He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. (53:3; HCSB)
The sad news is that the servant sent as the arm of the Lord would be rejected by the people. The traditional reading of the second phrase is: “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” However, the word translated “sorrows” by the NASB literally means “pain, suffering.” The servant of God would be a man of pain and a man of suffering. The word translated “grief” by the NASB literally means “affliction, disease, sickness.” In our English today, “sorrows” sounds like the suffering servant would be a man of depression. But that is not the intent of the prophecy. The Lord’s servant was to be a man of pain and suffering, and person who knew afflictions. This description further details the rejection the servant. The word “despise” means “unworthy of attention.” The servant is likened to a seriously ill person who is shunned by others because of a horrible disease. People will deem this servant unworthy of attention and as insignificant. This description does not fit the people’s expectation of the arm of the Lord.