Isaiah – Chapter 52

God comforted His captives in exile and introduced Messiah His Servant. God would save His people and bless them into the N.T. The last three verses introduce Isaiah 53. Jesus was promoted to highest glory for saving His elect.




Theme:  God comforted His captive remnant with future blessings and introduced Messiah His Servant.



1-3       The Remnant Should Embrace the Great Deliverance

4-6       God Would Save Them Like He Had Done Before

7-9       Gospel Blessings Promised for Future Prosperity

10-12   God Would Deliver His Holy People for All to See

13-15   Messiah Would Be God’s Servant for Salvation


Preparatory Reading:  Isaiah 11-12; Isaiah 40-43; Isaiah 50; Malachi 3-4.


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  1. We have reached the third section of the book of Isaiah that directs increasing attention to Messiah.
  2. This chapter serves an important role to introduce Messiah described in detail in the following chapter.
    1. Isaiah 53 is the best known and most popular chapter of the whole book, and it is all about Christ.
    2. Isaiah chapters 50 and 52 give a great introduction to Isaiah 53 for those that love the Lord Jesus.
  3. We view this chapter and its prophecies from the perspective of the remnant still captive in Babylon.
    1. However, the prophecy extends far beyond Isaiah’s time and rescue from Babylon 160 years later.
    2. It extends to the times of Messiah and the gospel era of the New Testament and Jews of that time.
    3. Therefore, like other sections and lessons of Isaiah, the prophet’s view is near and distant together.
    4. Isaiah saw the future captivity in Babylon (many chapters) and later the Messiah (some chapters).
    5. When looking forward, the largest events would rise from the horizon to minimize minor events.
  4. When reading and studying the chapters of Isaiah, remember prophetic similitudes and loose grammar.
    1. Prophetic similitudes (stated in Hosea 12:10) are the figurative and metaphorical uses of language.
    2. Keep in mind Isaiah moves all over the timeline in both directions e.g. Rome (Is 6:9-13), Assyria (Is 7:2), Messiah (Is 9:1-2,6-7), Assyria (Is 10:1-34), Messiah (Is 11:1-10), Babylon (Is 13-14).
    3. Observe Isaiah’s frequent change in verb tenses, for it his perspective (Is 43:12,16-17; 45:13-14).
    4. Observe Isaiah’s frequent change in persons of pronouns like David in the Psalms (Is 52:14; etc.).







The Remnant Should Embrace the Great Deliverance  –  Verses 1-3 



1  Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

  1. Here is a unique chorus prayer – Isaiah and remnant Jews asking Jerusalem to celebrate.
    1. This unusual appeal to a city – Awake, awake – is in the Bible four times, three here.
    2. The only other occurrence in the Bible is within the song of Deborah (Judges 5:12).
    3. The triple use of it here (Is 51:9,17; 52:1) is after hearken is used thrice (Is 51:1,4,7).
    4. Waking up is a very good thing (Eph 5:14; Rom 13:11), and this is for Israel to wake.
  2. Because of God’s great deliverance of the Jews, it was time for them to celebrate relief.
    1. The first call to Awake was to God for Him to put on strength to save them (Is 51:9).
    2. The second call to Awake was to Jerusalem to consider her desolate state (Is 51:17).
    3. This third call right here to Awake was to Jerusalem to celebrate her great blessings.
  3. The true Jerusalem made up of God’s regenerate elect is a holy city without any unholy.
    1. There may be only a slight intent here of keeping uncircumcised foreigners out of it.
    2. Jerusalem was to put on beautiful garments, which must be higher than great clothes.
    3. But the main thrust is the new character of spiritual Jerusalem as being far superior.
    4. Note the most distant fulfillment about the city’s exclusivity (Rev 21:27; 22:14-15).



2  Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

  1. The appeal/petition of Awake, awake here is to act like captivity is over for new vitality.
  2. Covered with dust by poor conditions and bands around the neck both describe captives.
  3. When God delivers His people, then it is time for them to act like it in all proper ways.
  4. The once beloved virgin daughter of Zion was to be soon released for future glory days.



