Isaiah 50 Commentary

Isaiah 49 Isaiah 53

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("Jehovah is Salvation")

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(Isaiah 40-66)




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Judah &
Is 1:1-12:6
the Nations
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Prophetic Historic Messianic
Holiness, Righteousness & Justice of Jehovah Grace, Compassion & Glory of Jehovah
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"A throne" Is 6:1
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"A Lamb" Is 53:7

Isaiah 50:1 Thus says the LORD, "Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

KJV 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.

NET  Isaiah 50:1 This is what the LORD says: "Where is your mother's divorce certificate by which I divorced her? Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Look, you were sold because of your sins; because of your rebellious acts I divorced your mother. 

  • Where is the certificate of divorce Dt 24:1-4; Jer 3:1,8; Hosea 2:2-4; Mark 10:4-12
  • Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you Ex 21:7; Leviticus 25:39; Dt 32:30; 2 Ki 4:1; Neh 5:5; Esther 7:4; Ps 44:12; Mt 18:25
  • you were sold for your iniquities Isaiah 52:3; 59:1,2; 1 Ki 21:25; 2 Ki 17:17; Jer 3:8; 4:18


Wiersbe Outlines this related section Isaiah 49:1-50:3 as follows: (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

  • Isaiah 49:1-7 - A Light in the Darkness
  • Isaiah 49:8-13 - Liberty to the Captives
  • Isaiah 49:14-50:3 - Love and Hope to the Discouraged
  • Isaiah 49:14-23 - A Compassionate Mother
  • Isaiah 49:23-26 - A Courageous Warrior
  • Isaiah 50:1-3 - A Constant Lover

Warren Wiersbe says that Isaiah 50:1-3 depicts God as "a constant lover," of Israel His wife. Her unfaithfulness will never cause Jehovah to be unfaithful!  (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

J M Riddle introduces Isaiah 50 with these comments - God has been described as a Master-Jeweller in that His brightest gems are displayed against a dark background. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that it is in the setting of a failed servant that God displays the beauty of His unfailing servant. Israel is described as "my servant", i.e. the Lord's servant, of which examples occur in Isaiah 41:8; 43:10; 44:21, and it is against the dark background of national failure that the perfect service of the Lord Jesus is described in this chapter. It is no small wonder that the Lord expressed His pleasure in Him in an earlier passage: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth" (Isa 42:1). Isaiah 50 may be divided into three sections:

  1. The perverse servant (Isa 50:1-3);
  2. The perfect Servant (Isa 50:4-9);
  3. The pattern Servant (Isa 50:10-11).

Summary of Isaiah 50:1-3 - The LORD, Yahweh has not permanently put away His people by divorce nor sold them to any creditor, Isa 50:1. He has sought them and called them, but no one responded to Him, Isa 50:2a. The LORD reminded them that He has the power to redeem and deliver them for He can dry up the sea and the rivers by a mere rebuke, Isa 50:2b. He also is so powerful that He can cast the vast heavens into darkness, Isa 50:3.

Isaiah 50:1-3 is considered to be either a continuation of God's response to Israel's complaint in Isaiah 49:14 that she was forsaken and forgotten by Him or alternatively as an introduction to the fourth Servant Song. Most commentaries associate Isaiah 50:1-3 as a conclusion to Israel's complaint in the previous chapter. As such it would be considered a "bad" chapter break, remembering that the chapter divisions are not inspired but inserted by men.

It has been suggested that the Lord speaks in Isa 50:1-3, the Servant in Isa 50:4-9, and the Spirit in Isa 50:10-11. (What the Bible Teaches – Song of Solomon and Isaiah)

F C Jennings  sees three divisions:

  1. Isa 50:1-3: Jehovah speaks, recognizing the breach in His relationship with His people, represented by Israel, and accounting for it.
  2. Isa 50:4-9: The Servant speaks. He has learned the path He must take to redeem His people.
  3. Isa 50:10, 11: The Spirit's counsel to those who are of the day: the doom of those who are of the night. (Reference)

NET Note - The Lord challenges the exiles (Zion's children) to bring incriminating evidence against him. The rhetorical questions imply that Israel accused the Lord of divorcing his wife (Zion) and selling his children (the Israelites) into slavery to pay off a debt. 

Moody Bible Commentary - This paragraph (Isa 50:1-3) functions as an introduction to the third Servant Song (Isa 50:4–11) (ED: See the four Servant Songs in Isaiah). The Lord declares Israel’s disobedience and unbelief is the cause of the people’s imminent exile to Babylon (ISAIAH PROPHESIED FROM 740-680 BC - EXILE TO BABYLON ABOUT 100 YEARS LATER 586 BC). Once again addressing the assertion that God had forgotten Zion (Isa 49:14), the Lord reminds the nation that He never broke His covenant with Israel or gave Israel away.  (See context in The Moody Bible Commentary)

Merrill Unger adds that Isaiah 50:1-3 "form the Lord's rebuttal to Israel's arguments that the Lord had abandoned His people to exile (Isaiah 49:25-26. ED COMMENT: BETTER PASSAGE = Isa 49:14+), and their unbelieving conviction that He had utterly cast them off forever and sold them into irretrievable slavery among the nations".

Notice that Jehovah begins by asking 2 questions which are in a sense a protest and repudiation of the idea that the adversities that befell the nation of Israel were unmerited, but were due to their own iniquities and transgressions (notice they are both plural!).

Motyer -The thrust of the two hypothetical situations, divorce and sale, is to ask if something irretrievable has happened, terminating a relationship. (The Prophecy of Isaiah)

Thus says the LORD, "Where is the certificate of divorce by which I have sent your mother away? -  This is the first of two references in this verse to two legal procedures in Israel. In the previous passages in Isaiah 49, Israel had been referred to as Zion (Isa 49:14+), and in this passage she is referred to as Jehovah's wife (Judah). Here Jehovah is addressing her children (the Jews) and returns "to the charge made against him in Isa 49:14 and answered it by challenging the exiled children to produce a certificate of divorce to prove that he had cast off their mother." (CBC) 

Many (but not all commentators) see this question as calling for a negative reply. Here is how they rationalize this interpretation --

Jehovah had not formally repudiated the "wife" (Judah) whom He had chosen "to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth." (Dt 7:6) The interpretation by these commentators is that by asking this question Jehovah is implying that He had not given her a certificate of divorce. They point out that Jeremiah states that He had given a certificate of divorce to Judah's sister Israel (10 Northern 10 Tribes exiled to Assyria)

And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. (Jer 3:8)

They go on to point out that that God's question here in Isaiah implies that He had NOT given Judah a certificate of divorce. They reason that had Jehovah given Judah a certificate of divorce, He might not be able to marry her.  Here is the passage usually referenced...

When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,  2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (Dt 24:1-4)

Warren Wiersbe points out that "The Mosaic permission for divorce is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (see Mt. 19:1-12). The "certificate of divorce" declared that the former marriage was broken and that the woman was free to remarry. But it also prevented the woman from returning to her former husband. God had indeed "divorced" the Northern Kingdom and allowed it to be assimilated by the Assyrians (Jer. 3:8), so she could not return (ED: But see MacArthur's note below). But He had not "divorced" the Southern Kingdom (JUDAH); He had only permitted His unfaithful wife to suffer chastening at the hands of Babylon (ED: ANALOGOUS TO A PERIOD OF ESTRANGEMENT). He would forgive her and receive her back again (ED: WE SEE HIS ULTIMATE FORGIVENESS OFFERED IN THE NEW COVENANT WHICH WAS GIVEN TO BOTH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND THE HOUSE OF JUDAH - Jer 31:31+ and Jer 31:34+). (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

MacArthur explains that "Though the sufferings of Judah were the necessary result of sin, no certificate of divorce or sale to creditors occurred because Zion's separation from the Lord was only temporary. In fact, God gave the non-Davidic northern kingdom a certificate of divorce (see Jer 3:8). However, the unconditional promises of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sa 7:12-16) precluded such a divorce for Judah, although there would be a time of separation (cf. Isa 54:6, 7).(See The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Gary Smith - If God has forsaken and forgotten his covenant wife Israel (49:14), where is the certificate of divorce that needs to be granted to the wife? This refers to a literal "letter of cutting off" that a husband must give a wife that he "sends away, divorces" (the root šālaḥ). Although detailed information about the divorce process in Israel at this time is very incomplete, both Deut 24:1-4 and Jer 3:1, 8 mention the practice of giving a written document to a wife that is divorced. One simple way to prove that God has not rejected the people of Judah is to point to the lack of a divorce document. Since no one could produce such a document, one must conclude that God's relationship with his people has not ended from God's point of view. (New American Commentary - New American Commentary – see Isaiah 40-66 )

Ron Teed - In these verses God is seen as a constant lover. The image of Israel as the wife of Jehovah (God) is found often in the prophets (SEE NOTE BELOW). Israel was “married” to Jehovah when they accepted the covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19-20), but they violated that covenant by playing the harlot and worshiping idols. But God did not forsake His people even though they had been unfaithful to Him. The Mosaic permission for divorce is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (also see Matthew 19:1-12). The “certificate of divorce” declared that the former marriage was broken and that the woman was free to remarry. But it also prevented the woman from returning to her former husband. God had indeed divorced the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and allowed it to be assimilated by the Assyrians (Jeremiah 3:8), so she could not return. But He had not “divorced” the Southern Kingdom (Judah); He had only permitted His unfaithful wife to suffer chastening at the hands of Babylon. He would forgive her and receive her back again. (Ron Teed Commentary)

Geoffrey W. Grogan - The figures of divorce and debt set forth Israel's conception of the Lord's relationship to her (v.1). Exiled, she assumes that he has cast her off (cf. Isa 40:27); but God her husband (cf. Jer 31:32) has not divorced her nor sold her to pay off his debts; for he, the Creator, has none. The cause of the Exile was simply sin on Israel's part; and, it is implied, if she returns to God, he will restore her. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 6: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel see Isaiah or The Expositor's Bible Commentary )

Trent Butler - God found himself once more in the role of a defendant in a trial. He came out questioning Israel. He used Israelite family law to defend himself. If he had divorced his wife Israel, he would have given her a certificate of divorce and could not remarry her, since she was now married to Babylon or the gods of Babylon (Deut. 24:1-4). (Holman Old Testament Commentary – Isaiah)

Edward Young says "Zion has no writing of divorcement and hence cannot produce one, for God has never sent her away." That is an interesting comment, but in about 100 years Judah would in fact be sent away to Babylon. 

Merrill Unger says "They could produce no such document; so it was not the Lord who had divorced them, but their sin that had effected the separation ("was sent away" - same verb shalach used in Jer 3:8 - "I had sent her [10 Northern Tribes] away")." 

David Guzik - Essentially, God speaks to a doubting Zion, “You say I don’t care about you anymore. You say I have divorced you. Very well then, produce the document. But there is none, because I have not divorced you. You will see that for your iniquities you have sold yourselves. It is your own fault, and no one else’s.” (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

W E Vine -  This is a denial by the Lord that He had broken off the relation in which He stood to Zion (Israel’s mother). He had betrothed Zion to Himself, and she had no bill of divorce to show, by means of which He had put her away, thus removing the possibility of receiving her back in case she should have married another (see Dt. 24:1-4, and especially Dt 24:4). Her sad condition of being put away was not caused by any such proceedings.

J Vernon McGee - Under the Mosaic Law (see Deut. 24:1) a man could put away his wife on the slightest pretext (SEE FOLLOWING NOTE). A cruel and hardhearted man would take advantage of this to get rid of his wife. God asks Israel if they know on what grounds He set them aside. Certainly God is not cruel or brutal. Israel is spoken of as the wife of Jehovah—this is the theme of Hosea. It was not a whim of God that caused Israel to be set aside, but God makes it very clear that their sin brought about their rejection. (See Thru the Bible)

How different the faithful God is from fickle men for Hebrew men could (and would) give a certificate of divorce to the wife of their youth with whom there were in covenant for a number of missteps. The Talmud cites three opinions as to when one could get a divorce...

  1. The School of Shammai rules: A man should not divorce his wife unless he discovers in her an immoral matter...
  2. The School of Hillel holds: [He may divorce her] even if she burnt his meal.
  3. Rabbi Akiva says: Even if he found another more beautiful than she.

Jesus alluded to this when He declared "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way." (Mt 19:8) Thank God that He does not seek to break covenant with Israel (or with us in the New Covenant) if we "burn the toast"! God's heart is not hard like men's hearts, but is filled with lovingkindness and compassion. Thank You Jesus!

Constable - The Lord continued to speak through His prophet. He addressed again Zion’s charge that God had forsaken and forgotten His people (49:14). He had not issued Israel a certificate of divorce (cf. Deut. 24:1–4); He had not stopped desiring to have her for Himself (cf. 49:14–18; Judg. 2:14; 3:8; 4:2; 10:7). Neither had He sold the Israelites to one of His creditors, since He had none; no one had forced Him to send them into captivity (cf. 49:22–26). No, He had temporarily sold the Israelites into captivity because of their own sins (as had been the case with Samaria, cf. Jer. 3:8). . (Isaiah 50)

Redpath comments that "The people of Israel in exile are likening themselves to a divorced wife, forgotten and forsaken of God. The Lord interrupts this kind of thinking, and breaks into it with a challenge to His people, saying: ‘Where is the bill of divorcement? Produce it. Produce the bill and show me where I divorced you.’ But Israel cannot do it. Of course she cannot find it, because He has never given it to her. God cannot divorce those whom He has taken into covenant relationship with Himself.”

Oswalt comments - Some commentators (e.g., Whybray, Torrey) make the point that Israel must not have been formally divorced by God, for according to the law, God could not remarry her (Isa 54:5). This is to make the imagery bear too heavy a load. In any case, it is clear that Isaiah has little time for legal technicalities (see the incorporation of the foreigner and the eunuch in ch. 57). Note Jer 3:1, which addresses this same problem, and, depending on the interpretation, may have God making the same invitation. (See The Book of Isaiah)

Motyer writes that "The thrust of the two hypothetical situations, divorce and sale, is to ask if something irretrievable has happened, terminating a relationship. Marriage is a covenant motif (e.g. Jer. 2:1-3; 3:1-2; Ezek. 16). Behind it here lies the dreaded possibility that the Lord’s covenant with His people may have suffered a final breach." (See context in The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction Commentary)

The NET Note says "The Lord admits he did divorce Zion, but that too was the result of the nation’s sins. The force of the earlier rhetorical question comes into clearer focus now. The question does not imply that a certificate does not exist and that no divorce occurred. Rather, the question asks for the certificate to be produced so the accuser can see the reason for the divorce in black and white. The Lord did not put Zion away arbitrarily."

David Thompson adds regarding the certificate of divorce - On this point there are a few commentators who take the position that God is saying to Israel that you cannot offer any proof that God has divorced her or sold her. However, if we compare this text with Jeremiah 3:8-9 this is not what this passage means. I agree with many interpreters who believe that God is telling Israel why she has been abandoned by Him. (Sermon)

The concept of Jehovah as the Husband of Israel. You may not be familiar with the description of God as Husband and Israel as His wife, but this metaphorical picture is alluded to several times in Scripture...

Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.  2 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs.  3 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations And will resettle the desolate cities.  4 Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.  5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.  6 “For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken (cf same Hebrew word in Isa 49:14+) and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God.  7 “For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you.  8 “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the LORD your Redeemer.  (Isa 54:1-8)

W E Vine - Israel is called upon to rejoice with singing and shouting, as her state of barrenness would yield place to fruitfulness. The experiences of their ancestress Sarah had been a foreshadowing of this. The desolate condition of the people and their land was not to last indefinitely. Jehovah had not divorced her. The time will come when she will no more be termed "Forsaken" neither will the land be termed "Desolate," for "as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride," so will God rejoice over her (Isaiah 62:4, 5) and her children will be more numerous than they were before she became desolate (Isaiah 54:1).  She is therefore bidden to broaden out her tent and stretch out the curtains of her habitations, to lengthen her cords and strengthen her stakes, language metaphorically setting forth the extension of her territory so that there may be room for the increased population.(See parallel thought in Isa 49:19-20+)(The Collected Writings of W. E. Vine)

Vine adds "The passage that follows from Isaiah 54:4 onward is full of the tenderest promises and comfort, telling out the lovingkindness of the Lord, His covenant mercies, and the glorious future in store for the nation. Israel is no longer to fear, for she will not be put to shame. She is exhorted not to be confounded (or rather, as it may be rendered, "to bid defiance to reproach"). Her future will be so delightful that she will "forget the shame of her youth," the time when she was in bondage in Egypt. There she was like a virgin, but Jehovah who redeemed her betrothed her to Himself with a covenant of love (see Jeremiah 51:5), for her Husband was none other than her Maker (Isaiah 54:5). (Ibid)

Jennings comments - What a delightful term is that by which He next speaks of His people, "A wife of youth," when affections are freshest, and most tender; and though there has intervened a long period of apparent estrangement, Jehovah's first love has never cooled, and now He calls her to His heart again, compassionating her desolation, even though it be due to her own sin. Yes, He was compelled to forsake her, in the day of her forsaking Him; but now that penitent tears well from her eyes, His arms are wide-stretched, and as a father gathers to his bosom the child he has been compelled to chastise, with a joy that far exceeds that of the one thus restored, so does Jehovah as He cries: "It is meet that we make merry and be glad, for it was but in a temporary burst of anger in which I hid My Face, for a moment, but with never-ending lovingkindness will I cherish My beloved earthly people." This surely applies no less to His poor people in Christ, who have nothing on earth to rival Him. It is a loving-kindness, He assures us, which is as eternal as that covenant of which the bow in the cloud was, and is: the token that never again should waters destroy the earth, so never again shall waters of sorrow overwhelm Israel: more sure is this than the stability of the everlasting mountains. (Reference)

The nation of Israel was joined in covenant and so in effect "married" to Jehovah the moment she entered into the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai (Read Ex 24:3,7 where Israel in effect said "I DO!" or more literally "we will do!"). Soon thereafter Israel proved herself to be an unfaithful wife, repeatedly violating her covenant by playing the harlot with the gods of other nations and worshiping their idols. In spite of her abominations, Jehovah did not forsake her completely even though he sent her away just as He had sent her sister away (Jer 3:8).

So however one interprets this question about a certificate of divorce, in some ways it is a moot point, because God will restore both Judah and Israel to Himself. He has the power to do it. 


Divorce (03748)(kerithuth from karath = to cut or cut off) describes a husband's dismissal of his wife.

Kerithuth is used only 4x in the OT - Dt. 24:1; Dt. 24:3; Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:8.  

While Jehovah did not give a certificate of divorce to Judah (according to most interpreters), He definitely did give a certificate of divorce to Israel (THE 10 NORTHERN TRIBES) as recorded in Jeremiah's prophecy...

Jeremiah 3:8  “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ (sepher - same word as certificate) of divorce (kerithuth), yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.

Comment - This is an amazing statement - (1) Judah was fully aware of what God had done to the Northern 10 Tribes ("Israel"). (2) This knowledge had no impact on Judah's behavior. (3) While it does not state it here, Judah even exceeded Israel's sinful behavior! Clearly Judah no longer had a healthy "fear of the Lord" (cf Ro 3:18+). And beloved, that is what will happen to us if we lose that sense of reverential awe at God's holiness and His justifiable punishment on us when we sin (cf Heb 12:5-11+). Do you fear the Lord? Does it show by your behavior? Do you turn away from evil because you fear the Lord? (See this vital principle repeatedly stated - Job 1:1, Pr 8:13 Pr 14:16, 27 Pr 16:6, Ne 5:15  Job 28:28 Ps 34:11-14 Eccl 12:13 2 Co 7:1)

MacArthur - Though God hates divorce (Mal 2:16+), it is tolerated for unrepentant adultery (see Mt 5:32; 19:8, 9, as indicated by this analogy of God's divorcing Israel for that continual sin in the spiritual realm. God had divorced Israel but not yet Judah (cf. Isa 50:1). Cf. Ezra 10:3, where divorce is the right action of God's people to separate from idolatrous wives. (The MacArthur Study Bible).

Sent away (07971)(shalach) means to send, to send forth, to send away, to let go, to put, to expel (cf Ge 3:23). The first use in Ge 3:22 describes Adam as he stretched out his hand to take of the forbidden fruit. The second use in Ge 3:23 describes God's punishment - "God sent him out (shalach) from the Garden." In Ge 8:7 Noah "sent out a raven" then "a dove" (Ge 8:8, 10, 12). In Ge 18:16 Abraham sent the visitors (one of which was the LORD!) on their way, thus sending off in a friendly sense. Of the angels who "reached out (shalach) their hands and brought Lot into the house." The LORD...sent (shalach) us (the angels) to destroy" Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 19:13). In Ge 19:29 "when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow." Of Hagar and Ishmael "sent...away" into the wilderness of Beersheba (Ge 21:14). In Ge 22:10 "Abraham stretched out his hand" as he prepared to sacrifice Isaac. God told him "do not stretch out your hand against the lad." (Ge 22:12)  We could continue working though the verses which gives us a good sense of what this verb shalach means. In Malachi 3:1 God says He will send "My messenger" (Elijah) (cf Mal 4:5). In Malachi 2:16 God says "I hate divorce" and the word in Hebrew is shalach. Shalach is used to mean - Send fire (Amos 1:4, 7, 10, 12, Amos 2:2,5), a plague (Amos 4:10) or a famine (Amos 8:11). For various lexicon discussions click here.

