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sins of many." Heb. vii, 27; ix, 12, 26, 28; x, 12. Here the future points rather to the everlasting intercession, lleb. vii, 25, 28.
These fifteen verses form a clearly defined section by themselves, but they must not be severed from their context, or treated as if they had not a vital connection with what precedes and what follows after. Alexander justly condemns "the radical error of supposing that the book is susceptible of distribution into detached and independent parts.'' It has its divisions more or less clearly defined, but they cling to each other,'and are interwoven with each other, and form a living whole. It is beautifully observed by Nagelsbach that "chapters xlix-lvii are like a wreath of glorious flowers intertwined with black ribbon; or like a song of triumph, through whose muffled tone there courses the melody of a dirge, yet so that gradually the mournful chords merge into the melody of the song of triumph. And at the same time the discourse of the prophet is arranged with so much art that the mourning ribbon ties into a great >bow exactly in the middle. For chapter liii forms the middle of the entire prophetic cycle of chapters xl-lxvi."
The immediate connection with what precedes may be thus 'seen: In lii, 1-12, the future salvation of Israel is glowingly depicted as a restoration more glorious than that from the bondage of Egypt or from Assyrian exile. Jerusalem awakes and rises from the dust of ruin; the captive is released from fetters; the feet of fleet messengers speed with good tidings, and the watchmen take up the glad report, and sound the cry of redemption. And then (verse 11) an exhortation is sounded to depart from all pollution and bondage, and the sublime exodus is contrasted (verse 12) with the hasty flight from Egypt, but with the assurance that, as of old, Jehovah would still be as the pillar of cloud and fire before them and behind them. At this our passage begins, and the thought naturally turns to the great Leader of this spiritual exodus—a greater than Moses, even though that ancient servant of Jehovah was faithful in all his house. Num. xii, 7. Our prophet proceeds to delineate Him whose sufferings and sorrows for the transgressions of his people far transcended those ofMoses, and whose final triumph through the fruit of the travail of his soul shall be also infinitely greater.
Verse 13. In profound spiritual emotion, and in order to intensify in others the vivid conception he himself has of Messiah, the prophet writes, Behold! He himself sees, and he expects his readers to see, the wondrous personage who fills the vision of his soul. But his spirit is so seized and borne along (<pep6uevos, 2 Pet. i, 21) by the Spirit of Jehovah that he 6peaks in the Divine Name, and says, Behold MT servant! (Compare chap, xlii, 1.) Though his goings forth have been from everlasting, (Hie. v, 2,) and he dwelt in the glory of the Father before the world was, (John xvii, 5;) though in the form of God, and holding an equality with God'; he emptied himself of this glory, and took the form of a servant. Phil, ii, 6, 7. Thus he beeame the sent of God, (John v, 36, 37; Rom. viii, 3; 1 John iv, 9, 10;) the apostle of our profession. Heb. iii, 1. And like a faithful servant he says: "Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God." Psalm xl, 7, 8 ; compare Heb. x, 5-10. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John iv, 34. But the first thing to which our attention is called is the consummate wisdom with which this servant acts. The great wisdom of God's ancient servant Moses was honored and utilized in training Israel, in saving them from numerous enemies and calamities, and in giving them a code of laws the most ennobling ever given to man. And when Moses handed over his work to Joshua and the elders he repeatedly admonished them to act wisely.- Deut. xxix, 9; Josh, i, 7, 8. But in this greater prophet are " hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col. ii, 3. He is the embodiment and representative of the wisdom of God, '(l Cor. i, 24;) and by this wisdom he rose through suffering and blood until he became exceeding high. Near the close of this section (liii, 11) we are again reminded that it is by his superior knowledge that he atones for sin, and brings righteousness to the guilty. So in the suffering Christ the redeemed will ever behold "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Rom. xij 33. Observe also the climax in the three verbs here used. First, he shall rise, appear among men and become eminent and famous; then he shall be lifted up even "as Moses lifted up. the serpent in the wilderness." John iii, 14; viii, 28; xii, 32. The cross was a necessary part of this exaltation, " for it became Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering." Heb. ii, 10. But Uub lifting on the cross leads to a higher elevation. "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor." Heb. ii, 9. For God has highly exalted him, (Phil, ii, 9,) and set him at his own right hand, (Acts ii, 33,) and given him a name which is above every name. Wherefore he has become exceeding high.