3  For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

  1. The reason for the time to now celebrate was by God’s great deliverance of His church.
  2. The Jews by their sins were destroyed and taken as captives without any compensation.
  3. In turn, God would redeem them out of Babylon by His Cyrus without reward (Is 45:13).



Lesson:  We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and we ought to live like it all times, both in holy principles and conduct and in glorious praise and worship.



  God Would Save Them Like He Had Done Before  –  Verses 4-6 



4  For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

  1. It was the Jews that brought up Egypt in the previous chapter asking for a similar rescue.
  2. Here is God bringing up His great deliverances of His church from Egypt and Assyrians.
  3. This is where your own experience comes into play as taught by Paul (Romans 5:1-5).



5  Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.

  1. The glorious LORD Jehovah allows us to see His mind in places like this for learning.
  2. Three things bothered God about the captivity of His people provoking Him to action.
    1. First, they were taken captive by the Chaldeans without any offence against them.
    2. Second, the Chaldeans were harsh and cruel captors that made His church to howl.
    3. Third, He heard and saw His name blasphemed, like Belshazzar at his last supper.
  3. To prove nought here is no just reason, see without cause in 52:4 and (Is 21:2; 33:1).
    1. The Chaldeans clearly did get paid for taking Judah captive by all the spoil they took.
    2. Here is an opportunity to rightly divide the word naught into two senses (Is 52:3,5).



6  Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

  1. As we know, the I AM THAT I AM saved them from Egypt by Moses (Ex 3:13-15).
  2. Isaiah repeated this lesson we have learned (Is 12:4; 24:15; 42:8; 45:6; 47:4; 48:9,11).
  3. The fulfilled prophecies of Babylon’s overthrow by Cyrus would cause Israel to know.
  4. The deliverance from Babylon was spectacular in details to prove its divine character.



Lesson:  Do not forget God sees and remembers every offence against you – He has said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay – so you should gain in experience and learn how to pray.






  Gospel Blessings Promised for Future Prosperity  –  Verses 7-9 



7  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

  1. The context is clearly Babylon, and every clause and phrase may surely apply to it also.
    1. The lessons before and after apply to deliverance of the captives from their enemies.
    2. A fraternal cousin to this verse is from Nahum about the ruin of Nineveh (Nah 1:15).
  2. We know this verse from Romans 10:15, where Paul applied it to gospel preaching.
    1. It is no injustice to Isaiah or presumption by Paul to so apply it. He was inspired.
    2. The message of Cyrus rebuilding Jerusalem was great indeed, but Christ greater.
  3. Feet are mentioned for the part of the messengers that took them from place to place.
  4. How Did You Hear? (slides) …



8  Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.

  1. The watchmen of Judah shall rejoice at rescue from Babylon and rebuilding of the city.
    1. All the confusion and doubts of captivity were over and replaced with joyful singing.
    2. Prophets, priests, rulers: Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah.
  2. They would see eye to eye in that they would be in full agreement to rebuild and restore.
    1. We choose the sense of eye to eye as being united in agreement in their message.
    2. The text directs … plural watchmen with one voice … plural singing with one voice.
    3. Jeremiah and Zephaniah describe unity in related prophecies (Jer 32:39; Zep 3:9).
  3. But with Paul’s use of the passage, we can also see great unity among Jesus’ apostles.
    1. The apostolic preachers of the gospel would lift up the gospel trumpet to all men.
    2. The council of Jerusalem had an orderly conclusion of truth in a great controversy.
    3. The unity of the apostles was glorious – Paul helped in Judah; Peter helped in Asia.



9  Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

  1. The context is clearly Babylon, and every clause and phrase may surely apply to it also.
  2. Though the message of Cyrus and rebuilding Jerusalem was great, this was yet greater.
  3. The hearers of the watchmen – the people of God apart from ministers – were to rejoice.
  4. The comforting message of salvation both from Babylon and from sin deserves praise.



Lesson:  Hearing the truth of the gospel is an incredible blessing and privilege, and it required men to get it to you, for which you should thank God and pray for more such men.


