Isaiah 50:1

(1) Where is the bill . . .?--The thought seems suggested by Isaiah 49:14, but expands in a different direction. Both questions imply a negative answer. Jehovah had not formally repudiated the wife (Judah) whom he had chosen (Deuteronomy 24:1) as he had done her sister Israel (Jeremiah 3:8;�Hosea 2:2). He had no creditors among the nations who could claim her children. On the law of debt which supplies the image, comp. Exodus 21:7; 2Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:5. The divorce, the sale, were her acts and not His.

Verse 1. - Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement? On account of her persistent "backsliding," God had "put away Israel," Judah's sister, and had "given her a bill of divorce" (Ver. 3:8). But he had not repudiated Judah; and her children were wrong to suppose themselves altogether cast off (see Isaiah 49:14). They had, in fact, by their transgressions, especially their idolatries, wilfully divorced themselves, or at any rate separated themselves, from God; but no sentence had gone forth from him to bar reconciliation and return. Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you! Neither has God exercised the right, regarded as inherent in a parent (Exodus 21:7; 2 Kings 4:11; Nehemiah 6:5, 8), of selling his children to a creditor. They are not sold - he has "taken no money for them" (Psalm 44:12; Isaiah 52:3); and the Babylonians are thus not their rightful owners (Isaiah 49:24) - they are still God's children, his property, and the objects of his care. For your iniquities... for your transgressions; rather, by your iniquities... by your transgressions. The separation, such as it was, between God and his people was caused by their sins, not by any act of his.

50:1-3 Those who have professed to be people of God, and seem to be dealt severely with, are apt to complain, as if God had been hard with them. Here is an answer for such murmurings; God never deprived any of their advantages, except for their sins. The Jews were sent into Babylon for their idolatry, a sin which broke the covenant; and they were at last rejected for crucifying the Lord of glory. God called on them to leave their sins, and prevent their own ruin. Last of all, the Son came to his own, but his own received him not. When God calls men to happiness, and they will not answer, they are justly left to be miserable. To silence doubts concerning his power, proofs of it are given. The wonders which attended his sufferings and death, proclaimed that he was the Son of God, Mt 27:54.Thus saith the Lord,.... Here begins a new discourse or prophecy, and therefore thus prefaced, and is continued in the following chapter:

where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? these words are directed to the Jews, who stood in the same relation to the Jewish church, or synagogue, as children to a mother; and so the Targum interprets "your mother" by "your congregation", or synagogue; who were rejected from being a church and people; had a "loammi" written upon them, which became very manifest when their city and temple were destroyed by the Romans; and this is signified by a divorce, alluding to the law of divorce among the Jews, Deuteronomy 24:1, when a man put away his wife, he gave her a bill of divorce, assigning the causes of his putting her away. Now, the Lord, either as denying that he had put away their mother, the Jewish church, she having departed from him herself, and therefore challenges them to produce any such bill; a bill of divorce being always put into the woman's hands, and so capable of being produced by her; or if there was such an one, see Jeremiah 3:8, he requires it might be looked into, and seen whether the fault was his, or the cause in themselves, which latter would appear:

or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? referring to a practice used, that when men were in debt, and could not pay their debts, they sold their children for the payment of them; see Exodus 21:7, but this could not be the case here; the Lord has no creditors, not any to whom he is indebted, nor could any advantage possibly accrue to him by the sale of them; it is true they were sold to the Romans, or delivered into their hands, which, though a loss to them, was no gain to him; nor was it he that sold them, but they themselves; he was not the cause of it, but their own sins, as follows:

behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves; or, "are sold" (w); they were sold for them, or delivered up into the hands of their enemies on account of them; they had sold themselves to work wickedness, and therefore it was but just that they should be sold, and become slaves:

and for your transgressions is your mother put away; and they her children along with her, out of their own land, and from being the church and people of God.

(w) Sept. "venditi estis", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceias, Vitringa.

Isaiah 49:26
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