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lated to their own nation, and was a prophecy of their suffering and persecuted state, and of their ultimate emancipation and happiness. And this interpretation of the prophecy the learned Vitringa in his Commentary upon Is. in loc. allows to be the most respectable he had met with among the Jews, and according to him “ to be by no means despised."
In order that the fitness or unfitness of this application of the Prophecy may be made apparent, and evident, we will now lay before the reader this famous Prophecy, part by part, each part accompanied by the Jewish interpretation.
Isaiah lii, 13, 6 Behold my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high.” Interpretation-My servant Israel, though he be in great affliction for a time, yet hereafter shall be released from captivity, and be honoured and raised to elevation very high among the nations of the earth. [That the Jewish nation is spoken of in the singular number and under the title of God's servant frequently in the Old Testament, is well known, and will be here made certain by a few examples. Isaiah xli. (the chapter preceding the Prophecy) “ But thou Israel my servant, thou Jacob, whom I have chosen," presently afterwards, 66 saying to thee, thou art my servant." Again, chapter xliv. “ Now therefore, hear Jacob my servant,” and so frequently in the same chapter. See also ch. xlv. and Jer. ch. xxx. and Ps. cxxxvi. and Isaiah throughout, for similar examples.]
66 As many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.”) That is-As many were astonished at thee, on account of thy abject state, and miserable condition, being squalid with misery, and suffering more than any men.
“ So shall he sprinkle many nations, the kings shall shut their mouths at him ; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not • heard shall they consider.”
Interpretation-As the Gentiles wondered at their abject state, so as to make them a proverb of reproach, so shall they admire at their wonderful change of circumstances, from the depth of degradation to the height of prosperity, and honour. So that they shall lay their hands upon their mouths, which had beforetime reproached them, when they shall see their felicity to be so far beyond what had been told them, and they shall attentively consider it, and they shall say to each other
" Who hath believed our report, and the arm of the Lord to whom was it revealed? For he grew up, Heb. not " he shall grow up” as in the English version] before him as a tender plařit, and as a root out of a dry soil, he had no form nor comeliness : and when we saw him, there was no beauty that we should desire him."
The sense is, The Gentiles shall say to each other in wonder, 66 Who believed what we heard concerning them ? And to whom was the interest the Lord took in them made known ? For it was a despised people, feeble, and wretched, like a tender plant springing up out of a thirsty soil. Their appearance was abject and there was nothing atfractive in their manners."
“ He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid, as it were our faces from him, he was despised, and we es. teemed him not."
That is, They were despised, and held in abhors : rence, they were men of sorrow, and familiar with suffering. We looked upon them with dislikc, we hid our faces from them, and esteemed them not.
“ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."
Interpretation-Surely their sufferings are as great. as if they had vorne the sins of the whole world; or, they are nevertheless the means appointed to remove the sufferings of an afficted world, for God hath connected universal happiness with their prosperity : and the end of their sufferings is the beginning of our joys.
“ Yet did we esteem him smitten of God, and afflicted."
Interpretation_Nevertheless we considered them as an God-abandoned race, and devoted to wretchedness by him, for having crucified their king. ,
6 But he was wounded for, (or by our transgressions, he was bruised for, [or by] our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and through his stripes We are bealed."
That is, But instead of being the victims of God's wrath,they were wounded through our cruelty, they were bruised by our iniquitous treatment, we being suffered to do so to chastise them for their sins, and to prove their obedience; and this chastisement is that by which oar peace is to be effected ; for their chastisement, and probation being finished, God will by them impart, and diffuse peace, and happiness.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath caused to meet upon him the iniquity of us all.”
But it is we who bave sinned more than they, wo have all gone astray in our ignorance, being without the knowledge of God, or of his Law. Yet the Lord hath permitted us to make them the subjects of our oppressive iniquity.
“ He was oppressed (or “ exposed to pecuniary exactions"] and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation, [“ iuto his manner of life, who stoopeth to look ?" according to the Hebrew] for he was cut off out of the land of the living ; for (or by] the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked ; but with the rich were his deaths (or tomb] because he had done no violence, neither was deceit in his mouth."