  God Would Deliver His Holy People for All to See  –  Verses 10-12 



10  The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

  1. This was true of Cyrus overthrowing Babylon that He had prophesied (Is 45:3,6,8,13).
  2. The Jews had cried for the LORD to show His strength (Is 51:9), and He would do so.
  3. All nations that knew anything knew of Israel’s God Jehovah and Cyrus’s proclamation.
  4. It would in the distant future be true of apostolic preachers and successors worldwide.



11  Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.

  1. God called to His people to leave Babylon and to leave all the pagan idolatry behind.
  2. It is a shame that many of the Jews remained behind, but Peter in mercy visited them.
  3. When God rescues us from trouble and punishment for sin, you better forsake it forever.
  4. The book of Revelation has God’s call for His elect to leave mystical Babylon (Re 18:4).



12  For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.

  1. God comforted the Jews they would not escape by ordinary methods but a special way.
  2. They would not have to run or hide from any pursuers … for Cyrus would bless them.
  3. God would so thoroughly save them from captivity they were safe in front and behind.
  4. Escaped captives fear every day and night, but not the Jews’ with Cyrus’ proclamation.



Lesson:  God has done great and mighty things for us, and we should have no friendly contact with this world nor be apologetic or ashamed of our religion for He has done all.



  Messiah Would Be God’s Servant for Salvation  –  Verses 13-15 



13  Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

  1. Messiah, Christ, has been introduced (Is 7:14; 9:6; 11:1-5,10; 40:1-11; 50:4-9; etc.).
  2. Messiah, Christ, has also been introduced as God’s servant (Is 42:1-7; 49:1-8; 53:11).
  3. Let us behold, or see and view, this great thing, like David’s Messianic psalm (Ps 45:1).
    1. The following fifteen verses are some of the best in the whole Bible. Embrace them.
    2. This opening text introduces this glorious Man; the conclusion exalts Him (Is 53:12).
  4. Prudence, the use of wisdom in choices, was preeminently in Jesus Christ (Col 2:3).
    1. Jesus dealt prudently by being subject to His parents, confounding the Jewish doctors, dealing graciously with his home town of Nazareth, silencing His enemies, teaching righteousness far exceeding that of the Pharisees, saving the woman taken in adultery, caring for His disciples, relieving the oppressed, forgiving the sinful, maintaining integrity during trial, holding courage at death, forgiving His murderers, resisting temptation, and so forth and so on. Never man spake like this man!
    2. No king has ever been as prudent. David described Him at death (II Samuel 23:1-5).
    3. The great and holy God said He was well pleased with His Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).
    4. Jesus always did those things that pleased His Father, Who is over all (John 8:29).
    5. When on trial for His life, no fault was found in Him (Luke 23:14-15; Matt 27:4).
  5. He was greatly exalted and extolled at His ascension (Act 2:33,36; Revelation 5:1-14).
    1. It is a shame few Christians fully appreciate our Lord’s ascension and coronation.
    2. He Ascended Up on High
    3. The Coronation of Jesus …
  6. He is very high – far above all known powers (Eph 1:20-22; Heb 2:7-9; Col 1:15-18).
    1. As the King of kings He is higher than kings (Ps 89:7; I Tim 6:15; Rev 1:5; 19:16).
    2. He is higher than the heavens (Heb 7:26; Ps 68:18; 89:36-37; Heb 1:3; 4:14; 8:1).
    3. The first chapter of Hebrews clearly shows His preeminent superiority to the angels.
    4. God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above every name (Phil 2:9-11).



