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Isa53:10-12, BHS/LXX Amalgamated Translation w/ Exegetical Notes

Reading tip: if you can already read Bible's Greek and Hebrew text, you'll prefer the amalgamation of page 4ff in the shorter ISA53.RTF, a Word.doc. The first text line of that rtf is a link that enables you to download the BibleWorks fonts; else you can't read the Hebrew and Greek there. That rtf file's amalgamated-text demonstration is much more succinct (and not translated), versus what follows below.

If you just want a quick, amalgamated translation, hit the End key and then scroll up till you see it in a box. There are other ways to combine and thus translate the texts. Still, the meaning would be the same, and it MATTERS to see the combining. What follows below, will explain why it matters, and will provide some (windy) exgetical details not in the rtf doc.

In the "Thinking" and DDNA webseries (links at pagetop), this type of pink background is used to denote the Bridal Contract between God and Church; the Contract is a subset and corollary of an eternity-past contract between Father and Son for all creation; the heart of this contract is most succinctly summarized in Isa53:10-12. Unfortunately, half of the text is not in the Hebrew, and the 'respectable' translations you find won't use the LXX which the Lord Himself and the apostles all used ("LXX" means "70", a moniker designating how many folks (really 72) made this Greek Old Testament from the Hebrew circa 273BC; its source Hebrew text is older than what we have.) Hence this webpage amalgamates both texts so you can see why the two texts ought to be combined. Biggest reason: All Bible writers use the LXX to 'tap' (incorporate by reference) Isaiah 53. The chapter as a whole and especially the LXX portions of verses 10-12 are used as a sort of Grand Central Station (hub) for all the NT; the Lord was constantly referring to it in the Gospels (i.e., in the wedding parable, the shameful treatment of the prophets and messengers, Bread of Heaven, etc). Every time I open up the NT in BibleWorks I find yet another 'access', no matter what I'm looking for. That Isaiah wrote circa 700BC is beside the point; everyone always knew the essential contract clauses of Isa53:10-12. But it was given to Isaiah, to display the entire contract succinctly in the proper Marital metaphor. Which you cannot see, in translation. For anything dealing with sex, makes everyone nervous (excites the genetic desire to sew figleaves, like Adam did after his fall). Oh well.

So of course no translation gets Isa53 right enough: passage is rife with rape-and-pillage-cause-of-pregnancy metaphor, which continues through at least the end of Isa55. The most famous of the Greek plays is "Ion", by Euripedes, which is a myth of the origin of the Greek Sea Peoples, and has a lot in common with Genesis 3-6. So this format chosen in Isa53, which of course was originally written in Hebrew (and elegantly, wittily, sometimes crass, as here in Chap53) -- well, it tweaks that myth. Maybe that's why Paul makes both the play and Isa53 his founding framework in crafting Ephesians, which is about God's Superior Begetting Plan. Paul has no qualms about being crass if it makes the Word clear to the hearer.

If Christians understood Isa53 from the original languages, they'd never mistake the 'spiritual life' as a system of works; they'd never doubt that salvation is permanent; and they'd never misunderstand or deny Trinity or the Hypostatic Union. They'd want to start learning the original languages of Scripture while physical babies, and would want to live on and in Scripture 24/7, just like God ordered, way back in Deut6 (and ever since). Moreover, pastors -- who should be paid a bizillion dollars! -- would be freed up from all that handholding, and could spend their time the way God ordained it: studying and teaching from the Inspired Text. Kinda big importance to this passage, eh?

And why is that? BECAUSE THE ENTIRE ISA53-55 IS A PREGNANCY METAPHOR as a result of which you get the WORD in you. That's it, because that's how our Sins Were Paid On the Cross: by His Thinking. He was 'made pregnant' with our sins, so we can be Born From Above, John 3:3, 7. "Born Again" isn't really the right translation, but "from above" -- which you need to know, to see the up-up-up-sweet-savor-of-His-Thinking-to-God-sacrifice rhetoric which Isaiah uses.. and John 3 references. Idea that His Thinking went 'above', so now you down here can be 'born from above' to go up above to Heaven when you die. Beautiful wordplay like that is typical in every Bible verse. Translations bland it all out, putting the reader to sleep and confusion. Oh well.

So there's not a lot of REAL retranslation going on. For example, only the JPS Tanakh gets v.12, reasonably correct. The other translations ALL REVERSE SUBJECT AND OBJECT, arrghh. So they COPY each other, rather than look afresh -- or, maybe notice a difference from FRESH translation, but fearing going against the 'crowd' of other translations, don't fix what's wrong. That's why you get the goofy idea in translation v.12 (except for the Jewish translation, lol) that the Lord only gets a PORTION with the many, because the first-listed meaning of Hebrew preposition "be(h)" is "in, among". Never mind that translating "be(h)" as "with" in the first part of v.12, maligns His Work on the Cross, so one of the other dozen meanings of that preposition, might instead be applicable! But no -- don't do a little more homework, and translate such that The Very Lord only gets a part of the spoils, when we ourselves did nothing? Is the brain on? NO! Spiritual apnea, absence of 1Jn1:9 breathed...

