Summary argument of Isaiah 52:13 – Isa 53:8

The passages of the suffering servant in Isaiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ:

otseng wrote: Sat Sep 09, 2023 3:21 pm Passages of Isa 52:13 – Isa 53:8 that were fulfilled by Jesus:

Be exalted and very high.

[Isa 52:13 KJV] 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

[Jhn 8:28 KJV] 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he], and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

[Phl 2:9 KJV] 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Preached to the Gentiles.

[Isa 52:15 KJV] 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they consider.

[Rom 15:16 KJV] 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Not all will believe.

[Isa 53:1 KJV] 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

[Rom 10:16 KJV] 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Carried our griefs and sorrows. Was stricken, smitten, and afflicted.

[Isa 53:4 KJV] 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

[Mat 8:17 KJV] 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses.

Wounded for our transgressions and iniquities. We are healed by his stripes.

[Isa 53:5 KJV] 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

[Heb 9:28 KJV] 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

[1Pe 2:24 KJV] 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Sheep gone astray.

[Isa 53:6 KJV] 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

[1Pe 2:25 KJV] 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Did not open his mouth to slaughter.

[Isa 53:7 KJV] 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

[Mat 27:12 KJV] 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

[Act 8:32 KJV] 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

Stricken because of sins of the people.

[Isa 53:8 KJV] 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

[Jhn 11:50 KJV] 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

Jewish counter-missionaries argue the suffering servant is not an individual, but the nation of Israel as a whole. There are many problems with this interpretation.

First, a natural reading of the passage refers to an individual since the pronouns used are he/him/his, and not they/them/theirs.

otseng wrote: Tue Oct 31, 2023 7:19 am And looking at the passage itself, it unambiguously refers to an individual, not a group. Just count how many times it refers to “he”, “his”, “him” and not “they”.

[Isa 53:2-10 KJV] 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Counter-missionaries say passages earlier in Isaiah refers to Israel as a servant. That is true.

[Isa 44:1 KJV] 1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

But passages between that and Isaiah 53 refer to the servant as an individual.

[Isa 49:5-6 KJV] 5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb [to be] his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Another problem with Israel as the suffering servant is why would it be “God’s will” to crush Israel?

[Isa 53:10 ESV] 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Instead, it was God’s will to crush Jesus because he was the sacrifice to redeem Israel.

[Act 2:22-23 ESV] 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know– 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

If the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 is Israel, then it means God was the instigator of the suffering upon Israel.

[Isa 53:4 KJV] 4 Surely he (Israel) hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him (Israel) stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

[Isa 53:6 KJV] 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him (Israel) the iniquity of us all.

[Isa 53:10 KJV] 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him (Israel); he hath put [him] (Israel) to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

There is no other greater suffering in the modern era that the Jews have suffered than the Holocaust. Between 5 to 6 million Jews were killed, roughly one third of the entire Jewish worldwide population at that time. Millions more had endured the concentration camps and even tortured.

So, it would mean God was involved in causing the Jews to suffer during the Holocaust.

There are several problems with this. The immediate problem is it puts God as the institagor of evil, which is contrary to God being an omnibenevolent God.

The person who first proposed this idea was Ignaz Maybaum.

He is most frequently remembered for his controversial view in The Face of God After Auschwitz (1965) that the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust was vicarious atonement for the sins of the rest of the world. He was connecting the Jewish people to the figure of the “suffering servant” of Isaiah 52 and 53 in the Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament). In the same work he employed Christian imagery, speaking of Auschwitz as the new Golgotha and the gas chambers as replacing the cross.

His comparison of the Jews dying in the Holocaust and Jesus dying on the cross has several problems.

1. In the Jewish law, the animal that bore sin had to be perfect. Jews are not sinless, whereas Jesus was sinless.

[1Pe 1:19 KJV] 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

2. The Jews had no concept they were suffering for the sins of the world. Jesus knew he would be suffering for the sins of the world.

