Is it referring to restoration from sin through sacrifice paying the penalty of sin rather than what we think of with the English word peace?

   But he was pierced for our transgressions; 
  he was crushed for our iniquities; 
              upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, 
  and with his wounds we are healed. 
                              (Isa. 53:5, ESV)

וְהוּא֙ מְחֹלָ֣ל‬ מִפְּשָׁעֵ֔נוּ מְדֻכָּ֖א מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵ֑ינוּ מוּסַ֤ר שְׁלֹומֵ֨נוּ֙ עָלָ֔יו וּבַחֲבֻרָתֹ֖ו נִרְפָּא־לָֽנוּ׃ (Isa. 53:5, BHS)

The verb form of this noun (שׁלם) his used in the Torah for making restitution (eg. Exodus 21:34). The idea of paying the penalty for sin fits well in the context of this verse.

Look at how Jewish scholars have translated this verse.

   But he was wounded because of our sins, 
  Crushed because of our iniquities. 
  He bore the chastisement that made us whole, 
  And by his bruises we were healed. 
                       (Isa. 53:5, JPS)

Figure 1. The Senses of שׁלם in the Tanakh (generated with Logos Bible Software)
enter image description here

  • Excellent question. +1.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


In Isa 53:5, "peace" is a simplistic but allowable translation, especially in light of the NT allusions to this verse (more on this shortly).

The basic meaning of the word is "completeness, soundness, welfare, peace" and was (and still is) used as a friendly greeting in Hebrew and much else. The clear intention in Isa 53:5 is rather obviously, completlness in our relationship with God which includes the covenant relationship (see BDB below) thus has overtones of "reconciliation" in more modern terms.

This concept is used by Paul (as a Hebraism) in the NT such as:

  • Eph 2:14 - For He Himself is our peace, having made both one and having broken down the barrier of the partition of hostility,
  • Eph 2:15 - having annulled in His flesh the law of commandments in ordinances, so that He might create in Himself the two into one new man, making peace
  • Col 1:20 - and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace by the blood of His cross through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.
  • Acts 10:36 - the word that He sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming the gospel, peace by Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all.

See also CEV of Rom 5:10 - Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by the life of his Son.

Note that in the Hebrew idiom (as used by Paul in the NT) Christ's act of atonement/sacrifice is understood as reconciliation or "making peace":

  • between humanity and God (ie, the covenant relationship), Eph 2:14, see also Rom 5:10, Acts 10:36.
  • between the old nature and the new nature (ie, "one man"), Eph 2:15
  • between the things in heaven and earth and Himself (Col 1:22). See also Col 1:22

Some modern versions do not render שָׁלוֺם in Isa 53:5 as simply "peace" but attempt a more nuanced word/phrase such as:

  • NASB: well-being
  • ISV: made us whole
  • JPS 1917: welfare
  • NAB: makes us whole
  • NET: made us well
  • CEV: made us completely well
  • GNT: made whole

On this basis, I believe it might be permitted to translate Isa 53:5 as something like:

But He was pierced for our offenses, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; The punishment for our reconciliation was laid upon Him, And by His wounds we are healed.

Many standard commentaries arrive at the same conclusion such as Barnes, Poole, Gill, Pulpit, etc.

APPENDIX BDB entry for שָׁלוֺם

noun masculine (Isaiah 54:13) completeness, soundness, welfare, peace (LagBN 174); — ׳שׁ Genesis 29:6 +; שָׁלֹם (rare) Ezekiel 13:16 +; construct שְׁלוֺם Genesis 37:14 +; suffix שְׁלוֺמִי Psalm 41:10 +, etc.; plural (all dubious) שְׁלוֺמִים Jeremiah 13:19; Psalm 69:23; suffix שְׁמָֹיו Psalm 55:21; —

  1. completeness in number, הָגְלָת שְׁלוֺמִים Jeremiah 13:19 Judah is wholly carried captive (but read גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה, compare Amos 1:6; so ᵐ5 WeAmos SS Buhl).

  2. safety, soundness, in body, אֵין שָׁלוֺם בַּעֲצָמַי Psalm 38:4; לְשָׁלוֺם Isaiah 38:17; שָׁלוֺם אָהֳלֶ֑ךָ (Ges§ 141c) Job 5:24 is safe, secure.

