[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Sat May 15 14:50:47 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,

It seems to me that your comments reflect traditional Christian 
exegesis and are not rooted in grammar or syntax.  On which 
*grammatical* or *syntactical*  basis do you claim that "52:14 puts 
the suffering in the *past*"? I note that the LXX has future verbs in 
this verse, one translates the Hebrew QATAL and the other translates 
a Hebrew substantive. I take v. 14 as simple future, just as does the 
LXX. Why should I not?

  I do not reject the principle of "relative time," but to use it in 
translation often requires a great amount of theological exegesis. 
So please tell me your grammatical and syntactical reasons when you 
say "So the report in the more distant future looks back at the less 
future events. It looks back to them as past"  Which grammatical or 
syntactical arguments will you use against the following translation 
of Isaiah 53:1: "Who will believe our report, and the arm of YHWH, to 
whom will it be revealed?" I note that the LXX uses two aorists in 
this verse, but the aorist can also refer to the future, even if this 
does not happen often (cf. Jude 1:14).

Best regards


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Dear Rolf,
>>It is true that several modern translations translate many 
>>occurrences of QATAL with future reference  with simple future, but 
>>in other instances the same translations translate differently. A 
>>good example is the passage under discussion, Isaiah 53; but please 
>>add 52: 13-15 as well. Many translations (perhaps most) render 
>>52:13,15 with future tense, and this shows that the servant is a 
>>future person (or group - not to exclude Jewish thinking). On this 
>>basis I wonder why the verses of chapter 53 is not rendered by 
>>future tense as well, because it is the same servant that is 
>>mentioned in that chapter. Please tell me why? Another example is 
>>the one I mentioned, Jeremiah 50,51. True many new translations use 
>>future to a great extent in these chapters, but they are far from 
>>being consistent. If you look at the WAYYIQTOLs and the QATALs in 
>>this two chapters, you can see the inconsistencies.
>HH: There is no need to translate all future events with future 
>verbs. Isaiah 52:13-15 looks at two times in the future, the 
>suffering of the Servant and His subsequent glory. To clarify that 
>there is a progression in time, 52:14 puts the suffering in the 
>past. It's past relative to another future action. The same thing is 
>true in Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53:1 speaks of a time in the future 
>subsequent to the events narrated in 53:2-12. These events will 
>happen in the future, then the report about them will not be 
>believed. So the report in the more distant future looks back at the 
>less future events. It looks back to them as past. This is not a 
>problem in English but only a way of handling relative time in the 
>				Yours,
>				Harold Holmyard

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