Interpreting the 'Servant Song' of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Essay

Interpreting the 'Servant Song' of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Essay

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Introduction: In this essay we shall undertake the above assignment title in the following way. Firstly; we shall look briefly at some exegetical issues, which may affect, the actual translation of the text. Secondly we shall endeavour to examine the differing opinions of interpretation concerning the passage and the identity of the servant in particular, interacting and engaging with both the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the prospective views. Thirdly; a brief conclusion will be given.
In this essay, the arguments with regards date and authorship of Isaiah, will not be dealt with, as the subject is vast and the above title does not expressly demand it.

Exegetical issues: The purpose of this section will be to study some exegetical issues which could affect ones interpretation of the fourth servant song. The first real problem in exegesis is found in 52:15 in the phrase 'so will he sprinkle many nations' (NIV emphasis mine) or alternatively 'so he shall startle many nations.' (JPS TNK emphasis mine). The word in question is hZ
nāzâ signifies a spattering or (Hiphil) sprinkling of blood, oil, or water either with one’s finger (Lev 4:6) or a “sprinkler” (Lev 14:7). (1999 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed) Page 566)

Everywhere else hZ




The LXX reading my also influence the 'startle' translation, the LXX renders hZ

... middle of paper ...


...(ed). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) . InterVarsity Press Leicester.

France, R.T. 'The Servant Of The Lord In The Teaching Of Jesus' in Tyndale Bulletin 19:1 1968 pages 26-52.

Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (566). Chicago: Moody Press.

Motyer, A.J. 1993, Isaiah, IVP Leciester.

Rae, M. 2007 'Scripture and the Divine Economy' in Journal of Theological Interpretation 1.1 pages 5-6.




Watts, J. D. W. 2002. Vol. 25: Word Biblical Commentary : Isaiah 34-66. Word, Dallas.

Westermann, C. 1969, Isaiah 40-66, SCM, Philadelpha.

Whybray R.N. 1990, 'Servant songs', in R. J. Coggins and J.L. Houlden (ed) The SCM Dictionary of biblical Interpretation.

Young E. J. 1949, 'Of Whom Speaketh The Prophet This?' Westminster Theological Journal 11:2, pages 133-156.

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