Unfortunately, we have neither time nor space go through all the uses of Shalach, but it would make a very interesting study if you have time (See all 790 verses below).

NET Note - The Lord challenges the exiles (Zion’s children) to bring incriminating evidence against Him. The rhetorical questions imply that Israel accused the Lord of divorcing his wife (Zion) and selling his children (the Israelites) into slavery to pay off a debt.

Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? - This question from Jehovah to the children (the Jews) expects a negative reply. In other words God did not sell her to creditors. Jesus alluded to the sale of one's children to pay creditors in (Mt 18:25) -- “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made." 

Gilbrant on My creditors - Creditors could sell a debtor’s children into slavery (cf. 2 Ki. 4:1). But the idea that God has creditors is ridiculous. Nevertheless, the sins of the people have put them in the position of being sold and put away. God did not want this. Their sins required it. (Complete Biblical Library – Isaiah) 

Cornerstone Bible Commentary on My creditors -  If a man did not pay his debts, his children could legally be sold as slaves (Exod 21:7; Neh 5:5; 2 Kgs 4:1). But the Lord was not in debt to Babylon; he did not have any creditors, nor did he receive anything when he sent his people into captivity (52:3). They alone were responsible for their captivity because of their rebellion and rejection of the Lord’s authority and rule over them. (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah)

Wiersbe on sold for your iniquities - The second picture in this paragraph is that of a poor family selling their children into servitude (2 Kings 4:1-7; Neh. 5:1-5). God had not sold His people; by their sins, they had sold themselves. God had called to them many times and tried to turn them back from their wicked ways, but they had refused to listen. Judah did not go into exile because of God's weakness, but because of their own sinfulness. (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

Ron Teed - The second picture in this paragraph is that of a poor family selling their children into servitude (2 Kings 4:1–7; Neh. 5:1–5). God had not sold His people; by their sins, they had sold themselves. God had called to them many times and tried to turn them back from their wicked ways, but they had refused to listen. Judah did not go into exile because of God’s weakness, but because of their own sinfulness.


Judah was indeed sold into the hands of her oppressors but it was not because the Lord needed money but because of her many sins. As Paul said centuries later there is a price that must be paid for sin for "the wages of sin is death." (Ro 6:23). Of course, not all of Judah died but many were slaughtered by their enemies when God sold them into their hands. And keep in mind Isaiah is writing almost 100 years before this event will take place. 

Behold (also in Isa 49:16, 21, 22, 50:2) (02009)(hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. "It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context." (Baker) Hinneh generally directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! 

Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

You were sold for your iniquities - Jehovah now explains why His "wife" was estranged from Him. The NET Note explains "The Lord admits that he did sell the Israelites, but it was because of their sins, not because of some debt he owed. If he had sold them to a creditor, they ought to be able to point him out, but the preceding rhetorical question implies they would not be able to do so."

Vine adds "That Israel was sold and exiled was true, but Jehovah had not been in the position of being indebted to creditors. In other words, His having given her into the hands of Gentile powers was not through His giving way to their constraint, as if He was discharging a debt by so doing. Nay, they were sold for their iniquities, and Zion, their mother, was put away for their transgression. The mother suffered through the perverseness of her children. Sinners often put down the evils that come upon them to any cause except their own transgressions." (The Collected Writings of W. E. Vine)

Repeatedly, Israel turned from God and was "sold" to an oppressor.  For example, Israel "forgot the LORD their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera"  (1 Sa 12:9). In Judges 2:14+ we find a summary statement of what God did to His people because of their sin - "He sold (makar) them into the hands (THIS MEANS INTO THE POWER) of their enemies around." See three other examples in Judges of God selling His people into the hands of their enemies - Jdg 3:8; Jdg 4:2; Jdg 10:7. None of these "sales" were permanent, but were intended by God to cause His people to repent of their sins and to return to Him in faith and obedience. Motyer adds that these allusions to sold in Judges "would stir memories that in those situations the Lord had also ‘raised up saviours’ (Jdg. 3:9, 15)."

Sold (04376)(makar) means to sell, to dispose of or transfer or be disposed of or transferred to a purchaser in exchange for money or other consideration. The first use is by Jacob calling on Esau to "sell me your birthright" (Ge 25:31, 33). The verb can be defined variously as "to sell," "to sell one's self," "to be given over" and "to abandon." A variety of items are sold in the OT - Cattle (Ex. 21:35), sheep (Zech. 11:5), houses (Lev. 25:29), clothes (Pr 31:24), oil (2 Ki. 4:7), grain (Neh. 10:31) fish (Neh. 13:15). The Lord required fairness in the exchange, and warned, "Do not take advantage of each other" (Lev. 25:14NIV). Makar could describe the sale of person - Joseph to the Midianites (Ge 37:28), a fellow Jew who becomes indebted (is to be treated as a hired man) (Lev 25:39-40), a Jew sold to a foreigner could be redeemed (Lev 25:47) Israelites were not allowed to sell a wife taken as prisoner of war should he decide to break the marriage (Dt. 21:14). Selling a fellow Israelite was forbidden (Ex 21:16). If land in Israel was sold to cover debts, provision was made for the nearest kinsman (goel) to redeem it for that individual if he could not do it himself (Lev 25:25f). In the Year of Jubilee, all property reverted to the original landowner or family (Lev 25:28). Property could not be permanently sold, for ultimately it belonged to Yahweh.

Makar is frequently applied figuratively, most often to apostasy as in the present passage. In another figurative use we are commanded to "Buy truth, and do not sell" (Pr 23:23)

Makar - 80x in 75v - certainly sell(1), destruction(1), make(1), merchants(1), offer yourselves for sale(1), sell(23), seller(3), selling(1), sells(8), sold(40).

Gen. 25:31; Gen. 25:33; Gen. 31:15; Gen. 37:27; Gen. 37:28; Gen. 37:36; Gen. 45:4; Gen. 45:5; Gen. 47:20; Gen. 47:22; Exod. 21:7; Exod. 21:8; Exod. 21:16; Exod. 21:35; Exod. 22:1; Exod. 22:3; Lev. 25:14; Lev. 25:15; Lev. 25:16; Lev. 25:23; Lev. 25:25; Lev. 25:27; Lev. 25:29; Lev. 25:34; Lev. 25:39; Lev. 25:42; Lev. 25:47; Lev. 25:48; Lev. 25:50; Lev. 27:20; Lev. 27:27; Lev. 27:28; Deut. 14:21; Deut. 15:12; Deut. 21:14; Deut. 24:7; Deut. 28:68; Deut. 32:30; Jdg. 2:14; Jdg. 3:8; Jdg. 4:2; Jdg. 4:9; Jdg. 10:7; Ruth 4:3; 1 Sam. 12:9; 1 Ki. 21:20; 1 Ki. 21:25; 2 Ki. 4:7; 2 Ki. 17:17; Neh. 5:8; Neh. 10:31; Neh. 13:15; Neh. 13:16; Neh. 13:20; Est. 7:4; Ps. 44:12; Ps. 73:18; Ps. 105:17; Prov. 23:23; Prov. 31:24; Isa. 24:2; Isa. 50:1; Isa. 52:3; Jer. 34:14; Ezek. 7:12; Ezek. 7:13; Ezek. 30:12; Ezek. 48:14; Joel 3:3; Joel 3:6; Joel 3:7; Joel 3:8; Amos 2:6; Nah. 3:4; Zech. 11:5

Iniquities (05771)('avon from verb 'avah = to bend, twist, distort) describes the iniquity, evil, punishment or guilt which is associated with a twisting of the standard or deviation from it. Since there is a deliberate twisting or perverting, 'avon describes sin that is particularly evil. It may also describe the punishment or disaster that befalls those who practice wickedness. Avon is the Hebrew word which most distinctly unites sins of all kinds with their penal consequences. Avon is not only the iniquity but can also indicate the guilt that results from the act. 

The Septuagint translates 'avon with hamartia which literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God."

Iniquities describe the inner perversion of one's heart while transgressions the willful rebellion of one's heart. 

And for your transgressions your mother was sent away - Your mother Judah has committed transgressions which are described in Isaiah 1:1-31. Notice that the tense (was sent away) is past tense, but presumably in this context represents what is known as the prophetic past tense which speaks of future events using the past tense because they are good as done. 

S Lewis Johnson interprets this as a "prophetic past tense" explaining "Now remember the historical background of the latter part of Isaiah.  It's important for us, if we were ever to understand this prophecy.  The prophet is looking into the distant future, 150-years ahead of his time (ED: SOME SAY ABOUT 100 YEARS) and he sees the nation in Babylonian captivity.  They are in Babylonian captivity, he says over and over again because of their unbelief, their rejection of the message that God had given them." (Israel's Sin and the Servant's Steadfast Salvation)

Transgressions (rebellions)(06588)(pesha' from pasha [06586] = to rebel, transgress) means transgression, rebellion or revolt against authority (rising up in clear defiance of authority), guilt (incurred by transgressing). Pesha' is derived from a root describing the breach of relationship between two parties (civil or religious). The idea of this noun is that the individual makes a willful choice to reject God's authority and hence to deviate from the path of godly living. Defection from God's standard. Pesha' is “a stepping aside from the (correct) path." Pesha' speaks of willful sin, a willful, criminal breaking of a covenant (1Ki 12:19; Jer 2:29) The Septuagint translates pesha' in this passage with anomia (from a = negates + nomos = law) which literally describes that which is without the law and signifies, not merely the abstract idea, but disregard for, or actual breach of, the law of God. 

God's people were guilty of lawlessness...

  • Lawlessness is living as though your own ideas are superior to God's.
  • Lawlessness says, "God may demand it but I don't prefer it."
  • Lawlessness says, "God may promise it but I don't want it."
  • Lawlessness replaces God's law with my contrary desires. I become a law to myself.
  • Lawlessness is rebellion against the right of God to make laws and govern His creatures. 
  • Lawlessness signifies everything that is contrary to the will and law of God and is more intentional and flagrant sin. It is direct and open rebellion against God and His ways.

Isaiah 50:2 "Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst.

KJV Isaiah 50:2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.

NET  Isaiah 50:2 Why does no one challenge me when I come? Why does no one respond when I call? Is my hand too weak to deliver you? Do I lack the power to rescue you? Look, with a mere shout I can dry up the sea; I can turn streams into a desert, so the fish rot away and die from lack of water.

NLT  Isaiah 50:2 Why was no one there when I came? Why didn't anyone answer when I called? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry up! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish. 

  • Why was there no man when I came Isaiah 59:16; 65:12; 66:4; Pr 1:24; Jer 5:1; 7:13; 8:6; 35:15; Hosea 11:2,7; John 1:11; 3:19
  • Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom Isaiah 59:1; Ge 18:14; Numbers 11:23
  • Or have I no power to deliver Isaiah 36:20; 2 Chr 32:15; Daniel 3:15,29; 6:20,27
  • I dry up the sea with My rebuke Ps 106:9; Nahum 1:4; Mark 4:39
  • I dry Isaiah 42:15; 43:16; 51:10; 63:13; Ex 14:21,29; Joshua 3:16; Ps 107:33; Ps 114:3-7
  • Their fish stink Ex 7:18,21


In this passage note Jehovah has four rhetorical questions to the disobedient children of Zion and they are clearly calculated to provoke the people to remember Who God is and what He had done in their history. God follows the four questions with a set of declarations that spoke primarily of His great power.

Motyer associates this question with a similar passage in Isaiah 5:4+ writing that "The association of these passages is deft. In each case the Lord has done all that can and needs to be done; the failed crop and the failure to respond are alike without excuse." (See The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction Commentary)

Why was there no man when I came? - Yahweh came to the door so to speak, but no one welcomed Him at the door! God asks why was no one willing to believe and respond to Him when He came with the desire to restore their relationship.

There is a tragic irony here because it was not Jehovah Who had forsaken and forgotten His people (Isaiah 49:14. cf Isa 41:17), but His people who had forsaken (cf Isa 1:4 - abandoned, Isa 1:28) and forgotten Him! A memory is a horrible thing to lose, especially if that memory is of God's goodness, grace, provision and protection! 

Motyer I came … I called is reminiscent of Genesis 3:8f+., the voice of love and longing here contradicting the accusations of 49:14ff.  (See The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction Commentary)

How did God come to them? How did He call? The most obvious answer is of course that He came through prophets who He sent to Israel. They spoke the Word of God to Israel. And remember that when the Word speaks, God speaks (A GOOD REMINDER NEXT TIME YOU READ YOUR BIBLE), and the prophets spoke His Word. And that Word often with warning was largely rejected by the people.

It should be noted that some interpreters see this question as a reference to the first coming of the Messiah. For example David Cooper writes "When we view this rhetorical question in the light of its fulfillment, we see that there were some in Israel who did accept Messiah and became His most ardent followers. But the number who received Him was so very small in comparison with the nation that, relatively speaking, Messiah could say that there was no one who gave heed." 

David Thompson takes a similar approach - Notice from verse 2 that it is stated that God actually came in Person to this earth. When? When did God come to this earth to Israel in Person? This cannot be a reference to when God appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, because at that time He demanded that Moses and Israel keep their distance from Him (Exodus 3:5-6). The time when God actually came in Person to Israel was in the Person of Jesus Christ. John said that “He came unto His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). So this passage is about God coming in the Person of Jesus Christ to Israel and what happened. When Jesus Christ came to this world there was no one to welcome Him. There was no welcoming committee, no rolling out a red carpet, and no acceptance. When He was born in Bethlehem, and there were all of these amazing signs to show it, Israel did not welcome Him. In fact, only a few shepherds and wise men from the east cared enough to go see Him. When He took His ministry to Israel and performed amazing miracles, the nation did not rally around Him. It rejected Him and when He left there were only about 120 disciples who were really committed to Him (Acts 1:15). (Isaiah 50)

J Vernon McGeeWhen I came”—when did Jehovah come directly to His people, not through His prophets but Himself, to Israel and expect such a welcome? It was not when He descended on Mount Sinai to give them the Mosaic Law. He looked for no welcome then, but insisted that they keep their distance. But He came again as a man, a humble man, and there was no reception of Him at all. Israel did not welcome Him at His birth; they didn’t receive Him when He began His ministry. They rejected and killed their Messiah. (See context in Thru the Bible Vol. 23: The Prophets Isaiah 36-66)

W E Vine - The past tense is prophetic. He “came,” not merely by His prophets, nor would He come simply by deliverance from captivity. He would come in the Person of His Servant, the Messiah-Redeemer Himself. But how was it that there was no man, none willing to receive the message? (cp. Isa 53:1). How was it that “when He called, there was none to answer”? His hand was not shortened (an emblem of weakness) that it could not redeem (cp. Isa 59:1). He who could dry up the sea, make rivers a wilderness, clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering (telling especially of His retributive judgments upon Babylon), had power to deliver. And with this in view, He would send His Servant. Eventually He came, and declared at the outset of His ministry, that He had been sent “to proclaim release to the captives … to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18). Instead of receiving Him and His message, they cast Him forth to destroy Him.

S Lewis Johnson - What does He mean when He says when I came? Well, some has said when I come in the prophets, I came to Israel in the prophets and I spoke to Israel but they didn't respond to my message.  Well, I think that probably is included within it.  But when the text says when I came, wherefore when I came was there no man.  We are now looking on to the coming of God in the person of the servant of Jehovah.  The servant has come and in spite of his limitless power they have not responded. (Israel's Sin and the Servant's Steadfast Salvation)

Keil and Delitzsch also relate this idea of God's coming to His people and addressing them as related to the coming of the Servant/Messiah -

Jehovah has come, and with what? It follows, from the fact of His bidding them consider, that His hand is not too short to set Israel loose and at liberty, that He is not so powerless as to be unable to draw it out; that He is the Almighty, who by His mere threatening word (Ps 106:9; 104:7) can dry up the sea, and turn streams into a hard and barren soil, so that the fishes putrefy for want of water (Ex 7:18, etc.), and die from thirst (thâmōth a voluntative used as an indicative, as in Isaiah 12:1, and very frequently in poetical composition); who can clothe the heavens in mourning, and make sackcloth their (dull, dark) covering (for the expression itself, compare Isaiah 37:1-2); who therefore, fiat applicatio, can annihilate the girdle of waters behind which Babylon fancies herself concealed (see Isaiah 42:15; 44:27), and cover the empire, which is now enslaving and torturing Israel, with a sunless and starless night of destruction (Isaiah 13:10).

It follows from all this, that He has come with a gospel of deliverance from sin and punishment; but Israel has given no answer, has not received this message of salvation with faith, since faith is assent to the word of God.

And in whom did Jehovah come? Knobel and most of the commentators reply, "in His prophets." This answer is not wrong, but it does not suffice to show the connection between what follows (ED: BEGINNING IN VERSE 4 THE FOCUS TURNS TO MESSIAH) and what goes before. For there it is One Person Who speaks; and Who is that, but the Servant of Jehovah, Who is introduced in these prophecies with dramatic directness, as speaking in His own name? Jehovah has come to His people in His Servant. We know who was the servant of Jehovah in the historical fulfillment. It was He whom even the New Testament Scriptures describe as τὸν παῖδα τοῦ κυρίου, ("the Son of God") especially in the Acts (Acts 3:13, 26+; Acts 4:27, 30+). It was not indeed during the Babylonian captivity that the Servant of Jehovah appeared in Israel with the Gospel of redemption; but, as we shall never be tired of repeating, this is the human element in these prophecies, that they regard the appearance of the "Servant of Jehovah," the Saviour of Israel and the heathen (GENTILES), as connected with the captivity... At the same time, whatever our opinion on this point may be, it is perfectly certain that it is to the Servant of Jehovah, Who was seen by the prophet in connection with the Babylonian captivity, that the words "wherefore did I come" refer. (Commentary on the Old Testament – Volume 7: Isaiah)

Comment - Keil and Delitzsch present an excellent case that the Servant/Messiah had come to them through the prophets and their Messianic prophecies, including the many prophecies in Isaiah. In other words, Israel should have recognized these prophecies as speaking of the Messiah. And we know from Gal 3:8+ that "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham." In other words the "Gospel" was proclaimed in the Old Testament (See series of books on this subject or here), in Messianic prophecies, in shadows and in types (e.g., see "Christ in the Tabernacle") and there was always a remnant of Israel who believed in the Gospel the Good News that was found in the Old Testament. Obviously, the Gospel was not as fully developed in the Old Testament (e.g., the protoevangelium in Ge 3:15+) as it is in the book of Romans, but it was available as the way of salvation by grace through faith (cf Abraham's faith in Ge 15:6+, Ro 4:1-4+).

Oswalt comments on Keil and Delitzsch - Delitzsch refers this to the coming of the Servant/Messiah. Thus the sense is of an unwillingness to believe the message of the Servant that is being proclaimed here. Certainly the structure of the passage supports such an idea. The passage in Isaiah 49:1–13 revealed the Servant as God’s answer to the people’s problem. Then Isaiah 49:14–50:3 deals with their objections to God’s offer. Following that comes the next Servant passage in Isaiah 50:4–11, which shows that the Servant will not be like the people, and concludes with a call for the people to listen to the Servant. Thus Delitzsch’s point is well taken. It does not appear, however, that the reference should be restricted to the Servant. That is one of the ways in which God comes with his offer of reconciliation, but it is by no means the only one. Isaiah’s own message from start to finish has been an appeal for the people to take hold of God’s outstretched hands, but over and over only a small remnant responded. Nor was this Isaiah’s experience alone; it was that of all the prophets. Thus this verse is talking of the revealing, beckoning character of God as that character has been revealed since the beginning of time (notice God’s activity and the human response in Ge 3:8–10), and will be until the end of time. Jesus Christ as the Servant is the apex of that activity, but he is not the sum total of it. (NICOT-Isaiah - see The Book of Isaiah,)

When I called, why was there none to answer? - The Septuagint translates the Hebrew for "none" with the negative Greek particle that means "absolutely none!" It is also interesting that the Septuagint translates the Hebrew verb answer with the Greek verb hupakouo which means literally to "listen under" and then means to obey or submit to that which is heard. The present tense indicates that Israel continually did not obey! 

