Theme: In the Hebrew language, to listen is to act.
“The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isa 50:5-6). “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,'Your God reigns!'” (Isa 52:7)
- The Servant Listens (50:4-9): The Third Servant Song
- Are You Listening? (50:10-11)
- Listeners Listen (51:1-8)
- Listen to the Good News: God reigns (51:9-52:12)
- Comfort comes, fear vanishes (51:9-16)
- Wrath removed, mercy arrives (51:17-23)
- The new comes, the old is gone (52:1-2)
- Redemption comes, oppression ends (52:3-6)
- Peace and salvation comes (52:7-10)
- Bondage ends, freedom begins (52:11-12)
- (50:4–9) What is this servant asserting about himself (4–5)? How does this compare to Israel the nation (42:18–20)?
- What is the servant's resolve (6)? The progression in the three servant songs (42:2-3; 49:4; 50:6)? Why (Heb 5:8-9)?
- What is the servant’s attitude (7-9; 49:4b; Lk 9:51)? What should this teach us (Heb 11:6)?
- (50:10–11) A feature of Hebrew poetry is synonymous parallelism. How is fearing God/obeying him and trusting/ relying on God related (10)? What are our two choices in life (10-11)?
- (51:1–8) How many times is “listen to me” repeated (1,4,7)? To whom is it addressed (1a, 7a)? Why these folks? What does God promise (6b, 8b)? Why should one look back (2), look forward (4-5) and look at present (7)?
- (51:9–16) What is their attitude here that was previously addressed (12-13, 7)? What does God promise (12, 16)?
- (51:17–23) What has Jerusalem experienced (17-21)? But what is going to happen (22-23)?
- (52:1–6) What is Zion asked to do (1-2)? What does this mean? How does this contrast with 47:1?
- Why did Yahweh “sell” his people (52:3-6; cf. 50:1)? What does that mean for his capacity to redeem? What does it mean in this context for them to “know Yahweh’s name” (6)? What about us?
- (52:7–12) What is the "good news" (7)? [Before the invention of gunpowder, it was difficult to break into a walled city. The primary alternative was siege. The besieging army would surround the city and prevent anyone from going in or out, hoping to starve out the inhabitants. For those inside, the only hope was to outwait the besiegers. One of the ways for that to happen was for the besieging general to be forced to withdraw his forces because of some event elsewhere in his domain. That is what is described in 52:7–12: messengers can be seen coming with the news of victory in a battle elsewhere that is going to force the besiegers to withdraw. The Greek translation of “him who brings good news”(52:7) is the origin of our word “evangelist.”]
- Why is salvation described in terms of God’s coming (8; 40:3-5)? What is the tone here (9; cf. 49:13)? Calm, reflective, contemplative? Why this tone? What is the metaphor describing (52:10; 50:2; 51:5, 9)?
- If Isaiah 49–55 are not describing deliverance from Babylon, what are the people going out from (11–12)?