like a root out of parched soil; 7
he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, 8
no special appearance that we should want to follow him. 9
2 sn The speaker shifts here from God to an unidentified group (note the first person plural pronouns throughout vv. 1-6). The content of the speech suggests that the prophet speaks here as representative of the sinful nation Israel. The group acknowledges its sin and recognizes that the servant suffered on their behalf.
3 tn The first half of v. 1 is traditionally translated, “Who has believed our report?” or “Who has believed our message?” as if the group speaking is lamenting that no one will believe what they have to say. But that doesn’t seem to be the point in this context. Here the group speaking does not cast itself in the role of a preacher or evangelist. No, they are repentant sinners, who finally see the light. The phrase “our report” can mean (1) the report which we deliver, or (2) the report which was delivered to us. The latter fits better here, where the report is most naturally taken as the announcement that has just been made in 52:13-15.
4 tn Heb “to whom” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
5 tn Heb “the arm of the Lord.” The “arm of the Lord” is a metaphor of military power; it pictures the Lord as a warrior who bares his arm, takes up his weapon, and crushes his enemies (cf. 51:9-10; 63:5-6). But Israel had not seen the Lord’s military power at work in the servant.
6 tn Heb “before him.” Some suggest an emendation to “before us.” If the third singular suffix of the Hebrew text is retained, it probably refers to the Lord (see v. 1b). For a defense of this reading, see R. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66 (NCBC), 173-74.
7 sn The metaphor in this verse suggests insignificance.
8 tn Heb “that we might see him.” The vav conjunctive prefixed to the imperfect introduces a result clause here. See GKC 504-5 §166.a.
9 tn Heb “that we should desire him.” The vav conjunctive prefixed to the imperfect introduces a result clause here. See GKC 504-5 §166.a.