I would propose God came in another way, although this way was less frequent than the prophets. There are numerous descriptions of the Angel of the LORD in the Old Testament and I am firmly convinced these were (1) theophanies and (2) more specifically Christophanies or Pre-Incarnate appearances of Jesus. I would include in these appearances, the Lord going before Israel in the wilderness. In Judges 2 we read of a Christophany to the entire nation of Israel

Now the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, (NOTICE THESE WORDS ARE NOT A CREATED ANGEL BUT THE CREATOR, THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD MAKE A COVENANT WITH MEN) “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, 2 and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? 3“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’” 4When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD. (Jdg 2:1-5+)

The writer of Hebrews summarizes how God came writing "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (Heb 1:1+)

The point is clear that God had come to Israel in the past, but for the most part Israel did not respond to His coming.

Moody Bible Commentary - The rhetorical questions highlight Israel’s culpability in the exile. God came, but no one welcomed Him. He called for the nation to repent and to trust Him for deliverance, but no one responded (ED: SEE RELATED COMMENT BY K & D). God did not lack the capacity to rescue Israel. Instead, Israel refused to obey and trust in the Lord whose power has no equal. Now, facing the darkness of discipline, the Lord gives the example of the Servant-Messiah in His darkest hour to teach Israel how to respond to the trauma of exile (Isa 50:4–9). The poem has two parts, the first giving the example of the Servant (Isa 50:4–9) followed by the exhortation to Israel based on the Servant’s example (Isa 50:10–11). (See context in The Moody Bible Commentary)

Keil and Delitzsch - The radical sin, however, which has lasted from the time of the captivity down to the present time, is disobedience to the word of God. This sin brought upon Zion and her children the judgment of banishment, and it was this which made it last so long.

Cornerstone Bible Commentary on why was there no man...none to answer?- This apparently refers to God’s call to his people through his prophets (Jer 25:4), but no one could answer because of their blindness, deafness, and hard hearts (6:9–10; 42:18–20). Then the Lord sarcastically asks a rhetorical question: “Is it because I have no power to rescue?” (50:2). In the Hebrew, this is an idiom using “arm” to indicate a waning or diminishing of strength (See Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah)

Gilbrant - The problem is not that God has forgotten his people. It is rather that no one responded to Him when He came wanting to restore their relationship with Him. No one answered when He called. The people acted as if God has no power to redeem or deliver. (Ibid)

Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? - A rhetorical question in the form of an anthropomorphism calling for a resounding "No!" Of course God could ransom them. A short hand was a common idiom for weakness, something God never exhibits! And don't miss the personal application - This question applies to us today. What difficulty are you facing today in which you think the Lord's hand is too short to either (1) extract you from the midst of the difficulty in one way or another or (2) cover you with His hand to protect you, including protecting your mind when doubts, fears, etc come in like fiery missiles! The next time you find yourself in a difficulty (I'm not speaking of one brought on by your own sin) cry out for God's hand to carry you through the trial!

Constable on My hand - This is the first of several references to the Lord's hand or arm in Isaiah, a common figure in the Old Testament for strength (cf. 51:5, 9; 52:10; 53:1). As Isaiah would reveal, the Lord's power was great enough not only to rescue the Israelites from captivity but to provide salvation from sin. (Isaiah 50)

God mentions His “hand” many times in Isaiah -

Isaiah 1:25; 5:12, 25; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4, 10, 13, 14; 11:11, 15; 14:26, 27; 19:16,25; 23:11; 25:10; 26:11; 28:2; 29:23; 31:3; 34:17; 40:2, 12; 41:10, 20; 43:13; 45:11, 12; 48:13; 49:2, 16, 22; 50:2, 11; 51:16, 17; 53:10; 59:1; 60:21; 62:3, 8; 64:8; 65:2; 66:2,14. Isa 41:10 "Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’"

Other anthropomorphic depictions of God in Isaiah (not an exhaustive list) - 

His mighty arm in Isaiah 30:30; 40:10, 11; 48:14; 51:5, 9; 52:10; 53:1; 59:16; 62:8; 63:5,12.
His eyes in Isaiah 1:15; 11:3; 22:4, 37:17;
Seeing in Isaiah 37:17; 38:5;, 63:15.
His ears in Isaiah 37:17, 29; 59:1
Hearing in Isaiah 30:19; 37;17; 38:5; 59:2, 65:24.
His face in Isaiah 8:17; 54:8; 57:17; 59:2; 64:7; 65:3.
His heart in Isaiah 63:15. 

Oswalt notes that "The occurrence of hand here is significant because it is the first of a series of statements culminating in Isa 53:1 (Isa 51:5, 9; 52:10)....But what will his “arm” look like? Its appearance (just as in ch. 9) will be surprising (Isa 52:14–53:3). Instead of power to smash the enemy, it will be the power to absorb the worst that the enemy can do and yet give back love." (See context in The Book of Isaiah)

Ransom (06030)(peduth from verb  padah = to ransom) is a feminine noun meaning ransom, redemption. The "basic meaning of the Hebrew root is to achieve the transfer of ownership from one to another through payment of a price or an equivalent substitute." (TWOT) Peduth is used only 4 times (Ex 8:23, Ps 111:9, Ps 130:7, Isa 50:2) and three of the four refer to redemption provided by God. In Exodus 8:23 the use is enigmatic as peduth is translated "division" which in turn is translated in the Septuagint as  diastole which means distinction or difference.

The Septuagint translates peduth in this passage with the great Greek verb rhuomai (used of the Deliverer in Ro 11:26+) and it means to rescue from a place of danger. 

Both of the uses of peduth in Psalms in effect answer the question here in Isaiah 50:2 -  Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? -

Psalm 111:9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. 

Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption

Comment - Eveready Love... “Keeps on Lovin!”

Or have I no power to deliver? - Of course He had the power to deliver them. Israel was not taken into exile because God did not have the power to deliver them or the power to prevent it from taking place. In the following description, He emphasizes His power which could have delivered the Jews from their oppressors. No their exile was not the result of a divine power failure but of a human sin failure!

Deliver (05337)(natsal) means to take away, snatch away, to rescue, to deliver (from enemies or troubles or death) or from sin and guilt (e.g., Ps 39:8, Ps 51:14, Ps 79:9, Ps 69:14). Natsal is translated in the Septuagint with the verb exaireo meaning to take out, to set free, to rescue (as in Gal 1:4+). Deliverance often indicated the power of one entity overcoming the power of another and was frequently expressed as deliverance from the hand of another (Ge 32:11; Hos. 2:10).

Behold (also in Isa 49:16, 21, 22) (02009)(see above hinneh)


I dry up the sea with My rebuke - God illustrates the power He possesses with just His voice giving a rebuke. A sea is a vast amount of water indicating God's great power. Seas dry up, rivers cease to flow and become like a wilderness, so that all the fish smell for lack of water. All this reflects His unimaginable power. This picture of the Almighty God makes Israel's failure to respond to Him and to believe He had the power to deliver them all the more illogical and even absurd! And of course ultimately at the root of their failure to respond is a lack of true faith, recalling that true faith always issues in obedience. And yet they were repeatedly disobedient to Him.

This rebuke to the sea would recall the episode at the Red Sea, the psalmist writing "Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up, And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness." (Ps 106:9, cf Ps 104:7)

Young notes that "To illustrate His great power, Isaiah uses a favorite expression, by my rebuke (cf. Isa 17:13; 30:17; 51:20; 54:9; 66:15), which indicates God's control over the elements of nature." (Book of Isaiah – Volume 3)

Isaiah had earlier alluded to this miraculous deliverance God provided for His chosen people

Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters,  17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, The army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise again; They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):  (Isa 43:16-17). 

I make the rivers a wilderness - This could refer to Joshua 4:23 "dried up the waters of the Jordan before" Israel so that they could enter the Promised Land. 

Deuteronomy 28:23-24+  “The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24 “The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. 

Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst - The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away (life of fish), blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Isaiah 50:3  "I clothe the heavens with blackness And make sackcloth their covering."

KJV Isaiah 50:3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

NET  Isaiah 50:3 I can clothe the sky in darkness; I can cover it with sackcloth." 

  • Ex 10:21; Ps 18:11,12; Mt 27:45; Rev 6:12


God continues with examples of His power that speak of His ability to ransom His captive people. Neither sea nor sky can withstand the power of the Almighty. 

Constable notes that "The proof of God's strength is His control over nature. The nature miracles of Jesus proved His deity (cf. Mt. 8:27; 14:33)....The images here recall the Creation and the Exodus (cf. Exod. 15:16; Deut. 26:8, 23-24; Ps. 77:15), but the point is that God has the power to change anything as He chooses." . (Isaiah 50)

I clothe the heavens with blackness - Ponder this a moment - there are countless stars in the sky and yet here God says He has the power to obliterate their twinkling. God continues to describe His power which would have been able to deliver the Jews from exile. As we noted above, God was not the problem. The Jews were!

Oswalt applies these descriptions of God's power asking "Shall the Hebrews, and all the rest of the world’s captives, doubt that God has the power to lighten their darkness and water their deserts?" (See context in The Book of Isaiah)

Redpath exclaims “Oh, the sorrow in the heart of God—the pang, the pain, the agony, the suffering—when His children sin!… Sin in the lives of God’s people clothes heaven with blackness and sackcloth.” 

THOUGHT - Does this picture cause us to pause and ponder what our sins does to the heart of God. May God's Spirit emblazon this image on our hearts so that it serves to supernaturally energize and motivate us to pursue holiness and shun willful sins against God (cf Ge 39:9). In Jesus' Name. Amen

And make sackcloth their covering - This extends the figure of the heavens and seems to depict the heavens as mourning over the fate of God's people. We see this pattern in Jer 4:28 ("the heavens above be dark") which is a response in the heavens to the tragic condition described in Jer 4:27 ("The whole land shall be a desolation") which in turn is the result of God's judgment on Judah for her inveterate rebellion against God and His covenant.

Charles Spurgeon applies this picture to the crucifixion writing that “The last miracle recorded here, namely, that of covering the heavens with sackcloth, was performed by our Lord even when he was in his death agony. We read that, at high noon, the sun was veiled, and there was darkness over all the land for three black hours. Wonder of wonders, he who hung bleeding there had wrought that mighty marvel! The sun had looked upon him hanging on the cross, and, as if in horror, had covered its face, and traveled on in tenfold night. The tears of Jesus quenched the light of the sun. Had he been wrathful, he might have put out its light for ever; but his love not only restored that light, but it has given to us a light a thousand times more precious, even the light of everlasting life and joy.”

Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

KJV Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

NET  Isaiah 50:4 The sovereign LORD has given me the capacity to be his spokesman, so that I know how to help the weary. He wakes me up every morning; he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do. 

  • The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples Ex 4:11,12; Ps 45:2; Jer 1:9; Mt 22:46; Luke 4:22; 21:15; John 7:46
  • That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word Isaiah 57:15-19; Pr 15:23; 25:11; Mt 11:28; 13:54
  • as a disciple -  John 7:15-17


The Servant's Soliloquiy (passage in a drama in which a character expresses his thoughts or feelings aloud) - In Isaiah 50:4-11 the Messiah speaks prophetically but without any announcement that He is speaking (similar to Isaiah 49 - in other words the passage does not begin with something like "And the Servant said..." and yet from the context it is clearly the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah for in Isaiah 50:10 we have the phrase "the voice of His servant"). 

This section begins the Third Servant Song and this passage speaks of the perfect obedience of God's righteous Servant.

  1. Isaiah 42:1-9 
  2. Isaiah 49:1-13 
  3. Isaiah 50:4-11 
  4. Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

NET Note - Isaiah 50:4–11 contain the third of the so-called servant songs, which depict the career of the Lord’s special servant, envisioned as an ideal Israel (Isa 49:3) who rescues the exiles and fulfills God’s purposes for the world. Here the servant alludes to opposition (something hinted at in Isa 49:4), but also expresses his determination to persevere with the Lord’s help.

It is interesting that in the First and Second Servant song there is only a hint of opposition, but the Third Servant Song prophesies beginning of significant opposition, which peaks in the Fourth Servant Song which explains why the Servant MUST suffer. 

John Oswalt on the speaker presumed to be the Servant of the LORD - As in Isaiah 42:1–9 and Isaiah 49:1–7, this person is obedient and faithful, and though deeply troubled, is supremely confident in his divine calling and ultimate vindication. His mission is centered on the proclamation of the Word. This particular expression of the Servant’s ministry has a new emphasis on his suffering. There was no mention of it in the first passage, and only the sense of frustration over apparently fruitless labor in the second (Isa 49:4). But here the Servant’s obedience to God leads directly to both physical and emotional suffering (Isa 50:5–6). When one considers the sequence of all four Servant passages, a progression is apparent, leading to a climax in the fourth passage, Isa 52:13–53:12, where the nature and meaning of the Servant’s suffering is explained and related to his ministry. (See context in The Book of Isaiah)

Grogan explains that "Although there is no explicit reference to the Servant here (but see Isa 50:10), there are many links with the other songs and also—through the first person singular and the use of the expression "the Sovereign Lord," (Isa 50:4)—to Isa 48:16. This divine title (Adonai Yahweh) also binds this song together, occurring in four of six verses. (Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 6: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel)

MacArthur comments that this section "is Messiah's soliloquy about being perfected through obedience (Isa 50:4, 5) and sufferings (Isa 50:6). (See ESV, MacArthur Study Bible)

Moody Bible Commentary - This brief section of the two-part poem presents the Servant as an example of trust in the Lord, persevering despite opposition. Written in the first person, the section has four parts, each introduced by the divine name the Lord GOD (Isa 50:4, 5, 7, 9). (See context in The Moody Bible Commentary)


The Lord GOD (The sovereign LORD) -  Lord God is repeated four times in this chapter - Isa 50:4, 5, 7, 9 but not in the last 2 verses (Isaiah 50:10-11). As discussed more below the title Lord speaks of His sovereign control and GOD (Jehovah) speaks of God as the self-existent One and the covenant keeping God. The Messiah (Not Israel as some suggest - ) is speaking as the Servant of the LORD, Jesus Christ. In the four Servant Songs, this title for God ("Lord GOD") is found most often in the Third Servant Song and only one time in the Third Servant Song (Isa 49:22). Messiah uses Lord GOD again in Isaiah 61:1 (although not a "Servant Song").

Edward Young on The Lord GOD - This combined name lends a tone of majesty and impressiveness to the servant’s words. What the servant speaks is truth because of the covenant God who has all power over the creation. This God who can clothe heavens with blackness has equipped the servant for his task

All the uses of Lord GOD in Isaiah (30 of 434 OT uses) Isa. 1:24; Isa. 3:1; Isa. 3:15; Isa. 7:7; Isa. 10:23; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 12:2; Isa. 19:4; Isa. 21:17; Isa. 22:5; Isa. 22:12; Isa. 22:14; Isa. 22:15; Isa. 25:8; Isa. 28:16; Isa. 28:22; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 40:10; Isa. 48:16; Isa. 49:22; Isa. 50:4; Isa. 50:5; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 50:9; Isa. 52:4; Isa. 56:8; Isa. 61:1; Isa. 61:11; Isa. 65:13; Isa. 65:15

Robert B. Girdlestone says that Jehovah Sovereign means that "God is the owner of each member of the human family, and that He consequently claims the unrestricted obedience of all." (Synonyms of the Old Testament) Is not this descriptive definition a bit convicting? As Wiersbe says "the emphasis here is on the Servant's submission to the Lord God in every area of His life and service." (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

David Thompson on Lord GOD -   These names truly raise the stakes of this section to a lofty God-honoring level. The double noun combination means God is sovereign master and ruler of all things (Adonai) and that God is the self-existing Almighty God who can do whatever He wants to do (Jehovah). Now Jesus Christ came to Israel to reveal this amazing God to this world. In these verses, we get a glimpse as to the way God revealed Himself to His Son and the way His Son revealed Himself to Israel. (Sermon)

Lord is Adonai (0136)('adonay) is a word denoting ownership, and thus One in absolute control. Adonay is is often translated in the Septuagint with kurios, which means master or owner. 'Adonay is applied to God as the owner and governor of the whole earth (Ps. 114:7). Several translations like NET and NIV translate adonay as sovereign. The NET Note (on Ge 15:2NET) in fact says that "the presence of "Master" before the holy name is rather compelling evidence that the original would have been "Master, LORD," which is rendered here "sovereign LORD." (Ge 15:2NET) The Jews, out of a superstitious reverence for the name Jehovah, always pronounce Adonai where Jehovah is written. This title indicates the truth that God is the owner of each member of the human family, and that He consequently claims the unrestricted obedience of all.

THOUGHT Is Jesus your Adonai? What are you holding back from Him - you time, your money, yea, even your heart? Bow down to Him and surrender your heart to Him today while it is still called today! (2 Cor 6:2, carefully read Hebrews 4:1-2+

God (03068)(Jehovah) is the so-called Tetragrammaton (YHWH) or Yahweh which is the personal name of God and the most frequent designation in Scripture (6823x). Jehovah is the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses (Ex. 6:2, 3). Baker writes that the "primary meaning should be understood in the context of God's existence, namely, that He is the "I AM THAT I AM" (Ex. 3:14), the One who was, who is, and who always will be (cf. Rev. 11:17)." When the NAS translates it as "Lord" it always uses all caps to show that the Hebrew is Jehovah. 

Gilbrant points out that "the Bible notes that even though Abraham knew and used the name, he did not know God in his own experience as Yahweh, the Covenant-Keeper (Exo. 6:3). He knew him in his experience as El-Shaddai, "God, Almighty," for he saw his power. But no part of the fulfillment of the covenant came in his lifetime. Not until the time of Moses and Joshua did God begin to fulfill the covenant given to Abraham by bringing Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land (Gen. 15:18-21; Exo. 6:4-8). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

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Has given Me the tongue of disciples - Literally "a tongue of learned ones." The sovereign LORD gave Jesus the capacity to be His spokesman. Notice it does not say the tongue of a disciple (singular) but disciples (plural) which grammatically refers to a majestic Hebrew plural signifying that Jesus Christ’s knowledge level is at the ultimate level of excellence. Greek philosophers sought to learned in the deep truths of the Cosmos and the meaning of life, but only the Lord GOD can give one true learning regarding meaning of life and eternity. Lesson? Spend little time reading men's "good" books (even the "classics") and most of your time reading God's Good Book! Then you will have a "ready, expert tongue" in things that really matter! As a corollary always go to the Author of the Book before you go to the Book. It is the Spirit Who Alone can illuminate the Words that He inspired! (See Illumination of the Bible)

The Septuagint translates disciples (limmud) with the noun paideia which referred to the rearing and guiding of a child to maturity, providing guidance for responsible living including God's fatherly discipline. 

David Thompson points out that "There was no one at a greater knowledge level of God’s Word. Jesus Christ is the Divine expert. No one ever had more knowledge of the things of God than He did. By age twelve, He was so skilled in the Scriptures that He was baffling the greatest scholars on earth (Luke 2:46-47). He learned the Scriptures to the point that every time He said anything, it was an accurate presentation of the Word of Almighty God. Jesus Christ was a serious student of God’s Word and He knew it and revealed it at an expert level. He studied the Bible, and if He studied the Bible how much more should we. When Christ came into this world, He was God and He was the Word of God and yet He still poured through the Scriptures. Many have wondered what Jesus Christ did for the first 30 years of His life on earth? One answer is that He was given to careful study and understanding of God’s Word. He was the ultimate expert in His knowledge of the Word of God because God the Father saw to it that He revealed it perfectly. (APPLYING THIS TRUTH REMEMBER THAT) God must give us the ability to understand His Word. The ability to grasp God’s Word at a level that you can accurately communicate it, is a grant from God. (Sermon)

Disciples (03928)(limmud from lamad = to learn in Qal, teach in Piel) means a disciple, one in Hebrew that refers to one who has been taught and learned to the point of being an expert. As noted limmud is derived from lamad which conveys the idea of training as well as educating and is used repeatedly in Psalm 119 which deals with the Word of God in some way (e.g, lamad is in  (Ps 119:12, 26, 64, 66, 68, 108, 124, 135, 171). It is also interesting that the training aspect of this word group can be seen in the derived term for "oxgoad," (malmed in Jdg 3:31). In Hos 10:11 where Ephraim is taught like a heifer by a yoke and goad. One other aspect of the root word which is important is that lamad signifies that all learning and teaching is ultimately found in the fear of the LORD (Dt 4:10, 14:23, 17:19, note association of fear and obedience in Dt 31:12 - all uses in Lxx = manthano) (THIS BEGS A QUESTION - Do you have a healthy fear of the LORD? See notes on this topic - Fear of the Lord - Even Messiah is described as having the fear of the Lord - Isa 11:2+). And so the derivative word limmud describes a "taught one," and in Isa 8:16 are the Lord's disciples who know His Law. In Isaiah 50:4 note that the Servant of the LORD has bother the tongue and the ear of the learned, so that His speaking and hearing governed by the learning which is in concert with the will and way of God. In Isa 54:13 we read “All your sons will be taught (limmud) of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great." Of course this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, for most of Israel today is secular, but it will be fulfilled in the glorious Messianic Age to come. Two times (Jer 2:24, 13:23) limmud is translated accustomed (NAS) and in Jer 13:23 the Septuagint translates limmud with the related Greek verb manthano which means to learn. The use in Jer 2:24 is more enigmatic. Finally, one other note of interest is that the root word lamad also gives rise to the word Talmid which means "scholar."  In rabbinical times, the teacher of the law was called the talmîd Rabbi and his pupils were known as talmîdîm, i.e. apprentices. Yet in another sense, all Israel were talmîdîm, apprenticed to the torah of God. The Jewish Talmud gets its name from this root. 

