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Peter; forgive sins? Perish the thought

(This is a follow-on from The Roman Catholic Church’s dogma of binding and loosing sin)

The Roman Catholic dogma of “Confession,” as with all its dogmas, is based on the mother of all dogmas, the infallibility of Peter, whom they claim to be their first pope, and its sister dogma, the “Apostolic succession.” The Roman Catholic Church authorises its priests to forgive/absolve sins. In this regard, John 20:23 is one of the RCC’s texts: “If YOU forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if YOU withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

The Roman Catholic interpretation is that these were all or some of the 11 APOSTLES. Let us back up to verse John 20:19:

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the DISCIPLES were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” [20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

The RCC position is based on the view that these disciples were the Apostles only. But why should this be so? Because this power resides in the Apostolic succession through Peter. So, to have disciples who are not Apostles in the room (in John 20:19-23 above) would not be good for the RCC.

I turn to Luke 24, the episode when two disciples meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus and to what happened when they returned to Jerusalem to tell other disciples what they had seen and heard:

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven AND THOSE WHO WERE WITH THEM GATHERED TOGETHER, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread…44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

So, in the room with Jesus were the 11 Apostles as well as OTHER disciples. The upshot: the idea that “disciples” in John 20:19-23 meant more than just Apostles is extremely cogent.

To return to John 20:23, the passage can only mean this: “Now, says S Lewis Johnson, notice the force of the perfect passive. So, what does this mean then?

“Whosoever sins ye forgive, they shall have been forgiven to them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they shall have been retained.” Well, when it’s all put together, the statement is simply this; the church has not been given the authority to forgive sins. She has been given the authority to proclaim forgiveness to the believing and judgment to the unbelieving. And as long as the church is faithful to the word of God, her pronouncements do simply reveal what has already been determined in heaven. In other words, God has set forth the conditions by which forgiveness, and by which no forgiveness may take place. And therefore, the decisions that count are made in heaven, not upon the earth.” (S L Johnson, Basic doctrine, “The forgiveness of sins”).

The Apostle Peter, leader of the twelve, was without doubt Primus inter pares, first among equals. Peter, however, never ever said anything at all like “Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti” (I absolve/forgive you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” What does Peter say to Simon the sorcerer? “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 20:8).

Peter; forgive sins? Perish the thought, but hopefully not those who entertain the thought.

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).

Isaiah 53: The Suffering and Insufferable Servant

In the book of Isaiah there are four “servant songs.” The exegetical problem is that sometimes the servant refers to Israel and other times not. The Jewish argument is that the servant always refers to Israel. There does, however, seem to be two servants, one of which is Israel. Consider the following passage (Isaiah 49:3-6):

[3] And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
[4] But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the LORD,
and my recompense with my God.”

It is clear, the servant is Israel. Now read on (Isaiah 49:5):

[5] And now the LORD says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—

[6] he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

The servant in verse 5 is no longer Israel, but someone – an individual – who will bring back Jacob, that is, Israel, to the Lord. (See The raising of the servant in Isaiah; by Israel’s bootstraps).

The most contentious servant passage is Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12, which for Christians is the central prophtetic passage in all of scripture. The passage begins:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand (Isaiah 52:13-15)

Here is the typical Jewish view of Isaiah 53 as described by Gerald Sigal. He quotes Isaiah 53:7-9:

”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.”

Sigal asks: According to Isaiah 53:8, why does the servant of the Lord suffer?

His answer: There is no indication in verse 8 that the servant of the Lord suffers to atone for the sins of others. What this verse states is that he suffers as a result of the misdeeds of others, who treat him unfairly and unjustly. Hence, the conclusion of the verse, in which the enemies of the servant admit responsibility for the cruel treatment they have meted out to him. This is the confession of the Gentile spokesperson, who now expresses the Gentile realization that it was they and their people who deserved to suffer the humiliation inflicted on the servant of the Lord, as admitted in verses 4-6. In short, the servant’s enemies admit that his suffering stemmed from their own sinful imposition of hardships upon him: “From the transgression of my people there has been affliction to him [them].” The servant of the Lord suffers not on behalf of others’ sins but because of the things that sinful men do to him.

Sigal says (above):

”There is no indication in verse 8 that the servant of the Lord suffers to atone for the sins of others. What this verse states is that he suffers as a result of the misdeeds of others, who treat him unfairly and unjustly.”

