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Isaiah 53:2-4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

He sprouted up like a twig before God,[a]
like a root out of parched soil;[b]
he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,[c]
no special appearance that we should want to follow him.[d]
He was despised and rejected by people,[e]
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;[f]
he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.[g]
But he lifted up our illnesses,
he carried our pain;[h]
even though we thought he was being punished,
attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done.[i]


  1. Isaiah 53:2 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.
  2. Isaiah 53:2 sn The metaphor in this verse suggests insignificance.
  3. Isaiah 53:2 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.
  4. Isaiah 53:2 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.
  5. Isaiah 53:3 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]).
  6. Isaiah 53:3 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).
  7. Isaiah 53:3 sn The servant is likened to a seriously ill person who is shunned by others because of his horrible disease.
  8. Isaiah 53:4 sn Illness and pain stand by metonymy (or perhaps as metaphors) for sin and its effects, as vv. 11-12 make clear.
  9. Isaiah 53:4 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.
New English Translation (NET)

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