[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity - Isaiah 53:9

Schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Sat Oct 14 11:14:18 EDT 2006

Hi Folks,

Isaiah 53:9 (KJB)
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; 
because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
(1611 footnote...Heb. deathes) 

Steve Miller
> 3) Isa 53:9 And he put his grave with the wicked; and with a rich man in his  death; (LXX & DSS)
>   .... in his deaths (MT). "in his deaths" does not make sense & is used no other place in the Bible.

Yonah Mishael - 
>Do you assume that it is "correct" simply because it agrees with the New Testament? That begs the question for sure. Would you clarify? Is that the claim that you're making?

Actually there is no problem with either the Masoretic text of Isaiah 53:9 or the Greek OT translation of the same verse or the common English translation of 'his death' (Jewish and Christian versions). Any way it is properly spliced there is no NT/Tanach dissonance (despite some anti-mish claims to that effect).

The Hebrew is usually understood as a plural of intensity, not of number. 

This is discussed on this forum in a fairly long thread. 
[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: In his death?

The next links to a whole series I did on the verse, please note the rabbinical commentaries.

Rashi               .   'any form of death'
Kimchi              .. 'the plural is employed, because they used to be put to death in many ways'
Nachmanides .. ... he will expect them to slay him by stoning, ... This is why motav is plural
Astruc              ..   the prophet uses death in the plural because they condemned 
                            them to different forms of punishment
Napthali Altschuler, Segre, David Altschuler..  ' any form of death'
Mordechai           .. 'death in two forms' (of his person and substance) 

This is also reflected in Jewish translations.
And his grave was set among the wicked, 
And with the rich, in his death (d)
d) emendation yields "And his tomb with evildoers"
And they made his grave with the wicked, 
And with the rich his tomb ..
And they made his grave among the wicked,
and his tomb among the rich
Jerusalem (Koren Publishers, 1998, Israel)
For they made his grave among the wicked and his tomb among the rich.
He submitted himself to his grave liked wicked men; and the wealthy [submitted] to his executions, for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth.

http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2004-May/018218.html - 

Harold Holmyard

.. although commentators may have come up with different explanations for why the word was in the plural, they showed a willingness to accept the word and to realize that it applies to the death of an individual. As you suggest, people who work regularly with the Hebrew need not stumble long over the appearance of a plural noun with a singular meaning, since there are so many of them. This is not a word like mayim or hayyim that is regularly in the plural, but those pluralized singulars help us to understand how a category like plural for emphasis could make sense in that language.

As Mark Twain might have said -
"reports of a textual difficulty are greatly exaggerated"


Psalm 22:16 is a whole nother story.  At any rate the verbal reading is a minority
reading in the Masoretic text and reflected in the Masorah so you could approach
it as a textual question similar to many in the New Testament.  Nothing is 'wrong'.

On Isaiah 7:14 the root problem is generally a one-dimensional recent understanding 
of almah. Especially with the DSS strongly supporting the word, and no Hebrew variant,
any claim that it is wrong in the Hebrew comes from a confused presumption.
The Hebrew is accurate, the Greek OT is a defendable translation, the rest is history.

Steven Avery

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