We sometimes lose meaning in translations. Here is a literal translation of the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 53:10–12. (The Masoretic Text is the traditional Hebrew text used in most synagogues. It is the text that most English translations are based upon.) Compare this translation to your English translation here, and then drop me comment to let me know what you think of my rendering of the text. This is the translation included in my book, The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah.
10 Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush him; he afflicted [him] (with sickness).1 If she/you2 places his life a guilt offering, he will see offspring, he will prolong days,3 and the will of Yahweh in his hand will succeed.
11 From the trouble of his life he will see.4 He will be satisfied.5 In his knowledge, my righteous servant6 shall make the many righteous7 and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide to him [a portion] among the many, and with [the] strong ones he shall divide bounty, because he exposed his life to death and was counted with transgressors, and he carried [the] sin of many and will intercede for transgressors.
1Micah 6:13 closely parallels this verse in form: “I afflicted you to crush you, making you desolate because of your sins.” Here the direct object is also not supplied, but implied.
2 This could be translated as a second, masculine singular or a third, feminine, singular.
3 This translation will be explained and justified later in this book.
4 May also be translated “he shall see from the trouble of his life,” though the poetic, grammatical and discourse structure presented in my book argues against this translation.
5 This is how the accents in the Masoretic Text suggest reading the text, but based solely on the consonants of the Masorectic Text, this line can also be understood as “He will be satisfied in his knowledge. My righteous servant shall make the many righteous and he will bear their iniquities.”
6 May also be translated as “a righteous one, my servant.”
7 The Hebrew lamed here is the lamed of specification (in reference to), and is thus left un-translated. See Ronald J. Williams, Williams’ Hebrew Syntax (3rd ed., revised and expanded by John C. Beckman; London: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 108, paragraph 273a. This clause could also be translated “My righteous servant will justify many.”
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