Limmud -6x in 5v - accustomed(2), disciple(1), disciples(2), taught(1). Isa. 8:16; 50:4; 54:13; Jer. 2:24; 13:23

The amazing truth is that when Jesus came into this world, He functioned as a disciple. Before He ascended, He commanded His disciples to make disciples (Mt 28:19+). It follows that disciples are to order their steps like Jesus, the perfect disciple. Ponder this thought a moment. Jesus was the only perfect disciple, so how can imperfect beings ever hope to model themselves after Him? Of course, the answer is THEY can't, but HE can. What are we saying? Does this mean we are to be passive like the saying "Let go and let God?" Absolutely not! First we need to recognize our continual need for the Holy Spirit and daily submit to Him so that He fills, controls us and enables us to walk like Jesus walked. We need to quit trying and start dying. That is, we must daily die to our old self, and surrender to the Holy Spirit. He, and He Alone, can then enable us to do our part, for our responsibility in becoming disciples like Jesus, is to continually work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12NLT+). And as Paul says we are enabled to work out our salvation because of what He works within us, "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Php 2:13+). 

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Earlier Isaiah had given a similar description of the Servant regarding His speaking ability...

He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver. (Isa 49:2+)

Jesus alluded to His teaching as from God declaring...

My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Jn 7:16-18)

Messiah spoke words which no normal man could speak 

Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
John 7:46 The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”

Mt 7:28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Mt 13:54 He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?

That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word  - The word for sustain occurs only here in the OT and its meaning is somewhat uncertain. NIV, ESV, CSB all translate it as sustain.

Delitzsch rightly states that "Nothing indicates a tongue befitting the disciples of God, so much as the gift of administering consolation."

The KJV may be the more accurate translation for it has "that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary." If one compares the Septuagint, it is closer to the KJV, and reads "to know when it is fit to speak a word." (Isa 50:4 LXE). In English "fit" means suitable, proper, adapted to a purpose or environment. This passage describes the disciple as speaking a word which is to be timely and which builds up and brings blessing to the one who is downcast. 

The word "fit" in Greek is ) kairos which speaks of a season, an opportunity or a favorable time. Paul uses kairos in describing how followers of Jesus should be alert for opportunities to speak to unbelievers we encounter each day...

Conduct (present imperative - continually live your life - only possible as we are filled with the Spirit!) yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of ("redeeming") the opportunity (kairos). Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.  (Col 4:5-6+)

Comment - What a God honoring way (Mt 5:16+) for a disciple of Jesus to use his or her tongue!

We see the Servant accomplishing this in Matthew in His great invitation to the weary...

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30+)

In Isaiah 40 we read

Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?  28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,  31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength (EXCHANGE THEIR STRENGTH FOR HIS STRENGTH); They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isa 40:27-31+)

David Thompson - God revealed Himself through Jesus Christ so that He could sustain weary ones with His words. 50:4b The purpose of gaining great knowledge of God’s Word is to be able to present it so that it can sustain the weary ones. This is eye-opening. The word “weary” refers to those who are fatigued and worn out (Ibid., p. 357). Jesus Christ came as God with an expert level of the Word of God so that He could minister the Word of God to those who are worn down and fatigued. This is what sin will do; it will wear you down and fatigue you, but God’s Word will sustain you. God did not give His Word so a bunch of scholars could sit in some academic cloister and discuss all of the textual nuances. God gave His Word to minister to people. Think of this. God in Person on this earth ministering God’s Word to worn down fatigued people so they could be sustained and encouraged. (Sermon)

Wiersbe - Everything Jesus said and did was taught to Him by His Father (John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28). He prayed to the Father for guidance (John 11:42; Mark 1:35) and meditated on the Word. What God taught the Servant, the Servant shared with those who needed encouragement and help. The Servant sets a good example here for all who know the importance of a daily "quiet time" with the Lord. (See context in The Bible Exposition Commentary).

Oswalt on the Servant having a word for the weary -  It is true that those who oppose him will be destroyed by the Word’s power (cf. Isa. 11:4+), but that is not the purpose of its coming. The Word comes to call those who are weary of their own efforts to justify their living, those whose labors seem pointless to find rest in him who comes to get into the harness with them (Isaiah 53:4–5; 61:1–3; Mt. 11:28–29). (See context in The Book of Isaiah)

Paul Apple - Delivering the gospel message to the weary in a way that meets their need. The message of the gospel is what is needed – the good news that God brings salvation by grace through faith – not by works which we perform- The unsaved need the gospel- The saved need the gospel each day...How are we doing in our mission of Proclamation? We have been too quiet for too long! (Isaiah Commentary)

Alexander Maclaren - A mission addressed to ‘the weary’ is addressed to every man, for who is not ‘weighed upon with sore distress,’ or loaded with the burden and the weight of tasks beyond his power or distasteful to his inclinations, or monotonous to nausea, or prolonged to exhaustion, or toiled at with little hope and less interest? Who is not weary of himself and of his load? What but universal weariness does the universal secret desire for rest betray? We are all ‘pilgrims weary of time,’ and some of us are weary of even prosperity, and some of us are worn out with work, and some of us buffeted to all but exhaustion by sorrow, and all of us long for rest, though many of us do not know where to look for it.

Weary (03287)(yaeph from verb yaeph = to be weary, faint, exhausted) is an adjective that means faint, weary, exhausted. The OT uses it to describe men that can be "weary" from fighting a military battle (Jdg. 8:15) "whoever is faint in the wilderness" or from traveling in the desert (2 Sa 16:2). The Lord "gives strength to the (emotionally and spiritually) weary" (Isa. 40:29).

Yaeph - 4x in 4v - Jdg. 8:15; 2 Sam. 16:2; Isa. 40:29; 50:4

Paul Apple asks "How did Christ do in offering God’s word to the weary?"  (Isaiah Commentary)

  1. John 4:13-14 to the Samaritan woman at the well – “the water I give you . . .” – how weary was this woman who had bounced around in relationship after relationship
  2. Luke 5:13 -- the cleansing of the leper – “I am willing, be cleansed” – social outcast
  3. Luke 5:20 – the healing of the paralytic lowered down by ropes thru the hole in the roof – “Friend, your sins are forgiven you . . . Get up and walk” – severe handicap so that he was at the mercy of being cared for by others
  4. Luke 7:48 – prostitute anointing feet of Jesus – talk about a weary woman – “Your sins have been forgiven . . . Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
  5. Luke 9 -- Not just dealing with individuals in need – but feeding the 5,000; gospel of John speaks of Him offering the bread of life to the weary


 Spurgeon named his famous devotional “Morning by Morning!”

Motyer has a good word on morning by morning - The tongue filled with the appropriate word for ministry is the product of the ear filled with the word of God....The morning by morning appointment is not a special provision or demand related to the perfect Servant but is the standard curriculum for all disciples.” (Isaiah Commentary)

Paul Apple - Do we have a true sense of Christian discipleship – awakening each morning as Samuel did to the call of the Lord God -- what do you want me to do in serving you today? Can’t afford to wait until evening to ask this important question. Get our Marching Orders from the Lord - 1 Sam. 3:9 “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Isa. 6:8 “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Here am I. Send me!” Heb. 10:7 “Behold I have come to do your will, O God." Jesus would awaken early and go off by himself to pray and to communicate with His Father; you can be sure that He was listening eagerly to God’s instruction for the day’s agenda -- Who sets your agenda each day?   (Isaiah Commentary)

He awakens Me morning by morning  - Not just every now and then but every morning. What a wonderful truth that every morning when Messiah awoke, He awoke to words from His Father. This shows Jesus dependency on His Father's Word, as well as His daily need (cf Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4+). Oh, to be in such a glorious spiritual state. Surely this is another clue that we would do well to practice (under grace not law) morning devotions (aka "Quiet Time.") Is your (my) quiet time too quiet?! Are you supercharged with the supernatural Word? 

This recalls Mark's description of Jesus noting that "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." (Mark 1:35)

David Guzik comments that "The Messiah could speak with the tongue of the learned (disciple) because in daily time with God He learned to hear as the learned (disciple)." (APPLICATION: Could the message be any clearer to us beloved? We need to daily hear as His disciple, so that we might be enabled by His Spirit to speak as His disciple to a weary world. If we are to speak with the tongue of a disciple, we must first hear with the ear of a disciple! How's your hearing?) (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

Brian Bell - When your ear is open, there are more opportunities to open the lips! Listen before we speak & listen more than we speak!  Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening”. Q: Are you teachable like Jesus?

He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple - Literally ""he arouses for me an ear, to hear like disciples." NET = "he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do." A disciple is first of all a "learner" and while he learns from watching, an vital aspect of his learning is by hearing. Note that to listen (Hebrew - shama) is not just "one ear and out the other," but includes the ideas of hearkening to the Word, and ultimately of demonstrating a willingness to obey the Word.

Young comments that "The repetition (morning by morning) as well as the imperfect form of the verb (awakens) point to a constant action upon God’s part, and also suggest that without reserve the servant submits to the divine word. Obedience characterizes his whole mission, for his object is to bless and help the suffering and afflicted. (Isaiah - Volume 3)

David ThompsonEvery morning God spoke to His Son. God the Father would wake up God the Son every morning and speak to Him, and His ear would listen to what He had to say. Every single morning by every single morning Jesus Christ awoke to the Word of God. It was the first thing He thought about as He got up. God the Father communicated the Word of God to God the Son every morning. When Jesus Christ woke up, He did so with an ear to hear God’s Word. He woke up and the first thing on His mind was to hear the Word of God. Oh that this would be true of us. So many Christians wake up and the first thing on their minds is to hear the TV or radio. It ought to be to hear from God through His Word. That is how Jesus Christ was. Don’t ever forger this point - when we get up in the morning and search the Scriptures in order to hear from God, we are doing exactly what Jesus Christ did when He was here on this earth. (Sermon)

Paul Apple -    Key = Persevering Commitment to Obey and Proclaim God’s Revelation “The Lord God has opened My ear;     And I was not disobedient, Nor did I turn back.” Young: "By placing the word first in the phrase, Isaiah gives to it a certain emphasis: Back I did not turn. No rebellion, no apostasy, no treacherous faithlessness is found in the servant." Remember the story that Jesus told of the disciples who made various excuses (some of them sounded pretty legitimate) and were not willing to pay the cost of discipleship – Luke 9:62 “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The Apostle Paul reported on those who turned back and were not faithful to the missionary mission  - He had problems with Mark in this regard- At one point he was all alone except for faithful Timothy (Phil. 2:21 – “they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus”)There is a great temptation not to follow through on being obedient to our mission; great temptation to make excuses and to turn back; Once the Lord has opened our ear, we have a responsibility to respond in persevering and faithful obedience  (Isaiah Commentary)

Isaiah 50:5  The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back.

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

  • Isaiah 48:8; Ps 40:6-8; Mt 26:39; John 8:29; 14:31; 15:10; Philippians 2:8; Heb 5:8; Heb 10:5-9

NET  Isaiah 50:5 The sovereign LORD has spoken to Me clearly; I have not rebelled, I have not turned back.

NLT  Isaiah 50:5 The Sovereign LORD has spoken to Me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.


The Lord GOD - So again Messiah begins acknowledging the Source a the Sovereign LORD, expressing assurance that He had equipped His Servant to accomplish His mission. 

Has opened My ear - NET Note = "Or perhaps, "makes me obedient." The image of an opened ear signifies preparing one to receive instruction and implies a readiness to respond or obey. It is the picture of one who hears clearly and obeys unhesitatingly. In the book of Hebrews the writer describes Messiah's obedience

"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, (Heb 5:8-9+)

Comment from Believer's Study Bible - The phrase "learned obedience by the things which He suffered" does not mean that Jesus was ever disobedient but rather that He learned through experience as a Man and through all His temptation and suffering what it meant to suffer and triumph in a way He did not experience before the incarnation. His humanity was in this sense "completed," which is the meaning of the Greek word translated "having been made perfect" in this context.


And of course the ultimate obedience of the Messiah was described by Paul

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.(Php 2:8+)

MacArthur adds that "The Apostle John writes much about Jesus' obedience to God in fulfilling His will (cf. Jn 5:19, 36; 6:38; 7:16, 29; 12:49, 50, cf. Php 2:8. (The MacArthur Study Bible)

As an aside, how different are the ears of the Lord GOD'S Servant from the ears of the Jews to whom Stephen spoke God's Word in Acts 7 for they were " uncircumcised in heart and EARS" and "always resisting the Holy Spirit." (Acts 7:51+) As the Word of God spoken by Stephen pierced them like a sword, "they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their EARS and rushed at him with one impulse.." (Acts 7:57+)

The Septuagint is interesting and reads "the instruction of the Lord, even the Lord, opens mine ears." 

In psalm 40 we read Messiah's words

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.  7Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.  8I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Ps 40:6-8)

Comment - This passage is quoted in Heb 10:5-9.

Note the marked contrast between Israel as servant and Messiah as Servant for in Isaiah 48 we see a similar (but negative) description of Israel

“You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth.  (Isa 48:8)

W E Vine - This was the very perfection of obedience. Compare Psalm 40:6, where, however, the word rendered to open signifies to dig, which may either refer to the custom of boring a servant’s ear, in token of perpetual service (Ex. 21:6), or be figurative simply of devotion to God’s will. Here in Isaiah a different word is used, with the latter meaning. The Lord Jesus knew all the suffering that lay before Him, and with undeviating steadfastness He pursued His pathway to the Cross. (Ibid)

David Guzik on opened My ear -  The Messiah, speaking prophetically, looks back to a custom described in Exodus 21:5–6, where a servant became a willing bondslave to his master. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. 

The sign of this willing servant was the ear opened by the piercing of an awl, done against the entry doorway of the master. This speaks of the total submission of the Messiah to the Lord GOD.  If, after the six years of servitude, a servant wished to make a life-long commitment to his master—in light of the master’s goodness and his blessings for the servant—he could, through this ceremony, make a life-long commitment to his master. This was a commitment not motivated by debt or obligation, only love for the master. In the ceremony, the servant’s ear would be pierced—opened—with an awl, in the presence of witnesses—then, he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5–6). Psalm 40:6 also speaks of this ceremony taking place between the Father and the Son, where the Psalmist speaks prophetically for the Messiah: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Jesus was a perfect bond-slave to the Father (Philippians 2:7).

David Thompson -  Jesus Christ was never disobedient to God’s Word. 50:5a What is revealed here is that there was not one time ever in Jesus Christ’s life that He did anything rebellious that would have required some form of corrective discipline (Ibid., pp. 507-508). In fact, the word carries with it the idea of deserving stripes because one has disobeyed. (Sermon)

Edward Young claims this Hebrew word specifically has to do with an inner attitude or disposition of rebellion (The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 3, p. 299). Jesus Christ never had an inclination of rebellion in Him. All of us have gone astray time and time again and have disobeyed God’s Word. We all deserve God’s wrath and what we don’t deserve is His grace. Think about what is revealed here; not one time did Jesus Christ ever disobey God. He was absolutely perfect. He understood every bit of God’s Word and He obeyed every bit of God’s Word. He never violated anything from God’s Word ever.

Opened (06605)(pathach) means to open, to be let loose, to free, to carve or engrave. 

David Thompson -  Jesus Christ would never turn away from God’s will. 50:5b-6 Now when Jesus Christ came to this world, He had to complete a very humiliating assignment. He knew full well what was going to happen to Him. He did not hesitate for one second. These things would have caused most of us to turn away in a moment. There are three specific humiliating atrocities that Jesus Christ allowed to happen to Himself. Keep in mind He is God: Humiliating Atrocity #1 - He allowed His back to be beaten. 50:6a / Matthew 27:26 Humiliating Atrocity #2 - He allowed His beard to be ripped off His face. 50:6b Humiliating Atrocity #3 - He allowed His face to be spit on. 50:6c / Matthew 26:67; 27:30 Matthew says they spit in His face and actually beat Him in His head. Then they delivered Him to be crucified. Who of us would be willing to take on this assignment? Jesus Christ did not turn away from God’s will. (Sermon)

And I was not disobedient - KJV = "and I was not rebellious." 

Young comments that "Moses had objected, and also Jeremiah. Jonah had even sought to flee from the presence of the Lord (cf. Ex. 4:10ff.; Jer. 20:7ff.; 17:16; Jon. 1:3). These were sinful human messengers who could not escape God’s commands, for when God spoke, the prophet had to prophesy (Amos 3:8). No suggestion of rebellion, however, was found in the servant." (Ibid)

Maclaren on the obedience of the Servant: ‘My meat is to do the will of My Father’ (Jn 4:34); ‘For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness’ (Mt 3:15); ‘I came down from heaven not to do My own will.’ (Jn 6:38) By His servant’s words: ‘Obedient unto death’ (Php 2:8); ‘Made under the law’ (Gal 4:4); ‘He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.’ (Heb 5:8) (ED: What Jesus knew by omniscience, He "learned" by experience). It is involved in the belief of His righteous manhood. It is essential to true manhood. The highest ideal for humanity is conscious dependence on God, and the very definition of righteousness is conscious conformity to the Will of God. If Christ had done the noblest acts and yet had not always had this sense of being a Servant, He would not have been pure and holy.

Disobedient (rebellious) (04784)(marah) means to be contentious, rebellious, and openly defiant to an authority by not obeying commands. Most of the uses of marah refer to rebellion by Israel or Judah against Jehovah. Here the Servant Jesus stands in marked contrast to the Servant Israel. 

Isaiah used this same word marah earlier to describe God's people...

For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, Because their speech and their actions are against the LORD, To rebel (marah) against His glorious presence. (Isa 3:8+, cf Isa 1:20 "rebel" = marah).

And again in Isaiah 63

But they (ISRAEL CONTINUALLY) rebelled (marah) And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.  (Isa 63:10)

Nor did I turn back - This position speaks of turning one's back on God and His Word. There is an example of this in Ezekiel 8 where he describes Judah's flagrant rebellion against God in their "worship" practices in His Holy Temple. Ezekiel records

Then He (THE HOLY SPIRIT) brought me (THE PROPHET EZEKIEL WHO HAD BEEN TRANSPORTED FROM BABYLON) into the inner court of the LORD’S house (TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM). And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun (BOWING DOWN WORSHIPING THE SUN RATHER THE SON! OH MY!). (Ezekiel 8:16+

Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

KJV Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

  • I gave My back to those who strike Me Lam 3:30; Micah 5:1; Mt 5:39; 26:67; 27:26; Mark 14:65; 15:19; Luke 22:63,64; John 18:22; Heb 12:2
  • My cheeks to those on 2 Sa 10:4.
  • who pluck out the beard  Nehemiah 13:25


This prophecy gives us striking details which were fulfilled in the Passion of Jesus described in the Gospels. 

Paul Apple - The Back of a Disciple – Undeterred by both Physical and Emotional Persecution (Undeterred = Not discouraged or not refraining from continuing on the pathway of discipleship Matt. 26:67ff; 27:26ff; John 19:1ff)  (Isaiah Commentary)

I gave My back to those who strike Me - Notice instead of saying men beat Him, He says "I gave" indicating His voluntary submission, His willingness to suffer. Normal men would have been provoked to fight back or resist, but Jesus was just the opposite even in the face of what was excessively vile treatment. All four Gospels record various aspects of the fulfillment of this prophecy (Mt 26:67; 27:26, 30; Mk 14:65; 15:19; Lk 22:63-65; Jn 18:22). In spite of the ignominious treatment Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by remaining submissive to His Father's will . In Scripture foo

And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard - Not described in the Gospels, but surely it occurred. "The eastern people always held the beard in great veneration; and to pluck a man's beard is one of the grossest indignities that can be offered. D'Arvieux gives a remarkable instance of an Arab, who, having received a wound in his jaw, chose to hazard his life rather than suffer the surgeon to cut off his beard." (TSK Note)

Cornerstone Bible Commentary on pluck out the beard - Bedouin, who are often very sensitive about care of the beard, use expressions such as “Beg by the beard” or “Swear by the beard.”  (See Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah)

Young - The Oriental regarded the beard as a sign of freedom and respect, and to pluck out the hair of the beard (for cheek in effect would refer to a beard) is to show utter contempt. (Ibid)

Guzik - There is no specific mention in the gospels of those who plucked out the beard of Jesus as part of His pre-crucifixion suffering, but from this passage in Isaiah we know it happened. What terrible agony Jesus endured! It is even more than what the gospel writers explain to us! (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

Spurgeon comments - “We have before us the language of prophecy, but it is as accurate as though it had been written at the moment of the event. Isaiah might have been one of the Evangelists, so exactly does he describe what our Savior endured.” ...... “Many of us could give to Christ all our health and strength, and all the money we have, very heartily and cheerfully; but when it comes to a point of reputation we feel the pinch. To be slandered, to have some filthy thing said of you; this is too much for flesh and blood. You seem to say, ‘I cannot be made a fool of, I cannot bear to be regarded as a mere impostor;’ but a true servant of Christ must make himself of no reputation when he takes upon himself the work of his Lord. Our blessed Master was willing to be scoffed at by the lewdest and the lowest of men.” 

