Isaiah 50 – YHWH Who Created, Who is sent, Who is Christ

Isaiah 50 – YHWH

1     Thus says YHWH, ‘Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcing, whom I sent away? Or to which of My creditors have I sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

2    For what reason, (when) I came, was there no man; I called, and no one answered? Is My hand truly short from redemption, or is no power in Me to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I shall drain a sea, I make rivers a wilderness; their fish stink because there is no water, and die for thirst.

3    I clothe the heavens with blackness, and sackcloth I place (as) their covering.

4    My most sovereign YHWH gives Me the tongue of the learned, to know to speak a timely word to the faint. He shall arouse in the morning; in the morning He shall arouse to Me an ear to hear as the taught (ones).

5    My Lord YHWH opens to me (an) ear, and I do not rebel; (My) back I turned not away.

6    I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to those plucking out; My face I hid not from shame and spitting.

7    And My Lord YHWH shall help Me, therefore I am not ashamed; therefore I set my face like the flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

8    Near is He Who justifies Me; who will contend with Me? We shall stand together. Who is mine adversary? He shall be near to me.

9    Behold, My Lord YHWH shall help Me; who is he who shall condemn Me? Behold, all of them as the garment shall wear out; the moth shall devour them.

10  Who among you fears YHWH, listening to the voice of His Servant, Who goes in darknesses, and no brightness is for Him? He shall trust in the name of YHWH and lean upon his God.

11  Behold, all you who kindle a fire, girding yourselves with sparks (flames?), walk in the light of your fire, and in flames you burned. From My hand this came to you; in grief you shall lie down.’”


Verse 1 shows the Speaker to be YHWH. Throughout the prophesy, the Speaker does not change: “I … redeem … deliver…drain a sea at My rebuke … clothe the heavens in darkness” All of these things are the unique power and jurisdiction of the LORD God Almighty. This continues through to the end, where YHWH says He gave, to those who ‘kindle a fire’ to idolatry, to lie down in grief. So the passage opens and closes with YHWH speaking.

But in verse 4, the Speaker refers to YHWH in the third-person singular; “My most sovereign YHWH gives …. He ….” The Speaker is identified as YHWH in verse one, but refers to “My Lord YHWH (adni YHWH) as “He”. The Speaker continues to refer to God as “My Lord YHWH” and “He” through to the end of the passage. The Speaker cannot be the same person or have the same identity as the One to Whom He refers as “adni yhwh”, because of the nature of His comments concerning YHWH: “He gives to me”, “He opens My ear”, “He shall help Me”, “justify Me”, “stand together with Me” – all actions which require that the One performing is a separate individual from the One receiving His action.

If the Speaker is identified as YHWH, and the Speaker refers to another individual as YHWH, we necessarily conclude that the name YHWH applies to two distinct Individuals. Also, the Individual Who gives His “back to smiters and His face to those who pluck out”, Who submitted to “shame and spitting”, and Whom YHWH shall justify and help, is the same Speaker Who proclaims that He “clothe(s) the heavens with blackness”, is Who “drains a sea with a rebuke”, and Whose arm is capable of saving.

We know that YHWH is the name of the only living and true God. (Ps 83; Is 37; Ex 3:13-15) and that name belongs to no one else. We know that only God created the universe and established its function and patterns. God created everything alone; no one helped God with this activity. (Psalm 102, 146; Is 44; Jer 10; John 1:1-3; Rev 4:11) The only reasonable conclusion from the text is that two Individuals share the name YHWH, and therefore two Individuals also share the title of God.

We know that Jesus is the one referred to as giving His back to the smiters and His cheeks to those plucking His beard. (Mat 26:67; 27:26; Mr 15:19; Lk 22:63-64; Jn 18:22) It is Christ Who set His face like flint to do what God had purposed for our redemption. (Lk 9:51) But He who gave His back to the smiters and his cheeks to the pluckers of the beard, Who endured the spitting and shame, in Isaiah 50 is the speaker, YHWH. The only Biblical conclusion we can reach, based on the text of the Scripture, is that Jesus Christ bears the name YHWH and holds the title of God along with the Father – His Father – the ‘living and true God’. (John 17:3) Jesus Christ is YHWH God, come in the flesh, Who created the heavens and spread them out, the earth and filled it for His good pleasure, and Who came and bore a human body in order to die a criminal’s death as payment of debt earned by the sin of wicked men, so that we who would trust Him could receive forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God, and eternal life.