Rabbi Tovia Singer – Isaiah 53: Rabbi Tovia Singer reveals the meaning of the most misused chapter in the Bible

Isaiah 53: Rabbi Tovia Singer reveals the meaning of the most misused chapter in the Bible

A caller asks Rabbi Singer the question:

Historically how do we know that corporate Israel is what we’re talking about in Isaiah 53 and it’s not just one person?

He has a long intro, but eventually he responds that context is important.

The proper study of any passages let’s go to the context …  which means we’ll study the text using a rigorous method … context is going to determine our understanding of this passage. This is a normal hermeneutical methods completely mainstream.

He then says we should look at the last word prior to Isa 52:13.

What is the very last word of Isaiah 52 verse 12? … the word is Israel.

Yes, in the Hebrew, Israel is the last word in Isaiah 52:12.  Here is the KJV translation.

[Isa 52:12 KJV] 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel [will be] your rereward.
https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/isa … onc_731012

How can one claim to understand the context when one simply pulls out a single word and don’t even explain the context? The context of the usage is the God of Israel. Further, the context of the verse is Isaiah/God addressing the nation of Israel.  Israel is the “ye/you” in the verse. The passage is also a reference to the Exodus. Given the reference to Exodus, it makes sense the servant of Isa 52:13 is a Moses figure, not the nation of Israel itself.

In the 13th verse, the servant is addressed in the third person (he), not the second person (ye/you), so it’s not the nation of Israel as in verse 12.

[Isa 52:13 KJV] 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Further, exalted is a reference to God throughout Isaiah, not a man or even to Israel.

Isa 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isa 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isa 33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

Is it a big coincidence? So as it turns out Isaiah 52 describes Ben Israel who suffers as a result of persecution of her neighbors and that God will redeem Klaus all the sight of all the nations. That’s it.

That’s the argument?  That simply Israel is the last word in the Isa 52:12?  This is not even analyzing the context, but simply lifting a single word out of context.

Let’s go to Isaiah 54… Who is Isaiah talking about? It’s talking about qualities for the nation of Israel in the singular.

In Isaiah 54, it goes back to addressing Israel that God will restore Israel.

Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee

In Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.

Nowhere does it state Israel will be her own deliverer or savior in Isaiah 54.

You are being asked to believe by Christians, by the Southern Baptists, by the Roman Catholic Church, by the Greek Orthodox church, by the Assemblies of God, by Jews for Jesus, Isaiah 53 is talking about Jesus.

Yes, because it makes sense given the context.

Why in churches when Isaiah 53 is discussed never is Isaiah 41 discussed.

I’m assuming he’s referring to Israel being called a servant.

Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, [art] my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Sure, Israel is referred to as a servant in passages before Isa 53.  But other things are referred to as servants of God, including an individual. Immediately before Isa 53, the servant in Isa 49 is an individual that restores Israel. So, if Rabbi Singer wants to go back, why did he skip mentioning Isa 49?

Isa 49:6-7 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. Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, [and] the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

In Isaiah 50, God condemns Israel for their iniquities.

Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

Later, the servant talks about himself as one that was not rebellious.

Isaiah 50:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

So Israel and the servant cannot be the same from the chapters before Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53 describes the reaction of the Gentile nations at the end of days when what happens in their view is like nothing they ever heard. What they will see is like nothing that ever considered.

This makes no sense because this means Isaiah 53 is written from the perspective of the Gentile nations.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

There is nowhere in the Bible is a prophecy spoken from the perspective of a Gentile.

I see so many Christians they I see that the very passion is so on but if you don’t go back to the original you don’t go to the context and it’s a lot of trouble.

Interesting Rabbi Singer says this when he’s full of passion and doesn’t interpret things in context.

If the context doesn’t determine the meaning of an ambiguous passage then we live in an alternative universe.

Well, from his own testimony, he must be living in an alternative universe.