[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole
Lisbeth S. Fried
lizfried at umich.edu
Wed May 26 10:23:19 EDT 2004
Dear Vadim, Harold,
There is only one anointed mentioned in Isaiah.
The term is used only in 45:1 and in 61:1.
That one is explicitly named as Cyrus, yet
you don't like it. It disagrees with all your
suppositions, your long held cherished beliefs
that a foreigner, a non-Jew, a non Davidide would
be labeled Messiah. But yet he is.
> Dear Harold,
> While agreeing that not everywhere an anointed is mentioned in Isaiah, it
> 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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