[Mat 16:21 KJV] 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

3. The Jews went to concentration camps and died against their will. Jesus willingly laid down his life to die on the cross.

[Jhn 10:18 KJV] 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

4. The Jews were not joyful going to their death. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him of the salvation of mankind.

[Heb 12:2 KJV] 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

5. There was no victorious moment for the death of the Jews. Jesus was victorious over death because he resurrected from the dead.

[Jhn 11:25 KJV] 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:


Jews underwent vicarious suffering during the Holocaust is a minority view among Jews.

There are at least 20 different Jewish views of the Holocaust. One of them is the view that the Jews as a nation underwent vicarious suffering (#12).

1. “God is dead.” If there were a God, he would surely have prevented the Holocaust. Since God did not prevent it, then God as traditionally understood either does not exist or has changed in some way. For some, this means that God has abandoned them, while for others it means God never did exist. Jews must be in the world for themselves. This may mean a turn to atheism or perhaps a turn to some more like pantheism. Sherman Wine holds that no God can possibly exist, while Richard Rubenstein has come to suggest a kind of neo-paganism as the best alternative.
2. “The Eclipse of God.” There are times when God is inexplicably absent from history. Martin Buber made this phrase famous, suggesting that the 20th century was passing through a period where God, for reasons unknowable to us, refused to reveal himself.
3. A Distant God. The experience of the Holocaust calls for Jews to reinterpret their belief in God. God is obviously not a being who actually interferes with human existence in any tangible, measurable way. Arthur A. Cohen holds that God is so transcendent that he cannot be held responsible for the Holocaust.
4. A Limited God. God is not omnipotent. He does not have the power to bring to a halt such things as the Holocaust. Harold Kushner made this view popular in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
5. Free Will & God. Terrible events such as the Holocaust are the price we have to pay for having free will. God will not and cannot interfere with history, otherwise, our free will would effectively cease to exist. Eliezer Berkovits, for example, stresses that God is all-powerful but that he curtails his own freedom to respect human freedom, even with such horrific consequences.
6. A Suffering God. Borrowing from Christian reflection on Christ and the passibility of God, Hans Jonas has suggested that God is limited in power but able to suffer with the pain of the Jewish people. Others stress the compassion and love of God, even if not understood in the Holocaust.
7. Jewish Survival. The event issues a call for Jewish affirmation for survival. The rise of the nation of Israel is one way of reading this revelation. Emil Fackenheim speaks of the 614th commandment– “”Jews are forbidden to give Hitler posthumous victories.” He further states this as Jews are “commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish;” “to remember the victims of Auschwitz, lest their memory perish;” and they are “forbidden to despair of Man, lest they co-operate in delivering the world to the forces of Auschwitz;” nor “to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish.”
8. Incomprehensible Silence. The Shoah exceeds human comprehension. It is a so horrific as to strip away any attempts at explanation. André Neher believes that there can only be silence after the Holocaust–God’s silence and our own.
9. A Theodicy of Protest. If the Holocaust is a mystery, it is nonetheless on the surface a clearly unjust and wicked horror that God should have prevented. What does this then reveal about the character of God? Perhaps God is capable of evil. David Blumenthal has argued that an analogy can be drawn between child abuse and the Holocaust. Children of abusing parents can learn to eventually make their peace with such a parent but should never be required to abstain from challenging the parent’s misuse of authority.
