Isaiah 52




            Zion is exhorted to rise from the dust, throw off her bonds,

            and assert her freedom (vs. 1, 2). God will deliver her from this

            third captivity for His Name’s sake, which her oppressors

            blaspheme (vs. 3-6).




v. 1 – “Awake, awake” – “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high

            time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than

            when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us

            therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor

            of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and

            drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and

            envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision

            for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  Romans 13:11-14


Three times, here and the last chapter, vs. 9 and 17, Israel is encouraged

to “wake up” – the above verse from Romans is the remedy for our slumber

or unawareness!


put on thy strength” – Zion is now exhorted to do her part, nor is she to

                                         stop there – she is to


put on thy beautiful garments” – to dress the part – to show herself again

                                        a queen, not to be content to dress like a groveling

                                        captive -


best of garments – this is a very touchy subject nowadays for our

contemporary friends who dress down to not offend the world – and

not offending, their dress is more like the world than a representative

of the God of the Universe – (CY – 2009)


v. 3 – “Ye have sold yourselves for nought-  rather, for nought were

ye sold. God received nothing when he allowed His people to become the

slaves of the Babylonians. He took no price for them (Isaiah 50:1),

and therefore is free to claim them back without payment (Isaiah 45:13).

He has but to say the word; and He is about to say it.


ye shall be redeemed without money”  - the Plan of Salvation




v. 4 – “My people went down… into Egypt ... the Assyrian

oppressed them” - Israel had experienced three captivities. They “went

down” voluntarily into Egypt, on invitation, to sojourn, and were there

cruelly and unjustly reduced to a servile condition (Exodus 1:13, 14).

They (or a great part of them) were violently carried into captivity by the

Assyrian kings, Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29), Sargon (2 Kings 17:6), and

Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13; ‘Eponym Canon,’ p. 134), who, without cause,

grievously “oppressed” them. Now they are suffering under a third captivity in

Babylonia. What is to be the Divine action under these circumstances?


v. 5 – “What have I here?” -  rather, what have I to do here? i.e. what is

the task before me — the work that I have to perform? There are three

principal considerations by which the answer to this question has to be



  • The Babylonians have obtained possession of the Israelites without

      purchase — for nought;


  • they use their authority harshly and brutally; and


  • they continually blaspheme the Name of Jehovah


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my name continually every day is blasphemed” – this is too close

for comfort in American and European society today – A WORD

OF CAUTION – the third commandment says “Thou shalt NOT take

the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will NOT HOLD

HIM GUILTLESS that taketh His name in vain” – Exodus 20:7


what have I here, saith the Lord” – I do not want to dishonor God

by comparison but this reminds me of what William Bendix in The

Life of Riley in early television days used to say “What a revolting

development this is!” (CY -2009)



v. 6 – “Therefore” - Because of the “howling” and the “blasphemy” –

            my people shall know my Name” -my people shall know by

            practical experience that I am all that my name of El or Elohim -

            the Strong,’ ‘ the Powerful’ — implies.” – “they shall know in that

            day The “day” when God would come to their help and deliver them

            from their oppressors — when they would call upon Him, and He would

            manifest Himself (Isaiah 58:9), responding to their appeal as distinctly as

            though he said, “HERE I AM!”




prophet sees the messenger come bounding over the mountains of Judaea,

to bring the news to Jerusalem that her deliverance is come (v. 7). The

angelic watchers sing with joy (v. 8). The prophet calls upon the waste

places of Jerusalem to do the same, and dwells on the greatness of the

mercy wrought (vs. 9, 10). Finally, he exhorts the exiles to avail

themselves of the permission to quit Babylon, and prophesies that they will

go forth in peace, without hurry, under the guidance and protection of God

(vs. 11, 12).


v. 7 – “publisheth salvation” – “How beautiful upon the mountains are

            the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!

            (comp.Nahum 1:15, which is almost a repetition of the passage).

            The primary meaning is undoubtedly that assigned to the words in the  

            ntroductory paragraph; but this does not hinder there being also a

            secondary meaning, viz. the Messianic one of Romans 10:15.

            Jerusalem’s deliverance is a type of the redemption of the world

            by Christ!


v. 8 – “they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion

            What a wonderful SIDE-EFFECT!


vs. 9-10 – “ Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of

            Jerusalem:  for the LORD hath comforted His people, He hath

            redeemed Jerusalem.  The LORD hath made bare His holy arm

            in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see

            the salvation of our God.


