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Friday the Rabbi Read Isaiah 53

Few chapters in the Jewish Bible have been used more vigorously and cleverly by Christian missionaries than this one, which happens to be a wonderful prophecy about the vindication of the Jewish nation.

A Jewish olah kissing the ground on her first moment back in the home of her people. This is the essence of Isaiah 53 – a prophetic poem of the national redemption of God's children while the nations of the world are watching enviously.

A Jewish olah kissing the ground on her first moment back in the home of her people. This is the essence of Isaiah 53 – a prophetic poem of the national redemption of God's children while the nations of the world are watching enviously.
Photo Credit: Guy Assayag /Flash90

Now comes a description of the development of the nation of Israel, but from the implied point of view of those kings of the gentile nations:

53:2-4 “He grew up like a sapling, like a root out of dry ground. He is not well-formed or glorious; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. Despised and lowly, a man of pains, familiar with illness. As if he hid his face from us, he was lowly and we did not value him. In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as if he were diseased himself, punished and tortured by God.”

In other words, the Jews were roaming the planet, encountering the diseases of the gentiles around them, and bearing them – so much so that the gentiles believe that these Jews are being punished by God.

Now, in retrospect, the gentiles are saying:

53:5 “He was wounded as a result of our transgressions, and crushed as a result of our iniquities. The chastisement upon him was for our benefit; and through his wounds we were healed.”

It is a perfect description of the life of the Jews in the diaspora, always contributing to the welfare of their host society, and always being made to suffer from its ailments.

The gentiles continue:

53:6-7 “We have all strayed like sheep, each of us turning his own way, and God inflicted upon him [Israel] the iniquity of all of us. He [Israel] was repressed and tortured, but he did not open his mouth. Like a sheep led to the slaughter and a lamb that is silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.”

Then, the end of Israel’s suffering has arrived, the prophet describes:

53:8 “He was released from captivity and judgment—who could have imagined such a generation would ever come? For he was already removed from the land of the living, my people were afflicted because of their crimes.”

Having been freed, the prophet evaluates Israel’s track record, pointing out that, once we were in exile, we preferred death and impoverishment over accepting the gentiles’ paganism:

53:9: “He was buried with the wicked, and executed with the wealthy, but he committed no crime, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

It turns out that all our suffering were God’s will:

53:10 “God desired to oppress him and He afflicted him, to find out: if he acknowledged his own guilt, he would see offspring and live long days, and God’s plan would be carried out successfully by his hand.”

Of all the missionary attempts to subvert this chapter and make believe it describes the boy from Nazareth, I’m yet to see a single interpretation of the above verse, 53:10, that has anything to do with Jesus. Not going by my translation – going by theirs!

Here’s the King James Isaiah 53:10:

“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.”

Did Jesus bear children? Did he live a long life?

Check out every existing English translation – they all repeat the same points: the subject of this prophecy is rewarded with children and a long life. Which means it cannot possibly be the Jesus who, by 99.9% of all Christian accounts, died childless at age 33, give or take.

In the final two verses, the nation of Israel reaches its peak in influencing humanity, teaching it the path to the true word of God, our Torah:

53:11-12 “He would learn from his travails, his mind will be satiated [with knowledge], My slave will teach the masses to be righteous, and he will tolerate their transgressions. Therefore, I will honor him among the multitudes and he will plunder the spoils of the mighty–for he has exposed himself to death and accepted being counted among the wicked, while actually bearing the sins of the many, and praying for the wicked.”

May we merit to live through the few months still remaining until this precious prophesy becomes fully realized – it has been getting there at an increasing speed for 60 some years. May all of us also merit to be here, in Zion (or the Netanya part of Zion) to embrace our redemption.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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109 Responses to “Friday the Rabbi Read Isaiah 53”

  1. Joshua Lim says:

    THE RABBI HAS SPOKEN!!!!! ((I love Jewish culture :) ))

  2. So early Jewish sages got it wrong too then ???

  3. It’s shame so many people read Is 53 to make it a weapon against God’s People. Have many Jewish lives have been destroyed by Christians because of their lack of understanding. Thanks Yori. It’s time to stop the missionary nonsense in a concerted effort.

  4. How about Psalm 22 ? From Jewish Publication Society. 22:14 They open wide their mouth against me, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

    22:15 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is become like wax; it is melted in mine inmost parts.

    22:16 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my throat; and Thou layest me in the dust of death.

    22:17 For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.

    22:18 I may count all my bones; they look and gloat over me.

    22:19 They part my garments among them, and for my vesture do they cast lots.