10. A Broken Covenant. The Holocaust is proof that God has broken his covenant with the Jewish people. One need not conclude, Irving Greenberg holds, that Jews can still not choose to hold to Jewish law, but it is now only on a voluntary basis.
11. Providential History. Some have suggested the Shoah had the providential outcome of overturning old medieval Jewish structures and replacing them with modern Jewish life, and that this is what needed to happen.
12. Vicarious Suffering. In the Holocaust, the Jewish people become the “suffering servant” of Isaiah, collectively suffering for the sins of the world. Ignaz Maybaum explored this shocking claim, holding that perhaps in the Holocaust Jews even atoned for humanity’s wickedness.
13. Coming Messiah. Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen has argued that the Shoah represents the birth pangs of the Messiah, that the Jewish people are in the final days before the Jewish savior finally comes.
14. “Because of our sins we were punished.” (mi-penei hataeinu) Some in the Orthodox community have taught that European Jews were punished for their sins, either for the heresy of liberal Judaism or for an unfaithful rejection of the Holy Land. In these views, the Shoah is God’s just retribution.
15. One More Tragedy. Some would suggest that the Holocaust is not a singular event, but only represents one more horror in human history. From this viewpoint, Jews make too much of the Holocaust as a crisis event that changes everything. David Weiss has taken something like this position.
16. Jewish Reconstruction. The Holocaust is better understood as a historical tragedy, singular or otherwise, that must now be answered with Jewish commitment to the restoration of cultural and ethnic life. Those who survive must rebuild what has been violated and lost.
17. Christian Responsibility. Christians need to face up to the their history of anti-Semitism and the role it played in the Holocaust. Ben Zion Bokser has suggested that Christianity’s exclusive view of itself rendered the German people numb to the moral repugnance of Nazi racial theories. Others argue that this culpability should put an end to any exclusive claims on Christianity’s part or to any assigning of “second-class” status to Jewish faith. Supersessionism is no longer a credible theology.
18. Jewish Responsibility. Marc Ellis argues that national Israel now uses the rhetoric of the Holocaust to justify the oppression of the Palestinian people. The Holocaust should become a reminder to care for the disadvantaged state of all colonized groups. In a broader way, the Shoah is a reminder that to be a Jew is to be a chosen people, one that must carry out the covenant and bring salvation to others in daily life.
19. Jewish Witness. Jews must not allow despair to shut their testimonies forever. Memory and writing is at the heart of what it means to be Jewish, and the Holocaust is a temptation to hopelessness and to the secular Enlightenment, a project wholly discredited by the Shoah. It is better to keep one’s Jewish identity and belief in the face of this. Even God cannot rob Jews of this loyalty.
20. God’s Female Face. God was not absent in the Holocaust, rather present in the face of female Jewish sufferers, who by covering themselves and holding to their dignity were bringing the Jewish God into Auschwitz. Melissa Raphael has made this position part of the current Jewish discussion.
21. No Theology nach Auschwitz. Any attempt at theology totalizes the ultimate horror, and by doing so, it lessens the suffering of what happened, as well as opening up humanity to ultimately excusing it and letting it happen again. For some this is a radical negation of any attempt to explain, while for others it is a simple dismissal of religious attempts at an answer. Any talk of God’s justice or love makes a mockery of what happened in the Shoah. … views.html


