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"A Man Of Sorrows"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: That Isaiah, poet and prophet of the Old Testament, foretold the life and ministry of Jesus has been acknowledged for centuries. The early fathers of the Christian Church were of this opinion; later scholars puzzled over the prophetic verses and considered a number of contemporary figures Isaiah may have wished to cast in the role of deliverer. More recently it has become the belief of scholars that Isaiah's thoughts were not concerned with ordinary heroes and that he believed a Messiah would come from God to save the people of Israel in a spiritual rather than physical sense. He refers to this Messiah as the Servant, and the passages in which the Servant appears take the form of evangelical hymns. The various Messiah prophecies occur in chapters 40, 42, 49, 50, 52 and 53. The first of these chapters is a form of prelude to the other passages; here Isaiah announces in a hymn of great sublimity that Israel's suffering under foreign oppression is at an end, and that the Lord and his glory will descend on the people. He first refers to the Servant in Chapter 42: one prepared by the Lord, who will arrive quietly and teach God's religion in a gentle way; his teaching will reach everyone and be spread throughout the world. In Chapter 49 the Servant is announced dramatically as speaking to the nations, explaining his mission and exhorting them. His suffering, and the patience and determination with which he endures it, are mentioned in Chapter 50; and in Chapter 52 it is prophesied that out of this suffering will come a...

(The entire section is 558 words.)