[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole

UUC unikom at paco.net
Tue May 25 15:37:32 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,

While agreeing that not everywhere an anointed is mentioned in Isaiah, it is
Cyrus, I cannot agree with your argument:

>HH: There is prophecy elsewhere that speaks
either in the first or second person of the
Messiah as if he is present, even though he is
not yet so:

Psa. 110:1 ¶ The LORD says to my Lord:  "Sit at
my right hand until I make your enemies a
footstool for your feet."<

Psalms are not prophecies. Zaddukis didn't regard them. Essenes took them
for pesher. Only late Pharisees - and therefore Christians - attach any
prophetical value to them.


Vadim Cherny

> >  > HH: But I believe that the Servant passages
> >>  describe the coming Messiah.
> >You're right!
> >But the Messiah in Isaiah is Cyrus!
> HH: Cyrus is anointed, not the Messiah. The
> Messiah is a technical term for a particular
> individual. A lot of people are anointed.
> >There are quite a
> >>  number of these passages, and some short texts
> >>  may belong to this grouping despite lacking the
> >>  word "servant" (e.g., Isa 48:16).
> Cyrus.
> HH: I don't think so, Liz. Cyrus did not really
> know the Lord, and these verses show a person who
> did.
> >  Some of these
> >>  passages have the Servant speak in the first
> >>  person. In other places the Lord addresses the
> >>  Servant as present. Yet I believe he is a figure
> >>  of prophecy.
> >He speaks to him as if he were present because he is
> >present.
> HH: There is prophecy elsewhere that speaks
> either in the first or second person of the
> Messiah as if he is present, even though he is
> not yet so:
> Psa. 110:1 ¶ The LORD says to my Lord:  "Sit at
> my right hand until I make your enemies a
> footstool for your feet."
> Psa. 110:2 The LORD will extend your mighty
> scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of
> your enemies.
> Psa. 110:3 Your troops will be willing on your
> day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the
> womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your
> youth.
> Psa. 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change
> his mind:  "You are a priest forever, in the
> order of Melchizedek."
> Psa. 110:5 The Lord is at your right hand; he
> will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
> Psa. 2:7 ¶ I will proclaim the decree of the
> LORD: He said to me,  "You are my Son; today I
> have become your Father.
> Psa. 2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations
> your inheritance, the ends of the earth your
> possession.
> Psa. 2:9 You will rule them with an iron scepter;
> you will dash them to pieces like pottery."
> >  > >  >> HH: A second possibility for Isaiah 55:5 might be that the
> >>  >>  person masculine singular addressee is the nation Israel.
> >>  >
> >>  >What would the point of that be? That a nation that Israel doesn't
> >>  >know comes running to it? This is royal imagery, as we see
> >>  >in the psalm.
> >>
> >>  HH: Well, if israel were the ruling nation, then
> >  > this would seem to be a meaningful assertion:
> >Not unless Israel is the Servant and redeems itself.
> >Then you don't have a redeemer or a messiah, just
> >Israel.
> HH: But no one is called the Servant in this
> passage (Isa 55:5), and there are other passages
> talking about the Servant. So you wouldn't lose
> the Servant or the Messiah. You could be right
> that it must be an individual (the two "beholds"
> could point that way), but I haven't looked at
> the passage closely enough to decide between the
> two possibilities ("you" in verse 5 as either
> Israel or the Servant). Herbert M. Wolf
> (translator of Isaiah for the NIV) in his
> commentary seems to take the "you" as Israel. So
> does Delitzsch in his commentary on Isaiah. John
> Oswalt gives both views but sees the "you" in
> verse 5 as the Davidic Messiah. Oswalt says that
> most recent commentators have taken the view that
> the "you" is Israel (e.g., Muilenburg, Whybray,
> Eissfeldt), but he sides with the older
> commentaries, most of which took the "you" as the
> Messiah.
> Is. 55:5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that
> thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee
> shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God,
> and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath
> glorified thee.
> HH: Oswalt, Delitzsch, and Wolf all hold the Servant to be the Davidic
> >But it was Cyrus who rescued the Jews, returned them
> >to YHWH physically by returning them to the temple
> >and YHWH to the temple.
> >This is the task of the Messiah, of the redeemer.
> >We await another one to do the same as Cyrus did.
> HH: It's interesting that you hold this view,
> since that is the position I took in my
> dissertation. Yesterday I quoted a couple of
> sentences from it comparing the Servant and
> Cyrus. Here is the next sentence after those:
> Isaiah used Cyrus to point ahead to the Servant,
> whose glory comes at the final restoration of
> Israel from Babylonian enslavement (Isa
> 52:4-54:10).
> HH: My dissertation assumes that God and Isaiah
> use the Babylonian Captivity of 587 B.C. as a
> type of another "Babylonian Captivity" of God's
> people that will occur at the end of the age. Of
> course, in the New Testament the Book of
> Revelation describes the ruling city at the end
> of the age as Babylon. Isaiah's prophecies
> clearly extend to the end of the age, to a new
> heavens and earth where things are different and
> far better.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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