A Conversation about Isaiah 53

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKnLnfF3vaQ

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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207 Responses to A Conversation about Isaiah 53

  1. David says:

    Well, I watched your video.

    Question:

    If God sent His Messiah today and your friend in the video (or any other Jew for that matter) just personally didn’t except him and continued life as he is now, believing and encouraging others that the Messiah is yet to come in the future and erroneously claiming to others that the man God sent to be the Messiah is not the Messiah; and it happens that you and other Jews accept God’s Messiah as the Messiah, who then is considered to be Israel (the Jewish nation in the eyes of God) according to your understanding? Would it be you and those that accepted God’s Messiah, or your friend who rejected the Messiah, or all of the above, or none of the above?

    • David
      There are three aspects of your question that fly in the face of Scripture – Jeremiah 31:36 tells us that no matter what we do – we are still his people.
      and the second way your question is non-Scriptural is in that Scripture teaches that the Messiah will come as a comfort for the Jewish people (for example – Ezekiel 37) not as a test or as a punishment. Scripture says nothing about a mystery Messiah who we need to “discover”
      The third way your question ignores Scripture is that the Scriptures teach that when the Messiah comes – life won’t go on as usual – it will be a world filled with the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11)

      • Annelise says:

        Right. God promised a king on the throne of David, and there’s no sense that people would have to accept that king prior to his becoming crowned; certainly no idea that they should be eternally judged if they don’t recognise him. It’s just a promise to raise up Israel’s king from King David’s lineage again. Someone who would be like David in the fear of Hashem.

        Yisroel, this is such a good video and I right to thank you and Rabbi Eli for all that you’ve put into these resources. They really make some important things easily visible, exactly in the spirit of the passages you’re discussing.

  2. Yehuda says:

    Hi David,

    I’d like to take a stab at answering this question and at the risk of being presumptuous make an observation about what motivates you to ask it.

    To christians, like yourself, the identity and personage of the Messiah is a critical if not THE critical element of your theology. You see the divide between christianity and judaism as being primarily about our differences in making that identification. You believe, as many christians do that christianity represents the fulfilment of Torah Judaism. As such you see what you imagine to be an important and thought-provoking parallel in asking the jew to consider the scenario you described.

    Now let me answer your question, with what you may find to be a startling statement.

    In the future post-messianic world we can imagine an eccentric Jew who rarely leaves his home or talks to anyone. In fact let’s imagine that he has a particularly phobia about hearing people’s names mentioned. This reclusive Jew could be a devoted, pious, observant, righteous Jew, in the messianic age, without ever even being told the name of the person who is eventually revealed as the Messiah !

    You see to Jews, the messianic era is about God, His people, and their restoration to their former glory and only indirectly about the person of the messiah because – and this is important – WE DON”T EVER INTEND TO WORSHIP HIM,

    However, your question is really paradoxical to the Jew because to us the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies will be self-evident to anyone who isn’t insane so it’s hard to imagine the the skeptical friend you hypothesize, especially since scripture itself tells us that one of the signs of the messianic age – and thus of the advent of the messiah – will be the universal acknowledgement of his having achieved his mission.

    • Dina says:

      Yehuda, in fairness to David, he claims not to worship Jesus as he is a non-Trinitarian Christian. To me this is a distinction without a difference, since Jesus is still the center and focus of his religion. But I thought it would be fair to clarify that.

      Good Shabbos,
      Dina

    • Yehuda says:

      Thank you for that clarification Dina. And I guess I was being partially presumptuous.

      I think, however, that I can and should, therefore, restate one sentence of my above post, as follows, with little loss of substantive meaning:

      “You see to Jews, the messianic era is about God, His people, and their restoration to their former glory and only indirectly about the person of the messiah because – and this is important – WE DON”T EVER INTEND TO ELEVATE HIM ABOVE THE STATUS OF MORTAL. A celebrated king yes, but a human like everyone else”

  3. Shomer says:

    Always read the context! Isaiah 53 is not written in the nowhere! I read Isaiah from Ch. 40 onward and discover that at least seven times Israel and Yaakov is mentioned as “My servant”. And then, in Ch. 52 and 53 it should be clear who this servant is; thus it does not need a further explanation. But it is here where Christians extract the scripture from its context and pretend that it refers to their suffering crucifix idol. Can you imagine that Yeshajahu prophesies a crucifix idol in the name of HQBH, the Holy One in Israel, blessed be He?

    Where is the difference between ELOHIM (Adonai, HaShem….) and “God”? Isn’t “God” a pagan conterpart of the Hebrew ELOHIM? Where is the difference between Mashiach and Christ? The Hebrew word “Mashiach” was in use long before the Roman Catholic Hallow St. Paul had invented his pagan (Greek), Christian Christ. Christos means “anointed one” but it is evident that Christ never was anointed according to Torah requirements. Christ’s anointing is mystical only, nothing real and nothing Jewish. It is evident that Christ (Greek for “anonted one”) never has been anointed according to Torah requirements. Thus „Christ“ by definition cannot be a „Mashiach“. The first Mashiach was Aaron and later King David was anointed as Mashiach etc. But if “Christ” only would have smelled the ointment he would have been dead prior to crucifiction.

    In Isa 53 I read that the servant mentioned was given his grave with the “ungodly” ones. Here, in Switzerland I only need to go to the next Jewish cemetery in order to see that it is so. In Isa 53, the Hebrew word “Mashiach” is metioned only once; where he calles the persian ruler Koresh a mashiach. All scriptures where Christians see their Christ prophetically in the Tanakh are hot air, not more and not less. But the Christian priesthood does not allow them to see this. If Christians see the truth about in the Tanakh in general and Isa 53 in special, the priesthood mentioned would loose their donations. This would be the greatest desaster. Therefore Christians will continue pretending that Isa 53 is a prophecy to their graven image, a crucifix idol and some of them will continue to ignore the wood and pretend that „Jesus is alife“.

    • Paul summers says:

      Hello. Im a little confused here. Do non believing Jews believe the servant to be to be Messiah to come, or Israel as a nation??

      • David says:

        If you watch the video, you’ll see that Mr. Blumenthal’s video colleague, I believe his name is Rabbi Cohen, believes that Isaiah 53 is in fact Messianic. He says we should just address the issue “head on” and admit that it is which is the plain reading of the passage. He goes on to give his justification for believing so and cites other Rabbis who also believe it is Messianic.

        Although Mr. Cohen and other Jews (he cited) believe the passage to be Messianic they do not believe it refers to Jesus.

        Mr. Blumenthal on the other hand at one point in the video says it is Israel and non-Messianic, but in another point of the video says it is both, in that the Messiah and Israel are one.

        So as you can see there are many divergent opinions within Judaism, not unlike Christianity.

        • Paul summers says:

          I thought so. I think if someone said the servant was, say a motorcar and not Jeshua they would somehow twist scripture and agree with the car option. Anything to justify there national sin as ok!

          • Dina says:

            Paul:

            In your previous comment you call us “non-believing Jews,” and in this one you accuse us of doing anything to justify our “national sin.” This type of anti-Jewish sentiment has created 2000 years of Christian persecution of Jews, amounting to millions of innocents murdered over the centuries and culminating in the Holocaust. You have inherited this terrible legacy and, with your words, show that you uphold it.

            Why do hate us so much? Because your scripture teaches you to do so. I suggest you take a good, long, hard look in the mirror to see who is guilty of sin–and who really is twisting scripture to justify his erroneous beliefs.

            The servant in Isaiah 53 refers to the people of Israel, and those persecuting him and believing they are justified in so doing are gentiles like you. You are the one who will be shocked when the true messiah comes and Israel is vindicated in the eyes of all the nations.

            May that day come soon.

            Dina

        • Dina says:

          David, you are only half right.

          We tell a joke that if you talk to two Jews, you will hear three opinions. Jews disagree on the interpretation of various passages and the application of finer points of the law.

          But there’s a big difference between how Jews and Christians differ. Christians disagree with each other on fundamental concepts such as whether God is one or God is three. All Orthodox Jews agree with each other on the foundational elements of Judaism, such as

          The incorporeal nature of God, His oneness
          The prohibition against idolatry
          The prohibition against murder
          Sexual morality
          The eternally binding nature of God’s laws on the Children of Israel
          God’s promise that the Jewish people will never disappear
          God’s promise that no matter how far the nation of Israel strays, He will always take her back
          The importance of obedience to God’s laws
          The concept of reward for obedience and punishment for disobedience
          The promise of forgiveness from sin to those who repent
          The importance of Sabbath observance
          All the elements of the messianic vision
          And so on and so forth

          Small points like the subject of Isaiah 53 is not fundamental to Jewish belief. The nature of God is fundamental to Christian belief and even that basic concept is the subject of disagreement. That’s the major difference between how Jews differ with each other and how Christians differ with each other.

        • David
          If you watch the video you will see that both I and rabbi Cohen believe that it is talking of Israel and in a loose sense also of the Messiah.

    • Paul summers says:

      Hello. If you read the context of Is 53, you have read chs; 42 v 1~6. ch 49 v1~13. ch 50 v 4~9 and ch 52 v13 ch53 v12. you will see that the message is from the future just prior to Messiahs return. And as yet it has not happenend. Israel are looking back in time to the time of Jeshusas first coming.The whole point of Is 53 is a part of Israels national confession.

      • Dina says:

        Paul, if you have the context of Isaiah 53, you will have read all the chapters including all their verses, without cherry picking.

        • paul summers says:

          Hello Dina

          I’m sorry you feel that you have to use the holocaust and all the millions of murders to justify your argument. Hiding behind the bloodshed of millions doesn’t by any means justify your hardness of understanding.

          I agree that of course that millions were slaughtered, and wrongly in the name of “some Christians!” but that doesn’t mean that Christianity itself is antisemitic. Yes there are anti Semitic Christians, but there are many religions that, some in the said religions justify there beliefs by killing other religious believers of different kinds.

          Many murdered victims through your history have been killed in the name of Moses, but that doesn’t mean that all Jews are murderers. I’m sure there are Jews who are in prison today for committing murder. Its pretty obvious to anyone that some individuals use a certain name of either a god or a leader to murder to get there own way in life.

          The reason why Jews have been persecuted over the yrs is not because the church hates Jews, its because Israel have fallen victims to their own backsliding. Unfortunately Israel are paying the penalty for there own disobedience before the God of Israel. The easiest way to avoid ones wrong doing is to put the blame on somebody else. Being the victim plays on the hearts strings, and is easy to hide from the truth. Being big enough to see the truth takes one to humble themselves and to have there hearts circumscribed.

          This hiding behind the anti Semitic banner is as i,ve said before on this blog is boring and pathetic. I think maybe you should look in the mirror and re address your comment. For a gentile as myself who has a love for Israel, the Jews, has a Israeli flag in my lounge not a swastika, and worked for the IDF in Israel, in my book does not make me anti Semitic.

          Technically speaking if you compare the OT and the NT you will never see in the NT anything mentioned by Jeshua about going into the next kingdom or city and destroying all that is found. Man, women and children. However of course looking at Joshua etc you see a different side of God. The only actual message from Jeshua was ” Go into the world and tell them about me” He also told them the disciples that the world hated Him and the world would hate them also.The point I’m making is that of course I believe that God of the OT/NT are the same, its about different times and seasons. Dispensations of time. Dispensation of the LAW, then, but now the dispensation of Grace.

          I find it so amazing that Jeshua being a Jew, brought up as a Jew. Had Jewish followers had the NT written by Jews, especially at most by a former persecutor of the early church (Saul), and Jeshua made it very clear that He came only at first for the Jews and not gentiles. So you could argue the fact that Jeshua actually taught anti gentile-ism? The fact of the matter is that Jeshua taught Judaism in its proper concept. His only problem was the pharisees who taught Pharisaic Law.

          This video just shows that very point. 2 Jews talking about scripture, the very word of God. One believes in part of whom it speaks, the other says “He” is a country. If one cannot see the very wording of Gods word “He” as a masculine single individual Man, but argues that He is a nation, what hope is there of translating the Word. Now that’s cherry picking!

          x

          • Jim says:

            Paul,

            Regarding cherry-picking, you have erred. Many times the nation is referred to as “he” throughout the prophets. It would not be at all unusual for the “he” of Isaiah 53 to refer to Israel. It certainly couldn’t be talking about Jesus, even if referring to the Messiah for the details are all wrong for applying it to him.

            Jim

          • LarryB says:

            His only problem was pharisees who taught Pharisaic Law?

          • Dina says:

            Paul, I do not think you hear me. In your mind, I am a rebellious, hard-hearted, malicious Jew who plays the boring and pathetic part of victim to boot. What have you done, Paul? You have dehumanized me. I have seen you do this often on this blog. When you can’t think of a powerful intellectual argument to counter what you read here, you resort to attacking the character and motive of Jews.

            That’s a great tactic if you must win the argument at all costs. If your opponent has an evil character and evil motives, you can absolve yourself of the responsibility to take him seriously and to lend legitimacy to his silly claims by even debating him.

            I thank your for your service to the State of Israel, and I sure am glad you don’t have a swastika on your desk. I cannot judge what is in your heart, Paul. But I hear your words. And your words are laced with the kind of hatred and contempt that has echoed down through the centuries and that has caused untold suffering to my people.

            Am I hiding behind the Holocaust and two millennia of Christian persecution to justify my arguments? That’s another vicious charge. If you would read my comments elsewhere on this blog, you will see that I use Scripture itself to defend my faith. But I will call you out when you direct hate speech at me and my people.

            How can you hope to persuade a people to join your faith when you scorn their very raison d’être? How can you expect to attract people to your religion when you call them names and attack their character and motives?

            Paul, I am not trying to win a debate or score points. I am seeking the truth. When we challenge each other, we force each other to articulate our positions with greater clarity. The point of this exercise is to lead us to the truth, wherever that takes us. David recognizes that there are sincere truth seekers who love God on both sides of this debate. He is respectful and shows that he cares by crafting long, carefully thought-through responses and presenting challenges of his own. He is quick to apologize when he gives offense. Although the discussion gets heated, there is real give and take. You could do with taking a leaf out of David’s book.

            I don’t think I can continue to dialogue with you until you are able to recognize Jews as real humans who love God and who are so fiercely loyal to Him that they are willing to lay down their lives for Him, not out of hard-hearted rebelliousness but out of a sense of the rightness of their convictions. You may think we are misguided, but at least acknowledge that we are sincere.

            May God Who is the Father of us all lead us to His truth.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Tsvi Jacobson says:

            Paul Isaiah 42 states the servant opens ears but doesn’t hear (listen) Does Jesus not listen???? Isaiah 49:8-12 states that Israel will be gathered from Sinim and everywhere
            Did Jesus accomplish this? Of course not…Oh yes he will do it at his second coming. Then Paul you will have to wait before you crown him as Israels Messiah, and you really cannot say he is now. Also Isaiah 52:10-12 states that Israel will return from its captivity by Gods arm bringing us forth. Ah yes then in verse 13 it says “My servant shall prosper (Who dat be????) no new servant other than Israel is mentioned other than Israel yet you see Jesus interjected in the text because that is your assumption you want to thrust on Torah observant Jews who you consider blind as your New Testament states Interestingly Isaiah 25:7 states that the vail is over the nations (plural)
            not Israel (singular) Wake up Paul and smell Gods roses. You are a seeker of truth or you wouldn’t be here.
            Tsvi Jacobson

  4. Paul
    It seems that you don’t like “cherry picking”. Good and fine. So when Jesus (in John 13:18) applies Psalm 41:10 to himself should we also apply 41:5 to him?

    • paul summers says:

      Hello

      Not 100% sure on your meaning?? Are you comparing the two verses so that Jeshua is asking when will Judas die, and his name perish forever?

      All I can see is this: Jeshua uses the Psalmist quotes as an illustration of Davids pain at the very thought of being betrayed by a friend who ate with Him. In Math ch 26 v 50 Jeshua calls Judas His friend.

      v 5. Should be read in the whole context. David says “For i have sinned”

      As the Scriptures teach that God has no sin, this verse cannot apply to Jeshua. However Jeshua did have many enemies and they spoke evil of Him.
      x

      • Paul
        So Jesus is cherry picking verses and that’s ok???

        • Paul
          Jesus isn’t “paraphrasing” – he is saying that the Scripture “be fulfilled” – in English we call that cherry picking

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello.
            I always find the word context and looking at the actual words in scripture a good guide for the truth. Jeshua quoted FROM ps 41. using a line from the pslm is not saying the whole pslm has to be fulfilled. David here is the one who is ill and is a sinner. If what is true on your implication as Jeshua had sins then you would have to agree with v 10 ~13. The ressurection and His enemies have no triumph.
            Jeshua quoted from Jonah experince in belly of fish but Jeshua didnt live a life of Jonah.
            x

          • Dina says:

            Paul, you just confirmed the rabbi’s contention that Jesus is cherry picking. Picking one line from a passage and claiming to fulfill it while ignoring the rest is cherry picking (maybe cherry picking is an Americanism and doesn’t exist in British English?). When you do look at the verse in the context of the passage in which it is found, you discover that it cannot possibly be talking about Jesus at all.

            Context is very important. A few years ago, Alan Grayson ran against Daniel Webster for Congress in a district in some town in Florida. He ran an ad that claimed that Webster opposes women’s rights, and to prove it he played a clip of Webster saying that a husband should tell his wife that she should submit to him.

            Grayson extracted this line from a speech Webster gave in which he told his audience not to focus on ideas in the bible such a husband telling his wife she should submit to him, but rather they should focus on fixing their own flaws (or something to that effect). When a reporter confronted Grayson and asked him if he would apologize for this distortion, he said he wouldn’t. Why? Because Webster did say those words after all, so it was okay to ignore the words surrounding them.

            This analogy describes perfectly the verses Christians take out of context to apply to Jesus.

        • paul summers says:

          Hello Dina
          Without wanting to sound repetitive, The scripture of Jeshua using the Psalm. Jeshua never said that the Psalm in the whole entirety was being fulfilled at that moment in time. He used the Psalm, a line from the psalm as a reference point or an illustration of what had been written previous. He was using the psalm because He was speaking to fellow Jews who should have understood what He was saying because at some point in there life’s they would have read it, and hopefully understood what He meant.
          The context of the passage is this ” Jeshua is breaking bread, He is talking about someone who will betray Him at some-point.He is not talking about being ill, or that His enemies are at hand. Jeshua states that the one who will betray Him is a friend who is close to Him, close enough that they break bread together. Now Jeshua has to to give an example, like He did on a few occasions. So how does He do this? He has to give or tell the disciples something they are familiar with. The Psalm passage fits exactly well. Why??? Because David is grieved by a betrayal or the thought of a betrayal by a close friend. Close enough to break bread. The most obvious example from scripture would be the Psalm passage. Unless Dina you have another text Jeshua could have used.
          Jeshua only needed the one line from the Psalm not the whole Psalm to illustrate His point.
          The NT never states that the whole Psalm was to be completed here in this context, just betrayal by a friend, that’s it. no more, no less. David was betrayed at some-point. Jeshua was also betrayed.
          To go to the extreme to make my point, why not argue the point and say, “Why did Jeshua never quote all the Psalms as well? ………………… Because there was no need to.

          Hope this helps?

          x

          • Paul
            What does the word “fulfilled” mean?

          • Dina says:

            Hi, Paul.

            Thanks for taking the time to explain your position and for your kinder tone. I think your comment raises several points:

            1. What is cherry picking, and is Jesus cherry picking by quoting this verse?
            2. What is the significance of this verse? Is Jesus claiming to fulfill a prophecy or simply using it to illustrate a point?
            3. If this is a prophecy, is it unique to Jesus?

            Regarding the first issue, I cannot overemphasize the importance of word choice and meaning. An example of this importance is illustrated by the amount of ink Christians have spilled trying to explain the use of the word “almah” rather than “betulah” in Isaiah 7:14.

            Since the term “cherry picking” is under discussion, we need to define it and see if it applies in this instance. Cherry picking simply means to pick out one thing and ignore the rest (such as buying only the sale items in a store and nothing else). If Christian scripture picks one verse out of a passage for whatever reason, ignoring the context of that verse, it is cherry picking. Now, you might argue that that’s okay. You and I can disagree whether cherry picking is an intellectually honest way to prove a point. But we can both be clear that this is a typical example of cherry picking.

            What is the significance of this verse? In context, we see that it is written in the past tense. David is talking about his tribulations, and one of them is betrayal by a close friend. You seem to say that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, then that he picked this verse to illustrate a point.

            If Jesus simply wanted to illustrate a point and say he would be betrayed by a close friend just as David was, and highlight this verse because it would be familiar to his Jewish audience, fine. But if he is claiming to fulfill a prophecy, you face two problems: one, this is clearly not a prophecy; two, it is not unique to Jesus.

            How common is betrayal by a close friend? Unfortunately, very. You just have to look at your own long British history to see how many kings and people in high office were betrayed by trusted advisors and poisoned by close friends, as well as many other examples of political intrigue.

            Finally, I don’t agree with your premise that Jesus chose a verse familiar to his Jewish audience because he was talking to Jews. Jesus didn’t leave any of his own writings behind. All you have are records written decades after his death by people who never met him. If these people were targeting a Jewish audience, they would have written in Hebrew or Aramaic. That they wrote in Greek proves that they were addressing a gentile audience who knew so little about Hebrew scripture that these writers didn’t have to worry about confusing them with the facts. The gentiles reading this would accept it at face value and not look more deeply into it, and that has indeed been the case for the vast majority of gentiles throughout history. It is also one among many reasons that Christian scripture fails to persuade Jews versed in their own Scripture.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

  5. David says:

    I disagree with several of your claims you make in the video. I’ll focus on a two or three in this post.

    First, you make the claim that the Isaiah’s 4th song of the suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12) is not messianic and/or not prophetic, but rather refers to the nation of Israel alone. Your justification is that Isaiah was a historical character at a time when Israel was suffering due to the invasion from Assyria, and therefore the passage is neither prophetic nor Messianic in nature, but rather a narrative of contemporary events.

    I take the opposite view. First of all, the book of Isaiah is sprinkled throughout with prophesies. For example the destruction and rebuilding of the temple and the wolf dwelling with the Lamb had not yet occurred at the time of Isaiah(by the way you got that wrong in the video saying in about minute 20 or so that, “…wolf is not actually mention in Isaiah… ” In fact Isaiah 11:6 reads “The wolf shall dwell with the Lamb…”). God doesn’t say, “now this is a prophesy and this isn’t a prophesy.” The four songs of the suffering servant are Messianic and prophetic based on the plain language of the text and the fact that much of what is spoken of had not yet occurred at the time of Isaiah such as the DEATH of the servant (Israel had not died nor has it ever. There has always been a remnant and always will be; nor had the servant (Jesus) yet been born, let alone died) The language itself is in the “prophetic perfect”, meaning the past tense is used to speak of the future as certain as if it already happened. In addition all of the pronouns referring to the servant are masculine in reference to a human and 53:3 specifically refers to him as a “man.” In 52:2 “he grew up before him” the “he” refers to the “man” (in 53:3) who grew up before God. The burden of proof then is on the one who says the plain and prophetic language of the text does not mean what it says, and that the future events such as the death of the servant mean something other than the plain text. So the burden of proof is therefore on you to prove the text means something other than the direct meaning of the words.

    The “nonsense” argument: You have failed to correctly identify the characters such as in the case of 53:4 which are 3, and include: the servant “man”, Israel, and God. If we accept that “servant” refers to Israel and we exchange all pronouns to Israel then many of the passages of the 4th song of Isaiah would be turned into complete nonsense. Take for example 53:4 which reads:
    “4 (G)Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    (H)smitten by God, and afflicted.”

    If we accept your argument, the passage would become non-sense reading as follows:

    “Surely Israel has borne Israel’s griefs and carried Israel’s sorrows; yet Israel esteemed Israel stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”

    Israel didn’t esteem “Israel” stricken. That’s the whole point. Israel was esteeming the “servant/man” stricken.

    As noted above if Israel were the servant Then Israel would have to be dead now based on 53:9,10, and 12. Israel is not dead and does have a remnant as noted throughout Isaiah and elsewhere. Which leads me to my next point.

    53:10, 11, 12: Israel cannot be a sacrifice for itself and bear its own iniquities for itself and others (as you suggest about half way through the video) for two reasons.

    The first reason is as noted above; if something is to be a sacrifice it has to die. Israel is not dead.

    The second reason Israel cannot be a sacrifice for itself because sacrifices are never themselves a sacrifice for themselves. Search Scripture and you’ll see that the sacrifice is always a separate identity from that receiving the benefit of the sacrifice.

    The third reason that Israel cannot be a sacrifice or sin offering for itself is that never in Scripture is the sacrifice or sin offering identified with sin meaning to have sin of itself prior to the actual transfer of sin from the sinful to the sin offering, and/or death and acceptance of God regarding the sin offering in the place of the sinner.

    Furthermore the sin offering as alluded to in the paragraph above is in place of another, the sinner; that’s the whole point! If we could all just be our own sin offering then what do we need Israel for? What does Israel need Israel for, for that matter? We all just admit our guilt and give ourselves as a sin offering God and no one needs to die. Then there was never a need to ever have any offerings or sacrifices in the first place throughout the history of sacrifices, and no need for the death of the servant.

    And never ever in the history of Scripture has a sin offering been required to admit its own guilt as you erroneously suggest in your video referring to 52:10.

    Which leads me to the next point 53:10. You have completed misconstrued the meaning of 53:10. You said in minute 16 and 17 of the video that I quote, “If he will see his soul as guilty then he will succeed and the desire of God will succeed though his hands.” Absolutely not. That’s not how 53:10 reads. 53:10 reads as follows:
    10 Yet it pleased Hashem to bruise him; He hath put him to suffering; when Thou shalt make his nefesh an asham offering for sin, he (Moshiach) shall see zera [see Psalm 16 and Yn 1:12 OJBC], He shall prolong his yamim (days) and the chefetz Hashem (pleasure, will of Hashem) shall prosper in his [Moshiach’s] hand.
    The following is rather nice commentary on the meaning of “asham” as used in 53:10 provided from Hadavar.org

    “Now let us examine the phrase “an offering for sin.” The word used here is the masculine singular noun “asham.” With few exceptions, this masculine noun denotes “Trespass Offering” or “Guilt Offering” (22 times in Leviticus). The rendering “offering for sin” is acceptable but a little weak. The clear cut rendering as a noun would be best, “Guilt Offering” (as in the NASB and the NIV). The JPS renders the phrase “to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution.” This rendering is also a rather weak rendering of “asham,” although it does get the idea across. The KJV does an acceptable job, but the NIV and the NASB provide the best translation.”

    You would cause Scripture to contradict itself with your error. If the servant (Israel) as you say had to recognize his own guilt, then that would be a contradiction to 53:9 and 53:6. Verse 9 reads in part “…he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” How is sin compatible with no violence and no deceit?

    Furthermore verse 53:6 supports my point and reads in part, “…we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    Israel is the one who has gone astray; it is not the servant man. Israel is the “we” at the beginning of the verse. Verse 6 makes a clear distinction in the identities between the pronouns of we/us/our and the servant represented by the pronoun “him.”

    Verse 7 reads in part: “He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he did not open his mouth…” The “he” cannot refer to Israel because Israel has never shut its mouth from complaining.

    • David says:

      The last sentence should read, “…Israel HAD never…” instead of Israel HAS never; which makes the verse prophetic in regards to the servant man and not in regards to Israel.

  6. David
    I don’t have time right now to respond to all of your comment – but I will say this about your opening statement – you misunderstood what we were saying – of-course Isaiah 53 is prophetic and is speaking about the future redemption – the point we were making is that it must be read in context of the target audience
    I hope to get to the rest of your comment soon

  7. David
    First of all I will tell you that every question you asked in your comment has already been answered on this blog – look in Contra Brown and Supplement to Contra Brown
    Now since I know you don’t like when I refer you to stuff I have already written – I will try to answer briefly over here.
    The speakers in this passage are the kings of nations mentioned in 52:15. Besides – the servant is not all of Israel but the righteous remnant – so they even atone for Israel itself – see Isaiah 51:16
    So your first question disappears
    Next – You want Israel to be dead – it has died thousands of deaths through its individuals yet it still lives – see Psalm 44:23
    You build your entire third argument on the word “sacrifice” and on a comparison with Scripture.
    Two points – the word “sacrifice” appears nowhere in this passage and a comparison will Scripture will reveal that it is your interpretation that is non-Scriptural – where in Scripture do you have a human sacrifice dying for future sins?
    You don’t like my translation of the word “asham” – the word “asham” means “guilt” and the offering is called by this name because it is an acknowledgment of guilt. And yes – people can suffer for their own sins to achieve atonement – see Psalm 25:18

    • David says:

      yourphariseefriend,

      I’ll address your points in the order you posted them. In doing so I’ll use the JPS as a reference although I consider it to be weak in many respects as an English version and I prefer other English versions but since you seem to cite it, that’s what I’ll use for the purpose of the debate.
      You wrote:
      “First of all I will tell you that every question you asked in your comment has already been answered on this blog…”

      My response:

      The questions I asked were mostly rhetorical in an effort to cause you to think. For example, one of the rhetorical questions I asked was: “How is sin compatible with no violence and no deceit?” So, if you think about the point you are making, which is that the “righteous” man who is “without violence” and “without deceit”, must first admit his guilt as a prerequisite to being acceptable as an “asham” (“guilt offering” as the word is used 22 times in Liviticus). You offer no biblical support for that position.

      And, as I think I pointed out that NEVER in biblical history has a “guilt offering” (asham) been required to admit its/his/her guilt to be accepted, used, offered, or selected as a “guilt offering.” Again, you offer no biblical support for your claim.

      You wrote:
      “The speakers in this passage are the kings of nations mentioned in 52:15.”

      My response:

      Sorry, you’ve got that all screwed up.
      Contrary to your claim, the “speakers” of the passage are NOT the Kings. The Kings’ first and only appearance is 52:15. Furthermore the Kings are spoken of in the third person using the pronoun “them” and “they.” 52:15 reads (I added the emphasis in caps): “So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told THEM shall THEY see, and that which THEY had not heard shall THEY perceive.”

      Then 53:1 continues NOT as the Kings suddenly “speaking” for themselves but rather Israel and the prophets of Israel speaking about the following:
      “1 Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of HaShem been revealed?

      We see here that the reason that the nations and Kings were not “told” and did not “hear” is because they would never have believed the report of the prophets. The previous verse makes the point that they only believed through “seeing and perceiving.” And the second part of the verse refers to God being revealed to Israel and indirectly to the nations and Kings through Israel.

      And, in 53:2 and 53:3 the “we” is a continuation of the prophets speaking and Israel in general speaking and NOT the kings and nations. The Kings did not “see” him when he was a youth, nor were they or was anyone else “shocked” at the time of his youth due to his comeliness, and lack of beauty which we see here in 53:2,3. In short, nothing throughout the passage leads us to believe that the Kings are “speaking” as you have claimed.
      53:2,3:
      “2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that WE should look upon him, nor beauty that WE should delight in him. 3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and WE esteemed him not.”:

      You wrote:

      “…the servant is not all of Israel but the righteous remnant – so they even atone for Israel itself – see Isaiah 51:16”

      My response:

      Isaiah 51:16 is not relevant to what we are talking about. I’ll remind you that we are talking about asham, guilt offering. And, in the case of the passage the guilt offering dies as attested to in the passage in no less that 4 verses (53:8 he was cut off from the land of the living; 53:9 they made his grave and his tomb; 53:10 his soul would offer itself in restitution; 53:12 he bared his soul unto death), not to mention all the indirect references to his death.

      If you are now saying “some righteous individuals” of the remnant or “one righteous individual” of the remnant was the asham and died for all of Israel and the nations, then I agree with you. One man did die for Israel and the nations. I believe that it was in fact a “man” in accordance with numerous references within the passage including 53:3: “…a man of pains… .”

      You wrote:

      “…You want Israel to be dead – it has died thousands of deaths through its individuals yet it still lives – see Psalm 44:23…”

      My response:

      It’s not what I want or don’t want, but I can assure you that I don’t want the death of anyone or anything. My objective is to correctly discern the Word of God and go where ever it leads me. Your citation fails to make your point. The fact that “some” in Israel die, have died and will continue to die is irrelevant to the point made by God throughout Scripture regarding the everlasting nature of the remnant of Israel.

      And the point is this: NEVER in Scripture is the remnant of Israel dead to mean completely snuffed out from the living and would be therefore FOREVER NO MORE upon the earth. That’s why it’s called a “remnant” of Israel. “Some” of Israel is killed to be sure, but there is always a remnant. You’ve failed to cite any Scriptural contradiction to this important point. And you failed to ascertain the difference between Israel as a whole and the remnant.

      Regarding remnant: Isaiah 1:9; 10:20,21; 11:10;46:3; and of course there’s Ezekiel 14, the ingathering of Israel which would be impossible if all in Israel and the remnant were dead forever more leaving no survivors upon the earth.

      You wrote:

      “the word “sacrifice” appears nowhere in this passage…”

      My response:

      First of all, if you’ll read the context of my post, I used the term “sacrifice” in the context of a “guilt or sin offering which is “KILLED”, meaning it dies because its life is taken in the process of being used as a guilt offering. I never said the word sacrifice itself appeared in the passage. But I’m happy just say the “guilt offering is killed” instead of using the term “sacrifice” if that will help you understand that the man in the passage is making the atonement for the many is KILLED for their transgressions as demonstrated by the clear meaning of the passage:

      The “guilt offering, asham, of 53:10 is KILLED” (53:8,9,12) as follows:
      The righteous (53:11) MAN (53:3) who was without violence or deceit (53:9) was led to the slaughter (53:7) and cut off from the land of the living (killed) (53:8) and taken to his grave(53:9) for the transgression of God’s people (Israel) who were due punishment (53:8). In short: he bared his sole unto DEATH, carried the sin of many, and made intersession for the transgressors (53:12).

