Answers to Correspondents: Isa. 53:2

Isaiah 53:2  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have been thinking of your answer in " Words of Faith " (October) to a question on Isa. 53:22For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2). I cannot conceive how any understand "before him" of any other than Jehovah.
1st, Spiritually, John 12 seems to forbid any other interpretation. Who at all understood the Lord? The disciples certainly did not, and taking " him " of an Israelite, obliges one to give a wrong answer to the prophet's question in verse 1.
2nd, I see nothing in either the Hebrew as it stands, or in the most approved commentaries upon it, that supports what you were told. An English reader, to go no farther, might well ask, What then is meant by the "For " at the beginning of verse 2? Yours affectionately,
E. E. W.
MY DEAR BROTHER, I don't like criticizing, but I was somewhat troubled at your answer, No. 27 in the October " Words of Faith." No other translation of Isa. 53:22For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2) than the ordinary one is possible, that is to be a translation. For I do not call the twisting of a passage to suit theological views a " translation " at all. The simple antecedent to " him " is " Jehovah," and nothing else. The idea of making it refer to " Who," which is what the contrary interpretation supposes, is simply preposterous, contrary to all grammar and sense. And besides this, does not Rom. 10:1616But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Romans 10:16) prove clearly that the meaning of " Who hath, believed is that "None did believe," as indeed verses 3 to 6 go on to state? " He hath concluded all in unbelief."
The miracle of a tender sapling growing out of a dry ground was unheeded by man; there was no grandeur, no imposing height, no outstretched branches like the trees in the garden of God (Ezek. 31), no delightful shade by rivers of waters, such things as the world seeks after, led on in folly by Satan down to everlasting destruction in the pit. Here, God alone appreciates the wonder, the shoot full of sap, green before Him, that did not draw its vigor from the utter barrenness around, and wanted no moisture to keep it green. Its power was in itself, wholly divine yet perfectly human, a root out of a dry ground growing up in this poor world, a desert indeed as God saw it. " No man knows the Son but the Father." Man seeks the well-watered Eden, with all its glory, greatness, envy, jealousy, noise and bustle-the world as Satan has made it for man, after he was driven out of God's paradise-the Eden he has made for himself, in which God is to have no right nor portion. But, to see God's beautiful green tree, ever fresh in its beauty, yet come down to the intelligence of a child, small and tender in all its quiet glory-beside us here, so to speak-we must go into the desert ' • and surely to know Him, we must live there. What depths of moral instruction for us! How it explains Paul's earthly path in Phil. 2;3, and 2 Cor. 4!
It is a solemn question for our souls in connection with Christ: What are we looking at, what seeking for, what interested in? The Eden of Ezek. 31, or the desert ground of Isa. 53:22For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)? Yours very affectionately,
W. J. L.
DEAR BROTHER,
bears upon a paper of mine in your first volume. Delitzsch's competence as a Hebraist will not be doubted. He translates: " And he sprang up like a layer-shoot before him," and adds" The suffix of 'Nth cannot refer to the subject of the interrogative sentence, as Kahn and Hofmann suppose, for the answer to the who' there is no one;' it relates to Jehovah, by which it is immediately preceded."
I only quote this because of the question of Hebrew; but it is really not at all that. The English has never been disputed, I think. And there is no antecedent to " him," but Jehovah.
Affectionately ever,
F. W. G.
A.-Having very slight knowledge ourselves of Hebrew, and therefore not feeling able to give a competent opinion upon the question raised in connection with our answer to the inquiry put to us with reference to Isa. 53:22For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2), we think it best to give the above correspondence without comment, leaving it to our readers to weigh it all before the Lord for themselves. We merely add that on one occasion we put the matter in question before J. N. D., and he carefully examined the Hebrew, and then said that there was nothing in the Hebrew to tell to whom the " him" applied. He remarked he had hitherto applied it to Jehovah, but that the question was worth weighing, and he was not himself prepared to decide it.
C. W.
28. Q.-What is the difference between δεήσις, ἐντεύζις, and προσενχή? J. B. S., Sligo.
A.-δεήσις, derived from δέομαι, meaning "to beg," "to entreat as one in need," is properly supplication, and is thus uniformly rendered in the new translation; it is the presentation of need to God with earnestness. Έντεύξις is address to another in personal confidence, hence presenting petitions and intercessions; Paul enjoins that "intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all men." (1 Tim. 2:11I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (1 Timothy 2:1).) προσενχή alone is properly prayer, as that which is exclusively addressed to God-invoking His aid according to His will; thus the temple is called " the house of prayer," οῖκος προσενχῆς. (Matt. 21:1313And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13).) Prayer is the fitting attitude of the creature before God as dependent, hence " men ought always to pray, and not to faint." (Luke 18:11And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luke 18:1).) The three words are grouped together in the passage in 1 Timothy already referred to-" supplications [δεήσεις], prayersr [προσενχάς], intercessions [ἐντεύξεις], and thanksgiving." C. W.
ERRATA.-Vol. I., page 280, 5th line from the bottom, for "but from enemies" read "not from enemies." Last line same page, for " 1880' read " 1877." Vol. II., page 228, 7th line from the bottom, for "rather " read "neither." Page 238, transpose 12th and 13th lines from the top. The same page, 13th line from the bottom, for " gives us indication " read "gives no indication." Page 257, 14th line from the bottom, for "Father Himself " read " Father and Himself."