Isaiah 53:4 MEANING

Isaiah 53:4
(4) Surely he hath borne our griefs . . .--The words are spoken as by those who had before despised the Servant of Jehovah, and have learnt the secret of His humiliation. "Grief" and "sorrow," as before, imply "disease" and "pain," and St. Matthew's application of the text (Matthew 8:17) is therefore quite legitimate. The words "stricken, smitten of God," are used elsewhere specially of leprosy and other terrible sicknesses (Genesis 12:17; Leviticus 13:3; Leviticus 13:9; Numbers 14:12; 1 Samuel 6:9; 2 Kings 15:5). So the Vulg. gives leprosus. The word for "borne," like the Greek in John 1:29, implies both the "taking upon himself," and the "taking away from others," i.e., the true idea of vicarious and mediatorial atonement.

Verse 4. - Surely he hath borne our griefs; or, surely they were our griefs which he bore. The pronouns are emphatic. Having set forth at length the fact of the Servant's humiliation (vers. 2, 3), the prophet hastens to declare the reason of it. Twelve times over within the space of nine verses he asserts. with the most emphatic reiteration, that all the Servant's sufferings were vicarious, borne for him, to save him from the consequences of his sins, to enable him to escape punishment. The doctrine thus taught in the Old Testament is set forth! with equal distinctness in the New (Matthew 20:28; John 11:50-52; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:6-8; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24, etc.), and forms the hope, the trust, and the consolation of Christians. and carried our sorrows. The application which St. Matthew makes of this passage to our Lord's miracles of healing (Matthew 8:17) is certainly not the primary sense of the words, but may be regarded as a secondary application of them. Christ's sufferings were the remedy for all the ills that flesh is heir to. Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God. They who saw Christ suffer, instead of understanding that he was bearing the sins of others in a mediatorial capacity, imagined that he was suffering at God's hands for his own sins. Hence they scoffed at him and reviled him, even in his greatest agonies (Matthew 27:39-44). To one only, and him not one of God's people, was it given to see the contrary, and to declare aloud, at the moment of the death, "Certainly this was a righteous Man" (Luke 23:47).

53:4-9 In these verses is an account of the sufferings of Christ; also of the design of his sufferings. It was for our sins, and in our stead, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We have all sinned, and have come short of the glory of God. Sinners have their beloved sin, their own evil way, of which they are fond. Our sins deserve all griefs and sorrows, even the most severe. We are saved from the ruin, to which by sin we become liable, by laying our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. Our sins were the thorns in Christ's head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side. He was delivered to death for our offences. By his sufferings he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls. We may well endure our lighter sufferings, if He has taught us to esteem all things but loss for him, and to love him who has first loved us.Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,.... Or "nevertheless", as Gussetius (k); notwithstanding the above usage of him; though it is a certain and undoubted truth, that Christ not only assumed a true human nature, capable of sorrow and grief, but he took all the natural sinless infirmities of it; or his human nature was subject to such, as hunger, thirst, weariness, &c.; and to all the sorrow and pain arising from them; the same sorrows and griefs he was liable to as we are, and therefore called ours and hence he had a sympathy with men under affliction and trouble; and, to show his sympathizing spirit, he healed all sorts of bodily diseases; and also, to show his power, he healed the diseases of the soul, by bearing the sins of his people, and making satisfaction for them; since he that could do the one could do the other; wherefore the evangelist applies this passage to the healing of bodily diseases, Matthew 8:17, though the principal meaning of the words may be, that all the sorrows and griefs which Christ bore were not for any sins of his own, but for the sins of his people; wherefore these griefs and sorrows signify the punishment of sin, and are put for sins, the cause of them and so the apostle interprets them of Christ's bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, 1 Peter 2:24, and the Septuagint and Arabic versions render the words here, "he bears our sins"; and the Targum is,

"wherefore he will entreat for our sins;''

these being laid upon him, as is afterwards said, were bore by him as the surety of his people; and satisfaction being made for them by his sufferings and death, they are carried and taken away, never to be seen any more:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; so indeed he was by the sword of divine justice, which was awaked against him, and with which he was stricken and smitten, as standing in the room of his people; but then it was not for any sin of his own, as the Jews imagined, but for the sins of those for whom he was a substitute; they looked upon all his sorrows and troubles in life, and at death, as the just judgment of God upon him for some gross enormities he had been guilty of; but in this they were mistaken. The Vulgate Latin version is, "we esteemed him as a leprous person"; and so Aquila and Symmachus render the word; and from hence the Jews call the Messiah a leper (l); they say,

"a leper of the house of Rabbi is his name''

as it is said, "surely he hath borne our griefs", &c.; which shows that the ancient Jews understood this prophecy of the Messiah, though produced to prove a wrong character of him; and so it is applied unto him in other ancient writings of theirs; See Gill on Matthew 8:17. The words are by some rendered, "and we reckoned him the stricken, smitten of God" (m), and "humbled"; which version of the words proved the conversion of several Jews in Africa, as Andradius and others relate (n); by which they perceived the passage is to be understood not of a mere man, but of God made man, and of his humiliation and sufferings in human nature.

(k) Ebr. Comment. p. 41. "verumtamen", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "et tamen", so some is Vatablus. (l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.((m) "percussum Deum", Sanctius. (n) Vid. Sanctium in loc.

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