Sigal argues that ”for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (53:8) means that Israel (the servant) ”suffers as a result of the misdeeds of others (the Gentiles), who treat him (Israel) unfairly and unjustly.”

The Jewish view of the above passage is that the phrase ”my people” (ami עַמִּי) is uttered out of a Gentile mouth. There’s a contradiction here because the phrase ”my people” – which appears about 220 times in the Tanach – never ever refers to any other entity than Israel. Here are a few examples:

Exodus 3:7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,

Exodus 8:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.

”My people” occurs 25 times in Isaiah, and always refers to Israel, except, the Jewish argument goes, in the Isaiah passages quoted above. Here are a few examples from Isaiah:

Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.

Isaiah 3:7-15 On that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people. 8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9 The shew (expression) of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. 10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

12 As for my people, children (babes) are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. 13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. 14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

Verse 14 refers to the Jewish leaders and false prophets that lead ”my people” astray.

The Tanach is filled with passages of rebuke against ”my people” for their multiple and unceasing transgressions.

Psalm 50:7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.

In Isaiah 6: 8-10, Isaiah says: ”…Here am I; send me.9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

And Micah 1:1-9

1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. 3 For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. 5 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof… 9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.

Sigal said above that in Isaiah 53, ”(t)here is no indication in verse 8 that the servant of the Lord suffers to atone for the sins of others. What this verse states is that he suffers as a result of the misdeeds of others, who treat him unfairly and unjustly. Hence, the conclusion of the verse, in which the enemies of the servant admit responsibility for the cruel treatment they have meted out to him. This is the confession of the Gentile spokesperson, who now expresses the Gentile realization that it was they and their people who deserved to suffer the humiliation inflicted on the servant of the Lord, as admitted in verses 4-6.”

Is it really true that it was the ”Gentile realization that it was they and their people who deserved to suffer the humiliation inflicted on the servant of the Lord, as admitted in verses 4-6.” No, it’s not true.

We need to consider more of Isaiah 53 to confirm that this central salvation passage is not the Lord speaking through the Gentiles (through Isaiah).

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

My question is: ”Where on this earth has it ever occurred or will ever occur that Israel shuts his mouth when confronted with suffering. Besides, when it comes to any issue at all, aren’t we Jews rather vocal? Israel certainly has never given his life for his enemies.

Another verse:

9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

No deceit in Israel’s mouth! When large swathes of Israel’s history tells of Israel’s perennial whoredoms! One need go no further. No, the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 is by no stretch of the imagination – and only by an extravagant show of incipient chutzpa – Israel.

”12…O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. 13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. 14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses” (Isaiah 3).

Israel the insufferable servant; his wound is incurable (Micah, 1:9); without the undeserved mercy – of the Suffering servant.

The raising of the servant in Isaiah; by Israel’s bootstraps

Jews argue that the suffering servant in the book of Isaiah refers to the nation Israel because there are many preceding passages in Isaiah that refer to the servant as Israel, that is, the “tribes of Jacob” mentioned in Chapter 49:6 below:

Isaiah 49:3-6
“3 And he said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
5 And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

Consider verse 6. It says that “It is a light thing that thou should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel.” If the servant in this passage (whom God formed from the womb, verse 5) is Israel, then Israel (tribes of Jacob) will raise itself up by it’s own bootstraps. And that is exactly what Israel and Jewish commentators on Isaiah 53 are attempting to do.

Isaiah 53 and the identity Chrisis of the suffering servant

This piece is based on comments from the post “Isaiah 53 – I see Jesus (eisegesis) or exegesis – who is the suffering servant?” at the Roshpinaproject

Don’t ask a Jew what Isaiah 53:1 means, ask a Goy; for it’s the latter who is asking (the Jew?) “Who has believed our report?”

Moshe Shulman repies: “The books of the Tanach were not meant for gentiles.”

Most Jews say that “he” in Isaiah 53:5 refers to Israel? And who does “our” refer to?

“But he (ISRAEL) was pierced for our (WHO IS THIS?) transgressions, he (ISRAEL) was crushed for our (WHO IS THIS?) iniquities; the punishment that brought us (WHO IS THIS?) peace was upon him (ISRAEL), and by his (ISRAEL) wounds we (WHO IS THIS?) are healed” Isaiah 53:5.

