Isaiah 53:4-12 - Black sheep at the shears of the Good Shepherd

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

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[4] Surely he has borne our infirmities

and carried our diseases;

yet we accounted him stricken,

struck down by elohim, and afflicted.

[5] But he was wounded for our transgressions,

crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the punishment that made us whole,

and by his bruises we are healed.

[6] All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have all turned to our own way,

and Yahweh has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

[8] By a perversion of justice he was taken away.

Who could have imagined his future?

For he was cut off from the land of the living,

stricken for the transgression of my people.

[9] They made his grave with the wicked

and his tomb with the rich,

although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

[10] Yet it was the will of Yahweh to crush him with pain.

When you make his life an offering for sin,

he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;

through him the will of Yahweh shall prosper.

[11] Out of his anguish he shall see light;

he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.

The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

[12] Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out himself to death,

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.


This is the Track 2 Old Testament reading to be read aloud in churches following the Track 2 path on the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 24], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. On the Track 2 course, an accompanying reading from Psalm 91 will come, which says, “Because you have made Yahweh your refuge, and the Most High your habitation, There shall no evil happen to you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.” That set will come before a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where we read, “James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. … Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

I wrote about these selected verses the last time they came up in the lectionary cycle (2018). I posted those observations on my website then, which is available on this website and can be viewed by clicking on this link. I stand behind that commentary as they are still valid opinions today; and, I welcome all readers to view my commentary and then and compare it to the additional thoughts that I am inspired to write now. I welcome any comments, questions, suggestions or corrections to be sent via email. You can sign up to post directly on the article posted.

You will notice in the above English translation provided by the Episcopal Church that I have added the verse numbers. The NRSV – the source of the translations – would not think of presenting a writing of Scripture without the verse numbers; but the Episcopal Church [obviously] does not think numbering the verses [in this case] is necessary. I feel it is important to know these transition points, so I have added them within brackets. Also, three times I have restored the proper name written in Isaiah 53, which is “Yahweh” [in bold type]. This replaces the erroneous translation as “the Lord.” Using the proper name says one has an established relationship with Yahweh, so he is not some “lord” that might be “the lord” of others, but “I didn’t vote for Him.’ The truth of Scripture can only be seen by those whose souls know Yahweh by name. Finally, in verse four is found the word “elohim,” which I have restored, replacing the false translation that says “God.” The word is plural, not singular, and there is no capitalization involved in understanding the meaning of “gods.”

In 2018 I was not focused on the mistranslations, so I used "Lord" and "God" routinely in my writings. In the years since, I have come to see that bad translations lead people to have poor faith. To call Yahweh a “Lord” is to generalize Christianity. It gives the impression that Christians have some war with Jews; so, it is ‘off limits’ to use a Jewish name for God, because Christians are not Jews. I hope you can see the racism of such a rejection of the name Yahweh.

In the element of the plural “elohim” [plural of “el”] being elevated to be “God,” that is basically the same generalization that forbids anyone from demanding an explanation how the writers were so stupid. It blocks one from the realization that Yahweh is not a “god,” but THE GOD, who is the creator of “gods,” in all manner, like, shape and form. Verse four of Isaiah 53 speaks of one type of “gods” that have been created by Yahweh and allowed to exist in the worldly realm.

Verse four needs to be read in the same light of the complaints of Job, as this is the core of belief that says, “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken.” That says a soul married to Yahweh has the sureness of knowing Yahweh, knowing it is His presence that has helped a soul maintain the health of its body. This is why the Jews saw the afflictions of skin-born disease as a sign that Yahweh was not married to such a person’s soul. That was why ‘friends’ of Job had come to advise him to curse Yahweh and be done with Him. However, Job knew the truth of Yahweh's presence within him; so, all his ‘friends’ can be seen as referencing it was demonic “elohim” that needed to be turned away from.

When verse four says [NRSV], “struck down by elohim, and afflicted,” the truth of the Hebrew says, “touched smitten by elohim bowed down to.” In that, the Hebrew word that ends the verse is [transliterated] “ū·mə·‘un·neh,” rooted in “anah.” That word means, “to be bowed down or afflicted” (Strong’s Definition), with Brown-Driver-Briggs adding meanings relative to: 1. Be occupied, busied with; 2. Be bowed down, afflicted, as “be put down or become low; be depressed, downcast; and humble oneself.” When one realizes that Yahweh [who was named by Isaiah in verses six and ten] is more than an “elohim,” being the Creator of all, including “elohim” [angels, souls, spirits eternal], then “to bow down and be afflicted by disease,” one’s soul is then married to Yahweh [as was Job’s, as was Isaiah’s]. That means such problems of the flesh are brought on by the same source as was Job’s ailments – Satan. To “bow down” to a lesser “god” or “gods” means one was never a soul married to Yahweh in the first place.

Verse five can then be read as a series of tests that bring a soul to realize serving lesser “elohim” will not be tolerated by Yahweh. The Covenant is the vows of divine marriage; and, the first rule is, “You will have no other “elohim” before My face,” which means, “Do not come around me stinking like you have been sleeping with self-pleasure and expect me to meet you at the door with anything other than the rolling pin.” To prove to Yahweh your soul is marriage material, you need to see the wounds of your sins, feel the pain of your wrongs, and accept any punishment the world gives (because your soul is not married to Yahweh). Without receiving those stripes of punishment, one’s soul will never see how powerless a soul alone in a body of flesh is, being insignificant. Satan enjoys leading souls away from Yahweh, knowing they will squeal like pigs, agreeing to do anything Satan says, just to stop the sufferings of his afflictions.

