Rabbinical Tradition Backs SS as Messiah (page 4)

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Modern Scholars


David Baron was a Hebrew-Christian writer of the late 19th century. His "Servant of Jehovah" is his commentary on Isaiah 53, focusing on the meaning of the Hebrew words in the text.

In fact, until Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yizchaki, 1040-1105) applied it to the Jewish nation, the Messianic interpretation of this chapter was almost universally adopted by Jews, and his view, which we shall examine presently, although recieved by Ibn Ezra, Kimchi, and others, was rejected as unsatisfactory by many others, one of whom (R. Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin, of Cordova, and afterwards Toledo, fourteenth century, who says rightly, of those who for controversial reasons applied this prophecy to Israel, that "the doors of literal interpretation of this chapter were shut in their face, and that they wearied themselves to find the entrance, having forsaken the knowledge of our teachers, and inclined after the stubborness of their own hearts and of their own opinions." According to Ibn Crispin, the interpretation adopted by Rashi "distorts the passage from its natural meaning", and that in truth "it was given of God as a description of the Messiah, whereby, when any should claim to be the Messiah, to judge by the resemblance or non-resemblance to it whether he were the Messiah or not." cease to exist. And just as the spring loses its value, becomes spoiled and moldy when it has lost its mission and does not water the stream, so would Jewry itself become petrified, barren, and dry if there were no Christendom to fructify it. Without Christendom, Jews would become a second tribe of Samaritans. The two are one. And notwithstanding the heritage of blood and fire which passionate enmity has brought between them, they are two parts of a single whole, two poles of the world which are always drawn to each other, and no deliverance, no peace, and no salvation can come until the two halves are joined together and become one part of God.

Jesus Christ in the Talmud, Midrash, and the Zohar

Also Salt Shaker's website. www.saltshakers.com/1m/#baron

Gustav Dalman was probably the greatest Aramaic scholar of his day. His "Jesus Christ in the Talmud, Midrash, and the Zohar" was first published in 1894.

Jesus is commonly referred to in the Talmud and in Talmudic literature by the expressions "Son of Stada (Satda)", and "Son of Pandera" These are so accepted that they appear constantly in the Babylonian Talmud (cp. the Targum Sheni on Esther VII 9) even without the name Jesus. It might seem to be a question as to who it is that is to be understood by these. But in the Jerusalem Talmud (Avodah Zarah II. 40d), the full name is given as Yeshu ben Pandera (for which Shabbath XIV 14d has more briefly, Yeshu Pandera); and in the Tosephta on Hullin II, the full name is given as Yeshu ben Pantera and Yeshu ben Pantere. So then Ben Pandera or ben Pantere also bears the name Yeshu. Further, the Jesus the Nazarene who is "hanged on the evening before Passover" (Sanhedrin 43a) is on the other hand (Sanhedrin 67a) also called the "son of Stada (Satda)". It is evident that in both these places the same person is spoken of. Here these two passages may be considered conclusive, since they repeat each other using the similar language, and in a section of the text which is chiefly concerned about Jesus; and so we see that Jesus was also referred to as Ben Stada.

Salt Shakers

"in contradistinction to Hellenistic Judaism and medieval Jewish sources, in early Palestinian Judaism the Servant of Isaiah 53 was (as far as we know ) never interpreted as an collective entity but as a (presumably messianic) individual" The Quest for Context & Meaning: Studies in Biblical Intertextuality in Honor of James A. Sanders, p. 71, Craig Evans and Shemaryahu Talmon (eds), Brill:1997.

The Jewish Messianic author, Alfred Edersheim wrote:

"There is, indeed, in Rabbinic writings frequent reference to the sufferings, and even the death of the Messiah, and these are brought into connection with our sins, as how could it be otherwise in view of Isaiah 53 and other passages, and in one most remarkable comment [Yalkut on Is. 9:1] the Messiah is represented as willingly taking upon Himself all these sufferings, on condition that all Israel, the living, the dead, and those yet unborn, should be saved, and that, in consequence of His work, God and Israel should be reconciled, and Satan cast into hell." [Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (MacDonald Publishing Co., 1883) p. 165]

Scholars Say Servant Fluctuates between Israel, Righteous Remnant of Israel, and an Individual

"He said to me, 'You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.' But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God.' And now the LORD says- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself."

