…He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities….


The word “iniquity” is not a good word—and God knows how we hate it! But the consequences of iniquity cannot be escaped.

The prophet reminds us clearly that the Saviour was bruised for our iniquities.

We deny it, and say “No!” but the fingerprints of all mankind are plain evidence against us—the fingerprints of man found in every dark cellar and in every alley and in every dimly lighted evil place throughout the world. God knows man from man, and it is impossible to escape our guilt and place our moral responsibility upon someone else.

For our iniquities and our transgressions He was bruised and wounded—and Israel’s great burden and amazing blunder was her judgment that this wounded one on the hillside beyond Jerusalem was being punished for His own sin!

The prophet foresaw this historic error in judgment, and he himself was a Jew, saying: “We thought He was smitten of God. We thought that God was punishing Him for His own iniquity for we did not know then that God was punishing Him for our transgressions and our iniquities.”

For our sakes, He was profaned by ignorant and unworthy men![1]

5 Most commentators—even those who deny the presence of penal substitution elsewhere in the OT—agree that it is the meaning of this passage, though some argue against this (see, e.g., Whybray, in loc.).[2]

53:5 pierced through for our transgressions … crushed for our iniquities. This verse is filled with the language of substitution. The Servant suffered not for His own sin, since He was sinless (cf. Heb 4:15; 7:26), but as the substitute for sinners. The emphasis here is on Christ being the substitute recipient of God’s wrath on sinners (cf. 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:3, 4; Heb 10:9, 10). chastening for our well-being. He suffered the chastisement of God in order to procure our peace with God. by His scourging we are healed. The stripe (the Heb. noun is singular) that caused His death has brought salvation to those for whose sins He died. Peter confirms this in 1Pe 2:24.[3]

53:5 But contrasts with “our” incomprehension in v. 4b. The servant’s anguish was “our” fault, not his own. our transgressions, our iniquities. His sufferings went to the root of all human woe (cf. Matt. 8:17; 1 Pet. 2:24). wounded, crushed, chastisement, stripes. Isaiah emphasizes how severely God punished the rejected servant for the sins of mankind.

53:5 The messianic servant undergoes substitutionary suffering (Rom. 4:25; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24–25).[4]

53:5 was pierced for our transgressions The people realize that the Servant is suffering for their wrongdoing, not being punished for his own sin.

crushed because of our iniquities The Servant suffers on behalf of other people. See note on Isa 53:11.

our peace The Servant brings people into right relationship with God (vv. 11–12) and others. This could also indicate that there is a spiritual component to the Servant’s healing ministry described in v. 4.

his wounds we were healed The Servant is able to heal people—metaphorically and physically—because he is willing to follow the will of Yahweh—even though it results in his suffering.[5]

53:5 we are healed. The sufferings of Christ remove the penalty that His people would otherwise owe, and as a result He will undo the effects of sin in them. Death itself will be undone at last (1 Cor. 15:26).[6]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 804). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 53:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1338). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 53:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1028). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.


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