The Third Servant in Isaiah: take pity on Zion’s dust

I continue here with my argument that Isaiah 53 cannot be Israel. I shall argue that there are possibly three kinds of servants, not only two (Israel and Messiah). The third servant is possibly a remnant of the Gentiles.

Consider Isaiah 65:2-16:

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, 7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
8 Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. 9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.
11 But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. 12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. 15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: 16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

Compare the first verse of Isaiah 65 (that I omitted above) with Romans 10:19-21:

Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name

Romans 10
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

In light of the above, it is exegetically impossible and theologically insufferable to imagine that the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 can refer to the iniquitous persons described in Isaiah 65 (and also described in many other verses in the Tanach), namely, the bulk of the nation of Israel.

Compare specific verses of Isaiah 53 with Isaiah 65:

Isaiah 53:11-12
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.

Isaiah 65: 7
Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

The suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 is a “righteous” servant, whereas the entity discussed in Isaiah 65:7, Israel, is a den of iniquity.

There are two kinds of servants in Isaiah: the remnant of Israel and the Servant, the Messiah, who will bear their iniquities and save them. Actually, there is a third category of “servant,” namely, the elect Gentiles mentioned in Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

And perhaps it will be the servants of that nation that will one day together with a remnant of Israel look on Zion and take pity on her dust (Psalm 102:14).

4 thoughts on “The Third Servant in Isaiah: take pity on Zion’s dust

  1. Isaiah predicted about when God’s Servant (Messiah) will atone for our sins. He also wrote about when Messiah would rule in a era of peace. The prophet Ezekiel foretold about God’s servant His Son our Messiah; “My servant David” (the descendant of David) who would rule as king forever.
    24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” Ezekiel 37 NIV

    The apostle John wrote about this time when Messiah would reign for a 1000 years and then on into eternity in the book of Revelation 20-21.

  2. Raphy thank you for this insightful article! Interesting to read about the gentile elect in the Tanach (Isaiah 65:9).

    Peter wrote, 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2 NIV

    Thanks be to God our Father for His great love and mercy to send His Son and Servant our Messiah to atone for our sins, the sins of His elect; both Jews and Gentiles!!

    • David, I recall that on the Roshpinaproject site and on this site you were criticised for always “resorting” to scripture. THAT, of course, is the most powerful kind of comment, because it comes direct from the mouth of God, cutting deep down between the joints and marrow, drawing the blood of exasperation from those who oppose the Christ.
      Revelation 19:15-16
      Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.

      • I took the criticism as a complement because I know that, “Thy Word is Truth” O Lord and the “truth shall set you free…” One of my friends calls me Logos man because I love the Word of God, to study it and by His grace put it into practice. Of course we both know that the true Logos Man is the “WORD of God” mentioned both in John 1 and in Revelation 19. Much grace and peace to you Raphy!

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