He was oppressed - (נגשׂ niggas' ). Lowth renders this, ‹It was exacted.‘ Hengstenberg, ‹He was abased.‘ Jerome (the Vulgate), ‹He was offered because he was willing.‘ The Septuagint ‹He, on account of his affliction, opened not his mouth,‘ implying that his silence arose from the extremity of his sorrows. The Chaldee renders it, ‹He prayed, and he was heard, and before he opened his mouth he was accepted.‘ The Syriac, ‹He came and humbled himself, neither did he open his mouth.‘ Kimchi supposes that it means, ‹it was exacted;‘ and that it refers to the fact that taxes were demanded of the exiles, when they were in a foreign land. The word used here (נגשׂ nāgas' ) properly means, “to drive,” to impel, to urge; and then to urge a debtor, to exact payment; or to exact tribute, a ransom, etc. (see Deuteronomy 15:2-3; 2 Kings 23:35.) Compare Job 3:18; Zechariah 9:8; Zechariah 10:4, where one form of the word is rendered ‹oppressor;‘ Job 39:7, the ‹driver;‘ Exodus 5:6, ‹taskmasters;‘ Daniel 11:20, ‹a raiser of taxes.‘ The idea is that of urgency, oppression, vexation, of being hard pressed, and ill treated. It does not refer here necessarily to what was exacted by God, or to sufferings inflicted by him - though it may include those - but it refers to all his oppressions, and the severity of his sufferings from all quarters. He was urged impelled, oppressed, and yet he was patient as a lamb.
And he was afflicted - Jahn and Steudel propose to render this, ‹He suffered himself to be afflicted.‘ Hengstenberg renders it, ‹He suffered patiently, and opened not his mouth.‘ Lowth, ‹He was made answerable; and he opened not his mouth.‘ According to this, the idea is, that he had voluntarily taken upon himself the sins of people, and that having done so, he was held answerable as a surety. But it is doubtful whether the Hebrew will bear this construction. According to Jerome, the idea is that he voluntarily submitted, and that this was the cause of his sufferings. Hensler renders it, ‹God demands the debt, and he the great and righteous one suffers.‘ It is probable, however, that our translation has retained the correct sense. The word ענה ‛ânâh in Niphil, means to be afflicted, to suffer, be oppressed or depressed Psalm 119:107, and the idea here is, probably, that he was greatly distressed and afflicted. He was subjected to pains and sorrows which were hard to be borne, and which are usually accompanied with expressions of impatience and lamentation. The fact that he did not open his mouth in complaint was therefore the more remarkable, and made the merit of his sufferings the greater.
Yet he opened not his mouth - This means that he was perfectly quiet, meek, submissive, patient, He did not open his mouth to complain of God on account of the great sorrows which he had appointed to him; nor to God on account of his being ill-treated by man. He did not use the language of reviling when he was reviled, nor return upon people the evils which they were inflicting on him (compare Psalm 39:9). How strikingly and literally was this fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus! It would seem almost as if it had been written after he lived, and was history rather than prophecy. In no other instance was there ever so striking an example of perfect patience; no other person ever so entirely accorded with the description of the prophet.
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter - This does not mean that he was led to the slaughter as a lamb is, but that as a lamb which is led to be killed is patient and silent, so was he. He made no resistance. He uttered no complaint. He suffered himself to be led quietly along to be put to death. What a striking and beautiful description! How tender and how true! We can almost see here the meek and patient Redeemer led along without resistance; and amidst the clamor of the multitude that were assembled with various feelings to conduct him to death, himself perfectly silent and composed. With all power at his disposal, yet as quiet and gentle as though he had no power; and with a perfect consciousness that he was going to die, as calm and as gentle as though he were ignorant of the design for which they were leading him forth. This image occurs also in Jeremiah, Jeremiah 11:19, ‹But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter.‘
As a sheep - As a sheep submits quietly to the operation of shearing. Compare 1 Peter 2:23, ‹Who when he was reviled, reviled not again.‘ Jesus never opened his mouth to revile or complain. It was opened only to bless those that cursed him, and to pray for his enemies and murderers.