14  As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

  1. The “as … so” construction with 52:15 shows just how Messiah sprinkled many nations.
    1. Identify the first two clauses and their sense – the rest of each verse is explanatory.
    2. This adverbial construction, common in scripture, states exactly how a thing is done.
    3. He only had His blood to sprinkle many nations by suffering the cruel Roman death.
    4. It was His stupendous humiliation and suffering that caused many to be astonished.
    5. Jesus Christ obeyed His Father to submit to a cruel death for His elect (I Peter 1:2).
  2. Many were astonished that God’s Messiah would willingly die such a humiliating death.
    1. Peter did not think it proper or possible for Jesus to suffer any harm (Mat 16:21-23).
    2. Many women wept and lamented for our suffering Lord at Calvary (Luke 23:26-31).
    3. Two close, loving friends were yet dismayed after His resurrection (Luke 24:13-27).
    4. Pilate marveled at our Lord’s quiet humility and submission on trial (Mark 15:5).
    5. He was a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to most Jews (Is 8:14; I Peter 2:8).
  3. Isaiah described deformity of features by grief in his life and the torture of crucifixion.
    1. Visage. The face, the front part of the head, of a person. The face with reference to the form or proportions of the features.
    2. The distortion of His visage and form at 30, from grief, fastings, travels, preaching, and trouble brought estimates of His age near 50 from learned Jews (John 8:57).
    3. His beard was plucked off His face, which is only recorded by Isaiah (Isaiah 50:6).
    4. The soldiers blindfolded and slapped Him, daring divine identification (Luke 22:65).
    5. A crown of thorns was driven into His scalp as they smote His head (Mat 27:29-30).
  4. The switch in person of pronouns is common in poetry and prose of psalms or prophets.
    1. These three verses about Christ are in the third person except for the first clause here.
    2. What Jesus had agreed to allow happen did happen (Is 50:6). He humbled Himself.



15  So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

  1. The “as … so” construction with 52:14 shows just how Messiah sprinkled many nations.
    1. Identify the first two clauses and their sense – the rest of each verse is explanatory.
    2. This adverbial construction, common in scripture, states exactly how a thing is done.
    3. He only had His blood to sprinkle many nations by suffering the cruel Roman death.
    4. It was His stupendous humiliation and suffering that caused many to be astonished.
    5. Jesus Christ obeyed His Father to submit to a cruel death for His elect (I Peter 1:2).
  2. Jesus sprinkled many nations with His blood and related blessings of grace, which were consequences and rewards of His willing humiliation and sufferings of the crucifixion.
    1. This prophecy is fulfilled in blood redemption of elect of every nation (Rev 5:9-10).
    2. The greatest attendant blessing by His death is the Holy Spirit (Ezek 36:25-28; John 7:37-39; Acts 2:33-39; 5:32; 19:5-6; Eph 1:13-14; II Thess 2:13; Tit 3:5-6; I Pet 1:2).
    3. The next greatest attendant blessing by His death is the gospel (Acts 1:8; Romans 10:13-15; 16:25; Ephesians 3:5-6; 4:11-16; II Thess 2:13; Hebrews 9:14; 10:22).
    4. As the Son of God, He declared victory over the gates of hell, which had locked the nations in abject darkness under the prince of darkness (Matthew 16:18; Rev 20:3).
    5. Based on His resurrection and exaltation, He sent His apostles to all nations with a new world order (Matt 28:18-20; John 12:31-33; 16:8-11; Acts 17:6,24-31).
    6. God’s doctrine is described as dew, rain, and showers also (Deut 32:2; Is 55:10-11).
    7. The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven were preached everywhere (Ro 16:25-27).
  3. Kings were silenced by the glad tidings, and they greatly desired to hear these things.
    1. Many prophets and wise men desired to hear such things before Him (Matt 13:17).
    2. Herod and Agrippa desired to hear Him, and many others have heard of Him often.
    3. Constantine, no matter how sincere, had to change the Empire’s religion for Christ.
    4. King George II of England, upon hearing Handel’s MESSIAH in 1742, stood for the Hallelujah Chorus. King of kings! Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Forever!
  4. The gospel has unseen and unheard things that even educated kings were ignorant of.
    1. Consider His virgin birth, miracles, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, etc.
    2. Kings and great men heard of His miraculous incarnation and proven resurrection.
    3. The highest and most glorious – God Himself – humbled Himself to die for sinners.
    4. The gospel going to Gentiles fulfilled this prophecy (Romans 15:20-21; 16:25-27).
    5. Mystery of Christ …


Lesson:  There is nothing and no one like Jehovah’s Servant – the Lord Jesus Christ – and we should do all we can to exalt and extoll Him very highly, publicly and privately.