  3. welfare, health, prosperity: ׳לשׁ ׳שָׁאַל לפ ask one about welfare Genesis 43:27 (J), Exodus 18:7 (E), Judges 18:15 7t., compare 2 Samuel 11:7 (3 t. in verse); pregnantly ירד לשׁלום 2 Kings 10:13 descend (to ask) about welfare of, compare 1 Samuel 17:18; Jeremiah 38:4; ׳הלד לשׁ Exodus 4:18 (E) + 5 t.; ׳עלה לשׁ Genesis 44:17 (J), 1 Samuel 25:35; ׳דבּר לשׁ Genesis 37:4 (JE); ׳שָׁלוֺם ל be well with Genesis 29:6; Genesis 43:23,28 (J), Judges 6:23; Judges 19:20; 1 Samuel 20:7,21 10t., 2 Kings 4:26 (3 t. in verse); שָׁלוֺם בְּ Psalm 122:7; Psalm 122:8 may it be well in; absolute as object of אָמַר well, be well, ׳שׁ Genesis 29:6 (J), 2 Samuel 18:28; 2 Kings 9:11,17,18,19,22; Jeremiah 6:14 (twice in verse) + 10 t.; הֲשָׁלוֺם אֲבִיכֶם (Ges§ 141c) Genesis 43:27 (J); בּ(וֺ)אֶ֑ךָ ׳שׁ 1 Samuel 16:4 (see Dr), 1 Kings 2:13; ׳אֵין שׁ Jeremiah 6:14 3t.; לרשׁעים ׳אין שׁ Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:21; but ראה רשׁעים ׳שׁ Psalm 73:3; ׳רֹב שׁ Psalm 37:11; Psalm 72:7; ׳פ ׳שׁאל שׁ Psalm 122:6; ׳דרשׁ שׁ ("" טוב) Deuteronomy 23:7; Ezra 9:12; יוֺסִיפוּ לָךְ ׳שׁ Proverbs 3:2; ׳בַּשׁ Job 15:21 in time of prosperity.

  4. peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, Isaiah 32:17 ("" וָבֶטַח הַשְׁקֵט); ׳שָׁכַב בשׁ Psalm 4:9 (to sleep); depart life ׳בְּשׁ in tranquillity Genesis 15:15 (RJE), 1 Kings 2:6 3t., יְבוֺא Isaiah 57:2; ׳אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שׁ Psalm 37:37; ׳בא בשׁ Exodus 18:23 (E) come in contentment; ׳ארץ שׁ Jeremiah 12:5; ׳נְוֵה שׁ ("" מבטחים) Isaiah 32:18, compare Jeremiah 25:37; מִמָּ֑חַד ׳שׁ Job 21:9; ולשׁלומים לְמקֵשׁ Psalm 69:23 security, (let it) become a trap (but ᵐ5 Aq Symm Theod Jerome ׳וּלְשִׁלּוּמִים וּלְמ, Du (compare ᵑ7) וּשְׁלָמִים peace-offerings, and שֻׁלְחָן va).

  5. peace, friendship:

  • a. human relations: אֱנוֺשׁ שְׁמִֹי Jeremiah 20:10 man of my friendship, compare Jeremiah 38:22; Obadiah 7; Psalm 41:10; בין ׳עֲצַת שׁ Zechariah 6:13; ׳יֹעֲצֵי שׁ Proverbs 12:20; (אֵת, עִם) ׳דבּר שׁ Psalm 28:3; Psalm 35:20; Jeremiah 9:7; ׳בקּשׁ שׁ Psalm 34:15; ׳ידע שׁ Isaiah 59:8; ׳דֶּרֶךְ שׁ Isaiah 59:8; שׁלּח ׳בשׁ Genesis 26:29 (J); ׳הלן בשׁ Genesis 26:31 (J), 1 Samuel 29:7 4t.; ׳שׁוב בשׁ 2 Samuel 15:27; "" צדקה in Messianic reign Psalm 72:3.

