Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 53:11

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

He shall see of the travail of his soul - This is the language of Yahweh, who is again introduced as speaking. The sense is, he shall see the fruit, or the result of his sufferings, and shall be satisfied. He shall see so much good resulting from his great sorrows; so much happiness, and so many saved, that the benefit shall be an ample compensation for all that he endured. The word rendered here ‹travail‘ (עמל ‛âmâl ), denotes properly labor, toil; wearisome labor; labor and toil which produce exhaustion; and hence, sometimes vexation, sorrow, grief, trouble. It is rendered ‹labor‘ Psalm 90:10; Psalm 105:44; Jeremiah 20:18; Ecclesiastes 2:11-20; ‹perverseness‘ Numbers 21:21; sorrow‘ Job 3:10; ‹wickedness‘ Job 4:8; ‹trouble‘ Job 5:6-7; Psalm 73:5; ‹mischief‘ Job 15:35; Psalm 7:13; Psalm 10:7-14; Psalm 94:20; ‹travail,‘ meaning labor, or toil Ecclesiastes 4:4-6; ‹grievousness‘ Isaiah 10:1; ‹iniquity‘ Habakkuk 1:13; ‹toil‘ Genesis 41:51; ‹pain‘ Psalm 25:18; and ‹misery‘ Proverbs 31:7. The word ‹travail‘ with us has two senses, first, labor with pain, severe toil; and secondly, the pains of childbirth. The word is used here to denote excessive toil, labor, weariness; and refers to the arduous and wearisome labor and trial involved in the work of redemption, as that which exhausted the powers of the Messiah as a man, and sunk him down to the grave.

And shall be satisfied - That is, evidently, he shall be permitted to see so much fruit of his labors and sorrows as to be an ample recompence for all that he has done. It is not improbable that the image here is taken from a farmer who labors in preparing his soil for the seed, and who waits for the harvest; and who, when he sees the rich and yellow field of grain in autumn, or the wain heavily laden with sheaves, is abundantly satisfied for what he has done. He has pleasure in the contemplation of his labor, and of the result; and he does not regret the wearisome days and the deep anxiety with which he made preparation for the harvest. So with the Redeemer. There will be rich and most ample results for all that he has done. And when he shall look on the multitude that shall be saved; when he shall see the true religion spreading over the world; when he shall behold an immense host which no man can number gathered into heaven; and when he shall witness the glory that shall result to God from all that he has done, he shall see enough to be an ample compensation for all that he has endured, and he shall look on his work and its glorious results with pleasure.

We may remark here that this implies that great and most glorious results will come out of this work. The salvation of a large portion of the race, of multitudes which no man can number, will be necessary to be any suitable remuneration for the sufferings of the Son of God. We may be assured that he will be ‹satisfied,‘ only when multitudes are saved; and it is, therefore, morally certain that a large portion of the race, taken as a whole, will enter into heaven. Hitherto the number has been small. The great mass have rejected him, and have been lost. But there are brighter times before the church and the world. The pure gospel of the Redeemer is yet to spread around the globe, and it is yet to become, and to be for ages, the religion of the world. Age after age is to roll on when all shall know him and obey him; and in those future times, what immense multitudes shall enter into heaven! So that it may yet be seen, that the number of those who will be lost from the whole human family, compared with those who will be saved, will be no greater in proportion than the criminals in a well-organized community who are imprisoned are, compared with the number of obedient, virtuous, and peaceful citizens.

By his knowledge - That is, by the knowledge of him. The idea is, by becoming fully acquainted with him and his plan of salvation. The word knowledge here is evidently used in a large sense to denote all that constitutes acquaintance with him. Thus Paul says Philemon 3:10, ‹That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.‘ It is only by the knowledge of the Messiah; by an acquaintance with his character, doctrines, sufferings, death, and resurrection, that anyone can be justified. Thus the Saviour says John 17:3, ‹And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.‘ People are to become acquainted with him; with his doctrines, and with his religion, or they can never be regarded and treated as righteous in the sight of a holy God.

