Isaiah 53: The Suffering Servant

Menashe's Blog

Isaiah 53: The Suffering Servant

Cutting through the distortions and mistranslations of this enigmatic text.

by Marshall Roth

Isaiah 53 is a prophecy foretelling how the world will react when they witness Israel’s salvation in the Messianic era. The verses are presented from the perspective of world leaders, who contrast their former scornful attitude toward the Jews with their new realization of Israel’s grandeur. After realizing how unfairly they treated the Jewish people, they will be shocked and speechless.

While the original Hebrew text clearly refers to the Jewish people as the “Suffering Servant,” over the centuries Isaiah 53 has become a cornerstone of the…

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The journey of the Saturday

Brian T Maurer's Weblog

There is one particular day in Western history about which neither historical record nor myth nor Scripture make report. It is a Saturday. And it has become the longest of days. We know of that Good Friday which Christianity holds to have been that of the Cross. But the non-Christian, the atheist, knows of it as well. This is to say that he knows of the injustice, of the interminable suffering, of the waste, of the brute enigma of ending, which so largely make up not only the historical dimension of the human condition, but the everyday fabric of our personal lives. We know, ineluctably, of the pain, of the failure of love, of the solitude which are our history and private fate. We know also about Sunday. To the Christian, that day signifies an intimation, both assured and precarious, both evident and beyond comprehension, of resurrection, of a justice…

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How does the burning bush see me?

Mists on the Riverss

Here are lines from the Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai

How do the visions of the prophets see me?

The burning bush sees me as a man extinguished but alive.

And what does Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot say about me?

Look, down there is a man who has no wings,

Nor the face of a lion, an ox, or an eagle,

And he can walk in only one direction at a time.

He has no radiance about him, no brightness the color of amber,

just darkness within.  That is his soul.

But if we ever fall from our heights and crash to the ground,

He will pick up the scattered pieces,

And all his life, he will keep trying to put us together again,

to restore us, to raise us back up to the skies.[i]

[i] Amichai, Yehuda, Open Closed Open, Harcourt, 2000, p. 25

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Immortality on Friday Noon?

Mists on the Riverss

Prompted by Lyman Mower’s post, let me freelance a bit about ‘living in the present’ and ‘memorializing instincts’ and seeking a ‘deep history.’ 

There is no doubt that Thoreau (among other of our favorite sages) values living in the present.  Where else could we live, anyway?  Well, I suppose we could obsess on what comes tomorrow or the next day or on that goal way down the road.  We find little of that in Thoreau — living in the future at the expense of the here and now.  And I suppose we could obsess on yesterday and last year and crimes (or glories) of centuries ago, to the neglect of living here and now.  Without neglecting the present, Thoreau seeks deep history.  He starts A Week bringing Concord River into the company of the ancient Nile, and he memorializes the ‘extinct race’ that once fished in Concord River (known earlier…

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