Interpretation-How passive and unresisting were they when oppressed ! they were afflicted, and they complained not ; when through false accusations, and mistakep cruelty they were plundered, and condemned to die, they went like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so they opened not their mouth. They were taken from the dungeon to be slain, they were wantonly massacred, and every man was their foe; and the cause of the sufferers who condescended to examine ; for by the thoughtless crimes of ny people they suffered. Yet notwithstanding their graves were appointed with the wicked, yet they were rich in their deaths : This did God graut them, because they had not done iniquity.
Rabbi Isaae, author of the famous Minimen Fidei, renders the original-" on account of impieties was he given to his sepulchre, and on account of his riches was his death, because he did no violence neither was deceit in his mouth”-which he interprets thus.' We (the former speakers) raised against them false accusations of impiety, on account of their religion, and refusing to worship our Idols, but their riches was the real cause why we put them to death. Nevertheless they used no violence in opposition to our oppressions, neither would they forsake their religion, and deceitfully assent to ours in hypocrisy.*
“ Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief. When thou shalt make his soul a propitiation for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” [This proves that this prophecy cannot refer to any individual, but may refer to the Jewish nation, because one individual cannot be put to death, and yet “ see his seed," and “ prolong his days.] “ After (or an account of] the travail of bis soul, seeing he shall be satisfied, by his knowledge shall my righteous servant make many righteous (or show them righteousness,] and he shaij bear the burden of their iniquities.”
That is, after and for their sufferings, they shall be abundantly rewarded; by their superior knowledge of religious truth, shall they make many wise, “ for many nations shall go, and say, come ye, and let us as
* The person here spoken of by Isaiah is said to make his grave with the wicked, and be with the rich in his death. Whereas Jesus did ex. actly the contrary. He was with the wicked (ie the two thieves) in his death, and with the rich (i. e Joseph of Arimathea) in his grave or tomb. In the original the words muu be translated avenge, or recompenice upon the wicked his Grave, and his death upon the rich” Thus does the Targum, and the Arabic version interpret the place : and Ezekiel ix. 10, uses the verb in the verse in Isaiah un. der consideration translated in the English version) He made, &c.” In the same sense, given to this place in Isaiah by the Targum, and the Arubic,as said above. See the place in Ezekiel, where it is trans. lated—“I will recompence their way upon their head.” See also Deut. xxi. 8, in the original. The Syriac has it" The wicked contributed to his burial, and the rich to his death..” The Arabic." I will punish the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death.” The
Targum-_“ He will send the wicked into Hell, and the rich who put him to a cruel Death."
tend to the mount of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jaco', that he may teach us his ways," Mic. 4 el.
66 Wherefore I will give him a portion with the Great, and with the mighty shall lie divide the spoil, because he poured out his life unto Deatli, and was numbered with the transgressors, and himself bare the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors."
Interpretation–Therefore their reward shall be exceeding great, because for the sake of their duty, they willingly exposed themselves to death, and were ac. counted as transgressors, and bore the cruel afllictions inflicted by many, and made intercession for them who afflicted thein.
Such is the explication given by the Jews of this prophecy. I have made no important alterations of the eommou Euglish translation ; except, that in some passages, I have made it more conformable to the original by substituting a rerb in the past tense, instead of leaving it in the future, as in the English Version. Those Translators have taken certain liberties in this respect to make this prophecy (and several others) more accordant to their own views, which are not supported by the Hebrew : many of these expressions hoʻyever we have left unaltered, as they are quite harmless. But if any of our readers desire further information with regard to the propriety of this interpretation of this prophecy of Isaiah, we refer him to the “ Munimen Fidei,"contained in Wagenseil's 66 Tela Ignea," where lie will find it amply illustrated, and defended. Here, in this work, we shall content ourselves with proving, that this, prophecy can by no means relate to Jesus Christ, from these circumstances. '1. Jesus certainly was not exalted, and magnified and made very great upon Earth, which, as has been shown was to be the scene of the exaltation of the Old Testament Messiah, but was put to a cruel and disgraceful death. 2. He was not oppressed by pecuniary exactions, as is said of the subject of this prophecy. 3. He was never taken from prison to die, for he was never in one. 4. He did not “ see his seed," nor “ proloug his days," since he died childless, and we will not permit the word “ seed” to be spiritualized on this occasion, for the word seed