The second Servant Song is found in Isaiah 49:1-6. The ‘failure’ and ‘success’ of the servant: rejected by Israel, but will bring salvation to the gentiles and then to Israel.
Vv. 1-3 Israel as it was meant to be. Israel the person became a nation- here the nation is becoming a person. The first Israel could not do it, the second one will!
Vv. 4-6 The agent, the task, and the result. V. 5 task- redeem Israel. V. 6 ‘a light for the Gentiles,’ the second time this is mentioned.
First song, the mystery man looks like a king, in this second song, he looks like a prophet (v. 2- “mouth”).
Servant Song number three comes from Isaiah 50:4-11. Contradicting the ‘no-one at all’ of verse 2, there is one who testifies to listening and responding (5). “Once more the Servant speaks, letting us into some of the most deeply personal areas of his life: his communion with God, the physical and mental suffering which marks his way, and the assurance of final vindication that buoys him up. It is almost as if he is speaking more to himself than to others. In this third song, the world at large is left out of the picture, and attention is focused on the Servant himself and his ministry to the people of God.” (Barry Webb, “The Message of Isaiah” from The Bible Speaks Today Series. (Leicester, England: Intervarsity Press, 1996)
‘Sovereign Lord’ Adonai Yahweh is mentioned four times as sort of an introductory marker (4,5,7,9).
V. 4 ‘instructed’- total knowledge to disciple and counsel. ‘Sustains the weary’- he consoles, heals, cares for, shepherds, speaks the proper word in season.
V. 6 ‘offered my back’ – Nothing he will not endure if obedience demands it.
V. 7 ‘set my face like flint’ – resolutely set out, firm resolve, determined.
V. 10 ‘who…obeys the word of his servant?’- The servant is not to be wondered at or admired, but obeyed!
V. 11 ‘provide yourselves’ – trust in self. ‘your fires’ – a different gospel. ‘torment’ – their reward- a place of pain.
The most revealing and famous of the five songs is next.