Bultema - “He suffered the deepest humiliation, for to pluck out the hair (of the beard) and to cover someone’s face with spit was, according to Near-Eastern concepts, the most humiliating suffering that could be inflicted upon a man.”

Constable - Disdain and abuse are the inevitable consequences of obeying God consistently by declaring His messages. All the true servants of the Lord experience this to some extent (2 Tim. 3:12). This is only the second reference to the Servant as a sufferer (cf. Isa 49:7). This theme receives major exposition in the fourth Servant Song. However, the Servant said He gave Himself over to this type of treatment. It is one thing to endure such treatment, but it is quite another to gladly submit to it without defending oneself. These descriptions picture persecution that Jesus Christ endured literally (cf. Matt. 26:67; 27:30; Mark 14:65; 15:16-20; Luke 22:63). He laid down His life on His own initiative (John 10:17-18). However, the Servant said He gave Himself over to this type of treatment. It is one thing to endure such treatment, but it is quite another to gladly submit to it without defending oneself. . (Isaiah 50)

Edward Young comments ""It would be impossible for any sinful human being, no matter how fine a person he was, to undergo the sufferings herein described without a spirit of rebellion welling up within him. And if a spirit of revenge took hold of him, we might well understand. Even Jeremiah complained at the way he was being used (cf. Jer. 20:9, 14ff., and note Job 3). Only one who was entirely without sin could undergo such suffering without a rebellious spirit [cf. 1 Pet. 2:22-23]."

I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting - To spit upon another person was an act of defilement and contempt (Lev 15:8; Nu 12:14; Dt 25:9; Job 17:6; Mt 27:30).

We see the fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy in Matthew 27:30-31 as one of the final acts of denigration and humiliation of Jesus by the Roman soldiers

They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. 

If a man refused to fulfill his role to a widow as her nearest relative or kinsman-redeemer she was to spit in his face

Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ (Deut 25:8-9)

Another instance of the utmost contempt and detestation. Throughout the East it is highly offensive to spit in any one's presence; and if this is such an indignity, how much more spitting in the face?

Young makes an interesting comment in view of the fact that he frequently replaces Israel with the Church. For some reason he resists that urge and writes "At this point I find myself unable to agree with those who see here a reference to the body, the Church, as well as to the Head." (Ibid)

Vine applies the suffering of our Savior to our lives noting that "His example is an incentive to us, when called to suffer the pressure of fierce antagonism, so that with fixity of purpose we may fulfill that which the Lord has committed to us. We can never suffer as He did, but our life and testimony can be marked by the same characteristics as those which marked His. “We must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom,” but to suffer for His sake makes it all a glory and joy." (Ibid)

Lord, thank You for the physical suffering You endured for me, in my place, as my Substitute. Thank You for the shame and rejection You went through that I might not have to experience eternal shame and rejection away from Your holy presence. And Lord because You suffered in my place, enable me by Your Spirit to experience supernatural willingness and ability to suffer for Your holy Name. Amen.

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

KJV Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

  • Lord GOD helps Me  Isaiah 50:9; 42:1; 49:8; Ps 89:21-27; 110:1; John 16:33; Heb 13:6
  • I have set My face like flint Jer 1:18; Ezek 3:8,9; Mt 23:13-36; Luke 9:51; 11:39-54; Ro 1:16; 1 Peter 4:1,16

For - Term of explanation. Messiah has just described the prophecy of His suffering at the hands of sinful men, and now explains how He was enabled to endure the humiliation and pain without faltering. The answer of course is that His Father would help Him and that He would not be ashamed. 

The Lord GOD helps Me - Once again that great Name Lord GOD. Messiah remained ever mindful that even in the suffering, the great God would be His great help. 

Helps (05826)('azar) means to protect, aid, help, succor, support, give material or non-material encouragement. Azar often refers to aid in the form of military assistance and in many instances refers to help from Jehovah as illustrated by the uses below. Azar is translated in Greek with the noun boethos which conveys the general idea of running to the aid of one who cries out for help 

Therefore - Term of conclusion. Based on the fact that the Sovereign LORD helps Messiah, He draws this confident conclusion that He would not be "confounded" (KJV) or "humiliated" (CSB). 

Messiah did not suffer because He was guilty, but suffering in spite of the fact that he was innocent!

I am not disgraced - Men may humiliate Messiah, but God ensures He will not be disgraced. KJV has confounded but this is not a good translation, for the idea is that He would not be humiliated not that He would not be confused or perplexed, which is what confound means.

Disgraced (03637)(kalam) describes a sense of disgrace accompanying public humiliation. It means to be humiliated, made ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, disgraced, made to blush. It describes something that humiliates (2 Sa 10:5), causes shame (2 Sa 19:3, Jer 14:3), of social disgrace (Nu 12:14)

Oswalt says "kālam seems to refer to 1) wounding of the body (1 Sa 25:7, 15), 2) wounding of the spirit through public humiliation (2 Sa 20:34), and 3) wounding of the spirit because of defeat and captivity....There were some kinds of activity by which a person ought to be humiliated even without being reproached for them. Prostitution was one of these and the prophets charged the Hebrew people with religious prostitution. (Even the Philistines were embarrassed by the Hebrews' actions according to Ezekiel 16:27.) However, the people had not even the grace to blush (Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 8:12). Therefore, the prophets promised that shame would come from another quarter: defeat and captivity. If they would not be embarrassed and ashamed because of their sins, they would be so because of their helplessness (Isaiah 30:3; Ezekiel 32:30). However, Israel will not finally be ashamed through God's punishment, but rather through his goodness. According to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:54, 61, 63; Ezekiel 43:10-11) it is when God, in undeserved grace, restores Israel and defends her (cf. Isaiah 54:4) that Israel will become truly ashamed of the way she has treated him. (link to online TWOT)

Gilbrant - The independent occurrences of kālam convey a number of types of harm or disgrace. Boaz commanded his workers to "do no harm" to Ruth as she gleaned (Ruth 2:15). The verb may denote "shaming" her, as a gleaner was the lowest status one could hold in ancient Israel. However, the verb is used in the sense of "to harm" in the context of Nabal's shepherds, to whom David swore that his men had not harmed (1 Sam. 25:7). The implication of the verse is that his men actually protected them from other raiders without expecting compensation. Kālam appears twice in Proverbs attributed to Solomon (Prov. 25:8, 28:7). In the former, one is cautioned not to bring his neighbor up on minimal charges, for the neighbor could reciprocate, bringing one shame. In the latter verse, the concepts of wealth, perversity and gluttony are linked, as a son who hangs with gluttons "brings shame to his father." Building upon this meaning of moral shame, the noun appears twice in Job. In Job 11:3, Zophar castigates Job, asserting that he should suffer shame for spouting lies about his condition. In 19:3, Job charges his visitors with falsely accusing him, rhetorically asking "are you not ashamed to wrong me?" Four occurrences of kālam are in a political context. The psalmist, in the course of a corporate lament, charged Yahweh with abandoning the people and shaming them (Ps. 44:9). Jonathan became enraged at Saul for his desire to humiliate (and, intentionally harm) David (1 Sam. 20:34). The insulting response of Hanun, the son of Nahash, king of Ammon, was manifested upon David's messengers (2 Sam. 10:5). Such humiliation was intolerable, and war followed. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Kalam - 40x in 38v - ashamed(6), bear her shame(1), blush(2), brought us to dishonor(1), confounded(1), disgraced(1), dishonored(7), embarrassed(1), feel ashamed(1), feel humiliated(1), humiliated(10), humiliates(2), humiliating(1), insult(1), insulted(3), rebuke(1).

Num. 12:14; Jdg. 18:7; Ruth 2:15; 1 Sam. 20:34; 1 Sam. 25:7; 1 Sam. 25:15; 2 Sam. 10:5; 2 Sam. 19:3; 1 Chr. 19:5; 2 Chr. 30:15; Ezr. 9:6; Job 11:3; Job 19:3; Ps. 35:4; Ps. 40:14; Ps. 44:9; Ps. 69:6; Ps. 70:2; Ps. 74:21; Prov. 25:8; Prov. 28:7; Isa. 41:11; Isa. 45:16; Isa. 45:17; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 54:4; Jer. 3:3; Jer. 6:15; Jer. 8:12; Jer. 14:3; Jer. 22:22; Jer. 31:19; Ezek. 16:27; Ezek. 16:54; Ezek. 16:61; Ezek. 36:32; Ezek. 43:10; Ezek. 43:11

Therefore - Another term of conclusion. Based on the encouraging truths above, Messiah steels His resolve.

Rich Cathers: When God was preparing Ezekiel for his ministry, He warned Ezekiel that the people would be stubborn and would not pay attention to him. Yet God also promised Ezekiel that He would make Ezekiel just as stubborn as they were. God said He would make Ezekiel’s forehead (Ezek 3:9NIV) …like the hardest stone, harder than flint.

Thomas Constable - Earlier in this book Isaiah called the Israelites to trust God rather than the nations when faced with attack by a hostile enemy (chs. 7-39). The Servant modeled that trust for God's servant Israel and for all God's servants. The belief that God would not allow Him to be disgraced in the end emboldened the Servant to remain committed to fulfilling the Lord's will (cf. Luke 9:51). God would eventually show that the Servant had not taken a foolish course of action. . (Isaiah 50)


Brian Bell - Note - God’s part “God will help me” & Jesus/our part “I have set my face”. The awareness of the Lord’s help still calls for a personal dedication! He is prepared to submit to anything because He knows He will be sustained by the Lord! (Same for you?)

I have set My face like flint - Messiah is referring ultimately to His crucifixion. In spite of the agony and the separation from His Father that being made sin for us would bring about, our Savior maintains a steadfast determination to obey the Lord God. And so just as Flint is firm, so too would Messiah's face be firm in His commitment to accomplish the work of the Father (cf Jn 4:34, Jn 17:4). Nothing would deter the Servant from completing His mission on Calvary.

Luke records

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem. (Lk 9:51+)

Guzik explains that "There are two kinds of courage—the courage of moment, which requires no previous thought, and a “planned” courage, which sees the difficulty ahead and steadfastly marches towards it. Jesus had this kind of courage; He could see the cross in the horizon, but still set His face like a flint."  (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

MacArthur comments that "So sure was He of the Lord God's help that He resolutely determined to remain unswayed by whatever hardship might await Him (cf. Eze 3:8, 9). Jesus demonstrated this determination in setting His face to go to Jerusalem to be crucified (Lk 9:51+). (See MacArthur Study Bible)

David Thompson - Jesus Christ was totally dependent on God the Father for help. He did not get any help from Israel or even His disciples. He was totally focused on God for help. He knew He would never be disgraced or ashamed. Even though He was being disgraced on earth and was treated in a demeaning and shameful way, He knew that He would never be disgraced or ashamed in His Father’s sight. So He set His face like flint on doing His Father’s will. (Sermon)

Flint (06440)(challamish) is a masculine noun indicating a rock, flint. It refers to a type of rock made of flint (Deut. 8:15) from which both oil and water came (Deut. 32:13; Ps. 114:8). It is mined by men (Job 28:9). It is used in a simile indicating hardness or fairness and resolve (Isa. 50:7). The Septuagint translates it in Isa 50:7 with the noun petra which is interesting because Paul uses petra to describe Christ speaking of the the rock in the wilderness that produced "living water" when struck - "spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ." (1 Cor 10.4). 

Gilbrant - Twice the noun is used in connection with the miracle of the water springing forth from a flint rock in the desert (Deut. 8:15; 32:13). It appears parallel to tsûr in Ps. 114:8, which relates the same event in a psalm of praise for Yahweh's deliverance from Egypt.

Smick - In the Numbers 20 account of Moses' bringing water from the rock another root (selaʿ) is used. But in Deut. 8:15 where this event is referred to again the words ṣûr ḥallāmîsh "the rock of 'flint'" are used. The poetry of Psalm 114:8 divides the terminology of Deut. 8:15 putting one of the words on each side of the parallelism: "who turned the rock (ṣûr) into standing water//the 'flint' into a fountain of water." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Challamish -5x -  Deut. 8:15; Deut. 32:13; Job 28:9; Ps. 114:8; Isa. 50:7

Wikipedia - Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz. (See hardness of flint).

And I know that I will not be ashamed - Messiah was confident in God and His Word of Truth that He would not be put to shame.

Guzik - The courage of the Messiah isn’t a bland resignation to fate. It is a confident assurance in the Lord GOD. He can set His face like a flint because He can say, “I know that I will not be ashamed.” (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

Put to shame (0954)(bosh from root = “to become pale” or “to blush”) means to be ashamed, to act shamefully, or to put to shame.Bosh is both an external and a subjective experience, ranging from disgrace (Hos. 10:6) to guilt (Ezra 9:6). Vine adds that bosh "has overtones of being or feeling worthless."

Uses of bosh in Isaiah 

Isa. 1:29; Isa. 19:9; Isa. 20:5; Isa. 23:4; Isa. 24:23; Isa. 26:11; Isa. 29:22; Isa. 30:5; Isa. 37:27; Isa. 41:11; Isa. 42:17; Isa. 44:9; Isa. 44:11; Isa. 45:16; Isa. 45:17; Isa. 45:24; Isa. 49:23; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 54:4; Isa. 65:13; Isa. 66:5

Vine applies the truth of this passage to believers - The design of our Father is to give us such confidence in Him and in the assurance of His help, that we may be free from every tendency to despair under the weight of trouble. If we are walking in the path of obedience we can ever be assured of His present help and of deliverance and victory in His own way and time. (Ibid)

Guzik -   Spurgeon has a wonderful sermon on this text titled, The Redeemer’s Face Set like a Flint. These are his headings and points:

  1. How the steadfast resolve of Jesus was tested.
      •      By offers from the world.
      •      By the persuasions of His friends.
      •      By the unworthiness of His clients.
      •      By the bitterness of the first few drops of suffering n Gethsemane.
      •      By the ease at which He could have backed out if He had wished to.
      •      By the taunts of those who mocked Him.
      •      By the full stress and agony of the cross.

  2. How the steadfast resolve of Jesus was sustained.
      •      By His divine schooling.
      •      By His conscious innocence.
      •      By His unshakable confidence in the help of God.
      •      By the joy that was set before Him.

  3. How to imitate the steadfast resolve of Jesus.
      •      When there is something right, stand for it.
      •      When you have a right purpose that glorifies God, carry it out. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

Isaiah 50:8 He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me.

KJV Isaiah 50:8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

  • He who vindicates Me is near Ro 8:32-34; 1 Ti 3:16
  • Let us stand up to each other Isaiah 41:1,21; Ex 22:9; Dt 19:17; Job 23:3-7; Mt 5:25
  • Who has a case against Me. Zechariah 3:1-10; Rev 12:10

NET  Isaiah 50:8 The one who vindicates me is close by. Who dares to argue with me? Let us confront each other! Who is my accuser? Let him challenge me!


In the previous verse the Servant says God will help Him and here He elaborates. He is fully confident that He would be triumphantly vindicated, shown to be right and cleared from guilt. To vindicate means to prove that what someone said or did was right or true, after other people thought it was wrong. Jesus would be proven true in everything He said and did!

He who vindicates Me is near  - KJV = "He is near that justifieth me." He declares His consciousness of the presence of His Father. The idea of near is the One Who justifies Me or "the justifier is at hand, ready to pronounce Him just." (Young). And this is an interesting statement because Messiah was sinless and could have rightly stood up and justified Himself, and yet He trusted in His Father for vindication. It is an interesting picture -- we have all seen court cases and on one side is the defendant and next to him is his advocate (defense attorney), the one who would defend him. And so the Father in a sense, stands near His Son, and will defend Him and vindicate Him and help Him (Isa 50:9). 

Grogan notes that ""The setting of vv. 8-9 is clearly forensic, and the trials of Jesus in the Gospels make this peculiarly appropriate."

Vindicates (see word study below) is used in its forensic sense and means to declare to be just or to pronounce one just. The Hebrew word tsadeq is translated in the Septuagint by dikaioo which means to be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous. God is the One Who pronounces His Servant righteous. And of course God is the only One Who can pronounce sinful men and women righteous in His eyes, and then only if they believe in the only inherently, innately Righteous One, His Servant, the Messiah. 

Vine has an interesting comment - His justification took place in His resurrection (cf Acts 2:23-24, 3:15, 13:29-30). He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness (that is the sinlessness which marked Him as the Holy One of God), by the resurrection of the dead” (Ro 1:4). This is further borne out by the clause in 1 Timothy 3:16, “justified in the spirit” (Was vindicated in the Spirit) (referring directly to His resurrection).

Jesus knew that He would be falsely accused but also knew His Father was always "near" and would vindicate Him and bring (eternal) shame on His enemies. And remember as Man, He had emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives, and therefore when we read His declaration "He Who vindicates Me is near," this is an expression of His faith in His Father's faithfulness to vindicate Him.

Wiersbe adds "Keep in mind that when Jesus Christ was ministering here on earth, He had to live by faith even as we must today. He did not use His divine powers selfishly for Himself but trusted God and depended on the power of the Spirit."  (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

Young - God is at hand to declare that the servant is innocent, and stands in a right relationship with the law, being free of iniquity. In this case the declaration agrees with the actual state of the servant, for the righteousness the servant possesses is his own. The claims he has made for himself as to his person and work are thus declared by the sovereign Lord to be true and just. Thus the pronouncement of the divine Judge fully vindicates the servant. Enemies had thought he was being punished for his own sins, but the divine vindication shows how wrong they were.

David Thompson - Even though when Jesus Christ was here, it certainly did not appear as though He was winning; the fact is, He knew God’s plan perfectly. He was completely aware of the fact of justification and of the fact that those who rejected Him would come to nothing. No one will be able to contend with Jesus Christ or condemn Jesus Christ. God the Father will wipe them all out who demean His Son.  (Sermon)

Ellicott - Appealing from the unrighteous judges of the earth, the Servant commits himself to Him who judges righteously (Luke 23:46). With that Judge to declare his innocence, what does he care for the accuser? (Cp. Ro 8:33-34.)

Cornerstone Bible Commentary - The Servant could thereby (ED: SINCE THE ONE WHO VINDICATES HIM IS NEAR) challenge his accusers: “Who will dare to bring charges against me now?… Let them appear!” (Isa 50:8). The Messiah Jesus flung this very challenge into the teeth of his enemies (John 8:46), and they were not able to oppose him (Mark 14:55–56). (See context in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah)

Vindicates (06663)(tsadeq from tsedeq = righteousness or rightness) means to declare righteous, to be righteous, to justify. To vindicate means to show to be right by providing justification. The basic idea of this word group is that it connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard. God challenged His own people to show they were right in their claims (Isa. 43:26).  In Job, tsadeq is often used of being innocent or blameless (Job 4:17; 9:20; 35:7). The verb is used of being in the right legally (Job 33:12; Ps. 51:4). God's Word is righteous and trustworthy (Ps. 19:9). No man is righteous before God "For in Your sight no man living is righteous." (Ps 143:2) All Israel will be justified when Messiah returns (Isa 45:25) where justified means to be declared righteous, to be treated as if one is not sinful, but holy through the application (imputation, reckoning) of Christ's righteousness to the one who believes in Him (cf Isa 53:11+).

Tsadeq is often translated in the Septuagint with the verb dikaioo which means to be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous.

In one of the most significant OT uses in Isa 53:11+ we read

"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."

The last use of tsadeq is an incredible promise for faithful soul winners...