Another reason the suffering servant cannot be Israel is then it would mean the entire prophetic passage is written from the perspective of the Gentiles. There is no precedent in the Bible of prophetic utterances from the perspective of the Gentiles.

I also addressed Rabbi Singer’s arguments about Isa 53:

otseng wrote: Fri Sep 22, 2023 8:02 am Isaiah 53: Rabbi Tovia Singer reveals the meaning of the most misused chapter in the Bible

A caller asks Rabbi Singer the question:

Historically how do we know that corporate Israel is what we’re talking about in Isaiah 53 and it’s not just one person?

He has a long intro, but eventually he responds that context is important.

The proper study of any passages let’s go to the context …  which means we’ll study the text using a rigorous method … context is going to determine our understanding of this passage. This is a normal hermeneutical methods completely mainstream.

He then says we should look at the last word prior to Isa 52:13.

What is the very last word of Isaiah 52 verse 12? … the word is Israel.

Yes, in the Hebrew, Israel is the last word in Isaiah 52:12.  Here is the KJV translation.

[Isa 52:12 KJV] 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel [will be] your rereward. … onc_731012

How can one claim to understand the context when one simply pulls out a single word and don’t even explain the context? The context of the usage is the God of Israel. Further, the context of the verse is Isaiah/God addressing the nation of Israel.  Israel is the “ye/you” in the verse. The passage is also a reference to the Exodus. Given the reference to Exodus, it makes sense the servant of Isa 52:13 is a Moses figure, not the nation of Israel itself.

In the 13th verse, the servant is addressed in the third person (he), not the second person (ye/you), so it’s not the nation of Israel as in verse 12.

[Isa 52:13 KJV] 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Further, exalted is a reference to God throughout Isaiah, not a man or even to Israel.

Isa 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isa 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isa 33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

Is it a big coincidence? So as it turns out Isaiah 52 describes Ben Israel who suffers as a result of persecution of her neighbors and that God will redeem Klaus all the sight of all the nations. That’s it.

That’s the argument?  That simply Israel is the last word in the Isa 52:12?  This is not even analyzing the context, but simply lifting a single word out of context.

Let’s go to Isaiah 54… Who is Isaiah talking about? It’s talking about qualities for the nation of Israel in the singular.

In Isaiah 54, it goes back to addressing Israel that God will restore Israel.

Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee

In Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.

Nowhere does it state Israel will be her own deliverer or savior in Isaiah 54.

You are being asked to believe by Christians, by the Southern Baptists, by the Roman Catholic Church, by the Greek Orthodox church, by the Assemblies of God, by Jews for Jesus, Isaiah 53 is talking about Jesus.

Yes, because it makes sense given the context.

Why in churches when Isaiah 53 is discussed never is Isaiah 41 discussed.

I’m assuming he’s referring to Israel being called a servant.

Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, [art] my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Sure, Israel is referred to as a servant in passages before Isa 53.  But other things are referred to as servants of God, including an individual. Immediately before Isa 53, the servant in Isa 49 is an individual that restores Israel. So, if Rabbi Singer wants to go back, why did he skip mentioning Isa 49?

Isa 49:6-7 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, [and] the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

In Isaiah 50, God condemns Israel for their iniquities.

Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

Later, the servant talks about himself as one that was not rebellious.

Isaiah 50:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

So Israel and the servant cannot be the same from the chapters before Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53 describes the reaction of the Gentile nations at the end of days when what happens in their view is like nothing they ever heard. What they will see is like nothing that ever considered.

This makes no sense because this means Isaiah 53 is written from the perspective of the Gentile nations.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

There is nowhere in the Bible is a prophecy spoken from the perspective of a Gentile.

I see so many Christians they I see that the very passion is so on but if you don’t go back to the original you don’t go to the context and it’s a lot of trouble.

Interesting Rabbi Singer says this when he’s full of passion and doesn’t interpret things in context.

If the context doesn’t determine the meaning of an ambiguous passage then we live in an alternative universe.

Well, from his own testimony, he must be living in an alternative universe.

The vast majority of commentaries refers to the suffering servant as an individual. Only 2 out of 39 commentaries that I have even remotely mentions the suffering servant in Isa 53 with the nation of Israel.

Biblical Illustrator

By some it has been supposed, in ancient times and in modern, that the prophet was referring to the sufferings of the nation of Israel-either of Israel as a whole or of the righteous section of the nation-and to the benefits that would accrue from those sufferings to the surrounding peoples, some of whom were contemptuous of Israel, all of whom may be described as ignorant of God. But to defend that opinion it is necessary to paraphrase and interpret some of the statements in a way that no sound rules of exposition will allow.

