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Isaiah 53 (KJV)

[1] Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
[2] For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
[3] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
[4] Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
[5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
[6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
[8] He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
[9] And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
[10] Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
[11] He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
[12] Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

There is something of a dispute concerning what this chapter is talking about. Some think that it is talking about an individual, and some think that it is talking about the nation of Israel. I have a couple of questions. Don't worry about the Hebrew, as obviously this isn't a forum for discussing the Hebrew language.

Could a nation be referred to using singular personal pronouns? Could a nation be referred to as a "man of sorrows"? Do these things exclude the possibilty that it is talking about a nation? Or make it unlikely?

Also, if you get the impression that this is certainly talking about an individual then feel free to say so.
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Comments  
Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

You say Don't worry about the Hebrew . . .

However, my first reaction is to think that the crux of the matter is the intention of the original Hebrew writer. So, what is to be gained by debating the nuances of English pronouns? Surely the nuances of Hebrew pronouns are more to the point? Emotion: smile

Best wishes, Clive
My personal view is that Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus Christ, that it prophesies the coming of the Messiah.
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AnnvanMy personal view is that Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus Christ, that it prophesies the coming of the Messiah.
The reference is clearly to "the chosen one".
Yes; the phrases "despised and rejected of men" and "a man of sorrows" are generally associated with Jesus Christ, in European literature, etc.

(Welcome to English Forums, TP, by the way!)

MrP
CliveHi,

Welcome to the Forum.

You say Don't worry about the Hebrew . . .

However, my first reaction is to think that the crux of the matter is the intention of the original Hebrew writer. So, what is to be gained by debating the nuances of English pronouns? Surely the nuances of Hebrew pronouns are more to the point? Emotion: smile

Best wishes, Clive

Yes, the Hebrew may be important, ( I understand that the Hebrew switches between the singular and plural, which would seem to rule out an individual) but the issue, for the most part, can perhaps be adequately considered looking at a translation.
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MrPedantic
Yes; the phrases "despised and rejected of men" and "a man of sorrows" are generally associated with Jesus Christ, in European literature, etc.

(Welcome to English Forums, TP, by the way!)

MrP

Thank you for your welcome.

Yes, the phrases may well be associated with Jesus, but that isn't really the issue here. Obviously Christians apply the text to Jesus. But then, there is no doubt that New Testament authors were willing to take parts of the Hebrew Bible out of context (which were speaking of Israel) and apply them to Jesus. For example:
When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matthew 2:14-15 KJV)
The problem I have with this kind of discussion is that Isaiah was a prophet, speaking to a people in turmoil. Like any prophet, the language is obscure, and therefore can be interpreted in more than one way according to the mindset of the interpreter. We also are working at a distance through the translator. Old Testament Hebrew has its own problems for translators in that some of the words and terms are very difficult to interpret as the words/syntax are so archaic.
Hi,

Quite so. In my opinion. it's all very well to say that we can consider this by looking at a translation, but I wonder if a translation that is in Japanese or Urdu would give the same impression as a translation that is in English?

I'm reminded of the remark that was supposedly made by an American politician who was supporting a bill to make English the USA's official language. He said something like 'If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me'.Emotion: stick out tongue

Best wishes, Clive
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