“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Da 12:3+)

Vine - Nowhere is the issue of righteousness more appropriate than in the problem of the suffering of the righteous presented to us in Job, where the verb occurs 17 times. Apart from the Book of Job the frequency of ṣādaq in the various books is small. The first occurrence of the verb is in Gen. 38:26, where Judah admits that Tamar was just in her demands: "“She is more righteous than I." Tsadeq is a legal term which involves the whole process of justice. God "is righteous" in all of His relations, and in comparison with Him man is not righteous (cf Job 4:17). In a derived sense, the case presented may be characterized as a just cause in that all facts indicate that the person is to be cleared of all charges. Isaiah called upon the nations to produce witnesses who might testify that their case was right (Isa 43:9) Job was concerned about his case and defended it before his friends: (Job 9:15). Tsādeq may also be used to signify the outcome of the verdict, when a man is pronounced "just" and is judicially cleared of all charges. Job believed that the Lord would ultimately vindicate him against his opponents (Job 13:18). In its causative pattern, the meaning of the verb tsadeq brings out more clearly the sense of a judicial pronouncement of innocence: "“If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide their case, and they justify (tsadeq) the righteous (tsedeq) and condemn the wicked," (Dt. 25:1). The Israelites were charged with upholding righteousness in all areas of life. When the court system failed because of corruption, the wicked were falsely "justified" and the poor were robbed of justice because of trumped-up charges. Absalom, thus, gained a large following by promising justice to the landowner (2 Sa 15:4). God, however, assured Israel that justice would be done in the end (Ex. 23:6-7). The righteous person followed God's example. The psalmist exhorts his people to change their judicial system: "Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice (tsadeq) to the afflicted and destitute" (Ps 82:3). Job's ultimate hope was in God's declaration of justification. The Old Testament is in agreement with this hope. When injustice prevails, God is the One who "justifies." The Septuagint translates the verb by dikaiao ("to do justice, justly, to vindicate"). In the English versions a frequent translation is "to justify" (kjv, rsv, nasb, niv); modern versions also give the additional translations "to be vindicated" (rsv, nasb, niv) and "to acquit" (rsv, niv). (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words)

Tsadeq - 41 times in 40 verses - acquit(1), acquitted(1), declare you right(1), do justice(1), give him justice(1), just(2), justified(5), justifies(1), justify(5), justifying(2), lead the to righteousness(1), made your appear righteous(2), properly restored(1), proved right(1), proved...righteous(1), right(4), righteous(9), vindicated(1), vindicates(1).

Gen. 38:26; Gen. 44:16; Ex 23:7; Deut. 25:1; 2 Sam. 15:4; 1 Ki. 8:32; 2 Chr. 6:23; Job 4:17; Job 9:2; Job 9:15; Job 9:20; Job 10:15; Job 11:2; Job 13:18; Job 15:14; Job 22:3; Job 25:4; Job 27:5; Job 32:2; Job 33:12; Job 33:32; Job 34:5; Job 35:7; Job 40:8; Ps. 19:9; Ps. 51:4; Ps. 82:3; Ps. 143:2; Prov. 17:15; Isa. 5:23; Isa. 43:9; Isa. 43:26; Isa. 45:25; Isa. 50:8; Isa. 53:11; Jer. 3:11; Ezek. 16:51; Ezek. 16:52; Dan. 8:14; Dan. 12:3

Exodus 23:7 “Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous (noun - tsedeq), for I will not acquit the guilty. 

1 Kings 8:32 (2 Chr 6:23) then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying (tsadeq) the righteous (noun - tsedeq) by giving him according to his righteousness (tsedqaqh). 

Job 40:8  (GOD TO JOB) “Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified

Psalm 19:9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. 

Pr 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. 

Isaiah 45:25   “In the LORD all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory.”

Comment - This is a prophecy that parallels Ro 11:26+ (cf Zech 12:10+, Zech 13:1, 9+) and will be fulfilled with Messiah returns. 

Who will contend with Me? - The Servant thus pronounced righteous issues the challenge of who would contend with Him. The NET translates it "Who dares to argue with me?" The answer in one sense is "no one," but in reality, Jesus stood accused before what amounted to six trials, and multiple false accusers and false accusations. 

Guzik comments that "This is the Messiah’s way of quoting Romans 8:31" What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" If it isn’t clear enough, He says it again: Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me? . In fact, the reason why Romans 8:31 applies to us is that it first applies to Jesus, and we are in Christ. If Jesus stands in this place of victory, then all those who are in Christ stand there also. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

Contend (plead case) (07378)(riyb) means to strive, dispute, conduct a lawsuit (and all that this entails). E.g., Jehovah conducts His case against His own people (Isa 3:13 and in Isa 57:16 declares "I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, And the breath of those whom I have made."

Let us stand up to each other - If someone would dare to contend with Servant, the Servant boldly calls for them to come forth and stand up to Him.

Who has a case against Me? - Literally this reads "the master of a law-suit" which describes the prosecutor. NLT has "Where are my accusers? Let them appear!"

Let him draw near to Me - "Let him challenge Me." (NET) "Let Him confront Me" (NIV) The Servant repeats the invitation to His foe to come near toward Him.

Young - In a second question he singles out in more specific terms the opponent at law, designating him as the master of my judgment. The phrase apparently was widespread in the ancient world, the Romans speaking of the dominus litis as the prosecutor and the cuneiform languages using the same expression bel dini. Thus, the master of my judgment is the one who possesses a judgment against him.

David Thompson -  No one will be able to contend with Jesus Christ or condemn Jesus Christ. God the Father will wipe them all out who demean His Son.  (Sermon)

Isaiah 50:9 Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.

KJV Isaiah 50:9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

  • they will all wear out like a garment Isaiah 51:6-8; Job 13:28; Ps 39:11; 102:26; Heb 1:11,12

NET  Isaiah 50:9 Look, the sovereign LORD helps me. Who dares to condemn me? Look, all of them will wear out like clothes; a moth will eat away at them.

NLT  Isaiah 50:9 See, the Sovereign LORD is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!

Behold - See preceding discussion of hinneh. Listen up! This is important! It focuses the reader's attention first on the Lord GOD which is always a good place for us to set our eyes!

The Lord GOD helps Me - This repeats (Isa 50:7-8) the Servant's confidence and assurance that His Father, the Sovereign LORD, is willing and able to help Him. What did that "help" look like? There are obviously several answers to this question, but the greatest help was to raise His Son from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. In Acts Peter speaking to the Jews declared "God raised up His Servant." (Acts 3:26+), which was clear evidence that the Father had accepted the Son's sacrifice and the wrath of God was fully propitiated and thus the atonement procured by His sacrifice was now available to all by grace through faith in Him. 

Helps (05826) See above discussion 'azar. The Septuagint translates 'azar here with the verb boetheo which literally means to run to the aid of one who cries for help. One of the most encouraging uses of boetheo in the NT is in Heb 2:18+ where the writer of Hebrews describes the Servant, our Messiah - "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid (boetheo) of those who are (present tense - continually being) tempted (peirazo)." God helped Jesus when He was tempted (cf In the wilderness - Mt 4:11, 1-10, in the Garden - Lk 22:43+) and now Jesus is able to help us when we are being tempted! What do we have to do according to the meaning of the verb boetheo? We must make the volitional choice to cry out! That may seem self-evident, but the truth is that many times when we are in the midst of the fires of temptation, we either forget to cry out or refuse to cry out (because we are in the process of making provision for the lust of our flesh to give in to the temptation, as described in Ro 13:14+. You've never done that have you? That's a rhetorical question!). 

Who is he who condemns Me? - "Who will declare me guilty?" (NLT) Notice that in Isa 50:8 the Servant says God vindicates or justifies Him and here uses the anti-thesis asking who can pronounce a sentence of condemnation on Him. The answer of course is "No one! because "He who vindicates Me is near." (Isa 50:8).  

Condemns (07561)(rasha from resha - wrong, wickedness) means to be in he wrong, to be guilty, to be wicked, to do wickedly, to condemn. Rasha is translated in the Septuagint with . God says "He will condemn a man who devises evil." (Pr 12:2) "There is only one other use in Isaiah - “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD (THIS PROMISE WILL BE REALIZED IN THE MILLENNIUM KINGDOM), And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD." (Isa 54:17) This promise in Isa 54:17 refers to Israel who is called "the servants" which is notable because "Israel is always referred to as God's "servants" (plural) rather than His servant (Isa 54:17; 56:6; 63:17; 65:8, 9, 13, 14, 15; 66:14)." (MacArthur)

Livingston on rasha - In a case law it states that if two men are hostile regarding property, God will declare one of them guilty. In a similar law (Deut. 25:1), judges are to be just in deciding which is guilty. These have to do with ruptures in social relationships. An example of a rupture of international relationship is seen in 1 Samuel 14:47 which Saul settles by military conquest. The verb can describe a general breakdown of social relationships (Psalm 94:21) in which bad people mistreat good people. This contrast between good and bad people is highlighted by reference to the way God treats people. He takes a stand against wickedness, for it is contrary to his nature (Job 40:8; Ps 37:33; Pr 12:2; Isaiah 50:9; Isa54:17). It was within this reference that kings of Israel and Judah were evaluated (2 Chr 20:35; 2 Chron. 22:3). So did the people of God protest their innocence; they did not act like wicked people (2 Sa 22:22; Job 10:2, 7; Psalm 18:21 [H 22]). The reason there is a difference between them is that one type follows a life style contrary to the laws of God (Prs 17:15; Da 12:10; cf. Job 32:3; 1 Ki 8:32; Da 11:32). This life style is not irreversible; it can be changed, basically by confession. This is seen in several prayers of supplication (2 Chr 6:37; Neh. 9:33; Ps 106:6; Da 9:5).(Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Rasha - 34x in 34v - act wickedly(3), acted wickedly(6), been wicked(1), behaved wickedly (1), condemn (10), condemned(2), condemning(1), condemns(3), do wickedly(1), guilty(1), inflicted punishment(1), wicked(3), wickedly departed (1).

Ex 22:9; Dt. 25:1; 1 Sa 14:47; 2 Sa 22:22; 1 Ki. 8:32; 1 Ki. 8:47; 2 Chr. 6:37; 2 Chr. 20:35; 2 Chr. 22:3; Neh. 9:33; Job 9:20; Job 9:29; Job 10:2; Job 10:7; Job 10:15; Job 15:6; Job 32:3; Job 34:12; Job 34:17; Job 34:29; Job 40:8; Ps. 18:21; Ps. 37:33; Ps. 94:21; Ps. 106:6; Prov. 12:2; Prov. 17:15; Eccl. 7:17; Isa. 50:9; Isa. 54:17; Dan. 9:5; Da 9:15; Da 11:32; Da 12:10 Below are some select uses of rasha...

Daniel 9:5  (DANIEL'S GREAT PRAYER) we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.

Daniel 9:15   “And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day–we have sinned, we have been wicked.

Daniel 11:32 “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.

Daniel 12:10 “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.

Psalm 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. 

Psalm 37:33  The LORD will not leave him in his hand Or let him be condemned when he is judged. 

Psalm 94:21 They band themselves together against the life of the righteous And condemn the innocent to death. 

Psalm 106:6 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly

Behold - See preceding discussion of hinneh. Pay attention to the a figure of speech used to describe the fate of all anti-christs. 

Maclaren: Two forms of destruction are here named. There is a slow decay going on in the opponents and their opposition, as a garment waxing old, and there is a being fretted away by the imperceptible working of external causes, as by gnawing moths.

They will all wear out like a garment - They refers to those who oppose and accuse the Servant, the Messiah. This presents a fascinating picture with which we can all identify. Think of that favorite shirt you love to wear and even though the collar is beginning to fray and bright colors are beginning to fade. But you keep on wearing it until finally you have to through it in a "rag bag" you use to dry your car after washing. That's the picture of the what awaited all who would oppose and falsely accuse and falsely condemn Jesus. One things of Pilate for example who kept on living, but like a worn out garment, his life began to fade away and tradition says in the end he went insane. We don't know the details of the end of the lives of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, but we know God's Word is immutable and so we know the lives of these men were worn out like a garment and were as if they had been eaten by moths.  

Constable adds "God did not vindicate Messiah by judging His accusers immediately in some dramatic way that resulted in people connecting their judgment with their antagonism toward Messiah. Rather He allowed them to continue to live but to experience a decline in their fortunes (cf. Pilate, Herod, the Jewish leaders, the Gentiles)." . (Isaiah 50)

Vine - As for God’s accusers and foes they shall all “wax old,” or rather, fall to pieces like a worn-out garment, a prey to the moth, an insect which, working slowly and imperceptibly, accomplishes thoroughly its deadly destruction (v. 9).

The moth will eat them - I have several pairs of very expensive dress pants in the closet, but they have been attacked by moths. At first the holes were fairly small and I would still wear them without fear of the holes being seen, but in time the holes became so large, I could not wear them any longer and had to discard them into the trash! Nice, expensive pants, but made useless by the little moths. What a picture of the fate Jesus' accusers and of all arrogant men, whose lives are "full of holes" (sins and iniquities), whose lives slowly but gradually fall apart and whose final fate is God's "trash heap" for all eternity! (See eternal punishment).

In a poem by Longfellow (one source says it was a translation of a 17th century poem, 'Retribution,' by Friedrich Von Logau) we find an apt description of the prophecy of all evil men in Isaiah 50:11...

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.

Wear out (01086)(balah) means to become old, be exhausted; waste away, wear out, to fail, to consume. The following things wear out - clothing (Dt. 8:4; 29:5); figuratively, heavens and earth (Ps. 102:26; Isa. 51:6); body of a guilty person (Ps 32:3 = " my body wasted away"); persons in general (Ge 18:12; Job 13:28). The basic meaning of balah describes the Israelites' garments which (miraculously) did not wear out (Dt 8:4; Dt 29:5; Neh 9:21) during their 40 years of wilderness wanderings. The deceptive Gibeonites fooled Joshua claiming "these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey.” (Josh 9:21).

Balah is translated in Isa 50:9 with the verb palaioo which means to become old (Heb 8:13+, speaking of the Old Covenant). Jesus used palaioo to admonish His hearers (in a call to a lack of attachment to the earth and a generosity as a result) to "Sell (present imperative = calls for a lifestyle, only possible for one filled with the Spirit - Eph 5:18+) your possessions and give (aorist imperative - Don't procrastinate! Do this now! Again enabled by the Spirit) to charity; make (aorist imperative - Don't procrastinate! Do this now! Again enabled by the Spirit) yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure (thesauros) in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys." (Lk 12:33+).

Gilbrant - This term can also refer to the deterioration of the kosmos or to the most severe distress of the worshipper. It can also mean "enjoyment." The only theological significance is in connection with the history of Israel during the wilderness experience, where their clothes and shoes never wore out. It can also refer to an anticipated time of salvation (cf. Isa. 65:22). (Ibid)

Balah - 16x in 15v - become old(1), consume(1), decaying(1), spend(1), waste(1), waste away(1), wasted away(1), wear(6), worn(3).

Gen. 18:12; Deut. 8:4; Deut. 29:5; Jos. 9:13; 1 Chr. 17:9; Neh. 9:21; Job 13:28; Job 21:13; Ps. 32:3; Ps. 49:14; Ps. 102:26; Isa. 50:9; Isa. 51:6; Isa. 65:22; Lam. 3:4

Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

KJV Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

NET  Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys his servant? Whoever walks in deep darkness, without light, should trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. (Isa 50:10 NET)

  • Who is among you that fears the LORD Ps 25:12,14; 111:10; 112:1; 128:1; Eccl 12:13; Malachi 3:16
  • That obeys the voice of His servant Isaiah 42:1; 49:3; 53:11; Heb 5:9
  • That walks in darkness and has no light Isaiah 9:2; 59:9; Job 29:3; Ps 23:4; Lam 3:2; John 8:12; 12:46
  • Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. Isaiah 26:3,4; 1 Samuel 30:6; 1 Chr 5:20; 2 Chr 20:12,20; Job 13:15; 23:8-10; Ps 27:13,14; 28:7; 40:1-4; 42:11; 62:8; 145:21; Lam 3:25,26; Micah 7:7-9; 2 Cor 1:8-10; 1 Peter 5:7


Note that Isaiah 50:9 marks the end of the Servant's testimony . Now we move to an exhortation, which some (Vine) think is God speaking but others think it is the prophet Isaiah speaking for God. Either way it is God's Word and expresses His wooing and His warning!

What we see in Isaiah 50:10-11 is essentially the same fate of every human being as described in Psalm 1 and Matthew 7. There are only 2 ways or 2 paths on which every man and woman can choose to walk in this short life - one leads to eternal life and the other to eternal death.

For the LORD knows (IS INTIMATE WITH) the way of the righteous, BUT the way of the wicked will perish. (Ps 1:6+)

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:13-14+)

In English to woo means to solicit or entreat especially with importunity and to seek to gain or bring about. In the present context God is wooing Israel and anyone who would listen to consider Him and trust in Him.  

John Martin (BKC) divides Isaiah 50

  • The Lord's "Divorce" of Zion (Isaiah 50:1-3)
  • The Servant's Growth by Experience (Isaiah 50:4-9)
  • The Prophet's Exhortation (Isaiah 50:10-11)

These last two verses (Isaiah 50:10-11) are an exhortation to Israel for application - to either obey (v10) or to rebell (v11), to walk in the light or walk in the darkness, to make your own light or to trust in the Light of God.

Moody Bible Commentary - Having given the example of the Servant’s faithfulness during a time of deep trouble, the song next turns to exhort Israel, calling the nation to follow the example of the Servant in its time of trial. The exhortation has a positive (trust God in the darkness) and negative (do not trust oneself in the darkness) aspect. (See context The Moody Bible Commentary)

J Vernon McGee on Isaiah 50:10 - This is the wooing word. The Holy Spirit speaks a soothing and imploring word to trust and rest in God’s Servant. He turns from this and gives a warning word (Isaiah 50:11)." (See context Thru the Bible: Genesis through Revelation)

MacArthur adds that Isaiah 50:10-11 is "a call to the unconverted to believe and be saved, along with a warning that those who tried to escape moral, spiritual darkness by lighting their own fire (man-made religion, works righteousness) were to end up in eternal torment." (See context in The MacArthur Bible Commentary )

Constable - The following section is a call to listen to the Servant, to follow His example, and so experience God's salvation. Failure to do so would result in sharing the fate of His opponents (cf. Isa 50:9; 51:8). . (Isaiah 50)

Beall: Obedience to the Servant is paralleled with obedience to the Lord. In vv. 4- 9 it was the Servant who was obedient; now, the people are enjoined to obey the Lord and the voice of His Servant (see John 5:23: “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him"; John 14:9: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”). As Young aptly states, “The Servant's word is God's word, for God has set the Servant's mouth as a sharp sword (cf. 49:2)” (Isaiah, 3:304). Isaiah encourages those who walk in darkness, with no light, to trust in the name of the Lord (compare the Messianic passage Isa 9:2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light"; and John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life”).

Who is among you that fears the LORD - Remember that Isaiah is a Jewish prophet and in the context of this verse, he is addressing the nation of Israel.  Isaiah is challenging the entire nation to follow the lead of the Servant who testified of his close relationship with the Lord. That being said, clearly the truths in this verse regarding salvation apply to all mankind who would be wooed by this divine word and enter covenant with God by grace through faith in the Messiah. 

Related Resource:

That obeys the voice of His Servant - Notice the clear association of fear of the LORD and obedience. The corollary is true that one cannot truly obey God unless he has a healthy fear of God. Why would one even want to obey One for Whom he had no healthy, reverential fear? Notice that this is the only passage in this "Third Servant Song" which actually uses the word "servant."

Jesus is calling the Jews (and all people) to (1) fear God and (2) obey the Messiah. Fear God may not sound like the "Gospel," but at the beginning of the horrible Great Tribulation, the eternal Gospel is offered to unsaved men in the world. Notice how John describes "the eternal Gospel"...

"And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear (aorist imperative - Do this now! It is urgent! Do not delay!) God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Rev 14:6-7+)

Tony Garland - The gospel is founded upon the New Covenant, which is an eternal covenant (Heb. 13:20+) resulting in eternal life (Isa. 51:6; Titus 1:1-3)....It seems unlikely that the words that John heard the angel say constitute the entire gospel message delivered to the earth dwellers. Rather, it summarizes what their response should be. The specifics of the gospel message itself are not recorded. The warning of the angel occurs before the institution of the mark of the Beast. Those who hear the angel and respond in faith are those who are found in the opening verses of the next chapter doing this very thing!

MacArthur explains - The angel is preaching the good news concerning eternal life and entrance into the kingdom of God (cf. Mt 24:14; 1Co 15:1-10). He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb. It is also called in the NT the gospel of God, the gospel of grace, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom. It is good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe. The whole world will hear this preaching by the angel as God graciously calls all to salvation. (The MacArthur Study Bible)

Motyer - “Only he who knows how to obey can call others to obedience.”

Obeys (08085)(shama) means to hear (Adam and Eve hearing God = Ge 3:8, 10, Ge 18:10 = "overheard"), to listen (Ge 3:17, Ge 16:2 [= this was a big mistake and was the origin of Jews and Arabs!] Ex 6:9,16:20, 18:19, Webster's 1828 on "listen" = to hearken; to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear. To obey; to yield to advice; to follow admonition) and since hearing/listening are often closely linked to obedience, shama is translated obey (1 Sa 15:22, Ge 22:18, 26:5, 39:10, Ex 19:5, disobedience = Lev 26:14, 18, 21, 27) or to understand. KJV translates shama "hearken" (196x) a word which means to give respectful attention. Shama means “to hear intelligently and attentively and respond appropriately." In other words to hear does not convey the idea of "in one ear and out the other!"