    22:20 But Thou, O the Lord, be not far off; O Thou my strength, hasten to help me.

  5. Ah Ezr says:

    I challenge the writer of this article to a public or an online debate on this passage based on the Hebrew language and the structural, historical and even rabbinical perspectives of Isaiah 53. Yori Yanover, in addition to have a big ego should put his money where his mouth is.

  6. Ray Watson says:

    It sure is hard to fight against the truth of Scriptures. I wonder Y Jews and Gentiles don't just give up and say, Yes Isa 53 IS talking about Messiah and no one else Notice the word HE , not the land HE died in my place to take my sin, GOD in the flesh ……GOD is able to do all the things that we think HE can't.
    Have you met a Christian Jew yet? I have , several. By the way, not all Gentiles are Christians

  7. Stan Levy says:

    Mindy, what about Psalms 22..Please be more specific :)

  8. Just read it , you'll see!

  9. Stan Levy says:

    Dear Ken, sometimes people will not do enough study and research and then they miss some important information which I would like to share with you and hopefully you will do your due diligence to check out what I am saying.
    Regarding your claim that Isaiah 53 must be speaking about Israel because G-d is using the singular pronouns and thus it cannot be about Israel and must only be about Jesus.
    G-d speaks to and of Israel in a few ways..In the singular, in the plural and in both the singular and plural in the same verse or verses.
    Here are some examples of G-d speaking of Israel in the singular and thus collectively as if one person.
    Isaiah 41:8-9, 44:1-2, 44:21, 45:4, 48:20, Isaiah 49:3..(notice that these verses that precede and envelope chapter 53 refer to Israel in the singular as being G-d's servant). There are many more verses in Tanach which speak of Israel in the singular and a word study would show you this..
    Often G-d speaks to and of Israel in both the singular and the plural and let me give you just a couple examples to make my point..
    Hosea 11:1-2, 5…..Isaiah 43:10…Isaiah 49:3,7,8
    Ken, think about the history of the Jewish people over the past 3300 years..There are no peoples on earth that have suffered at the hands of the gentiles as the Jews have had to endure.
    Isaiah 53 is both a prophecy of Israel's future redemption from exile and an admission by the gentile kings of the world of their guilt in the way Israel was treated under their stewardship over the past 1800 plus years.
    Please read again rithiegugg's posting and explanation of how Isaiah 53 should be understood when the Hebrew is translated accurately..
    I look forward to your's or anyone else's response.

  10. Stan Levy says:

    correction.must be speaking about jesus..

  11. Vladimir Weissman says:

    So, what else is new? What's so strange in the fact that Jews and Christians don't agree on theology? Let us just accept that as a fact of life and move on with important things, like the onslaught on Christians in the Moslem lands (Jews left long ago), and the deligimization of Israel by just about anybody, including the aberation that these days maskerades as the US Government… Let us also acknowledge that modern Christian nations, primarily the Protestant ones, have given the Jews the right to settle and prosper. The Jews have thanked them by making a contribution to their host nations, and to the civilized world, many times larger than their numbers in the general population. One in five Nobel laureats are/were Jewish. Less than 3 in one thousand people on Earth are Jewish. Jews have excelled everywhere they were allowed to work and contribute. This is, alas, also true in the evil endeavors of Socialism and Communism. In that regard one almost hoped that the Jews were not so smart and efficient… Jews in the West (and a substantial minority in Israel) are leftists. Like they don't want to part with their utopias… That might be changing. That, at least, is my hope…

  12. Stan Levy says:

    Mindy, since i am brand new to this thread, it may be that we are in agreement or not in agreement since I do not know where you are coming from with that statement about Psalms 22.
    Pslams 22 is clearly about Israel with David speaking on behalf of his people, using song and poetry to cry out to G-d about the plight of his people who are surrounded by their enemies.
    The chapter clearly indicates that David is asking G-d to help his people as He has helped them in the past..Israel is not looking to die as it was with Jesus who knew he was to die on the cross.
    Psalms clearly depicts David and his people pleading to G-d to come to their rescue..
    Did anyone die in chapter 22? the answer is No!!!!!
    David used metaphorical and poetic language in this Psalm and the Jewish reader would instinctively know that.
    In several verses David used animal motif to describe his enemies, i.e, bulls, lions, dogs, oxen..
    Psalms 22:17(16) in the Christian bible is a gross mistranslation of the Hebrew..The Hebrew word "k'ariy" means like/as a lion, not they pierced..This can be verified by going to Isaiah 38:13 where you will find the same exact Hebrew word and is translated there as "as a lion"…
    It is important to note that according to Christian teaching, prophecy is found in the Tanach (OT) and fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament..You will not find Psalms 22:16 quoted anywhere the New Testament as fulfillment of prophecy which means that the gospel writers did not believe that Psalms 22:16 says "they pierced my hands and my feet"..If they did it would have behooved them to quotes that verse verbatim.