It is quite possible that the great figure of the Servant of Jehovah, standing in the front of all these verses, was designed to have more than a single interpretation, to be reverently approached from many sides, to be full of appeals to the patriotism and to the piety of the Israelite; but at the same time it is no mere abstract conception, but the figure of a living and separated Person, “more perfect than human believer ever was, uniting in himself more richly than any other messenger, of God everything that was necessary for the salvation of man, and finally accomplishing what no mere prophet” ever attempted. And some of the authorities of the synagogue even might be quoted in favour of the almost universal Christian opinion, that the Man of Sorrows of this chapter despised, and yet triumphant, is no other than the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the world, who over-trod the lowest levels of human pain and misery, and who hereafter will sit enthroned, on His head many crowns, and in His heart the satisfaction of assured and unlimited victory.

Bible Knowledge Commentary

Israel’s realization about the Servant’s substitutionary death (Isa 53:4-6 ). Though not realizing it at the time, the nation will realize that the Servant bore the consequences of their sin. His taking our infirmities and . . .sorrows (maḵ’ōḇ, see comments on Isa 53:3 ) speaks of the consequences of sin. The verb took up, rendered “bore” in Isa 53:12 , translates nāśā’, “to carry.” His bearing “infirmities” (ḥŏlı̂, lit., “sickness,” the same word trans. “suffering” in Isa 53:3 ) refers to illnesses of the soul. His healing many people’s physical illnesses (though not all of them) in His earthly ministry anticipated His greater work on the Cross.

Barnes notes on the Old Testament

He is despised – This requires no explanation; and it needs no comment to show that it was fulfilled. The Redeemer was eminently the object of contempt and scorn alike by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Romans. In his life on earth it was so; in his death it was still so; and since then, his name and person have been extensively the object of contempt. Nothing is a more striking fulfillment of this than the conduct of the Jews at the present day. The very name of Jesus of Nazareth excites contempt; and they join with their fathers who rejected him in heaping on him every term indicative of scorn.

Benson commentary on the Old Testament

The two great things which the Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets, testified beforehand, were the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, 1Pe 1:11; and that which Christ himself, when he expounded Moses and all the prophets, showed to be the drift and scope of them all, was that Christ ought to suffer, and then to enter into his glory, Luk 24:26-27. But nowhere, in all the Old Testament, are these two so plainly and fully prophesied of as here in this chapter, out of which divers passages are quoted and applied to Christ in the New Testament.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Despite the inhumanity of people, the servant’s death is according to God’s will. It is a sacrifice for the removal of sin. But beyond the sorrow of death is the joy of the resurrection. The servant is satisfied when he sees the fruits of his suffering, namely, a multitude of spiritual children who are forgiven their sins and accounted righteous before God because of his death (10-11). The sufferer becomes the conqueror and receives a conqueror’s reward. Because he willingly took the place of sinners and prayed for their forgiveness, he is now exalted to the highest place (12).

Brooks Commentary of the Bible

The whole race of mankind lies under the stain of original corruption, all gone astray from God. God, in love sent His only begotten Son into the world, who voluntarily made Himself an offering for sin. He submitted Himself to the disgraces and afflictions due to the worst of men, that those who should believe on Him, might have the joy and glory due to Him as the one perfect man.

Cambridge Bible Commentary

“From imprisonment … he was led away (to execution),” for that is an idea which could hardly have suggested itself apart from the fulfilment of the prophecy in the crucifixion of Christ.

Church Pulpit Commentary

The subject teaches (1) that if it is as a Man of sorrows that Jesus Christ comes to us, it must be, first of all, as a memento of the fitness of sorrow to our condition as sinful men. (2) Again, only a Man of sorrows could be a Saviour for all men, and for the whole of life.

College Press Bible Study

The inspired authors of the New Testament specifically confirm the following prophecies of the Servant are fulfilled in Jesus Christ; Isa 42:1-4 fulfilled in Mat 12:18-21; Isa 52:13 to Isa 53:12 fulfilled (or quoted) in Mat 8:17; Luk 22:37; Joh 12:38; Act 8:32 ff; Rom 10:16. The Servant’s mission can only be fulfilled by Christ:

Chuck Smith Commentary

As God now speaks about His servant, His only begotten Son, “who was in the form of God, and thought it not something to be grasped to be equal with God: and yet He humbled Himself and took on the likeness of man or the form of man and came in likeness of man. And being humbled, He came as a servant” ( Php 2:6-8 ). And so Jesus said, “I came not to do My own will but the will of the One who sent Me” ( Joh 6:38 ). And in the garden He said, “Not My will, Thy will be done” ( Luk 22:42 ), as He submitted as a servant unto the Father.

