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God Helps His Servant

50 [a]The Lord declares this;

“Where is the certificate of divorce
By which I have sent your mother away, [O Israel]?
Or to which one of My creditors did I sell you [as slaves]?
In fact, You were sold for your wickedness [your sin, your injustice, your wrongdoing],
And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

“Why, when I came, was there no man [to greet Me]?
When I called, why was there no one to answer?
Is My hand really so short that it cannot redeem [My servants]?
Or have I no power to rescue?
Listen carefully, with My rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers into a desert;
Their fish stink because there is no water
And die of thirst.

“I clothe the heavens with the blackness [of storm clouds]
And make sackcloth [of mourning] their clothing.”

The Lord God has given Me [His [b]Servant] the tongue of disciples [as One who is taught],
That I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple [as One who is taught].

The Lord God has opened My ear,
And I have not been rebellious
Nor have I turned back.

I turned My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not hide My face from insults and spitting.(A)

For the Lord God helps Me,
Therefore, I have not been ashamed or humiliated.
Therefore, I have made My face like flint,
And I know that I shall not be put to shame.(B)

He who declares Me in the right is near;
Who will [dare to] contend with Me?
Let us stand up to each other;
Who is My adversary?
Let him approach Me.(C)

In fact, the Lord God helps Me;
Who is he who condemns Me [as guilty]?
Indeed, they will all wear out like a garment;
The moth will eat them.(D)
Who is among you who fears the Lord,
Who obeys the voice of His Servant,
Yet who walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust and be confident in the name of the Lord and let him rely on his God.
Listen carefully, all you who kindle your own fire [devising your own man-made plan of salvation],
Who surround yourselves with torches,
Walk by the light of your [self-made] fire
And among the torches that you have set ablaze.
But this you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in [a place of] torment.(E)


  1. Isaiah 50:1 An ancient rabbi suggested this as an answer that God gave to Isaiah in response to Jews who came to him, but refused to repent. They compared themselves to a wife divorced by her husband and to a slave sold by his master (referring to God as husband and master), claiming that they had no further obligations to God.
  2. Isaiah 50:4 I.e. the Messiah.

Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience

50 This is what the Lord says:

“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce(A)
    with which I sent her away?
Or to which of my creditors
    did I sell(B) you?
Because of your sins(C) you were sold;(D)
    because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
When I came, why was there no one?
    When I called, why was there no one to answer?(E)
Was my arm too short(F) to deliver you?
    Do I lack the strength(G) to rescue you?
By a mere rebuke(H) I dry up the sea,(I)
    I turn rivers into a desert;(J)
their fish rot for lack of water
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with darkness(K)
    and make sackcloth(L) its covering.”

The Sovereign Lord(M) has given me a well-instructed tongue,(N)
    to know the word that sustains the weary.(O)
He wakens me morning by morning,(P)
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.(Q)
The Sovereign Lord(R) has opened my ears;(S)
    I have not been rebellious,(T)
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat(U) me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;(V)
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.(W)
Because the Sovereign Lord(X) helps(Y) me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,(Z)
    and I know I will not be put to shame.(AA)
He who vindicates(AB) me is near.(AC)
    Who then will bring charges against me?(AD)
    Let us face each other!(AE)
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord(AF) who helps(AG) me.
    Who will condemn(AH) me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths(AI) will eat them up.

10 Who among you fears(AJ) the Lord
    and obeys(AK) the word of his servant?(AL)
Let the one who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,(AM)
trust(AN) in the name of the Lord
    and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
    and provide yourselves with flaming torches,(AO)
go, walk in the light of your fires(AP)
    and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:(AQ)
    You will lie down in torment.(AR)