Isaiah 50




This chapter seems to be made up of short fragments, which the collector,

or collectors, of Isaiah’s writings regarded as too precious to be lost, and

which they consequently here threw together, though in reality they were

detached utterances, and are not even connected in subject-matter. vs. 1-

3 are a rebuke to the exiles for deeming themselves wholly rejected, and

not rising to the occasion now that deliverance is at hand. vs. 4-9 carry

on the account of “the Servant of the Lord” from Isaiah 49:3, further

describing His humiliation, and declaring His steadfastness and His faith.

vs. 10-11 are an exhortation to weak believers generally, and contain an

encouragement and a warning.



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.” Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement? 

On account of her persistent "backsliding," God had "put away Israel," Judah's

sister, and had "given her a bill of divorce" (Jeremiah 3:8). But He had

not repudiated Judah; and her children were wrong to suppose themselves

altogether cast off (see ch. 49:14). They had, in fact, by their transgressions,

especially their idolatries, willfully divorced themselves, or at any

rate separated themselves, from God; but no sentence had gone forth

from Him to bar reconciliation and return. Or which of my creditors

is it to whom I have sold you! Neither has God exercised the right, regarded

as inherent in a parent (Exodus 21:7Nehemiah 6:5,8), of selling his children

to a creditor. They are not sold - He has "taken no money for them"

(ch.52:3; Psalm 44:12 ); and the Babylonians are thus not their rightful

owners (ch. 49:24) - they are still God's children, His property, and the

objects of His care. For your iniquities... for your transgressions; rather, 

by your iniquities... by your transgressions. The separation, such as it was,

between God and His people was caused by their sins, not by any act of His.


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.” Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? Such being

the condition of things; Judah having rejected me, not I them - why, "when I

came" and announced deliverance from Babylon, was there no response?

Why did no champion appear? Is it that my power was doubted? that it was

feared my hand was shortened, so that it could not redeem or deliver?

But I am He who has power with his rebuke to dry up the sea (Exodus 14:21), 

to make rivers a wilderness (Exodus 7:20Joshua 3:16-17); in fact, to change

the course of nature as seemeth Him good, and accomplish His will against

all obstacles. Is my hand shortened? i.e. "is my power less than it was?"

Can any one suppose this? Surely what I have once done I can do again.

If I delivered from Egypt, I can redeem from Babylon. Their fish stinketh 

(compare Exodus 7:21). But the object is rather to assert an absolute

control over nature than to take the thoughts of the hearers back to any

special occasions when control was exercised.


3 “I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”

I clothe the heavens with blackness (compare Jeremiah 4:28Ezekiel 32:7-10

Joel 2:103:15Matthew 24:29Mark 13:24Luke 21:25-27Revelation 6:12-17).

The Egyptian plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21-23) is not adequate to the

expressions here used. God means to assert His power of leaving all nature

in absolute darkness, if he so choose - a power necessarily belonging to Him

who said, "Let there be light; and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). I make

sackcloth their covering (see Revelation 6:12, "The sun became black as

 sackcloth of hair").


God can change the course of nature (El Shaddai)

as seemeth good to Him and accomplish His goals

against all odds or obstacles.  (I recommend a close perusal of

Genesis 17 – Names of God – El Shaddai – by Nathan Stone  -

# 324 - this web site – CY – 2020)




It is as easy for God to reverse a law as to maintain

it - He can:


  • dry up the sea in a moment
  • make rivers a desert
  • clothe heaven in blackness
  • cause the stars to fall
  • create a new heaven and new earth
  • cast death and hell into the lake of fire
  • cause the sun to stand still or go back

            ten degrees (see II Kings 20:9-11)





                                                (vs. 4-9)


The separateness of this passage has been maintained in the opening paragraph.

That it is not of himself that the prophet here speaks, appears:


  • from the self-assertion (vs, 4-5, 9);
  • from the depth of humiliation declared in v. 6, which is beyond

            anything recorded of Isaiah. But if he does not speak of himself,    

            he can scarcely speak of any other besides “the Servant,” of whom

            he has already said much (ch. 42:1-8; 49:1-12), and of whom he

            has still much more to say (ch. 52:13-15; 53:1-12).


