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Isaiah 53 Scripture Commentary

Isaiah 53:1-12

1: Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

The message is one concerning the servants greatness. The Arm of the Lord is Divine.(1) The Hebrew word for arm is "zeroah," the same word used for the shank bone of the lamb found on the Passover Seder plate today to remind us of the Passover Lamb. Isaiah 53 described one who would come as a sacrificial lamb for us. Literally fulfilled in John 1:9-11 and 12:37-38. In Romans 10:16 Paul applied the same prophecy to the world at large.(2)

2: For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

So that there is no misunderstanding, here Isaiah uses the same imagery as he did in Isaiah 11:10 where he describes the Messiah as the "root of Jesse." Just before His death, the appearance of our Messiah was one that resembled a beaten, whipped and bloody man. Most of Israel was unable to see any beauty in the Messiah's sacrifice or the sacrifice of our Heavenly Father allowing this to happen to His only Son. Since He wore none of the usual emblems of royalty, His true identity was visible only to the discerning eye of faith.(2) From the crown of the head, which was crowned with thorns, to the soles of His feet, which were nailed to the cross, nothing appeared but wounds and bruises.(3)

3: He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Forsaken means to be treated as an outcast.(4) Messiah suffered not only external abuse, but also internal grief over the lack of response from those He came to save.(2) That's why He cried out in Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her." How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" This had to be the ultimate sorrow and grief for our Messiah, to be not recognized by those He came to save. Paul had a similar desire for Israel in Romans 10:1.

4: Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

Here is where we recognize that the Servant's Sufferings were not due to his own sin. It is now frankly acknowledged that he was the victim who bore the dire penalties which the iniquities of others have incurred.(5)  Both Rashi (1) and Kimchi (4) agree that this diseases should have been inflicted upon us. Fulfilled Typically in Matthew 8:16,17. It is incredible to think that many of the people who watched Him die, thought He was being punished by God for His own sin.(2) The Talmud lends support for this being a Messianic verse in Sanhedrin 98b.

5: But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

This chastisement was for the transgression committed and for which suffering was the expiation (act of making atonement).(6) Our well-being comes because he was punished for our guilt. (1,4) The Messiah suffered the chastisement of God in order to procure our peace.(2) 1 Peter 2:24 confirms that we are healed due to Messiah's punishment. Acts 3:18 confirms Christ's suffering as fulfillment of what the prophets wrote. Also fulfilled in Matthew 27:26.

6: All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Like sheep (without a shepherd) they forsook the leadership of God, wandered from the right path and indulged in ungodly desires.(5) Turning to his own way meant to follow his own religion.(7) The manner in which God treated Him as if He had committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe, though He was perfectly innocent of any sin.(2) Romans 3:23 says it this way.


7: He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

Jesus is recognized as the Lamb of God in John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19 and Revelation 5:6. Jesus remaining silent was fulfilled in all 4 Gospels (Matthew 27:12; Mark 14:61; Luke 23:9 and John 19:9). In protest; he suffered in silence.(1)  Verse 7&8 is the area of scripture read by the Ethiopian eunuch and subsequently explained to him by Philip as referring to Jesus (Acts 8:32-33).(2) This resembles the sacrificial lamb found in Ex. 12:3;6.(2)

8: By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?

The suffering that should have been inflicted upon the wicked members of the community was borne by the innocent servant.(1) Possible tie into Dan. 9:26. (2)

9: His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

On account of his suffering he was deemed to be a sinner.(4) Jesus could have been buried with the other 2 criminals with him but instead received an honorable burial through the donated tomb of rich Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57-60). (2) Jesus was innocent of all charges against Him (1 Peter 2:22). (See Matthew 27:57-60)

10: But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

Matthew 26:39 makes it clear that it was the Fathers will to see His Son be crucified. The Father did this out of love for the rest of the world as proclaimed in John 3:16.


Our Messiah became our "Guilt Offering" when He became our sacrificial Passover Lamb also known as the Lamb of God. How does someone have prolonged days after death and what is meant by his offspring? Through a resurrection after death providing Eternal life. Hebrews 1:13 teaches that Psalm 110:1 is speaking directly about the position of the Messiah after His death which is at the right hand of God. His offspring are His children. (See Romans 8:16) Anyone who exercises genuine saving faith becomes a Child of God at the moment of belief.(2) Psalm 16 also teaches about Messiah's resurrection.

11: As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

He will be compensated for the travail of his soul by the abundant fulfillment of his wishes, both material and spiritual.(4) The Fathers satisfaction with the quality of His Son the Messiah as the sin offering for the world is found in 1John 2:2.(2) The Messiah has the knowledge to know what needed to be done to solve the sin problem once and for all.(2) Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 teach about how one sacrifice can justify many people.

12: Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Therefore meaning for his unmerited suffering, for sacrificing himself on behalf of others and for interceding in favor of his tormentors. (1,4) A portion is a reward(6) By dividing the spoils or booty Isaiah is saying that the Suffering Servant will be victorious over his enemies in the end.(4) Jesus will reign during the Millennial Kingdom and enjoy an environment where He rules as King of Kings with no satanic influence to be found on Earth.(2) Jesus was crucified between two criminals bringing fulfillment in Luke 22:37 for being numbered with the transgressors.(2) This verse also finds fulfillment in Mark 15:27;28. Our Messiah is also our High Priest and as such He makes intercession before the Father for our transgressions. Started here on earth (See Luke 23:34) it continues now in heaven (see Hebrews 7:25 and 9:24).(2)

Miscellaneous Note From JewishRoots.Net:

Isaiah 53 is considered by many to be the clearest passage of Old Testament scripture referring to the events concerning Jesus Christ giving His life to pay for our sins. If you don't already have a relationship with Jesus as your Savior please consider the words of verse 11. He will justify many. While many is a lot of people it is not everybody. The only thing that stands in a persons way from receiving this relationship is their unbelief. If this is where you are at now in your spiritual walk then don't you think you owe it to yourself to pray to God to show you the truth concerning this passage.

When your heart is sincere (God knows your heart) God will answer this prayer. He is willing to meet you right where you are if you are willing to believe with a sincere faith. You don't need all the answers now but you do need to want this person described in Isaiah 53 to take your place for the punishment of your sin. You also need to recognize that He rose from the dead to prove the offering was acceptable and that because He is of Divine nature (tri-unity or trinity meaning Father, Son and Holy Spirit separate persons but all co-equal parts of the God-Head) then it is Ok to ask Him to be LORD of your life. Here is a sample Salvation Prayer to say if you are interested in forgiveness of your sin and Eternal Life. If you have done this, welcome to the Kingdom of God. Please tell a Christian friend so you can go forward with your new spiritual walk. Of course would love to know also. I will see you later. (Mark)

Articles Related To Isaiah 53 Include:

Articles Related To Messiah's Death Include:

Articles of Interest Include:


1) Soncino Books of the Bible (Isaiah) pp.262-264.

2). Soncino Books of the Bible (Isaiah), Rashi.

3). Soncino Books of the Bible (Isaiah), Kimchi.

4). Soncino Books of the Bible (Isaiah), Metsudath David.

5). Soncino Books of the Bible (Isaiah), Abarbanel.

6). The John MacArthur Study Bible pp.1037-1039.

7). Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

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