Verse six says a “sheep” of “Yahweh” is a member of a flock to the ultimate Good Shepherd. Lost sheep take their souls into all the most dangerous places. Once those dangers have become part of one’s being, they cannot be returned to the fold visibly filthy dirty, or else the other sheep will think a dangerous place is safe. The stench of all transgressions has to be removed first.

Baaaah. I have some confessions to make. Baaaah.

This is why verse seven sings of being sheared. The lost sheep is silent before its shearer, who cuts away all the filthy hair that has rubbed against Satan’s wolves. To even get to this point of having Yahweh cut away one’s sins, brought on by evil “elohim,” making an innocent lamb need a spiritual washing, the lamb has to willing to be led to slaughter. That means the killing of self-will, to be replaced by the Spirit of Yahweh, marking one’s soul as His own. Washing sins with water is not enough. One needs to be washed by the blood of the lamb: Out with the bad blood, in with the good.

The NRSV is using some mishmash translation that strays from the truth. The literal translation of the Hebrew into English has it saying, “from restraint and from judgment [the lamb] was taken , and its dwelling who will complain it was cut off from the land of the living , for the transgression of my people it was stricken .” In this, the first word (“oster”) also means “barren, coercion, opposition, prison,” where the flesh is a condition that “coerces” a soul to sin. It keeps a soul from doing as it told Yahweh it would do, before birth into a prison of flesh. Death, as a willing sacrifice, becomes a release of a soul for “judgment” (“mishpat”).

To sacrifice one’s soul [a “self”] to Yahweh means to be accepted by Him in marriage. One is no longer the name one had, as one becomes in the name of Yahweh, as His Son [males and female alike]. That means being “cut off from the earth,” no loner a soul animating dead flesh, but as “the living,” as a soul promised eternal life. All prior afflictions were because of following the accepted ways of “the people,” who claimed to be promised Salvation because they were born into a certain race.

In verse nine, the words of Isaiah are singing of the people from whom a righteous soul has departed. The death of the wicked are marked by tombs that declare how much wealth from the land had been possessed by one in life. Their “god” is worldly, so it is their tombstones that become their altars of worship. Those who sacrifice their souls to be judged worthy by Yahweh say nothing in prayer for worldly things. They do not perform acts of violence that steal from the people, so others will suffer. Instead, they teach the truth through mouths led by the divine Spirit.

Verse ten is then where Isaiah named Yahweh twice. Here, it says “Yahweh took delight in crushing him to weakness.” This is not Yahweh taking delight in the crushing of a human body of flesh, a poor lost lamb soul; but it is a reference to the crushing o an “elohim” that would attempt to bring danger upon a soul that had given itself up to be Yahweh’s wife. The delight taken is in the soul having turned away from the “elohim,” as was the case with Job. The fear of losing Yahweh makes one turn away fro Satan’s “gods” of influence. Instead of selling a soul to Satan for the right to sin, the soul sacrifices that offering of transgression, staying focused on Yahweh. That love and devotion is what pleases Yahweh; and, that will bring the soul greater profits than land and field animals. It will bring the reward of eternal life.

In verse eleven, when Isaiah sang, “the labor of a soul shall be satisfied,” that can be seen in the light of the works of faith that James wrote of. To then say, “by his knowledge shall righteous and just many servants” of Yahweh, this “satisfaction” is then based on mutual love and devotion, so a soul no longer does the works of sin. Instead, a soul chooses to instead do the works of faith. In that trust, Yahweh becomes the bearer of all challenges from Satan, casting them aside effortlessly.

In verse twelve, Isaiah then says, “I shall divide a portion to him to be great.” That speaks of the “two-edged sword Paul wrote of, which divides a soul, so the Spirit can become adjoined with the soul. This is the meaning of Isaiah, as his soul became a saint by receiving the Spirit of Yahweh in divine marriage. Isaiah became one “el” of all the many Yahweh elohim, all of whom have been given eternal life as Yahweh’s wives.

The division of a soul means death, much like Adam was made to sleep so Yahweh could duplicate his body of flesh to create Eve’s DNA. Likewise, Jesus had to die and be freed from the limitations of only one body of flesh, so he could become the servant of Yahweh to possess all his wives, the mothers of His Son reborn. This is the meaning of Isaiah singing [NRSV], “yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” This was Isaiah singing praise to Jesus in prophetic means, as his soul had become where Jesus’ soul was resurrected, well before Jesus was born into the flesh, from a womb of a mother.

As an optional reading for the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to see the truth of “elohim.” The world is full of lost souls sold into slavery to Satan, from marrying his “gods” of evil. As an alternative reading to Yahweh’s response to Job – a “blameless and upright man” – one needs to see Isaiah as one who followed in the same path of righteousness as did Job. The lesson to learn it is the expectation for a soul to be washed clean of past sins and enter ministry for Yahweh. That sacrifice of self is done for the promise of gaining freedom from the prison that is a body of flesh. A soul can only be released by death, at which time the souls of transgressors will be sent back into a new body of flesh, forced to re-live lives of sin, over and over and over again. The lesson is to stop that madness. One needs to marry a soul to Yahweh by dying of self at a time when the flesh can then pay for sins through service to Yahweh, as a saint. That means being reborn as Jesus, as His Son.

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