David Cook says that the Righteous Servant cannot be Israel since this makes zero sense to write that; But ISRAEL was pierced for ISRAEL’S transgressions, ISRAEL was crushed for ISRAEL’S iniquities; the punishment that brought ISRAEL’S peace was upon ISRAEL, and by ISRAEL’S wounds ISRAEL is healed. But Y’shua was pierced for ISRAEL’S transgressions, Y’shua was crushed for ISRAEL’S iniquities; the punishment that brought ISRAEL’S peace was upon Y’shua, and by Y’shua’s wounds ISRAEL is healed. ( Isaiah 53:5).

Cook continues: It does make sense and is theologically correct to interpret that Y’shua is the righteous servant Isaiah prophesied about in chapter 53. This agrees with what is written in Daniel chapter 9:24-26 that the Moshiach would atone for iniquities and be “cut off” (executed). (End of Cook).

Moshe Shulman says my translation is problematic because it loses the nuance of the Hebrew. In English, it is better, he says, to translate Isaiah 53:5 as ‘by our’ and not ‘for our’. His reasoning is that Israel suffers because of the sinfulness of the nations.

How, though, does this solve the identity crisis of the pronouns? To repeat:

But he (ISRAEL) was pierced for our (WHO IS THIS?) transgressions, he (ISRAEL) was crushed for our (WHO IS THIS?) iniquities; the punishment that brought us (WHO IS THIS?) peace was upon him (ISRAEL), and by his (ISRAEL) wounds we (WHO IS THIS?) are healed” Isaiah 53:5.

Let’s replace my “for” with Shulman’s  “by”:

But he (ISRAEL) was pierced by our (WHO IS THIS?) transgressions, he (ISRAEL) was crushed by our (WHO IS THIS?) iniquities; the punishment that brought us (WHO IS THIS?) peace was upon him (ISRAEL), and by his (ISRAEL) wounds we (WHO IS THIS?) are healed” Isaiah 53:5.

The question still remains. WHO IS THIS?

Here is the first half of the verse – which will serve our purpose – in Hebrew with the English translation: is the preposition, which can mean for, by, on account of, because of (and more)

The MEM מִ is the preposition, which can mean for, by, on account of, because of (and more). The OO וּ is the plural possessive suffix “our”. I divide the excerpt into two parts:

והוּא מְחֹלָל מִפְּשָׁעֵנו

vehoo m’cholal mipsha-aynoo And he was pierced (wounded) for our transgressions

מְדֻכָּא מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ

m’dooka may-a-onotaynoo he was crushed for our iniquities….

וְהוּא מְחֹלָל מִפְּשָׁעֵנוּAnd he was pierced/wounded/ (וְהוּא מְחֹלָל) for/by/on account of (מִ)our (וּ) transgressions (מִפְּשָׁעֵנוּ)

מְדֻכָּא מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ – he was crushed (מְדֻכָּא) for/by/on account (מֵ) our (וּ)iniquities (מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ)

Recall that Moshe Shulman translates the MEM מִ/מֵ as “by,” (possibly a published Jewish translation). Here are two other Jewish sources, which translate the MEM as “because of”:

My Jewish Family Bible (Leonard Davidow, Menora Press, 1960) and Mechon-Mamre:

“But he was wounded BECAUSE OF our transgressions, he was crushed BECAUSE OF our iniquities.”

The question remains: In Isaiah 53, who does “our” refer to? The general Jewish response, represented here by Moshe Shulman, is that “our” (transgressions/iniquities) cannot be Israel. because, according to the general Jewish view, “he” (was wounded) refers to Israel. Now who else on earth could “our” refer to? That’s easy. In the Tanach (Jewish Bible), everyone who is not a Jew is a Gentile, a Goy. So, the only feasible translation is this:

“But he (ISRAEL) was pierced for our (GOYIM) transgressions, he (ISRAEL) was crushed for our (GOYIM) iniquities; the punishment that brought us (GOYIM) peace was upon him (ISRAEL), and by his (ISRAEL) wounds we (GOYIM) are healed” Isaiah 53:5.

What about Moshe Shulman’s argument that” And he (ISRAEL) was pierced for our transgressions” should be translated “And he (ISRAEL) was pierced by our transgressions?”