Verses 14, 15. From the thought of his lofty elevation we are turned to his deep humiliation, and the one is compared and contrasted with the other. Verse 14 is the protasis, and the first part of verse 15 is the apodosis of one connected sentence. The words in parentheses give the reason why multitudes gazed on him in wonderstruck amazement. The comparison begins with a direct address to the sufferer, on thee, for the spectacle was intensely vivid in the prophet's eye; but as the words in parentheses go on in a double parallelism to explain the use of the strong expression, gazed wonderstruck, and naturally fall in the third person, verse 15 proceeds in the use of the same person, as by attraction. Then, too, the sufferer was vividly prominent, but the sprinkling of many nations was comparatively distant and far future. The shocking disfiguration of Jehovah's servant is to be understood of the effect on the appearance of Christ of the agony in the garden, the indignity and scourging of the mock trial, the fainting and sinking beneath the weight of -the cross, and the tortures of crucifixion. But, having once risen from his humiliation, he shall sprinkle many nations. And with the word sprinkle we are to associate all the ideas of purification, sanctification, and consecration which the word holds in connection with the symbolic ceremonials of Israel. The prophet does not linger to particularize or define the process or methods of the sprinkling. Whether he shall sprinkle with blood, or water, or oil, with or without hyssop branch, he does not say. The variety and completeness of his purification and consecration we may elsewhere learn. In the protasis, multitudes may refer to individuals, but in the apodosis it qualifies nations. Multitudes of people (individuals) gazed wonderstruck on the suffering Christ, bnt thoy were mostly of one nation, the Jews; but the exalted Christ shall sprinkle many nations. So exalted and honored shall he become, that even kings, as they look upon and diligently consider him, shall show their self-humiliation and awe by the well-known sign of covering their mouths with their hands. Comp. Job xxix, 9; xl,4; Micahvii, 16. These kings are the rulers of Gentile nations, who had not, like the chosen people, been told of Christ, nor had heard of him till he was. preached to them as the divine Prince and Saviour. Compare the apostle's use of this text as denoting the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Rom. xv, 21. Many of the kings and potentates of the nations since the days of Constantine have seen the salvation of Christ, and meditated diligently on his power and work. And this shall be more and more the case as the nations become evangelized; for the Lord Christ will be seen to be mightier than the kings of the earth.
Chap, liii, 1. We have seen above (verse 13) how the inspired . prophet speaks in Jehovah's name, as in some sense identified with him. But he is myriad-souled, and now, identifying himself with his own people, Israel, he speaks in their name, and asks abruptly: Who believed what we heard? Who of us Israelites comprehended the Messianic prophecies so as to accept and acknowledge their fulfillment? The heathen saw and duly considered the Christ, of whom they had not previously heard; but how unbelieving was favored Israel! The prophet proceeds in the next sentence to put the question in a still stronger form, which we may thus paraphrase: Who that saw Messiah's humble birth, and rise, and reproach, and suffering, and death, discerned in it all a revelation of Jehovah's saving power? The arm is representative or symbolic of strength, power; and the Gospel, including all the revelations and means of grace, is the power of God unto salvation to the believer. Rom. i, 16. On whom (not to whom) is emphatic, and denotes that Jehovah's power is revealed from on, high, and in its working comes down upon the soul.
Verses 2, 3. Still speaking in the name of Israel, the prophet, proceeds to give reasons why they would not believe. The outward appearance of this Servant of Jehovah would not conform to their ideas of Messianic grace and glory. He would grow up before Jehovah like a tender shoot, or sucker, of a plant or tree; or, to put the image more strikingly, like-a root buried in the dry and barren earth, sending forth its sprout where there was little or no probability of its ever showing signs of life again; and, even if it did sprout, no probability of its ever attaining any considerable growth. Comp. Isa. xi, 10. Also, his personal appearance lacked the gracefulness and pompous grandeur which Israel expected to see in the coming Messiah. They looked, and, instead of a graceful and athletic David, adorned with all the magnificence of Solomon, behold, a sight far, very far, from their notion and desire! To this suggestive negative it is added, positively, (verse 3,) that this Servant of God was even dishonored and forsaken of men; Bo identified was he with what are regarded as the sorrows and woes and maladies of mankind that he is explicitly called a man of sorrows, and thoroughly familiar with sickness. Comp. next verse. Nay, more; his appearance suggests the conduct of a despised leper, or lonely and abandoned mourner, who covers his face and withdraws, as if desiring to hide away from those who show him no sympathy and treat him with dishonor. For his people, the prophet confesses, we valued not his worth; we did not properly esteem him, but misunderstood the nature of his sufferings.
Verses 4r-6. The last statement, namely, that Israel did not properly estimate the Man of sorrows, leads the prophet at once to set forth the vicarious nature of his sufferings. And, first, he reverts to the idea of sickness just named, and, enlarging it into the conception of its manifold forms of misery, he uses the plural, and with the particle of strong affirmation says: Surely our sicknesses he lifted. We must guard against eonfounding sicknesses with sorrows, mentioned in the next line. This is a' defect of our common English version, which here has the word griefs. But the two words should be taken together, as designed to denote both bodily and spiritual pains. It is no objection that Jesus was never sick iu the ordinary sense. We have just been told that he knew sickness, (verse 3;) he was acquainted with disease in all it;s forms and power, and so knew how to lift it off of miserable men. To do this he must needs know something about sickness, and we are assured that he was "touched with the feeling of - our infirmities."