Shall my righteous servant - On the meaning of the word ‹servant,‘ as applied to the Messiah, see the notes at Isaiah 52:13. The word ‹righteous‘ (צדיק tsadiyq ), Lowth supposes should be omitted. His reasons are:

1. That three manuscripts, two of them ancient, omit it.

2. That it makes a solecism in this place, for, according to the constant usage of the Hebrew language, the adjective, in a phrase of this kind, ought to follow the substantive; and,

3. That it makes the hemistich too long.

But none of these reasons are sufficient to justify a change in the text. The phrase literally is, ‹the righteous, my servant;‘ and the sense is, evidently, ‹my righteous servant.‘ The word righteous, applied to the Messiah, is designed to denote not only his personal holiness, but to have reference to the fact that he would‘ make many righteous (יצדיק yitseddiyq ). It is applicable to him, because he was eminently holy and pure, and because also he was the source of righteousness to others; and in the work of justification it is important in the highest degree to fix the attention on the fact, that he by whom the sinner was to be justified was himself perfectly holy, and able to secure the justification and salvation of all who entrusted their souls to him. No man could feel secure of salvation unless he could commit his soul to one who was perfectly holy, and able to ‹bring in everlasting righteousness.‘

Justify - (יצדיק yatsediyq ). The word צדק tsâdaq is of very frequent occurrence in the Bible; and no word is more important to a correct understanding of the plan of salvation than this, and the corresponding Greek word δικαιῶ dikaiō On the meaning of the Greek word, see the notes at Romans 1:17. The Hebrew word means to be right, straight, as if spoken of a way Psalm 23:3. Hence,

1. To be just, righteous, spoken of God in dispensing justice Psalm 55:6; and of laws Psalm 19:10.

2. To have a just cause, to be in the right;

(a) in a forensic sense Genesis 38:26; Job 9:16-20; Job 10:15; Job 13:18;

(b) of disputants, to be in the right Job 23:12;

(c) to gain one‘s cause, to be justified Job 15:14; Job 23:9; Psalm 143:2. But in this sense the Messiah will justify no one. He did not come to declare that men were upright, just, innocent. Nor will he justify them because they can show that they have not committed the offences charged on them, or that they had a right to do what they have done. The whole work of justification through the Redeemer proceeds on the supposition that people are not in fact innocent, and that they cannot vindicate their own conduct.

4. In Hiphil, the word means, to pronounce just, or righteous. In a forensic sense, and as applied to the act of justification before God, it means to declare righteous, or to admit to favor as a righteous person; and in connection with the pardon of sin, to resolve to treat as righteous, or as if the offence had not been committed. It is more than mere pardon; it involves the idea of a purpose to treat as righteous, and to acknowledge as such. It is nor to declare that the person is innocent, or that he is not ill deserving, or that he had a right to do as he had done, or that he has a claim to mercy - for this is not true of any mortal; but it is to pardon, and to accept him as if the offence had not been committed - to regard him in his dealings with him, and treat him ever onward as if he were holy. This sense of the word here is necessary, because the whole passage speaks of his bearing sin, and suffering for others, and thus securing their justification. It does not speak of him as instructing people and thus promoting religion; but it speaks of his dying for them, and thus laying the foundation for their justification. They are justified only in connection with his bearing their iniquities; and this shows that the word is used here in the forensic sense, and denotes that they will be regarded and treated as righteous on account of what he has suffered in their behalf.

For he shall bear - On the meaning of the word bear, see the notes at Isaiah 53:4.