  13. Verse 8, "For the transgression of MY PEOPLE he was punished." If the servant is Israel then who is MY PEOPLE?

  14. Many great rabbis before Rashi said Isaiah 53 speaks of messiah. The Gaon Vilna said Isaiah 53 speaks of messiah. Rabbi Schneerson said Isaiah 53 speaks of messiah and the nation.

  15. I just think it's sad that we can't get past history, and start having some open discussions….http://margaretannharvey.blogspot.ca/2013/08/albatross.html

  16. Kapora: The transference and atonement of sin by an innocent and holy substitute is a fundamental truth in Torah that can not be altered by anyone.

  17. Indeed the life and suffering of the Jewish people and messiah do mirror each other. Messiah is a faithful high priest who must be acquainted with and empathetic to the trials and weaknesses of HIS PEOPLE.

  18. Well,I could not disagree more with the conclusions of this writer (Jesus had no children in His lifetime, but-all Christans are His "children" by faith). Can also see, though, why most of Jesus's own people do not accept Him as their Messiah-too many Christians beat the Jewish people over the head (figuratively if not literally) with this as well as other verses… To believers, this is the perfect picture of our Messiah. One day, though, we are told ALL will know just who He is-those who currently believe as well as those, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who do not!

  19. Stan Levy says:

    Really?? are you sure about that statement? Please explain Ezekiel 18:19-25…If a righteous person dies and his community receives atonement because of his death, is that all there is to it? Aren't you missing something?? If the righteous person dies and brings about mourning in the community and causes the community to reflect on their own lives and they repent, it is the repentance that is bringing about atonement.

  20. Stan Levy says:

    David..It is interesting that the Jews of Judaism do read Rashi, The Vilna Gaon and Rabbi Schneerson, but don't come to the same understanding as those who are NT believers.
    Let me ask you a question…Does Rashi believe the messiah has already come? How about the Vilna Gaon and Rabbi Schneerson??
    Do you truthfully know the methodology of the Rabbi's? Are you aware that Judaism does not teach that the messiah will die for our sins?.Are you aware that in the theology of Judaism that the messiahs role has nothing to do with spiritual salvation but only the physical salvation of Israel from exile? Are you also aware that only G-d is our Savior? (Isaiah 43:10-11).
    Before making statements that the rabbis believed this and that, you should take the time to learn about the methodology of our Rabbis..Midrash agaddah (homily) is not the same as Halacha (Law).
    I urge you to watch the video of the disputation of Barcelona which occurred in 1263 CE..
    The King of Taragon Spain ordered a debate between Pablo Christiani vs. Rabbi Moses Nachman known as Nachmonides..You will better understand what the rabbi's say after viewing this 5 part Video..This debate actually occurred and a recording of this debate was kept and the video is a dramatization of the debate. Here is the link to the 5 part debate.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWeHBaHyoOY .
    Also please read Moshe Shulman's article "what is midrash" from his web-site " http://www.judaismsanswer.com and he goes into great detail on the subject of the rabbinical writings and their methodology. http://judaismsanswer.com/midrash.htm
    Thank you

  21. Stan Levy says:

    David, regarding Isaiah 53:8..I am sorry to inform you of this but I strongly believe that Isaiah 53:8 was purposely mistranslated by the Christian bible translators to force a belief that the verse was speaking about the death of Jesus..
    The KJV translation of 53:8…
    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".

    The Jewish Tanach translation of 53:8..
    " 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 (land of Israel): because of the transgression of my people (gentile people)a plague befell them (Israel)".

    Who is speaking? Beginning with Isaiah 53:1, the gentile Kings begin to speak through verse 9 and they are relating what they have heard from G-d when G-d speaks to them at the end of days.If you read chapter 53 with that in mind then it will make all the sense in the world what is going on..

    Now to continue to address the verse you mentioned Isaiah 53:8..The very last Hebrew word in Isaiah 58:8 is "lamo"..If you go to the concordance at http://www.blueletterbible.com you will see the Hebrew and clearly "lamo" is there and appears as the last word in the verse..Why doesn't the Christian bible translators acknowledge that word?? When you scroll down to where they show the English translation of each Hebrew word, you will also notice they ignored translating "lamo" and translated up to and including the Hebrew word "nega" which means "stricken". What they did was to imply that the word "nega" also means "he was" stricken when it only means "stricken".If they were true to the Hebrew than the verse would have to read using a possible Christian translation, "they were stricken".

