Isaiah 53:11 grammatical question

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Kenneth Greifer
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Isaiah 53:11 grammatical question

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Isaiah 53:11
מֵעֲמַ֤ל נַפְשׁוֹ֙ יִרְאֶ֣ה יִשְׂבָּ֔ע בְּדַעְתּ֗וֹ יַצְדִּ֥יק צַדִּ֛יק עַבְדִּ֖י לָֽרַבִּ֑ים וַעֲוֺנֹתָ֖ם ה֥וּא יִסְבֹּֽל׃
Is the translation "My righteous servant" grammatically right?
צַדִּ֛יק עַבְדִּ֖י
Kenneth Greifer
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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Isaiah 53:11 grammatical question

Post by Kirk Lowery »

This phrase and clause have had a lot of discussion. I refer you to the NET Bible's notes on this verse for a fuller discussion. (They take the word ‎צַדִּ֛יק as a dittography (doubling) of the previous word, that is, the verb.)

If we take it as it stands, as the ESV does, then we have "...shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous..."

Technical (grammatical) discussion:

In Hebrew phrases, the attributive position to modify a noun is the "second" position, that is, the position immediately following the noun. In this case we have an adjective (used as substantive)+suffixed noun. Since they are both in the absolute state, what we have is "the righteous one, my servant, will justify many". Grammatically, we say ‎עַבְדִּ֖י is in apposition to ‎צַדִּ֛יק. In order to have "my righteous servant", the two words would need to be reversed.

I hope that was clear.

Kirk
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Jason Hare
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Re: Isaiah 53:11 grammatical question

Post by Jason Hare »

Just to put it together, as Kirk mentioned, it would be עַבְדִּי הַצַּדִּיק if used attributively.

It's weird. I've got most of the chapter memorized, but in my mind the word צדיק isn't there! I've got it in my head יַצְדִּיק עַבְדִּי לָרַבִּים "my servant will justify the many." I definitely think this is dittography (but I should update my memorization of the verse). By the way, it is very common in biblical Aramaic for ל to be used to mark a direct object (the DDOM ית is only used once in biblical Aramaic). It also happens in וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמ֫וֹךָ "love your neighbor as yourself" in Hebrew, as it does in the verse in question. :)
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SteveMiller
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Re: Isaiah 53:11 grammatical question

Post by SteveMiller »

Jason Hare wrote: I've got most of the chapter memorized
You just inspired me to do the same.
The only Biblical Hebrew passage I have memorized is the Veahavta (Deu 6:4-9), which I had to do as a kid, and I'm glad I did.
Jason Hare wrote: By the way, it is very common in biblical Aramaic for ל to be used to mark a direct object (the DDOM ית is only used once in biblical Aramaic). It also happens in וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמ֫וֹךָ "love your neighbor as yourself" in Hebrew, as it does in the verse in question. :)
I had been wondering about the le prefix on "neighbor" and "stranger" in the 2 "love as yourself" verses (Lev 19:18,34). Those are the only 2 instances where ahav (love) takes the preposition le (to). I theorized that the le prefix on the direct object makes it not mean that whatever I would do for myself, I should do for my neighbor also, but instead, whatever I want others to do for me, I should do for them. But I don't have a way to support that from the Bible.

Now here in Isa 53:11 there is the le prefix on what would be the direct object in English. As with ahav above, this is the only hiphil use of the verb "make righteous" to use the le prefix. I have got to think about this one.

Thanks!
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
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Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)
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