John Calvin Commentary

He hath no form nor comeliness. This must be understood to relate not merely to the person of Christ, who was despised by the world, and was at length condemned to a disgraceful death; but to his whole kingdom, which in the eyes of men had no beauty, no comeliness, no splendor, which, in short, had nothing that could direct or captivate the hearts of men to it by its outward show. Although Christ arose from the dead, yet the Jews always regarded him as a person who had been crucified and disgraced, in consequence of which they haughtily disdained him.

Clarke Commentary

That this chapter speaks of none but Jesus must be evident to every unprejudiced reader who has ever heard the history of his sufferings and death. The Jews have endeavored to apply it to their sufferings in captivity; but, alas for their cause! they can make nothing out in this way.

Dakes Commentary

The report was not only predicted and then literally fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, but there were also miracles confirming to Israel the fact that He was the true Messiah sent by God.

Expositor’s Bible Commentary

But about five hundred and fifty years after this prophecy was written, a Man came forward among the sons of men.-among this very nation from whom the prophecy had arisen; and in every essential of consciousness and of experience He was the counterpart, embodiment, and fulfilment of this Suffering Servant and his Service. Jesus Christ answers the questions which the prophecy raises and leaves unanswered. In the prophecy we see one who is only a spectre, a dream, a conscience without a voice, without a name, without a place in history. But in Jesus Christ of Nazareth the dream becomes a reality: He, whom we have seen in this chapter only as the purpose of God, only through the eyes and consciences of a generation yet unborn, -He comes forward in flesh and blood; He speaks, He explains Himself, He accomplishes almost to the last detail the work, the patience, and the death that are here described as Ideal and Representative.

Ellicott Commentary

As a lamb to the slaughter.—It is suggestive, as bearing both on the question of authorship, and that of partial fulfilment, that Jeremiah (Jer 11:19) appropriates the description to himself. In our Lord’s silence before the Sanhedrin and Pilate it is allowable to trace a conscious fulfilment of Isaiah’s words.

Expositors Dictionary of Text

Around the Cross a certain romantic interest has gathered, but what the Cross really stands for is an offence, a stumbling-block and a scandal to men. The Prophet Isaiah, with his piercing vision, saw the truth. In his prophecy of Christ he tells us that men shall see no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. The offence of the Cross has not yet ceased.

Gaebelin Notes

The New Testament fully bears witness to this great vision of the cross of Christ, the vicarious suffering of the Son of God and its blessed results. To reject them as meaning Christ and His work of atonement is equivalent to the rejection of the revelation of the New Testament and especially the rejection of the Person of our Lord.

Geneva Notes

Christ by offering up himself will give life to his Church, and so cause them to live with him forever.

Gill Exposition of the Bible

This chapter treats of the mean appearance of Christ in human nature, his sufferings in it, and the glory that should follow.

Guzik Commentary

Prophetically, Isaiah gives a more compelling description of Jesus than we find anywhere in the gospel accounts.

Simeon Homeletica

A third mark and character of the Messiah was, that he should be afflicted in his person; he was to be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” To none were these words ever so applicable as to Jesus Christ.

Hastings Great Texts of the Bible

There is not a verse of this chapter of Isaiah at which one might not very well begin, as S. Philip the Evangelist once did to the eunuch, and preach the whole doctrine of Christ crucified. As it was in the counsels of Almighty God, that His Blessed Son should endure for our behalf all the various afflictions which we have deserved, so this famous prophecy touches, one after another, the several sorrows which He endured.