Moshe Shulman’s focus is on prepositions, mine is on pronouns, namely, who is who in “And he was pierced by (Moshe)/for our transgressions?” Who is who is indeed the main issue, is it not? Thecrisis, therefore, remains. In my book, and David Cook’s book,  the Chrisis is the Messias. Whether the Messias is Y’shua, well, I don’t need to go there – for now, because what I have tried to show is not that “he” must refer to Y’shua, but that “he” can not refer to Israel. C’mon Moshe, give in; “he” is haMashiach, if not for salvation’s sake, at least for grammar’s sake.

Raphael Grammargroff

The desolation and consolation of Isaiah 53 in the qumran scrolls

In “Where Moshe Shulman is right on Isaiah 53”

I requested a response to the following:

How can the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 be nothing/no one but “Israel”. How can “him” and “us” in Isaiah 53:6 both refer to the same entity.

Isaiah 53:6

כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכֹּ֖ו פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בֹּ֔ו אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן כֻּלָּֽנוּ׃

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on HIM
the iniquity of US all.

All I would like to know is how “him” and “us” can both refer to “Israel” (the suffering servant).

Moshe Shulman replied: The us is the gentiles the him is Israel. What’s the problem?”

In Moshe Shulman’s http://judaismsanswer.com/haftorah.htm he argues:

“There appears to be support for the view of the Rabbis, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Isaiah 53 does not relate to any consolations for the Jewish People. This is from the documents 4Q176, which is referred to as 4QTanhumin[5]. Scholars see this fragment as a collection of verses consoling Israel.”

He says:

… an examination of these(haftorah) passages we see that they give messages of comfort for the Jewish people in exile. However, no matter what the interpretation of Isaiah 53 one takes, there are no words of comfort for the Jewish people.”

I find that very interesting that the Jewish people find no comfort in Isaiah 53, for it ends on a very high note for  (according to Rashi) the sin-bearing-of the-nations Jewish people:

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

We saw earlier that for Moshe Shulman, “the LORD has laid on HIM
the iniquity of US all,”
The “us” is the gentiles the “him” is Israel.

So, Moshe is bearing my sins? Ok, not me, because deep down I’m a Jewish follower of Jesus; rather, the sins of those  gentile followers of Jesus.

It must be a great and glorious thing, if not comfort, to Moshe to believe that God has chosen him (and other Jews) to bear “our (the gentiles) sins.” I also think of those Jews who bore the sins of Jesus. With Israel’s stripes Christ could have been healed; but Jesus, Jesus, you just would not.

Anonymous made the following comment on the above :

Who said that the Jews are happy to suffer the tribulations G-d promised and delivered to them? As a Jew, are you happy that your ancestors endured 210 years of Egyptian oppression, slavery and genocide? In the final analysis, even though it was part of G-d’s plan that the Jews would suffer at Egypt’s hand, as He forecast to Abraham, does it look to you like G-d was pleased with Egpyt, or that He did not deliver them their just deserts for their iniquity?”

“While every Jew should endeavour to be a servant to G-d, no one likes to suffer. And those gentile nations who took advantage of the opportunity to badly abuse the Jewish people, G-d’s representatives in this world, are in for a heck of a surprise. They’ll be rendered speechless, and without any excuse for their despicable misconduct in the over-the-top abuse with which they castigated Israel.”

To Anonymous’s question: “Who said that the Jews are happy to suffer the tribulations G-d promised and delivered to them?”

Well, of course, they would not be happy. Nor were they happy with all the prophets who kept on and on reminding them of their whoredoms (running after false gods), and whom they hounded or killed. Who wants to be reminded of those prophetic desolations? So, let’s exclude as much desolation from our haftorah portions as we can and include as much consolations as we can.

Let me say more about Moshe Shulman’s research on the qumram document 4Q176, which “appears to be support for the view of the Rabbis, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Isaiah 53 does not relate to any consolations for the Jewish People.”

Document 4Q176 is from the book of “Jubilees” of the “Pseudogrraphica” collection, “created during the Second Temple period. They reflect the messianic and eschatological developments of Judaism(s) at the time…The Pseudographica is a collection of texts in which the authorship is ascribed to some important figure of history or literature who did not write them but who may appear as a figure in the work or whose name simply secures a readership” (P. 95).

