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Isaiah 53:7-9 New English Translation (NET Bible)

He was treated harshly and afflicted,[a]
but he did not even open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,
like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not even open his mouth.[b]
He was led away after an unjust trial[c]
but who even cared?[d]
Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living;[e]
because of the rebellion of his own[f] people he was wounded.
They intended to bury him with criminals,[g]
but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb,[h]
because[i] he had committed no violent deeds,
nor had he spoken deceitfully.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 53:7 tn The translation assumes the Niphal is passive; another option is take the clause (note the subject + verb pattern) as concessive and the Niphal as reflexive, “though he humbled himself.”
  2. Isaiah 53:7 sn This verse emphasizes the servant’s silent submission. The comparison to a sheep does not necessarily suggest a sacrificial metaphor. Sheep were slaughtered for food as well as for sacrificial rituals, and טֶבַח (tevakh) need not refer to sacrificial slaughter (see Gen 43:16; Prov 7:22; 9:2; Jer 50:27; note also the use of the related verb in Exod 21:37 HT [22:1 ET]; Deut 28:31; 1 Sam 25:11).
  3. Isaiah 53:8 tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. The present translation assumes that מִן (min) here has an instrumental sense (“by, through”) and understands עֹצֶר וּמִמִּשְׁפָּט (ʿotser umimmishpat, “coercion and legal decision”) as a hendiadys meaning “coercive legal decision,” thus “an unjust trial.” Other interpretive options include: (1) “without [for this sense of מִן, see BDB 578 s.v. 1.b] hindrance and proper judicial process,” i.e., “unfairly and with no one to defend him,” (2) “from [in the sense of “after,” see BDB 581 s.v. 4.b] arrest and judgment.”
  4. Isaiah 53:8 tn Heb “and his generation, who considers?” (NASB similar). Some understand “his generation” as a reference to descendants. In this case the question would suggest that he will have none. However, אֶת (ʾet) may be taken here as specifying a new subject (see BDB 85 s.v. I אֵת 3). If “his generation” refers to the servant’s contemporary generation, one may then translate, “As for his contemporary generation, who took note?” The point would be that few were concerned about the harsh treatment he received.
  5. Isaiah 53:8 sn The “land of the living” is an idiom for the sphere where people live, in contrast to the underworld realm of the dead. See, for example, Ezek 32:23-27.
  6. Isaiah 53:8 tn The Hebrew text reads “my people,” a reading followed by most English versions, but this is problematic in a context where the first person plural predominates, and where God does not appear to speak again until v. 11b. Therefore, it is preferable to read with the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa עמו (“his people”). In this case, the group speaking in these verses is identified as the servant’s people (compare פְּשָׁעֵנוּ [peshaʿenu, “our rebellious deeds”] in v. 5 with פֶּשַׁע עַמִּי [peshaʿ ʿammi, “the rebellion of his people”] in v. 8).
  7. Isaiah 53:9 tn Heb “one assigned his grave with criminals.” The subject of the singular is impersonal; English typically uses “they” in such constructions.
  8. Isaiah 53:9 tn This line reads literally, “and with the rich in his death.” בְּמֹתָיו (bemotayv) combines a preposition, a plural form of the noun מוֹת (mot), and a third masculine singular suffix. The plural of the noun is problematic and the יו may be the result of virtual dittography. The form should probably be emended to בָּמָתוֹ (bamato, singular noun). The relationship between this line and the preceding one is uncertain. The parallelism appears to be synonymous (note “his grave” and “in his death”), but “criminals” and “the rich” hardly make a compatible pair in this context, for they would not be buried in the same kind of tomb. Some emend עָשִׁיר (ʿashir, “rich”) to עָשֵׂי רָע (ʿase raʿ, “doers of evil”) but the absence of the ayin (ע) is not readily explained in this graphic environment. Others suggest an emendation to שְׂעִירִים (seʿirim, “he-goats, demons”), but the meaning in this case is not entirely transparent and the proposal assumes that the form suffered from both transposition and the inexplicable loss of a final mem. Still others relate עָשִׁיר (ʿashir) to an alleged Arabic cognate meaning “mob.” See HALOT 896 s.v. עָשִׁיר. Perhaps the parallelism is antithetical, rather than synonymous. In this case, the point is made that the servant’s burial in a rich man’s tomb, in contrast to a criminal’s burial, was appropriate, for he had done nothing wrong.
  9. Isaiah 53:9 tn If the second line is antithetical, then עַל (ʿal) is probably causal here, explaining why the servant was buried in a rich man’s tomb, rather than that of criminal. If the first two lines are synonymous, then עַל is probably concessive: “even though….”
New English Translation (NET)

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