When we look at these chapters according to God’s paragraph divisions, we find something interesting:
Isa 51:17-21 p, Awake Jerusalem! You who have drunk the cup of His wrath
Isa 51:22-23 p, I have taken the cup of My wrath out of your hand
Isa 52:1-2 s, Awake Zion! No more unclean shall enter you!
Isa 52:3 s, You have sold yourselves for nothing, you shall be redeemed without money
Isa 52:4-6 s, YHVH’s people in Egypt, YHVH to make His name known
Isa 52:7-10 s, Good news: YHVH bared His holy arm to comfort and redeem
Isa 52:11-12 s, Depart and touch no unclean thing
Isa 52:13-15 s, Behold My Servant
Isa 53:1-12 p, The Servant crushed, His soul a sin offering
Jerusalem has drunk the cup of God’s wrath (Isa 51:17). But then, the LORD comforts Jerusalem by taking the cup of His wrath out of her hand (Isa 51:22), and in fact He promises that He will never be angry with her again, just as He promised Noah He would never flood the whole earth again (Isa 54:9-10, repeating element alert!)
In the middle of this, something happens that causes the LORD’s anger to depart from Jerusalem: His righteous Servant takes the transgressions of His people upon Himself and in the process, justifies many (Isa 53). When Yeshua was in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, He pleaded with the LORD that this cup pass from Him, if it be His will. It was not the cup of Roman punishment that He feared, but the cup of God’s wrath poured out for the sins of the world. However, He set His face like flint (Isa 50:7), and drained the cup of God’s wrath to the very dregs. Because of Isa 53, we have the comfort and joy of Isa 54!
After the promise that the LORD will take His cup from Jerusalem’s hand, there follows a series of weak paragraphs in Isa 52 which culminates with the single strong paragraph of Isa 53. The message of the weak paragraphs, is the redemption that is coming upon Israel. The message of the strong paragraph, is that it will be accomplished through the suffering of the LORD’s righteous Servant.
Isa 52 is interesting, because it mirrors the book of Exodus: YHVH is going to make His name, YHVH, known, to His people who are in Egypt. The good news, or gospel, is that it is YHVH Himself who bared His holy arm to accomplish redemption for them! When He bared His holy arm, His people were freed to depart (Egypt) so depart! Just as the people departed Egypt when the ten plagues were accomplished, by the mighty right arm of YHVH. Which leads us into Isa 52:13-53:12, Behold, My Servant, and the description and means by which He becomes the Passover Lamb.
The thematic connection between Isa 52-53 and the deliverance from Egypt in Exodus, reveals to students of Scripture that it is YHVH Himself who is the righteous Servant. Paul and the apostles did not pluck the doctrine of the deity of Yeshua out of thin air, but the Holy Spirit taught them from Torah and the Prophets, through passages such as these, that it must be so.
Isa 52:13-53:12 also forms a complex chiastic structure, for those of you who like to solve puzzles. Hint: the greater structure is composed of several smaller structures embedded within it.