If 4Q176 is of the Second Temple period, then any consolations ascribed to the motivations for its composition can’t have anything to with any Jewish suffering subsequent to this period, which is many centuries before Christ; therefore certainly nothing to do with the destruction of the second temple, or any of the Jewish persecutions through the centuries (e.g. pogroms, Shoah).

So why did the Jews of that Second Temple period leave out Isaiah 53 (if we can trust the qumram fragment of the Book of Jubilees)? What did they want to console themselves from; what suffering made them exclude Isaiah 53, which is full of so much (of their?) desolation?

Here is the probable explanation form Chabad.org.

The kings of the Kingdom of Israel practised idolatry, but so did many of the kings of the Kingdom of Judah. G d sent prophets repeatedly to admonish the Jews, but they refused to change their ways, choosing instead to deride these prophets as false messengers coming to discourage them with predictions of destruction. G d sent prophets repeatedly to admonish the Jews, but they refused to change their ways. In one egregious example, in 661 BCE, the prophet Zechariah ben Jehoiada chastised the nation for their sins, warning them of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. Rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. Incredibly, this occurred on Yom Kippur. Rather than allowing Zechariah’s blood to settle into the earth, G d caused it to bubble up. The people tried to cover it with earth, but it continued to seethe for the next 252 years, until the Destruction of the Temple.

God is in total control of everything. He doesn’t slumber nor does he turn his back on his creation.

Isaiah 46:

10 I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: My purpose will stand,

and I will do all that I please.

11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;

from a far-off land, a man to fulfil my purpose.

What I have said, that will I bring about;

what I have planned, that will I do.

12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,

you who are far from righteousness.

13 I am bringing my righteousness near,

it is not far away;

and my salvation will not be delayed.

I will grant salvation to Zion,

my splendour to Israel.

Before salvation comes destruction – at the hand of the LORD, for “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

The reason why they left out Isaiah 53 becomes clearer (to me):

6a We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

Now according to Moshe Shulman “we”: refers to the “goyim”. But that to me is incredible.

“Let’s leave Isaiah 53 out of the haftorah portions, it’s just too painful for “us” (Jews, who else?).” Surely “us” cannot be the gentile Nebuchadnezzar and his armies (who destroyed the first templeand Jerusalem, and killed most of the Jewish population).

And what about?

6b and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Who is this “him?” Moshe and Anonymous – and Rashi – say,”it’s us.”

Incredible.

In “Where Moshe Shulman is right on Isaiah 53”

I requested a response to the following:

.

How can the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 be nothing/no one but “Israel”. How can “him” and “us” in Isaiah 53:6 both refer to the same entity.
Isaiah 53:6

כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכֹּ֖ו פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בֹּ֔ו אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן כֻּלָּֽנוּ׃

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on HIM
the iniquity of US all.

All I would like to know is how “him” and “us” can both refer to “Israel” (the suffering servant).

Moshe Shulman replied:

“The us is the gentiles the him is Israel. What’s the problem?”

In Moshe Shulman’s http://judaismsanswer.com/haftorah.htm he says:

“There appears to be support for the view of the Rabbis, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Isaiah 53 does not relate to any consolations for the Jewish People. This is from the documents 4Q176, which is referred to as 4QTanhumin[5]. Scholars see this fragment as a collection of verses consoling Israel.”

He adumbrates:

“… an examination of these(haftorah) passages we see that they give messages of comfort for the Jewish people in exile. However, no matter what the interpretation of Isaiah 53 one takes, there are no words of comfort for the Jewish people.”

I find that very interesting that the Jewish people find no comfort in Isaiah 53, for it ends on a very high note for – according to Rashi – the sin-bearing-of the-nations Jewish people:

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

We saw earlier that for Moshe Shulman, “the LORD has laid on HIM
the iniquity of US all”

“The us is the gentiles the him is Israel. What’s the problem?”

So, Moshe, are you are bearing my sins? Ok, not me, because deep down I’m a Jew; rather, the sins of those “Messianics” who are not of the genetic seed of Abraham, and ALL gentiles.

Surely that must be a great and glorious comfort to you, to believe that God had chosen you (and other Jews) to bear “our (the gentiles) sins” I also think of those Jews who bore the sins of Jesus. With Israel’s stripes Christ could have been healed; but Jesus, Jesus, you would not.