    Please let me take this one step further to prove my point..The word 'lamo" also appears in about 15-20 other places and each time they properly translate those verses BUT..BUT…BUT…here is he catch, what they didn't do is show what Hebrew word was used for the English translation "to them"…They left the Hebrew blank, only showing the English translation.. You can verify this yourself by using the link provided above and by going to the following verses where the Hebrew word "lamo"which means to them (plural) appears.
    I will only give you the verses to make it easy for you where the word "lamo" is the very last word in the verse.
    Isaiah 44:7, Habakkuk 2:7, Isaiah 23:1, Psalms 119:165,Psalms 44:4, Job 14:21, Job 6:19, Deut 32:35..That should keep you busy..

  22. Craig Payne says:

    "Well spake the prophet Isaiah concerning this people,"having eyes to see they see not, having hears to hear they hear not. Lest they come unto me and be healed." Quoted by Joshuah ben Joseph of Nazareth more commonly known as Jesus the Christ(Messiah or anointed one). I have studied the Torah since I was old enough to read. I can truly say that Isaiah 53 most clearly talks about Joshuah ben Joseph. It fits no one else. Denial is not a river in Egypt. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I was a Christian Mormon missionary and I was never a trickster. When speaking to the Jewish people I never use hateful language. I have never condemned the Jewish people or their religious beliefs. If you ave different beliefs form mine that is great we can worship G-d each in our own way without name calling. Shabbot Shalom Craig Payne

  23. Craig Payne says:

    Stan Levy , quoteing the Jewish translation: "From imprisonment and from judgement he was taken …because of the transgression of my people.? Since when did Adoni refer to the Gentiles as "my people?" 'he" is the suffering servant referred to Issiah 52. The suffering servant cut off from the land of the living is a Jew not a Gentile.

  24. Craig Payne says:

    Not all Christians are Gentiles!

  25. Did you join Jewiah Press to convert Jews or because you love Jews?

  26. I believe the Jewish people have given in to the Christian theology so much that we no longer understand our own religion. We do not seek to convert, as most Christians do. Do we realize they are stripping us of our religion, history, culture, foundations, and even our G-D?

  27. Psalm 22 is Jewish, written by David

  28. I'm going off-topic a little here, but I've always had trouble seeing things the way I was taught to see things. As one who was raised in a Christian (pentecostal) household, I still don't understand why it's so important to worship Jesus, rather than G-d. Christians can argue all they want why prophecies of the Old Testament are referring to Jesus as the messiah, but they can never explain why G-d had this great salvation plan that really just muddied the waters and confused the world as to who was and is G-d. To me, it makes more sense to acknowledge the one and only Creator. Really, if Jesus was and is the true messiah, isn't that like the cruelest trick a Creator could pull on his creation? To change the game, mid-stream without explaining and proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this new messiah was and is the Son of G-d and G-d at the same time?

    And since there are so many Christians who read Jewish Press, could one of them explain to me how if Jesus is the only way to salvation, what happens to all the people who've never heard the Christian salvation message? No matter how good you are and how much you respect the Creator and his creation, it's not good enough unless you choose to follow this man as G-d. Seems a little unfair, seeing as how the Christian message doesn't reach everybody and the teachers of the message often butchered the message or the people the message was supposed to reach. I wouldn't blame somebody for not following Christ in those cases, and I don't think I could follow a creator that could either.

  29. Stan Levy says:

    Craig, I choose not to argue with your understanding since you do not believe Isaiah 53 is about Jesus..But I woud like to share with you that the verse that does specifically speak about ben yosef is zech 12:10..That is speaking about the future war of gog and magog which will be fought in the valley of megiddo. Ben Yosef will be anointed as a warrior general and he will die in that battle and all of Jerusalem will mourn for him as they did for King Josiah who also was sore wounded fighting in the valley of meggido.(see 2 chron 35:22-25.)
    Back to Isaiah 53..I can show you many paralell verses in Tanach which clearly speak of Israel in the same type of language spoken about the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, i.e; despised, afflicted, forsaken, wounded, led like sheep to the slaughter, etc, etc..I will give you one here now and if you want more just ask..compare isaiah 53:7 to Psalms 44:12-22(11-21) "led like sheep to the slaughter"