The Septuagint has an interesting variation and after asking who is among you that fears Jehovah, it then gives a command to "Listen (akouo in the aorist imperative) to the voice of His Servant." 

Brian Bell -   Even believers who fear God & obey His voice can still end up in the darkness of perplexity! {But, there’s hope in darkness!} What do we do in the darkness of perplexities & confusions? Darkness not of the heart, but of the mind.   I picture being in the middle of a pitch-black warehouse.      A voice says, “I know this place pretty well, take my arm & I will lead you out, but only do as I say”. You have a lighter in your pocket you offer to light the way. The voice emphatically says, “NO, it’s best w/o the lighters light!” You don’t understand the voices sharp rebuke. You find yourself stumbling in the dark, bruising your shins & tripping as you go. Getting more & more frustrated why you can’t use the lighter. When you get to the other side, you find the door. Going outside the building you read, “Caution, Odorless Gas Inside”. The lighter would not have been a good light, though it sure seemed it at the time.  1st thing to do is nothing. This is difficult but sit tight. “When you’re rattled, don’t rush!” Remember what do you do when you’re driving & you hit a heavy fog bank? (Do you speed up or slow down?) When you hit spiritual fog do the same thing! Keep your life’s ship anchored, or tied to the dock. Trust in the Lord, wait on Him, & he will give you the light you need, when you need it!

That walks in darkness and has no light?  - NET = "deep darkness"

Warren Wiersbe -  Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. often said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light.” But the unbelieving ones who try to eliminate the darkness by lighting their own fires (i.e., following their own schemes) will end up in sorrow and suffering. In obedience to the Lord, you may find yourself in the darkness; but do not panic, for He will bring you the light you need just at the right time. (See context The Bible Exposition Commentary).

Moody Bible Commentary - Though the language of darkness is often used with reference to evil or blindness, in this case, it is likely that the darkness here refers to the difficulties the nation is facing. If the term is taken in this fashion, the force of the verse is exhortative. It calls those experiencing difficulty (i.e., darkness) to trust in the Lord. In this sense, it offers an answer to the question at the beginning of v. 10: those who fear the Lord and trust His Servant are those who trust in the Lord even in the absence of light. In darkness (suffering) they are to trust God even as the Servant did so they can experience the same glorious outcome. As Motyer writes, “Those who commit to the servant way will have a servant experience, normative for them because true of Him” (See context in The Moody Bible Commentary).

Young - Thus, those who do fear the Lord and obey the voice of His true Servant may nevertheless be in darkness. Like the Servant Himself, they too must be subject to afflictions and follow their Lord through affliction, death, and hell that they may come to the celestial city. In this world they will have tribulation; but the Servant has overcome this world, and they have but one recourse, to trust in the Lord who has revealed Himself to them in His ways and works, and to lean for support upon their God, who will never fail them.

David Thompson - God gives Israel and any an invitation to fear Him and turn to His Servant, Jesus Christ. Those who fear the Lord and obey His Word by turning to Him, will at times find they seem to be walking in a dark world. There will be times when it looks like all light is gone.  (Sermon)

NET Note - The plural indicates degree. Darkness may refer to exile and/or moral evil.


Vine writes "A believer may be walking in darkness circumstantially and have no light, and in such conditions may be tempted to despondency. Sometimes a situation seems hopeless. A variety of trials and adverse circumstances may crowd upon him. Here then is the message, uplifting and soul-stirring. “Let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay upon His God.” True faith is tested faith, and proves its reality by standing the test. God is “a very present help in trouble.” Faith not only accepts this as a fact, but learns to lean upon God Himself and to prove the power and love of His almighty arm. That turns our darkness into light. The heart is cheered and, more still, is empowered to rise victorious over all that opposes, rejoicing in the light of His countenance." (Ibid)

Let him trust in the Name of the LORD and rely on his God - Psalm 33:21 says "our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust (batach) in His holy Name." In Ps 9:10 David says "those who know (yada - intimately) Your Name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." The point is that if one really knows the character and attributes of Yahweh (not just "knows about" Him but really knows Him), they will place their trust in Him. To trust in the Name is to trust in everything the Name stands for. All that God is, is inherent in His Name. 

The Septuagint translates trust with elpizo which means to hope in the sense of counting on something to happen (Lk 6:34 - "expect").

Jeremiah 17:7 tells us why (among many reasons) one should trust in the Name of Jehovah -   "Blessed is the man who trusts (Heb - batach; Lxx - peitho in perfect tense - have enduring confidence) in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD." And note the consequence of the failure to trust in Yahweh, but instead trust in man and one's self-sufficiency (EXACTLY WHAT WE SEE IN Isaiah 50:11) - “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD." (Jer 17:5)  Isaiah 50: 11 says the cursed man will enter torment! Could God be much clearer!

David Thompson - one who trusts in Jesus Christ will never be ashamed. What God does is that He challenges people to trust in this One whom He sent. Notice where salvation is found - by relying on God. Not yourself, not your works, and not the church. Rely on Jesus Christ and trust only in Him.  (Sermon)

Trust (0982)(batach) speaks of being confident or trusting and pertains to placing reliance or belief in a person or object (Ps 112:7; Isa 26:3) Batach expresses sense of well-being and security from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. Notice all the uses in the book of Psalms (see below) where many if not most refer to trust in Jehovah (this would make a great devotional study to see what is associated with trust in the LORD).  In the first use (Dt 28:52) Israel had failed to trust in Name of Jehovah, but instead put their trust in their "towns" with their "high and fortified walls" which would be broken down. In Jdg 9:26 men of Shechem put their trust in Gaal. In Jdg 9:26, 18:7, 10, 27 all mean "secure" referring to people living in security. Hezekiah trusted in LORD. The uses of batach are so wonderful that all the 116 verses are listed below to facilitate easy study. Note especially all the uses of trust in Psalm 22 a clearly Messianic psalm. 

Wiersbe on trust - The word translated “trust” (e.g., used in Pr 3:5+) means “to lie helpless, facedown.” It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general. (Be Skillful)

Higgins agrees that the Hebrew word batach "means to stretch out or to lie face down. It is a picture of a man totally stretched out on his face before God. The message of his posture is his total helplessness and dependence upon God. It bespeaks that he is totally yielded to that will. Matthew reminds us of the Lord Jesus that He "fell on his face, and prayed ... not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mt 26:39). (What the Bible Teaches - Proverbs)

Batach - 120X in 116v - bold(1), careless(1), complacent(3), confident(2), fall down(1), felt secure(1), have(2), have confidence(1), put my trust(3), put their trust(2), put your trust(1), relied(1), rely(8), secure(5), trust(51), trusted(15), trusting(3), trusts(19).

(Deuteronomy 28:52)  "It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you.
(Judges 9:26)  Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him.
(Judges 18:7)  Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.
(Judges 18:10)  "When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth."
(Judges 18:27)  Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire.
(Judges 20:36)  So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah,
(2 Kings 18:5)  He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.
(2 Kings 18:19)  Then Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, "What is this confidence that you have?
(2 Kings 18:20)  "You say (but they are only empty words), 'I have counsel and strength for the war.' Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me?
(2 Kings 18:21)  "Now behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.
(2 Kings 18:22)  "But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem '?
(2 Kings 18:24)  "How then can you repulse one official of the least of my master's servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
(2 Kings 18:30)  nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
(2 Kings 19:10)  "Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying, "Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
(1 Chronicles 5:20)  They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.
(2 Chronicles 32:10)  "Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege?
(Job 6:20)  "They were disappointed for they had trusted, They came there and were confounded.
(Job 11:18)  "Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely.
(Job 40:23)  "If a river rages, he is not alarmed; He is confident, though the Jordan rushes to his mouth.
(Psalm 4:5)  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD.
(Psalm 9:10)  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
(Psalm 13:5)  But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
(Psalm 21:7)  For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
(Psalm 22:4)  In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.
(Psalm 22:5)  To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.
(Psalm 22:9)  Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.
(Psalm 25:2)  O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me.
(Psalm 26:1)  A Psalm of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
(Psalm 27:3)  Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
(Psalm 28:7)  The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalm 31:6)  I hate those who regard vain idols, But I trust in the LORD.
(Psalm 31:14)  But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God."
(Psalm 32:10)  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
(Psalm 33:21)  For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.
(Psalm 37:3)  Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
(Psalm 37:5)  Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
(Psalm 40:3)  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.
(Psalm 41:9)  Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
(Psalm 44:6)  For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me.
(Psalm 49:6)  Even those who trust in their wealth And boast in the abundance of their riches?
(Psalm 52:7)  "Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, But trusted in the abundance of his riches And was strong in his evil desire."
(Psalm 52:8)  But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
(Psalm 55:23)  But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.
(Psalm 56:3)  When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
(Psalm 56:4)  In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
(Psalm 56:11)  In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
(Psalm 62:8)  Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
(Psalm 62:10)  Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.
(Psalm 78:22)  Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.
(Psalm 84:12)  O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
(Psalm 86:2)  Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
(Psalm 91:2)  I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"
(Psalm 112:7)  He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
(Psalm 115:8)  Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them.
(Psalm 115:9)  O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
(Psalm 115:10)  O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
(Psalm 115:11)  You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
(Psalm 118:8)  It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.
(Psalm 118:9)  It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes.
(Psalm 119:42)  So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.
(Psalm 125:1)  A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.
(Psalm 135:18)  Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them.
(Psalm 143:8)  Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 146:3)  Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
(Proverbs 3:5)  Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
(Proverbs 11:15)  He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it, But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.
(Proverbs 11:28)  He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
(Proverbs 14:16)  A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless.
(Proverbs 16:20)  He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
(Proverbs 28:1)  The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.
(Proverbs 28:25)  An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
(Proverbs 28:26)  He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
(Proverbs 29:25)  The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
(Proverbs 31:11)  The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
(Isaiah 12:2)  "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."
(Isaiah 26:3)  "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
(Isaiah 26:4)  "Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.
(Isaiah 30:12)  Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, "Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them,
(Isaiah 31:1)  Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!
(Isaiah 32:9)  Rise up, you women who are at ease, And hear my voice; Give ear to my word, You complacent daughters.
(Isaiah 32:10)  Within a year and a few days You will be troubled, O complacent daughters; For the vintage is ended, And the fruit gathering will not come.
(Isaiah 32:11)  Tremble, you women who are at ease; Be troubled, you complacent daughters; Strip, undress and put sackcloth on your waist,
(Isaiah 36:4)  Then Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, "What is this confidence that you have?
(Isaiah 36:5)  "I say, 'Your counsel and strength for the war are only empty words.' Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me?
(Isaiah 36:6)  "Behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.
(Isaiah 36:7)  "But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar '?
(Isaiah 36:9)  "How then can you repulse one official of the least of my master's servants and rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
(Isaiah 36:15)  nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us, this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
(Isaiah 37:10)  "Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, "Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
(Isaiah 42:17)  They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, "You are our gods."
(Isaiah 47:10)  "You felt secure in your wickedness and said, 'No one sees me,' Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me.'
(Isaiah 50:10)  Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
(Isaiah 59:4)  No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
(Jeremiah 5:17)  "They will devour your harvest and your food; They will devour your sons and your daughters; They will devour your flocks and your herds; They will devour your vines and your fig trees; They will demolish with the sword your fortified cities in which you trust.
(Jeremiah 7:4)  "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.'
(Jeremiah 7:8)  "Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail.
(Jeremiah 7:14)  therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.
(Jeremiah 9:4)  "Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; Because every brother deals craftily, And every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
(Jeremiah 12:5)  "If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
(Jeremiah 13:25)  "This is your lot, the portion measured to you From Me," declares the LORD, "Because you have forgotten Me And trusted in falsehood.
(Jeremiah 17:5)  Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
(Jeremiah 17:7)  "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.
(Jeremiah 28:15)  Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet, "Listen now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.
(Jeremiah 29:31)  "Send to all the exiles, saying, 'Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite, "Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, although I did not send him, and he has made you trust in a lie,"
(Jeremiah 39:18)  "For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me," declares the LORD.'"
(Jeremiah 46:25)  The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says, "Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, even Pharaoh and those who trust in him.
(Jeremiah 48:7)  "For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures, Even you yourself will be captured; And Chemosh will go off into exile Together with his priests and his princes.
(Jeremiah 49:4)  "How boastful you are about the valleys! Your valley is flowing away, O backsliding daughter Who trusts in her treasures, saying, 'Who will come against me?'
(Jeremiah 49:11)  "Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive; And let your widows trust in Me."
(Ezekiel 16:15)  "But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.
(Ezekiel 33:13)  "When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die.
(Hosea 10:13)  You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors,
(Amos 6:1)  Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes.
(Micah 7:5)  Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips.
(Habakkuk 2:18)  "What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it, Or an image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork When he fashions speechless idols.
(Zephaniah 3:2)  She heeded no voice, She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD, She did not draw near to her God.

Let him...rely on his God - In the last days, as described below (Isa 10:20), there will be a remnant of the nation of Israel who hears and heeds this exhortation and choose to rely wholly on the Holy One of Israel. O glorious day! 

Rely (08172)(shaan) primarily means to lean on something (literally Saul on his sword = 2Sa 1:6) or someone (2 Ki 5:16, 7:2, 17), to rest on, to support oneself (Jdg 16:26). Figuratively as in Isa 50:10 it means to trust (2Chr 13:18, Job 8:15), to rest (Ge 18:4).

In Isa 30:12, Isa 31:1, Isa 50:10 we see "trust in" (batach) paralleled with "relied on" (sha'an)

Isaiah 30:12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust (BATACH) in oppression and guile, and have relied on (SHAAN) them, 

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely (SHAAN) on horses, And trust (BATACH)  in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! 

But praise God there is an previous prophecy in Isaiah which will be fulfilled by a portion of the nation of Israel when the Messiah returns...

Isaiah 10:20+ Now in that day (SECOND COMING) the (BELIEVING) remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on (SHAAN) the one who struck them, but will truly rely on (SHAAN) the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 

2 Chr 16:7 records a tragic use of shaan in the life of King Asa

"At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. (2 Chr 16:9) “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (KING ASA'S WAS NOT!). You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

The exhortation of Isaiah 50:10 begs two related questions - 

  • In Whom do you place your the arm of flesh or the arm of the LORD? 
  • In Whom do you rely or lean on...the crumbling high walls of your own imagination (Pr 18:11+) or the impregnable tower of the Name of Jehovah (Pr 18:10+)?

Isaiah 50:11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.

KJV Isaiah 50:11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

NET  Isaiah 50:11 Look, all of you who start a fire and who equip yourselves with flaming arrows, walk in the light of the fire you started and among the flaming arrows you ignited! This is what you will receive from me: you will lie down in a place of pain.

NLT  Isaiah 50:11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment. 

  • Behold, all you who kindle a fire Isaiah 28:15-20; 30:15,16; 55:2; Ps 20:7,8; Jer 17:5-7; Jonah 2:8; Mt 15:6-8; Ro 1:21,22; 10:3
  • Walk in the light of your fire  Ex 11:9,10; Ezek 20:39; Amos 4:4,5
  • you will have from My hand John 9:39
  • you will lie down in torment. Isaiah 8:22; 65:13-16; Ps 16:4; 32:10; Mt 8:12; 22:13; John 8:24; 2 Th 1:8,9; Rev 19:20; 20:15


Behold - See hinneh.  God is saying in essence "Pay attention to what I am about to say. This is a word of warning. Don't tune out!" The NLT is probably correct in paraphrasing it as "Watch out!" 

Note the pronouns "you who kindle...encircle yourselves...your have set ablaze."

J Vernon McGee writes "First it is the wooing word as He implores them; then He gives a warning word to those who walk in the light of their own fire, rejecting the One who is the light of the world." (See context in Thru the Bible Vol. 23: The Prophets Isaiah 36-66)

Cornerstone Bible Commentary - The Servant warned them against attempting to live by their own light or warm themselves by their own fires (Isa 50:11). Rather than turning in repentance to the Lord and his revelation for light and direction, the wayward people preferred their own ideas and plans for help. (See context Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah)

Scott Grant: How are we to survive in this place? Isaiah presents us with two options: 1) We can trust in the name of the Lord and rely on our God. 2) We can kindle a fire, encircle ourselves with torches and walk in the light of our own fire. We can rely on our God in the darkness of confusion, or we can try to dispel the darkness of confusion with our own light. By relying on God, we draw close to him, abide by his word and trust that dawn will break. By lighting our own fire, we reject the opportunity to draw near to God, and we devise our own methods to make life more manageable, more quickly. At more extreme levels, this means resorting to deception, manipulation, intimidation and the like. At less extreme levels, it means making the elimination of the confusion a greater goal than drawing near to God.

All you who kindle a fire - In other words you make your own light. He is speaking figuratively in this context. How can we be sure? Notice that the result of one "making their own fire" is not that they will be warmed by it or be able to cook over it, but that from the hand of God, they will lie down in torment. So clearly "making one's own fire" is a picture of one's own attempts to merit salvation. It is a picture of self-sufficiency.

Motyer: Those who continue in their own way, dealing with life’s darkness by a “do-it-yourself” remedy, are doomed. How true it is to this life that those who trust walk in darkness and those who are self-sufficient walk in light! . . . The picture here is of people seeking to equip themselves, out of earthly resources, to deal with earth’s dark experiences. They feel the need of nothing they cannot generate for themselves.

Wolf - Those who ‘light fires’ refers to men who had their own schemes and their own gods. Because they had rejected the light of God’s Word, they would face terrible punishment.”

J Vernon McGee writes "Some time ago a man said to me, “McGee, I heard you on the radio, and I disagree with you about salvation. Let me tell you what I think about it.” Well, he was ready to build a fire, and he wanted both of us to sit there and warm ourselves by his fire. I knew it was a phony fire, which would give off no heat or light. So I frankly said to him, “I don’t mean to be ugly or rude, but I don’t want to hear what you think, because what you think and what I think are quite meaningless. It is what God says that we need to know.” And we need to walk in the light of the Lord Jesus. He is the Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:36, 46). If we reject Him who is the Light of the World, then we generally walk in the light of our own little fire down here (cf Jesus' words in Jn 12:35, 36). The Holy Spirit gives this warning: You will lie down by that little fire of yours in sorrow, which means you will be eternally lost." (Thru the Bible)

Ellicott - The words obviously point to any human substitute for the Divine light, and thus include the two meanings which commentators have given them: (1) Man’s fiery wrath, that worketh not the righteousness of God; and (2) man’s attempt to rest in earthly comforts or enjoyments instead of in the light and joy that comes from God.

Who encircle yourselves with firebrands - "Who equip yourselves with flaming arrows" (Isa 50:11NET) "Warm yourselves by your own fires" (NLT) Encircle can mean to gird oneself. A firebrand is a piece of burning or glowing wood. The meaning is difficult to discern but in context seems to picture these individuals as trusting in themselves, in their devices, in their sufficiency, which is a direct contrast to what Isaiah has just written in Isa 50:10 calling for God sufficiency in trusting the Name of the LORD and relying on God. 

Moody Bible Commentary - The negative exhortation is to those who attempt to light their own way, using human manipulations rather than trusting God in the darkness. In their attempt to make their own light, they will be burned by that light and ultimately will lie down in torment (v. 11). (The Moody Bible Commentary)

Cornerstone Bible Commentary - Since fire is a frequent figure of punishment (cf. Isa 1:31), it is ironic that they would attempt “to warm [themselves] by [their] own fire.” Instead, they would be warmed by God’s fire in another sense! Because they had rejected the light of God’s word, they would face terrible punishment. God is the real furnace of judgment (cf. Isa 30:33; 31:9; 42:25; 47:14; 66:24), and he is both fire and light. The closing words of the chapter promise that the rebels will “soon fall down in great torment” (50:11).

Walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze - This is a call to continue to walk in rebellion. Walk is imperative regarding which the NET Note says 'The imperative is probably rhetorical and has a predictive force."

Guzik - We might think that this fire is a positive thing, but in light of the entire verse, it isn’t positive. It is more like the profane fire of Nadab and Abihu described in Numbers 10:1. If we walk in the light of that fire and in the sparks you have kindled, then we shall have torment from the hand of the LORD. This follows along the line of the Messiah’s exhortation to trust in the name of the LORD, and not in our own efforts before God, which are like a profane fire. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary Isaiah 50)

This you will have from My hand - Because of their self-sufficiency, their rebellion they sow, now they will reap the rotten fruit. 

NET Note - Perhaps the servant here speaks to his enemies and warns them that they will self-destruct.

Ellicott on lie down in torment - The words point to a death of anguish, perhaps to the torment that follows death (comp. Luke 16:24), as the outcome of the substitution of the earthly for the heavenly light.

You will lie down in torment - All who refuse the light of the Gospel, the One Who is the Light of the World (John 8:12) are in effect making their own light or trusting in their own "light," but will in the end out the only light they will merit is the eternal fires of Hell! 