Moreover, Isa53 has so much wordplay on so many levels at once (i.e., mating of war and childbearing, a frequent tongue-in-cheek style in Scripture), you can't render in another language all that's in the highly-elliptical, original text. I mean, you have to know some isagogics: like, when a city was plundered, its women were taken by the soldiers and made wives; kids, too. PEOPLE BOOTY was a very big deal in the ancient world, far more important than things. Paul talks about it (alluding back here) in Eph4:8-9, depicting a triumphal procession (which always had a lot of SLAVES). Of course, none of this is politically-acceptable, now. So all this wonderful meaning, goes missed...

For example, the first two Hebrew words in Isa53:11, me amal, are the preposition "min" (OUT FROM, BORN FROM) + "labor". This is a deliberate parallel to be-motayw (=in His DEATHS, plural, reversing the plural deaths (moth tamuth) in Gen2:17 curse!) in v.9. The deaths (substitutionary spiritual, and physical) correspond to war and pregnancy. Isaiah bluntly says that He BIRTHS RICHES/SPOIL/PLUNDER by means of His Thinking on the Cross, in Isa53:10-12. Regarding me amal in v.11, amal=pregnant labor in the Bible, with stress on the grief: Job and Psalms make frequent analogies using amal as painful pregnancy (in labor) -- but will you find any lexicon admit that usage of the term? Guess again. (Search "amal" in the Masoretic text and see for yourself; then compare to the lexicons.)

So, it's not surprising that no translation of the verse even references out-from or pregnant labor (though Louis Seconde comes close). So you miss the BELLY-FULL DELIVERY wordplay Isaiah makes, which is a play on the sexual act, and SIMULTANEOUSLY on the Mercy Seat of Propitiation! [Hebrew "sabea" in Isa53:11 often has the root meaning of satisfaction due to EATING FOOD. Compare that meaning to the "sweet savor" metaphor used of God's satisfaction of the sacrifices, and you'll get a fabulous thrill out of Heb10, Isa55 and Matt4:4.] Therefore, you don't get the entire chapter's import, and Isa54:1 seems to come from nowhere. See also Isa9:6, where "Father" is Christ as the BIRTHER of our salvation.

Another quick tipoff: the deliberate SUBSTITUTING for the wife-who-makes-guilt (im tasim asham) in v.10's Hebrew. Hebrew changes the SEX of the verb "sim" to FEMALE SUBJECT, but no translation picks that up. Superficially, "soul" in that verse is a FEMININE noun in Hebrew, so it's EASY to miss the double-entendre: not only is He caused to be sick (heheli) because His Soul made sin (im tasim asham naphesho) -- see also 2Cor5:21 -- but ALSO, He is sick with love to DELIVER her who MADE the sin (im tasim asham). Therefore His Soul shall see long-lived offspring despite v.8 (having no physical descendants), etc. Therefore, v.12, Father GIVES Him the many offspring, with whom He distributes His Inheritance, etc. Parallel passages are (for example) in Heb 2 and Eph5, referencing CHURCH; many OT passages use the same substitutionary-spiritual-death explanation with Israel as the 'wife'. All of Ephesians is on this topic, primarily: Paul tweaks Euripedes' play "Ion" (famous how-Greeks-were-birthed-from-Apollo myth) as his format-of-exposition, to show God's superior begetting.

Another reason translations are necessarily goofy: the LXX and Masoretic text differ! Bauer Danker lexicon seems troubled by LXX's v.11. Unfortunately, it considers the troublesome passage to mean in English, "shew Him the Light" -- um, but He Is The Light Already. So that can't be a proper translation. More than one use of the dative, and clearly that usage doesn't apply, here. Dative case is used as a CONDUIT, too. Like in, "via Him". Like in, all things to and through and for and by Him and apart from was not anything made that was made. And "Light" is quintessential Hebrew term, for the Light of the Word (referencing Moses' shining face). Moreover, "phos" is the SAME CASE in nominative and accusative, but putting it last next to autoi stresses Who is the Light, and stresses the Fact of Light (in Greek you usually put the stress at the end of the sentence). The Light becomes the Light of Humanity, get it? Circle of Light? So... um, maybe this 'problem verse' is really gold, unmined?

