Jews: what is your interpretation of Isaiah 53 (the suffering Servant)?

I'm writing a research paper, but most sources I've found are from the Christian perspective that the Suffering Servant is Jesus. Who or what does the Jewish faith believe the passage is referring to?

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    To add some more information to the accurate answers you got, Israel is the suffering servant, and the verses "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed", etc, are said according to Jewish tradition by the nations of the world, who at the end of time will realize that Israel did suffer instead of them for their transgressions. This commentary, as said before, is very ancient, and it doesn't make any sense to claim Rashi as its author, since this medieval commentator was part of a very long and very ancient tradition he fully respected. See Rav Schwob's line by line commentary on Isaiah, published by Artscroll Mesorah editions, NY.

  • 10 years ago

    According to the Jews, the suffering servant is Israel (the whole nation as a whole). If you read the chapters before this verse about the suffering servant, the all refer to Israel being a servant of God's, and they speak of Israel as a whole in the single form, as if it is a single entity. Throughout the Bible Israel is referred to as a single person and God's servant.

    I would give you specific verses to explain, but I'm at work now and cannot go and research it again. I have done a lot of reading on that. It does NOT refer to the Messiah/Jesus. Not a Messianic prophecy as Christian's believe. Google it if you want more information, there is a lot of sites explaining the real meaning of it.

    Source(s): General interest in religion
  • I'm not a Jew, but it is clear that the "Suffering servant" of Isaiah 53 is explicitely given in Isaiah 52 as the Judaic people ("Israel") during the Babylonian Captivity.

    While the division of the Biblical texts into chapters and verses is a convenience we must guard against allowing these divisions to color our reading--These divisions were both somewhat arbitrary and were made by Christians and so can be assumed that some of the division points reflect Christian theological readings rather than a neutral consideration of the text.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    answer: Israel - it is NOT prophetic of the Jewish Messiah

    The well-worn claim frequently advanced by Christian apologists which argues that the noted Jewish commentator Rashi (1040 CE - 1105) was the first to identify the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 with the nation of Israel is inaccurate and misleading. In fact, Origen, a prominent and influential church father, conceded in the year 248 CE -- many centuries before Rashi was born -- that the consensus among the Jews in his time was that Isaiah 53 “bore reference to the whole [Jewish] people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations.”

    The broad consensus among Jewish, and even some Christian commentators, that the “servant” in Isaiah 52-53 refers to the nation of Israel is understandable. Isaiah 53, which is the fourth of four renowned Servant Songs, is umbilically connected to its preceding chapters. The “servant” in each of the three previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the nation of Israel.

    Isaiah 41:8-9

    But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off."

    Isaiah 44:1

    But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!

    Source(s): Ezra on Isaiah 53 Origen, Contra Celsum, Chadwick, Henry; Cambridge Press, book 1, chapter 55, page 50
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  • Kuhita
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    I want to know too.


    Isaiah 53:10,says the Supposed suffering servant is going to see his Children?and his life is prolongated? it doesn't sound like referring to Jesus Christ at all.

  • The divisions in chapters and verses came quite late. What we think of as chap. 53 should be read with chap. 52, which makes it very clear that the 'suffering servant' is the entire people, Israel.

  • big j
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Job certainly deserves to be in the top ten, but I believe it refers to Israel.

  • 10 years ago

    I'm pretty sure they think it refers to the Jewish nation as a whole.

    As an added note, it's refreshing to see a legitimate question on this site for once.

  • 10 years ago

    The entire nation of Israel itself.

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