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The Suffering Servant- Isaiah 53:10

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (53:10; ESV)

Here is a notable instance where I believe the ESV is better than most of the translations. The NASB says that it pleased the Lord to crush the servant. The ESV, along with the NRSV and NIV, correctly state that it will “the will of the Lord to crush him.” The Father was not taking joy in witnessing injustice take place against his servant. The point is that this was God’s plan. The servant was not caught up in the wheels of injustice and everything went awry. Rather, all of these events were according to God’s plan (NLT- “But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him…”). Some scholars translate this verse, “Though the Lord desired to crush him” (NET; see also NICOT). I cannot go along with the idea that God desired these events. The desire was for his people to be reconciled and it would be this process which would bring about that reconciliation. God’s desire was to fulfill the plan.

But the rest of the verse is simply powerful and amazing. His life will make an offering for sin. Notice that this text does not say that the servant will become sin nor have sin placed upon him. Rather, the picture is very simple, a consistent picture through this prophecy. The servant will be an offering for sin.

Further, somehow though he has been cut off from the land of the living (dead) and his life was an offering for sin, he would see his offspring and prolong his days. How is this possible? I think it is clear that a resurrection is in view. He will raise from the dead and see his offspring. This is not predicting literal children. Rather, the servant will see the fruit of his labor, the redemption of his children. The apostle Paul uses the same concept in his letter to the Galatians:

26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:26-29; ESV)

Finally, the last phrase: “and the will of the LORD will succeed by His hand” (HCSB). The plan of the Lord will be accomplished and completed by the sacrifice and resurrection of the servant.

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