Anonymous made he following comment on the above:

“Who said that the Jews are happy to suffer the tribulations G-d promised and delivered to them? As a Jew, are you happy that your ancestors endured 210 years of Egyptian oppression, slavery and genocide? In the final analysis, even though it was part of G-d’s plan that the Jews would suffer at Egypt’s hand, as He forecast to Abraham, does it look to you like G-d was pleased with Egpyt, or that He did not deliver them their just deserts for their iniquity?

While every Jew should endeavour to be a servant to G-d, no one likes to suffer. And those gentile nations who took advantage of the opportunity to badly abuse the Jewish people, G-d’s representatives in this world, are in for a heck of a surprise. They’ll be rendered speechless, and without any excuse for their despicable misconduct in the over-the-top abuse with which they castigated Israel.

To Anonymous’s question: “Who said that the Jews are happy to suffer the tribulations G-d promised and delivered to them?”

Well, of course, they would not be happy. Nor were they happy with all the prophets who kept on and on reminding them of their whoredoms (running after false gods), and whom they killed. Who wants to be reminded of that desolation. So, let’s exclude as much desolation from our haftorah portions as we can and include as much consolations as we can.

With regard to Moshe Shulman’s research on the qumram document 4Q176, which “appears to be support for the view of the Rabbis, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Isaiah 53 does not relate to any consolations for the Jewish People.”

Document 4Q176 is from the book of “Jubilees” of the “Pseudogrraphica” collection, “created during the Second Temple period. They reflect the messianic and eschatological developments of Judaism(s) at the time…The Pseudographica is a collection of texts in which the authorship is ascribed to some important figure of history or literature who did not write them but who may appear as a figure in the work or whose name simply secures a readership” (P. 95).

http://books.google.co.za/books?id=Y5OEHnL5VdEC&pg=PA95&lpg=PA95&dq=dead+sea+scrolls+documents+4Q176&source=bl&ots=RGHD1paj-l&sig=1WS5GILgZpTeO3DtHUGfcvKc2_4&hl=en&ei=2VSGTJjnFYvgON_olMgO&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

If 4Q176 is of the Second Temple period, then any consolations ascribed to the motivations for its composition can’t have anything to with any Jewish suffering subsequent to this period, which is many centuries before Christ; therefore certainly nothing to do with the destruction of the second temple, or any of the Jewish persecutions through the centuries (e.g. pogroms, Shoah).

So why did the Jews of that Second Temple period leave out Isaiah 53 (if we can trust the qumram fragment of the Book of Jubilees)? What did they want to console themselves from; what suffering made them exclude Isaiah 53, which was so much desolation?

Here is the probable explanation form Chabad.org.

“The kings of the Kingdom of Israel practised idolatry, but so did many of the kings of the Kingdom of Judah. G d sent prophets repeatedly to admonish the Jews, but they refused to change their ways, choosing instead to deride these prophets as false messengers coming to discourage them with predictions of destruction. G d sent prophets repeatedly to admonish the Jews, but they refused to change their ways. In one egregious example, in 661 BCE, the prophet Zechariah ben Jehoiada chastised the nation for their sins, warning them of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. Rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. Incredibly, this occurred on Yom Kippur. Rather than allowing Zechariah’s blood to settle into the earth, G d caused it to bubble up. The people tried to cover it with earth, but it continued to seethe for the next 252 years, until the Destruction of the Temple.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/144569/jewish/The-First-Temple.htm

God is in total control of everything. He doesn’t slumber nor does he turn his back on his creation.

Isaiah 46:

10 I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: My purpose will stand,

and I will do all that I please.

11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;

from a far-off land, a man to fulfil my purpose.

What I have said, that will I bring about;

what I have planned, that will I do.

12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,

you who are far from righteousness.

13 I am bringing my righteousness near,

it is not far away;

and my salvation will not be delayed.

I will grant salvation to Zion,

my splendour to Israel.

Before salvation comes destruction – at the hand of the LORD, for “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

The reason why they left out Isaiah 53 becomes clearer (to me):

6a We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

Now according to Moshe Shulman “we”: refers to the “goyim”. But that to me is incredible.

I can just (about) see it: “Let’s leave Isaiah 53 out of the haftorah portions, it’s just too painful for “us” (Jews; surely not Nebuchadnezzar).

And what about?

6b and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Who is this him? Moshe and Anon say, it’s them.

I say again: incredible.