[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: in his death?

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Wed May 19 18:02:22 EDT 2004

 Dear Jack, Harold, Peter, Vadim, etc.
These events are to be treated as descriptive of events
that took place in the Persian period, the time of Second
Isaiah. Any other interpretation violates all common sense
imo. Prophets deal with the events and concerns of their
own times. They do not deal with events happening 700 or
500 years in the future. 

I also don't agree that the protagonist in Isaiah 53 was
executed by his own people. If he was executed (and I say if)
it was by the Persians in Persia.

This poem is a continuation of Isaiah 50, and there the speaker
is definitely jailed by Persians. Pulling out the hairs of the head
and beard, as well as flogging, are Persian sanctions, not Jewish.
Read Helzer, M. "The Flogging and Plucking of Beards in the 
Achaemenid Empire and the Chronology of Nehemiah," AMI 28
(1995-96):305-7. This article definitely shows the Persian background
to Isaiah 50. The speaker is jailed for disobedience to Persian authority
for some reason. The kindlers of fire (50:11) may be Jews who rush after
the customs of the Zoroastrians.

I see Isaiah 53 as refering in the third person to the first person
speaker of Isaiah 50. 
Liz Fried

Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph. D.
Visiting Scholar
Department of Near Eastern Studies
University of Michigan
2068 Frieze Bldg.
105 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan  48109-1285 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of UUC
> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 3:26 AM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: in his death?
> Dear Jack,
> You're right that the rule was hardly enforced in the 
> tumultuous first century, especially with illegal execution 
> by foreigners.
> However, if you treat chapter 53 as prophecy, the man was 
> executed by his own people - thus mishpat, legal proceeding - 
> not by foreigners.
> Besides, I guess, the observance was more rigorous in 
> Isaiah's time. This is only a guess.
> Best regards,
> Vadim Cherny


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