Their iniquities - Not that he became a sinner, or that sin can be transferred, which is impossible. Guilt and ill desert are personal qualities, and cannot be transferred from one to another. But the consequences of guilt may pass over to another; the sufferings, which would be a proper expression of the evil of sin, may be assumed by another. And this was done by the Redeemer. He stood between the stroke of justice and the sinner, and received the blow himself. He intercepted, so to speak, the descending sword of justice that would have cut the sinner down, and thus saved him. He thus bore their iniquities; that is, he bore in his own person what would have been a proper expression of the evil of sin if he had been himself the sinner, and had been guilty (see the notes at Isaiah 53:6). It is in connection with this that people become justified; and it is only by the fact that he has thus borne their iniquities that they can be regarded as righteous in the sight of a holy God. They become interested in his merits just as he became interested in their iniquities. There is in neither case any transfer of personal properties; but there is in both cases a participation in the consequences or the results of conduct. He endured the consequences or results of sin; we partake of the consequences or the results of his sufferings and death in our behalf. This is the great cardinal doctrine of justification; the peculiarity of the Christian scheme; the glorious plan by which lost people may be saved, and by which the guilty may become pardoned, and be raised up to endless life and glory; the articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesia. luther.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Come, and see how Christ loved us! We could not put him in our stead, but he put himself. Thus he took away the sin of the world, by taking it on himself. He made himself subject to death, which to us is the wages of sin. Observe the graces and glories of his state of exaltation. Christ will not commit the care of his family to any other. God's purposes shall take effect. And whatever is undertaken according to God's pleasure shall prosper. He shall see it accomplished in the conversion and salvation of sinners. There are many whom Christ justifies, even as many as he gave his life a ransom for. By faith we are justified; thus God is most glorified, free grace most advanced, self most abased, and our happiness secured. We must know him, and believe in him, as one that bore our sins, and saved us from sinking under the load, by taking it upon himself. Sin and Satan, death and hell, the world and the flesh, are the strong foes he has vanquished. What God designed for the Redeemer he shall certainly possess. When he led captivity captive, he received gifts for men, that he might give gifts to men. While we survey the sufferings of the Son of God, let us remember our long catalogue of transgressions, and consider him as suffering under the load of our guilt. Here is laid a firm foundation for the trembling sinner to rest his soul upon. We are the purchase of his blood, and the monuments of his grace; for this he continually pleads and prevails, destroying the works of the devil.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Shall be satisfied "And be satisfied" - The Septuagint, Vulgate, Sryiac, and a MS. add the conjunction to the verb, וישבע vaigisba .

Shall my righteous servant justify "Shall my servant justify" - Three MSS., (two of them ancient), omit the word צדיק tsaddik ; it seems to be only an imperfect repetition, by mistake, of the preceding word. It makes a solecism in this place; for according to the constant usage of the Hebrew language, the adjective, in a phrase of this kind, ought to follow the substantive; and עבדי צדיק tsaddik abdi, in Hebrew, would be as absurd as "shall my servant righteous justify," in English. Add to this, that it makes the hemistich too long.

Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 504

“These things have I spoken unto you,” said Christ, “that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11. MH 504.1

Ever before Him, Christ saw the result of His mission. His earthly life, so full of toil and self-sacrifice, was cheered by the thought that He would not have all this travail for nought. By giving His life for the life of men, He would restore in humanity the image of God. He would lift us up from the dust, reshape the character after the pattern of His own character, and make it beautiful with His own glory. MH 504.2

Christ saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He viewed the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. He heard the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the sins of the world were to weigh upon His innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was upon Him; yet for the joy that was set before Him He chose to endure the cross and despised the shame. MH 504.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 19

Before a decade had passed the denomination was confronted with a struggle between the interests of an educational program founded on Spirit of prophecy principles and the educational program of the world, guided by men steeped in worldly policies and methods. TM xix.1

The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were largely self-made men. They were men of consecration, ability, and skill. One has but to read their writings to discern this. But, knowing the limitations of their scholastic backgrounds, they were inclined to feel very humble. When there came into their midst in the early 1880's an educator bearing his degrees, it is not surprising that he should be pushed ahead into the position of leadership in the educational work. Elevated quickly to a position of high trust at a time when he knew but little of the doctrines and history of Seventh-day Adventists, he was found to be unprepared for the responsibilities placed upon him. TM xix.2

The issues became painfully acute, with leaders and laymen in Battle Creek taking sides. Some were swept off their feet by the leadership of an educator with his degrees, while others endeavored to stand with those things set forth in the Spirit of prophecy counsels. The outcome was disastrous to the college and to the experience of those involved. Battle Creek College was closed for a year. Things said and positions taken left their marks on the experience of not a few leaders and church members. TM xix.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 43

“This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11. 8T 43.1

“Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: ...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Verses 27-29. 8T 43.2

There are revealed in these last days visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these should be dear to His church. What sustained the Son of God in His betrayal and trial? He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. 8T 43.3

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