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Isaiah 50:4

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The Lord God hath given me - This verse commences a new subject, and the deliverer is directly introduced as himself speaking. The reasons why this is supposed to refer to the Messiah, have been given in the analysis to the chapter. Those reasons will be strengthened by the examination of the particular expressions in the passage, and by showing, as we proceed in the exposition, in what way they are applicable to him. It will be assumed that the reference is to the Messiah; and we shall find that it is a most beautiful description of his character, and of some of the principal events of his life. This verse is designed to state how he was suited for the special work to which he was called. The whole endowment is traced to Yahweh. It was he who had called him; he who had given him the tongue of the learned, and he who had carefully and attentively qualified him for his work.

The tongue of the learned - Hebrew, ‹The tongue of those who are instructed;‘ that is, of the eloquent; or the tongue of instruction ( παιδείας paideias Septuagint); that is, he has qualified me to instruct others. It does not mean human science or learning; nor does it mean that any other had been qualified as he was, or that there were any others who were learned like him. But it means that on the subject of religion he was eminently endowed with intelligence, and with eloquence. In regard to the Redeemer‘s power of instruction, the discourses which he delivered, as recorded in the New Testament, and especially his sermon on the mount, may be referred to. None on the subject of religion ever spake like him; none was ever so well qualified to instruct mankind (compare Matthew 13:54).

That I should know how to speak a word in season - The Hebrew here is, ‹That I might know how to strengthen with a word the weary;‘ that is, that he might sustain, comfort, and refresh them by his promises and his counsels. How eminently he was suited to alleviate those who were heavy laden with sin and to comfort those who were burdened with calamities and trials, may be seen by the slightest reference to the New Testament, and the most partial acquaintance with his instructions and his life. The weary here are those who are burdened with a sense of guilt; who feel that they have no strength to bear up under the mighty load, and who therefore seek relief (see Matthew 11:28).

He wakeneth morning by morning - That is, he wakens me every morning early. The language is taken from an instructor who awakens his pupils early, in order that they may receive instruction. The idea is, that the Redeemer would be eminently endowed, under the divine instruction and guidance, for his work. He would be one who was, so to speak, in the school of God; and who would be qualified to impart instruction to others.

He wakeneth mine ear - To awaken the ear is to prepare one to receive instruction. The expressions, to open the ear, to uncover the ear, to awaken the ear, often occur in the Scriptures, in the sense of preparing to receive instruction, or of disposing to receive divine communications. The sense here is plain. The Messiah would be taught of God, and would be inclined to receive all that he imparted.

To hear as the learned - Many translate the phrase here ‹as disciples,‘ that is, as those who are learning. So Lowth; ‹With the attention of a learner.‘ So Noyes; ‹In the manner of a disciple.‘ The Septuagint renders it, ‹He has given me an ear to hear.‘ The idea is, probably, that he was attentive as they are who wish to learn; that is, as docile disciples. The figure is taken from a master who in the morning summons his pupils around him, and imparts instruction to them. And the doctrine which is taught is, that the Messiah would be eminently qualified, by divine teaching, to be the instructor of mankind. The Chaldee paraphrases this, ‹Morning by morning, he anticipates (the dawn), that he may send his prophets, if perhaps they my open the ears of sinners, and receive instruction.‘

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
As Jesus was God and man in one person, we find him sometimes speaking, or spoken of, as the Lord God; at other times, as man and the servant of Jehovah. He was to declare the truths which comfort the broken, contrite heart, those weary of sin, harassed with afflictions. And as the Holy Spirit was upon him, that he might speak as never man spake; so the same Divine influence daily wakened him to pray, to preach the gospel, and to receive and deliver the whole will of the Father. The Father justified the Son when he accepted the satisfaction he made for the sin of man. Christ speaks in the name of all believers. Who dares to be an enemy to those unto whom he is a Friend? or who will contend with those whom he is an Advocate? Thus St. Paul applies it, Ro 8:33.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 73

In their earnest, feverish anxiety to avert the peril of the body, physicians are in danger of forgetting the peril of the soul. Physicians, be on your guard, for at the judgment seat of Christ you must meet those at whose death-bed you now stand. 7T 73.1

The solemnity of the physician's work, his constant contact with the sick and the dying, require that, so far as possible, he be removed from the secular duties that others can perform. No unnecessary burdens should be laid on him, that he may have time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of his patients. His mind should be ever under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that he may be able to speak in season the words that will awaken faith and hope. 7T 73.2

At the bedside of the dying no word of creed or controversy is to be spoken. The sufferer is to be pointed to the One who is willing to save all who come to Him in faith. Earnestly, tenderly, strive to help the soul that is hovering between life and death. 7T 73.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 254

Yet He was earnest, rather than vehement. He spoke as one who had a definite purpose to fulfill. He was bringing to view the realities of the eternal world. In every theme God was revealed. Jesus sought to break the spell of infatuation which keeps men absorbed in earthly things. He placed the things of this life in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares men better to perform the duties of everyday life. He spoke as one familiar with heaven, conscious of His relationship to God, yet recognizing His unity with every member of the human family. DA 254.1

His messages of mercy were varied to suit His audience. He knew “how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4); for grace was poured upon His lips, that He might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth. He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds, and surprise them with illustrations that won their attention. Through the imagination He reached the heart. His illustrations were taken from the things of daily life, and although they were simple, they had in them a wonderful depth of meaning. The birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the seed, the shepherd and the sheep,—with these objects Christ illustrated immortal truth; and ever afterward, when His hearers chanced to see these things of nature, they recalled His words. Christ's illustrations constantly repeated His lessons. DA 254.2

Christ never flattered men. He never spoke that which would exalt their fancies and imaginations, nor did He praise them for their clever inventions; but deep, unprejudiced thinkers received His teaching, and found that it tested their wisdom. They marveled at the spiritual truth expressed in the simplest language. The most highly educated were charmed with His words, and the uneducated were always profited. He had a message for the illiterate; and He made even the heathen to understand that He had a message for them. DA 254.3

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 77

While something has been done for the education and religious training of the youth, there is still a great lack. Many more need to be encouraged and helped. There is not that personal labor given which the case requires. It is not the ministers alone who have neglected this solemn work of saving the youth; the members of the churches will have to settle with the Master for their indifference and neglect of duty. CSW 77.1

The Lord is not glorified when the children are neglected and passed by. They are to be educated, disciplined, and patiently instructed. They require more than casual notice, more than a word of encouragement. They need painstaking, prayerful, careful labor. The heart that is filled with love and sympathy will reach the hearts of the youth who are apparently careless and hopeless.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 114, 115. CSW 77.2

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 336

Every Christian is called to make known to others the unsearchable riches of Christ; therefore he should seek for perfection in speech. He should present the word of God in a way that will commend it to the hearers. God does not design that His human channels shall be uncouth. It is not His will that man shall belittle or degrade the heavenly current that flows through him to the world. COL 336.1

We should look to Jesus, the perfect pattern; we should pray for the aid of the Holy Spirit, and in His strength we should seek to train every organ for perfect work. COL 336.2

Especially is this true of those who are called to public service. Every minister and every teacher should bear in mind that he is giving to the people a message that involves eternal interests. The truth spoken will judge them in the great day of final reckoning. And with some souls the manner of the one delivering the message will determine its reception or rejection. Then let the word be so spoken that it will appeal to the understanding and impress the heart. Slowly, distinctly, and solemnly should it be spoken, yet with all the earnestness which its importance demands. COL 336.3

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