If I didn't see Paul so often refer to the LXX MEANING in v.11 (viz., as underpinning for Paul's frequent refrain about how He we get MADE from His Thinking); if I didn't see so many other Scripture writers use the LXX keywords in direct reference to these infinitives (etc), I'd not be so bold to argue, in this page: after all, I'm just a no-account student in the Word, not a respectable scholar. But Eph4:5-16 have v.11 and 12 in the LXX as their entire base; so does Rom12:3 (blows me away!), all of 1Cor2, Eph1. See, it's All About Plunder Of His Thinking. Hebrew text says that too, but the LXX is more detailed about how it works, and is STILL written in Hebraic couplet style (pairing verbs, at least). It's this added detail which Paul and the other writers of Scripture, keep on talking about. Voluminously. Quick proof: Isa53:10 has katharizw as an infinitive. John picks it up in the famous 1Jn1:9. Verb is used in the LXX for purifying the TEMPLE, and in the BODY passage of Isa53, the BODY is purified. That was NEVER true for the OT believers. They were never totally purified; the purification would come THROUGH Christ: see Heb 10.

So let's FIX the translation of Isa 53:10-12, and this time use the never-published LXX (Bible translations only use the Hebrew for the OT). It still won't be altogether right, but it will be closer in meaning to the original. Except for the underlined words in v.11, your translation (which will be Masoretic text, not the LXX) should look remarkably the same (only fuzzier). Only the underlined words are really different. Else, it's a non-substantial question of whether God the Father is speaking in 1st Person, which doesn't matter enough: LXX and BHS verses well mesh just the same, and probably the LXX verses are missing from the Masoretic, given the great meshing. You can't compare translations word for word, but by what content is said. Some words aren't needed to convey the SAME idea in language "a", as in language "b". When the LXX was written, its translators weren't hampered like today's scholars by the insane "one English for one original-language word". So don't expect literality, expect COMMONALITY.

Oh: "Light" in v.11 is in some of the old Hebrew texts, but not the Massoreh. Isaiah scroll has it. So that's one more clue that the LXX text needs to be amalgamated with the Hebrew.

Here's the color scheme for the text below: Italic text denotes text in Massoreh but not LXX; CAPPED words are corrections of the translation versus what's published 'out there' (i.e., Brenton's English is a translation of the LXX, and isn't good here). Red denotes text already in the Masoretic or Isaiah scroll which is essentially the same in meaning, as in the LXX; blue signifies the LXX words which the Hebrew needs but lacks; Purple designates keywords to interpretation in BOTH texts which are generally mistranslated and therefore not properly recognized; secondly, the purple text which is in the LXX, employs sophisticated usage of the dative case, but is not recognized as such, despite the fact that the NT frequently makes sophisticated use of case endings, especially in wordplay or when a circular (Divine-to-human) function is illustrated (i.e., subjective and objective genitive 'circle' in all "Love of God" verses, which has the same wry usage in Latin).

Seems to me the 'working' translation of vv10-12 should go something like this (sacrificing elegance for clarity):

Now, let's compare 53:12 in the BHS (Hebrew OT, standard text used in Bible publishing):

So translation centers on how both (blue text) infinitives (which are really the objects of "delights"), and (purple text) the datives ought to be interpreted. Not much leeway for interp, though: passage is precise. Greek syntax places the most important or origin (here, both), LAST in a sentence: so the payment for sins is the most important and the foundation of all other verb clauses.

Isa53:11 focuses on putting His Thinking in 'the many' AS A RESULT of Him paying for sin: see also 2Cor5:14-21, Eph4:11-16. Thus Isa53:12, His INHERITING "because of the many" makes even more sense. Those whom He paid for, should become His Property! So, He is our inheritance, and we are His (i.e., "The Lord is my portion" somewhere in Jeremiah or Lam). Go through Isa53-55 slowly, look how the linkage between Him paying and us GETTING HIS THINKING as a consequence, is woven thickly. I just don't have time now to write all that out, myself. Wish I did have time! The causal connection between getting His Thinking as a consequence of Him getting our sins has gotta be the most common theme in Scripture.

Since these texts are but COPIES of the original ones, 'copying errors' do occur; so, as here, the texts differ. But, errors can be detected, because we have so many texts. For example, differences in those texts can be due to a portion of a verse being 'lost' (not copied) from one, and 'preserved' (copied) in another; can be due to some human ADULTERATING the text; can be due to other reasons. The discipline of "textual criticism" DIAGNOSES the cause of the difference, so we can all be sure what is and is not, God's Word.