      You wrote:

      “…where in Scripture do you have a human sacrifice dying for future sins?…”

      My response:

      I never said “future” sins (that’s another argument we can have but I didn’t raise it), but right here is the unique case in point where there is a human asham (Guilt Offering) who dies, and is dead, and buried as cited many times throughout my post and as you can read all throughout the 4th song of the suffering servant. That’s one of the reasons why the kings are shocked just like YOU apparently.

      You wrote:
      “You don’t like my translation of the word “asham” – the word “asham” means “guilt” and the offering is called by this name because it is an acknowledgment of guilt. And yes – people can suffer for their own sins to achieve atonement – see Psalm 25:18”

      My response:

      No, you’re right. I don’t like your particular mistranslation of asham which is a rather weak rendering of asham given in the JPS English version in the context of 53:10. A better translation is “Guilt Offering.”

      And you mischaracterized the argument regarding “guilt offering.” Psalm 25:18 is about the forgiveness of sins. Of course people can and do suffer for their own sins, and can and do ask for forgiveness as in Psalm 25, and do at times receive forgiveness. But that is neither the question nor the argument.

      The argument is this: Has an entity ever been a guilt offering, asham, for “itself”, died for “itself”, interceded for “itself” to remove guilt from “itself” and thereby make righteous “itself?”

      NO

      And, is this the case here in the 4th song?

      NO

      The case I this:
      Everything in the 4th song which is done to the “man” and by the “man” is the will of God for the restitution of others, not himself. But as a result of his obedience to God in the matter of baring his soul unto death, he is allotted a portion among the great and mighty and is very highly exalted (Isaiah 53:3,10,12,13)

      • Dina says:

        David, I hope the rabbi will forgive me for presuming to respond on his behalf. If you read Contra Brown and the other articles that Rabbi Blumenthal has written on this blog about this very subject, you will find that he has answered many, if not all, your objections, including the “rhetorical questions” you posed in order to “get him to think.” You will also find that in fact the rabbi has thought about this a great deal. It seems a waste of time to review material that he has already addressed at great length.

        I also hope that you will turn your attention someday soon to our conversation on “The Experience of the False Prophet.” I answered your questions and I am looking forward to your response.

        Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year,
        Dina

      • David
        So If I assume that the speakers of 53:1 are the one’s shocked in 52:15 then I got it “screwed up” – Read Isaiah 14:16 and you will see that this is the prophet’s literary technique to introduce a speaker and his/their words – all of your protestations notwithstanding.
        You argue that 51;16 is not relevant and you provide no Biblical foundation for your flippant dismissal. My point was that in 51:16 we see that the righteous remnant is the direct target audience of many of Isaiah’s prophecies of comfort.
        You write that never is the remnant completely snuffed out – and I couldn’t agree with you more. In Isaiah 53 also the remnant is not completely snuffed out. The remnant dies but is yet alive at the same time throughout the passage in a direct parallel to Psalm 44. You jumped to the Christological conclusions that you want to – but don’t try to fool yourself that you are attempting to “correctly discern” what God says.
        The passage does not say that the servant was without violence or deceit – that is your own imagination. The passage says that the servant was killed by his persecutors for no violence or deception that he had committed – in other words he was being persecuted unjustly – this has nothing to do with being sinless (see Psalm 69:5)
        Now David you are trying to play a game that you attempted to play in the past – the game is called “I never said”. Ridiculous. Everyone reading these posts knows what you believe – and the interpretation that you are proposing is so unscriptural as my question to you proves (reinforced by your unwillingness to answer – thank you) – so if you don’t like my interpretation – say that you don’t know what the passage means – don’t discount my interpretation because it doesn’t fit your warped view of Scripture and then accept an interpretation that doesn’t fit with anyone’s view of Scripture – and then call that “correctly discern…”
        In any case – an Asham is always presented from the possessions of the sinner – possessions that are already tainted with sin. An Asham is always accompanied by an acknowledgment of guilt. In this case the servant present his “nefesh” for an asham – and this is accompanied by the servant’s acknowledgment of guilt. This is in perfect harmony with Scripture – the theology you are proposing (I know you didn’t “say it”) is the very antithesis of all of Scripture’s teaching on sin and atonement. Where do you have an Asaham presented without the knowledge of the sinner? where do you have an asham presented for future sins? where do you have an asham presented without an acknowledgment of sin?
        If people can suffer for their own sins as you acknowledge – then the acceptance of their own suffering is the guilt offering (=acknowledgment of guilt) that works forgiveness for them.
        David – before you respond – it would only be fair that you read what I wrote on this subject – If you aren’t interested in reading what I have already written on this subject then how do you expect me to read what you write on this subject?
        https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/category/messiah/isaiah-53/

        • David says:

          myphariseefriend,

          I don’t have time to get into how you have misinterpreted everything.

          You accuse me of jumping to Christological conclusions. Well, you jump to anti-Messianic conclusions unsupported by anything and especially not by the plain unadulterated reading of the text.
          I’m simply reading the text. And I find the text is Chirstological/Messianic not because I want it but because that’s the way it’s written. But you are misquoting the text to twist it into your predetermined paradigm that the righteous man can’t die, when the text clearly says he does.

          Again, contrary to your claims, never in the bible does it say the remnant is “dead” and is no more.

          “Members” of Israel die, which can include “members” of the remnant, but the remnant never never never dies. You are twisting things because you apparently can’t accept the bible as written in Messianic terms. You want to say or imply the remnant has died many many times! Hogwash! It’s not in the bible! You have yet to put forth even one relevant citation proving this false concept of yours that the remnant has died.

          And, oh yes, contrary to your denials, it does say the servant was without violence or deceit. Isaiah 53:9 “…he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. …”

          Once again, JUST READ THE TEXT!

          Now, let’s get into 53:10. You never addressed your misquoting of Scripture in your video.

          So once again, here is the center piece of your corruption of the text and the basis of your false doctrine that the servant had to “see himself as guilty” which you erroneously claim in your video is attributed to Isaiah 53:10. As I said, I don’t care for the JPS as much as other versions because it does a poor job of rendering the meaning of asham into English. But even the JPS is much much much much more faithful in rendering the meaning than you are. Actually, you’ve completely changed the meaning AND WORDING of the text of 53:10!

          You stated the following in your video AND ERRONEOUSLY ATTRIBUTED IT TO ISAIAH 53:10! “If he will see his soul as guilty…”, “He has to recognize his own guilt…”, and “The servant has to see his own guilt…” or words to that effect.

          Now, let’s see how the text REALLY reads and discern the meaning based on the TRUE reading of the text rather than your anti-Messianic predetermined, corrupted and false reading and discernment of the text:

          JPS Isaiah 53:10 actually reads as follows:

          “Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; TO SEE IF HIS SOUL WOULD OFFER ITSELF IN RESTITUTION, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand”

          Without your corrupted reading of 53:10 pertaining to your invented necessity of the righteous servant to “see his own guilt”, your entire anti-Messianic argument disintegrates into nothing. Don’t read the text the way you “want to” in your own anti-Messianic word-inventing, word-corrupting, way, just read it the way it’s written.

          Simple.

          • Dina says:

            David, in a comment to Paul, I wrote this about you: “David recognizes that there are sincere truth seekers who love God on both sides of this debate. He is respectful and shows that he cares by crafting long, carefully thought-through responses and presenting challenges of his own. He is quick to apologize when he gives offense. Although the discussion gets heated, there is real give and take. You could do with taking a leaf out of David’s book.”

            Please don’t make me take that back. Your angry comments to Rabbi Blumenthal, cFlat7, and me this weekend saddened me. I explain more about this in my comment to you on “The Experience of the False Prophet.” Although you indicated that the discussion is over, I hope you will do me the honor of reading it.

          • David says:

            Right on Dina! I completely agree. And in the interest of Dina’s truth seeking and efforts towards civil discussion, I propose we ALL take a step back, me included. I hereby promise to do my best to drop the labeling, and unnecessary characterizations of opposing arguments regardless of who started it.

          • cflat7 says:

            David, you mentioned the following:

            “Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; TO SEE IF HIS SOUL WOULD OFFER ITSELF IN RESTITUTION, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand”

            The phrase before the one you bolded says that HaShem would crush the servant by disease. When was Jesus crushed by disease?

          • Dina says:

            Well said, David! I also appreciate that you are one against four, and that takes some pluck.

            So let’s talk Scripture. I did present you with Scriptural challenges, but needless to say, we got sidetracked. Would you like to continue that thread here, or would you like to go back to “The Experience of the False Prophet”? I am happy to repost them to save you time; just let me know where you would like to see them.

            Best,
            Dina

          • David says:

            H.i Dina,

            Thanks for your understanding. I don’t remember what we were even talking about in the previous thread. But in truth, following my episodes of publicly expressed “frustration” and sometimes in inappropriate ways which I regret, I did some thinking. I think at this point I’d like to limit any discussion to one point or passage at a time. Or compare and contrast one passage against another. Not that there is anything wrong with doing broad ideas, in fact I love it. But it can become too overwhelming to address and deal with on this blog given my current time limitations.

          • Dina says:

            David, I think that is very wise. Isaiah 53 is a good starting point, and there is plenty to talk about here. I read your latest comment about that and have, as usual, a lot to say. Of course, I still recommend that you read Rabbi Blumenthal’s articles on this subject, which will render most, if not all, of your arguments irrelevant. But all this will have to wait until after Rosh Hashana. Till next week then!

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            At your insistence I read the articles you refer to, some of which I had read in part before. In general I don’t care to get bogged down in these types of anti-Brown counter-missionary arguments. In the first place I don’t agree with Mr. Blumenthal’s mischaracterization of Christianity or what Christians believe or don’t believe, In the second place my beliefs don’t fit into mainstream Christianity in some key respects which pertain to the debate, and in the third place I don’t agree with Dr. Brown on all of Dr. Brown’s arguments especially with respect to the Trinity, and in the fourth place I don’t follow Dr. Brown and don’t particularly care to listen to his arguments either since I’ve already heard it in other debates with non-Trinitarians, so it doesn’t interest me in that respect. And lastly I don’t like the “tone” which “anti” this or “anti” that arguments take.

            It’s like listening to two people you’ve already heard and disagree with, fight and criticize each other about something, and draw erroneous conclusions in their argument “against” the other instead of “for” their own point of view.

            That’s not to say Mr. Blumenthal is not partially right some points and not to say Dr. Brown is not partially right some points. And I’ll just leave it at that.

          • LarryB says:

            I heard the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting A different result. David, why are you here?
            “Thanks for your understanding. I don’t remember what we were even talking about in the previous thread. But in truth, following my episodes of publicly expressed “frustration” and sometimes in inappropriate ways which I regret, I did some thinking. I think at this point I’d like to limit any discussion to one point or passage at a time. Or compare and contrast one passage against another. (( Not that there is anything wrong with doing broad ideas, in fact I love it. But it can become too overwhelming to address and deal with on this blog given my current time limitations.))”
            “Right on Dina! I completely agree. And in the interest of Dina’s truth seeking and efforts towards civil discussion, I propose we ALL take a step back, me included. I hereby promise to do my best to drop the labeling, and unnecessary characterizations of opposing arguments regardless of who started it.”
            You have time limitations David? How could anyone do what you do that were not serial bloggers? The amount of text you write to anyone has got to be 10 to 1.
            .????????

          • David says:

            Hi LarryB,
            You wrote:
            “… David, why are you here? …You have time limitations David? How could anyone do what you do that were not serial bloggers? The amount of text you write to anyone has got to be 10 to 1.
            .????????”

            I am here because as a Christian, I believe (as do many Jews), that the Messianic Era was actually God’s prime motivation in creating the universe, or put another way that that there is a purpose to our world and that the Messianic Era is the actualization or realization of that purpose. As a Christian I also believe (as do many Jews), that two of the most fundamental tenets of Jewish faith are the belief in the ultimate redemption, and that the dead will be resurrected at that time.

            The 4th song of Isaiah which is the focus of this thread pertains obviously to these core tenets of Judaism and Christianity.

            I also believe that civil respectful conversation is the best vehicle for sharing one’s opinion and provides the best opportunity in which we can all share in our sincere pursuit of the truth.

            But, here’s what I don’t believe:

            I don’t believe in attacking other people commenting on this blog in a personal way which you just did. And I’m glad that Mr. Blumenthal and others share that sentiment and share a desire for respectful, civil discourse. Although I fully admit I at times have unnecessarily characterized and/or labeled opinions (especially with respect to reacting to that of Mr. Blumenthal’s comments); a practice which I have already addressed in previous posts as being heretofore discontinued on my part. And with God’s help that will remain the case. And, if I have offended anyone or attacked anyone including you, LarryB, in a careless moment, I truly apologize. It goes against everything I stand for not to mention the rules of this blog.

            But you, LarryB, are doing more than attacking my opinion, you are commenting on me personally.

            In conclusion,
            My hope for you is that you also consider following the posted rules of this blog as do I and many others and not attack me personally or anyone else for the sole reason they post an opinion which differs from yours or for any other reason for that matter.

            In any event, if you chose to continue attacking me in a personal way, I will not converse further with you as it would only encourage further behavior on your part which violates the blog rules and my values as well as the values of many others here.

            And that’s why I’m here.

          • LarryB says:

            David
            I think your right calling you a serial blogger wasn’t nice. True but not nice. So I apologize for that. I also think this blog has become all about you. Your thoughts your opinions. You tell everyone their wrong. The same thing gets talked about over and over again. I really hate to do this but I will no longer come back as long as your here. I left Christianity because of all the reasons you stay one and here you are spreading those teachings I want no part of. You need your own blog David. I’ll leave it up to you to let me know when your gone or at least when you dial it back. glarryb@gmail.com

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            Thanks for taking the time to read the articles, and I take your point of not wanting to insert yourself into an argument between two people with whom you disagree. I hoped that you would focus on Rabbi Blumenthal’s arguments on Isaiah 53, which have nothing to do with his larger debate with Dr. Brown and which ought to challenge your interpretation.

            For example, Rabbi B. shows that the description of the servant in Isaiah 53 doesn’t match up with the description of Jesus in Christian scripture, and I am curious to see how you reconcile the contradictions.

            Here are some of them:

            53:2: This verse describes the ugliness of the servant. Was Jesus described as ugly in CS? Actually, his physical appearance isn’t described, but if Christian art is anything to go by, he was quite good-looking. A handsome, muscular Scandinavian or Teutonic type (rather than the slight, dark-skinned Middle Eastern Jew he likely was; I’m guessing he also sported black sidelocks and a black beard). Have you ever seen anti-Semitic art, both ancient and modern? Check out how ugly the Jew is depicted. Ever heard of the stereotype of the Jew with the big hook nose?

            53:3: This verse talks about the servant’s isolation from men. In CS Jesus is unbelievably popular, followed by massive crowds everywhere he goes. He is even allowed to preach in the synagogues! But the Jews throughout history were often forced into ghettos and expelled from Christian countries (over 80 expulsions). Now that’s isolation for you.

            The verse goes on to say that he was “a man of pains and accustomed to illness.” Was Jesus sickly? We never hear about that in CS. Sorry, a few hours’ suffering on the cross doesn’t match this description. According to some estimates, the Romans crucified over 100,000 Jews. Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. Some victims lingered on the cross for days before they died, so Jesus was one of the lucky ones; his suffering was mercifully brief. And I’ll bet that a lot of Jews in, say, the Nazi concentration camps, would have traded places with him in an instant given the opportunity.

            53:4: According to your interpretation, the Jewish people regarded the servant as “diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted.” When did the Jewish people regard Jesus as diseased? When did anyone for that matter regard him as such? CS doesn’t record any illnesses of his.

            53:7: “He was persecuted and afflicted.” Persecuted? Jesus was hugely popular, according to CS, except among a certain very small band of people called the Pharisees. What, he was holding out for universal popularity? No such thing. Not even Moses, the greatest prophet of them all, was liked and respected by all (Deuteronomy 34:10).

            “He did not open his mouth.” Jesus was not silent in the face of his arrest (John 18:19-24, 33-37). But Jews were led like sheep to the slaughter (Psalms 44:22).

            53:8: “For he had been removed from the land of the living.” This is a reference to the land of Israel. Jesus lived and died in Israel. But the Jewish people were exiled from their land.

            53:9: The servant dies with the wicked and is buried with the rich. The reverse is recorded in CS of Jesus.

            53:10: “He would see offspring.” Did Jesus have children? No, he never married.

            “And live long days.” Jesus died young.

            Another problem is the use of the plural to describe the servant:

            53:8: “An affliction upon THEM that was my people’s sin.”

            53:10: “His EXECUTIONS.” How many times was Jesus executed?

            So those are the types of arguments I was hoping you would zero in on and respond to.

            Best,
            Dina

          • Dina, you invited me here and this is partly an experiment to see if my attempt to jump into a thread without an email invite works.
            This is a long page, with a long conversation, I have meant to read it before and run out of time. A few suggestions in my answers. Your replies may well have occurred elsewhere, you may find the ‘best reply to weak argument is silence.’

            53:2: This verse describes the ugliness of the servant. Was Jesus described as ugly in CS?

            No, European art is idolatrous  and a complete waste of time in discovering His appearance. He probably was fairly nondescript. Paul had seen him before he started persecuting the church. The silence is deliberate. Like the Tabernacle the beauty is inward.

            53:3: This verse talks about the servant’s isolation from men.
            Many times Jesus couldn’t enter Jerusalem, even the Samaritans refused Him, sometimes the things He said made people who seemed initially sympathetic want to stone Him, and on one occasion He deliberately deflated the expectation of a large crowd waiting to make Him king, so that they all walked away. Even His disciples didn’t read His heart and deserted Him in the hour of need.

            The verse goes on to say that he was “a man of pains and accustomed to illness.” Was Jesus sickly? We never hear about that in CS.
            As you know, the English translations give a man of griefs or anguish (מַכְאֹבוֹת) and accustomed with (or in Arabic and expert in) sorrow.(So for חֹלִי in Jer 6:7 and 10:19).
            Are there not are many tears and sighs and groans, (as well as joy) in the NT?

            53:4: According to your interpretation, the Jewish people regarded the servant as “diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted.” When did the Jewish people regard Jesus as diseased? When did anyone for that matter regard him as such? CS doesn’t record any illnesses of his.
            Same two words as v.3, griefs and anguish.

            53:7: “He was persecuted and afflicted.” Persecuted? Jesus was hugely popular, according to CS, except among a certain very small band of people called the Pharisees. What, he was holding out for universal popularity? No such thing. Not even Moses, the greatest prophet of them all, was liked and respected by all (Deuteronomy 34:10).
            Jesus said, ‘woe unto you if all men speak well of you’. No he could not have been handed over to the Romans without fairly general agreement, much of it perhaps born from despair of His aptitude to lead a successful insurrection, and expectation that may have been raised by His careful choice of entry into Jerusalem on a colt (the prophet foresaw the meek character of the King better than the crowd, though he wrote centuries earlier).

            “He did not open his mouth.” Jesus was not silent in the face of his arrest (John 18:19-24, 33-37). But Jews were led like sheep to the slaughter (Psalms 44:22).

            Again and again he refused to speak, before the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. Pilate might have delivered Him, had He spoken vigorously (Pilate’s wife for one had already vigorously and unusually defennded Him). He was deliberately withdrawing His right to a just trial.

            53:8: “For he had been removed from the land of the living.” This is a reference to the land of Israel. Jesus lived and died in Israel. But the Jewish people were exiled from their land.
            Mmmm, silence on that rather weaker one.

            53:9: The servant dies with the wicked and is buried with the rich. The reverse is recorded in CS of Jesus.
            Smae verb same occaision, the wicked and rich were His grave companions at death.

            53:10: “He would see offspring.” Did Jesus have children? No, he never married.
            Emmanuel’s words ‘Behold I and the children you have given me’ Isa.8.18. The children of the everlasting Father are begotten from sin not by nature.

            “And live long days.” Jesus died young.
            And lives long – His tomb is empty.

            Another problem is the use of the plural to describe the servant:

            53:8: “An affliction upon THEM that was my people’s sin.”
            Sorry, נֶגַע לָמוֹ is this not ambiguous, either the people or Him?

            53:10: “His EXECUTIONS.” How many times was Jesus executed?
            הֶחֱלִי same word for griefs (or sicknesses) is this the word you mean? Sorry if I’ve missed the point.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            If the best reply to a weak argument is silence, then I have nothing to say. Okay, just kidding. Your arguments are indeed weak, but it would be unfair to ignore them. So here goes.

            53:2: I’m afraid you missed the point. The fact that Isaiah takes pains to described the marred, subhuman visage of the servant (which is how Jews were and still are portrayed in anti-Semitic art) has no parallel in CS, where Jesus is described thus: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). If Jesus was so remarkably and subhumanly (I coined that word) ugly, CS would have bothered describing him. After all, Hebrew scripture often describes the physical appearance of its characters (Saul was tall, David was ruddy, Eglon was fat, many of the women are described as beautiful, etc.)

            53:3: CS mentions in many places the huge popularity of Jesus. Wherever he preached, he was followed by huge crowds, he preached in the synagogues, etc. It seems to me you are picking some isolated instances. This is a much more apt description of Israel, isolated in ghettos, expelled from the countries they lived in, and so on.

            53:4: How to define the words is not worth getting into, because I don’t think we’ll be able to agree on that. Suffice it to say that Jesus’s sorrowing over his impending death shortly before it occurs is not something he appears to have engaged in his whole life.

            53:7: Let’s say this story in CS is true (there are many reasons to believe that it isn’t; I think we will have to leave that conversation for another time, since we’re sustaining several threads simultaneously). This was a one-time deal. The picture in Isaiah is clearly of one who suffers constant persecution.

            Please realize that you are still misunderstanding this passage in Isaiah because you’ve misidentified the narrator.

            “He did not open his mouth.” Are you sure you aren’t cherry picking? I provided the references where Jesus does indeed argue his case.

            53:8: Why is this a weak argument? I don’t interpret your silence as weakness on my part, but as your inability to respond.

            53:9: Different nouns: grave = being buried; executions = being killed. Since people dying and b being buried occur separately, as is the case with Jesus, Isaiah has the servant being buried with the wicked and killed with the rich. I can only repeat that CS records the opposite. By the way, I am arguing as if the record in CS is accurate simply for argument’s sake. Most of it is fabrication (a conversation for another time).

            53:10: Sorry, I didn’t follow your argument here. Jesus did not live long days, as he died young. He certainly didn’t have children, the Hebrew word zera always referring only to biological offspring.

            I can add to this that it makes no sense to reward a divine being, much less to reward him with long life (long life does not mean eternity) and biological offspring and that he will succeed in everything he does.

            53:8: Negah lamo is indeed unambiguous. Every time the word lamo appears in the Bible, it’s plural.

            53:10: Sorry, it was supposed to be 53:9: bemotav = his executions or his deaths, plural. Bemoto is singular and means his execution or his death.

            Although I invite you to respond to this if you wish, I’d rather not get stuck on this particular line of reasoning (I really meant it as a side point, to show you that the descriptions of the servant in Isaiah and CS don’t match up). The reason being that I don’t accept CS as authoritative, so it makes the most sense for us to meet on our common ground of Hebrew scripture. On the other thread (from where I directed you to this one), I presented other problems with Isaiah 53, and I am most interested to hear your response.

            Thanks for taking the time,
            Dina

          • David says:

            LarryB,

            Sorry, but I can’t answer that question when I’m leaving because I don’t even know myself the answer to that question. And even if I did know, I have no idea if and when I’d be back. Many times I’ve left for months. You’ll just have to keep checking.

          • David says:

            Dina,

            I have read Mr. Blumenthal’s arguments fully and disagree.

            Part of the issue is that I disagree with his understanding of Christianity (because I disagree with mainstream Christianity myself on many core beliefs). So many of Mr. Blumenthal’s arguments are already against something which doesn’t conform to my understanding of the bible, and doesn’t pertain to the bible as I have come to understand it (which in many respects is out of mainstream Christianity).

            People, including me, including Christians and Jews, have misconstrued the bible, or not understood it properly obviously. One thing I can be sure of is that I don’t even now understand everything without error. And I’m also sure that neither does anyone else (to varying degrees). I also believe that my opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s including that of Christian pastors, priests, rabbis, Pharisees, and theologians in general. that’s not to say I have as much training, or I don’t have a lot to learn. But when I hear a corruption of the bible I’m not going to accept it just because so and so is some kind of scholar. And likewise I’m not going to just agree with an opinion if I don’t fully understand the text myself because so and so is some kind of noted scholar. Sometimes even a little child is revealed something can see something where an adult cannot.

            Mr. Blumenthal in many respects is taking a position against something I already believe to be in error but for different reasons than him. So it’s not that I’m going to agree with Mr. Blumenthal just because I disagree with mainstream Christianity on any particular point.

          • cFlat7 says:

            David, from your most recent reply to Dina, it appears to me that you mustn’t have read her entire post. There are several points that ckearly show that Jesus did not qualify to be the Servant in Isa. 53. I was sort of expecting you to provide some kind of answer other than you just disagree with Rabbi B.

          • David says:

            Hi Cflat7,

            Well, yes you’re right. I didn’t address Dina’s points in regard to Jesus and Isaiah 53. And the reason why is that I was debating the meaning of the passage as I read the passage as opposed to how Mr. Blumenthal portrays the passage in his video, rather than getting into whether or not it pertained to Jesus.

            At this point I’d say none of my points and none of Mr. Blumenthal’s points as to the meaning of the passage have any consensus, so it would be quite useless and futile to then demonstrate how Jesus fulfills something in which we can’t agree as to if and how something is claimed or not or prophesied or not within the passage.

            For example we can’t even agree on who is speaking in 53:1; we don’t agree that a “man” is the servant; we don’t agree that anyone or anything truly dies as in the common meaning of the word dead; we don’t agree whether or not the servant sees “himself as guilty” as opposed to how I understand 53:10 as seeing himself as a “guilt offering”; we don’t agree that the servant makes intercession for others and not himself; we don’t agree that the servant makes others righteous through his righteousness. And I could go on and on if I gave it some more thought. So you see it is quite useless at this point to debate whether or not something applies to someone in particular, let alone Jesus.

          • Dina says:

            David, that’s a cop-out. I addressed the plain meaning of the text, just as you requested. I showed how, according to the plain meaning, the passage cannot be talking about Jesus.

            Can you refute this?

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            It’s not a “cop-out” but rather a reluctance to “cop-in” to your attempt to change the basis of the debate. And that’s exactly what responding to your post from a NT perspective would amount to. It is true you did address the plain meaning of the OT text from your point of view. But you are attempting to change the nature of the debate by injecting Christian Scripture into the mix, and by stating how and in what manner Jesus would not have been able to fulfill your understanding of verses within the 4th song.

            First of all, I don’t agree with your understanding of the verses in question in 4th song which you reference as 53:2 – 10 (with one possible partial exception). Up to this point I’ve only been arguing the meaning of the OT text rather than injecting my understanding of NT Scripture.

            Now, if you want me to just continue debating within the confines of the OT, the textual meaning of the 4th song, which I’ve been doing up to this point with Rabbi Blumenthal and include your referenced verses 52:2 – 10 with your stated meanings, I’d be happy to I do that. And I can do that right now if you’d like and give you my understanding of the plain text which I can already tell you is different than yours.

            I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing simultaneous OT/NT debates. I’m just saying I’m not doing that now. And I haven’t done it in this thread. You can review my posts and see for yourself. I’ve done it before in other threads and I’ll probably do it again in the future. But for now, this is a nice way of limiting the debate from mushrooming into never ending discussions.

            If at some point we find we agree on any particular verse, I’d be happy to discuss that with you from a NT perspective.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            I have a question for you but I want to make very clear up front that I have no interest in debating any particular issue of scripture whether in Isaiah 53 or anywhere else.

            With that said, let me quote from one of your recent posts:

            “People, including me, including Christians and Jews, have misconstrued the bible…I also believe that my opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s including that of Christian pastors, priests, rabbis, Pharisees, and theologians in general…when I hear a corruption of the bible I’m not going to accept it just because so and so is some kind of scholar.”

            Question: Can you read and understand biblical or modern Hebrew fluently?

          • Dina says:

            Hi David,

            I imagine that it must be overwhelming to debate several people at once–and every time some one chimes in, they are not lending you support. So I can understand why you are avoiding addressing the substance of my questions. I again commend you for sheer grit and a plucky spirit.

            Nevertheless, I must point out that you are distorting the plain meaning of the text and that is why have reached this impasse. You are trying to impose a Christological interpretation by reading this passage out of context. If you read the entire Book of Isaiah, you will see that the servant of the Lord is clearly and consistently identified as Israel. Therefore, by the time you get to chapter 53, there is no reason to assume that the identity of the servant suddenly changes just in this one passage and reverts to Israel in the remaining chapters–unless you have an agenda.

            As I have argued elsewhere, cherry picking and taking verses out of context is dishonest. Look again at the plain meaning of the text in context, and you will see, as I have presented to you, that Chapter 53 cannot be talking about Jesus.

            I propose that you cannot refute this and are therefore making excuses to get out of having to answer my challenge.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I’ll try to respond to your questions you posted above. Give me some time to look into it a little bit.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            I also want to make it very clear up front I have no interest in debating anything non scriptural, and most certainly don’t want to debate my life.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            That’s fine. And let’s all remember, this is a blog not a courtroom. Everyone participates at their pleasure. So I have no intention to debate your life.either

            However, it is a blog and when an assertion is made in this discussion I think it is fair game..

            You made the assertion that your opinion on biblical analysis is as valid as anyone else’s..

            You are entitled to your opinion.

            And me to mine. And mine is that if someone does not read biblical Hebrew fluently (and perhaps you do) they cannot make a claim to equal validity of opinion with those who do (Well, actually they could make the claim, it would just be false.)

            There is no discipline that is critically tied to source texts in which anyone would be allowed to make a credible claim of this sort without being able to read the source texts in their original language..I see no reason for biblical analysis to be different. If anything,biblical analysis is even more critically tied to this proposition because if you are a believer in the bible you must put additional stock into the notion that God gave the Torah to the people who speak it’s language for its long-term preservation and transmission. .

            One person’s opinion.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,
            Here’s my response to your questions/comments:

            You wrote:

            53:2: This verse describes the ugliness of the servant.

            My response:
            All of the bible versions I’ve looked at do not use the word “ugly” nor do they imply ugliness. The absence of majesty or comeliness does not equate to “ugly.”
            53:2b
            NRSV:
            he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
            nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
            JPS:
            he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.

            You wrote concerning 53:3:
            “This verse talks about the servant’s isolation from men…”

            My response:
            The verse actually reads nothing about “isolation.” Perhaps you are looking at “rejected/forsaken” and interpreting that to mean isolation. You could read that into it if you had something else to go on, but someone doesn’t have to be isolated in order to be rejected.

            In any case, an example of the servant being rejected is in Matthew 27:21.

            Revised English Version (REV):
            21But the governor answered and said to them,
            “Which of the two do you want me
            to release to you?” And they said,
            “Barabbas.”

            The verse in question in the OT reads:
            NRSV:
            3 He was despised and rejected by others;
            a man of suffering[a] and acquainted with infirmity;
            and as one from whom others hide their faces[b]
            he was despised, and we held him of no account.
            JPS:
            3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

            You wrote:
            “The verse goes on to say that he was “a man of pains and accustomed to illness.” Was Jesus sickly? …”

            My response:
            As you correctly pointed out, the verse reads that he was “accustomed” to illness. It does not read He was sickly or ill himself. A doctor for example can be “accustomed” to illness due to his work. Jesus was constantly in the proximity of and treating those who were ill. Yet there is no evidence in the NT where he himself was ever ill.

            You wrote in reference to 53:4:
            “According to your interpretation, the Jewish people regarded the servant as “diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted.” When did the Jewish people regard Jesus as diseased?…”

            My response:

            Actually, it’s not my interpretation that the Jewish people regarded the servant as personally “diseased.” And the phrase “to bear” and “to carry” can be read to mean “take away.” In addition, disease can be used as a general term for grief, calamity, suffering, sorrows, pains, etc. as we see in the CJB version.

            Also verses 53:4 and 53:5 should be read together. And we see that in 53:5 it doesn’t say that the servant was diseased himself but that he was “wounded” and “crushed” (which refers to the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus) for OUR iniquities and transgressions.

            53:4,5 reads:
            JPS:
            4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of G-d, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.
            NRSV:
            4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
            and carried our diseases;
            yet we accounted him stricken,
            struck down by God, and afflicted.
            5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
            crushed for our iniquities;
            upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
            and by his bruises we are healed.
            CJB:
            4 In fact, it was our diseases he bore,
            our pains from which he suffered;
            yet we regarded him as punished,
            stricken and afflicted by God.
            5 But he was wounded because of our crimes,
            crushed because of our sins;
            the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
            and by his bruises* we are healed.

            Two examples of the servant bearing or taking away and carrying the diseases of others is in Matthew 8:16,17 and Mark 5:25 – 34
            REV:
            Matthew 8:16,17
            16And when
            evening had come, they brought to
            him many who were demonized, and
            he cast out the spirits with a word,
            and healed all who were sick 17in
            order to fulfill the word spoken
            through Isaiah the prophet, saying:
            he himself took our infirmities, and
            carried our diseases.

            Mark 5:25 – 34
            25And a woman who had an
            issue of blood twelve years 26and
            had suffered many things by many
            physicians, and had spent all that she
            had and was not any better, but
            rather grew worse, 27when she heard
            about Jesus, came in the crowd
            behind him and touched his garment,
            28for she was saying, “If I just touch
            his garments, I will be made whole.”
            29And immediately the flow of her
            blood dried up, and she felt in her
            body that she was healed of her
            plague. 30And immediately Jesus,
            perceiving in himself that power had
            gone out from him, turned around in
            the crowd, and said, “Who touched
            my garments?” 31And his disciples
            said to him, “You see the multitude
            pressing in on you, and you say,
            ‘Who touched me?’” 32And he
            looked around to see who had done
            it. 33Now the woman, fearing and
            trembling, knowing what had been
            done to her, came and fell down
            before him, and told him all the
            truth. 34And he said to her,
            “Daughter, your faith has made you
            whole. Go in peace, and be healed of
            your affliction.”

            In regards to 53:7, you wrote ““He was persecuted and afflicted.” Persecuted? …”

            My response:
            The oppression and affliction was fulfilled at the time of the scourging and crucifixion as Matthew 27:22 – 26 demonstrates.

            22Pilate says to them,
            “Then what shall I do to Jesus who
            is called Christ?” They all kept
            saying, “Let him be crucified.” 23But
            he said, “Why? What evil has he
            done?” But they shouted all the
            more, saying, “Let him be
            crucified.” 24So when Pilate saw that
            he was accomplishing nothing, but
            rather that a riot was starting, he
            took water, and washed his hands in
            front of the multitude, saying, “I am
            innocent of this man’s blood; see to
            it yourselves.” 25And all the People
            answered and said, “His blood be on
            us, and on our children.” 26Then he
            released Barabbas to them, but Jesus
            he scourged and handed over to be
            crucified.

            53:7 reads:

            NRSV:
            7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
            yet he did not open his mouth;
            like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
            and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
            so he did not open his mouth.
            JPS:
            7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth.

            You also wrote in reference to 53:7:
            ““He did not open his mouth.” Jesus was not silent in the face of his arrest (John 18:19-24, 33-37). …”

            My response:
            This verse is fulfilled as demonstrated in Matthew 27:12 – 14 closer to the time of the scrounging and crucifixion.

            12And when
            he was accused by the chief priests
            and elders, he gave no answer.
            13Then Pilate says to him, “Do you
            not hear how many things they are
            testifying against you?” 14But he did
            not answer him with even one word,
            so that the governor was greatly
            amazed.

            You wrote concerning 53:8, ““For he had been removed from the land of the living.” This is a reference to the land of Israel. …”
            And:
            “An affliction upon THEM that was my people’s sin.”

            My response:
            No, “land of the living” here is obviously a reference to life. Read Psalm 27 and specifically 27:13.

            Regarding the plurality argument. Christian scholars disagree with the traditional Jewish position that this is plural.

            Here’s an example from http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/isaiah/isaiah-53.html:
            was he stricken–Hebrew, “the stroke (was laid) upon Him.” GESENIUS says the Hebrew means “them”; the collective body, whether of the prophets or people, to which the Jews refer the whole prophecy. But JEROME, the Syriac, and Ethiopiac versions translate it “Him”; so it is singular in some passages; Psalms 11:7 , His; Job 27:23 , Him; Isaiah 44:15 , thereto. The Septuagint, the Hebrew, lamo, “upon Him,” read the similar words, lamuth, “unto death,” which would at once set aside the Jewish interpretation, “upon them.” ORIGEN, who laboriously compared the Hebrew with the Septuagint, so read it, and urged it against the Jews of his day, who would have denied it to be the true reading if the word had not then really so stood in the Hebrew text [LOWTH]. If his sole authority be thought insufficient, perhaps lamo may imply that Messiah was the representative of the collective body of all men; hence the equivocal plural-singular form.

            You wrote concerning 53:9, “The servant dies with the wicked and is buried with the rich. The reverse is recorded in CS of Jesus.”

            My response:
            No, actually, that’s exactly what happened in the case of Jesus. See Matthew 27:57 – 60.

            REV:
            Joseph Buries Jesus
            57Now when evening came, a
            rich man came from Arimathea,
            named Joseph, who also himself was
            a disciple of Jesus, 58he, having
            approached Pilate, asked for the
            body of Jesus. Then Pilate
            commanded it to be given to him.
            59And Joseph took the body and
            wrapped it in a clean linen cloth
            60and laid it in his own new tomb,
            which he had hewn out in the rock,
            and he rolled a large stone over the
            door of the tomb and departed.

            You wrote concerning 53:10:
            ““He would see offspring.” Did Jesus have children? No, he never married.”
            And:
            ““His EXECUTIONS.” How many times was Jesus executed?”
            And:
            ““And live long days.” Jesus died young.”

            My response:
            The verse is saying the servant will see or “have” seed/offspring once he submits himself to be used as a guilt offering, in other words once he is dead. So obviously we are not talking about seed in the natural sense but rather spiritual offspring.
            Regarding plural “executions”, I don’t see what you are talking about.
            Regarding “prolong his days”; that has to do with eternal life in the age to come, which is of course fulfilled when Jesus was raised from among the dead.

            JPS:
            10 Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand:

            NRSV:
            10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.[e]
            When you make his life an offering for sin,[f]
            he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
            through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.

            CJB:
            10 yet it pleased ADONAI to crush him with illness,
            to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering.
            If he does, he will see his offspring;
            and he will prolong his days;
            and at his hand ADONAI’s desire
            will be accomplished.

          • Dina says:

            David, thanks for taking the time. This week and the next two will be very busy weeks for me. I may have a little time later to reply at length, but in the meantime, I just want to make two points.

            The most important point is that you yourself consult many English translations of the Bible, and none of them translate exactly the same way. That is the nature of translation. I speak Hebrew, David. I speak it as a living language; I even converse in it, not study it as an academic pursuit. I’ve also been reading and translating biblical Hebrew since I’m six years old.

            So when you present a pseudo-scholarly argument (made by people with an axe to grind), and the argument is absurd because it makes zero sense to a real Hebrew speaker, what am I supposed to tell you? When I check the sources and see that James, Fausset, and Brown (who demonstrate that their knowledge of Hebrew is quite poor) confused two completely different types of grammatical construction, what am I supposed to tell you? I’m almost rendered speechless.

            And that’s why I say that you (not you personally, but Christians in general) have distorted the plain meaning of the text. The translations you provided are not accurate. I read the passage in the original Hebrew and I do not see what you are seeing. Only by taking this passage out of context and mistranslating it can you arrive at your Christological interpretation.

            This is one of many reasons Christians have no hope of persuading Jews versed in their own scripture in its original language. Close to one hundred percent of the time, Jews today who convert to Christianity are uneducated about their own heritage and cannot read or write–let alone understand–Hebrew. I hope this tells you something.

            Remember what I said: the whole Book of Isaiah clearly and consistently identifies the servant of the Lord as Israel/Jacob. Why should I suddenly assume the identity changes when we reach chapter 53, and reverts to its original identity thereafter? Are you being completely honest about reading in context?

            I hope to address your individual point-for-point responses either later today or after the holiday of Succos (Tabernacles) in a couple of weeks.

            In the meantime, peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            That’s why I even offer you the JPS. But I can assure you that the scholars who put together the English translations I am using and have offered are every bit the scholars you are using including yourself. I can even point to translations which incorporate the views of Jewish scholars for the OT who are NOT Messianic believing Jews. And just because someone disagrees with you or your bible version doesn’t mean they are less of a scholar.

            But I think we are getting well beyond any discussion of scripture. I did what you asked.

          • Dina says:

            David, you are right; you did as I asked, and I thank you for that.

            But I am no scholar, far from it. I’m a layperson just like you. And that’s exactly my point. Any ordinary Hebrew speaker can see for himself what the Tanach says, without the help of JPS or any other translation. You don’t need to be a scholar to understand the plain meaning. That would be like me telling you that you need to be a scholar of the English language to understand the plain meaning of the Constitution of the United States. Every English speaker can understand the Constitution’s plain meaning; scholars exist to figure out how to apply it to daily American life.

            That would be a bit like a French person debating the meaning of the Constitution with an English speaking French person and showing Mr. Anglophone-Francophone various translations of the Constitution into French, even translations by Americans! And the stupid Mr. Anglophone-Francophone speaker doesn’t get it!

            The original language of scripture and how to define it is highly relevant to any scriptural discussion, so I disagree with you that “we are getting well beyond any discussion of scripture.”

          • Dina says:

            Okay, David, here’s my rebuttal.

            I said the servant is described as ugly; you said he isn’t. You’re right, the word “ugly” isn’t used. But saying that someone has no beauty and no visage that you would care to look at is pretty close. Still, if you reach a bit further back, to verse 52:14, you will find this: “His appearance is too marred to be a man’s, and his visage to be human.” I hope you’re not going to play a game of semantics with me about the word “ugly.” No one considered Jesus to be so marred-looking as to be subhuman.

            Verse 53:3: Your understanding of the phrase “chadal ishim” as “rejected by men” is not necessarily more accurate than “isolated,” as the root of the word “chadal” means a dearth. Not having men around you makes you isolated. But let’s say you’re right. Who exactly rejected Jesus? A tiny band of Jews. How pathetic is that? According to CS, you have a hugely popular guy, followed by massive crowds, complaining that a tiny fraction of Jews hates him. In my book that’s not exactly “rejected,” but it’s certainly narcissistic.

            “A man of pains and accustomed to illness.” If anyone read this without knowing anything else, they would understand this to mean someone who suffers a lot of pain and illness. You stray from the plain meaning when you say he was accustomed to illness (ignoring “a man of pains”) just like a doctor is. You asserted that CS doesn’t describe him this way, implying that therefore it must mean what you say it means (circular reasoning). I say that the fact that CS doesn’t describe Jesus this way means this servant doesn’t fit the CS description of Jesus.

            Verses 53:4,5: You claim that bearing disease and carrying pain means the servant took them away. That is your interpretation based on CS. It is not the plain meaning. Circular reasoning again. If you had not read CS first you would never have understood these verses this way.

            53:7: I will simply repeat my previous point that a few hours’ suffering (scourging and crucifixion) doesn’t qualify as “persecution.” Come on!

            “He did not open his mouth.” You are cherry picking when you choose when this was “fulfilled.”

            53:8: “Land of the living.” I still hold by my interpretation; your reference to Psalm 27 is interesting. The Jewish understanding in this instance is that the “land of life” (the phrase is not exactly the same in the Hebrew, by the way) refers to eternal life. I don’t think you want me to believe that Jesus was removed from eternal life.

            53:9: The switch to plural form. You provided a ludicrous argument that only works if you don’t know Hebrew. See my previous comment on that. Sorry, but you’re wrong.

            Regarding who Jesus was killed with and buried with, I don’t know how you got this wrong:
            Matthew 27: 44: In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
            Matthew 27:57-60: To summarize, a wealthy man takes his body to bury him in his own tomb.
            Thus, he was killed with the wicked and buried with the rich.
            In Isaiah, the servant is buried with the wicked and killed with the rich: He submitted himself to his grave like (or with) wicked men [buried with the wicked]; and the wealthy to his executions (or deaths) [executed with the wealthy].

            Please note again the plural of “executions” or “deaths” in this verse. If your translation is singular it is wrong. “Mosav” is clearly plural.

            53:10: “Will see his seed and live long days.” It is not obvious to me that this means anything more than what it plainly says, especially since I understand the servant to be acknowledging his guilt, rather than dying. Also, the word for seed “zera,” also means “sperm,” and in the Bible is never used metaphorically. The term for metaphoric offspring is the same as in English: “sons.” In English, as in Hebrew, that word can mean biological sons or metaphorical sons. But in the Bible, the word seed NEVER means that. “Live long days” does not mean eternal life. In the Bible, eternity is expressed by words like “forever,” “eternal,” “for all your generations.” It is never expressed with the word “yamim” which means “days.”

            Finally, I bring to your attention a rigorous two-part study on Isaiah 53 using a more scientific method to establish the servant’s identity.

            Part 1: http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Isa53JP.pdf

            Part 2: http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Isa53CP.pdf

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Let’s review how we got to this point, which is a debate of the OT and NT in simultaneous fashion. Remember that I was opposed to going to the NT until we first debated independently, apart from the NT, the meaning of the OT passage, Isaiah’s 4th song with reference to your specific arguments.

            But Dina, remember, you insisted on injecting the NT into the mix suggesting that I was “copping out” if I didn’t play along. Now you criticize me for using the NT and you criticize the very NT Scripture which you insisted on using. You point to my specific reference to NT verses such as (Matthew 8:16,17) which for example specifically states that it is itself a fulfillment of Isaiah. You unfairly characterize my argument and use of the NT as circular reasoning, cherry picking and that it is based on pseudo-scholarly work, when in fact I’m simply apply the context of the verse faithfully.

            Once again we are getting into an argument (initiated by you) as to the character and labeling of my response rather than a review and critique of the points of the argument itself. It’s getting to be a pattern.

            You have previously complained that I failed to provide sufficient citations. So I went out of my way for your benefit Dina, to provide you with and cite the Jewish leaning JPS version and two Christian leaning versions for each and every citation so that you could compare and contrast and see for yourself that they are in fact very similar to each other (Jewish and Christian bibles) in wording and meaning and that I’m not inventing anything. The reason why I used the REV only for the NT is because the REV doesn’t have an OT version.

            Up to this point you have failed to provide which English version you are quoting from.

            Please provide your English version citation for the source of all of your scripture quotations but most especially as it pertains to the following verses below which you had posted in the earlier post.

            Here’s your quote from Isaiah:
            53:8: “An affliction upon THEM that was my people’s sin.”

            Here’s the Jewish leaning JPS:
            8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.

            Here’s another of your biblical quotes from Isaiah:
            53:10: “His EXECUTIONS.”

            Here’s the Jewish leaning JPS:
            10 Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand:

            Dina, I’m really not interested in your claims of proficiency in Hebrew and basically just asking me to trust you. Nor am I interested in getting into a battle of the scholars and just throwing a ton of written material at each other.

            If things are as plain as you say then it should be simple enough to find an English bible translation which says it as plain as you claim. On the other hand if something is plain only to you Dina and relatively few others, and not so plain to other Hebrew speaking Jews and more controversial and maybe even well out of the mainstream of Jewish thought and theology and perhaps a minority, even cult opinion, then I expect to find it in less English bible versions or maybe none at all, or maybe as a foot note or margin note.

            The bottom line is: if your English writing scholars are as good and respected and bona fide as you claim, then they’d also have an English bible version of their very own or at least recommend one or more of the Jewish leaning English versions which are out there which state something you claim to be so plain for all to see.

            Dina, to go any further in this debate I must insist you cite and provide the on-line link to the actual real life English version bible which you used. And please, if the English version bible of the OT which you used for the above quotes is not available on-line for me to peruse then please, cut and paste in your response the entire verse in question as I’ve done for you.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I’m sorry I didn’t realize how important it was to you that I provide the source for my translations. I use two translations. One is Tanach: The Stone Edition (published by Artscroll and not available online). The other is Tanach: The Rough and Awkward but Easy-to-Understand Dina Bucholz Translation, which resides in my brain and is also not available online. How ’bout that?

            Since you insist, I am painstakingly typing up the Stone Edition’s translation of Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53:12:

            Behold, my Servant will succeed; he will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty. Just as multitudes were astonished over you, [saying,] “His appearance is too marred to be a man’s, and his visage to be a human,” so will many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths [in amazement], for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard. Who would believe what we have heard! For [personally I would translate this word as “upon”] whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed! Formerly he grew like a sapling or like a root from arid ground; he had neither form nor grandeur; we saw him, but without such visage that we could desire him. He was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despised, and we had no regard for him. But in truth, it was our ills he bore, and our pains that he carried–but we had regarded him diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted! He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him was for our benefit, and through his wounds we were healed. We have all strayed like sheep, each of us turning his own way, and Hashem inflicted upon him the iniquity of us all. He was persecuted and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth. Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment, who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them that was my people’s sin. He submitted himself to his grave like [I would translate this as “with”] wicked men; and the wealthy [submitted] to his executions, for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth. Hashem desired to oppress him and He afflicted him; if his soul would acknowledge guilt, he would see offspring and live long days and the desire of Hashem would succeed in his hand. He would see [the purpose] and be satisfied with his soul’s distress. With his knowledge my Servant will vindicate the Righteous One to Multitudes; it is their iniquities that he will carry. Therefore, I will assign him a portion from the multitudes and he will divide the mighty as spoils–in return for having poured out his soul for death and being counted among the wicked, for he bore the sin of the multitudes, and prayed for the wicked.

            Whew! My fingertips are sore! I will address the rest of your points in a later comment, God willing.

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            David, I do not understand your irritation over my insistence of “injecting” CS into this debate. You claim that Isaiah 53 describes Jesus. How are we supposed to know that is true without comparing it to the description of Jesus in CS and seeing if they match up?

            Also, I am sorry you took offense at my characterization of your arguments as circular reasoning. I hate to give offense, but I stand by my words. If you go back to my original comment and read it objectively you will see that I explain myself quite clearly. I also showed you that you were wrong in one instance in your understanding of CS (who Jesus was killed and buried with). You didn’t like that. If you don’t like what I say, prove me wrong; don’t lash out at me. That’s just not helpful and won’t move the discussion forward.

            I have tried to be fair with you, David, and I do respect you. I think you are sincere and intelligent and courageous. When you read my comments, keep that in mind so you won’t be tempted to take my arguments so personally. I would like to encourage to focus on the substance of my arguments rather than the perceived tone.

            There is one issue I must address before moving on and that is translation. I am going to show you how at least one Christian version, the KJV, deliberately mistranslated words to impose a Christological interpretation on this passage. You cannot imagine how angry this makes a Jew who is loyal to God’s word. How dare they change God’s word to advance their theological agenda?

            I won’t ask you to take my word for it; I will show you.

            Watch this, David!

            Isaiah 53:5: U’vachavuraso is translated by the KJV as “and with his stripes” and by the Jewish translation as “and with his wounds.”

            Let’s see how the KJV translates this word in every other instance that it appears in the Bible:

            Genesis 4:23: hurt
            Exodus 21:25: wound
            Isaiah 1:6: bruises
            Psalms 38:6: wounds
            Proverbs 20:30: wound (incorrectly translated in the singular)

            How does the KJV translate the word “lamo” in every place it appears in the rest of the book of Isaiah? We already established that this word, in verse 8, is translated as “them” by Jews but as “he” in the KJV.

            Observe, David:

            16:4: them
            23:1: them
            26:14: their
            26:16: them
            30:5: them
            35:8: those
            43:8: [the deaf] that have
            44:7: them
            44:15: thereto
            48:21: them

            Only in one other place, 44:15, the KJV translates “lamo” as singular. The discussion of why this is an error is for another time.

            Let’s look at 53:9: B’mosav, which I translated as “in his deaths” and the KJV translates as “in his death.” David, take a look at how the KJV translates the plural form of death in other instances in the Bible:

            Ezekiel 28:10: deaths
            Jeremiah 16:4: deaths
            Ezekiel 28:8: deaths

            Can’t you see why I can’t take your biased translations seriously? The KJV and other Christian translations are doing something so much more serious than circular reasoning. They are tampering with God’s words, distorting them, so that unsuspecting non-Hebrew speakers will buy what they are trying to sell. Do you not see now why they couldn’t sell this to the Jews?

            When I tell you about my proficiency in Hebrew, it’s not to boast but to show you why it’s so important to really understanding Scripture.

            After all, who should I believe, the KJV or my lying eyes?

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            One more thing, David. I hope you will take the time (perhaps over the weekend) to read the study I linked to a few comments ago about Isaiah 53. Although the argument is aimed at Trinitarian Christians, still, there is much in there that applies also to Non-Trinitarians. You would want to ignore those parts and focus on what does apply.

          • Dina says:

            I had another thought just this morning, David. Sorry, I know I’m giving you a lot to chew over. I’m responding to your amazement that I would expect you to take the Orthodox Jewish translation seriously when it disagrees with practically the rest of the world.

            Basically, what you are saying is, how could a tiny band of people be right and billions of Christians (along with the vast majority of Jews) be wrong?

            Consider this. Some 4000 years ago a lone nomad from the other side of the river, Abraham the Hebrew (Hebrew means the other side), was the only monotheist in an entire whole world of pagans. His family grew into the small nation of the Jewish people, who continued to be the only small group of monotheists in a whole world of pagan nations.

            Suddenly, when Jesus came along, the Jews ceased to be right about their theology. Now the rest of the world became right! How do you figure that?

            One could just as well ask, how could one billion Muslims be wrong and the Jews be right? How could one billion Hindus be wrong and the Jews be right? How could hundreds of millions of Buddhists be wrong and the Jews be right?

            Indeed, God chose the Jewish people to be His witnesses (Isaiah 44:12) not because we are great in number for we are the smallest among the nations (Deuteronomy 7:7).

            You can be sure that if God Himself chose someone to be His witness, that witness would not suddenly cease to be reliable at any point in time. After all, God Himself chose him! Unless you think God made a mistake? So yes, the righteous remnant of Israel still clings to the truth while the rest of the world is in error.

            Don’t hide behind numbers, David. There is no safety in numbers.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Thanks for typing in verbatim (I take your word for it that it is verbatim with the exception of your editorials) of the English version of Stone’s Edition (published by ArtScroll) of Isaiah’s 4th song (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12). Doesn’t it come with the verses numbered? I’m just curious. You don’t have to go back and type them in; I did it.

            Yes, it’s very critical because you’ve made it that way having submitted arguments contrary to the Jewish leaning English version JPS, as well as other Jewish English versions of Isaiah and not to mention Christian leaning versions of the OT. You said, “Any ordinary Hebrew speaker can see for himself what the Tanach says, without the help of JPS or any other translation.” Well Dina, the problem with that false theory is that there is this reality of disagreement between Jewish scholars as reflected in various Jewish leaning English versions of the Tanach as to just what many of the words in Hebrew mean. Sorry Dina, that’s the reality.

            Your arguments against the KJV are irrelevant to me since I don’t use it and have never quoted from it in this blog, anyway and I am happy to use your selected favorite Orthodox Jewish leaning English version, Stone’s Ed., and stack it up against other on-line Jewish leaning versions including the JPS and the Orthodox Jewish version the complete Tanach on line from Chabad.org. Although Stone’s Edition would not be my preferred Jewish leaning version for obvious reasons which you can see when compared to the JPS and Chabad.org, including the fact that it is not available on-line.

            Since you are criticizing the Christian leaning KJV (even though I don’t use it), you should also be aware that your choice of bibles, which comes from the ArtScroll line, has received criticism from some scholars (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox).
            Critics say the Tanach commentaries do the opposite of what most translators consider translation in that they make no attempt to directly translate the text of the Tanach. They simply write an English language text in accord with the interpretations of medieval rabbinic commentators or midrash compilations which they favor.

            It is also alleged there are a lot of grammatical errors in ArtScroll’s Bible and commentary translations which results in changing the meanings of passages.
            Rabbi B. Barry Levy opined in 1981:
            “Dikduk (grammar) is anathema in many Jewish circles, but the translation and presentation of texts is, to a large extent, a philological activity and must be philologically accurate. The ArtScroll effort has not achieved a respectable level. There are dozens of cases where prepositions are misunderstood, where verb tenses are not perceived properly and where grammatical or linguistic terms are used incorrectly. Words are often vocalized incorrectly. …”

            That said, I’ve stacked your English bible version choice against other Jewish versions to compare and contrast and point out the similarities as well as dissimilar items. You can see for yourself that many Jewish scholars obviously disagree with Stone’s Edition in many respects but particularly on some points most central to your arguments. So Dina, if even other Orthodox Jews can’t even agree on what you say is a plain reading in Hebrew, so simple everyone who speaks Hebrew can understand it without any explanation or referring to the Stone’s or JPS as if there’s no disagreement, why should I, a Christian, agree with you when most of the Christian bibles side with the JPS and Chabad.org and AGAINST YOUR interpretation and that of Stone’s Ed? Obviously there are some key differences of opinion in the Jewish community which you’ve tried to gloss over!

            To cite a few:
            53:1
            Look, nothing in Stone’s Edition about the kings speaking! In fact the ones speaking in 53:1 says they “heard”, but the Kings in 52:15 says that they hadn’t been “told” and hadn’t “heard.”! Therefore the speakers in 53:1 can’t be the Kings who hadn’t heard.

            53:2:
            Look, 53:2 in none of the three says nothing about “ugly.” including your Stone’s Ed.

            53:3:
            “Isolation”

            Look, “isolation” is found only in Stone’s and NOT found in JPS and Chabad.org!

            An obvious difference of opinion between Jews. Your argument that it’s so plain to see in the Hebrew fails again.

            You wrote:
            “Another problem is the use of the plural to describe the Servant:
            53:8 and 53:10”

            My response:

            Again, you can see that according to JPS and Chabad.org there is no plural in 53:8 and 53:10 to describe the servant. None Dina, no plural.

            So your (everybody who speaks Hebrew understands and is in agreement) argument fails the test again.

            And here’s the kicker, the heart of the argument of Jews who want to say the servant must acknowledge his own guilt.

            53:10:
            Stone’s “if his soul would acknowledge guilt”
            JPS: “if his soul would offer itself in restitution”
            Chabad.org: “if his soul makes itself restitution”

            Hey look! Even Stone’s doesn’t say he acknowledges his “own” guilt Dina, but that: if his soul would acknowledge guilt! But if you choose to read it that he acknowledges his “own” guilt, again, your (plain to everybody who speaks Hebrew would understand) argument fails again in that the JPS and Chabad.org clearly read that he makes restitution. NOTHING about his “own” guilt in the JPS and Chabad.org.

            Now, regarding the NT and how you insisted on using it and then turn around and claim circular reasoning and cherry picking.

            You must have known that the NT cites Isaiah more than any other book of the bible. And you must have known that there are exact references in the NT to specific verses in Isaiah and other books which specifically proclaim to be a fulfillment of said references to the OT. And you must have known that I would use such arguments. So Dina, when you are the one who insists on using the NT you can’t then say: well I didn’t mean the parts of the NT which claim to fulfill the prophesies! So again, when you are the one who insists on using the NT and when the NT cites a specific verse of the OT such as Isaiah “he himself took our infirmities, and carried our diseases”, you can’t then change the rules and claim cherry picking or circular reasoning just because I’m using the very NT Scriptures which you insisted on using in the first place.

            Henceforth I shall limit my discussion to the OT only. If at such time you agree to accept the “entire” NT Scripture as you earlier alluded to, to include scripturally self-proclaimed fulfillment of OT prophesy (which you insisted on using I guess when you thought it would benefit you) and not just the parts which you misapply out of context to support your argument, then I’ll again consider opening back up the debate on my side to include ENTIRE NT Scripture. But at this point I doubt it. It seems to me you just change the rules willy-nilly when-ever things don’t go your way in a debate.

            Below is a comparison of “Jewish” bible versions; it seems you made a typo in verse 7:
            Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 (English versions: Stone’s 2nd Ed.; JPS, and Chabad.org complete tanach)

            Stone’s 13:
            Behold, my Servant will succeed; he will be exalted and become high and exceedingly lofty.
            JPS:
            13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
            Chabad.org:
            13. Behold My servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and he shall be very high.

            Stone’s 14:
            Just as multitudes were astonished over you, “His appearance is too marred to be a man’s, and his visage to be a human,”
            JPS:
            14 According as many were appalled at thee–so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men–
            Chabad.org:
            14. As many wondered about you, “How marred his appearance is from that of a man, and his features from that of people!”

            Stone’s 15:
            so will many nations exclaim about him, and kings will shut their mouths, for they will see that which had never been told to them, and will perceive things they had never heard.
            JPS:
            15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive.
            Chabad.org:
            15. So shall he cast down many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for, what had not been told them they saw, and [at] what they had not heard they gazed.

            Stone’s 53:1:
            Who would believe what we have heard! For whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed!
            JPS:
            1 ‘Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of HaShem been revealed?
            Chabad.org:
            1. Who would have believed our report, and to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed?

            Stone’s 2:
            Formerly he grew like a sapling or like a root from arid ground; he had neither form nor grandeur; we saw him, but without such visage that we could desire him.
            JPS:
            2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.
            Chabad.org:
            2. And he came up like a sapling before it, and like a root from dry ground, he had neither form nor comeliness; and we saw him that he had no appearance. Now shall we desire him?

            Stone’s 3:
            He was despised and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness. As one from whom we would hide our faces; he was despised, and we had no regard for him.
            JPS:
            3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
            Chabad.org:
            3. Despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness, and as one who hides his face from us, despised and we held him of no account.

            Stone’s 4:
            But in truth, it was our ills he bore, and our pains that he carried–but we had regarded him diseased, stricken by God, and afflicted!
            JPS:
            4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of G-d, and afflicted.
            Chabad.org:
            4. Indeed, he bore our illnesses, and our pains-he carried them, yet we accounted him as plagued, smitten by God and oppressed.

            Stone’s 5:
            He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him was for our benefit, and through his wounds we were healed.
            JPS:
            5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.
            Chabad.org:
            5. But he was pained because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his wound we were healed.

            Stone’s 6:
            We have all strayed like sheep, each of us turning his own way, and Hashem inflicted upon him the iniquity of us all.
            JPS:
            6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and HaShem hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all.
            Chabad.org:
            6. We all went astray like sheep, we have turned, each one on his way, and the Lord accepted his prayers for the iniquity of all of us.

            Stone’s 7:
            He was persecuted and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth.
            (Dina, I think you missed a portion of Stone’s verse 53:7).
            JPS:
            7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth.
            Chabad.org:
            7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he would not open his mouth; like a lamb to the slaughter he would be brought, and like a ewe that is mute before her shearers, and he would not open his mouth.

            Stone’s 8:
            Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment, who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them that was my people’s sin.
            JPS:
            8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.
            Chabad.org:
            8. From imprisonment and from judgment he is taken, and his generation who shall tell? For he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the transgression of my people, a plague befell them.

            Stone’s 9:
            He submitted himself to his grave like wicked men; and the wealthy [submitted] to his executions, for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth.
            JPS:
            9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’
            Chabad.org:
            9. And he gave his grave to the wicked, and to the wealthy with his kinds of death, because he committed no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

            Stone’s 10:
            Hashem desired to oppress him and He afflicted him; if his soul would acknowledge guilt, he would see offspring and live long days and the desire of Hashem would succeed in his hand.
            JPS:
            10 Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand:
            Chabad.org:
            10. And the Lord wished to crush him, He made him ill; if his soul makes itself restitution, he shall see children, he shall prolong his days, and God’s purpose shall prosper in his hand.

            Stone’s 11:
            He would see and be satisfied with his soul’s distress. With his knowledge my Servant will vindicate the Righteous One to Multitudes; it is their iniquities that he will carry.
            JPS:
            11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear.
            Chabad.org:
            11. From the toil of his soul he would see, he would be satisfied; with his knowledge My servant would vindicate the just for many, and their iniquities he would bear.

            Stone’s 12:
            Therefore, I will assign him a portion from the multitudes and he will divide the mighty as spoils–in return for having poured out his soul for death and being counted among the wicked, for he bore the sin of the multitudes, and prayed for the wicked.
            JPS:
            12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
            Chabad.org:
            12. Therefore, I will allot him a portion in public, and with the strong he shall share plunder, because he poured out his soul to death, and with transgressors he was counted; and he bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

          • Dina says:

            David, thanks for your commitment of time and effort to this conversation. Before we continue, I need to make some things clear.

            One. I do not insist on anything. I make suggestions; you are free to do whatever you want. It’s not my job, nor do I wish, to control this debate. We are both truth seekers and we both bring to the table our best arguments, forcing each other to articulate our positions with greater clarity and, I hope, gaining deeper insight in the process.

            The only thing I insisted on, and I thank you for honoring, was not to use the claim that God keeps changing his mind, so we can have a fair and honest debate and I won’t feel you’ll pull the rug out from under my feet every time I quote scripture.

            Two. You misunderstood my suggestion that we stick to citing from Hebrew scripture, and it’s my fault because I wasn’t clear–so my apologies for that. I meant that it would only be meaningful to me if you try to prove the truths of Christian doctrine from Tanach rather than Christian scripture because I do not accept CS as authoritative. For example, in order for me to take seriously your claims that Jesus is God’s son, or that faith in an individual is required for salvation, you would need to show me that Tanach teaches this in clear and consistent manner. I did not mean to never, ever use CS in our debate, because in a debate about Jesus it would be absurd to never refer to the text that describes him. Does that make sense?

            Three. The issue of translation. You took the time and trouble to quote several versions of translation of each verse of the passage under discussion. You actually strengthened my argument. You see, David, the nature of translation is this: a) no two people will translate the same text the same way; b) words and meanings do get lost in translation.

            Anyone who has dealt with a translated work can tell you this. I wrote a book that I subsequently signed contracts with foreign publishers to be translated into Hebrew, Polish, and Slovene. Since I speak Hebrew, I asked the Israeli publisher for the opportunity to review the manuscript before publication. Lucky I did. I caught a lot of errors of translation (and this was done by a professional translator). For example, the word “revel” was translated at “reveal,” and the translator even managed to make it make sense. “Cornish pasty” was translated as “Cornish hen.” Now, both are delicious if well prepared, but they are not even related foods. Everyone who reads a translated work knows that it’s better in the original. I have read books that seemed a bit off; later I discovered that they were translated from another language.

            David, I’m going to ask you to try to put yourself in my shoes for just a minute. Going back to my French example, suppose you got into an argument with a French person about, say, a translation of Little House on the Prairie into French. And this person tells you that his translation has somewhere the word “les enfants,” plural for children. But your original English copy has it as “child.” Your French person brings you five different translations to show you that many different versions abound, so why should he listen to you just because you speak English? And you scratch your head because you don’t know what to say. You just know that child is singular, not plural, no matter how many versions your French friend shows you in French. Do you understand now what I’m driving at?

            I’d like to address the other points in your comment, especially your dismissal of the KJV translations as inconsequential, but I want to make sure you really understand these issues before I move on. My home computer crashed, and I’m on a friend’s computer, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to post next.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Thanks for your comments. If when your computer is back up, can you please post the full verse 7 of Stone’s Edition; Isaiah 53:7? Thanks.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David. I’m back at my friend’s house to check my e-mail and I brought my Tanach, just in case :). Here’s verse 7:

            He was persecuted and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth; like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a ewe that is silent before her shearers, he did to open his mouth.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Thanks for the verse.

    • Annelise says:

      Do you think there is textual indication that the speaker is specifically the kings of the nations, rather than anyone else?

      • Dina says:

        Isaiah 52:14-15

        • Annelise says:

          It does make a lot of sense, because those are the verses immediately before chapter 53. But still, how do you know that the speaker doesn’t change in 53:1, and then again perhaps in 53:2? “Who has believed our message” seems like something a prophet would say.

          • Dina says:

            From the context, it seems to me the speaker doesn’t change until verse ten. My translation of Isaiah 53:1 is “Who would believe what we have heard?” (Tanach Stone Edition). This makes perfect sense if the speaker represents the shocked kings of nations.

          • Annelise
            the wording of 52:15 leads in to 53:1 just as the wording of 14:16a leads into b

          • Annelise says:

            Oh… I see what you mean. It’s hard for me to catch nuances like that because I’m still reading in English, but now I actually believe you have the stronger point on this.

          • David says:

            myphariseefriend and othes,

            myphariseefriend worte:

            “…the wording of 52:15 leads in to 53:1 just as the wording of 14:16a leads into b”

            My claim is that at no time in the 4th song do the Kings and the nations speak for themselves in the first person.

            53:1 does refer back to 52:15 and 52:14 but not way you think and not in the first person of the kings.

            I base this on two sets of proof, one, the plain wording of the text and two, the context.

            JPS: 52:13 – 53:5
            13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
            14 According as many were appalled at thee–so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men–
            15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive.
            1 ‘Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of HaShem been revealed?
            2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.
            3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
            4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of G-d, and afflicted.
            5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

            My commentary:

            The stage is set in 52:13 and 52:14. A dichotomy is presented between the two aspects of the servant; one of physical suffering (most likely in the land of Israel) and one of exultation. This dichotomy then is brought into and expressed in the how nations are startled and how kings shut their mouths because of him in verse 52:15.

            Look at the first word of 52:15, “So.” It provides a connection and a contrast in juxtaposition to the previous verse which began with the word “according.” The two verses are connected and must be read together. Another way to read it to paraphrase is to say:

            ACCORDING (or just or accordingly) as many were appalled at one particular aspect of the servant (the marred physical suffering aspect noted in 52:14 without just cause as noted in 52:8), SO shall the nations and be startled at another aspect of the servant (which is the highly exulted aspect as noted in 52:13 and 53:12, the first and last verses of the passage respectively. Quite revealing don’t you think that the exaltation encapsulates the entire passage between two book ends?). The nations and kings witness this exaltation of 52:13. Here in verses 52:13 – 52:15 we have the two aspects of the servant and the two different sets of witnesses of the two aspects of the servant.

            It is quite clear that the thing the nations are startled at is not the fact of the unjust physical suffering alone, which has happened throughout history to someone (or “someones”) somewhere at some time since the time of Cain and Able. Israel is a perfect example. But the extreme exultation of the one who was extremely and unjustly marred beyond human semblance is much less common and more startling especially when you read the reason he did it which was to take on the iniquities of others (53:8) to make intercession (53:12) and by his own righteousness to make many righteous (53:11). That’s quite mind blowing. No wonder the nations were startled.

            The identities of the ones who witness his marring and are surprised in 52:14 and the nations in 52:15 who are startled are two sets of different people as I’ll show.

            It is clear that he grew up in the nation of Israel and not in “the nations.” Therefore the ones to witness and be surprised at his unjust marring would be the nation of Israel. See 52:8, “…for the transgression of MY PEOPLE …” “My people” always refers to Israel. Therefore if prior to and/or during his marring and death, he took on the transgressions and iniquities of those around him in Israel (which he does in 53:2 – 7,11) , and we know by verse 52:8 that it is Israel who is the transgressor in question, then we also know that those who witnessed and were surprised at his extreme physical suffering were those within Israel.

            The second reason that he will probably grow up in Israel rather than the nations is that God calls him his “servant.” Sometimes an evil nation or person can be used as an instrument of God, but it seems clear here that is not the case. In verse 53:11 he is referred to as “righteous” who will make many “righteous.” In verse 53:9 it is said he had done no violence, neither was there deceit in his mouth for which he had been unjustly cut off from the land of the living. In the last verse, 53:12 it is said that he made “intercession.” He is referred to as a “man.” In verse 53:3.

            Obviously what we have described here then considering the above verses is a righteous man of Israel , God’s servant, who grows up “in” Israel and “for” Israel primarily and ultimately for the world, the many (he bore the sin of “many”; last verse).

            So then, all of the pronouns “we” and “our” “us” in verses 53:2 to the end of the passage are Israel, and/or the prophets of Israel. They do not refer to the kings from Verse 52:15.

            Furthermore verses 53:2, begins with the word “For.” It therefore cannot be read in isolation and we must carry forward verse 53:1 into 53:2. In other words, the reasons and answers to the self-introspective questions asked and presented in 53:1 are explained in 53:2. And 53:1 is a reference back to both 52:14 and 52:15, which is the “surprise” of some within Israel of the unjust physical suffering and the “startling” of the nations at the high exultation of the one who suffered the extreme marring.

            Also a careful reading of the text of 52:15 reveals that the nations and kings were NOT TOLD and they did NOT HEAR. The way they came to believe is through seeing. 53:1a reads “Who would have believed our report?” Other versions read more clearly words to the effect, “Who has believed what we have heard?” We see in the other versions then that it would be impossible for the kings to be talking and saying the words in first person of 53:1a since they didn’t “hear” anything as stated in 52:15. But the meaning is the same. The kings did not hear anything because it was not reported to them by the prophets. And it wasn’t reported to them by the prophets because they wouldn’t have believed it as stated by the prophets in 53:1a. And the reason they, the nations and kings, wouldn’t have believed it even if it had been reported to them by the prophets is because of the “For” in the next verse, verse 53:2 which begins the telling of an incredible story to the end of the passage about a righteous man of God who is killed for the transgressions of others and thereby makes them whole and righteous through his death and his own righteousness. So in the end he makes intercession for the many who are themselves unrighteous. As I said, mind blowing.

            53:1b is also a self-introspective question on the part of Israel. Obviously the arm of God has been revealed to Israel as is usually the case primarily; and secondarily through Israel to the nations. This man that grows up in the next verse (53:2) is the revelation of God to Israel and secondarily to the nations. So then the people within Israel who are to witness this marring of God’s servant, the righteous man, are also witnesses to God’s direct revelation and plan within their time. And the nations who are not reported to by the prophets and/or Israel (because in part Israel doesn’t even believe it themselves and therefore the nations wouldn’t believe such a report) are also recipients of God’s revelation in that they will “see” for themselves that which they have not heard.

          • David says:

            A continuation of my previous post:

            In my previous post I laid out my argument as to why the kings are not speaking in 53:1 as claimed by Mr. Blumenthal. But I didn’t address the argument he made directly and show where his argument had an error.

            So I’ll address that here.

            Just because there are certain sets of biblical facts which occur and have occurred in the past doesn’t necessarily mean those same set of facts are at play in every other case.

            Mr. Blumenthal makes the case that in Isaiah 14, the speakers of verse 16b who speak in the first person are spoken of in the third person in 16a. We agree on that point. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can apply that to any other case. And it doesn’t mean that the speakers of Isaiah 53:1 who are speaking in the first person are the same ones who are spoken of in the third person in 52:15.

            I could just as well say the opposite, that since speakers in many other passages throughout the Hebrew Scriptures who are spoken of in the third person (often with the exception of God) don’t later speak for themselves that it therefore somehow applies in this case only because I find it elsewhere. That’s just not a legitimate argument. For example, the very passage we are debating, the servant who is marred and exalted and makes intercession, and who is spoken of in the third person throughout the entire passage, never actually speaks for himself in the first person anywhere in the passage.

            I can’t therefore then say that proves that is also the case in 53:1 that it couldn’t have been the kings since I found elsewhere and even here throughout 53 that the servant spoken of in the third person didn’t then speak for himself.

            My argument would be just as invalid if I was basing it on that, which I’m not.

  8. Paul
    Is Psalm 41 a messianic prophecy that needs to be “fulfilled” or does the word “fulfilled” sometimes mean “paraphrase” or “cherry pick”?

  9. David
    You want Scripture? Here are some questions for you – what does the second half of 53:9 have to do with the first half? Or to word this same question differently – what is the Hebrew word “al” doing there in middle of the verse?
    Question #2 – what is a more pervasive quality of the scriptural Asham a) that it be an expression of the sinner’s acknowledgment of guilt or b) that it be an innocent animal dying for a guilty man’s sin? (clue – Numbers 5:8; 1Samuel 6:3)
    Question #3 – where does the Scripture ever refer to the sacrificial animal as “innocent”?
    The fourth question I would ask you is not Scriptural – it is just about our conversation – did you notice that I agreed with you concerning the remnant – that they never completely and absolutely died – my point was that the servant in Isaiah 53 also doesn’t completely and absolutely die – the prophet describes him as dead and alive at the same time

    • David says:

      Myphariseefriend,

      Question #1:
      “…what is the Hebrew word “al” doing there in middle of the verse?”

      My response:

      #5921 עַל `al {al}

      properly, the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the sing. or
      pl. often with prefix, or as conjunction with a particle
      following); TWOT – 1624p;

      conj
      2) because that, because, notwithstanding, although

      With reference to “al” in 53:9
      JPS translates it: although
      The Complete Jewish Bible: because/although
      Orthodox Jewish Bible: because
      English Standard Version translates it as: although
      New American Standard Version: although
      New Revised Standard Version: although
      New International Version: though

      Verses 53:9,10 could be read a couple different ways. Take for example a comparison of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the CJB, and the JPS.

      NRSV:

      9 They made his grave with the wicked
      and his tomb[c] with the rich,[d]
      although he had done no violence,
      and there was no deceit in his mouth.
      10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.[e]
      When you make his life an offering for sin,[f]
      he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
      through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.
      CJB:

      9 He was given a grave among the wicked;
      in his death he was with a rich man.
      Although he had done no violence
      and had said nothing deceptive,
      10 yet it pleased ADONAI to crush him with illness,
      to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering.
      If he does, he will see his offspring;
      and he will prolong his days;
      and at his hand ADONAI’s desire
      will be accomplished.

      JPS:
      9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’10 Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand:

      Quite revealing and interesting don’t you think? In the case of the NRSV “al” pertains to and connects 53:9a to 53:9b. In the case of the CJB it connects 53:9b to 53:10. Whereas in the case of the JPS, it could really go either way, or even both! The punctuation is the particular translators’ best discernment, but as you can see there are differences of opinion between bible versions and scholars as to how to apply it.

      Question #2
      “…what is a more pervasive quality of the scriptural Asham a) that it be an expression of the sinner’s acknowledgment of guilt or b) that it be an innocent animal dying for a guilty man’s sin?…”
      My response:
      Neither.
      You should read “asham” as presented in the context. Here the context in 53:10 is “Guilt Offering”. Or you could read it as in almost any other version as follows:

      JPS: “…offer itself in restitution…”
      ESV: “…his soul makes an offering for guilt…”
      CJB: “…present himself as a guilt offering…”
      NIV: “…makes his life an offering for sin…”
      NRSV: “…when you make his life an offering for sin…”

      No matter how you slice it, asham in 53:10, regardless of your bible version, all means basically “Guilt Offering.”

      Question #3

      You asked: where does scripture ever refer to a sacrificial animal as innocent?
      My response:

      Where does scripture ever refer to a sacrificial animal as guilty?

      You are implying or assigning guilt where scripture has not done so. The passage of the 4th song does not assign any iniquity, transgression, violence, deceit etcetera to the righteous “man.” All of that is assigned to other people. So, my question for you is why are you trying to assign guilt where scripture doesn’t assign it?

      Question/comment #4:

      “… my point was that the servant in Isaiah 53 also doesn’t completely and absolutely die – the prophet describes him as dead and alive at the same time.”

      My response:
      We just disagree on this one. I see no verse which would lead me to believe that he doesn’t completely and absolutely die. And I see nothing anywhere which talks about a simultaneous life/death state of being.

  10. David
    The point about reading my posts would be that you would save both of us some time – most of what I wrote about Isaiah 53 has nothing to do with Dr. Brown – so again if you are interested in a discussion please stop pretending that I have said nothing on the subject.
    Before I get in to the discussion let me say this. As it relates to my faith I have no problem attributing the words of 53:1-9 to Israel in general while the servant is the righteous of Israel. the reason I believe that the speakers in 53:1-9 are the kings of the nations is simply because of the text of the passage.
    Your lengthy post from September 4 (12:08) posits that the speakers must be Israel because the “my” nation in verse 8 can mean no one else. My question to you is – who is the “upon you” in verse 52:14? throughout Isaiah such language would be directed at Israel. So one of these two is going against the grain and therefore this “proof” ought to be discounted.
    My point from 14:16 was that this is a recognized literary method for the prophet to introduce a speaker – according to your interpretation the speaker is not introduced at all.
    Your argument about the kings only learning of the servants exaltation through sight so this disqualifies them from being the speakers of 53:1 (who heard) ignores the pattern in verses 52:15 and 53:1. The ‘report” of 53;1 parallels the “hisbonanu – understand/perceive of 52:15 while the “revealed” parallels the “seeing” of 52:15
    The Arm of the Lord is revealed upon the servant (53:1) and this is something that all the ends of the earth can see – 52:10. The first glance of the exaltation of the servant will reach the ends of the earth by the medium of sight – but in order to understand the exaltation the onlookers will need to be “misbonen” – analyze and think and discuss – this is described as a “report” – when it says that the kings did not hear this – it means no one ever explained to them that Isaiah means exactly what he said – they were always taught a crooked interpretation of this very passage.
    When the prophet says that just as many were horrified by his lowliness so will many people be shocked by his exaltation does not mean that these are two sets of witnesses – the unfolding of the passage gives us to understand that those who had built a theological assessment of the servant on the basis of his lowliness (53:4) are the same ones who are shocked at his exaltation (53:1)
    When I asked you what the word “al” is doing in middle of verse 53:9 I wasn’t asking for a lengthy list of translations – I was asking for your understanding. It is obvious that the word connects the two halves of the verse (the translations that disagree notwithstanding) and it is explaining that the servant was treated as a criminal although he had done no violence. This does not mean that the servant is sinless – this means that the servant is treated as if he were a criminal when in fact he is not
    When I ask what is a more pervasive quality of asham – an acknowledgment of guilt or an innocent animal dying and you answer “neither”?! – excuse me! – the word asham means an acknowledgment of guilt and it doesn’t necessarily mean that an animal is offered to express this acknowledgment – read the Bible
    You accuse me of attributing guilt to the servant when Scripture does not assign it. You are attributing sinlessness to the servant where Scripture doesn’t assign it – according to Scripture all are guilty – Proverbs 20:9
    You ask me where the prophet describes the servant as dead and alive at the same time – verse 10 has him living long days because he poured out his soul to death in verse 12

    • David says:

      myphariseefrien,

      Thanks for your thoughtful responses/comments. At this point I think we’ve exhausted the arguments about as far as they can go without just repeating everything.

      We just disagree and I’m going to leave it there.

      But your following post raises something new.

  11. David
    here are some questions for you – are 52:10 and 53:1 speaking about two different revelations of the arm of the Lord?
    According to your understanding – when will or did the exaltation of the servant take place? when will it happen or when did it happen that Jesus was or will be exalted to the eyes of kings and they will reassess their theological assessment of him which was based on their perception of him as subhuman?

    • David says:

      That’s a very good question regarding the timing of the exaltation of the servant.

      And this passage doesn’t answer that question. Is it a one time fixed event, where the first time he is exalted is only before the entire world or is it more of a dynamic event where he is exalted to some throughout certain parts of his life or even his entire life and death and then also before the entire world. Also, if it is not a dynamic event and it is only a one time fixed event before the entire world and then to remain exalted for ever more in the eyes of all is that event at his birth, during some time prior to his death, at his death, or after his death.

      All good questions. Christianity of course has the answer which obviously you disagree with but the answer does not come through the passage at hand.

      Stated plainly, the passage does not tell us when or in what manner (fixed or dynamic) the exaltation manifests itself.

  12. David
    Two questions for you – #1 – why are you so confident that Christianity “has the answer”? In any case I thought you don’t care what “Christianity” says so what is your answer?
    #2 – where did I say that the servant does not render others righteous through his righteousness?

    • David says:

      Hi yourphariseefriend (by the way I noticed that others address you as Rabbi B., Rabbi Blumenthal, etc. so I’m not really sure how you want to be addressed; if you tell me then I’ll stick with that for future reference),

      As to #1, I’m confident because I’ve read the NT scriptures and see that it is addressed. Also I’m going to back track and change my statement. In rereading 53:10 I see that as the point of death (the guilt offering) of the servant. Basically everything after that point is speaking of post death events. Therefore it’s likely that the exultation is manifested post death according to Isaiah 53.

      I differ in some respects with what mainstream Christianity claims. I believe that some in the mainstream have (with good and honorable intentions) mistakenly misconstrued the meaning of the bible both OT and NT in some ways primarily with respect to the Trinity issue.

      As to #2, I stand corrected. Then our only difference in that respect is the meaning of “servant.” I say it is a man (as noted in 53:4 I believe).

  13. David
    And where pray tell do the Christian Scriptures address the question of the timing of the exaltation in a way that conforms with the words of Isaiah?
    You can address me as Yisroel – that is my name

    • David says:

      Yisroel,

      The Christian Scriptures note when and in what manner he is/will be exalted. The manner and timing do not contradict Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 notes that he will be exalted, the manner is not really specified to any great detail. The timing and events surrounding the exaltation(s) in Isaiah as noted earlier is not necessarily all inclusive but as far as I can tell, equate to an after death exaltation (starting in 53:10 to 53:12). The Christian scriptures have him being raised from the dead by God, sitting at the right hand of God after death, and returning to earth as the exalted king at some point in the future.

  14. David
    I think that you are missing the main thrust of this passage. the whole point that the prophet is making is that the servant is despised (not “rejected” – “despised”) until his obvious, sudden and extreme exaltation when the onlookers suddenly and instantaneously realize their mistake.
    At this point in time (I mean the present September 2013) no one is exalted in the way the servant is described – so the prophet is talking of some future event. If there is anyone in the world that it can’t be – it must be Jesus of Nazareth. If there is any one person in the history of mankind that if God’s arm is suddenly and openly revealed upon him – that he will arouse the least surprise – it must be your Jesus. the Christians wouldn’t be surprised. neither would the Moslems or Hindus who both have a positive place for him in their theological scheme. The only ones that would be surprised are the traditional Jews (the liberals see him as one of theirs) – and the reason they would be surprised is not because they considered him subhuman or that his suffering brought them to the conclusion that God had cast him away – but simply because of all of the evil that was done in his name – (and in the category of evil I include warping of God’s word) and because he can’t be divine or worthy of the adoration that he demanded – none of this has anything to do with the servant of Isaiah

  15. David
    There are a few things you fail to understand.
    NO translation cannot give over the richness of the original language nor the subtle nuances
    For example
    When I say that verse 10 has the servant acknowledging his own guilt – that does not mean that I wouldn’t agree with the translation “offer itself in restitution” – this is very close in the English to the way I read the Hebrew text – but in the Hebrew the word for “restitution” means giving something as an acknowledgment of the giver’s guilt – every “asham” in Scripture has this quality and that is the underlying meaning of the word
    Another one – the word “bemotav” of verse 9 is plural as anyone who knows Hebrew can plainly see – but translators will generally ignore that in order to make the English flow better.
    Getting back to the “who would have believed our report” of 53:1 – to you this is an irrefutable “proof” that the speakers cannot be the kings of 52:15 who hadn’t heard. – On a simple level this is no question because if 52:15 it is saying what they hadn’t heard until now (for the past 2000 years) – now they see and hear – the salvation of the Lord is both seen (52:10; Psalm 98:3) and heard (Isaiah 18:3)

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      Regarding the following which you wrote above:
      “…but in the Hebrew the word for “restitution” means giving something as an acknowledgment of the giver’s guilt – every “asham” in Scripture has this quality and that is the underlying meaning of the word…”

      I agree in part. Yisroel, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you know how to read Hebrew. But, the fact that you have yet to put the English version of the text into an argument in English, that is free of serious scriptural contradictions, omissions, and/or additions regarding the passage tells me that you don’t understand the context and meaning of the passage in Hebrew (or you understand it with errors) even though you may understand the individual words of the passage in Hebrew.

      Specifically, it seems to me that you fail to comprehend the context of the interplay between God, His Servant, and His people and who the “giver” would be/is in connection with the guilt offering.

      And the context is this: the Servant is the “guilt offering” FOR the people and NOT for himself. The “offering” in and of itself (which is God’s Servant, the “man” as noted in verse 3) is not guilty nor does he need the guilt offering for himself but RECEIVES upon himself the sin of the people in the form of the chastisement, wounds, crushing execution and death. Why? It’s because, God gave His Servant to the people and the multitudes to be used and “given” by the people as a guilt offering for their own sin (the people’s sin and that of the multitudes) to heal the people of their sin. God then accepts the guilt offering (His Servant) from the people and punishes the guilt offering (His Servant) unto death in place of the people and the multitudes FOR THEIR SIN (the people’s sin and that of the multitudes) and heals His people and the multitudes of THEIR sin.

      And here is the evidence that the above is the proper understanding of the passage and also the proper understanding of verse 10:

      Everywhere in the 4th song, the “ownership”, or to put it another way, the origination (as described in Stone’s Edition) or those who committed the rebellious sin, iniquity, straying, each turning to his own way, transgression, etcetera is expressed and revealed as that of God’s people and/or of the multitudes. Additionally, nowhere does the passage contain anything anywhere about the Servant’s rebellion, sin, iniquity, or guilt, etc.

      The Servant is said to have committed “no crime” for which he is put to death and to be with “no deceit in his mouth” (verse 9).

      Furthermore:
      The ills, pains, chastisement, and wounds, the crushing execution and death (words attributable to the Servant in Stone’s Edition) which was put upon the Servant and which he humbly accepted and bore/carried were not as a result of anything from his own doing but were that of the people’s doing as evidenced in the following (my emphasis in CAPS): Verse 4: “…But in truth, it was OUR ills he bore, and OUR pains that he carried…”. Verse 5: “…He was pained because of OUR rebellious sins and oppressed through OUR iniquities…” Verse 6: “…Hashem inflicted upon him the iniquity of US all. Verse 8: “… an affliction upon them that was my people’s sin.” Verse 11: “it was THEIR iniquities that he will carry.” Verse 12: “…he bore the sins of the MULTITUDES and prayed for the wicked.”

      Additionally we have to investigate the purpose for which he poured his soul unto death, and the purpose for which he carried the iniquities of God’s people and the sin of the multitudes (as stated in verse 12).

      It was to heal only others of their sin and not heal himself of sin.

      We see that it was only others who were healed of their rebellious sins and iniquities. Verse 5: “…through his wounds we were healed.”
      And, it is only the others whom he prayed for and who were prayed for. Verse 12: “…prayed for the wicked.” No one prayed for the Servant.

      So, the reason why the Servant wasn’t “healed” and wasn’t “prayed for” is because he had no need of being healed or being prayed for because he wasn’t broken with rebellious sin as were the others. He helped others by having poured out his soul for death and prayed for others (verse 12).

      Which brings me to my last point, which is the exaltation.

      The reason as stated in scripture as to WHY he was exalted is not because he was “healed” of any sin, which I’ve already shown wasn’t the case. And it wasn’t because he admitted his “own” sin which scripture NEVER attributes to him in any way and never states that.

      No, he was exalted as Stone’s Edition reads because:
      Verse 12: “…in return for having poured out his soul for death and being counted among the wicked, for he bore the SIN of the MULTITUDES, and prayed for the WICKED.”
      Verse 10: “…if his soul would acknowledge guilt…”

      When you add it all up and you read the two verses together which you must do, you can see there is nothing there about admitting his “own” guilt because there is no guilt or sin to admit, only that of others. And the death in question and described is only that of the Servant’s. He died, and only HIS death was acceptable as a “guilt offering” to God to remove sin even though He himself was “counted” among the wicked in death although he had committed no crime nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He and only he bore the sins of the multitudes and the people.

      There’s nothing in verse 12 about him bearing his OWN sins. So then, you can’t turn around in verse 10 and say that he did have sin when verse 12 clearly states he only bore the sins of others.

      In other words, he died and was exalted so that whoever “gives” him as a guilt offering in their own place and for their own sin could be healed from their sin just as the people in verse 5 were healed from their own sin. He was not healed himself (as there was nothing to be healed from) but was exalted for his humble submission to God’s will even unto death.

      By the way Yisroel, do you happen to have the full text of Sone’s Edition English version for verse Isaiah 53:7? I have the rest of the 4th song but have only a partial of verse 7. I’m looking for verse 7

      • Yehuda says:

        David,

        I’ve been casually following this exchange between you and Rabbi B. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that a great deal of your focus (especially earlier in the thread) has been on:

        1. the use of the word “asham” in 53:10
        2. your insistence that it can only be properly translated as “guilt offering” (as opposed to “guilt” more generically, and the acknowledgment thereof), and
        3. your inferences about what that implies.

        Have you considered the use of the word “asham” in Jeremiah 51:5?

        Would you be willing to offer your explanation of that verse using “guilt offering” for “asham” and perhaps cite some published translations supporting your explanation?

        • David says:

          Hi Yehuda,

          See my post to Mr. Blumenthal below.

          You have to consider the context in which the word is found when researching words. The context of Jer. 51:5 is not similar.

          • Yehuda says:

            Then I take it that you retract you incessant insistence that the word “Asham” itself literally means “guilt offering” (as when you pointed to the 22 times it is used in Leviticus) and that it indeed becomes a question of local context, and that it could mean just plain guilt, if the context justifies that.

            Correct?

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            When did I ever say NOT to take into account the context? So then why should I retract my statement regarding the meaning of “asham?” That fact that context does matter in bible study is obvious and goes without saying. The reference to Leviticus contains examples of the context when “asham” means “guilt offering” which is why I spoke of it. Your example as I’ve already pointed out doesn’t. Yehuda, that doesn’t mean and should never be construed that “asham” cannot also be translated to contain other related meanings of guilt offering such as guilt. As another case in point besides Jeremiah 51:5 which you cited, look at Genesis 26:10 from the Complete Tanach from Chabad.org

            10. And Abimelech said, “What have you done to us? The most prominent of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought GUILT upon us.”

            Strong’s #0817 (asham) is translated to GUILT in the Jewish leaning Englsih translation here due to the context which speaks nothing of an offering by the way. So therefore as you can see and as I try to always take into account, context matters.

            Yehuda, Have you ever done a word study with a lexicon?
            Go on line with any lexicon and you’ll see that “asham” (Stong’s #0817 for example) occurs around 46 times in the OT. About 75% of the time it has to do with an offering, hence “guilt offering.” The other occurrences (as in your example of Jeremiah 51:5 and my example of Genesis 26:10) has nothing to do with an “offering” what so ever and the meaning is more closely related to sin, guilt, transgression, etc.

            By the way, the root of the word asham (Strong’s #0816) which is translated into English as guilty, offense, offend, offended, trespass, desolate, etc. occurs about 35 times.

            Furthermore, Mr. Blumenthal and I are in fact arguing about the context here. We both acknowledge, or at least I acknowledge that “ahsam” can mean guilt or guilt offering among other things depending on the context. I’ve never said otherwise. When I say “it means such and such” it should always be understood to be in keeping with the context in which the word is found as here in this case, which I why I spoke of Leviticus because there is found similar CONTEXT of “guilt offering” (asham).

            Also, Mr. Blumenthal argues (as I understand him) that the Servant must make a free will decision to acknowledge, see, or accept his “OWN” guilt in order for him (the Servant) to be an acceptable guilt offering for the restitution of HIMSELF AND others.

            Whereas I argue that the Servant must make a free will decision to acknowledge, see, accept his soul as the “guilt offering” (as a result of the SIN which rightfully belongs to others as described in previous verses) for the restitution of others.

            See the difference?

            The basis for our difference therefore as I see it is that Mr. Blumenthal sees the Servant as having SIN as relevant to the context which must be confessed. And, I see the issue of any SIN (which is not mentioned in Scripture) on the part of the Servant as irrelevant to the context. And, the context is this: the redemption of others through the “guilt offering” (asham) of the Servant of his soul unto death.

          • Dina says:

            David, since you are partial to word studies, may I recommend that you find how many times the phrase “my servant” appears in the Book of Isaiah and see who is positively identified as such? Bearing in mind the importance of context, you should be troubled by the results of such a study.

            I should further point out the very simple fact–which seems to have escaped your notice– that nowhere does Isaiah 53 positively identify the servant as the messiah.

            I hope you will take up the challenge.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            And your point is what? As I just got done explaining to Yehuda, it’s what the context demands.

            So for example, if “asham” is translated to “his own guilt” (as Mr. Blumenthal argues) then so be it. But never is that the case in any bible (Jewish leaning or Christian leaning) nor in any lexicon that I’ve ever seen. Asham is sometimes translated to “guilt” among other things, and more often translated to “guilt offering” depending on the context as is the case in 53:10. I never argued that because “asham” is translated more often to “guilt offering” it therefore “must” mean that in this particular case. You read that into my post.

            It is not necessarily the frequency of the occurrence of a word translated any particular way that is solely governing although that can be a factor in a word study depending on proximity and context, it is rather first of all if the word is ever translated to mean what you say it means. And secondly, EVEN if it is at times translated to mean what you claim it to mean, does it mean that in this given context we are debating (which is Isaiah 53)? Isaiah 53 is the 4th of 4 songs by the way designated as such for their distinctive poetic literary style, so that is also part of the “context.” You therefore should contrast and compare with the other songs and not just blindly through it in with all of Isaiah.

            Furthermore, even Mr. Blumenthal agrees that “my Servant” “loosely” applies to the Messiah in the 4th song of Isaiah. Many Jewish scholars believe it in fact applies directly to the Jewish Messiah.

            So no, I am not troubled at all by the fact that most of the time in the entire book of Isaiah “my Servant” refers to Israel, and a minority of the time “my Servant” refers to an individual.

          • Yehuda says:

            Hi David,

            I am gratified to see your last post where you made clear that context means everything, which in the case of the meaning of the word “Asham”, it most certainly does.

            My problem was with your early posts where you said things like this”

            “Now let us examine the phrase “an offering for sin.” The word used here is the masculine singular noun “asham.” With few exceptions, this masculine noun denotes “Trespass Offering” or “Guilt Offering” (22 times in Leviticus)….The CLEAR CUT rendering as a noun would be best, “Guilt Offering”

            and this

            “Isaiah 51:16 is not relevant to what we are talking about. I’ll remind you that we are talking about asham, guilt offering.”

            and other points in the exchange, where you were talking for granted that asham means “guilt offering” literally rather than it meaning that only in the context of your CHOICE of interpretation of the passage., which is in fact not as clear cut as you would have it.

            That’s all. Thanks for returning the matter to one of context not definition.

            In fact if one wanted to be truly literal about it, one would concede that the simple meaning of the word asham is “guilt”. It is only when the larger context is clearly one of sacrificial procedure – as Leviticus is and as Isaiah 53 is NOT – that “asham” can be properly translated as a shorthand for a guilt offering which is most literally described as “Korban asham” and “offering of guilt”. This is analogous to the way one might describe two golf clubs. We describe them as “a wood” or “an iron”. Neither of those words literally means “golf club” , and only when the context is CLEARLY one of golf would those interpretations be plausible.

            Again, thanks for the clarification.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I see I wasn’t clear. I should have told you that I included the surrounding context of the Four Servant Songs, so I began with Chapter 41 and ended with Chapter 54.

            Here are the eight instances in those chapters where “avdi,” “My servant,” is directly identified as Israel (I transliterate for your benefit):

            Isaiah 41:8-9 – (8) But you, Israel, are MY SERVANT [avdi], Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend. (9) You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from its farthest corners, and said to you, “you are MY SERVANT [avdi]; I have chosen you and I [will] not cast you away.”

            Isaiah 44:1-2,21 – (1) Yet hear now, O Jacob MY SERVANT [avdi], and Israel, whom I
            have chosen. Thus says the Lord your Maker, and He who formed you from the womb
            shall help you. (2) Fear not, MY SERVANT [avdi] Jacob, and Jeshurun whom I have
            chosen.

            (21) Remember these, O Jacob and Israel, for you are MY SERVANT [avdi]; I have
            formed you; you are MY SERVANT [avdi], O Israel, you shall not be forgotten of Me.

            Isaiah 45:4 – For the sake of MY SERVANT [avdi] Jacob, and Israel My chosen one, I
            called to you by your name.

            Isaiah 49:3 – And [God] said to me: “you are MY SERVANT [avdi], O Israel in whom I will be glorified!”

            Here is the one instance where “avdi” is identified through context:

            Isaiah 43:1,10 – (1) And now, so said the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and the One
            Who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, and I called by your
            name, you are Mine. [This is the context.]
            (10) “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “and MY SERVANT [avdi] whom I chose in
            order that you know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me no god
            was formed and after Me none shall be.”

            Two of the four unidentified instances occur in the Fourth Servant Song. The subject of the surrounding chapters of the Fourth Servant Song, 52 and 54, is redeemed Israel.

            Please note that the text uses both the singular and plural to address the servant, as in Isaiah 43:10: “You are My witnesses [plural],” says the Lord, “and My servant [singular] whom I chose in order that you know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be.”

            Plural “witnesses” switches to singular “servant” and back to plural verbs “know,” “believe,” and “understand,” which as I have strenuously tried to explain to you, gets lost in English translation (in this case because the second-person plural in English verbs is the same as singular). You refuse to believe that translators have missed the switches from singular to plural in Isaiah 53, which is so frustrating! You would be amazed (and rather shamefaced) if you learned Hebrew and could see for yourself.

            David, I have news for you: context does not get clearer than this. The context clearly and consistently identifies the servant as Israel.

            Yet another point about context. You insist that the speaker in Isaiah 53 is the nation of Israel. Based purely on context, there are only three possible speakers: the kings of nations, the prophet Isaiah, or God speaking through the prophet Isaiah. The context does not identify Israel as the speaker.

            To fit your theology, you have non-contextually identified the servant as Messiah, the speaker as the rebellious, sinful nation of Israel, and “asham” as a guilt offering. This, David, much as you object to my calling you out on it, is called circular reasoning.

            Everything that is worthwhile in life requires hard work and monumental effort. What is more important than the fate of our souls? I encourage you to learn Hebrew, David. You will then begin to gain a glimmer of understanding of why Jews who are versed in Scripture in its original language are so impossible to persuade–and why it’s so easy to gull uneducated Jews.

            May God our Father lead us all in the light of His truth.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Dina,

            The references you included are NOT the 4 songs. The references to ebed which I used are from the 4 songs.

          • Dina says:

            Okay, David, to clarify.

            One of the references is from the Servant Songs; the remaining are from the surrounding chapters. I clearly said I was taking references from that entire section and only that section of the Book of Isaiah.

            That’s the first point. The second point is that I took only the references to “avdi” (My servant) that the Book of Isaiah positively identifies. I did not include references to “eved” (servant) because that is not the word that appears in the Fourth Servant Song. (By the way, there is no such word in Hebrew as ebed; that is grammatically impossible.)

            The reference to “avdi” in 42:1 is not identified, neither explicitly nor contextually. It is one of four references in this entire section (two are in the last Servant Song) that is not thus identified. Nevertheless, I concede that this reference is to the Messiah, but that is based not so much on the plain meaning as on interpretation. Read 42:1-4 and tell me how on earth you think this can possibly apply to Jesus. Also consider that the vast majority of references are to Israel.

            Now for the word “eved” in Isaiah 49:1-7, which you mentioned. Look at the context. It positively identifies the servant as Israel.

            Remember the surrounding chapters of Isaiah 53 take Israel as their subject. Remember that based on context it’s illogical to assume that “asham” refers to a ritual sacrifice (and that human sacrifice is anyway forbidden). Remember that based on context it’s impossible for Israel to be the speaker.

            Bear in mind that this passage is parallel to 49:1-7 in which the servant is explicitly identified as Israel.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            As I’ve already explained in part before:

            Ebed or eved is the “translation” of the Masoretic text of the Hebrew עַבְדִּ. And I’ve already told you that corresponds to Strong’s lexicon number #5650. Avdi is the “transliteration” of the same. You can go on line for yourself and verify what I’m saying as there are many free on line lexicons or perhaps you even have your own.
            Transliteration which is what you are doing with avdi is the practice of converting a text from one writing system into another in a systematic way. In the case of avdi, you are representing the text of Hebrew (the Masoretic text) and transliterating it to preserve the “pronunciation.” Translation on the other hand preserves the “meaning” that communicates the same message in another language. So, as I noted, Strong’s #5650, ebed or eved is “translated” to Servant in English and represents the “transliteration” avdi and the Hebrew Masoretic text of עַבְדִּ.

            As to the rest of my post:

            In general Dina, you are continuing to make the same point over and over without addressing some of the main arguments I’m making against your points. So this back and forth is starting to grow into a repetition. I’ve addressed you’re points in that everything I’m posting below most of which I’ve already noted in previous posts refutes your contention that the Servant in 53 is not the Messiah. But you are apparently not reading my posts fully nor addressing the issues in which I refute your claims.

            So, as I stated earlier, proximity alone which you keep insisting on is not necessarily a the only or primary governing factor is context, although it is a factor. But if we do take proximity into consideration as I noted earlier, 52 (which you spoke of) speaks of the rebellious nation of Israel; 53 speaks of not only the rebellious nation of Israel but also the Messiah, who makes restitution for the rebellious nation of Israel in the form of a guilt offering of pouring his soul unto death, and 54 (which you also spoke of) again addresses the rebellious nation of Israel. Dina, there is nothing in the general context of proximity which should lead anyone to believe that the identity of the servant doesn’t change from that of the rebellious nation of Israel in 52:1 – 12 to the Messiah in the 4th song then back again to the rebellious nation of Israel in 54. If you read the context it is quite obvious that the Servant Messiah is redeeming the rebellious nation of Israel spoken of in 52 53 and 54.

            And, you fail to address the fact that the 4 songs are more closely related in writing style to each other as I noted earlier than that of the immediate chapters following and preceding the 4th song (52 and 54). Therefore we should look to the other 3 songs as well and my claim which is supported by Jewish scholars some of whom wrote for example the CJB English bible version (IN ENGLISH SINCE WE ARE DEBATING IN ENGLISH) is that ALL four songs use Servant as a reference to the Messiah.

            Another point that I’ve made is that throughout the book of Isaiah the references to Servant changes back and forth many times (which you fail to sufficiently address) to relate to either the Messiah and/or the nation of Israel. Note that throughout Isaiah the nation of Israel is often times spoken of as rebellious, sinful, idol worshiping, wicked, and/or iniquitous, etc.

            Another point which you have not addressed is that even Mr. Blumenthal and many other Jews believe that the 4th song which we are debating here does in fact refer to the Messiah albeit “loosely” (as Mr. Blumenthal puts it) and to the Nation of Israel as well. I do agree with Mr. Blumenthal in the sense that the Messiah speaks for and represents the nation of Israel. But the Servant Messiah also speaks for and represents God to the nation of Israel.

            And another point which I brought up earlier which you failed to address is that we are studying Isaiah 53 and in the immediate context of Isaiah 53 the Servant is positively identified as a “man” in verse 3.

            Another point was that the nation of Israel is identified in 53 (and elsewhere throughout Isaiah) as being in rebellious sin. The Messiah is never identified that way. And the question which I asked before which you didn’t answer is: how is it that the rebellious and sinful nation of Israel is going to redeem itself? Isn’t it more logical that God will work through someone who is not in rebellious sin? And in fact we find that to be the case in 53. The Servant is positively identified as a man who redeems the rebelliously sinful nation of Israel.

            Now, something new. You seem to fail to understand the term “Servant, Israel” is also used to refer to the Messiah as in the case of 49:3 in the passage that you reference in the second song 49:1 – 7. Servant Israel is not used exclusively to refer to the nation of Israel. In fact it could be said that when speaking of the nation of Israel we are also loosely speaking of its King, the Messiah, and when speaking of the King and teacher of Israel (the Messiah), we are also loosely speaking of nation of Israel.

            As proof, read the CJB English version of 49:3 written by Jewish scholars for Jews:

            3 And said unto Me [Moshiach, i.e., the She’erit of the She’erit, the true and worthy Israel and also the King who personifies the People], Thou art Avdi, O Yisroel, Thou in Whom I glorify Myself.

            Here’s the CJB version of what we are debating, 52:13 and 53:11:

            13 Hinei, Avdi [Moshiach, see Zecharyah 3:8] shall act wisely, he shall be raised and be lifted up, and be highly exalted.

            11 He [Hashem] shall see of the travail of his [Moshiach’s] nefesh, and shall be satisfied; by knowledge of him [Moshiach] shall Tzadik Avdi [“My Righteous Servant,” Moshiach, Zecharyah 3:8, Yirmeyah 23:5; Zecharyah 6:11-12, Ezra 3:8 Yehoshua, Yeshua shmo] justify many; for he [Moshiach] shall bear their avon (iniquities).

          • Dina says:

            David, I’m very busy today and don’t have the time to give your most recent comment the attention it deserves; also we’re in the middle of a religious holiday so I won’t be able to get back to you this week. I will, God willing, try to respond early to middle of next week.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I’m back in business!

            And I have to say, I didn’t know whether to laugh or tear my hair out over your little lecture about translation and transliteration and your recommendation that I verify what you said by searching a lexicon. David, can you imagine if I were a Russian speaker who spoke no English, and I told you (assuming you could understand Russian) that you transliterated the words “you” and “your” into Russian to be faithful to the pronunciation, but really they mean the same thing? And when you tell me that’s ridiculous, you speak English, and they don’t mean quite the same thing, I were to tell you, oh, look it up in Ivanovich’s lexicon and you’ll see what I mean.

            What would you say? Would you laugh or tear your hair out? Remember, this conversation would take place after you’ve patiently explained, using analogies and examples, why certain things get lost in translation.

            I will give you one more example, and if you still can’t see my point of view, I will suggest we steer the conversation in a different direction (I have some ideas).

            In Isaiah 43:10 we have the Hebrew words “tayd’u,” “ta’aminu,” “tavinu.” These words mean, respectively, “you will know,” “you will believe,” “you will understand” (since the source of translation is important to you, the source is the Dina Bucholz Off-the-Cuff Translation).

            In English, you cannot tell if “you” is feminine singular, masculine singular, feminine plural, or masculine plural. You cannot tell if the verbs “know,” “believe,” and “understand” are feminine singular, masculine singular, feminine plural, or masculine plural. There is no way to translate this to reflect that in Hebrew it’s crystal clear that these words are masculine plural. No way at all. These are the kinds of things that get lost in translation. Usually they don’t affect the overall meaning. But as Rabbi B. has pointed out to you, you are building your theology on these small nuances that are impossible to translate accurately. And it’s the kind of thing that I would point to in order to show you how the verse switches back and forth from singular to plural because that’s common in Hebrew when Scripture is referring to a corporate entity.

            As for your contention that the positive identification of the servant as Israel means the Messiah because the Messiah represents Israel, well, that’s just unfair. If you say that Scripture doesn’t mean what it plainly says, we can’t have an honest debate. And if you bring me Jewish scholars to bolster your arguments, that’s also not going to work. I don’t care what some Jewish scholar says somewhere, especially if he’s not a traditional Orthodox Jew (and by the way, Chabad is outside the mainstream of Jewish Orthodoxy). Do you think that someone has credibility just because he is Jewish? If that were the case, you may as well present me with Dr. Michael Brown’s arguments.

            You said that I keep repeating myself and ignoring your points. If you read my comments carefully you will see that I did address your points and that you failed to respond to them. That sort of brings us to an impasse. We each think the other is failing to address each other’s points. For example, in your comment of September 25, you raised again some points about context and identification that I believe I had already adequately addressed in some of my earlier comments.

            Feel free to respond. In the meantime, I shall start a new thread on this page with fresh challenges that will approach this discussion from a different angle.

        • Dina says:

          David, the point is this:

          Since you are so concerned with context, be honest and see who is positively identified as “my servant” (“avdi”) in the Four Servant Songs and who is the subject of the two chapters surrounding Isaiah 53.

          Of the 13 instances of “avdi” that occur in the Four Servant Songs, “avdi” is directly identified in eight, positively identified through context in one, and not identified at all in the remaining four. The subject of the two chapters surrounding Isaiah 53, chapters 52 and 54, is the redeemed nation of Israel. Therefore, the context positively identifies “avdi” of Isaiah 53 as Israel.

          You are ripping Isaiah 53 out of context when you force “avdi” to refer to the Messiah although, one, the passage does not identify him as such, and two, the context does not identify him as such.

          Finally, whether some Jewish commentaries use midrashic interpretation to say that the servant refers loosely to the Messiah is irrelevant, David, because we agreed to study only the PLAIN MEANING of the text.

          • Dina says:

            I left out a key detail. In the eight instances that “avdi” is identified directly, the identification is Israel. In the one instance where context identifies him, the identification is Israel as well.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,
            I’ll probably have to answer your post in two parts if I don’t get to all of it here.

            But, I totally disagree with your post.

            To address your last point first, you wrote:
            “Finally, whether some Jewish commentaries use midrashic interpretation to say that the servant refers loosely to the Messiah is irrelevant, David, because we agreed to study only the PLAIN MEANING of the text.”

            My response:
            This has been a debate between me and Mr. Rosenthal based mostly on his video of his views on Isaiah 53, the 4th song. Mr. Rosenthal is the one who said that the Servant in the 4th song refers to both the Messiah AND the nation of Israel, “loosely to the Messiah.” Our argument is one of degree as I see it. I say that the Servant as used in the 4th song to refer exclusively to the Messiah and there are other Jewish scholars who do agree with me as Mr. Rosenthal even pointed out in his video.

            Regarding the rest of your post:
            First off on context: The prophesies in Isaiah are sprinkled throughout and Isaiah doesn’t give you a warning and say, OK, I’m giving you a prophesy now. In addition Isaiah shifts back and forth between using “Servant” as pertaining to the nation of Israel and pertaining to an individual; Isaiah doesn’t say in most cases regarding God’s Servant: OK, now I’m talking about my “Servant” meaning the Nation of Israel and now I’m talking about my “Servant” meaning the Messiah.
            It is not correct to say that the Servant in Isaiah is used only for the Messiah or only for the nation of Israel.

            In the context as you pointed out we are talking about redemption, and it is to be sure the redemption of Israel but also the redemption of the multitudes. So it stands to reason that God would also talk about the method and manner and circumstances in which the house of Israel and the multitudes will be redeemed. And in fact that is the case; in 53 it is all about who, what, where, how, etc. regarding the righteous Servant man as an individual. A man is making restitution for the nation of Israel and the multitudes.

            In keeping with that context then I see that the Servant is positively and plainly identified in verse 3 as a “MAN.”

            And, in context why is it necessary to redeem the nation of Israel? Because they are rebelliously sinful. And the Servant is not described as rebelliously sinful but rather as righteous. Does it make sense that the rebelliously sinful nation of Israel is going to redeem itself? No, it makes more sense that someone who is not rebelliously sinful himself will redeem the rebelliously sinful nation of Israel.

            In addition to that, regarding context which you failed to address: Context can be proximity as you pointed out but it can also include such things as the theme, and style of writing which are not necessarily in close proximity. As you know we are talking about the 4th song and therefore by necessity the distinctive style of poetic type writing unique in Isaiah to the 4 songs. Therefore in keeping with the context of the “Song” style of writing I can’t help but noting that all four songs deal directly with the Servant as an individual, the Messiah.

            So Dina, rather than “ripping things out of context” you can see that I’m very faithfully applying context.

            The passage chapter and verse numbering of the 4 songs are:
            1st song = 42:1 – 7
            2nd song = 49:1 – 7
            3rd song = 50:4 – 11
            4th song = 52:13 – 53:12

            I list that because I note that we disagree on the counting of the occurrences of “Servant.” Perhaps it is due to some differences in opinion on where the songs begin and end (chapter and verse). You count 13 and I only count 8; but when I get some time I’ll count again to double check.

            The word עַבְדּ in Hebrew that I am using is “ebed” or “eved” number #5650 in Strong’s lexicon. And I counted that it occurs 8 times as follows with reference to the 4 songs of Isaiah.

            עֶבֶד

            42:1; 49:3, 5, 6, 7; 50:10; 52:13 and 53:11

          • Dina says:

            Oops! David, I posted my response in the wrong spot. You will find it if you scroll up. Sorry about that.

  16. David
    The fact that the Scriptures say nothing about the servant’s sin in the space of a few verses doesn’t mean the servant is sinless. According to Scripture no one can be sinless – so its a given that the servant has some guilt. Did you notice how many times you put the word “only” into the text? (as in “only for the sins of others).The prophet didn’t use it once. The speakers in the passage have no business worrying about the servant’s guilt – that’s between the servant and God – they need to acknowledge their own guilt. (something like the perpetrators of the holocaust talking about the sins that the Jewish people committed before God – it would be obscene for them to talk about Israel’s sins in the context of their own sins. In the messianic era the nations will see Israel’s righteousness (Isaiah 62:1,2) and Israel’s sins between themselves and God have nothing to do with the nations – its not their business)
    And here is the evidence that you fail to comprehend the point of the passage. Who is the giver? who is the one offering the restitution? according to you it is every sinner who so chooses to offer the soul of the servant – but according to the prophet it is the servant himself who offers his soul as a guilt offering.
    Your reading doesn’t make Scriptural sense for another reason – according to the way you would have it – if the sinner offers the servant’s soul then the servant will have long days? How do you explain that?
    I don’t have a Stone edition with me here – I just have the Hebrew text without any translation.
    Yisroel

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      Actually, I agree with the last part of your post dealing with the identity of the giver. I stand corrected and will update my analysis of 53:10 in the near future.

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      To start off, I am correcting my previous post. Regarding Isaiah 53, you are correct in that the people (Israel) or the multitudes (all others) do not “give” the guilt offering in this instance. God’s Servant was the instrument and gave himself, his flesh and his “soul” as the guilt offering. My earlier post should be corrected to read: “In other words, he poured himself unto death, “giving himself” as a “guilt offering” in the place of others and for the sins of others he was punished so that others could be made whole and healed as noted that the people (Israel) in verse 5 were healed from their sin.”

      You wrote:
      “According to Scripture no one can be sinless.”
      My response:
      That’s not true. Cite your scripture.

      You wrote:
      “…according to the way you would have it – if the sinner offers the servant’s soul then the servant will have long days? How do you explain that?”

      My response:
      I’ve already addressed and corrected my earlier post that the sinners don’t offer the Servant’s soul, He offers his own soul. But to the point that he will “have long days” – that’s another relatively easy one with a couple of psalms; and I’m sure you could even find more about long days for “ever and ever.”

      JPS (caps are my emphasis):
      Psalm:
      21:2 – 8:
      2 O HaShem, in Thy strength the king rejoiceth; and in Thy salvation how greatly doth he exult!
      3 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and the request of his lips Thou hast not withholden. Selah
      4 For Thou meetest him with choicest blessings; Thou settest a crown of fine gold on his head.
      5 He asked life of Thee, Thou gavest it him; even length of days for EVER AND EVER.
      6 His glory is great through Thy salvation; honour and majesty dost Thou lay upon him.
      7 For Thou makest him most blessed for ever; Thou makest him glad with joy in Thy presence.
      8 For the king trusteth in HaShem, yea, in the mercy of the Most High; he shall not be moved.

      49:16:
      16 But G-d will redeem my soul from the power of the nether-world; for He shall receive me. Selah

      You wrote:
      “The fact that the Scriptures say nothing about the servant’s sin in the space of a few verses doesn’t mean the servant is sinless.”

      My response:

      You are overemphasizing a speculation well beyond the context and focus of the passage as to whether or not the Servant had sin. To put it simply, the passage makes no mention of sin in regards to the Servant and we should just leave it at that since obviously it is not necessary to deal with the possibility of sin from the standpoint of the Servant since it is not addressed in the passage in any manner. The passage focuses on the sin of others and the healing work of the righteous Servant, and that’s what we should focus on as well.

      Furthermore in regards to understanding the role of sin in the passage, you are wrong on many points:

      First:
      Let’s say I accept your argument that the Servant at the time of the guilt offering in verse 10 was with sin. Considering the fact that scripture makes no mention of it, it must be therefore so minor and of such little bearing and consequence on the passage that it wasn’t even worth mentioning. So therefore we should speak of sin as it relates to the Servant where the passage puts it, which is silence. In other words it need not be spoken of since God saw fit not to speak of it.

      Second:
      You could argue that perhaps that the Servant did have sin at some time in the past. Never the less, he is now described as “righteous”, having committed “no crime” for which he was unjustly put to death and without “deceit” in his mouth. Obviously, once again God finds him as qualified, acceptable and/or worthy to be the guilt offering in place of others to heal others in spite of your assertion that he therefore must have sin and acknowledge his own sin. And therefore, in spite of any possible present or prior transgression on the part of the Servant which you may claim, God selected him alone and not the others to be a “guilt offering” (the others being Israel and the multitudes) so much so that neither is the possibility of EVEN any potential “past” sin considered worth addressing at any point in the entire passage. Again, there is silence on even the possibility of “past” forgiven sin on the part of the Servant.

      Third:
      53:10 of Stone’s Edition with respect to the “guilt offering” should, as any other version, be read in the context in which it is found. In addition it should be read in consonance with other Jewish leaning English versions such as JPS and The Complete Tanach from Chabad.org, not to mention Christian leaning versions all of which pretty much agree with me and not with you in regard to the meaning of 53:10. If we go with your reasoning then we would be in opposition to most of the versions out there. You erroneously claim contrary to the context that the Servant must see or acknowledge his “own” guilt. The other Jewish leaning versions and Christian versions I cited take into account the context of the passage in their wording of 53:10. So too does Stone’s take into account the context, but Stone’s is a little more ambiguous and could be mistakenly read in other ways as you have done.
      The context of the passage as it relates to 53:10 is this: The punishment which the Servant received was rightfully due the others who received the benefit of being made whole and being healed from sin. And they, the others, were healed because of the Servant’s offering himself as the guilt offering, through the pouring of himself unto death, bearing the sins of the multitudes and praying for them. There is no mention of the Servant being made whole or healed from sin. There is no mention of the others being exalted as a result of their obedient work for God. The Servant was exalted as a result of his choice to submit to and obey God in regards to the guilt offering process including death as noted above.

      It should also be emphasized that in keeping with the context that the guilt offering process of death of the Servant, the healing of others and the exaltation of the Servant is “conditional” on the choice of the Servant in regards to whether or not he will submit himself as the guilt offering unto death. In other words, whether or not he will acknowledge the guilt due to the sins of others, and whether or not he is willingly accept the punishment (unto death) pertaining to the sin of the people. 53:10 is a conditional verse and flows better in the JPS tying together the reason for God’s actions, the Servant’s choice and the resulting benefits to the Servant and to all of humanity (Israel and the multitudes) in that God will succeed through the Servant “IF” the Servant chooses to be the guilt offering as willed by God. We see also in verse 12 the evidence and emphasis on the free will choice of the Servant in regards to pouring himself unto death.

      (my emphasis in CAPS):
      “JPS 10:
      Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see IF his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand:”

      Stone’s 10:
      “Hashem desired to oppress him and He afflicted him; IF his soul would acknowledge guilt, he would see offspring and live long days and the desire of Hashem would succeed in his hand.”

      See verse 12 below:
      Again, the JPS makes this more clear but still, it is evident in Stone’s Edition as well. Note the fact that “HE bared HIS…” and “IN RETURN for having poured out HIS…” In other words HE did it, HE chose to do it. Yes there was a miscarriage of justice as noted in earlier verses but never the less, he still made the choice to pour out his soul unto death.

      (CAPS are my emphasis):
      JPS 12:
      “Therefore will I divide him a portion … because HE bared HIS soul unto death…”
      Stone’s 12:
      Therefore, I will assign him a portion… IN RETURN for having poured out HIS soul for death…”

      And so then, the ONE ACT of a guilt offering by the Servant resulted in among other things: the Servant being exalted, the others being made whole, and God’s purpose succeeding in the hands of the Servant.

      Taking into account the context noted above and the various readings of the different versions, Stone’s Edition English as well as the other versions should be understood as follows:

      IF, the Servant would submit his soul as a guilt offering and acknowledge and take upon himself the guilt and punishment which is due others, he will then make restitution for others.

      I think rather than continue to speculate about the absence of scriptural evidence of whether or not there was sin in the present of past on the part of the Servant when the scripture is 100% silent about the Servants sin, let’s instead examine the facts of what we know for sure.

      Fact:
      There is not one scriptural word in the passage about:
      His sin
      His deserving of punishment
      His being prayed for or interceded for by others
      His healing

      Fact:
      There is not one scriptural word in the passage about:
      Their righteousness
      Their being rejected
      Their receiving any punishment or death for their sin
      Their exaltation
      Their making prayers or intercession

      Fact:
      He was marred for the sins of others, punished for the sins of others and died for the sins of others

      Fact:
      The scripture says nothing about their suffering or their punishment for their own sins or the sins of anyone else for that matter.

      Fact:
      He made others whole, healed

      Fact:
      Scripture says nothing about them making anyone whole, or healed

      Fact:
      He was righteous

      Fact:
      They were sinful

      Fact:
      The scripture says nothing about sin in connection with the Servant

      Fact:
      He gave his life for their healing

      Fact:
      The scripture says nothing about them giving anything in return for their healing either prior to or following.

      Fact:
      He was exalted

      Fact:
      Scripture says nothing about them being exalted.

  17. David
    You ask for Scripture about no one being sinless – Ecclesiastes 7:20; Job 15:14; 25:4. I am well aware that you discount the last two references because you feel that the speakers are not prophets (you do the same with Psalm 44) – if that is the case be consistent and discount Isaiah 53:1-9 because the speakers are not prophets.
    The fact that the Scripture doesn’t mention the sin of the servant in the speech of those who had despised him is meaningless – as I pointed out – when they confess their mistake in misunderstanding the servant it is not appropriate for them to mention his guilt. Furthermore when the speakers of 53:1-9 speak of the servant’s innocence they are speaking according to their own human standards – there is nothing in the text to tell us that they are speaking from God’s perspective. But when God speaks (in verse 10) He speaks of the servant offering his soul as an asham – that is Scripture speaking of the sin of the servant because in all of Scripture you will not find an asham that is not an acknowledgment of the giver of that asham’s guilt.

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      First of all, let’s get the quotes straight.

      You wrote:

      “According to Scripture no one can be sinless.”

      And I wrote:

      “That’s not true. Cite your scripture.”

      And the scripture you cited does not prove your statement that no one CAN be sinless.
      Ecclesiastes 7:20; Job 15:14; 25:4. I

      First of all only Ecclesiastes can be accepted as a valid citation; it says: (in PRESENT tense) “For there is no righteous man on earth who does good and sins not.”

      It doesn’t say no one can be sinless (referring to the future) and it doesn’t say there has never been a righteous man with sinless qualities (referring to the past).

      Your reference to JOB is disqualified. The speakers of your references to Job are Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite.

      This is what God says in Job 42:7 concerning them (and I believe we had this unresolved argument before), in that you fail to take into account who’s doing the speaking, in this case, those who have NOT spoken correctly:

      “Now it came to pass after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and your two companions because you did not speak correctly, as did My servant Job.”

      Regarding the speakers of Isaiah.

      We have a disagreement there as well. The speakers in fact are at times God’s people (Israel) who despised the Servant. The speaker is also Isaiah himself who is doing narration of the story. God also speaks. You have to read with the context in mind.

      For example:

      13 – 15: Narration of Isaiah

      13a: “Behold My servant…” God speaking and/or Isaiah speaking for him.

      1: All the prophets and leaders of Israel and Israel itself.
      An introspective statement by everyone associated with Israel posed as a
      rhetorical question.

      2 – 6: God’s people (Israel), speaking of their sin. And, Isaiah’s narration

      7 – 12: Isaiah’s narration alone (Israel is not speaking here).

      8b: “…for the transgression of MY people.” God speaking and/or Isaiah speaking for him.

      11b: “…MY Servant…” Again, that’s God speaking and/or Isaiah speaking for him.

      12a: “…Therefore, I will allot him…” Again that’s God and/or Isaiah speaking for him.

      Note:
      Neither the nations, nor Kings, nor multitudes speak on their own. They are spoken OF in narration by Isaiah.

      You wrote:
      “… in all of Scripture you will not find an asham that is not an acknowledgment of the giver of that asham’s guilt. …”

      Well, to that I say:

      In all of scripture you will not find another case where the asham (guilt offering) is a person “MAN” who in this case happens to be the one and only Messiah himself.

      And, you will not find anywhere in all of scripture where the asham (guilt offering) has ever given ITSELF as the asham (guilt offering).

      And, you will not find in all of scripture where the asham (guilt offering) is said to itself be guilty of anything prior to the time it is used or given as a guilt offering.

      And, always, those receiving the restitution from their guilt are those who are guilty and NEVER is it the asham (guilt offering) itself.

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      After viewing again my response about Ecclesiastes 7:20, I see that it is kind of incomplete.

      Ecclesiastes is a general statement (not a specific statement) by a wise man spoken from the human perspective. I’m not saying he is not inspired by God to write it, but I am saying he is inspired to write it from the human perspective of a wise man basically talking to himself.

      Since it’s a general statement written by Solomon in the present tense from the human perspective of the world around him at the time he wrote it, there can therefore be exceptions as viewed from the perspective of God about what could take place in the future and what has taken place in the past.

      In fact, when we look to God’s words spoken by God himself we see something different.

      God says in Genesis 8:21:
      “… for the imagination (inclination) of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”

      What’s important is what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that it is “impossible” that man can be sinless. It says we have an “inclination” in our hearts towards evil. He doesn’t say we are sinful. He says we have an “inclination.”

      And, we see in Genesis 4:7 God also speaks for himself directly to Cain:
      “Is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you? If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.”

      Therefore we see that as of the time just prior to Abel’s murder at the hands of Cain, Cain had not yet sinned, as sin was lying at the entrance longing for Cain.

      If Cain had not yet sinned, what can we say of righteous Abel who was murdered?

  18. David
    If you would learn Hebrew you would save the two of us a lot of time.
    In Hebrew it is obvious that the servant and his soul are considered two entities – and the servant is offering (pouring out) his soul and presenting it as the guilt offering. So the servant is the giver and his soul is the given – so your argument fails. But if you would know Hebrew your argument wouldn’t begin – because the essential meaning of the word “asham” means an acknowledgement of guilt. The guilt offering is called an “asham” because it is an expression of acknowledgement of guilt.

    • David says:

      If it so obvious why don’t all those who speak Hebrew agree with you. The fact that even Jewish scholars who speak Hebrew translate it differently nullifies your point about “if I’d learn Hebrew…”

      • Annelise says:

        Like Yisroel’s saying, here [ http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H817&t=KJV ] you can see that the word asham isn’t used in the passage from Leviticus 16 about the priest bringing the offering for the people on Yom Kippur (that is the idea behind Hebrews 9). But it is used in Isaiah 53 and would be best translated that he is offering his soul in acknowledgement of guilt. Why is the servant, despite his guilt, declared to be righteous and innocent? Because that is what Isaiah is saying about Israel: He is forming righteousness in him and he will be considered perfectly innocent in the day when he is healed and vindicated. Isn’t that the repeated theme in surrounding chapters? And it also refers to the nation’s role that is already being lived out by some in every generation.

        • Annelise says:

          I should have pointed out more clearly, you can see on that link how this word sometimes just means ‘guilt’, and that’s the context it’s used in when the offering is called that. It’s very personal.

        • Annelise says:

          Sorry also!, bad paraphrase… better to say, if his soul offers a guilt offering / acknowledges guilt. I was just reading into that an offering of self.

        • David says:

          A couple of problems with that rational is:
          1. You are assuming that the guilt in the “guilt offering” of his soul belongs to the Servant as well as Israel, when the only sin mentioned belongs to Israel and the multitudes.
          2. You say that “he is healed and vindicated.” Isaiah 53 never says the Servant is healed. It say’s Israel is healed.
          3. Isaiah never says that righteousness is “formed” in the Servant. It just says that he is “righteous” and by his righteousness he makes others righteous.
          4. Nothing is mentioned about Israel’s role, only that of the Servant.
          5. In regards to righteousness of the Servant, who’s to say that he wasn’t found righteous by forgiveness of any sin on the part of the Servant prior to the “guilt offering” spoken of in Isaiah. In other words even if the Servant had sinned at some point in the past isn’t it more likely that he would have already been forgiven which is why he’s called righteous?

          • Annelise says:

            Hi David, re. 2-5 I wasn’t making a proof here about the nature of the servant. I was only saying that Israel is spoken about in terms of “You were guilty, but look at the righteousness in your midst…and now (in the prophetic future), even more so, look how you as a nation are considered completely innocent!!” So there is nothing to exclude the nation from being the intended subject of this prophecy, the ‘man’ who suffered and whom the nations realise was not the lowest of the low (if we’ve seen or read about antisemitism we can begin to grasp that) but instead very precious to God in their experience.

            And in fact, the experience of this servant is so similar to the experience of justified-Israel in Isaiah that it makes good literary sense to catch the significance of that. In any case, the prophet does not alert us to consider this chapter in a different way, and build a theology of ‘one man who never sinned’ around it.

          • Annelise says:

            And re. 1, no one ever offered a guilt one on behalf of someone else. In Isaiah 53 the soul is not just offering herself to be a guilt offering, but is actually MAKING a guilt offering.

      • Dina says:

        David, I spent a lot of time explaining to you how translation works and why it’s so important to read Scripture in its original language. Obviously, if not all translations agree with each other, some of them are either mistaken or lying. The only way for you to find out the truth is to learn the language and see for yourself.

        It would be very frustrating for you to try to explain to a non-English speaker that “children” is plural for “child” while he continues to insist that you must be wrong. Futile also, since he doesn’t speak English. That is how frustrating, futile, and ultimately time wasting this discussion is becoming.

        If you sincerely seek the truth, learn biblical Hebrew, David. There are no shortcuts to the things that really matter.

        Peace and blessings,
        Dina

        • David says:

          He Dina,

          Well, then in the mean time I’ll just have to go with a translation which I can read as would any non Hebrew speaking Jew or non Greek speaking Christian and factor in the scholars which make the most sense to my own brain.

          And those scholars which make the most sense to me and my reading of the English and their understanding of the Hebrew, (including many Jewish scholars) tend to disagree with Mr. Blumenthal about many of his claims of things in the Hebrew.

          • blasater says:

            I am always puzzled by missionaries claiming the Asham=Jesus in Is 53:10. That is totally shooting yourselves in the foot. If you insist on Jesus being an Asham, that means he is a limited atonement. About 4 intentional sins, the rest unintentional. What about the rest of the Korbanot? Isaiah 53 does not cover them. Nor does any Korban accomplish all conditions for all sacrifices. The church doesn’t even begin to explain that. Oh and Jesus was certainly not righteous. He had a tendency to not tell the truth. Falsely prophecy. Falsely speak in G-ds name.

      • Dina says:

        And another point about context, David.

        Since “asham” can mean “guilt” or “guilt offering,” the only way to deduce the meaning is through context. When the context is ritual sacrifice and/or Temple services, as in Leviticus, then it makes sense to say that “asham” means “guilt offering.” When the context has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with ritual sacrifice and Temple services, as in Isaiah 53, then it makes sense to say that it means “guilt.” That’s just plain logic.

        Furthermore, do you not know that a human cannot offer himself as a sacrifice? Human sacrifice is prohibited (Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 18:10; Psalms 106: 35-40).

  19. David
    Most translations do not “disagree” with me. Its simply that some of the nuances of Hebrew don’t come across in English. I find it amazing that you are satisfied to build your theology on the absence of an implication in a text that you can’t read in the original language.

    • Annelise says:

      It would be good if someone who knows Greek could give an insight into whether some of this confusion may have come about through the Septuagint translation. I think that the word used for this offering in Isaiah 53 is ἁμαρτίας, which is the same word used for the ‘sin offering’ in Leviticus 16, even though in Hebrew the words are different, and Hebrews 10 also uses this word in what seems to be a reference to Leviticus 16. So a false impression could come about that there’s no distinction between these kinds? I haven’t studied the way that the offerings are all translated in Greek, nor can I read it… I am just suggesting this by looking up these three verses in the Greek online.

      • David says:

        Hi Annelise,

        I don’t speak Greek but I can tell you that probably none of the differences of opinion here have come about through the Greek translation, the Septuagint (LXX), at least not directly. I base that on the simple fact that the vast majority of all bible translations are not based on the Septuagint but are based on the Masoretic (Hebrew) text. That includes nearly all Christian leaning English versions and I think all Jewish leaning English versions.

        The exception would be the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church which still used the LXX and which itself makes up the smallest percentage of Christians behind protestants and Roman Catholics.

        The majority of Christian churches made the switch at least about 500 years ago I think to base their translations on the Masoretic text.

        None of the bible versions that I’ve used or cited for example are based on the LXX; all claim to be based on the Masoretic text in one form or another.

        • Annelise says:

          I was referring to a root of difference a bit further back in time: the fact that the early churches did seem to be using Greek translations. That said I am not making an argument here, knowing no Greek or Aramaic or much at all about the relevant texts, or the level of awareness the authors would have had into the Levitical commandments. Just an observation.

    • David says:

      Hi Yisroel,

      If I follow your logic then upon learning Hebrew I should agree with you if it’s so clear cut.

      The fact that there are other Jews who do not agree with you as evidenced in their translations of Hebrew scripture into English bible versions should tell you that it’s not as clear cut as you have made it out to be. I happen to agree with those Jews and Christians who disagree with you. And you think that magically I’m going to see it your way when I learn Hebrew? How do you explain that your opinion differs from some other Jews and Christian scholars who read Hebrew? So obviously learning Hebrew is not necessarily going to bring us together.

      That’s not to say there isn’t value in learning Hebrew or Greek as used in the scriptures, but to say that I’d then see it your way is I think quite naïve.

  20. David
    the reason I think that reading Hebrew will make a difference in this discussion is because we are focusing on points that have otherwise gotten lost in the shuffle. Translators have a tough enough job trying to translate the central meaning of the word into a different language with a different grammatical structure – so the nuances get lost in the shuffle. You are building your case on the nuances that are absent in various translations. If you read the original you will hear those nuances loud and clear. Will you change your faith? I don’t know – but at least you’ll have to come up with new arguments.

  21. Dina says:

    Hi David.

    I am starting a new thread to propose two new challenges to your interpretation of Isaiah 53.

    You contend that if you are faithful to the context, you will clearly see that the passage in question refers to the Messiah, that the Messiah suffers and dies an atoning death on behalf of rebellious, sinful Israel, and that Israel will not recognize this fact until the end of time when the Messiah reappears, at which time the Messiah will be vindicated and Israel will be shamed.

    The first challenge is a thought experiment. Imagine you are a pious Jew living in, say 253 BCE. (The date is random but important.) You are studying the Book of Isaiah, which had been written several centuries previously. You start from Chapter 1 and continue until you get to Chapter 53. What would you understand this passage to mean? This will be a challenging experiment for you because you need to understand that traditional Jews would have understood that prophecies in the Bible are clear–they would not have assumed that prophecies are only understood after they come to pass. You will also need to set aside your notions of a suffering, dying Messiah atoning for mankind’s sins and the shaming of Israel at the end of time, since these concepts did not exist in the year 253 BCE.

    That’s the first challenge. The second challenge is this.

    Take all the Christological elements you attribute to Isaiah 53 and find corroboration throughout Tanach for each of these elements. Every important theme in Tanach is reiterated dozens and sometimes hundreds of times, but I will make this easy for you and ask for just three instances of corroboration for each element. These are the elements:

    1. The Messiah will be forsaken, rejected, and despised by his own people.
    2. Rebellious, sinful Israel will persecute the Messiah.
    3. The Messiah will suffer and die an atoning death for the sins of rebellious Israel.
    4. Rebellious Israel will be shamed by the ultimate exaltation and vindication of the Messiah.
    5. The Messiah will be rewarded with long life and children (and if you insist on understanding this metaphorically, you can still try to do this) for giving himself up as a guilt offering.

    To be fair, I will present the results of my own thought experiment, understanding the passage through the eyes of a gentile Christian who can’t read Scripture in its original language. For the second challenge, I will present at least three instances of corroboration for each element of the Jewish understanding of this passage. I will do this, God willing, sometime this week.

    What do you say, David? Are you up for the challenge? Do you have a different challenge you would like to propose?

    • LarryB says:

      Dina
      In an earlier post you mentioned “and by the way, Chabad is outside the mainstream of Jewish Orthodoxy”. Is there a place to study that’s inside the mainstream Orthodoxy? I spend hours there every day.

      • Annelise says:

        Chabad may be outside the mainstream in terms of the attention given to its latest rebbe and some of its specific customs. Even so, this group should be highly commended for its attitude towards Hashem, Torah, the tradition, and the people who are both within their community, on the edges of it, and outside it. The balance between the Torah heritage and the wider society is so hard to tread, but in my experience Chabad has managed to nurture a sense of clinging to Torah and engaging with culture. That’s not to say I by default affirm or understand everything they teach, but a large amount of it is ‘mainstream’ at least in the traditional sense, and as long as you learn from numerous sources then I don’t think you’ll go too far wrong with things learnt from Chabad. Just my perspective and experience.

        • LarryB says:

          Annelise
          would you mind emailing me others you find helpful? some that Dina is talking about if you know.

          • Annelise says:

            What kinds of things do you want to learn? I don’t know a lot about websites… I know there is one called Aish, but I haven’t really looked on there a lot, even though my Hebrew teacher is married to the daughter of one of the main rabbis from that group I think. The mindset is different and I think more modern Orthodox, trying to make the Jewish heritage fit into and express modern values while hopefully still being authentic and deep. If I got theright impression, you can look there to see that stream of Judaism (it’s very common, at least where I live). Probably good things can be gained from both those sites, I’m not sure.

            I’d be better able to recommend books I guess 🙂 Depends about what.

          • LarryB says:

            Annelise I go to both of those already. And a few others but those two are the main ones. Books would be something I could use. Thanks.

          • Annelise says:

            Hey Larry, what kinds of things do you want to read about? Maybe I know some helpful books.

          • LarryB says:

            Annelise
            For starters a really great English Jewish Bible, the Tanak right. That I would like. Something with lots of explanations. I have also been listening to tapes of the Tanya, I would like to get a copy of that. Sorry if I seem unsure, but its like when buying a bible there are so many different versions which one should you buy? Also, soft copy would be great to. It’s nice to be able to make the text larger. I will think on this more and any suggestions would be appreciated.

      • Dina says:

        Hi Larry.

        I don’t want to presume to represent all Orthodox Jews, but those in my immediate circle of family and friends–and they range from Modern Orthodox to Ultra-Orthodox (including different branches of Hassidism)–consider Chabad to be outside the mainstream mostly because of their obsessive focus on their late rebbe (as Annelise pointed out). Far be it from me to discourage you from studying at Chabad. But if you are interested in other resources, here are some good ones, off the top of my head:

        http://www.aish.com (as Annelise suggested)
        http://www.simpletoremember.com
        http://ohr.edu
        http://www.partnersintorah.org (you can sign up for a private teacher and study over the phone, for free)
        yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com 🙂

        If you live in a large city with a large Orthodox population, you should have no trouble finding a non-Chabad Beis Midrash with a library where you can hang out and study to your heart’s content. Here in Northeast Philly, Chabad is very small. By contrast, there are four or more places to study Torah within walking distance from my home that are Orthodox and not Chabad.

        Because of their missionary work, Chabad institutions are often found where there are no Orthodox communities or very tiny ones. If that’s all you have to work with, go for it, Larry!

        Happy studying!

        Dina Bucholz

        • Dina says:

          Larry, I just heard about another one from a friend of mine, http://www.naaleh.com. You can sign up for free.

        • LarryB says:

          Thanks again. The first two I have I’ll check out the others. By the way did you write a cook book? I googled your name because of how well you express your thoughts.

          • LarryB says:

            Sorry that sounds awful. You have the same name of the author of a Harry potter cook book.

          • Dina says:

            Yes, that’s me, Larry! I am the author of the New York Times bestselling Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and also The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook, and that is such a shameless plug that I am actually blushing as I type this (also totally off topic 🙂 ).

            My first name is officially Dinah (pronounced DYE-na), but since everyone calls me Dina (pronounced DEE-na), I unofficially spell it that way.

          • LarryB says:

            Deena
            way to cool, I’m so happy for you.

          • Dina says:

            Thanks, Larry!

            I want to recommend the Stone Edition of Tanach by Artscroll, but I find that the translations aren’t quite accurate in some places. Of course, it’s impossible to translate from one language to another with 100% accuracy, anyway. What I like about this translation is that it reflects the classical Jewish understanding of the text.

            There are linear translations that you might find more helpful, like the Metsudah Chumash (published by Israel Bookshop, I believe). I don’t know if it goes beyond the Pentateuch, though, and it comes in five volumes.

            Are you Jewish, by the way, or in the process of becoming Jewish?

          • LarryB says:

            Dina
            Thanks for the book suggestions. No I’m not jewish. I have read many times that it is advised not to so I havent even thought about it. As an ex christian I do miss going to church. When I could I used to go daily. It would be nice if I could go to a synagogue and pray but really don’t know how to go about it so i haven’t.

          • Dina says:

            I wonder if there is a group of Noahides where you live who meet regularly to pray and study. But I also don’t see any reason for you not to hang out at a local synagogue. A good person to ask for advice is a counter-missionary rabbi like Rabbi Blumenthal (you can contact him through the contact section on this website). I hope he doesn’t mind my volunteering his services! But I really don’t have experience with these types of situations.

          • LarryB says:

            Dina.
            I will do that just as soon as I get my darn foot out of my mouth. Its seems to be taking me a long time. I do not want it to happen again.

          • Dina says:

            You’re fine. I didn’t hear you say anything foot-in-the-mouth-y.

    • David says:

      Hi Dina,

      I have this complaint about your continuing arguments against Isaiah 53 as it pertains to the Messiah and your related denials of scripture. It is this, you continue to present new material while failing to address my points. While I have repeatedly addressed the various aspects of your arguments proving you wrong on multiple points of scripture, you on the other hand rather than debate our differing points of view on a particular point, you instead merely present another new argument in your zeal to disprove any and all Christological understanding of scripture. And it goes on like this again and again with me addressing your points and you for the most part avoiding and failing to address mine, I guess because you have nothing to counter with except to continually raise new questions and/or “challenges” to task me with. At some point I thought you’d have to just acknowledge that I’ve addressed all of your attempts to disprove the Messiah as it relates to Isaiah 53. Debating is (or should be) a two way street.

      Another failing of your arguments is that you have yet to stand up and identify your belief with any specifics as it relates to the Messiah. You are quick in your zeal to tear down someone else’s understanding of scripture for any and all reasons but you don’t put yourself out there and take a stand on the specifics of what you personally believe other than to say you are Orthodox Jew.

      And here’s what I’ve found in that regard. You have actually denied (without realizing it) much of Judaism including some of the maimonides’ or Rambam’s 13 principles of faith. All groups within Orthodox Judaism hold to these 13 principles in one form or another. In addition you deride anything which stands in your way of efforts to argue against Christological understandings of any part of scripture including Isaiah 53. This even includes equating Chabad which is well within the meaning of Orthodox Judaism with Dr. Brown, a self- proclaimed Christian Jew! They (Chabad) characterize themselves as Orthodox and other Jews characterize Chabad as orthodox as well.

      So in light of the fact you keep giving me new questions and “challenges” I’ve got one for you related to what you gave me.

      I’ll make yours much easier than the one you made for me.

      Show me one verse (just one) in scripture where the law given through Moses (which is a pillar of faith in Judaism) is prophesied by God prior to it actually happening. In other words, show me where God prophesied to anyone anywhere at any time before it actually happened where He would give the law. For that matter where is it prophesied that Moses would be the servant to give the Law? But I’ll keep it as simple as possible and just leave you with one question; you pick.

      See if you can answer either one successfully then we’ll talk.

      • Dina says:

        David, I am very distressed by your comment. Your complaints and accusations are groundless. I answered many of your challenges, even if I didn’t quite get to all of them. Half the time I sense that you are not hearing me at all. You have failed to respond to many of my points, so I don’t think it’s fair for you to accuse me of the same.

        Back up your accusations with proof. Which of the thirteen statements of Maimonides have I ever denied? Heaven forbid! I live by this creed.

        Which “much of Judaism” do I deny?

        How on earth did you arrive at your understanding that I equate Dr. Brown with Chabad? Read carefully what I wrote, please.

        How did you arrive at your understanding that I claim Chabad isn’t Orthodox? Read carefully what I wrote, please.

        And stop putting words in my mouth. I don’t like it.

        Everything you said is completely unfair. I took all your challenges seriously, spent hours thinking about them, and put forth some pretty darn good arguments. I think you put forth some pretty darn good arguments too, although I have shown you why I believe they are seriously flawed. And I also appreciate that you’ve taken my arguments seriously enough to spend hours formulating your responses.

        Do you deny that your zeal to prove your Christological interpretation of Isaiah 53 is any less than mine to disprove it? Don’t you think it’s fair to say that both of our feelings of zealousness arise from our sincere belief in the rightness of our respective convictions?

        I have presented my beliefs about the Messiah and the Messianic era enough times to make me question if you read all my David-directed comments or just some of them. I can present them again. I will be more than happy to. Would you like that?

        The reason I suggested moving in a different direction is twofold: one, we are not hearing each other (I am trying to be fair; it seems to me that I hear you but you don’t hear me); two, it seems we have exhausted this particular line of argumentation.

        Regarding your challenge, before I address it, I’m curious why you chose this challenge. What is the relevance of prophecy about Moses and the Mosaic law to our discussion? Why is it important altogether?

        • Dina says:

          You know what, David? Just forget it. I don’t want to get into a personal argument with you. Let’s not talk about that, okay? It won’t help the cause of truth seeking, that’s for sure. In the interest of truth, I will respond to your challenge, God willing.

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I’ve been thinking about your challenge, and the more I think about it, the more baffling I find it. I do not see the relevance of your challenge or why it’s at all important. On the other hand, my challenges to you are clearly relevant. It’s obvious that how a Jew before the Christian era would have understood Isaiah 53 is germane to the discussion. The fact that the Torah is thematically consistent in repeating central concepts is also important: if you can’t find corroboration for your interpretation of Isaiah 53 elsewhere in Tanach, that weakens your argument.

            If I can’t find a prediction that God would choose Moses through whom to transmit the Law before it happened, so what?

            But to answer your challenge as best as I can, although I don’t understand it:

            The slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt and the punishment of the Egyptians is predicted in Genesis 15:13-14. The redemption from the land of Egypt is predicted in Genesis 50:24. Events occurred as predicted.

            Can you imagine if Moses would have come along, told the Hebrews he was sent by God to redeem them, and then died without actually delivering the goods? Imagine if his followers would have then said, oh, he died to redeem us of our sins. And 3,400 years later we are still slaves in Egypt. I think it would be fair to say that no one would take them very seriously.

            Furthermore, Hebrew scripture paints a clear picture of the type of person the Messiah will be and of the Messianic era. I am taking a lot of time to present the traditional Jewish view, so please read carefully.

            First, what does “messiah” mean? Messiah is the English rendering of the Hebrew word “mashiach,” which means anointed one. The Hebrew Bible uses this word dozens of times: Aaron was anointed as priest, all the Jewish kings were anointed, and even objects were anointed. Interestingly, you will not find the term “the Messiah” in reference to the Messiah as either religion understands him.

            Instead, Scripture describes a utopian era during which a Jewish king who will be a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10) will rule in Israel (Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah: 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23-30, 37:24-28). Since he will be an anointed king, we got into the habit of calling him the Messiah. Furthermore, the Messiah will be a sinful, not sinless, human being who will therefore be required to bring a sin offering at the Temple (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23).

            According to your belief, Jesus cannot be a direct descendant of King David, since tribal lineage can only be passed through patrilineal descent (see for example Numbers Chapter 1). According to you, Jesus was sinless, contradicting the Scriptural verses I cited above. He was not anointed as king; furthermore, he did not reign over all of Israel as King of the Jews (although he claimed that title for himself). He could not do this even if he had all the personal credentials to be the Davidic king because Israel was under the thumb of the Roman Empire.

            To conclude the first part, Jesus could not have been the Messiah because he was not a direct descendant of King David through his son Solomon, he did not rule over Israel as king, and he was not sinful (according to you).

            The Jewish prophets painted a picture of the Messianic era in language so clear, unmistakable, and unequivocal as to be irrefutable. Following is a list of the elements of the Messianic era that they prophesied:

            INGATHERING OF THE JEWISH EXILES (Deuteronomy 30:3-4; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 49:12, 18, 22; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:7; Jeremiah 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21)
            REBUILDING OF THE THIRD TEMPLE (Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 33:18; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 44:15:-16; Micah 4:1)
            NATIONAL RESURGENCE OF TORAH OBSERVANCE (Deuteronomy 30:10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:24; Ezekiel 44:23-24)
            UNIVERSAL PEACE (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 65:25; Jeremiah 33:9, 16; Ezekiel 34:25, 28; Ezekiel 37:26; Hosea 2:20; Psalm 72:3)
            UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 66:18, 19, 23; Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 8:20-23; Zechariah: 14:16)
            PUNISHMENT OF PERSECUTORS OF THE JEWS/VINDICATION OF THE JEWS IN THE EYES OF THE NATIONS (Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 25:1-8; Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 34:1-35:10; Isaiah 40:1-11; Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 52:7-10; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zephaniah 3:8-20; Zechariah 8:23; Psalm 9)

            This is a mere sampling; I did not get all the references, but this should show you the intense and high level of corroboration of all the elements of the Messianic era predicted by the Jewish prophets from Moses onward.

            To conclude the second part, Jesus did not fulfill a single element of this picture. After his death, the Temple was destroyed and has not been rebuilt since, the Jews were taken into exile and scattered, war erupted, universal knowledge of God never happened, observance of God’s laws and statutes decreased among the nation of Israel, and obviously the Jews have yet to be vindicated, as most everyone (including you) thinks we are in error. We are still beset by enemies on all sides (think of the tiny state of Israel surrounded by bloodthirsty Arab nations and constantly facing international condemnation).

            The idea that the Messiah will appear, fail to succeed in his mission, and then come back to life to complete it is non-Scriptural–and anyway, that is not what Christians believe. Contrary to the many citations above, Christians look forward to the time when Jesus will descend from the clouds, sweep up all his believers, leave everyone else (billions of people) to die, and shame Israel who rejected him. Jews on the other hand look forward to a glorious future of universal peace when all of God’s children will unite in His worship.

            One more point, David. The Torah tells us how to identify false prophets, something I have pointed out more than once (Deuteronomy 13:4-6 and 18:21-22). Jesus failed on both counts. You can be sure that if any person claiming divine prophecy tries to change the law, the Jewish people will reject him as a false prophet. You can also be sure that if he makes a prediction that fails to materialize, he will also certainly be rejected as a false prophet.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

  22. David says:

    Hi Dina,

    Everything I said in my previous post is true and supportable.

    Now, as to my Moses/Law argument in the form of a challenge to you: One of the reasons for that was so that you’d see for yourself the false premise and therefore the erroneous conclusion of your previous Isaiah 53 challenge to me. Here was the premise of your challenge to me regarding Isaiah 53.

    “Every important theme in Tanach is reiterated dozens and sometimes hundreds of times…”

    And, your erroneous conclusion based on the erroneous premise was put to me in the form of 4 or 5 challenge questions, but to paraphrase your unspoken conclusion:

    Therefore, a Messianic (or Christological) understanding of Isaiah 53 is wrong because it is not supported or corroborated multiple times throughout Tanach.

    On the surface this seems like a perfectly acceptable premise and conclusion. The problem is that it’s not always true for new events which are written of before they happen.

    The case of Moses and the Law is a perfect example.

    Moses and the Law is an important theme in Judaism. In fact it comprises 2 or 3 of Rambam’s 13 statements of faith.

    And yet not one word is mentioned beforehand prior to the event about Moses himself being the one selected to deliver the Israelites nor is there a single word written about the Law (neither written nor oral) which Moses would deliver.

    So here’s the point in my previous post and my premise for challenging you with Moses and the Law questions:

    MY PREMISE:
    You accept Moses and the Law in spite of the fact not one word is written about either prior to the actual event/revelation of either from God. Isaiah 53 is a prophesy about a future event.

    MY CONCLUSION:
    You therefore must accept Isaiah 53 even without scriptural corroboration prior to the future event if you pretend to apply consistency throughout scripture.

    My premise:
    The 13 principles of Jewish Faith are accepted by you and other orthodox Jews. The 6th principle is that the words of the prophets are true.

    My conclusion:
    Therefore, you and any other Orthodox Jews must accept the words of Isaiah 53 as true without additional “corroborating” verses from Isaiah or other prophets.

    Some of the true words of Isaiah 53 are as follows:

    The Servant is a “man.”
    The Servant lives.
    The Servant dies.
    The Servant is exalted.
    The Servant makes restitution for others.

    • Dina says:

      David, thank you for explaining. Now that I understand your thinking behind this I see what you were driving at. That makes so much more sense.

      I choose my words with care, so I ask you again to pay close attention. I said that every important concept is repeated many times throughout Scripture. I did not say that every important idea is predicted many times. In English “repeated” and “predicted” do not mean the same thing. You can look this up on online dictionaries such as http://www.dictionary.com. So if an event is central to Jewish belief, whether it is a past event or a future event (in other words, an important prophesy), it will be mentioned quite a lot.

      The Law and Moses are perfect examples, as you suggested. That Moses is God’s servant and that he was chosen to transmit God’s Law to Israel are foundational to Judaism; therefore the fact that Moses is God’s servant is repeated; the fact that he was chosen to transmit God’s Law is repeated; the fact that God’s law is eternally binding on Israel is repeated.

      Do you see that the premise of your challenge was based on your misunderstanding of the repetition of key concepts?

      You wrote “You accept Moses and the Law in spite of the fact not one word is written about either prior to the actual event/revelation of either from God.” Actually, I accept Moses and the Law because my grandparents (many greats) followed Moses out of Egypt, witnessed the splitting of the Red Sea, and stood at Mount Sinai and heard God Himself speaking to Moses. You fail to understand that Moses did not merely hand us a book. The book was written after we witnessed all these events, and we understand everything in that book within that context (Deuteronomy 4:33-37).

      So that is also a false premise.

      Nevertheless, having said that, I repeat: the idea that Moses is God’s servant and the prophet who was chosen to deliver God’s message to Israel is repeated so many times that you can’t fail to see it even with a cursory reading of the Tanach.

      You are correct in saying that we must accept the words of the Jewish prophets as true, so it shouldn’t matter if it they are corroborated elsewhere. But it just so happens that the classical Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 is heavily, intensely, highly corroborated throughout Scripture, consistent with Scripture’s tendency to repeat important concepts. Why should I accept the Christian interpretation? It holds no weight with me. I accept as true the words of Isaiah, as I understand them through my Jewish lenses. I do not accept his words as true as you understand them through your Christian lenses.

      Let’s take a look at your list.

      “The Servant is a ‘man.’ ”

      I not only speak Hebrew, but guess what? I speak English too! So I know that a servant is a man who is employed by someone or who serves someone. A maid is a woman who does the same. Everywhere the term “servant” appears in the Bible we define it as such. For example, Isaiah 41:8 says, “But you, Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend.” Note that no one is translating it as, “But you, Israel, are my servants…” It’s common for the Bible to refer to Israel as a singular entity. I’ve explained this to you many times. So the man is Israel. I am not bothered by the explicit reference to a man in Isaiah 53.

      Next. “The Servant lives.” Yes, Israel endures a life filled with persecution, despised and shunned by the nations of the world.

      Next. “The Servant dies.” We had a translation argument about this. Do you remember? The servant suffers “deaths” or “executions” (whichever translation you prefer). The fact that this word is plural is a problem for you, but fits perfectly with the Jewish understanding. You reject this. The only way to resolve this, my friend, is for you to learn Hebrew. There are no shortcuts to the truth.

      Next. “The Servant is exalted.” Pardon me, David. The servant WILL BE exalted. Since the servant is Israel, that hasn’t happened yet. I pray that day will come soon.

      “The Servant makes restitution for others.” Ah, that’s the Christological interpretation. Remember that huge debate you had with the rabbi about how to render the word “asham” into English? Why should I accept your understanding?

      Now I will go back to my own premise, which still holds true. Every central belief is repeated endlessly in the Bible. Therefore, we can expect that the Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53 would be reiterated lots of times. That is, indeed, exactly the case.These are the elements that are reiterated:

      1. The kings of nations will realize their error in persecuting the innocent Jewish people.
      2. God’s servant, Israel, will be vindicated in the eyes of the kings of nations.

      If you read my previous comment, you will see that I provided lots of Scriptural citations to support this.

      I have no reason to take the Christological interpretation seriously, being that God did not choose you to witness to me but rather the other way around (Isaiah 43:10, 12; Psalms 78:5). Therefore, if you want me to at least consider it, then you would be wise to provide Scriptural corroboration for those elements of Isaiah 53 that you believe are true. I listed them for you in my original challenge.

      Now David, I do believe I have answered all your points. Will you now answer all of mine, including my original challenge?

      Can you refute my presentation of the Jewish view of the Messiah and the Messianic era, for which I provided strong Scriptural support?

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina B.

      • David says:

        Hi Dina,

        You are continuing to make the same error of logic.

        Moses and the Law are NOT repeated multiple times throughout scripture until after the fact, not before. In fact, not one word is mentioned before the fact.

        To be consistent then, we should not be surprised if concepts related to the Messiah are not plentiful prior to the revelation.

        Once the Messiah is revealed, then we should expect to see much more written.

        Here’s what we find.
        Quite a good deal is written in prophesy form about the Messiah prior to His revelation in comparison to what was written about Moses and the Law (which was NOTHING).

        Quit a good deal more is written in witness form about the man Messiah during His revelation and following said revelation on the same order and greater than that of other important themes in the bible, including that of Moses and the Law.

        My interpretation of Isaiah 53 regarding many aspects including that I believe it pertains to a man is not exclusive to Christianity but is also supported by much of Judaism. In addition, my interpretation that the Messiah is a man is fully supported by Rambam’s 13 statements of faith, which is adhered to be Orthodox Judaism.

        Secondly, many of my claims of my interpretation of Isaiah 53 are in fact supported throughout scripture in the OT in prophesy form and some are also supported by Rambam’s 13 (some supporting scripture includes the concept of eternal life after death, resurrection of the dead, confession or acknowledgement of sins of Israel by Israel, wickedness of Israel, substitution sacrifice for another, Kingship over Israel and teacher qualities of the Messiah, the Messianic era, the new covenant, etc.).

        But I earlier wanted to establish the precedent and premise that corroboration is actually not necessary (as in the case of Moses and the Law) but never the less, we find much corroboration.

        In conclusion you continue to look to all that as written about Moses and the Law as corroboration. But you fail to understand that what you read is “after the fact.”

        The Christian Messiah did not appear at the time of the OT and as such is not in the OT that way or written about extensively as expected until He was actually revealed which was not until a time FOLLOWING the OT.

        We should expect to find much written following the OT and in fact that is the case with the NT.

        You believe the Jewish Messiah is yet to come. At that point in time we should expect much to be written of him regarding his teachings, royal decisions etc.

        We both believe he will come, except that I believe he will be Jesus and you believe he will not.

        • Dina says:

          David.

          You did not hear me. I will repeat myself in the hope that maybe this time you will. Please pay attention.

          The words “repeat” and “predict” do not mean the same thing (look it up). I never asserted that any particular event is “predicted” many times; I did say that key events–whether past or future–are “repeated” many times. Therefore, Moses and the Law (past events) are repeated many times. Messianic prophecies (future events) are repeated many times. The event does not have to have a prediction attached to it for corroboration. That is your argument, not mine. Therefore, it’s irrelevant when Moses and the Law are repeated, whether it’s before or after the fact.

          Let me also add that the particular agent through which a prophecy will occur is not necessarily named (sometimes he is; sometimes he isn’t). That’s because IT’S NOT IMPORTANT WHO THE AGENT IS. What is important is that the prophecy be fulfilled, AND WHEN IT’S FULFILLED WE CAN THEN IDENTIFY THE AGENT.

          You are therefore failing to “to establish the precedent and premise that corroboration is actually not necessary (as in the case of Moses and the Law).” More on that in a moment.

          You did something that I think is despicable and I am going to call you out on it. Here is the relevant passage from your latest comment:

          “My interpretation of Isaiah 53 regarding many aspects including that I believe it pertains to a man is not exclusive to Christianity but is also supported by much of Judaism. In addition, my interpretation that the Messiah is a man is fully supported by Rambam’s 13 statements of faith, which is adhered to be Orthodox Judaism.”

          You are arguing as if I ever suggested that I believe that the Messiah is not a man. That’s just disgusting. I’m pointing this out so that you should know not to ever, ever, ever do that again. I will not talk to you if you are not honest.

          It was also dishonest of you to say this:

          “Secondly, many of my claims of my interpretation of Isaiah 53 are in fact supported throughout scripture in the OT in prophesy form and some are also supported by Rambam’s 13 (some supporting scripture includes the concept of eternal life after death, resurrection of the dead, confession or acknowledgement of sins of Israel by Israel, wickedness of Israel, substitution sacrifice for another, Kingship over Israel and teacher qualities of the Messiah, the Messianic era, the new covenant, etc.).”

          The elements you cited in parentheses have NOTHING TO DO with my objections to your interpretation of Isaiah 53 (except for substitutionary sacrifice). We were never arguing about the concept of an afterlife in general, resurrection of the dead in general, acknowledgement of the sins of Israel in general, and so on. You know very well that this wasn’t the argument at all. We were arguing, as you very well know, about the following, which I will restate at the end of this comment as well:

          1. The Messiah will be forsaken, rejected, and despised by his own people.
          2. Rebellious, sinful Israel will persecute the Messiah.
          3. The Messiah will suffer and die an atoning death for the sins of rebellious Israel.
          4. Rebellious Israel will be shamed by the ultimate exaltation and vindication of the Messiah.
          5. The Messiah will be rewarded with long life and children (and if you insist on understanding this metaphorically, you can still try to do this) for giving himself up as a guilt offering.

          Okay, now back to the corroboration thing. I say, again, that important ideas, events, and commandments are reiterated throughout Scripture. (This is God’s way of saying, “Listen, this is important”). I say, again, not necessarily predictions, but events. I say, again, not necessarily agents, but events. For example, when Deuteronomy predicts that the Jews will be exiled from their land and scattered throughout the world, the agent through which this will occur is not named. But the event did occur, in a way that’s impossible to miss. We were exiled from our land and scattered throughout the world. And we know the Romans did it because the Romans did it. But it doesn’t matter. It might just as well have been the Chinese. Who cares? The event occurred as we were warned.

          So Hebrew scripture tells us, without naming names, what criteria qualify a person to be the Messiah. But it also tells us, in crystal clear language, what to expect during the Messianic era. Therefore, we don’t need to know who the Messiah is. We just need to see events occurring as predicted and see who happens to be Israel’s leader at the time (much as I like Bibi Netanyahu, I doubt he’s the one). When the newspapers’ headlines are screaming “World Peace Achieved at Last,” “Scattered Israel Returns to Her Homeland,” “Third Temple Rebuilt,” and so on, we will know that whoever is leading Israel at that time is the anointed one.

          Now, I presented to you many times (on different threads in the comment section of other articles), the clear picture of the Messianic era. I showed you how it is corroborated throughout Scripture. You never bothered to refute this. Instead, you complain that I keep raising new challenges (in fact they are the same ones over and over again), and that you won’t respond to my points until I respond to yours. So I respond to your points, but you continue to evade the challenge.

          You can reread the Messianic description, along with the many citations corroborating each element of the Messianic era, in my comment of October 3 at 12:51 in this thread.

          The challenge is twofold:

          ONE. Find sources in Scripture that one, refute the credentials I cited for a man to the Messiah, and that two, refute the crystal-clear picture of the Messianic prophecies that Jesus failed to fulfill.

          TWO. Find Scriptural corroboration (only three! I provided a lot more for my side) for your bizarre interpretation of Isaiah 53, which contains the following elements:

          1. The Messiah will be forsaken, rejected, and despised by his own people.
          2. Rebellious, sinful Israel will persecute the Messiah.
          3. The Messiah will suffer and die an atoning death for the sins of rebellious Israel.
          4. Rebellious Israel will be shamed by the ultimate exaltation and vindication of the Messiah.
          5. The Messiah will be rewarded with long life and children (and if you insist on understanding this metaphorically, you can still try to do this) for giving himself up as a guilt offering.

          I would like to add a number six.

          6. The Messiah will die before fulfilling the task and will need to come back to life to finish it. (My argument against this is NOT against a general belief in the resurrection of the dead. I should not have to spell this out, David.)

          I have also presented to you, in that same comment, how Scripture tells us to identify false prophets, and how Jesus is identified as such based on Scripture. And finally, I have also argued that the idea that the Messiah will come, fail to fulfill these very clear prophecies, die, and come back to life to finish the job is not based on Scripture at all.

          Good luck!

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I hear you but you’re still not hearing me. You’re just repeating you same mistaken logic.

            You make several claims but are basically making one point through it all that the prediction or prophesy of Isaiah 53 taken as I understand it is not consistent with scripture because my understanding of it is not repeated throughout the OT many times.

            Here is your specific premise which is misapplied to Isaiah 53:
            “Moses and the Law (past events) are repeated many times”

            Therefore you believe that to be consistent with scripture, Isaiah 53 as I understand the meaning of the passage, should be repeated many times in the OT.

            And here’s where your logic fails:
            #1 You fail to understand that when Isaiah 53 was written it wasn’t a “past event” and never became a “past event” throughout the entire time period of the OT.

            #2 You continue to overlook or downplay the fact that when the events of Moses and the Law took place and were as you say “repeated many times,” the repetition was regarding events which had already taken place (it was repeated many times AFTER THE FACT). And, you continue to overlook or downplay the fact that absolutely nothing was said of Moses and the Law PRIOR to the events of Moses and the Law (BEFORE THE FACT).

            We Christians and Jews all agree:
            #1 The events regarding Isaiah 53 written of in the OT, did not take place during the time period of the OT.
            #2 Nothing of Moses and the Law was written in the OT until Moses and the Law actually took place in the OT.

            So Dina, based on the reasons I pointed out above, and the points we agree on, your claims which I’m paraphrasing below are false:

            You claim (to paraphrase):
            #1 It is inconsistent with scripture that the prophesy of Isaiah 53 (with a Christological understanding) is not “repeated many times” in the OT.

            My counterclaim:
            Moses and the Law were not repeated at all in the OT (not one word) until after the actual event had taken place in the OT.

            You claim (to paraphrase):
            #2 It is inconsistent with scripture that new details or theological understandings and specifics should be introduced regarding the Messiah as in the case of Isaiah 53 (with a Christological understanding) without corroboration and without being repeated many times in the OT.

            My counterclaim:
            Moses and the Law introduced many new details regarding Moses himself, theological understandings and specifics with regard to Moses and the Law many new (previously untold details) WITHOUT ANY corroboration and without anything at all being written before the events of Moses and the Law actually took place in the OT.

            And the way that relates to Isaiah 53 is that throughout the time period of the OT, the events of Isaiah 53 had not yet taken place either. Therefore we should not be surprised if we don’t find a lot of corroboration of new details and theologies regarding the Messiah or the events surrounding the Messiah in the OT. This is perfectly consistent with how Moses and the Law were introduced into scripture and you fully accept Moses and the Law with NO corroborating scripture prior to the event.

            Now, as I’ve claimed before there is a body of corroborating scripture in the OT for many of the theological truths regarding the Messiah as described in Isaiah 53. For example the theology of eternal life is corroborated elsewhere in scripture. The fact that this theological truth is also applied to the Messiah should not surprise us. Resurrection from the dead is also corroborated elsewhere in scripture. The fact that Isaiah 53 also applies this truth to the Messiah should not surprise us. The theology of “substitutional” sacrifice for redemption of a sinner is also corroborated elsewhere in scripture and the fact that this concept is applied to the Messiah should not surprise us either.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I read your last comment five times. And I still don’t understand how you think you are hearing me because you cannot restate my arguments correctly. Instead, you repeat the premise that you made up, attribute that premise to me, and then deftly tear it down. This is called a straw man. It is very easy to destroy a straw man that you created.

            I don’t know how to reach you, because I do not know how to be more clear. Yet I will try again.

            David, stop pretending that my premise is that an event must be predicted many times in Scripture before I can take it seriously. That is YOUR premise. I don’t agree with that premise. I keep saying that whether the event occurred already or is yet to occur IS IRRELEVANT. It’s the event, not when it occurs, that is important.

            I see Scripture holistically. Taken as a whole, we see that important concepts are reiterated often. These can be such things as central commandments (like keeping the Sabbath, the laws of sexual morality, the prohibition of idolatry), key concepts (like the election of the people of Israel, the concept of reward and punishment, the importance of obedience to God’s law, the eternally binding nature of God’s law, the eternal nature of the covenant between God and Israel), and certain events (like the Exodus from Egypt, the revelation at Mount Sinai, as well as events that have yet to occur, like the Messianic prophecies).

            The nation of Israel was established with the revelation at Mount Sinai. The people of Israel received the Torah AFTER THE REVELATION AND AFTER LEARNING ABOUT THE LAW FROM MOSES. Wouldn’t it be weird to hand a people a book about events that had already occurred, and give them predictions about it? Come on, David! What exactly are you missing here? It does make sense to include prophecies about the future, but you can’t prophesy the past. I mean, that’s the nature of prophesy, isn’t it?

            You tried to show me where my logic fails. Let’s take a look:

            “#1 You fail to understand that when Isaiah 53 was written it wasn’t a “past event” and never became a “past event” throughout the entire time period of the OT.”

            Please don’t insult my intelligence. I am not failing to understand this. In fact, I understand that the events described in Isaiah 53 haven’t happened yet. So #1 is wrong, wrong, wrong. But even more important, it’s irrelevant. I keep telling you that whether an event is past or future does not matter; what matters is its importance–and if it is important we can expect to see quite a bit of corroboration.

            “#2 You continue to overlook or downplay the fact that when the events of Moses and the Law took place and were as you say “repeated many times,” the repetition was regarding events which had already taken place (it was repeated many times AFTER THE FACT). And, you continue to overlook or downplay the fact that absolutely nothing was said of Moses and the Law PRIOR to the events of Moses and the Law (BEFORE THE FACT).”

            Past, future, irrelevant. IRRELEVANT! IRRELEVANT! IRRELEVANT! Sorry for shouting.

            Therefore, all your conclusions are moot.

            Also, please stop pretending that our argument is about the Judeo-Christian belief in the afterlife and resurrection of the dead. It isn’t. Besides, since everyone is subject to eternal life after death and, eventually, resurrection at the end of time, there is no need to single out the Messiah for this special treatment.

            So, David, our real argument is about the PURELY Christological elements of your interpretation of Isaiah 53. If you look back, you will see that I have listed them for you many times; you continue to ignore them.

            Instead of confronting my challenge head on, you are looking for distractions. I am sure that those following this thread wonder why you continue to evade it.

          • Blasater says:

            David wrote: “#1 You fail to understand that when Isaiah 53 was written it wasn’t a “past event” and never became a “past event” throughout the entire time period of the OT. ”

            Not Isaiah 53 specifically, but the theme of Israel as the suffering servant is throughout Tanakh.

            When looking for the ID of the suffering servant, I find it useful to look at key word useage, within Is 53 and see how Isaiah presents the same word useage elsewhere, as well as the other prophets and writings. Such as: Afflicted…the church makes this a major point…who was afflicted?

            Isaiah 14:32
            What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? “The LORD has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”

            Isaiah 30:20
            Although the Lord gives you (Israel) the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.

            Isaiah 48:10
            See, I have refined you (Israel), though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

            Isaiah 51:16 I who set the heavens in place,
            who laid the foundations of the earth,
            and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

            17 Awake, awake!
            Rise up, Jerusalem,
            you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD
            the cup of his wrath,
            21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
            made drunk, but not with wine.
            22 This is what your Sovereign LORD says,
            your God, who defends his people:
            “See, I have taken out of your hand
            the cup that made you stagger;
            from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
            you will never drink again.
            23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
            who said to you,
            ‘Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’
            And you made your back like the ground,
            like a street to be walked on.”

            Only Isaiah 53:4 and 7 does afflicted apply to a singular servant”
            More Afflicted/Affliction.

            Lamentations 1:3
            After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

            Lamentations 1:7
            In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.

            Lamentations 1:9
            Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”

            Nahum 1:12
            This is what the LORD says: “Although they have allies and are numerous, they will be destroyed and pass away. Although I have afflicted you, Judah, I will afflict you no more.

            So when looking at Afflicted: Isaiah names clearly Israel, the Jewish people clearly…except Isaiah 53. It is ambiguous. Lamentations is clear. Israel suffers affliction for her sins.

            Nahum acknowleges HaShems afflicted, Judah…but HaShem promises to end the affliction.

            Despised:

            Nehemiah 4:4
            Hear us (Israel), our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.

            Isaiah 49: 3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
            Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
            7 This is what the LORD says—
            the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
            to him who was despised and abhorred by the nations,
            to the servant of rulers:
            “Kings will see you and stand up,
            princes will see and bow down,
            because of the LORD, who is faithful,
            the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

            Isaiah 53:3 –is the only singular reference of despised.

            Lamentations1: 8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly
            and so has become unclean.
            All who honored her despise her,
            for they have all seen her naked;
            she herself groans
            and turns away.

            11 All her people groan
            as they search for bread;
            they barter their treasures for food
            to keep themselves alive.
            “Look, LORD, and consider,
            for I am despised.”

            Malachi 2:

            8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

            So, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Lamentations and Malachi all describe Israel as despised…with only one singular reference being vague, Is 53:3

            In fact: Lamentations 1 reads much like Isaiah 53: Lam 1 uses these words to describe what Israel is going through:

            Lam1: suffering, afficted, inflicted,despised, rejected. The only difference is that Isaiah switches the voice of the narrator, to that of the gentile nations doing the talking…the church TAKES ADVANTAGE of Isaiah prophetic writing style, to insert the man from Nazareth, when it is wholly uncalled for.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I’d love to continue but I think we’ve taken this debate about as far as it can reasonably go… and then some. It’s been a lively debate, and I’ve enjoyed reading and responding to your posts.

            I know a lively debate can sometimes have a tendency to get heated at times but I have taken no offense to any of your comments and I hope you haven’t taken offense to any of my comments. But if you have, please know that I meant only to debate the issues and not the person so please consider all of my posts in that light.

            I look forward to the possibility of debating with you again sometime if the opportunity presents itself.

            I’ll see you around the blog.

          • David says:

            Hi Blaster,

            You point out many good references to suffering Israel. I agree that the Messiah is not the only reference to servant neither suffering servant nor despised servant. In fact there is not much said of the Messiah in the OT as compared to that said of Israel as we’d expect.

            However, I submit that you missed these points in your focus on suffering Israel:

            #1 Often times as you pointed out, Israel suffered and was despised due to its own rebellious sinning. In other words they often brought on their own problems due to their transgression. Interestingly, Israel never suffered in place (as a substitute) for another. Israel either suffered at the hands of another due to the other’s wickedness and/or due to Israel’s own transgression.

            But, when we read of the Messiah we never find anything pointing to rebellious sinning or transgression. Yet, the scripture is clear; the Messiah suffers in place of Israel (as a substitute for Israel) and for the transgression of Israel. In addition the Messiah suffers for the transgressions of the multitudes.

            #2 Israel has suffered true, but never to the point of death. Many have died within Israel, that is true (such as deaths of all the adults in the desert and/or the 3000 that Moses ordered killed for example following the golden calf transgression), but Israel never died. Peoples of the world have gone extinct, but Israel never has. There has always been an Israel from the time Israel started. On the other hand there hasn’t always been a Messiah. In Isaiah 53 the Messiah lives, then he dies then he is exalted. So there was a time when the Messiah was dead. And he died as a result of receiving the punishment which was due Israel.

            So, it is only the Messiah that suffered to the point of death in 53, not Israel. If we say that Israel suffered to the point of death then we would contradict the rest of the body of scripture which repeats that Israel never dies, there will always be at least a remnant.

            #3 In all the suffering and rejection and being despised, the Messiah is never spoken of as being redeemed anywhere in scripture. He redeems others. He is the King and Teacher. Following the redeeming of others he is himself exalted by God (which is different than being redeemed). Exaltation is the reward for pouring his soul unto death which provided for the redemption of others.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            Those are very kind parting words and I do appreciate them. And I likewise hope I haven’t offended you.

            This was terribly fun for me, as I do enjoy a lively discussion. You can be prepared, should we ever debate again, that I will repeat my last unanswered challenge to you.

            May God our Father always lead us to the light of His truth.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

  23. David
    I find it strange that you have no time for Dina – but you have the time to rehash some of your old arguments for Blasater
    First of all – your calling the servant of Isaiah 53 in a discussion about the identity of the servant only makes the discussion more confusing – if you were out for the truth – you should be avoiding these types of games.
    As for your three questions – I answered them many times over – Psalm 44 has Israel suffer innocently and die – Isaiah 53 says nothing about extinction. And Isaiah 53:10 has the servant suffer for his own sins as well – so your 3 questions are answered – but even if they wouldn’t be answered – they wouldn’t outweigh all of the evidence that Blasater presented – or that Dina presented.
    I have one question for you – do you believe that Psalm 41:10 is talking of the Messiah?

    • David says:

      Hi Yisreol,

      You are mistaken. Read my post. It’s not that I don’t have time for Dina.

    • David says:

      Hi again Yisroel,

      My apologies on the typo of your name.

      Regarding also the “rhashing old arguments” with Blasater, you are mistaken on that as well. I believe this is the first time Blasater has addressed any of my posts on this thread. In any event I’m not rehashing an old argument with him rather I’m politely addressed a post of his in which he specifically quoted me by name.

      Now, you say you’ve already addressed it. Well, that may be, but Blasater addressed my post not yours, and quoted me not you.

      • Blasater says:

        David wrote: “#1 Often times as you pointed out, Israel suffered and was despised due to its own rebellious sinning. “#2 Israel has suffered true, but never to the point of death.”

        Of course, as the church is always quick to point out, in Deut 28. However, history tells another story,

        There is a difference between Israel that suffers for her own sins inside the land of Israel and outside in exile and an important distinction must be made. In the curses of Deut 28 Hashem tells us of the harassment of the Jews (for their own sin) by the goyim in exile but Hashem NEVER “authorizes” torture and murder of Jews. The blood of millions of Jews is on the hands of the goyim for most of the last 2000 years by christians and muslims.

        The question is then to you David, who was the guilty party? Who suffered, not for their own sin, during these millions of “unauthorized” murders? The Jewish people suffered for the sins of the goyim. When the goyim did anything to the Jews– when they hurt the Jews, its their sin. As Rabbi Singer puts it is “When the Jews were being burned in Auschwitz – who was sinning?”

        So, yes, corporate Israel, the Jewish people have been killed en mass at the hands of the Cross and Crescent. It is not in anyway brought up as an appeal to sympathy but to show that in context, history bears out the context of Is 53 in the lives of the Jewish people in exile.

        And David wrote: “#3 In all the suffering and rejection and being despised, the Messiah is never spoken of as being redeemed anywhere in scripture. Exaltation is the reward for pouring his soul unto death which provided for the redemption of others.”

        The messiah is never spoken of as being redeemed, of course! The messiah is never spoken of as being rejected and despised either! (Both messiah ben David and ben Yosef are much beloved by the people..NEVER hated) As I pointed out, the Tanakh is full of references to the Jewish people as despised and rejected. And as noted above, historically, the Jewish people corporately have been and still are today, hated without cause! Think about it. How do you stuff 1.5 million children in ovens? You have to first, despise, reject and mar their visage beyond human recognition. Make them viruses, demons, sons of apes and pigs, untermenchen, sub human, blood libels, mongrels, stooped backed, hook nosed monsters…get the picture? How many Jewish babies can you get on a sword? A bayonet?

        Now, what about Jesus? Was he portrayed as the above? No. He was not portrayed as any sort of monster. Just a heretic. And after being beaten….everyone knew that was still Jesus the man.

        So, now 2 billion christians and 2 billion Muslims are expecting him to return. So, why would anyone be shocked at his return? But when the messiah comes and it is NOT Jesus, and once again, the tiny fraction of the worlds population of Jews is shown to be the bearer of the truth…again…the majority of the planet will be SHOCKED. The exaltation of the Jewish people WILL BE REMARKABLE! And this does not occur for the sake of the Jewish people but for the sake of Hashem’s name! And His plan. Ezek 36.

        Out of the ashes of the Shoah, we see a restored Israel and immanent redemption of the Jewish people, which will be a blessing for all of mankind. The nations, after the redemption of the Jewish people, will stream to Jerusalem, Is 2:2 and admit their error, Jer 16:19 and will find redemption themselves through the Jewish people, in part vis-avia, the suffering servant the Jewish people.

        • David says:

          Hi Balaster,

          You shortened my first quote and changed the meaning.

          Of course, as I stated in my post (reread it); to paraphrase, the Nation of Israel has suffered not only due to its own sins but also at the hands of others but never as a “substitute” or in place of the punishment that was due another. And I might add, that the Nation of Israel certainly never “willingly” suffered in place (as a substitute) for the sins of another.

          All your talk about how the Nation of Israel has suffered atrocities at the hands of Christians and Muslims works both ways and is a debate in and of it-self. However, that said, you’ve missed the meaning (intentional or not) of my numbered point #1. I’d rather stay on point.

          Here’s my quote (#1) verbatim which pertains:
          “…Israel never suffered in place (as a substitute) for another. Israel either suffered at the hands of another due to the other’s wickedness and/or due to Israel’s own transgression.”

          So Balaster, you really didn’t address my post. You made up your own argument in place of what I posted and then debated against an imagined argument you attribute to me.

          REREAD my post and debate ME, not what you mistakenly attribute to me.

          My point #2 from my previous post:

          You pretty much just glossed over it. The only direct statement I can find of yours which addresses it in part is this:
          “So, yes, corporate Israel, the Jewish people have been killed en mass at the hands of the Cross and Crescent.”

          Balaster, you make the same mistake in logic that so many have made against this argument. Basically you are saying:

          Many have died within the Nation of Israel. That fact then therefore equates to death of the Nation of Israel. That’s a false jump in logic, Balaster.

          Here’s the fact of the logic which you are neglecting. If there are survivors of a group, clan, family, nation, people, etc. then that entity is not dead by definition. While it is true that SOME members of the group, nation, etcetera are dead, the entity itself is not dead if there are any members within the entity still living.

          Here’s a true statement in that regard with respect to the Nation of Israel. There has always been living continuity of the Nation of Israel since the day of its inception. There has never been and never will be a Nation of Israel without living members, now, in the past or in the future. (if that day were to come then an only then could it be said that the Nation of Israel is dead.) Some members may die but never will all the members die at one time so that the nation could then said to be no more, or dead.

          Or, to put it another way:

          Nowhere in Hebrew Scriptures is it claimed that the Nation of Israel will die. Quite the opposite is claimed.

          As far as my point #3 in my previous post:

          We disagree because you attribute the servant of Isaiah 53 to the Nation of Israel (which goes against logic in part because of points one and two above). I attribute the servant to the Messiah and the “transgression of my people” spoken of in verse 8 to the Nation of Israel.

          The fact remains regarding my point three which you gloss over:

          In the context of Isaiah 53, there is an entity that is exalted and there is an entity that is redeemed. And the two are not one and the same.

          If it is the Nation of Israel which is exalted then the Nation itself is not redeemed. If it is the Messiah who is exalted then the Messiah himself is not redeemed.

          (To be accurate there are two entities which are redeemed, that being the multitudes and the other being “my people” which is the Nation of Israel)

          However the OT clearly shows on multiple occasions that the Nation of Israel is in fact redeemed. And the corollary to that is that the OT never ever makes the claim anywhere that the Messiah is ever redeemed.

          • Jim says:

            David,

            I’m curious… Dina has pointed out at least twice that the servant of Isaiah 53 suffers “deaths”, that is to say plural. How does this fit with your interpretation? In what way does the Messiah suffer multiple deaths?

          • David says:

            Hi Jim,

            I believe Dina was referring to “executions” in Isaiah 53:9 in the Stone’s/ArtScroll English translation. As background information, most English bible translations translate it in the singular (in fact I think all translations other than Stone’s translate it in the singular but I’m not sure). Jewish scholars do differ on the best interpretation of the Hebrew whether it should be singular or plural but most say it should be read as singular. See below for various translations.

            Stone’s 9:
            He submitted himself to his grave like wicked men; and the wealthy to his executions, for committing no crime and with no deceit in his mouth.

            OJB:
            9 And he made his kever (grave) with the resha’im, and with the oisher bemotayv (in his deaths, intensive plural should be translated singular, death); because he had done no chamas (violence), neither was any mirmah (deceit) in his mouth.

            JPS:
            9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’

            Septuagint:
            9 And I will give the wicked for his burial and the rich for his death, because he committed no lawlessness, nor was deceit found in his mouth.

            The complete Tanach:
            9 And he gave his grave to the wicked, and to the wealthy with his kinds of death, because he committed no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

            But either way whether it is interpreted, in the plural or the singular, here is the proper understanding:

            Sigular: The Messiah dies one substitutionary death for the restitution of each member of the Nation of Israel and each and every person of the multitudes.

            Plural: The death of the Messiah is the equivalent of many substitutionary deaths because the one death serves as many restitutions for each member of the Nation of Israel and each and every person of the multitudes.

            Or, said another way: If two people are judged by God and scheduled to die by execution and the Messiah voluntarily dies in their place for both of them, it’s the legal equivalent of two executions (even though there is actually one). In the eyes of God two have been saved from their adjudged executions by the substitutionary death of the Messiah. The Messiah in effect dies a death for each of the condemned in his one death, thus his one death equates to two. Multiply that by all that confess their sins and accept the substitutionary death of the Messiah.

            So in the end it doesn’t really matter which way you translate it, singular or plural; the ultimate meaning is the same but just from a different perspective depending on whether you’re talking about the many who deserve to die but don’t or the one who doesn’t deserve to die but does.

          • Jim says:

            David,

            You have also been rather emphatic that Israel cannot die, so that this can’t be about Israel. And yet, it talks about “deaths”. In light of that, it might be reasonable to think that Israel can suffer deaths without being destroyed, because many of those who make up Israel can die, but corporate Israel remains. And yet you have insisted it can’t be about Israel, because it can’t die. I find that outrageous, sir.

            I also do not know of any legal understanding that a person dying once for many crimes is considered to have died once for each of the crimes (or once for the crimes for many). If that were the interpretation, it seems that he should also have been offering himself as more than one asham. After all, he would then be more than one sacrifice.

            I find it curious that you insist so much that this must be about the Messiah. Even if it were, it is clear that it does not apply to Jesus. Jesus’ death(s) weren’t with the rich. His grave wasn’t with the wicked. He did not live a life of suffering, despised and rejected of men. Rather than being despised, according to the gospels he was largely admired and sought after. He wasn’t universally admired, obviously, but he was loved enough that it would be difficult to call him “despised and rejected of men”. And the only suffering we know of was on the last day of his life. His life wasn’t one of suffering.

            With respect,

            Jim

          • David says:

            Hi Jim,

            I’m just going to respond to your first point, since it is already quite long with just that.

            You wrote:
            “You have also been rather emphatic that Israel cannot die, so that this can’t be about Israel. And yet, it talks about “deaths”. In light of that, it might be reasonable to think that Israel can suffer deaths without being destroyed, because many of those who make up Israel can die, but corporate Israel remains. And yet you have insisted it can’t be about Israel, because it can’t die. I find that outrageous, sir.”

            My response:
            Regarding Isaiah 53, do you have any scripture to support your claim that the nation of Israel (corporate Israel) dies, has ever died or ever will die? Or, can you refute my claim (based on scripture) that it doesn’t die and never will die? No one has ever provided scripture to refute me on this point. You’d be the first. Are you up for it?

            I’ll provide you with scripture which clearly shows that some members of Israel die but corporate Israel continues living on, always has, always will. You can then try to counter with scripture of your own which specifies a point in time or incident wherein corporate Israel has died, was destroyed, name blotted out from under heaven, and was no more or will at some time in the future meet its end.

            Deuteronomy 9 and 10 and Exodus 32 pertain to the same incident of the Golden Calf in which God intended to destroy/consume Israel but didn’t. On the other hand as we see in Exodus 32, He did order the killing of some 3000 members of Israel by the sword, but He didn’t destroy corporate Israel as the passages make clear.

            Deuteronomy 9:
            8 Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you.
            12 Then the Lord said to me, “Get up, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. …
            14 Let me alone that I may DESTROY them and BLOT OUT THEIR NAME FROM UNDER HEAVEN; and I will make of you a nation mightier and more numerous than they.”
            15 So I turned and went down from the mountain, …
            18 Then I lay prostrate before the Lord as before…
            19 For I was afraid that the anger that the Lord bore against you was so fierce that HE WOULD DESTROY YOU. But the Lord listened to me that time also.
            20 The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to DESTROY HIM, but I interceded also on behalf of Aaron at that same time.
            24 You have been rebellious against the Lord as long as he has[a] known you.
            25 Throughout the forty days and forty nights that I lay prostrate before the Lord WHEN THE LORD INTENDED TO DESTROY YOU,
            26 I prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord God, DO NOT DESTROY THE PEOPLE who are your very own possession, whom you redeemed in your greatness, whom you brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 28 otherwise the land from which you have brought us might say, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to let them die in the wilderness.’

            Deuteronomy 10:10
            10 … once again the Lord listened to me. The Lord was unwilling to DESTROY YOU.

            Exodus 32:7,10,11,13,14
            7 The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely;
            10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may CONSUME THEM; and of you I will make a great nation.”
            11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, … change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.
            13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”
            14 And the Lord CHANGED HIS MIND ABOUT THE DISASTER THAT HE PLANNED TO BRING ON HIS PEOPLE.

            Moses orders the killing of Israelites (not corporate Israel) by the sword; 3000 die. Then God kills all those over the age of 20 over the next 40 years:

            Exodus 32:26-29, 33, 35;
            26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.
            27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.’”
            28 The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day. 29 Moses said, “Today you have ordained yourselves[c] for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day.”
            33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.
            35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf—the one that Aaron made.

            Let’s look at an example where God really did destroy something. He “DESTROYED” the Egyptian army which was pursuing the Israel through the Red Sea. Where there any survivors? Read.

            Deuteronomy 11:4
            4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to their horses and chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea[a] flow over them as they pursued you, so that the Lord has DESTROYED them to this day;

            Exodus 14:26,27,28,30
            26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.”
            27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea.
            28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, THE ENTIRE ARMY OF PHARAOH THAT FOLLOWED THEM INTO THE SEA; NOT ONE OF THEM REMAINED.
            30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

            Let’s take a look at the revolt of Korah and the day after where God threatened to “consume” the congregation in a “moment.” But the congregation was not swept away with Korah and his sins and all that was his. Korah went down sheol alive but corporate Israel was not consumed. The next day 14,700 were killed in the plague.

            God threatens to CONSUME the WHOLE congregation in the revolt of Korah.
            Numbers 16:
            20 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying:
            21 Separate yourselves from this congregation, so that I may CONSUME THEM IN A MOMENT.
            22 They fell on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one person sin and you become angry with the WHOLE CONGREGATION?”
            23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
            24 Say to the congregation: Get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
            33 So they with all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
            34 All Israel around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth will swallow us too!”
            35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred fifty men offering the incense.

            The very next day corporate Israel rebelled again! And again God threatened to “consume them in a moment.” On that day the plague from God killed 14,700 Israelites. Aaron stood between the dead and the living. By definition then since Israel has “living” members, corporate Israel didn’t die there either.

            Numbers 16:
            41 On the next day, however, the whole congregation of the Israelites rebelled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.”
            44 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
            45 “Get away from this congregation, so that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces.
            46 Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire on it from the altar and lay incense on it, and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them. For wrath has gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun.”
            47 So Aaron took it as Moses had ordered, and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague had already begun among the people. He put on the incense, and made atonement for the people.
            48 He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stopped. 49 Those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died in the affair of Korah.

            Perhaps you may argue that being few in number qualifies for an understanding that corporate Israel is dead, or has died. The Lord scatters sinful Israel among all peoples.

            Deuteronomy 28:62-64
            62 Although once you were as numerous as the stars in heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God.
            63 And just as the Lord took delight in making you prosperous and numerous, so the Lord will take delight in bringing you to ruin and destruction; you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to possess.
            64 The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…

            Deuteronomy 30: God calls corporate Israel back, alas corporate Israel is not, nor will it ever be dead, destroyed, blotted out from under heaven, even though sinful and few in number in exile;

            Deuteronomy 30:1-4
            When all these things have happened to you, the blessings and the curses that I have set before you, if you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you,
            2 and return to the Lord your God, and you and your children obey him with all your heart and with all your soul, just as I am commanding you today,
            3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, gathering you again from all the peoples among whom the Lord your God has scattered you.
            4 Even if you are exiled to the ends of the world,[a] from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will bring you back.

          • Dina says:

            David, Jim is well-equipped to answer this, but I just have to say one thing, because what you have done is so unbelievable.

            Did you not realize that Jim never claimed that corporate Israel is wiped out? In fact, he said just the opposite. You completely missed the point of his entire comment. So instead of responding to just one point, which you either completely misunderstood or so wished he had said it that that’s what you’re responding to, I challenge you to reread his words carefully and respond to everything.

            Don’t dodge the issues, is all I’m asking.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            David,

            I’m sorry to have confused you. The deaths suffered by Israel are not in my estimation the annihilation of Israel, nor did I ever claim it to be. What I’m saying is that Israel can suffer many deaths in that many of the members of Israel can die while corporate Israel remains.

            I don’t feel the need to find a scripture to show that corporate Israel will die, because that’s not what I said. And no one has met your “challenge” because no one else has said it either.

            Jim

          • Jim says:

            David,

            Also, in case you had trouble finding my response to you on TYVM it’s here:

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/tyvm-from-a-jew-to-a-christian/#comment-7347

            Jim

          • David says:

            Hi Jim,

            There is only one translation which I can find that has “executions” in verse 9. And even in that translation all other references to death are singular.

            Even so, if we go by your reasoning that corporate Israel can die many deaths because some individual members die, (yet you now acknowledge that corporate Israel does not die), you have indirectly just made my point. I do acknowledge of course that members of corporate Israel have died, which supports my entire argument.

            The problem with your reasoning (which is more of a wish) is that it has no basis in scripture. Isaiah 53 says that the servant pours himself unto death, is buried in the tomb etc. I’ve proven through scripture that that is never the case with corporate Israel.

            You’ve been unable to refute that. Nothing in any of your responses point to scripture.

            You have not addressed one single point in time where that took place. You have yet to cite one single event in which when members died, corporate Israel came to its end. The reason why of course is because you can’t, and the reason why you can’t is because its not there.

            I’ve even shown where God really did bring something to its end. So it’s not as if things can’t and don’t come to an end. It’s just that Israel never has.

            You can’t just wish something to be so, you have to demonstrate it in scripture.

            My original statement has yet to be proven wrong by you or anyone else through scripture, and that is, that it is “impossible” for the servant in Isaiah 53 to be corporate Israel if for no other reason than it never died at any point in history, and never will die.

          • Jim says:

            David,

            I see you are still confused at my meaning. I apologize. Perhaps I can clarify.

            Neither I nor anyone else here argued that Israel would be destroyed by the “deaths” suffered by the Servant. The verse itself would support that the deaths do not destroy the entity being spoken of. If it were to be discontinued, it would not suffer “deaths”. One death would be a destruction of an entity. “Deaths” means multiple events inside the entity. How do I come by this? Easy. If the verse says “deaths” we can ask ourself which of those deaths is the end of the Servant? How many deaths does it suffer? If these deaths lead to the cessation of the Servant, then only the final death leads to its end. (If it ended by any of the prior deaths, it couldn’t suffer another.) In such an instance, likely the final death would be differentiated somehow by the other deaths.

            You continue a call for scripture to prove a point that you have created as a strawman. However, I do not believe this is out of malice but general confusion. So I’m going to give you a scripture, but it relates to my point and not to the one you think I’m making. Daniel 7 talks about how the fourth kingdom waged war on the “holy ones of the Most High and was prevailing over them” (v21). During this time, Israel will suffer (is suffering) deaths. However, the kings of nations will be shocked (Is. 52.15) when “the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever–forever and ever” (Dan. 7.18). Israel does suffer deaths, but it is not destroyed. In fact, in the end dominion will be given to them.

            Jim

        • Blasater says:

          David wrote: ““…#1 Israel never suffered in place (as a substitute) for another. Israel either suffered at the hands of another due to the other’s wickedness and/or due to Israel’s own transgression.”

          Of course never as a deliberate substitute. It is against Jewish law to intentionally martyr oneself like the man from Nazareth did. The Jewish people did not ask to, or express a willingness to be burnt alive in the crusades, for example. You are engaging in eisegisis. Ezekiel 18 makes it clear that there is no vicarious atonement.

          But, over the last two thousand years even up to today, the murdererous goyim keep on murdering Jews without cause, just for being attached to Hashem. So, Jews are suffering constantly for the sins of the goyim. It is not even debatable. Jesus was killed for HIS OWN SINS, of which there have been documented dozens. There simply is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all human sacrifice for all time. That is fantasy. On the other hand, when Jews are slaughtered, for the sake of Hashem, without cause, they are in fact considered Kodeshim, holy ones, and it sanctifies the name of Hashem…very self evident stuff here…

          I have not up my own argument , I have corrected your faulty premise and put things back into proper context.

          #2 David wrote:”Many have died within the Nation of Israel. That fact then therefore equates to death of the Nation of Israel. That’s a false jump in logic, ”

          Nonsense. Where is the logic in assuming that ALL of the Jewish people must die to fulfill the role of suffering servant? Again you are reading into the text a requirement not found within. 10 million Jews over 2000 years isnt enough innocent Jewish blood?

          Your appeal to logic is not based on sound exegesis or logical deduction. You making making fallacies left and right.

          #3 You wrote”In the context of Isaiah 53, there is an entity that is exalted and there is an entity that is redeemed. And the two are not one and the same.

          Again how can you say that? The whole prophetic narrative can be summed up that the Jewish people are redeemed in the messianic era and THEN the nations (goyim).
          G-ds Torah will be done, sacrifices are returning and the nations stream to Jerusalem.

          Ezek 36 “Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy AMONG YOU in their sight.

          See! The Jewish people are redeemed and THEN the nations will see the exaltation of G-ds nation, the Jewish people.

          Ezek 37 “27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”

          See the sequence? Israel returned. Temple restored. G-d makes it CLEAR…we are His people…AND THE NATIONS WILL KNOW…that Hahem SANCTIFIES ISRAEL.
          This a picture of an exalted servant!

          Eke 36 again: Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My wrath because you have endured the insults of the nations.’ ….9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown. 10 I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt. 11 I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. Thus you will know that I am the Lord. 12 Yes, I will cause men—My people Israel—to walk on you and possess you, so that you will become their inheritance and never again bereave them of children.’

          Now look at Is 54…the very next chapter:

          “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
          Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
          For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
          Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord….

          The same picture of the exalted servant as in Ezek…DONE with her suffering…

          Continuing…..

          11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
          Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
          And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.
          12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
          And your gates of crystal,
          And your entire wall of precious stones.
          13 “All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
          And the well-being of your sons will be great.

          Afflicted…now exalted!

          Isa: And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
          This is the heritage of the SERVANTS of the Lord,
          And THEIR VINDICATION is from Me,” declares the Lord.
          EZek: 29 I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore.

          Jesus isnt vindicated…exalted…the Jewish people are. Not for our sake but for the sake of Hashem! Redeemed and exalted.

          • David says:

            Hi Balaster,

            You are wrong on your rebuttal of my point #1 in part because you are incorrectly defining and using my term “substitutionary death” as I’m using it and as expressed in Isaiah 53.

            The following statements of yours are related to martyrdom, and not to the concept of a substitutionary death so they don’t apply to Isaiah 53.
            “It is against Jewish law to intentionally martyr oneself,” “Jews are suffering constantly for the sins of the goyim.” And “Jews are slaughtered, for the sake of Hashem…”

            I’m going to go into some detail here to explain where you are mixing things up.

            A MARTYR: is someone who suffers persecution to the point of death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one.

            A SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH: in the way I’m using it and the way in which it is used in Isaiah 53, is one who suffers persecution to the point of death in place of the one or the many who committed transgressions and iniquities for which their death is rightly deserved, or adjudged. It involves the confession of the sinners regarding their own sins, the acknowledgement by the guilty that the death of the substitute is due them instead of Him and which then brings them healing/redemption. It also involves the willingness of the substitute in the whole matter.

            The Messiah who dies the substitutionary death may also be thought of as a “martyr” by others (including but not limited to detractors), but that is not the overriding purpose of God, nor the intentions or overriding purpose of the substitute (Messiah) in the matter of the substitutionary death in Isaiah 53.

            And a Martyr strictly speaking does not die a substitutionary death just because he/she suffers death at the hands of the sinful. You mistakenly seem to believe that the sinful act perpetrated by oppressors which causes the death of the martyr equates to a substitutionary death. That’s not the case as I’ll explain further.

            In Isaiah 53, the rebelliously sinful, which are God’s children, which is the Nation of Israel, proclaim/confess that the suffering of the Servant/Messiah is due to the transgressions and iniquities of themselves (the Nation of Israel). Note the pronouns “our, us, we.”
            Isaiah 53:5, 6
            5 “But he was wounded for OUR transgressions,
            crushed for OUR iniquities;
            upon him was the punishment that made US whole,
            and by his bruises WE are healed.”
            6” … the LORD has laid on him
            the iniquity(W) of US ALL.”

            As you can see by definition as expressed in Isaiah 53:5 and 6, the rebelliously sinful Nation of Israel confess their guilt and acknowledge the means by which they are healed/redeemed is due to the fact that another (the Messiah) has received the punishment for which is due the Nation of Israel.

            Another element of the substitutionary death is that the Messiah who is substituting for the sinners, VOLUNTARILY does so. This is made clear in 53:12 which states that he poured himself unto death. It was his action which he took upon himself. Although it was God’s will for the long term good of all to offer a redemption for all, it was also the will of the Servant (Messiah) to obey God, to follow God’s will by pouring HIMSELF unto death.

            12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
            and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
            because HE POURED OUT HIMSELF TO DEATH,
            and was numbered with the transgressors;
            yet he bore the sin of many,
            and made intercession for the transgressors.

            So Balaster,
            To summarize, while there are some similarities between “martyr” as you’ve used it and a substitutionary death as expressed in Isaiah 53, there are many differences. Rather than correct a faulty premise which you attribute to me, you’ve exposed your misapplication or misunderstanding of the relation, differences, and similarities between martyrdom and substitutionary death.
            a. A substitutionary death makes available restitution for others; the act of the martyr doesn’t address restitution.
            b. In a substitutionary death, redemption of the sinful and self-confession by the sinful are linked and expressed together. Confession of the sinful is not addressed in the act of the martyr
            c. The purpose of the martyr’s death is limited to himself and/or his just cause and does not extend to those who are guilty or unjust, especially not to those who are guilty in the death of the martyr. The purpose of the substitute extends to the unjust including those who are guilty of the death of the substitute.

            Continuing with your rebuttal of my point #1, you refer to Ezekiel 18 and claim it to equate to a substitutionary death as in Isaiah 53. It is not.

            Ezekiel 18:20 is recounting the law of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 24:16 which is dealing with legal matters as the context Deut. 24:6-19 shows. Therefore Ezekiel 18 is dealing with the legality aspect within the Jewish court system. In addition, read the last part of Ezekiel 18 which reads:
            29 Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
            30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways,…

            The above complicates things for your assertion.

            In addition, Ezekiel 18:20 has to be balanced against the following: Exodus 20:5, 34:6,7 and Deut. 5:9 which basically says that: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. And: He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.

            However, having noted all the above, that guilt of the fathers continues to future generations and that Ezekiel 18 is limited in scope referring to the Jewish legal court system, let me say that either way it is not applicable to the circumstances of Isaiah 53.

            The circumstances of Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah as described as righteous and with no deceit in his mouth who voluntarily pours himself unto death. Ezekiel 18 does not address the voluntarily nature of submitting one-self for the restitution of another. Ezekiel is about enforcement and adherence to the application of a Jewish legal principal. It does not preclude or forbid the willing substitutionary death of oneself for another.

            And even if it did, as noted above, you have to read Ezekiel in light of the offsetting passages of Exodus and Deuteronomy 5:9 which are still in effect today. None of the passages above preclude, negate, or forbid a voluntary substitutionary death.

            That takes care of all of your rebuttle to my point #1.

            As to your rebuttle to my point #2:
             #2 David wrote:”Many have died within the Nation of Israel. That fact then therefore equates to death of the Nation of Israel. That’s a false jump in logic, ”
            You wrote:
            Nonsense. Where is the logic in assuming that ALL of the Jewish people must die to fulfill the role of suffering servant?

            My response:
            You’re getting a little off track. Your claim is that the Servant in Isaiah 53 is the Nation of Israel. Myclaim is that the Servant in Isaiah 53 is the Messiah. Death of the Servant is referred to several times both directly and indirectly. If the Servant were as you claim the Nation of Israel then the Nation of Israel would have to die. As I’ve already pointed out the Nation of Israel has never died and never will. I’ve already rebutted the faulty logic of your claims that some dead members of the Nation throughout history equates to the death of the Nation of Israel which it doesn’t.

            Here is the fact of the matter which you have failed to admit. In order for the Nation of Israel to be referred to as dead, all the people must die at one time so that there are no survivors. If there are survivors, the Nation cannot by definition be referred to as dead; it can’t be referred to as having died. About the closest Israel ever came was in the exodus in Numbers 14.

            Close but no cigar; the Nation doesn’t die. God changes his mind and doesn’t wipe out the Nation. Actually had God made a Nation out of Moses you still couldn’t say that the nation was dead or had died since Moses himself was of the Nation and anything coming from Moses would have meant a living continuity for the Nation of Israel.
            Read Numbers 14:11 – 23 and specifically 14:15: “…IF YOU KILL THIS PEOPLE ALL AT ONE TIME…”
            11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” 13 But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for in your might you brought up this people from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people; for you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, 16 ‘It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, therefore, let the power of the LORD be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying,
            18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger,
            and abounding in steadfast love,
            forgiving iniquity and transgression,
            but by no means clearing the guilty,
            visiting the iniquity of the parents
            upon the children
            to the third and the fourth generation.’
            19 Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.” 20 Then the LORD said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked; 21 nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— 22 none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it.

            When did the Nation of Israel die? Never.

            As to your rebuttal of my point #3:

            Your point that Israel is exalted is correct. But you are incorrect in your belief that Israel is exalted in Isaiah 53. Regarding the Messianic age to come, Israel is exalted following her redemption in Isaiah 53.

            As I said in my previous post, in Isaiah 53 only one is exalted and only one is redeemed. The Messiah is exalted and the sinful are redeemed. The two are not one and the same.

            The Messiah is NEVER redeemed anywhere in scripture. Israel is exalted many times over throughout scripture but not in the context of Isaiah 53. And will be exalted again in the age to come.

            Furthermore, the Nation of Israel and the Messiah are exalted for differing reasons. The Messiah is exalted exclusively (not the nation of Israel) in Isaiah 53 for the sole reason that he poured himself unto death (verse 12).

            The Nation of Israel never poured herself unto death. The Nation is not, never has been dead and never will be dead as noted in point 2 above. The Nation of Israel is exalted in part because her King and Teacher (Messiah) is exalted and in part because she confesses her sins bringing with it redemption as a result of the work of God through His Messiah, not to mention the fact that God’s intent was that the entire world to God (not just the Nation of Israel) as a result of the example set in part by repentant and redeemed Nation of Israel led by her King the Messiah and Servant noted in Isaiah 53.

          • Blasater says:

            David–

            Let me see if I can put this a different way.

            You appear to be taking poetic prophetic words and using it to make a Torah type declaration.

            You insist on turning Is 53 into a passage of messianic vicarious atonement. That is simply against all descriptions of atonement in Torah. It is not the job of the prophets to create new atonement avenues but to affirm the ones already revealed in Torah.

            There is no such declaration in Torah. The church view of Is 53 reminds me of a mathematician who tries to get a localized equation to work and ignore that it falls apart when applied to the broader applications.

            You wrote “You mistakenly seem to believe that the sinful act perpetrated by oppressors which causes the death of the martyr equates to a substitutionary death. ”

            No I don’t assert that. Again, the is no prescription for vicarious atonement in Torah. You didn’t even begin to address my point to you that INTENTIONAL martyrdom is against Jewish law. What you are saying is that substitutional (therefore pre-planned) human sacrifice is somehow valid…it is not.

            You wrote “5 “But he was wounded for OUR transgressions,
            crushed for OUR iniquities;
            upon him was the punishment that made US whole,
            and by his bruises WE are healed.”
            6” … the LORD has laid on him
            the iniquity(W) of US ALL.”

            This is an example of your misconstruing the very nature of the text. You are giving it a straight reading and ignoring the poetic prophetic nature of the text. The voice of the one speaking has changed in the passage. It is not the Jewish people speaking, it is the goyim. They goyim are shown remorseful for having harmed G-ds servants over 2000+ years. For most of that period, they thought that the Jews had been replaced by the church and therefore they had license to handle the Jew in any manner they saw fit. Now, in this passage, they realize that the Jewish people were in fact being wounded and crushed for the goyim’s sin…not their own! The nations are confessing THEIR sin…not a rebellious Israel.

            Your rendering simply does not pan out in the big picture.
            A) Show me in Torah where messiah fulfills the law on our behalf
            B) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a vicarious human sacrifice.
            C) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a one-size fits all…atonement..FOREVER
            D) Show me in Torah where messiah is a hybrid god-man part of a tri-une godhead.

            I could go on. See, for your narrative of Is 53 to work out, in the big picture, those elements would have to be in place NO LATER than Sinai. Why? Because that is G-ds final revelation of his Torah. All the future prophetic works confirm Torah. They are not expanded revelation. And G-d gives us Dt 4, 13 and 18 as “yard sticks” to measure all future prophetic works. Jesus fails those test conditions.

            You wrote”Therefore Ezekiel 18 is dealing with the legality aspect within the Jewish court system.”

            No, it is affirming that guilty people suffer their own fate…they don’t get to place it on others. AND that if a law breaking returns (teshuva) to keeping the law, he will be considered righteous. This is confirmed in Jeremiah 31:30, so even in the era of the “new cov” (not new Torah), this is confirmed.

            29 “In those days people will no longer say,

            ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
            and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
            30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.

            Your point on Israel not being made extinct is so far off base I wont address it again.
            So, let me make some further observations on why the man Jesus is not Is 53.

            He was in no way a kosher sacrifice. If I took a goat, beat it half to death by whipping, nail it to a cross away from the temple, with no priest officiating, would that be acceptable as a sacrifice? Of course not. How much more unacceptable when it is a human. Who does not have his throat slit, does not die by rapid blood loss, whose blood is not sprinkled on the altar, whos fat and offal are not burned…etc…

            The church claims he is an asham in Is 53. That only covers ~4 intentional sins and some unintentional sins. What about chatat? Sin sacrifice? Thanks giving? the others korbanot? Show me in Torah where one sacrifice is fit for ALL korbanot. It is fantasy.

            And finally, for G-d to tells us NOT to behave like the goyim who offer their children up as sacrifices (Dt 12) and then to do that very thing Himself, via an obscure poetic prophetic verse, not even in Torah, is contrary to the whole experience at har Sinai.

            It is wholly unjustified.

          • David says:

            Hi Blasater,

            You wrote:
            All the future prophetic works confirm Torah. They are not expanded revelation. And G-d gives us Dt 4, 13 and 18 as “yard sticks” to measure all future prophetic works.

            Ok, Blasater, then if we use the yard sticks we see that you are completely wrong.

            Deuteronomy says nothing about the end of “revelation” from God. Deuteronomy 4 is a conditional requirement specifically regarding the Ten Commandments, and specifically the statutes and ordinances given by Moses, that IF the Nation of Israel follows them as verse 4:14 states: “in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy” and as verse 4:40 states “for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

            Obviously the Nation of Israel long ago departed from following the statues and ordinances, it therefore as a result didn’t go well for them and they lost possession of the land. But that’s another story. My real point is that the chapter is specific to ordinances and statutes for living well and possessing land. It says nothing regarding a claim that there will be no further new revelation from future prophets. In fact we find just the opposite in Deuteronomy 18. And, by analysis of the Torah, we see that your claim that there is no new revelation is simply false. In fact several of the Rambam’s 13 statements of faith are based on future revelation from prophets following the Torah.

            While we’re on Chapter 4 in Deut. I’ll side track just for a moment; it’s interesting to note that there is further confirmation here that the Nation of Israel does not die.

            Deut: 4:27 “ The LORD will scatter you among the peoples; only a few of you will be left among the nations where the LORD will lead you.”

            Deut. 4:31 31 “…your God …will neither abandon you nor destroy you;…”

            Your reference to Deuteronomy 13 is simply a warning not to follow after gods you have not known. The Nation of Israel transgressed that many times but how does that relate to Isaiah 53? The Messiah is not a god you have not known. The Messiah is God’s Servant who dies a substitutionary death.

            Deuteronomy 18 tells us to obey the legitimate prophet and not to follow the illegitimate prophet. Obviously the Messiah in Isaiah 53 is a legitimate prophet whom we are commanded to obey. Failure to obey the legitimate prophet is disobedience to Deuteronomy 18 and disobedience to Deuteronomy 18 is disobedience to God.

            So, rather than supporting the claim that new revelation is dead the fact is that new revelation following the Torah is alive and well and supported by the Torah itself.

            The substitutionary death of the Messiah is not a new ordinance for occupying the land and living well in the land. It is a new revelation which provides a new pathway to redemption much better than the old way.

            You wrote:
            “the(re) is no prescription for vicarious atonement in Torah. You didn’t even begin to address my point to you that INTENTIONAL martyrdom is against Jewish law. What you are saying is that substitutional (therefore pre-planned) human sacrifice is somehow valid…it is not.”

            My response:
            I said many times that there is no prohibition on substitutionary death in the Torah.

            I’ve also fully explained how and why substitutionary death is not martyrdom as you’ve repeatedly and mistakenly claimed.

            The Torah is the inferior shadow or precursor of superior things to come which are more thoroughly and completely explained in future revelation by the prophets of the OT and NT.

            Animal sacrifice introduced by God is the inferior shadow or precursor of the superior one-time substitutionary death of the Messiah also introduced by God.

            In the exodus for example the blood of the Lamb was the only path to salvation. There were no exceptions. If you couldn’t afford one for your house you had to get with your neighbor.

            The Law is introduced with blood. All the leaders are covered in blood.
            The blood represents life. The reason why the blood is necessary to inaugurate the Law, why a life is necessary, goes back to Genesis and the fall of man. That’s why the Messiah’s life is necessary for the new covenant, just as a life (blood) was necessary for the inauguration of the Old covenant.

            The child sacrifice to other gods which is documented throughout the OT as being practiced by the Nation of Israel should not be equated with the substitutionary death of the Messiah.

            The substitutionary death of the Messiah is fully in keeping the for-shadowing and intent of the Torah and is explained in new covenant terms in the NT.

          • Blasater says:

            David–

            You wrote “Deuteronomy says nothing about the end of “revelation” from God. ”

            Of course it does. ” Deut 4:2 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Deut 5:32
            So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.

            Do not add or subtract, veer left or right. One Torah for ALL TIME. No to be changed or added to by the prophets.

            You wrote: “It says nothing regarding a claim that there will be no further new revelation from future prophets.”

            You are conflating Torah with prophetic revelation. Again, the prophetic works reinforce what is in Torah already. The prophetic revelations are about events…and how it pertains to the people either not doing Torah or doing Torah. They do not provide NEW means of atonement.

            You wrote: Regarding Dt 13: “The Nation of Israel transgressed that many times but how does that relate to Isaiah 53? The Messiah is not a god you have not known. The Messiah is God’s Servant who dies a substitutionary death.”

            It is a direct application to Isaiah 53 because the church teaches a human being is also god in the flesh. And that person is a vicarious human sacrifice. As I mentioned previously, there is NO Torah support for that at Sinai. Our fathers were told anything like the following. ” I am the Lord your G-d, when you fail my commandments, I will send my human born son (who is me) as a human vicarious atonement. And when that is accomplished, you will no longer keep the law, nor will you sacrifice for sin any longer”.

            Where is such a declaration? G-d who tells us not to mix wool and linen, meat and milk, not to eat fish with no scales, pig meat…all the minutia of life does not tell us of a future god-man son? Of course not.

            You wrote “The Torah is the inferior shadow or precursor of superior things to come which are more thoroughly and completely explained in future revelation by the prophets of the OT and NT. Animal sacrifice introduced by God is the inferior shadow or precursor of the superior one-time substitutionary death of the Messiah also introduced by God.”

            Again, where in Torah does it say that the law is inferior and will be replaced by the work of a god-man?

            It doesn’t. That is why G-d gives us Dt 13 as a test mechanism to weed out ideas like the church.

            Why are sacrifices returning? Why is the priesthood returning? Why is the temple returning? Why are the Uncircumcised forbidden to enter the 3rd temple? Why do the priest teach the knowledge of the clean and unclean? Ezek 44. Why are the Jewish people shown doing and obeying Torah? Ezek 11, 36.

            The church narrative as I pointed out last time does not survive the “Big Picture” of scrutiny.

            You wrote ” the blood of the Lamb was the only path to salvation. There were no exceptions. ”

            Not at all. Lev 5:11…FLOUR atones. No blood required.

            Elsewhere, charity, prayer, repentance all atone. And many examples are given to bear this out.

            You wrote: “That’s why the Messiah’s life is necessary for the new covenant, just as a life (blood) was necessary for the inauguration of the Old covenant. The child sacrifice to other gods which is documented throughout the OT as being practiced by the Nation of Israel should not be equated with the substitutionary death of the Messiah.

            Again, you are misunderstanding the new covenant. It is not a New Torah. And Torah says zero about a messiah ending it or replacing it. Types and shadows is a faulty method of hermeneutics and prophetic interpretation.

            Human sacrifice does not mean little children or babies

            Deut 12: “They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.”

            Is not Jesus called the son of god? yes. And besides what difference does it make regarding the age of the sacrifice? It is still a human being. It is still something that G-d hates and is an abomination to him. Child or Adult, a 3 year old or a 30 year old. It makes no difference to G-d!

            Again, for your narrative of Is 53 to work in the big picture you MUST show the following:

            A) Show me in Torah where messiah fulfills the law on our behalf, ending the law.
            B) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a vicarious human sacrifice.
            C) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a one-size fits all…atonement..FOREVER
            D) Show me in Torah where messiah is a hybrid god-man part of a tri-une godhead.
            E) Show me in Torah where meesiah will be granted the ability to forgive sin.

            If you cant show those things, as clearly as the prohibition not to mix wool and linen, your faith is worthless.

          • David says:

            Hi Blasater,

            I’ve noticed that more and more you are injecting arguments against Jesus and Christianity, arguments I’ve not made with respect to Isaiah 53.

            I think I’ve proven that my understanding of Isaiah 53 is much more plausible and true to the way God intended it than yours. If that happens to agree in part or whole with Christianity then so be it and if it happens to agree in part with Judaism or happens to be a mixture of the two then so be it. It’s more important to get what God intended correctly then to agree with man or man’s religion erroneously practiced by either the Nation of Israel or Christianity. That’s not to say that ALL is in error but just to make the point you shouldn’t just copy what others are doing. You should think for yourself. My understanding of Isaiah 53 which I’m arguing here is my understanding and does not necessarily agree with that of mainstream Christianity’s argument, at least not entirely. What I mean is that I’m arguing my understanding of the passage irrespective of who it may or may not agree with.

            In the first part of your post regarding the argument that God has nothing new to say, you’re merely repeating yourself. I’ve already shown where you’re wrong and you’ve not addressed my argument specifically. If you go back and read you’ll see.

            Regarding the inferiority of the Law as compared to future new revelation, it’s self-evident that the past is inferior to future blessings from God otherwise God wouldn’t continue to speak to us beyond what he already has in the Torah and to give us new and better gifts not addressed in the Torah including for example the Messianic age including the New Covenant, and resurrection of the dead for example, all of which are spoken of in Rambam’s 13 statements of faith for the Jew. These are new revelation following the Torah, not found in the Torah.

            But having said that in rebuttal of your argument, what does your argument about the Law or Torah have to do with Isaiah 53? There’s nothing in Isaiah 53 which is a violation of the Law, it’s simply new and superior revelation. So, your “show me in the Torah where” challenges are irrelevant. I previously gave you this challenge: show me in the Torah for example the resurrection of the dead. It’s not there. That’s new revelation.

            The Nation of Israel fully accepted that the Law to the Nation of Israel was superior to that which was given to Noah and his family which also Abraham lived under. And that which was given to Noah and his sons was in-turn superior to that which was given in the time period prior to the flood and following expulsion from the Garden.

            Likewise, it’s clear that the new covenant and new revelation is superior to the old otherwise God wouldn’t give it.

            Regarding your argument that nothing should be added or taken away from the Law; you’re repeating yourself there too. You seem to keep harping on the Torah. The Torah is not all inclusive and does not make up the entirety of God’s revelation to man. The Torah is just the first 5 books of the bible. Why are you surprised to learn that there is new revelation following the Torah?

            And you’re still making the same mistakes regarding your misunderstanding of a substitutionary death. You equate the death of the Messiah in 53 with child sacrifice or martyrdom. There are many differences which I’ve already noted and I’ll not repeat here. I’m just reading God’s word in Isaiah 53 and letting God speak for himself:

            (to paraphrase God): The Messiah pours himself onto death, he is exalted. The Nation of Israel (God’s people) sees its guilt, its redeemed.

            You on the other hand are looking and grasping at anything to try to disprove the plain reading of the text.

          • Blasater says:

            David–

            You wrote: ” more and more you are injecting arguments against Jesus and Christianity, arguments I’ve not made with respect to Isaiah 53. I think I’ve proven that my understanding of Isaiah 53 is much more plausible and true to the way God intended it than yours.

            I am injecting broader arguments against your position for a very specific reason. You say your version of Is 53 is more plausible. As a straight reading, the christian version would appear to be more plausible. The use of servant in the singular would certainly cause pause for the uneducated reader. That is why I have gone into depth with you in these regards.

            A) Tanakh is filled with references to Israel as suffering and despised. Some for her own sins, some for the sins of others.
            B) Tanakh is filled with references to Israel as exalted in the messianic era.

            The language used in Isaiah in the earlier Servant songs and in Ezekiel. are nearly identical parallels of each other. This SHOULD put the issue to rest. But it did not with you. So we have to go to the next level. Why? Because once a person has created a narrative for Isaiah 53 it still has to pass muster of Torah.

            C) Given the christian narrative, does it fit within the framework of Torah har Sinai? (Dt 4, 13, 30)

            Answer: Absolutely not.
            The church through Is 53 says Jesus is an Asham (Leaving all the other Korbanot untouched). A god-man human vicarious sacrifice. That violates Torah in Deut 12, Deut 30, Deut 13, Deut 24, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the father. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin. And Exodus 32:30 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin…and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Eternal said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go…..(Moses is offering himself but G-d says no way…each man dies for his own sin…no get back to work!)

            So does the church Is 53 pass Torah tests? No. It does not.

            D) The christian narrative of Is 53 is also flawed in how Jesus supposedly did the tasks of Is 53.

            1) He did not confess guilt and therefore see children
            2) He did not stay quiet and he had in fact much deceit in his mouth (He lied to the high priest about not teaching in secret, he lied about King David taking the show bread, He lied to his brothers about not going to the festival…and many others)
            3) He was not killed with the rich and buried with the wicked.

            Now, as to your contention regarding future revelation, you are again in error.

            You wrote: “(God) continue(s) to speak to us beyond what he already has in the Torah and to give us new and better gifts not addressed in the Torah including for example the Messianic age including the New Covenant, and resurrection of the dead for example,

            No. The new covenant is first revealed in Torah. Deut 30:6 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. ….8 And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand….

            This section in Dt 30 is the messianic era. And the prophet Ezekial and Jeremiah confirm it, not “reveal” it.

            Regarding the resurrection, so what. That is not a change in Torah nor a violation of G-ds stated nature, nor is it a violation of any prohibition or precept of any kind. I have shown that the church Isaiah 53 does in fact violate Torah law. You say, shockingly, “So, your “show me in the Torah where” challenges are irrelevant.” Wow…think about what you are saying! How can you not care that the church narrative and Jesus violate Torah?…that is amazing. I am going to post these one more time. Better think hard about what you are saying. Becasue I can quote Torah and show you these things are NEVER authorized.

            A) Show me in Torah where messiah fulfills the law on our behalf, ending the law.
            B) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a vicarious human sacrifice.
            C) Show me in Torah where messiah will be a one-size fits all…atonement..FOREVER
            D) Show me in Torah where messiah is a hybrid god-man part of a tri-une godhead.
            E) Show me in Torah where meesiah will be granted the ability to forgive sin.

            You wrote: “Likewise, it’s clear that the new covenant and new revelation is superior to the old otherwise God wouldn’t give it. ”

            Again, new covenant is not new Torah! You have not addressed my point previously regarding Ezek 11, 36 and 44. Here they are again. And of course there are many other I can quote in the 12 minor prophets that prove this. Address them please.

            “Why are sacrifices returning? Why is the priesthood returning? Why is the temple returning? Why are the Uncircumcised forbidden to enter the 3rd temple? Why do the priest teach the knowledge of the clean and unclean? Ezek 44. Why are the Jewish people shown doing and obeying Torah? Ezek 11, 36.”

            Maybe now you can see that when examined closely, the church narrative of Is 53 does not pass “constitutional” Torah muster. It is “unconstitutional”. An anology that works. The churchs view of Is 53 is like Roe vs Wade. Based on pnenumbra’s and “types”…rather than law.

          • David says:

            Hi Blasater,

            I think we’ve taken this aspect of the debate on Isaiah 53 about as far as it’ll go without just repeating ourselves.

            Thanks for your time and thoughtful responses.

          • Dina says:

            David,

            You’re making it hard for me to take you seriously. When I first met you on this blog, you impressed me as a sincere truth seeker, serious thinker, and intelligent person. I still largely hold that, but I am beginning to revise my opinion regarding the lengths you will go to discover the truth. I thought at first you would go to any length. After all, you were the one who said we must follow the truth wherever it leads us, even if we don’t like the conclusions.

            If truth is important to you, why are you unwilling to continue going round and round in circles? Truth seeking requires patience, didn’t you know?

            Every time we have gone round in circles, every time we wore a deeper track into the rug, I gained new insight. Finding such clarity exhilarates me. For me, truth seeking is an exercise in joy, not in tedium.

            Now for the second time in a brief space of time, I see you telling someone that the debate has gone as far as it can go, so it’s been nice talking to you, and have a nice life. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

            If you were the sincere truth seeker you present yourself to be, why not continue the debate? Why not find new ways of expressing your truths, as you see them, so they appear with greater clarity to your interlocutor?

            You do realize that when you say such things to Blasater and me to end the conversation, we (and whoever else is following this thread) will likely construe it as your inability to respond to the challenge–especially since in both cases that statement did follow an unanswered challenge.

            When you face an argument you cannot refute, if you are honest, you have two options:

            1. Find a way to indeed refute it.
            2. Say something like, “I don’t have an answer for you. Nevertheless, I have enough evidence to give me the confidence to maintain my faith.” Your reason for that confidence would then be between you and God, but at least you will have been honest.

            I guess what I’m saying, using a lot of words, is that I’m disappointed in you, David.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I don’t always do things your way, that’s true.

            I don’t mind (at times) going round and round (as I’ve proven) and discovering new information but when each side starts saying the same thing over and over again it becomes pointless repetition. You prefer to continue (but to what point), and sometimes I have. I agree that saying the same thing in different ways can at times be beneficial to a certain point; but only if the other side is willing to address it in a new way rather than just repeating the old argument. At some point when in the discussion each side has said it all and is just repeating, then what? Continue for what purpose?

            We have different styles. You tend to scatter all over the place in a shotgun approach on multiple tracks and topics including many questions/challenges. As a result you never tend to come to the end of anything. I tend prefer to focus on one topic at a time and take it as far as it can reasonably go before stopping and shifting on to something new. Asking too many questions in multiple areas tends to fracture the focus of the topic. I know that you like that and sometimes I’ve accommodated you and shared in your multiple questioning and multiple topic approach but it’s not my preference.

            For me, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time and then move on to another topic in some kind of order. The topic can always be resurrected at a future date. It doesn’t mean the subject is somehow off limits forever. It could be that one or all have to move on to address an see other things before further progress can be made on a previous topic.

            It appears to me you’re equating our debating styles with our level of motivation for truth seeking. And what I get from your post is that you think your way is the best way to attain the truth. And since I’m not doing it your way I’m somehow not as interested in the truth.

            If that’s the case, you’re mistaken.

          • Dina says:

            Oh, David! It’s painful to have to point out your lack of awareness. I did not suggest that I doubt your sincerity because of your impatience with treading the beaten track over and over again. It was that assertion FOLLOWING AN UNANSWERED CHALLENGE–twice in a brief space of time–that makes me wonder.

            Failing to answer a challenge (one that I presented to you I believe four times on different threads and another that Blasater presented to you twice on this thread) is simply not the same as going round in circles. It is simply refusing to answer.

            So let me ask you this, David: Is there any standard of evidence that will make you change your mind, barring new revelation and open miracles?

            If I am an honest truth seeker, I must acknowledge that a standard of evidence does indeed exist, that if presented to me, would force me to rethink my beliefs or at least make it harder for me to sleep at night.

            This is not an impossibly high standard. It is a fair standard. Do you have one as well? How could someone persuade you, if you could indeed be persuaded?

            Second point, about our debating styles. You are absolutely correct; our styles are different. And guess what? That stems from a gender difference more than anything else. Men tend to focus on a single issue at a time; when they have resolved it, they move on to the next. Women focus on a lot of things at once. Neither way is inherently superior, just different. I believe we have both tried to accommodate each other’s different styles and I hope we will continue to do so.

            Dina

      • David
        The posts on this blog are for everyone to read and for anyone to respond to – since we went through this line of argumentation already can you please explain why it is that your debate with Dina reached its “reasonable” end – but you are willing to open a new debate with Blasater using old arguments that were already refuted?
        And besides – could you please answer my question about Psalm 41?

  24. David
    Your question to Blasater about the death of the servant has been answered – the text says nothing about “extinction” – it says “death” – therefore if it speaks of an individual I might jump to the conclusion that this means extinction but if it speaks of the righteous of Israel than it doesn’t imply extinction – Psalm 44:23 uses the term “killed” in reference to the righteous of Israel just as the term death is used in Isaiah 53
    Again can you please answer my question about Psalm 41

  25. David
    Your post from November 2nd has been answered several times – including an answer that I posted on October 9th.

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