Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant Part 3: The Commitment of the Servant in Isaiah 50:4-11 -- By: F. Duane Lindsey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:555 (Jul 1982)
Article: Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant Part 3: The Commitment of the Servant in Isaiah 50:4-11
Author: F. Duane Lindsey


Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant
Part 3:
The Commitment of the Servant in Isaiah 50:4-11

F. Duane Lindsey

[F. Duane Lindsey, Registrar and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary]

The first two of Isaiah’s songs of the Servant placed emphasis on the ultimate success of Yahweh’s Servant-Messiah. In Isaiah 42:1–9 Yahweh introduced His Servant and predicted the Servant’s faithfulness in accomplishing His divinely appointed mission of bringing salvation and establishing a proper order on the whole earth.1 In the second song (Isa 49:1–13), although a new feature of apparent initial failure by the Servant was introduced, His ultimate success was predicted not only in fulfilling an expanded mission to bring salvation to the Gentiles, but also in restoring Israel both to the land (physically and politically) and to Yahweh (spiritually).2

The third Servant song (Isa 50:4–11)3 amplifies the sufferings and patient endurance of the Servant, which were only hinted at in the previous songs. All of this is in preparation for the magnum opus of the fourth song (Isa 52:13–53:12), in which the Servant-Messiah’s suffering and His consequent exaltation are revealed with equal emphasis. “Common to both [the third and fourth songs] is the new conception of the Servant as sufferer, here [50:4–9 ] at the hands of men, there [Isa 53] at the hands of men and God alike.”4 As in the previous songs, the Servant can be neither Isaiah himself (who nowhere else in the book is described as suffering) nor the nation Israel (whose humiliation and sufferings were neither voluntary nor [to anticipate Isa 53] vicarious or substitutionary).5

Like the preceding Servant song, the third song (50:4–11) begins a cycle that culminates in a powerful message of salvation (51:1–52:12).6 The short trial speech in Isaiah 50:1–3 forms somewhat of a transition from the preceding Servant-song/salvation...

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