Here, it looks like ADDITIONAL text is missing from the Masoretic. Perhaps in LXX of Isa 53:10, where God speaks in 1st Person in LXX, that should FOLLOW the Masoretic v.10. Seems that whole LXX verse should be APPENDED to the Masoretic. Then, the UNDERLINED parts of LXX v.11, are like puzzle pieces missing from the Masoretic of v.11; the WHOLE of the LXX verse, clues us into where those 'pieces', fit. Next, perhaps also in v.12 where in Masoretic, God is speaking in 1st person, is meant to be followed by the LXX verse speaking in 3rd person: at least, from "dia touto" through "thanatov", as a Hebrew closing parallel of a thing being done, to parallel also v.11's "aphelein" purpose, as compared to Father's WILL to do it (which the first clause in the Masoretic, stresses). Antiphonal, see (like the Psalms). Antiphony is an extremely common feature of OT verses, when depicting Father-Son interaction. GOD PRESERVED BOTH TEXTS. Here, we see something of the reason, WHY.

So let's NEXT COMBINE the Masoretic and LXX texts to see how the AMALGAM might look. I'll use the NASB for the Masoretic, where possible; the NASB color is black, so the LXX will be enough distinguished. Where the NASB translation is TOO FAR off versus the MASORETIC text, I'll just fix it, and denote that via capitalized italics. (Note: some of the words in NASB had to be deleted, because they were TRANSLATOR assumptions -- here, the usually-good assumptions aren't correct. NASB often, but not always, denotes these assumptions with italics.)

Isaiah 53:10 "But the LORD was DELIGHTED to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see SEED CAUSED TO BE LONG OF DAYS, and the DELIGHT of the LORD will CAUSE His Hand TO PROSPER. [Verse 10, LXX] So the LORD delights to purify by wounding Him: 'if You will give as a substitute for sin, Your [Plural] Soul[singular] will see long-lived seed.'"

Isaiah 53:11 "Then the LORD delights to PLUNDER, BIRTHING/CARRYING OUT FROM His Soul's LABOR to display/ point out/ make known/ exhibit via Him, the Light. Then, to sculpt via His Mastery-of-Thinking, so to make Righteous/justify. He will see, be satisfied. [7th day idea!] BECAUSE OF His TRUTH-knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. The Righteous One Well-Serving purposed for/ instead of the many: even their sins, He will carry off/ lift up."

Isaiah 53:12 "THEREFORE I WILL DISTRIBUTE TO HIM THE SPOILS/PLUNDER OF VICTORY BECAUSE OF THE MANY , And He will divide the booty with the GREAT ONES; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. "FOR THIS REASON He will inherit the many; in fact, He will apportion the PLUNDER among the great ones; for the sake of which [PLUNDER] His Own Soul was given over to Death."

See HOW MUCH CLEARER is the passage's meaning? Now the Masoretic text and the LXX, FIT. The common NT feature of interpretative quoting, as noted earlier, is all over the OT as well; so to put LXX's v.10, the INTERPRETATION quote, right after the v.10 MASORETIC it references, makes sense. (If you're not familiar with interpretative quotes, get a study Bible and compare the verses quoted in the NT, with the actual OT verses: the Lord, Satan and every NT writer often interpretatively quote, so you can pick any section of NT you like. Once you see the RHETORICAL STYLE, you can spot it more easily in the OT. NASB has the nice habit of capitalizing quotes, so its text is particularly easy to search.)

Notice how the AMALGAM merely deletes the truly repeated clauses. Even so, not much got deleted: "out from His Soul's labor" was in both texts. ("Out from" is Hebrew preposition min, but it is used STANDING ALONE in wordplay, as an idiom for birth; preposition is always mistranslated when birthing is the intended meaning. Sample is Gen3:22, and a verse in Ps139, many others.) Maybe it was meant in dramatic repetition, so should be left in. The only other clause, the remainder of v.12 in the LXX, was also cut out, which was identical in meaning to its Masoretic counterpart, except for use of paradidomi -- then again, maybe paradidomi makes it necessary to repeat the entire clause. So see? BOTH texts had pieces missing, but when you combine them, it's beautiful and FAR more clear what's said! Heh. God never misses a thing, boy: look how He preserved BOTH texts!

So, then: because Hebrew exposition often repeats verbs and clauses, and then combines them differently IN WORDPLAY to explain (a mnemonic device also used by Paul, e.g., in Romans), it's not at all certain that similar words in LXX vv10-12 are meant to REPLACE their Hebrew counterparts in the same verses. Better guess is that many of the LXX words, are ADDITIONAL, appositive. Especially since the LXX IS OLDER, and was USED BY the Lord and the NT writers, and particularly the 53:11 UNDERLINED parts are TIED TO by NT writers (especially but not only by Paul) -- the LXX should be given more creedence than it gets.

So where there are SEEMING differences between BHS and LXX, those ought to be accounted, harmonized and PUT INTO TRANSLATION, in case some hidden treasure is there. Like everyone else, my pastor also prefers generally to use the Masoretic text, because we all know how the Jews carefully preserve it (thank God!) -- but it makes even more sense that sections of verses got lost over the 600 or so years between the LXX and the later Masoretic copies we have.