was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he didn’t open his mouth.
Isaiah 53 [4.] Surely he has borne our sickness,
and carried our suffering;
yet we considered him plagued,
struck by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray.
Everyone has turned to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed,
yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth.
As a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he didn’t open his mouth.
He was taken away by oppression and judgment;
and as for his generation,
who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living
and stricken for the disobedience of my people?
They made his grave with the wicked,
and with a rich man in his death;
although he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
- Oppression and Affliction:
The opening phrase, "He was oppressed," sets the stage for the portrayal of the suffering servant. The term "oppressed" conveys a sense of unjust treatment and hardship. Yet, despite the affliction he endures, the verse emphasizes a remarkable response—the servant chooses silence.
- Silent Submission:
The subsequent statement, "when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth," underscores the servant's silent submission to suffering. In a cultural context where speaking out against injustice was often expected, this silence stands as a powerful symbol of the servant's willingness to endure suffering without protest or self-defense.
- Lamb Led to Slaughter:
The imagery of a lamb being led to the slaughter adds depth to the depiction. Lambs were sacrificial animals, often used in religious rituals. The comparison evokes a sense of innocence, vulnerability, and readiness to undergo a sacrificial destiny. The servant's silent submission is likened to the silent journey of a sacrificial lamb.
- Sheep Before Shearers:
The parallel image of a sheep before its shearers further amplifies the concept of silent endurance. The shearing of sheep is a common practice that requires the sheep to remain still. The servant's silence is likened to the sheep's quiet compliance, emphasizing a voluntary surrender to a process that, though uncomfortable, serves a purpose.
Humility and Obedience: Isaiah 53:7 portrays the humility and obedience of the suffering servant. His silence in the face of oppression and affliction reflects a profound submission to the divine purpose, aligning with the broader theme of obedience seen throughout the servant song.
Redemptive Symbolism: The imagery of a sacrificial lamb connects with redemptive symbolism. In the New Testament, this imagery finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ, often referred to as the Lamb of God whose sacrificial death brings redemption and forgiveness.
Example for Believers: The silent endurance of the suffering servant becomes an example for believers, illustrating a response to unjust suffering that transcends human instincts of self-defense or retaliation. It reflects a trust in God's ultimate plan and sovereignty.
Endurance in Trials: Isaiah 53:7 offers a model for enduring trials with humility and trust. It encourages believers to embrace a perspective that goes beyond immediate circumstances, recognizing that silent submission to God's purposes can be a powerful testimony.
Cultivating Humility: The verse prompts individuals to cultivate humility in their responses to adversity. It challenges the inclination to defend oneself or seek vengeance, advocating instead for a spirit of silent submission and trust in God's sovereignty.
Matthew 26:63: "But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, 'I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.'" This New Testament reference reflects the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7 in the silent response of Jesus during his trial.
Acts 8:32: "Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, 'He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.'" Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts references the silent submission of the suffering servant.
Isaiah 53:7 presents a striking image of the suffering servant's silent submission to oppression and affliction. It serves as a profound reflection on humility, obedience, and trust in the face of unjust suffering, resonating with enduring significance in both Old and New Testament contexts.
Isaiah 53:7 invites personal reflection on how individuals respond to affliction and unjust treatment. It prompts contemplation on the role of humility, silence, and trust in God's plan in the midst of adversity.
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible