This is part 2 of my texts on Isaiah 53 and the promises to the Jewish people. When reading Isaiah chapter 53, we must read the surrounding chapters to get the whole picture.
It is like reading a book. If you are reading on page 83 and then decide to go to page 183, just to see what happens in the story in the book. Now you will get problems when other characters show up in the story, so you have to go back and try to find that new person in the book. It is easier to read the book in a whole, from cover to cover! When we look at Isaiah chapter 53, we must also read the surrounding chapters. It is the same way here; read the surrounding chapters, or rather, read the whole book of Isaiah, at least from chapter 40 to the end of the book.
Chapter 53 can alone show that it is talking about Israel. It can not be speaking about Jesus! It talks about Israel as a whole nation, but the text talks about an entity in singular form, as talking about one person, why can not this be Israel? Note: chapter 53 has 67 singular references in the English Hebrew translation.
How can we be sure it is talking about a nation? Is it not clear it speaks of one individual? How can we say it speaks about a whole nation?
Israel is often referred to as a singel person, it goes through the whole scripture. It is predominately in singular, why is that? Because “corporate” Israel has a single destiny!
1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
(Hosea 11:1, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
Especially in messianic chapters in the Bible this use of singular person is very common. Not only 43:10-11 is singular, plural. Isaiah 53 is the great illusion of the Church. Look at the chapter before and the chapter after it. Chapter 52 is actually the same as chapter 53. Chapter 53 begins in 52:13. Who does it speak of there? And how does it speak of it?
1 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. (Isaiah 52:1-2, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
According to the sages, the uncircumcised are the Christians and the unclean are the Muslims. All talking about Israel in singular and about how Israel will be saved in the end of days, the captive Israel will be released. We see two different relationships between G-d and Israel; a) G-d is our Father, we are his children b) we are G-d’s lover or wife. See Songs of Songs. Why is that? There are two relations Israel can have with his creator:
Ex. 1. 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.
(Isaiah 52:14, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
Ex. 2. Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 54:1, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
In racism, a victim begins to believe what is said about him, he becomes victimized and annihilated. Take a child, for example, who is bullied at school. He begins to believe the negative characteristics he is bombarded with on a daily basis. The very same pattern repeats in racism and antisemitism. The great sin of racism is that the victim of persecution begins to believe what is said about them. We are prone to violence and crime and that is tragic, but G-d is a redeemer and a salvation from the nations of the world.
10 The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the LORD.
12 For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rearward.
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. (Isaiah 52:10-15, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.
3 For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
4 Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed. Neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more.
5 For thy Maker is thy husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer, the God of the whole earth shall He be called.
6 For the LORD hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit; and a wife of youth, can she be rejected? saith thy God. (Isaiah 54:1-6, Hebr/Eng Bible, JPS 1917)
We see in chapter 52 that Israel is depicted as an opressed person, in chapter 54 as a barren woman.
To be continued…
© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
אתר הבית של יונתן