  • b. peace with God, especially in covenant relation: Isaiah 54:10 ברית covt. of my peace, compare Numbers 25:12 (P), Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 37:26, also Malachi 2:5; ׳שׁ ׳י as name of altar Judges 6:24; ׳י subject לְ ׳שׁם שׁ Numbers 6:26 (P); ׳בֵּרַךְ בשׁ Psalm 29:11; ׳חפץ שׁ Psalm 35:27; לְ ׳עשׂה שׁ Jeremiah 33:9; ׳מֵאֵת אָסַף שׁ Jeremiah 16:5 ("" חסד); אֶל ׳דבּר שׁ Psalm 85:9; ׳נתן שׁ Haggai 2:9; ׳מחשׁבות שׁ Jeremiah 29:11; man subject ׳ל ׳עשׂח שׁ Isaiah 27:5 (twice in verse); ׳הלן בשׁ Malachi 2:6. In this sense "" אֶדֶק Psalm 85:11, "" אְדָקָה Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 60:17, "" שִׂמְחָה Isaiah 55:12, is like a river Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 66:12; עַליֿשׂראל׳שׁ Psalm 125:5; Psalm 128:6, ׳רָב לְאֹהֲבֵי דוֺרָדֶ֑ךָ שׁ Psalm 119:165; ׳מוּסַר שׁ Isaiah 53:5 chastisement for our peace (but SS Buhl שִׁלֻּמֵינוּ).

  1. peace from war: (ל) ׳עשׂה שׁ make peace (with) Joshua 9:15; Job 25:2; בארץ ׳נתן שׁ Leviticus 26:6 (H); בין ׳ובין שׁ Judges 4:17; 1 Samuel 7:14; 1 Kings 5:26; ׳קרא (ל)שׁ Deuteronomy 20:10; Judges 21:13; Micah 3:5; ׳שׁוב בשׁ Joshua 10:21 (E), Judges 8:9; Judges 11:31; ׳בא בשׁ 2 Samuel 19:25; 2 Samuel 19:31 7t.; לְ ׳היה שׁ 1 Kings 5:4 3t., compare 2 Samuel 17:3 (see Dr); ׳בקּשׁ שׁ Ezekiel 7:25; ׳מלאכי שׁ Isaiah 33:7; רָשֶׁקֶט ׳נתן שׁ 1 Chronicles 22:9; ׳מוֺצְאֵת שׁ Songs 8:10; (ו)אמת ׳שׁ Isaiah 39:8 = 2 Kings 20:19 3t., compare Zechariah 8:19; ׳עֵת שׁ Ecclesiastes 3:8; ׳בְּשׁ 1 Kings 2:5 in time of peace; ׳שַׂר שׁ Isaiah 9:5 (Messianic title), compare ׳זֶה שׁ Micah 5:4.

  2. as adjective שְׁמָֹיו Psalm 55:21 those at peace with him (read ˜שֹׁלְמָיו Bae Buhl Du, or שְׁלֵטָיו SS; ᵐ5 apparently שִׁלּוּמָיו).


In a word, yes! Note the following commentaries:

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

53:4-9 In these verses is an account of the sufferings of Christ; also of the design of his sufferings. It was for our sins, and in our stead, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We have all sinned, and have come short of the glory of God. Sinners have their beloved sin, their own evil way, of which they are fond. Our sins deserve all griefs and sorrows, even the most severe. We are saved from the ruin, to which by sin we become liable, by laying our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. [bold mine]

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The chastisement of our peace - . . . It is properly that which corrects, whether it be by admonition, counsel, punishment, or suffering. Here it cannot properly mean punishment - for there is no punishment where there is no guilt, and the Redeemer had done no sin; but it means that he took upon himself the sufferings which would secure the peace of those for whom he died - those which, if they could have been endured by themselves, would have effected their peace with God. The word peace means evidently their peace with God; reconciliation with their Creator. [bold mine]

Matthew Poole's Commentary

The chastisement of our peace; those punishments by which our peace, i.e. our reconciliation to God, and salvation, or happiness, was to be purchased.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

the chastisement of our peace was upon him; that is, the punishment of our sins was inflicted on him, whereby our peace and reconciliation with God was made by him; for chastisement here does not design the chastisement of a father, and in love, such as the Lord chastises his people with; but an act of vindictive justice, and in wrath, taking vengeance on our sins, of our surety, whereby divine wrath is appeased, justice is satisfied, and peace is made: [bold mine]

Pulpit Commentary

The chastisement of our peace was upon him; i.e. "the chastisement which brought us peace," which put a stop to the enmity between fallen man and an offended God - which made them once more at one (comp. Ephesians 2:15-17, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off;" Colossians 1:20, "Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself").

So Jesus' death and shed blood harken back to the sacrifices that ancient Israel made at the tabernacle and temple. It was necessary for him "to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) So Isaiah's description of the Messiah's afflictions show that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Hebrews 9:22)

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