[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Sat May 15 15:31:05 EDT 2004

Dear Rolf,

>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?

HH: The forms are different, and the difference make sense 
exegetically. I can't speak for the LXX translators; I don't know 
their reasoning.

>  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).

HH: It makes sense. It fits into the verbs as we generally understand 
them and accounts for the changes in the Hebrew. It creates a nice 
picture of what actually happened as though the prophet has the 
vision to foresee the unbelief that follows the Servant's death. Your 
view flattens out all the verbs to futures and does not seem to 
account for the differences in the forms. You could translate Isa 
53:1 as future if you take it as a prophetic perfect. But translators 
who know that still prefer to use the past tense because they think 
it provides a better translation. Perhaps they are wrong. But the 
idea is certainly understandable either way. Isaiah 53:13-15 shows 
that this figure is a future figure, so the change of the time of the 
English verbs has to be understood in that context.

					Harold Holmyard

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