Although not a common motif in Jewish sacred literature, this concept is not unknown – as you will discover if you take the time to read the chapter devoted to an in-depth examination of this question. For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, … And in the margin he had written: "messianic prophecy—Yeshua is Messiah.". - Jeremiah 31:36. If verse 8 refers to Israel, then are we to read that Israel is stricken for Israel because of Israel's sin? The problem is not what Christians think of the passage. Israel is not now, nor ever has been, without sin—the Scriptures are replete with examples of Israel's disobedience. A recent informal survey illustrates this point.1 One hundred Jews on the streets of Tel Aviv were asked, Who do you think the 53rd chapter of Isaiah describes?" Though the “servant” in Isaiah 53 is not openly identified – these verses merely refer to “My servant” (52:13, 53:11) – the “servant” in each of the previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the Jewish nation. Some Biblical scholars do not believe that Isaiah wrote the entire book bearing his … And then, a completely different view was presented. One might think the passage is obscure and irrelevant based on the fact that so many people are unfamiliar with it. No! Isaiah 53 is a well-known passage of Scripture to the avid student of the Bible. Look it up for yourself! Is there a credible case that Jesus fulfills the role of the person described in Isaiah 53? Most scholars agree that the prophet Isaiah likely only wrote a portion of the book, but recent scholarship also argues that even the portions he didn’t physically write originated with him in some form. People either have not read it or they have accepted a status quo interpretation, or both. Recalling that chapter divisions are not inspired, it is better to read Isaiah 53 in the context of what Isaiah had just written in Isaiah 52:13-15. However, many other rabbinic sages during this same period and later—including Maimonides—realized the inconsistencies of Rashi's views and would not abandon the original messianic interpretations. He called his insurance company from the hospital, but they refused to cover his injury. He had no beauty or … Raise him up from Seir, to assemble us the second time on Mount Lebanon, by the hand of Yinnon. Since when does the Christian interpretation of Jewish Scripture have a bearing on what is or is not read in synagogues all over the world? For example, one Jewish scholar, Claude Montefiore, explained: "Because of the christological interpretation given to the chapter by Christians it is omitted from the series of prophetical lessons for the Deuteronomy Sabbaths…the omission is deliberate and striking."2. In the original text there were no chapters and breaks. Baron, The Servant of Jehovah c. 2000, p. viii. Author: Isaiah 1:1 identifies the author of the book of Isaiah as the Prophet Isaiah. The Zohar, in its interpretation of Isaiah 53, points to the Messiah as well: There is in the Garden of Eden a palace named the Palace of the Sons of Sickness. All seemed to think that whomever it referred to, it wouldn't make much difference in their daily lives. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. The objections these rabbis put forth to Rashi's view were threefold: First, they showed the consensus of ancient opinion. But Israel is not unique when it comes to the Jewish response to Isaiah 53. Because when we finish the cycle of readings for the year, we haven't really finished it. After doing so, many conceded that they did not know to whom it referred. Actually, it’s in both. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it … The Jewish Bible is composed of the Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets) and the Ketuv’im (Writings). This is incontrovertible evidence that Isaiah 53 was written before the time of Jesus. Rabbi Moshe Kohen Iben Crispin of Cordova, who lived in the fourteenth century, said of the Israel as servant interpretation, it "distorts the passage from its natural meaning" and that Isaiah 53 "was given of God as a description of the Messiah, whereby, when any should claim to be the Messiah, to judge by the resemblance or non-resemblance to it whether he were the Messiah or not. 2. If nothing else, the chapter is packed with incredible drama, heroics and pathos. From its earliest beginnings, Christians have acknowledged that the claims concerning Jesus depend upon his fulfillment of the earlier prophecies of the Jewish Bible. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Because contrary to what those surveyed felt, many people have looked into the questions this passage poses and have found that the answers are extremely relevant to their own lives. They usually cite the prophet Isaiah himself, King Cyrus, King Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Moses, Job or even some anonymous contemporaries of Isaiah as the one spoken of by the prophet.5. Can it be true? The 53 rd Chapter of Isaiah, written 700 years before the birth of Jesus describes in great detail the ministry of Jesus and his rejection by the nation of Israel. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that he may find pardon for our iniquities. Philips, Machzor Leyom Kippur/Prayer Book for the Day of Atonement with English Translation; Revised and Enlarged Edition (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1931), p. 239. This view was popularized by Jewish commentator Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Itzchaki), who lived one thousand years after Jesus. Likewise, how can Israel be the servant, the one who "had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth" (Isaiah 53:9)? O bring him up from the circle of the earth. When doing so, you will note that this chapter, which is known as the "Fourth Servant Song" actually begins in chapter 52 verse 13. Yet it could be argued that the very fact that it is left out shouts out the importance of this passage. And who can speak of his descendants? Isaiah 53 is not an isolated chapter and must be read in context to understand its true meaning. It is prophecy about the purpose of Messiah’s coming into the world. One of the most important archeological discoveries of all time is the Dead Sea Scrolls, which includes an almost intact scroll of the book of Isaiah. Purpose of Writing: The Prophet Isaiah was primarily called to prophesy to the Kingdom of Judah. These are the issues we seek to probe, from within Jewish tradition and through the record of the New Testament. © Copyright 2020 - Chosen People Ministries. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. We've left out a portion from our own prophets, ostensibly because of what Christians think about it. The Rabbis said: His name is "the leper scholar," as it is written, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted." Judah was threatened with destruction by Assyria and Egypt, but was … For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 14, p. 1187, 6. Israel is unique inasmuch as it is probably the only place on earth where you can spend a couple of hours on a public street and be assured of getting one hundred Jewish opinions. They are for Jews. The Christian Bible is composed of the Jewish Bible, plus the writings of the New Testament. In Isaiah 53:4-6, the prophet Isaiah, who lived about 700 years before the time of Jesus, prophesied that the Messiah would suffer for the sins of others: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. They are questions worth considering for oneself, but it may also be helpful to see the progression of opinions given by our rabbis. But most people are not avid Bible students and have not read this controversial passage. Some rabbis, such as Ibn Ezra and Kimchi, agreed. Scientific consensus, arrived at by analysis of the scroll itself, plus paleographic and scribal dating studies, place the scroll at 150-100 B.C. This question reveals a set of assumptions that we are asking questions about. Some thought it was Jesus, but when it sunk in that the passage was a citation from the Tanakh, they were put off. It also foretells the events and the response the nation would have to Him. The book was written in fluid format and therefore, must be read as a whole. Isaiah prophesized the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. vanish from my sight," declares the Lord, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me. (Zohar II, 212a). 53 Who hath believed our report? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. If so, what are the implications of this for Jewish people and others? The book is about two basic questions. This had already been suggested by 12th century Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra, who pointed out that the prophesies in chapters 40 to 66, and in chapters 34 and 35, were written in a language very different from the rest of the book, and make no mention of Isaiah in them. Within two weeks, she acknowledged that Jesus fit the description of the suffering servant. It was written by Isaiah who was a prophet from 619-533 B.C.E. 1 Who hath a believed our report? Our righteous anointed is departed from us: horror hath seized us, and we have none to justify us. It reads: By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. Leah confessed, "I'm starting to see that Jesus is the Messiah, but if I accept it, I'm also rejecting my father, who did not believe in Jesus. Sign up for our monthly updates and special announcements. Encyclopedia Judaica, article on Servant of the Lord, Vol. Leah just had to ask…"Who is Yeshua?" This page is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi) Some claim that Isaiah 53 doesn’t point to the future Messiah.They base their assumption on the fact that Isaiah wrote chapter 53 in the past tense. All of these inconsistencies troubled many rabbis and they expressed their opinions of Rashi's view in no uncertain terms. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. Isaiah's calling as a prophet was primarily to the nation of Judah (the southern kingdom) and to Jerusalem, urging the people to repent from their sins and return to God. Then ask yourself again, why is this passage omitted from the regular synagogue readings? Isaiah 53:10 Hebrew though you make; Isaiah 53:11 Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint); Masoretic Text does not have the light of life. How can the sin-bearer and the sinner be the same? That unfamiliarity in part stems from the fact that Isaiah 53 does not appear in the regular synagogue calendar readings. Is it truly evident that the Messiah has not come? We ask hard questions about faith and the issues facing our Jewish people today. The Aramaic translation of this chapter, ascribed to Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel, a disciple of Hillel who lived early in the second century c.e., begins with the simple and worthy words: Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men (Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 53, ad locum). God promises that Israel will live forever: Only if these decrees [the sun to shine by day, the moon and stars to shine by night, etc.] There are numerous challenges in the Book of Isaiah that lead scholars to speculate about which parts were written by Isaiah himself, and what else was added and by whom. This content was adapted from an earlier Jews for Jesus article. If this is so, then yes, it is impossible for Jesus to be the subject of Isaiah 53 (assuming that the subject of Isaiah 53 is the Messiah). Others admit the weakness of this view and say that the passage applies to an individual. It is not simply because of the Christian interpretation that the Isaiah passage is omitted. What if His suffering on our behalf, as it is described in Isaiah 53, is precisely what Jesus was sent to fulfill? The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: ספר ישעיהו , [ˈsɛ.fɛr jə.ʃaʕ.ˈjaː.hu]) is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It was a convincing passage, indeed, and even her father had not been able to dismiss it. Date of Writing: The book of Isaiah was written between 739 and 681 B.C. This portion of Scripture is highly controversial. A. Th. John 12:37-38 and Romans 10:16 use Isaiah 53:1 to state Israel's rejection of Christ despite His many miracles in their presence. We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the Eternal will create him (the Messiah) as a new creature. The early sages expected a personal Messiah to fulfill the Isaiah prophecy. Just as there were m… Likewise, it is impossible to say that "for the transgression of my people he was stricken" since "my people" clearly means the Jewish people. Montefiore & H. Loewe, (New York: Schocken Books, 1974) p. 544, 3. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. As you will see armed with only a Bible and Rabbi Tovia Singer’s two-part audio program and written teachings on this chapter, originally this passage had nothing to do with a future messiah. When faced with the question, Was Jesus who he claimed to be? And second, her father had circled the entire chapter. Isaiah is one of the prophets of the Jewish Bible. They hide the plain and obvious meaning of Isaiah 53 by reading it out of context and by misinterpreting important words to fit Jesus into the chapter. Biblical scholars have established that the Book of Isaiah comprises what were originally three separate books, written over a period of centuries. Some of the first written interpretations or targums (ancient paraphrases on biblical texts) see this passage as referring to an individual servant, the Messiah, who would suffer. The Book of Isaiah is believed to have been written over several years spanning from 701 BC to 681 BC. because of what Christians think about it, Yet many people who read them today find that the words seem to jump off the page, The early sages expected a personal Messiah to fulfill the Isaiah prophecy, Israel is not now, nor ever has been, without sin. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and … This is incontrovertible evidence that Isaiah 53 was written before the time of Jesus. This verse presents some difficulty to those who interpret this passage as referring to Israel. See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Are you ready to know why? Rabbinic Anthology, C.G. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. If there is a conspiracy, it is by missionaries. Below is a brief exposition and commentary on these three verses. Isaiah 53 begins with a reference to an unidentified group, denoted by the question, “who has believed our message”. He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. Isaiah 53 opens with describing that He was “like a lamb...led to the slaughter.” (Isaiah 53:1) The language in this passage of Isaiah anticipates the Messiah and how he would suffer for our sins. After all, the services from which it is omitted are not for Christian ears. Undoubtedly, this is a hint at the speaker of the passage, and so before we go any further, we need to determine who is “our”. Some repeated what they had heard from Jews more religious than themselves: that it referred to the Jewish people or perhaps even the gentile nations. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Isaiah 53:11 Or (with Masoretic Text) 11 He will see the fruit of his suffering / and will be satisfied; Isaiah 53:11 Or by knowledge of him; Isaiah 53:12 Or many; Isaiah 53… Judah was going through times of revival and times of rebellion. But what if he is? If you were to survey one hundred Jews who believe Yeshua is the Messiah, you'd get a very different opinion about the identity of this servant in Isaiah. There is really no consensus based on personal knowledge of the passage. Although technological progress and developments in intellectual history have given us a very different outlook from that of our ancestors, human nature has remained essentially the same. But what if the role of the Messiah includes that of Suffering Servant? Yet many people who read them today find that the words seem to jump off the page. EU residents: Sorry but we can't take your info on this site. Some thought it was Jesus, but when it sunk in that the passage was a citation from the Tanakh, they were put off. 7. All of these come and rest upon Him. Also, Driver and Neubauer, p.399. I like Mr. Neto’s answer. If you open its pages, you might be surprised how contemporary an ancient text can be. Isaiah is one of the prophets of the Jewish Bible. Third, they noted verse 8 of chapter 53. Others shrugged off the passage as too difficult to understand. Messianic Jewish talmudist, Rachmiel Frydland, recounts those early views:3. As you go through the proposed list of people this passage describes, ask yourself: which one was totally blameless throughout his life? 1. Chapter 53. (Not that our people outside of Israel are adverse to giving opinions, it's just difficult to find such a high concentration of us in any one place.) Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. No alternative interpretation was applied to this passage until the Middle Ages. The first step in understanding any written work is understanding who is speaking and what is the subject of their writing. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressor. Opening it to the passage in question, she made two astounding discoveries. Isaiah speaks about the Messiah—His humiliation and sufferings are described—He makes His soul an offering for sin and makes intercession for the transgressors—Compare Mosiah 14. Rashi held the position that the servant passages of Isaiah referred to the collective fate of the nation of Israel rather than a personal Messiah. grew up in Nazareth, a city with a very (, while on the cross, was mocked, blasphemed and reviled, even by those who were crucified with him (, would bear our sins and suffer in our place (, "…himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." The Bible addresses all of these concerns – and others as well. In 1922, the late David Baron, a British Jewish believer in Yeshua who was well-versed in rabbinics, wrote in the preface to his exposition of Isaiah chapter 53: …it is beyond even the wildest credulity to believe that the resemblance in every feature and minutest detail between this prophetic portaiture drawn centuries before his [Jesus'] advent and the story of his life, and death, and glorious resurrection as narrated in the gospels, can be mere accident or fortuitous coincidence.6. EU contact options ›. Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. The chart below offers more striking evidence about how Yeshua, and only Yeshua, could fulfill this very important part of the Jewish Scriptures. The omission is striking because of what Montefiore does not quite say. Isaiah 53 is the fourth of the four “Servant Songs.” (The others are found in Isaiah chapters 42, 49 and 50.) Frydland, Rachmiel, ISSUES: A Messianic Jewish Perspective, Vol. When she understood that Yeshua is the Jewish way to say Jesus, it dawned on her. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? The description of the “Righteous” Servant rejected by the nation begins in … His coming had been preceded by hundreds of years of prophecies. Prophecy: Messiah would be hated. I would add this: In biblical studies, prophecy refers not to prediction but to proclamation: The prophet proclaims the message God gives him through the Holy Spirit. If it is because of the traditional belief that the coming of the Messiah will bring the “world to come,” then again, yes, it is impossible for Jesus to be the Messiah. The key to deciphering any biblical text is to view it in context. Because contrary to what those surveyed felt, many people have looked into the questions this passage poses and have found that the answers are extremely relevant to their own lives. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (, did not defend himself to Herod, Pontius Pilate or the Sanhedrin (, was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man (, would not remain dead, but see his seed, prolong his days andbe exalted (, rose from the dead three days after the crucifixion and still lives today and millions of people see themselves as his spiritual seed (. Actually, it’s in both. Baron, David, The Servant of Jehovah c. 2000, Jerusalem: Israel Keren Ahvah Meshihit, p. 13, 5. Were the Jewish people, God forbid, ever "cut off from the land of the living?" Bible passage: Isaiah 53:1-3 Prophet: Isaiah Written: Between 701-681 BC. The passage can also be found in, e.g., the 1937 edition. Which one died for the sins of others? Which one lives today? In Isaiah 53:3, the prophet said that the Messiah would be rejected and despised. (, voluntarily took our punishment upon himself (, said, "I am the good shepherd. I loved him more than anyone else in this world—I can't do it. Could it be because countless Jewish followers in Yeshua (Jesus) have come to believe