The Suffering Servant of Isaiah - Part 2.

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 The Suffering Servant of Isaiah


Written by Abdullah Smith


[Part I] [Part II] [Part III]






The Septuagint Version


The Hebrew reading of Isaiah 53 was adulterated when the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. According to the Letter of Aristeas, at least 72 scholars at Alexandria translated the Hebrew Bible, which is today known as the Septuagint or LXX. 

The New Testament is based on the Greek text, because the writers did not know Hebrew to quote the Old Testament, so they probably used Acquilla’s version, and they carried over the mistakes. 

In the second century, to meet the demands of both Jews and Christians, three other Greek versions of the Old Testament were produced, though they never took the place of the Septuagint. Only fragmentary remains of them are preserved, chiefly from Origen’s"Hexapla" (q.v.). The first and the most original is that of Aquila, a native of Sinope in Pontus, a proselyte to Judaism, and according to St. Jerome, a pupil of Rabbi Akiba who taught in the Palestinian schools, 95-135. Aquila, taking the Hebrew as he found it, proves in his rendering to be "a slave to the letter". When his version appeared, about 130, its rabbinical character won approval from the Jews but distrust from the Christians. It was the favoured among the Greek-speaking Jews of the fourth and fifth centuries, and in the sixth was sanctioned by Justinian for public reading in the synagogues. Then it rapidly fell into disuse and disappeared. Origen and St. Jerome found it of value in the study of the original text and of the methods of Jewish interpretation in the early Christian years. (online Source)

The Gospel writers had no choice to use Acquilla because it was the only available version at that time. Because the Gospels were composed in the 2nd century, they obviously used Acquilla’s version before other translations appeared. The Church has failed to provide evidence for an earlier date; the Gospels are not mentioned prior to 180 CE.

There is no doubt the Gospel writers distorted Isaiah 53 to make it “less Jewish” and more “Christian”, since Acquilla was a proselyte to Judaism, he rejected the Messiah Jesus. Nevertheless, Acquilla’s version was corrupted, and only fragments exist today.

Theodotion made several corrections to Acqulla, but it was too late, the Gospels had already used Acquilla’s corrupted Septuagint!

Another Greek version practically contemporaneous with Aquila's was made by Theodotion, probably an Ephesian Jew or Ebionite. It held a middle place among the ancient Greek translations, preserving the character of a free revision of the Septuagint, the omissions and erroneous renderings of which it corrected. It also showed parts not appearing in the original, as the deuterocanonical fragments of Daniel, the postscript of Job, the Book of Baruch, but not the Book of Esther. It was not approved by the Jews but was favourably received by the Christians. Origin gave it a place in his "Hexapla" and from it supplied parts missing in the Septuagint. St. Irenaeus used its text of Daniel, which was afterwards adopted in the Church. (online Source)

Isaiah 53: Which one is correct?


Greek Septuagint

The Lord also is pleased to purge him from his stroke. If ye can give an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed: the Lord also is pleased to take away from the travail of his soul, to shew him light, and to form him with understanding; to justify the just one who serves many well; and he shall bear their sins. Therefore he shall inherit many, and he shall divide the spoils of the mighty; because his soul was delivered to death: and he was numbered among the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and was delivered because of their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10-12)



Hebrew translation

And the Lord wished to crush him, He made him ill; if his soul would acknowledge guilt, he shall have descendants [or, he shall see progeny], he shall prolong his days, and God’s purpose shall prosper in his hand. From the toil of his soul he shall see [and he shall] be satisfied; with his knowledge My servant will vindicate the righteous before the multitudes, and their iniquities he shall carry. Therefore, I will allot him a portion among the multitudes, and with the mighty he shall share booty, because he has bared his soul to death, and with transgressors he was counted; and he bore the sin of many, and he will [continue to] to intercede for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)



Christian Translation

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was  numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)


The Christian version contains words which do not appear in the Septuagint:

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11, NIV)

Regarding this verse, the footnote states:

Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint Masoretic Text does not have the light of life. [1]

The Christian scribes inserted the words “light of life” to support a Christian interpretation, by forgery and deceit. 

Strangely, today Christians reject the Septuagint when the New Testament writers used the Greek Septuagint, and the oldest Christian manuscripts are all in Greek!


Here are some relevant facts:


  1. Christians reject the Septuagint, yet the New Testament writers used the Septuagint.


  1. Christians reject the Septuagint, yet the sayings of Jesus were composed in Greek.


  1. The Old Testament of the Codex Sinaiticus is a Septuagint.


Continuing on with Part III.





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