Matthew Henry Commentary

But nowhere in all the Old Testament are these two so plainly and fully prophesied of as here in this chapter, out of which divers passages are quoted with application to Christ in the New Testament. This chapter is so replenished with the unsearchable riches of Christ that it may be called rather the gospel of the evangelist Isaiah than the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

Christ took on Himself all man’s “infirmities,” so as to remove them: the bodily by direct miracle, grounded on His participation in human infirmities; those of the soul by His vicarious suffering, which did away with the source of both.

Keil and Delitzsch Commentary

Here again it is Israel, which, having been at length better instructed, and now bearing witness against itself, laments its former blindness to the mediatorially vicarious character of the deep agonies, both of soul and body, that were endured by the great Sufferer. They looked upon them as the punishment of His own sins, and indeed – inasmuch as, like the friends of Job, they measured the sin of the Sufferer by the sufferings that He endured – of peculiarly great sins.

King Commentary

Its contents are the Lord Jesus Who, as the perfect Servant, takes the place of the failing servant, Israel, both in His life and in His death. In this whole song, the Servant takes the place of Israel in His suffering.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is called the Great Calvary Chapter. The chapter, however, goes back of Calvary describing both the childhood and ministry of Christ. Then in the conclusion of its message, Isaiah fifty-three passes beyond Calvary, setting forth the wonderful future when Christ’s soul shall be satisfied.

Lange Commentary

But Christ redeemed us from sin and its punishment generally, and not merely from what remained of the punishment that, with reference to the redemption, was from the first remitted to us.

MacLaren Commentary

Following Matthew’s lead, we may regard Christ’s miracles of healing as one form of His fulfilment of the prophecy, in which the principles that shape all the forms are at work, and which, therefore, may stand as a kind of pictorial illustration of the way in which He bears and bears away the heavier burden of sin.

Morgan Campbell Commentary

This whole description is absolutely without fulfilment save in the person of the Son of God, for whom the ultimate triumph has not yet been won.

Preacher’s Complete Homiletic

After the appearing of Jesus Christ, a passage like this could not be introduced into the writings of Isaiah by Christians; the jealousy of the Jews would prevent that. It would not be introduced by the Jews; that would be inconsistent with their unbelief. To be here at all, it must have formed an original part of the prophetical Scriptures.

Peake Commentary

Yahweh announces that His Servant Israel shall be raised to a position so glorious that, even as many were appalled at his pitiable plight, so nations shall do him homage and kings be reverently silent in his presence, beholding so wonderful, so unheard-of a transformation.

Poole Commentary

This was actually verified in Christ. And both this and divers other passages here do as manifestly and fully point at Christ, as if they were not a prophetical representation of things to come, but an historical relation of them after they were done. Nor do I see how they can be excused from the fearful wresting of the Scripture that expound these places of the prophet Jeremiah, of any other person but Christ.

Spence Pulpit Commentary

The Messianic interpretation of the chapter was universally acknowledged by the Jews until the time of Aben Ezra. It was also assumed as indisputable by the Christian Fathers. Almost all Christian expositors down to the commencement of the nineteenth century took the same view. It was only under the pressure of the Christian controversy that the later Jews abandoned the traditional interpretation, and applied the prophecy
(1) to Jeremiah;
(2) to Josiah;
(3) to the people of Israel.
In the present century a certain number of Christian commentators have adopted one or other of the late Jewish theories, either absolutely or with modifications. It is impossible to examine and refute their arguments here.
that the portraiture of “the Servant of the Lord” in this place has so strong an individuality and such marked personal features that it cannot possibly be a mere personified collective—whether Israel, or faithful Israel, or ideal Israel, or the collective body of the prophets; and

Sermon Bible

“He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” It is not His loss that we love Him not; it is our loss. He is all-blessed, whatever becomes of us. He is not less blessed because we are far from Him. Woe unto us, if in the day in which He comes from heaven, we see nothing desirable or gracious in His wounds; but instead, have made for ourselves an ideal blessedness, different from that which will be manifested to us in Him.