These verses carry on the account of “the Servant of the Lord” from ch. 49:6-10,

further by describing His humiliation and declaring His steadfastness and faith!


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.”

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned; literally, 

the tongue of disciples; i.e. a trained tongue, a well-taught tongue.

Christ "did nothing of Himself; as the Father had taught him," so He

spoke (John 8:28). That I should know how to speak a word in season 

to him that is weary; rather, that I shall know how to sustain by a

word him that is weary. Compare, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are

heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He wakeneth

morning by morning... mine ear. God held immediate and constant

communication with the "Servant" - not enlightening Him occasionally,

as He did the prophets, by dreams and visions, but continually whispering

in His ear. At no time did the Father "leave Him alone" (John 8:29) or cease

to speak to Him. "Morning by morning" is not to be narrowed to the bare

literal meaning, but to be taken in the sense of "un-interruptedly." To hear

as the learned; rather, to hear as disciples hear; i.e.”


·         attentively,

·         submissively,

·         gladly.


5 “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither

turned away back.”  The Lord hath opened mine ear. Some understand

this of the boring of the ear for perpetual service (Psalm 40:6Exodus 21:6);

but it is perhaps better to regard it as intended to mark a contrast between the

true Servant and the professed servants, or children of Israel. They "did not hear;

their ear was not opened; they were treacherous and rebellious from the womb"

(ch. 48:8). His ear was opened to receive God's word perpetually; He was not

rebellious, did not turn away back. Even when most tried, His final word was,

"Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).


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 the

smiters (see ch. 53:5ad fin.; and compare Matthew 26:6727:26John 19:1). 

My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. This is a detail not historically

recorded by the evangelists; but it may have had a literal fulfillment. Plucking off

the hair was not unknown to the Jews as a punishment (see Nehemiah 13:25). 

I hid not my face from shame and spitting (see Matthew 26:6727:30).

Spitting in the East marked at once contempt and abhorrence. It is a

practice which continues to the present day.


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.”

For the Lord God will help me; rather, but the Lord God will help me. I shall not

be left always in the hands of my enemies. In this confidence the Servant rests,

and is not confounded, even when the worst happens to Him. He sets His face

like a flint; i.e. makes it hard, impassive, expressionless, and at the same time

determined, fixed not to give way (compare Ezekiel 3:8-9).


(Compare Luke 9:51 – when Jesus was ready to go to Jerusalem to die for the sins of

the world “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem)










(I know from my interest in archeology how hard flint is – locally we have

an abundant source that is now known as Hopkinsville chert – it

was used by some of the first inhabitants of the New World during the

Ice Age – Christian County is well known throughout the world for this

outcrop – see my book  - “My One Hundred Favorite Artifacts from the

Little River Clovis Complex”  chert will cut glass – CY – 2009)  If impatient,

and really interested in theearly days of Christian County, Kentucky – type in

your browser – The Little River Clovis Complex and see what you get – CY –



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.  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.”  He is near that justifieth me. 

God, who knows His innocence, is near at hand, and will shortly "make His

righteousness clear as the noonday." (Psalm 37:6)  This was done when God raised

up from the dead "the Holy One and the Just" (Acts 3:14). whom cruel men

"by wicked hands had crucified and slain" (ibid. ch. 2:23). By the resurrection

God acquitted Christ of the charge of blasphemy on which he had been condemned,

and proclaimed Him "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners"

(Hebrews 7:26). Who will contend with me? (compare Paul's words in Romans

8:33-34, "It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?"). GOD IS THE

SOLE JUDGE of men - of the "Servant" in His human capacity, no less than of others.

If He acquits, it is idle for any accuser to stand forth and "contend" or "condemn"

(v. 9). God will help the innocent, whom He has acquitted, and will destroy the

accuser by a secret but most sure destruction. The moth shall eat them up (compare 

Psalm 39:11, and here, ch. 51:8).