The Septuagint reads "you shall lie down in sorrow." where the Greek word for sorrow is lupe which can describe physically pain, suffering, distress (Jn 16.21) as well as mental or spiritual sorrow, grief, sadness, anxiety (Jn 16.6)

Motyer notes that the word torment is used only in the passage but its related verb "guarantees its meaning of grief, pain and displeasure—even the ‘place of pain’—specifically the pains of sin under the curse of God.”

As Paul Apple says "Follow The Lighthouse Of God’s Instruction Or Torch Yourselves."  (Isaiah Commentary)

Torment (only here in Bible)(04620)(maatsebah from atsab = to hurt, pain, grieve) means a place of torment. The root atsab can refer to physical as well as emotional pain. Baker writes that maatsebah "It indicates a place of punishment, in context for those who attack God's servants."

David Thompson - God offers His warnings. God gives Israel and any a serious warning. Those who rely upon themselves rather than Jesus Christ and walk in their own light will end up in eternal torment.  (Sermon)

John Martin - They will lie down in torment (cf. Luke 16:23, 28; also note Rev. 20:13-15; 21:8). This admonition was directed to those living in Isaiah's day. But all who refuse to trust the Lord will suffer eternal damnation. (See context in The Bible Knowledge Commentary:).

J. Vernon McGee said that one time a man confronted him about his message of salvation that he heard on the radio. Dr. McGee taught the only way to be saved from hell was to believe on Jesus Christ. The man said that he disagreed and wanted to tell Dr. McGee what he thought. Dr. McGee said, “I don’t want to hear what you think because what you think is meaningless. All that matters is what God says” (See pdf Isaiah, Vol. 3, p. 306).

Shalach/Shalah - summary of lexicon discussions...

Baker on shalach - 

The word is used to describe God's sending forth or away in a providential manner or purpose (Ge 45:5; 1 Sa 15:18); even an angel or divine messenger can be sent by God (Gen. 24:7); or of commissioning someone by sending him or her, e.g., Moses (Ex. 3:12; Judg. 6:14); or Gideon to do a task (cf. Num. 21:6; Deut. 7:20; 2 Ki. 17:13, 26). The Lord sends forth His prophets (Jer. 7:25); and His plagues on Egypt (Ex. 9:14). It is used figuratively of the Lord's sending forth arrows (2 Sam. 22:15; Ps. 18:14[15]); or is used literally of a person shooting arrows (1 Sam. 20:20, in an intensive stem). God sends forth His Word (Isa. 9:8[7]; 55:11; Zech. 7:12). It can have a strong sense of casting out someone (Lev. 18:24; 20:23; Jer. 28:16). In its intensive stem, it means to set free (Ex. 4:23; 5:2). Referring to an animal, it can mean let loose (Ex. 22:5[4]). It can have the sense of putting forth or reaching out one's hand (Gen. 37:22; 1 Sam. 24:10[11]). It is used in a figurative sense of God's stretching out His hand, His power, against the leaders of Israel (Ex. 24:11). It may take on the idea of sending away, of letting loose (Gen. 28:5; Judg. 11:38; Ps. 50:19). In its passive sense, it refers to something being sent out (Gen. 44:3; Esth. 3:13). It is found in contexts in which it means to put forth (branches) (Ps. 80:11[12]; Jer. 17:8; Ezek. 31:5). To put down, to let down, e.g., Jeremiah into a cistern (Jer. 38:6). The phrase to set the city on fire is literally to cast against the city with fire (Jdg. 1:8; 20:48). In its intensive passive stem, the word is used to describe a woman sent forth or divorced (Isa. 50:1), but it is used in a figurative sense. It has the sense of unrestrained, let loose, in reference to a spoiled child (Prov. 29:15). In its causative stem use, it means to send forth, to cause to go out: famine (Ezek. 14:13; Amos 8:11); wild beasts (Lev. 26:22); flies of a plague (Ex. 8:21[17]); an enemy (2 Ki. 15:37). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament) 

H J Austel on shalach (shalah) - 

The verb shālaḥ means "to send," "to send away," "to let loose," "to spread," used of strife and discord, "to stretch out," "extend," used of the hand or a rod, "to extend," "reach out," used of roots and branches, and with ʾēsh "fire," "to light a fire."

In the first category a man sends another person somewhere (Genesis 28:5; Genesis 37:13) or he may send such things as tribute (Judges 3:15) or letters (1 Kings 21:8; 2 Kings 5:5).

God is often depicted in a similar way as sending men on an official mission as his envoys or representatives. Thus God often speaks of sending his prophets with great earnestness that they might warn Israel (cf Isaiah 6:8; Jeremiah 1:7; Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 35:15; Ezekiel 2:3-4; Judges 6:8). False prophets are not sent by God (Jeremiah 14:14-15). Moses was God's representative (Exodus 4:28; Deut. 34:11), as was Gideon (Judges 6:14). The message of the prophets is likewise regarded as being sent from God (Zech. 7:12; Isaiah 9:8 [H 7]) and will accomplish God's purpose (Isaiah 55:11). Most important, God will send his Saviour to bind up the brokenhearted and set the prisoners free (Isaiah 61:1).

God sent signs and wonders as he delivered Israel from Egypt (Psalm 135:9), but he also warns them that if they turn from him to idols, he will send rebukes, confusion, and a curse on them (Deut. 28:20).

The meaning "send away" is generally found in the Piel and is seen in Genesis 12:20; Genesis 18:16. Genesis 3:23 clearly involves an expulsion, and in Jeremiah 28:16 the meaning involves death. Divorce is a sending away of the wife (Deut. 22:19, 29; Isaiah 50:1).

The third meaning "let loose, free" is also found mostly in the Piel. It is used in the mild sense of formally allowing a guest to leave (Genesis 18:16; Genesis 24:54) or in the stronger sense of releasing captives such as Israel in Egypt (Exodus 4:21), the exiles in Babylon (Isaiah 45:13), and the prisoners in the pit (Zech. 9:11). In Psalm 81:12 God gives rebellious Israel up to go their own ways and to suffer the consequences.

Those passages in which God releases various types of plagues on his people should no doubt be regarded in this same category, since the Piel is used. This means that God removes his protective hand and unleashes various hostile forces (Numbers 21:6; Jeremiah 9:16; Amos 4:10 etc.).

Proverbs 6:14, 19 illustrates the fourth category, "spread" of strife, while the fiflh, "stretching out" the hand is seen in 1 Samuel 24:6 [H 7]. In Psalm 110:2 Messiah extends his scepter as he rules the nations. The reaching out of roots and branches is seen in Jeremiah 17:8 and Ezekiel 17:6, while the last category, "to light a fire," "send a fire" is seen in Hosea 8:14 and Amos 1:4, 7, 10, 12. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Vine on shalach

"to send, stretch forth, get rid of." This verb occurs in the Northwest Semitic languages (Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramaic). It occurs in all periods of Hebrew and in the Bible about 850 times. Biblical Aramaic uses this word 14 times.

Basically this verb means "to send," in the sense of (1) to initiate and to see that such movement occurs or (2) to successfully conclude such an action. In Gen. 32:18 the second emphasis is in view, these animals are "a present sent unto my lord Esau." In Gen. 38:20 the first idea is in view: When "Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend…, he found her not"; it never reached its goal. In 1 Sa 15:20 Saul told Samuel about the "way which the lord sent" him; here, too, the emphasis is on the initiation of the action. The most frequent use of shālacḥ suggests the sending of someone or something as a messenger to a particular place: "… He shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence" (Gen. 24:7); God's angel (messenger) will be sent to Nahor to prepare things for the successful accomplishment of the servant's task. One may also "send a word" by the hand of a messenger (fool); one may send a message (Prov. 26:6), send a letter (2 Sam. 11:14), and send instructions (Gen. 20:2).

Shālacḥ can refer to shooting arrows by sending them to hit a particular target: "And he sent out arrows, and scattered them …" (2 Sam. 22:15). In Exod. 9:14 God "sends" His plague into the midst of the Egyptians; He "sends" them forth and turns them loose among them. Other special meanings of this verb include letting something go freely or without control: "Thou givest thy mouth to evil …" Exod. (Psa.50:19).

Quite often this verb means "to stretch out." God was concerned lest after the Fall Adam "put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life" (Gen. 3:22). One may stretch forth a staff (1 Sam. 14:27) or a sickle (Joel 3:13). For the most part the intensive stems merely intensify the meanings already set forth, but the meaning "to send away" is especially frequent: "… Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for David had sent him away …" (2 Sam. 3:22, niv). That is, David "let him go" (v. 24, niv). God sent man out of the garden of Eden; He made man leave (Gen. 3:23, the first occurrence of the verb). Noah sent forth a raven (Gen. 8:7). Shālacḥ can also mean to give someone a send off, or "to send" someone on his way in a friendly manner: "… And Abraham went with them to bring them on the way [send them off]" (Gen. 18:16). In Deut. 22:19 the word is used of divorcing a wife, or sending her away.

This verb can signify "to get rid of" something: "They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their [labor pains]" (Job 39:3). It can also be used of setting a bondservant free: "And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty" (Deut. 15:13). In a less technical sense shālacḥ can mean to release someone held by force. The angel with whom Jacob wrestled said: "Let me go, for the day breaketh" (Gen. 32:26). Yet another nuance is "to hand someone over," as in Psa. 81:12: "So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust…." Shālacḥ can also mean to set something afire, as in "set the city on fire" (Jdg. 1:8).

In the passive sense the verb has some additional special meanings; in Prov. 29:15 it means "to be left to oneself": "… But a child left to himself [who gets his own way] bringeth his mother to shame." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words)

Gilbrant on shalach

Shālach can refer to persons who are sent by other persons, such as the action of sending messengers (Gen. 32:3) or diplomatic envoys (2 Sam. 10:3). The primary messengers Yahweh sent were his prophets (Isa. 6:8).

Nonhuman objects can be sent as well. Joseph sent a small caravan of material goods to Jacob (Gen. 45:23). Likewise, letters of intimidation were sent to Nehemiah, as the Persian governor of Judah, concerning his rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 6:19).

The act of dismissing a person is conveyed by shālach. This can be a simple parting (1 Sam. 20:5) or as a person is allowed to leave concluding an agreement, evidenced by the bargaining between Ahab and the Damascene king Ben-Hadad (1 Ki. 20:34). Moses begged for the people to be allowed to leave Egypt in order to offer sacrifices in the desert (Exo. 7:16). Those not selected to fight were dismissed from the levy of Saul (1 Sam. 13:2).

The verb can also convey the sense of being "cast out." Yahweh sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23). He threatened to send the Judahites out of his sight, symbolic of casting aside the Covenant, and thus sending them into exile (Jer. 15:1). The verb also conveys the sense of being abandoned (Isa. 27:10).

The act of Yahweh dispensing judgment is conveyed by shālach. He sent pestilences (Deut. 7:20), the pestilence as judgment (Amos 4:10), wild animals (Lev. 26:22) and a spirit of evil (Judg. 9:23).

Conversely, Yahweh can also send blessings. Yahweh promised to send grain, wine and oil as He restored the fortunes of Judah (Joel 2:19). Other gifts from Yahweh include water (Job 5:10), aid (Ps. 20:2) and light and truth (43:3).

The act of dismissing appears in a pair of legal contexts. First, the act of sending someone away is a legal, technical term for the emancipation of slaves (Deut. 15:12; Jer. 34:9ff). It was also used as a legal technical term for divorce (Deut. 21:14; 24:1; Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:1ff). The context in these passages is limited to the legal environment surrounding the obligations of the male as he divorced the female (the reverse was marginally possible in the original cultural context).

A semantic extension of the previously mentioned legal contexts is the nuance of "freeing an object." Animals could be allowed to roam freely (Exo. 22:5). The scapegoat was freed into the desert as part of a little understood ritual (Lev. 16:22). Yahweh freed the wild ass to roam (Job 39:5). Flowing water is freed (Ezek. 31:4). Likewise, hanging hair is freed (44:20). Emotions can be freed, and thus vented (Job 30:11; Prov. 6:14). A person's mouth is freed, enabling him to do evil (Ps. 50:19).

A semantic extension of sending is found in the concept of extending body parts, in particular the hand. Extending the hand can mean that a person wishes to grasp an object (Job 28:9) or to wrongfully seize another's property (Exo. 22:8). It can also indicate that a person wishes to deliver someone, especially when Yahweh is extending his hand (Ps. 138:7).

The most common meaning associated with stretching forth the hand is to do harm. It is used to express murder (2 Sam. 1:14), and Yahweh proclaimed that He would strike Egypt by stretching forth his hand (Exo. 3:20). However, He did not extend his hand against the elders of Israel when He manifested himself in their presence (24:11).

Among the numerous idioms expressing the concept of setting a fire is to "send" fire (Judg. 1:8). The act of Yahweh shooting arrows is also expressed by this verb (2 Sam. 22:15). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Shalach - 790 verse - Translated in NAS - again(5), bade his farewell(1), burned*(1), cast(2), cast off(1), casting(1), certainly let(1), certainly let the go(1), delivered(1), direct(1), dismissed(2), dispatch(1), divorce(3), divorces(1), drive(1), driving them away(1), escort(1), escorted him away(1), extended(2), extends(1), forlorn(1), gave(1), gave them over(1), get rid(1), gets his own way(1), go(11), go away(1), go free(4), grow long(1), laid(2), lay(8), let(8), let her go(2), let him go(3), let me go(4), let my go(11), let my go free(1), let out freely(1), let the go(8), let them down(1), let them go(6), let you go(7), let your loose(1), let go(1), let loose(2), let...down(1), let...go(3), lets his loose(1), lets you go(1), letting the go(1), letting them go(1), letting us go(1), loot(1), pointing(1), put(10), put forth(7), puts(2), putting(1), reached(3), reached*(1), release(2), released(3), remove(1), rushed(1), scattered(1), send(139), send him away(2), send it away(2), send me away(4), send them away(1), send you away(2), send away(4), sending(13), sending me away(1), sending them and again(1), sends(10), sent(420), sent her away(5), sent him away(5), sent his away(1), sent me away(2), sent the away(3), sent them away(9), sent you away(3), sent your away(1), sent away(7), sent...away(3), set(12), set your free(1), set free(1), shot(1), spread(2), spreads(3), stretch(13), stretch forth(3), stretched(11), stretches(2), surely let(1), surely let me go(1), throw(1), thrown(1), thrust(1), urgently send(1), use(1), will(1).

Gen. 3:22-23; 8:7-10,12; 12:20; 18:16; 19:10,13,29; 20:2; 21:14; 22:10,12; 24:7,40,54,56,59; 25:6; 26:27,29,31; 27:42,45; 28:5-6; 30:25; 31:4,27,42; 32:3,5,18,26; 37:13-14,22,32; 38:17,20,23,25; 41:8,14; 42:4,16; 43:4-5,8,14; 44:3; 45:5,7-8,23-24,27; 46:5,28; 48:14; 49:21; Exod. 2:5; 3:10,12-15,20; 4:4,13,21,23,28; 5:1-2,22; 6:1,11; 7:2,14,16; 8:1-2,8,20-21,28-29,32; 9:1-2,7,13-15,17,19,27-28,35; 10:3-4,7,10,20,27; 11:1,10; 12:33; 13:15,17; 14:5; 15:7; 18:2,27; 21:26-27; 22:5,8,11; 23:20,27-28; 24:5,11; 33:2,12; Lev. 14:7,53; 16:10,21-22,26; 18:24; 20:23; 26:22,25; Num. 5:2-4; 13:2-3,16-17,27; 14:36; 16:12,28-29; 20:14,16; 21:6,21,32; 22:5,10,15,37,40; 24:12; 31:4,6; 32:8; Deut. 1:22; 2:26; 7:20; 9:23; 15:12-13,18; 19:12; 21:14; 22:7,19,29; 24:1,3-4; 25:11; 28:20,48; 32:24; 34:11; Jos. 1:16; 2:1,3,21; 6:17,25; 7:2,22; 8:3,9; 10:3,6; 11:1; 14:7,11; 18:4; 22:6-7,13; 24:5,9,12,28; Jdg. 1:8,25; 2:6; 3:15,18,21; 4:6; 5:15,26; 6:8,14,21,35; 7:8,24; 9:23,31; 11:12,14,17,19,28,38; 12:9; 13:8; 15:5,15; 16:18; 18:2; 19:25,29; 20:6,12,48; 21:10,13; 1 Sam. 4:4; 5:8,10-11; 6:2-3,6,8,21; 9:16,19,26; 10:25; 11:3,7; 12:8,11; 13:2; 14:27; 15:1,18,20; 16:1,11-12,19-20,22; 17:49; 18:5; 19:11,14-15,17,20-21; 20:5,12-13,20-22,29,31; 21:2; 22:11,17; 24:6,10,19; 25:5,14,25,32,39-40; 26:4,9,11,23; 30:26; 31:9; 2 Sam. 1:14; 2:5; 3:12,14-15,21-24,26; 5:11; 6:6; 8:10; 9:5; 10:2ff,16; 11:1,3-6,12,14,18,22,27; 12:1,25,27; 13:7,16-17,27; 14:2,29,32; 15:5,10,12,36; 17:16; 18:2,12,29; 19:11,14,31; 22:15,17; 24:13,16; 1 Ki. 1:44,53; 2:25,29,36,42; 5:1-2,8-9,14; 7:13; 8:44,66; 9:7,14,27; 11:21-22; 12:3,18,20; 13:4; 14:6; 15:18-20; 18:10,19-20; 19:2; 20:2,5-7,9-10,17,34,42; 21:8,11,14; 2 Ki. 1:2,6,9,11,13,16; 2:2,4,6,16-17; 3:7; 4:22; 5:5-8,10,22,24; 6:7,9-10,13-14,23,32; 7:13-14; 8:9,12; 9:17,19; 10:1,5,7,21; 11:4; 12:18; 14:8-9,19; 15:37; 16:7-8,10-11; 17:4,13,25-26; 18:14,17,27; 19:2,4,9,16,20; 20:12; 22:3,15,18; 23:1,16; 24:2; 1 Chr. 8:8; 10:9; 12:19; 13:2,9-10; 14:1; 18:10; 19:2ff,8,16; 21:12,15; 2 Chr. 2:3,7-8,11,13,15; 6:34; 7:10,13; 8:18; 10:3,18; 16:2-4; 17:7; 24:19,23; 25:15,17-18,27; 28:16; 30:1; 32:9,21,31; 34:8,23,26,29; 35:21; 36:10,15; Ezr. 8:16; Neh. 2:5-6,9; 6:2-5,8,12,19; 8:10,12; 13:21; Est. 1:22; 2:21; 3:6,13; 4:4; 5:10; 6:2; 8:7,10; 9:2,10,15-16,20,30; Job 1:4-5,11-12; 2:5; 5:10; 8:4; 12:15; 14:20; 18:8; 20:23; 21:11; 22:9; 28:9; 30:11-12,24; 38:35; 39:3,5; Ps. 18:14,16; 20:2; 43:3; 44:2; 50:19; 55:20; 57:3; 74:7; 78:25,45,49; 80:11; 81:12; 104:10,30; 105:17,20,26,28; 106:15; 107:20; 110:2; 111:9; 125:3; 135:9; 138:7; 144:6-7; 147:15,18; Prov. 6:14,19; 9:3; 10:26; 16:28; 17:11; 22:21; 25:13; 26:6; 29:15; 31:19-20; Eccl. 11:1; Cant. 5:4; Isa. 6:8; 9:8; 10:6,16; 16:1-2; 18:2; 19:20; 20:1; 27:8,10; 32:20; 36:2,12; 37:2,4,9,17,21; 39:1; 42:19; 43:14; 45:13; 48:16; 50:1; 55:11; 57:9; 58:6,9; 61:1; 66:19; Jer. 1:7,9; 2:10; 3:1,8; 7:25; 8:17; 9:16-17; 14:3,14-15; 15:1; 16:16; 17:8; 19:14; 21:1; 23:21,32,38; 24:5,10; 25:4,9,15-17,27; 26:5,12,15,22; 27:3,15; 28:9,15-16; 29:1,3,9,17,19-20,25,28,31; 34:9-11,14,16; 35:15; 36:14,21; 37:3,7,17; 38:6,11,14; 39:13-14; 40:1,5,14; 42:5-6,9,20-21; 43:1-2,10; 44:4; 48:12; 49:14,37; 50:33; 51:2; Lam. 1:13; Ezek. 2:3-4,9; 3:5-6; 5:16-17; 7:3; 8:3,17; 10:7; 13:6,20; 14:13,19,21; 17:6-7,15; 23:16,40; 28:23; 31:4-5; 39:6; 44:20; Dan. 10:11; 11:42; Hos. 5:13; 8:14; Joel 2:19,25; 3:13; Amos 1:4,7,10,12; 2:2,5; 4:10; 7:10; 8:11; Obad. 1:1,7,13; Mic. 6:4; Hag. 1:12; Zech. 1:10; 2:8-9,11; 4:9; 6:15; 7:2,12; 8:10; 9:11; Mal. 2:2,4,16; 3:1; 4:5