[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: justify righteous?

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Mon May 24 09:27:08 EDT 2004

Dear Vadim,

>  >Perhaps the Israelites had a mental concept like "bring righteousness"
>Isn't it true that allowing yourself assumptions like that, you can explain
>anything to suit your notions?
>Would you show me same usage of izdk le as make righteous anywhere else, or
>is it just another speculation?

HH: Vadim, the onus is on you to show that there is something wrong 
with this widely accepted understanding for the verb in Isa 53:11. 
The verb CDQ (zdk) means "be righteous, just." So the natural meaning 
for the Hiphil, which generally has a causative meaning, would be to 
"make righteous," or justify. Other meanings might be acquit or 
vindicate. The translation "make righteous" would be aimed to bring 
out the wordplay in Hebrew between "righteous one" and the verb.

Daniel 12:3 seems similar, where the Hiphil of CDQ occurs with RB.YM 
as the object. It is translated in the NIV as "lead many to 
righteousness." The preposition L does not appear there.

In Job 27:5 the NIV takes the Hiphil of CDQ to mean "admit that 
someone is in the right."
In Ps 82:3 it implies "maintain the rights of"
It suggests "vindicate" at Isaiah 50:8.
It means "acquit" at Isa 5:23.

One of the meanings of "justify," which is a common translation for 
the verb at Isa 53:11 (NIV, HCSB, NASB) is "to judge, regard, or 
treat as righteous and worthy of salvation." This meaning for 
"justify" comes from Webster's Dictionary, showing that "justify" has 
a meaning quite comparable to "make righteous."

					 Harold Holmyard

>Vadim Cherny
>>  >Oh, irregular grammar again... Is there anything in the chapter you read
>>  >a standard grammar?
>>  >
>>  >Anyway, your explanation may explain ABSENCE of le where it is needed,
>>  >not PRESENCE of le when, according to your translation, it doesn't fit.
>>  HH: There is nothing irregular about the grammar. The preposition L
>>  can be a marker for the accusative with an active transitive verb.
>>  See Waltke-O'Connor 11.2.10g. That is what most people understand in
>>  Isaiah 53:11. "The righteous one justified the many." Perhaps the
>>  Israelites had a mental concept like "bring righteousness" for the
>>  verb. Then a goal-oriented preposition like L would be suitable: "The
>>  righteous one brought righteousness to the many." You should also
>>  consider buying a good grammar, and you should consult other
>>  translations. Again, you would avoid a lot of headaches.
>>  Yours,
>>  Harold Holmyard
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