Spurgeon’s Expositions

All the prophets reported that which had been revealed to them concerning Christ, they testified what they knew with regard to Jesus of Nazareth, the suffering Saviour; yet how few, comparatively, of the Jewish people, few, indeed, of any people, compared with the great mass of mankind, accepted their testimony, and believed their report?

Sutcliffe Commentary

Nor should it escape remark, that the heralds of the gospel preached a crucified Redeemer, Messiah, the arm of the Lord, Christ the wisdom, and Christ the power of God, whose own arm brought salvation. Of the people there was none with him, none to uphold.

John Wesley Commentary

He saith, he made his grave, because this was Christ’s own act, and he willingly yielded up himself to death and burial. And that which follows, with the wicked, does not denote the sameness of place, as if he should be buried in the same grave with other malefactors, but the sameness of condition.

Whedon Commentary

The verb in Hebrew is, as usual, in the prophetic past. Growth has been from the first Messianic germ, (Gen 3:15,) till fully realized in Jesus Christ.

Another summary of why the suffering servant cannot be Israel:

The following are six reasons the Servant in the fourth Song cannot be identified as Israel.

First, the pronouns of the Song would be inconsistent. In the body (Isa 53:1–9), the people of Israel are speaking and uniformly identify themselves in the first person (we, our, us). They also describe the Servant in the third person (He, Him). Thus, Israel cannot be the Servant.

Second, the Servant is said to die for “my people” (Isa 53:8). Isaiah’s people were the people of Israel. Therefore, the Servant cannot be Israel and also die for Israel.

Third, the Servant is described as completely innocent (“He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth,” Isa 53:9). Yet, throughout Isaiah, Israel is called guilty (e.g., Isa 1:16–20; 5:7). The nation cannot be the innocent Servant.

Fourth, the Servant suffered for the sins of others (Isa 53:6). But the nation of Israel suffered for her own sins (Isa 40:2).

Fifth, the Servant was a willing sufferer, rendering “Himself as a guilt offering” (Isa 53:10). But Israel did indeed suffer, in fact, twice as much as she deserved (40:2), but never did so willingly.

Sixth, the Servant actually died (“cut off out of the land of the living,” Isa 53:8). Certainly many in Israel did die but the nation collectively did not perish. In fact, God promised that the nations could never totally destroy His people (Jr 31:35–37). On the whole, it seems best to maintain the earliest Jewish view that the Servant should be identified as the Messiah.

So, we can then conclude the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 53 is the ONE passage, above all others, that has been used over the centuries by Christians to be a prediction that the messiah will suffer and die for the sake of others. … and-death/

F Duane Lindsey writes that The fourth Servant song (Isa. 52:13-53:12) “may without any exaggeration be called the most important text of the Old Testament.”

J Vernon McGee comments that Isaiah 53 is so to speak “A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE CROSS. Those who are acquainted with God’s Word realize that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah and the 22nd Psalm give us a more vivid account of the crucifixion of Christ than is found elsewhere in the Bible.

Roy Gingrich writes regarding Isaiah 52:13-53:12 – Now we come to one of the best-known and most-valuable sections of the entire Bible. The following things may be said concerning this section of Scripture:

(1) It is “a fifth Gospel”;
(2) it is “a summary of the four Gospel narratives”;
(3) it is “the Holy of Holies of the Old Testament”;
(4) it is “the Mt. Everest of Old Testament prophecy”;
(5) it is “the heart of the book of Isaiah”;
(6) it is the most preached-on portion of the Old Testament, and
(7) it is the section of Scripture most used to convince the unsaved Jews that Jesus is their Messiah.
The theme of this section of Scripture is the work of the Servant of Jehovah (the work of making a substitutionary atonement for men’s sins. (The Book of Isaiah)