on Isaiah 53 :11
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 צדיק עבדי 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.
on Isaiah 53 :11
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 Philippians 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;
on Isaiah 53 :11