through suffering."

2 wn, exegit, veluti creditum pecuniam à debitore--etiam pœnas ab aliquo exigere. Thus Bishop Lowth translates:"It was ex


acted, and he was made answerable;" which Horsley approves. But we may derive from wn, accepit, appropinquavit, niph. præt. "accedere factus vel jussus," " adductus," "He was brought forth, and being required to answer," &c.-KEN NICOTT. Compare chap. xli. 1, 21. Ya, 66 exoratus respondere."-BUXTORF. "Ad respondendum coactus est."-SIMON.

3 See Bishop Lowth. For y compare Judges, xviii. 7. "After oppression and condemna

tion, he was accepted, And who can [bear to] reflect

on the men of his generation?" PARKHURST. Bishop Lowth renders, " And his manner of life who would de

Verily, he was cut off from the land of the living; Through the transgression of my people was he stricken; 9. And his grave was appointed with the transgressors,' 'And with the wicked was he in death:"

Not for any wickedness that he had done,
Nor for any guile that was in his mouth.

10. But Jehovah accepted his grief in his affliction,
"That his soul should be made a trespass-offering.

He shall see a seed' that' shall prolong their' days,* And the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11. He shall see of the travail of his soul,

And shall be satisfied in knowing whom' he shall justify;


Righteous is' my servant for many,


And he doth load himself with their iniquities.



clare?" and supposes an allusion to a proclamation which was accustomed to be made concerning condemned criminals, that if any man could offer proof of their innocence, they were to appear and declare it. The meaning, however, here given to the word ", ner of life," has been much questioned. I rather think we should understand it in the usual sense, for an age, or period of time or life. The meaning will then be;-By the sentence of death he was taken off indeed, but what mortal could point out the period of his ex

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Compare Psalm cii. 28.

« PreviousContinue »