-Verses proving your point -Scholar/Expert opinion

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As @Dottard points out, many scholars have addressed this and related issues. But by no means do they all agree that the Servant Songs are messianic.

British scholar Peter R. Ackroyd, writing in the Interpreters Bible, understands Isaiah 42 to refer to the nation of Israel. This agrees with the usual Jewish interpretation. Hans Conzelmann, in his book Jesus, wrote: "For the assumption that Jesus understood himself as the Servant of God in the sense of DeuteroIsaiah, there is no support at all in the sources." Nearly all Evangelical scholars, on the other hand, see all of the Servant songs as prophecies about Jesus. Indeed, this has been the attitude of Christian theologians generally until the 19th century.

The Catholic editors the NABRE take a middle path:

Whether the servant is an individual or a collectivity is not clear (e.g., contrast 49:3 with 49:5). More important is the description of the mission of the servant. In the early Church and throughout Christian tradition, these poems have been applied to Christ.

Similar differences of opinion exist with regard to Isaiah 53. Those who see the Servant as representing Israel (he is called "my servant Jacob" several times) see these prophecies as referring to the same collective person, who suffers on behalf of humankind but will ultimately be God's agent to bring justice to the world. So too, many Christians see both passages as referring to Jesus: one passage speaks of his suffering, the other of his ultimate triumph.

Conclusion: Most interpreters understand Isaiah 42 and 53 to refer to the same person, but there is no agreement as to whether this person is collective (Jacob/Israel) or singular (Jesus).


Difficult to say if both passages relate to the same person / people – however, its unlikely to relate to Jesus as many would like to believe. @Dan Fefferman above sets out nicely (as always) the Jewish & Christian position.

I say this for the following brief reasons;

Isaiah 42

9 - new things I declare;
[Jesus did not say he came to declare new things – said came not to change a ‘jot’ Matt 5:18]

11 - Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; [Kedar is Ishmael son and Sela is a mountain in Medina – not relevant to Jesus or Issac]

13 The LORD will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. [Jesus was never involved in any war and did not triumph over his enemies]

16 - I will not forsake them.
[Matt 27:46 Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?] More on was Jesus forsaken see: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/62632/33268

Isaiah 53

53:5 But he was wounded …… [wounded doe not = killed. ‘wounded’ is the better translation, even ‘pierced’ does not imply death]

New American Bible 53:9 He was given a grave among the wicked, a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong, nor was deceit found in his mouth.

Good News Translations: He was placed in a grave with those who are evil, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie."

[ i) a number of different translations, also, some translations say ‘his death’ the Hebrew word Mawth / maveth (maw'-veth) has been mistranslated, should read ‘death’ or at best ‘in death’ (symbolic)…]

[ii) Jesus was not given a Grave with the wicked and was not buried – he was placed in a tomb by himself.]

53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. [Jesus life was not prolonged 33years & he did not see his offspring]


Although some of the servant songs relate to Jesus such as Isaiah 52, Based on the above 42 & 53 do not. Some relate to passages about the current events at the time.


Isaiah 40-55 contain four so-called, "Servant Songs", all messianic, about various aspects of God's servant who brings about the redemption/salvation of others. These servant songs are:

  1. Isaiah 42:1-4
  2. Isaiah 49:1-6
  3. Isaiah 50:4-9
  4. Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 - the longest and most famous.

Numerous Bible students recognize these as Messianic such as:

There have been countless books written about these servant songs and their fulfilment in Jesus Christ - the NT appears to allude to them a number of times. See the above references.

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