Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. “Isaiah 38-55: The Book of the Servant” “E. The Greater Deliverance (49:1-55:13)” Loc. 10947-13096
Motyer finds in Isaiah 49-55 a contrast between the changing relationship shown in redemption from Babylon and the unchanging nature of God’s promises to Israel (Motyer 1993, Loc. 10947). In 49:1-6 the Servant calls the world to hear and be released from bondage into truth (Motyer 1993, Loc. 10968). Motyer goes on to analyze the structural progression of thought in great detail. The passage points to a divine and human agent who acts near and far to rescue all God’s people.
Isaiah 49:7-13 speaks of the success of the Servant’s work. Motyer identifies numerous very brief songs in these verses dealing with the way the Servant interacts with the world in general and Israel in particular (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11109). The Servant is despised and abused by the nations (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11132). Despite this he will rescue the nations, bringing in a day of salvation.
Not all is well in the presence of the Servant. 49:14-50:11 speaks of unresponsive hearers (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11200). Again, Motyer observes numerou very brief units in the text. Though Zion feels forsaken, the Lord has never forgotten His people (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11234). God’s people will be gathered. More will return than went into captivity (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11272). God will bring people from the nations into his people. Those who refuse God’s restoration seal ther own fate. Motyer describes them as “self-destructive” (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11304). Regardless, God is able to rescue any who do not refuse him (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11339). In 50:111 the Servant is clearly the one who suffers himself (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11365). Especially verses 6 and following point to the Servant as an individual, not a personification of the nation (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11398). The rescue from bondage and darkness is related to trusting in the name of the Servant (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11443).
Isaiah 511-52:12 speak to the future prospects of salvation and to its reality (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11460). Motyer identifies eight distinct oracles in this passage. They call the people to hear from the Lord and promise salvation. The oracles, like the rest of Isaiah, show very careful organization and progression of thought (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11502). The first messages are of salvation for Israel, for all the nations, then a call to faith and perseverance. The salvation of Isral in the past was a rescue from Egypt (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11637). The same God is still able to rescue his people. Therefore, 51:17-52:12 have a number of commands that God’s people should respect (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11773). The rescue has been accomplished. It remains to be received. Reception of God’s deliverance is done by awaiting God’s return and acknowledging him as the one who rescues Israel (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11946). This rescue is a greater Exodus than that from Egypt (Motyer 1993, Loc. 11980). In the new Exodus the enemies will not pursue God’s people. They depart from bondage without fear or turmoil (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12038). Again, the text shows very careful balance, which can be disscted into very small portions. The Servant s both exalted and humiliated (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12079). This reaches to many nations. In the Servant, salvation is as universal as it can be. By and large, the Servant is not accepted (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12172). The news given is not recognized. Therefore, the Servant suffers, and he suffers alone (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12235). His suffering is the punishment deserved by his people. It is not his own (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12271). Even when taken away to death the Servant is not understood (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12390). However, the Servant is triumphant, as we read in 53:10 and following. Having made himself an offering for sin, the Servant becomes the one who executes God’s will (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12563). Because all has been made ready, God calls to his people. 54:1-55:13 give promises of the success of the Servant’s work (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12657). By his work the world can come for pardon (55:1-13). By God’s word a feast is prepared. The curse of sin is done away with (Motyer 1993, Loc. 12895). Even with no resources, people can come and buy what they need. God has provided all that may be desired.