in him after studying this very passage? ", When challenged to read Isaiah 53, Leah found her dad's old, faded Tanakh. the seven fountains of the blood isaiah 53:3-5 introduction a. humor 1. “Behold, my servant shall prosper…” The term “servant” is supposed to connect back to sections earlier in the book that speak of “the Servant of the Lord” (for example, in chapters 42, 49 and 50, where the Messiah is described as a servant that suffers). The Bible’s message of the Creator’s continuing relationship with humanity is no less relevant today than it was thousands of years ago. 2:5, p. 2, 4. But many people find a personal challenge in these words that is interwoven with the questions: who is this person and what in the world was he doing? This palace the Messiah enters, and He summons every pain and every chastisement of Israel. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they had not heard, they will understand. If you are willing to explore this "obscure" passage, here it is: Those words were written over 2700 years ago. “He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.” This is to emphasize the eminence of the Messiah who would in fact rise from the dead, and ascend to the heavens and sit next t… See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. The last 26 chapters are thought to have been written by Isaiah in his later years. Most were unfamiliar with the passage and were asked to read it before answering. Am I willing to dismiss Jesus as the one whom the prophet foretold? Matthew 8:16-17 describes Christ's healing ministry, using Isaiah 53:4 to show Jesus assuming our infirmities and carrying our sorrows. Isaiah 53:2. Bible passage: Isaiah 53:4-6 Prophet: Isaiah Written: Between 701-681 BC. He was believed to have written chapters 1-39 in The Book of Isaiah with the balance of the book authored by several other prophets. Luke 22:28 reminds us that Jesus was familiar with suffering, as Isaiah 53:3 noted. Similarly, in an explanation of Ruth 2:14 in the Midrash Rabbah it states: He is speaking of the King Messiah: "Come hither" draw near to the throne "and dip thy morsel in the vinegar," this refers to the chastisements, as it is said, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.". That is the heart of the matter. We wrestle with the same mysteries of our forebears – those of life and death and the quest for meaning amid the uncertainties of daily living. she wanted the answer to be no. and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? The answer to this question is simple as well: the messiah is never mentioned in Isaiah 53. In Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the prophet foreshadowed the life and mission of Jesus, who was born about 700 years later. The Musaf (additional) Service for the Day of Atonement, Philips Machzor (20th c.)7. In the spring of 2000, Efraim Goldstein and several Jews for Jesus staff members conducted an informal, "non-scientific" survey of passersby on the streets of Tel Aviv. The problem (according to those who omitted the passage) is what Jews might think. He also foretold the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of the Lord. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. Even the reasons for omitting it point to the uniqueness of this passage. A man went on a ski trip and was knocked unconscious by the chairlift. For example, "He was despised and rejected…he was pierced for our transgressions…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter," and so on. He hath no form nor comeliness. If you don't see an email from us in the next few weeks, please check your spam or junk folder in your email account to make sure our messages have not been filtered. If Jesus is not the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 and a host of other prophecies of the Jewish Bible, he is not the Messiah. What does that imply? Ask yourself, if you have the courage to believe it. Isaiah 53 Lyrics: Isaiah 53 / Words and music by Ray Boltz and Steve Millikan / All we like sheep have gone astray / We've turned everyone to his own way / And God laid all our iniquity on Him (Sanhedrin 98b). But how is it evident that Messiah has not yet come? Clearly, there is no conspiracy to hide Isaiah 53. This portion of Scripture is highly controversial. What do I think? Jewish followers in Yeshua (Jesus) have come to believe in him after studying this very passage? 2. Key words: Isaiah 53 Suffering, servant, sorrows, despised, rejected SUFFERING SAVIOR CHAPTER ISAIAH 53:1-12 Isaiah 53 is HIStory – His Story - the story of the Messiah’s sufferings pre-written. First, the passage really did sound like it was describing Jesus. We find the same interpretation in the Babylonian Talmud: What is his [the Messiah's] name? "4, Yet to this day, many rabbis persist in citing Rashi as the definitive word on how to interpret the servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53. Even if some parts of the book are true representations of the words of Isaiah, certainly major parts of the book are not. The circle of the book are not avid Bible students and have not read before., Jerusalem: Israel Keren Ahvah Meshihit, p. 13, 5 trip and was knocked by. 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