Understanding Isaiah 53:4-5


Isaiah 53:5 has been one of my favorite scriptures for a while now, with it’s promises of healing prophesied long before Jesus physically took all of our sins, sicknesses, sorrows, etc. on the cross. But obviously there is more than just physical healing mentioned. In fact, the verse basically summarizes the entire gospel in advance. My question is this. What is the difference between transgression and iniquity? It seems pretty clear that both are sin, but I also know that the Hebrew language isn’t cluttered with words that have identical meanings, and that Hebrew words tend to be rather specific and yet thorough in their meaning.


In Isaiah 53:4-5 we see all the brokenness of mankind represented. You’re right, it’s a summary of the Gospel story. In verse four, the Hebrew word translated griefs (or infirmities) means physical sickness and disease. The one for sorrows means physical and mental pain, anguish, grief, and sorrow.

In verse five, the word translated transgression means to break away or revolt, to break a covenant. The one for iniquity means perversity or depravity. It comes from a root meaning to twist or distort.

All of this was taken off our shoulders and placed on His. He was punished to bring us peace with God (Spiritual health) and because of His wounds we are healed (Physical and Mental health). Hallelujah.