When God's written word was given through the Hebrew prophets, Satan studied with diligence the messages concerning the Messiah. Carefully he traced the words that outlined with unmistakable clearness Christ's work among men as a suffering sacrifice and as a conquering king. In the parchment rolls of the Old Testament Scriptures he read that the One who was to appear was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter,” “His visage ... so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” Isaiah 53:7; 52:14. The promised Saviour of humanity was to be “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; ... smitten of God, and afflicted;” yet He was also to exercise His mighty power in order to “judge the poor of the people.” He was to “save the children of the needy,” and “break in pieces the oppressor.” Isaiah 53:3, 4; Psalm 72:4. These prophecies caused Satan to fear and tremble; yet he relinquished not his purpose to thwart, if possible, the merciful provisions of Jehovah for the redemption of the lost race. He determined to blind the eyes of the people, so far as might be possible, to the real significance of the Messianic prophecies, in order to prepare the way for the rejection of Christ at His coming. PK 686.1
During the centuries immediately preceding the Flood, success had attended Satan's efforts to bring about a worldwide prevalence of rebellion against God. And even the lessons of the Deluge were not long held in remembrance. With artful insinuations Satan again led the children of men step by step into bold rebellion. Again he seemed about to triumph, but God's purpose for fallen man was not thus to be set aside. Through the posterity of faithful Abraham, of the line of Shem, a knowledge of Jehovah's beneficent designs was to be preserved for the benefit of future generations. From time to time divinely appointed messengers of truth were to be raised up to call attention to the meaning of the sacrificial ceremonies, and especially to the promise of Jehovah concerning the advent of the One toward whom all the ordinances of the sacrificial system pointed. Thus the world was to be kept from universal apostasy. PK 687.1
Not without the most determined opposition was the divine purpose carried out. In every way possible the enemy of truth and righteousness worked to cause the descendants of Abraham to forget their high and holy calling, and to turn aside to the worship of false gods. And often his efforts were all but successful. For centuries preceding Christ's first advent, darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Satan was throwing his hellish shadow athwart the pathway of men, that he might prevent them from gaining a knowledge of God and of the future world. Multitudes were sitting in the shadow of death. Their only hope was for this gloom to be lifted, that God might be revealed. PK 687.2Read in context »
Never before have the angels listened to such a prayer. They are eager to bear to their loved Commander a message of assurance and comfort. But no; the Father Himself will answer the petition of His Son. Direct from the throne issue the beams of His glory. The heavens are opened, and upon the Saviour's head descends a dovelike form of purest light,—fit emblem of Him, the meek and lowly One. DA 112.1
Of the vast throng at the Jordan, few except John discerned the heavenly vision. Yet the solemnity of the divine Presence rested upon the assembly. The people stood silently gazing upon Christ. His form was bathed in the light that ever surrounds the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. From the open heavens a voice was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” DA 112.2
These words of confirmation were given to inspire faith in those who witnessed the scene, and to strengthen the Saviour for His mission. Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal. DA 112.3Read in context »
His sorrowing disciples follow Him at a distance, behind the murderous throng. He is nailed to the cross, and hangs suspended between the heavens and the earth. Their hearts are bursting with anguish as their beloved Teacher is suffering as a criminal. Close to the cross are the blind, bigoted, faithless priests and elders, taunting, mocking, and jeering: “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.” 2T 208.1
Not one word did Jesus answer to all this. While the nails were being driven through His hands, and the sweat drops of agony were forced from His pores, from the pale, quivering lips of the innocent Sufferer a prayer of pardoning love was breathed for His murderers: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” All heaven was gazing with profound interest upon the scene. The glorious Redeemer of a lost world was suffering the penalty of man's transgression of the Father's law. He was about to ransom His people with His own blood. He was paying the just claims of God's holy law. This was the means through which an end was to be finally made of sin and Satan, and his host to be vanquished. 2T 208.2
Oh, was there ever suffering and sorrow like that endured by the dying Saviour! It was the sense of His Father's displeasure which made His cup so bitter. It was not bodily suffering which so quickly ended the life of Christ upon the cross. It was the crushing weight of the sins of the world, and a sense of His Father's wrath. The Father's glory and sustaining presence had left Him, and despair pressed its crushing weight of darkness upon Him and forced from His pale and quivering lips the anguished cry: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” 2T 209.1Read in context »
7, 9. Satan Assailed Christ, Provoked No Retaliation—Satan assailed Him [Christ] in every point, yet He sinned not in thought, word, or deed. He did no violence, neither was guile found in His mouth. Walking in the midst of sin, He was holy, harmless, undefiled. He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit (Manuscript 42, 1901)? 4BC 1148.1Read in context »