Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant Part 5: The Career of the Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (Concluded) -- By: F. Duane Lindsey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 140:557 (Jan 1983)
Article: Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant Part 5: The Career of the Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (Concluded)
Author: F. Duane Lindsey


Isaiah’s Songs of the Servant
Part 5:
The Career of the Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (Concluded)

F. Duane Lindsey

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

Believing Israelites Confess Their Misunderstanding
of the Servant’s Death Which They Contrast
with Its True Meaning
(53:1-9) [continued]

The message of Isaiah 52:13–53:12 was summarized in the previous article1 as Yahweh’s announcement of the exaltation of His Servant because of His satisfactory substitutionary death for the sins both of His guilty people and of the Gentiles. The three middle strophes of the five which comprise this Servant song are a confessional report in which believing Israelites contrast their past rejection of the Servant with the true meaning of His death (53:1–9). This report is preceded by an introductory appraisal in which Yahweh promises to exalt His Servant supremely, who though deeply degraded, will both purify and receive the worship of nations (52:13–15). It is followed by an epilogue in which Yahweh promises to exalt His Servant because He did His will in dying as a guilt offering (53:10–12).

Believing Israelites Contrast Their Mistaken Moral Judgment Concerning the Servant with His Vicarious Sufferings (53:4-6)

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.2

This strophe continues the confession of a future believing remnant of Israel which began in 53:1. In sharp contrast and strong contradiction to their pitiful misunderstanding (53:1–3), the true reason for the Servant’s sufferings is now set forth. After confessing negatively their mistaken evaluation of His sufferings (v. 4) and positively the substitutionary redemptive purpose of His sufferings (v.

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