Salvation Through the Lord’s Servant

1Thus says the LORD:

Where is the bill of divorce

with which I dismissed your mother?*

Or to which of my creditors

have I sold you?

It was for your sins you were sold,

for your rebellions your mother was dismissed.a

2Why was no one there when I came?

Why did no one answer when I called?*

Is my hand too short to ransom?

Have I not the strength to deliver?

See, with my rebuke I dry up the sea,

I turn rivers into wilderness;

Their fish rot for lack of water,

and die of thirst.b

3I clothe the heavens in black,

and make sackcloth their covering.

4* The Lord GOD has given me

a well-trained tongue,

That I might know how to answer the weary

a word that will waken them.

Morning after morning

he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do;

5The Lord GOD opened my ear;

I did not refuse,

did not turn away.*

6I gave my back to those who beat me,

my cheeks to those who tore out my beard;*

My face I did not hide

from insults and spitting.c

7The Lord GOD is my help,

therefore I am not disgraced;

Therefore I have set my face like flint,

knowing that I shall not be put to shame.d

8He who declares my innocence is near.

Who will oppose me?

Let us appear together.

Who will dispute my right?

Let them confront me.

9See, the Lord GOD is my help;

who will declare me guilty?

See, they will all wear out like a garment,

consumed by moths.e

10Who among you fears the LORD,*

heeds his servant’s voice?

Whoever walk in darkness,

without any light,

Yet trust in the name of the LORD

and rely upon their God!f

11All you who kindle flames

and set flares alight,

Walk by the light of your own fire

and by the flares you have burnt!

This is your fate from my hand:

you shall lie down in a place of torment.

* [50:1] Responding to the people’s complaint of utter abandonment by God, the prophet asserts that their sins were responsible for their banishment. Since there was no bill of divorce, the bond between the Lord and his people still exists and he has the power to deliver them (v. 2).

* [50:2] Israel’s faith in God is weak; the people do not answer God’s call, nor believe promises of deliverance.

* [50:411] The third of the four “servant of the Lord” oracles (cf. note on 42:14); in vv. 49 the servant speaks; in vv. 1011 God addresses the people directly.

* [50:5] The servant, like a well-trained disciple, does not refuse the divine vocation.

* [50:6] He willingly submits to insults and beatings. Tore out my beard: a grave and painful insult.

* [50:1011] The Lord offers a choice to those who walk in darkness: either trust in the true light (v. 10), or walk in their false light and suffer the consequences.

a. [50:1] Is 54:68; Dt 24:14; Mt 19:3; Mk 10:24.

b. [50:2] Ex 7:18; Ps 105:29.

c. [50:6] 2 Sm 10:46; Mt 26:67; 27:30.

d. [50:7] Ez 3:9.

e. [50:9] Is 51:68; Ps 102:27.

f. [50:10] Is 43:12; 44:12.

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