                        AN ADDRESS OF JEHOVAH TO HIS CHURCH

                                                     (vs. 10-11)


Some suppose that the Church of Hezekiah's reign is addressed; others the exiles

towards the close of the Captivity period. The first verse is an exhortation,

encouraging those who fear God, but have insufficient light, to trust in Him.

The second threatens such as "kindle fire," or cause strife, with retribution. 


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.”  That obeyeth the voice of His servant;

that is, of "His servant" for the time being, whether Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or

"the Servant" -  κατ ἐξοχήν – kat exochaenpar excellence.  That walketh in

darkness. Not clearly seeing his way or knowing what his duty is, and so inclined

to despond and doubt. Every such person is bidden to put aside his doubts, and

trust wholly in the Name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Hence light will

shine in upon him, and his doubts will be resolved, and sufficient light will be

granted him to direct his paths.


Every person is bidden to put aside his doubts and trust wholly “in the name of

the Lord God and stay upon his God


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.” All ye that kindle a fire,

that compass yourselves about with sparks; or, with firebrands. The persons

intended seem to be those whose "tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity" (James 3:6),

and who by means of it are employed in "stirring up strife all the day long." They

are condemned to be scorched by the fire which they have themselves kindled,

to be made wretched by the strife which they have themselves caused to spring up.

Their end, moreover, will be to lie down in sorrow; or, in torture (Cheyne).

God will punish them in the next world for the misery which they have brought about

in this, and will thus exercise retributive justice upon the wicked ones, whose main

object in life has been to embitter the lives of their fellow-men.


THE DANGER OF PLAYING WITH FIRE!  - “ye that compass yourselves

with sparks” with highly combustible sinful material all around their lives??????


my candle burns at both ends;

it will not last the night, but

Ah my foes and Oh my friends,

it gives a lovely light!”

                                                (Edna St. Vincent Millay)


(Only temporally, Eternal joy is not included!  CY – 2020)




                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES


            No Condemnation for Those Whom God Justifies.


Those whom God has justified may still be, sometimes are, arraigned:


  • by Satan;
  • by their fellow-men.


I. SATAN’S ARRAIGNMENT VAIN. “Hast thou considered my servant

Job,” said Jehovah to Satan, “that there is none like him in the earth, a

perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” To

which the answer was given, “Doth Job fear God for nought?” (Job 1:8, 9).

Satan arraigned Job as selfish, hypocritical, irreligious, and was

allowed to put him to the proof; but with the result that Job’s integrity was

established, and the accuser put to shame. Satan, however, gains no

wisdom by experience. Still he remains “the accuser of the brethren, which

accuseth them before God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). All that

can be said against them, doubtless, he says — misrepresents their motives,

exposes their shortcomings, exaggerates their failings and their sins. But to

what purpose? “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb”

(Revelation 12:11). To them whom God has justified, whom God has

forgiven, past sins are blotted out, past shortcomings are made up. The

merits of Christ suffice to cover all their iniquities. Let them but have true

faith in Him, let them but cling to Him, and then “their sins, though they be

as scarlet, shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they

shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).


II. MAN’S ARRAIGNMENT IDLE. Man’s arraignment of his fellowmen

can have no effect at all excepting in this world. He may bring them

before tribunals, obtain their condemnation, their execution, their temporal

disgrace. He may gibbet them in history, misrepresent, malign, blacken

their names and their reputations. But over their real selves he is powerless.

God justifies them, pardons them, receives them into His kingdom, looks on

them with favour, reckons them among his saints, gives them the blessing

of eternal communion with Him in heaven. What matters it to them that

somewhere, in a paltry planet, ignorant and ephemeral mortals speak evil of

them and brand their memories? “It is God that justifieth.” One justifying

word from Him may well outweigh any amount of human dispraise, of

human contumely. Their end in this world may have been “without

honour;” but their entrance into the next is with words at once of promise

and of high honour, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into

the joy of thy Lord,”



(One parting note – reader – you may rest assured thatthere is nothing

covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known…..

whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in light; and that

which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the

housetops” – Jesus Christ – Luke 12:2-3)



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