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Isaiah 53:3-5

Context

53:3 He was despised and rejected by people, 1 

one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;

people hid their faces from him; 2 

he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. 3 

53:4 But he lifted up our illnesses,

he carried our pain; 4 

even though we thought he was being punished,

attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. 5 

53:5 He was wounded because of 6  our rebellious deeds,

crushed because of our sins;

he endured punishment that made us well; 7 

because of his wounds we have been healed. 8 

1 tn Heb “lacking of men.” If the genitive is taken as specifying (“lacking with respect to men”), then the idea is that he lacked company because he was rejected by people. Another option is to take the genitive as indicating genus or larger class (i.e., “one lacking among men”). In this case one could translate, “he was a transient” (cf. the use of חָדֵל [khadel] in Ps 39:5 HT [39:4 ET]).

2 tn Heb “like a hiding of the face from him,” i.e., “like one before whom the face is hidden” (see BDB 712 s.v. מַסְתֵּר).

3 sn The servant is likened to a seriously ill person who is shunned by others because of his horrible disease.

4 sn Illness and pain stand by metonymy (or perhaps as metaphors) for sin and its effects, as vv. 11-12 make clear.

5 tn The words “for something he had done” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The group now realizes he suffered because of his identification with them, not simply because he was a special target of divine anger.

6 tn The preposition מִן (min) has a causal sense (translated “because of”) here and in the following clause.

7 tn Heb “the punishment of our peace [was] on him.” שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) is here a genitive of result, i.e., “punishment that resulted in our peace.”

8 sn Continuing to utilize the imagery of physical illness, the group acknowledges that the servant’s willingness to carry their illnesses (v. 4) resulted in their being healed. Healing is a metaphor for forgiveness here.



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