Bellinger and Farmer agree that the "Servant" also fluctuates so as to be indentified with an individual person:

"As to the identity of the Servant in Isaiah 53 the fundamental issues that we noted at the outset of this survey still remain. These concern the seeming fluctuation between the collective identification of the Servant of the Lord, in association with such titles as Israel and Jeshurun, and detailed description of the fate of an individual prophet-teacher. On this issue it certainly appears that we must accept and accommodate such fluctuations and tensions without destroying, or denying, the reality of both aspects. An individual may embody and represent the destiny of a nation, as we see in the Deuteronomic emphasis upon the representative role of Moses, the obedient leader who nevertheless suffers along with his people." [Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian Origins, William Bellinger, Jr', and William Farmer (eds), Trinity Press:1998.:53].

--Bet HaMidrash

(Mid. Konen)

As the Messianic Jewish writer David Baron said:

"Is this, perhaps, the chief reason why this chapter is omitted from the public readings in the synagogue? We know, of course, that whereas the whole Torah is read through on the Sabbaths in the course of the year, only selections from the Prophets are appointed for the Haftarahs, but it is none the less remarkable that in these "selections" the portion for one Sabbath should end with the 12th verse of the 52nd chapter, and the one for the following should begin with the 54th chapter, and that the whole of this sublime section about the suffering servant, through the knowledge of whom the many are made righteous, is passed over.

" It certainly gives ground for the statement that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is "the bad conscience of the synagogue", which it dare not face because it reminds them too much of him whom the nation-alas!--still despises and rejects, and considers "smitten of God and afflicted". But this very feeling and attitude on the part of the Jewish nation is one great proof that Jesus is the Messiah, and that it is to him that this prophecy refers."

[David Baron, The Servant of Jehovah: The Sufferings Of the Messiah and the Glory that Should Follow]


AMF International

Isaiah 53 ABout Whom Does it Speak?

by David R. Brewer

"There is a very definite contrast between the beliefs and opinions that the rabbis held about the Messiah in the time period of 450 B.C.E.-400 C.E. and between the opinions that the modern rabbis hold about the Messiah. There is quite a difference between the verses that ancient rabbis considered to be Messianic and the ones that modern rabbis consider to be Messianic. It is very typical for modern rabbis to consider non-Messianic the same passages that ancient rabbis considered Messianic. Dr. Alfred Edersheim compiled a list of 456 passages in the OT that are applied by the most ancient writings to either the Messiah or to Messianic times. During the time that the ancient rabbis were writing the Talmud, most of the rabbis believed that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah was referring to the Messiah. Actually it was not until about the 11th century C.E. that other views were proffered. During this time period Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yizchaki, 1040-1105) originated the view that the servant of the LORD was the nation of Israel. Not only did many of Rashi's contemporaries not agree with his view of Isaiah 53, but there were rabbis centuries after Rashi who continued to disagree with him. Interestingly enough, Rashi was not consistent with his own view of the identity of "the Servant of the Lord". Rashi did state that "eved adonai" was the nation of Israel in his Biblical exposition of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, but in his Talmudic commentary of this same chapter he contradicted himself by writing that "eved adonai" refers to the Messiah.

The Prophet Isaiah's use of the term "eved" in his book The term "servant" is quite often used in the book of Isaiah as a collective or generic term which many times Isaiah used to refer to "Israel". Other times Isaiah uses the term "servant" to refer to the righteous remnant within the nation of Israel. We see this in Isaiah 41:8-9; 42:18-19; 43:10; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20; and in 49:3. We also see the same thing in other prophetical books &endash; see Jer. 30:10; 46:27-28; Ezek. 28:25; 37:25 (cf. Psalm 136:22). The plural word "servants" in the book of Isaiah only comes after Isaiah 53 &endash; see 54:17; 56:6; 63:17; 65:8-9, 13, 15; and 66:14. In fact after Isaiah 53, the singular for "servant" is not used again but there are 11 references to "his servants", "my servants", or "the servants of the LORD".

It is vital to maintain a clear distinction between "servant" referring to the nation of Israel and "servant" referring to an individual who has a multi-faceted ministry to the nation of Israel (see Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-9; and 50:4-10). If one sits down and reads all of the verses mentioned above where Isaiah uses the term "servant" and reads the contexts of each verse, it is relatively easy to understand when Isaiah is referring to the nation of Israel. Isaiah makes it abundantly clear in the context either by rebuking Israel for her sin, by linking the terms "Jacob", "son of Abraham", and "Jeshurun" to "servant", or by linking the return from the Babylonian Captivity to "servant".