  30. Stan Levy says:

    Roasted Locust..Since Jews do not proseletyze it does not bother me that you are a believer because you are being true to G-d's oneness.You are considered to be a righteous gentile because of your beliefs..As long as you don't try to witness to Jews than you are fine…Judaism does not accept the NT teachings because the Christian claims that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about him in the Tanach are bogus..No truth to any of them. In fact I can say that of the 350+ prophecies claimed that Jesus fulfilled, NOT ONE of the prophecies were fulfilled..The Christian bible translators completely mistranslated verses that have nothing to do with Jesus and many of them have nothing to do wit messiah period…It takes chuztpah for believers to think that Christian scholars are better eqipped to translate the Hebrew than the Jewish scholars….ThanksStan Irv Levy

  31. Stan Levy , I agree with you. I'm not missing something I just didn't mention it because time and space are limited. The accreditation of that atonement to a third party is an equally important subject. Have you heard of the term self-maledictory oath? "May it be done unto me if I do not hold up my end of the covenant." The accreditation of atonement requires a self-maledictory oath by those seeking the benefits of justification. This issue has been largely overlooked by the contemporary church.

  32. Stan Levy The Gaon Vilna and Schneerson and many others said Isaiah 53 is speaking of messiah, that is a fact. It is recorded history. Everyone knows they did not believe in Yeshua. There is no one methodology or interpretation of the rabbis. That is a myth. Challenge yourself with Yitzhak Shapira's book "Return of the Kosher Pig."

  33. Craig Payne says:

    Stan Levy Where did you get the idea that I don't think Isaiah 53 is about Jesus Christ?. Of course it is! Isaiah 53:3&5 speaks of our sins, sorrows, being healed by the suffering servant,.(atonement through the shedding of blood). Pierced, crushed, and we are healed by his wound.. Isaiah speaks about "we.". Who was hiis audience. Israel ancient and modern, Israel, North ans South, Ephraim and Judah. By we Isaiah was also including himself.This must of been very moving for the great prophet. You mentioned Zechariah. This prophet continues with the wounds of the Messiah when he appears to modern Israel. "13 What are these wounds on your body? ,they ask.. "he will answer, 'The wounds I received in the house of my friends.'" Zec13:16 The disciples of Jesus Christ all believed that the entire Torah were types and symbols pointing towards the messiah and that jesus was the fulilment of these prophecies. So do I. I am not trying to argue with you I am sharing my testimony of Christ and the new Covenant.

  34. Craig Payne says:

    Stan Levy A Jewish rabbi who was a contemporary of Jesus taught that all of the temple sacrifices were types and symbols point to the last and great sacrifice of the 'suffering servant". he was trained by Gamaliel a member of the Knesset in the first century. his name was Saul of Tarsus better known as Paul.

  35. Craig Payne says:

    "All we have gone astray." Who does Isaiah include as "we"? The entire House of Israel ancient and modern. It must have been very moving to Isaiah seeing the suffering servant being abandoned, crushed and pierced so that Isaiah sins could be atoned for.

  36. Craig Payne says:

    By the way I graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science Degree. I also studied Middle Eastern studies which include not just Israel but Egypt ancient Iraq , the Crusades, Islam ext.

  37. Craig Payne says:

    There are hundred of prophecies of the messiah that reached their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. You may differ about that but for all these prophesies to be fulfilled by one man 33 years of life are astronomical.

  38. psalm 116 "I love the Lord, the fount of life and grace, He heard my voice, my cry my supplication, bend down His ear, gave joy and consolation, In life and death, my heart shall seek His face. What shall I render to my Saviour now, for all the riches of His consolation, With joy I"ll take the cup of His salvation. And call upon His name with thankful vow. David speaking about taking the cup of salvation, what cup of salvation is he speaking of? Was it not Christ who drank the cup of our salvation, and regained for us paradise, as now we once again can commune with the Lord G-d of Isreal only through Christ as He has taken away our trangressions, when we ask forgiveness in His name. As there is no other saviour beside Him, who delivered us from the bondage of sin and death, so that we now give praise and thanks to the Lord G-d of Isreal for the grace and love which was manifested in Christ. what other king does give His life for the people? shalom and G-d bless, beside Christ has put a love for Israel into our heart as G-d sends His holy spirit into our hearts which convicts us of sin and points us to the saving grace which is in Christ our Redeemer.

  39. The NT was not written by Goyim (even Luke had become a Jewish believer) but Jews who had walked with and had been disciple by Yeshua miNatzeret, bar David, bar Avraham.

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