The work wrought for Israel is not “a thing done in a corner,” but one on

which the eyes of the” nations” have been turned. and to which the attention

of” the ends of the earth” has been called (Isaiah 41:5). The holy arm of

Jehovah, made bare for battle, has been seen far and wide. The world has

stood to gaze at the contest and thus it will be at the end of the world –

once again I refer the reader to (Ezekiel – God’s Use of the Word Know)

this web site.


v. 12 – “the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your

            rereward - God would go before them, as He did on that former

            occasion (Exodus 13:21), though not now visibly; and He would also

            defend them from attacks by the way, being at once their Guide and

            their Rereward, or Rearguard.







generally allowed by modern commentators that this passage is more

closely connected with what follows it than with what precedes. Some

would detach it altogether from ch. 52. and attach it to ch. 53. But this is

not necessary. The passage has a completeness in itself. It is a connecting

link. The exaltation of Israel, the collective “Servant of the Lord”

(Isaiah 44:1, 21), brings to the prophet’s mind the exaltation of the

individual Servant(Isaiah 42:1-7; 43:10; 49:1-12), through which

alone the full exaltation of Israel is possible. He is bound to complete his

account of the individual Servant by telling of His exaltation, and of the

road which led to it. This is done in ch. 53., in what has been called the

Great Passional. But the Great Passional needs a prelude,” an

“introduction,’’ if only as indicative’ of its greatness. And this prelude

we have here, in these three verses, which briefly note:


  • the fact of the exaltation;
  • the depth of the humiliation preceding it; and
  • the far-extending blessedness which shall result to the world

      from both.


v. 13 – “My Servant shall deal prudently” -  rather, shall deal wisely;

i.e. shall so act throughout His mission as to secure it the most complete

success. “Wisdom is justified of her children,” and of none so entirely

justified as of Him “in whom were all the treasures of wisdom and

knowledge hid away” (Colossians 2:3) – “exalted and extolled” or, high

and lifted up — the same expressions as are used of the Almighty in

Isaiah 6:1 and Isaiah 57:15. Even there, however, seems to the

prophet ,not enough; so he adds, “and exalted exceedingly” (comp.

Isaiah 53:10-12 and Philippians 2:6-9).


v. 14 – “As many were astonied at thee” -  The world was “astonied” to

see, in One come to deliver it, no outward show of grandeur or

magnificence, no special beauty or “comeliness” (Isaiah 53:2), but a

Presence unattractive to the mass of men at all times, and in the end so

cruelly marred and disfigured as to retain scarcely any resemblance to the

ordinary form and face of man. The prophet, as Delitzsch says, sits at the

foot of the cross on Calvary, and sees the Redeemer as He hung upon the

accursed tree, after He had been buffeted, and crowned with thorns, and

smitten, and scourged, and crucified, when His face was covered with

bruises and with gore, and His frame and features distorted with agony.


v. 15 - So shall he sprinkle many nations. The Septuagint has, “So

shall many nations marvel at him;” and this translation is followed by

Gesenius and Ewald. Mr. Cheyne thinks that the present Hebrew text is

corrupt, and suggests that a verb was used antithetical to the astonied of

v. 14, expressing “joyful surprise.” It is certainly hard to see how the idea

of “sprinkling,” even if it can mean “purifying,” comes in here – “kings shall

shut their mouths at him” - rather, because of him. In reverential awe of

His surpassing greatness (comp.Micah 7:16). That which had not been

told them shall they see. They will learn the facts of Christ’s humiliation,

sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven — events that it

had never entered into the heart of man to conceive, and of which,

therefore, no tongue had ever spoken.


shut up – is not an offensive word as the God of all the universe uses it.




                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES


The Special Need of Purity in Them that Bear the Vessels of the Lord.


v. 11 - It is the duty of all to avoid impurity, to “touch no unclean thing,” to

perfect holiness in the fear of God.” But a special purity is required of

those who, by holding any sacred office, are brought nearer to God than

others, and as it were serve continually in His presence. Hence the

numerous directions in the Jewish Law with respect to the priests — their

consecration, their ablutions, their vestments, their sin offerings, and the

like (Leviticus 8:2-35; 9:1-24). Hence, moreover, such injunctions as

the following: “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou [Aaron], nor thy

sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye

die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: that ye may

put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean”


They are to be holy unto their God and are not to profane His glorious



"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name"

                                    Psalm 29:2

The are to "abstain from the appearance of evil"

and "to let not their good to be evil spoken of"


v. 13 - "my Servant" - His exaltation and the depth

            of humiliation  - a great blessing to the world

            for both


How quickly did the little flock grow to thousands,

and the thousands  into ten thousands, and the ten

thousands unto the millions, until the whole Roman

Empire was converted and "the kingdoms of this

world  became the kingdoms of the Lord and His

Christ" - Rev. 11:15