Aramaic Paraphrase of Isaiah 52:13-53:12

In this post, I will be citing the English translation of the Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible known as the Targumim, particularly the Aramaic version of Isaiah 52:13-53:12. I do this for the express purpose of showing that even this Jewish paraphrase attributes this prophecy to the Messiah.

The following is taken from The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah by Jonathan b. Uzziel, translated by Rev. C. W. H. Pauli, published by London Society House, 1871, pp. 181-185 ( All capital emphasis mine:

13 Behold, my servant THE MESSIAH shall prosper, He shall be exalted and extolled, and He shall be very strong.

14 As the house of Israel anxiously hoped5 for Him many days, (which was poor6 among the nations ; their appearance and their brightness being worse than that of the sons of men:)

15 Thus shall He scatter7 many nations ; before Him kings shall keep silence : they shall put their hands upon their mouths, for that which had not been told them shall they see : and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Chapter LIII.

1 Who hath believed this our report? and to whom is now1 the power of the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 The righteous shall be great before Him, behold, like branches that bud; and like a tree which sends forth its roots by the streams of water, thus shall the generation of the just multiply in the land, which hath need of Him.2

3 His visage shall not be the visage of a common person, neither His fear the fear of a plebeian;3but a holy brightness shall be His brightness, that every one who seeth Him shall contemplate Him.4

4 Although He shall be in contempt; yet He shall cut off the glory of all the wicked,5 they shall be weak and wretched. Lo, we are in contempt and not esteemed, as a man of pain and appointed to sickness, and as if He had removed the face of His Shekinah from us.

5 Therefore He shall pray for our sins, and our iniquities FOR HIS SAKE shall be forgiven us; for we are considered crushed, smitten of the Lord, and afflicted.

6 He shall build the house of the sanctuary,6 which has been profaned on account of our sins ; He was delivered over on account of our iniquities, and through His doctrine peace shall be multiplied upon us, and through the teaching of His words our sins shall be forgiven us.7

7 All we like sheep have been scattered, every one of us has turned to his own way; it pleased the Lord8 to forgive the sins of all of us FOR HIS SAKE.

8 He shall pray and He shall be answered, yea, before He shall open His mouth, He shall be heard; He shall deliver over the mighty of the nations as a lamb to the slaughter, and like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, none shall in His presence open his mouth, or speak a word.

9 He shall gather our captives9 from affliction and pain, and who shall be able to narrate the wonderful works which shall be done for us in His days ? He shall remove the rule of the nations from the land of Israel, the sins which my people have committed 10 have come upon them.

10 And He shall deliver the wicked into hell, and the riches of treasures which they got by violence unto the death of Abaddon,11 that they who commit sin shall not remain, and that they should not speak folly12 with their mouth.

11 And it was the pleasure of the Lord to refine and to purify the remnant of His people, in order to cleanse their souls from sin, that they might see THE KINGDOM OF THEIR MESSIAH, that their sons and daughters might multiply, and prolong their days, and those that keep13 the law of the Lord shall prosper through His pleasure.

12 He shall deliver their souls from the servitude of the nations, they shall see the vengeance upon their enemies; they shall be satisfied with the spoil of their kings. By His wisdom He shall justify the righteous, in order to make many to keep u the law, and He shall pray for their sins.

13 Therefore I will divide to Him the spoil of many people, and the treasures of strong fortifications; He shall divide the spoil; BECAUSE HE HAS DELIVERED HIS LIFE UNTO DEATH, and He shall make the rebellious to keep15 the law; He shall pray for the sins of many, and as for the transgressors, each shall be pardoned FOR HIS SAKE.

Here’s another English rendering of the Targum:

52:13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

52:13. Behold my servant MESSIAH shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong:  


52:14 According as many were appalled at thee—so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men—

52:14. as the house of Israel looked to him during many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men,  


52:15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive.

52:15. so will he scatter many peoples; at him kings shall be silent, and put their hands upon their mouth, because that which was not told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have observed.  


53:1 ‘Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed?

53:1. Who hath believed this our glad tidings? and the strength of the mighty arm of the Lord, upon whom as thus hath it been revealed?


53:2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.

53:2. The righteous will grow up before him, yeah, like blooming shoots, and like a tree which sends forth its roots to streams of water will they increase – a holy generation in the land that was in need of him; his countenance no profane countenance, and the terror at him not the terror at an ordinary man; his complexion shall be a holy complexion, and all who see him will look wistfully upon him.  


53:3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

53:3. Then he will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains and like one destined for sicknesses; and as though the presence of the Shekhinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not.  


53:4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

53:4. Then for our sins he will pray, and our iniquities will FOR HIS SAKE be forgiven, although we were accounted stricken, smitten from before the Lord, and afflicted.  


53:5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

53:5. But he will build up the Holy Place, which has been polluted for our sins, and delivered to the enemy for our iniquities; and by his instruction peace shall be increased upon us, and by devotion to his words, our sins will be forgiven us.  


53:6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all.

53:6. All we like sheep had been scattered, we had each wandered off on his own way; but it was the Lord’s good pleasure to forgive the sins of all of us FOR HIS SAKE.  


53:7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth.

53:7. He prayed, and he was answered, and ere even he had opened his mouth he was accepted; the mighty of the peoples he will deliver up like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb dumb before her shearers; there shall be none before him opening his mouth or saying a word.


53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.

53:8. Out of chastisements and punishment he will bring our captives near; the wondrous things done to us in his days who shall be able to tell? For he will cause the dominion of the Gentiles to pass away from the land of Israel and transfer to them the sins which my people have committed.  


53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’

53:9. He will deliver the wicked into Gehinnom, and those that are rich in possessions into the death of utter destruction, in order that those who commit sin may not be established, nor speak deceits with their mouth.  


53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand:

53:10. But it is the Lord’s good pleasure to try and to purify the remnant of his people, so as to cleanse their souls from sin; these shall look on THE KINGDOM OF THEIR MESSIAH, their sons and their daughters shall be multiplied, they shall prolong their days, and those who perform the Law of the Lord shall prosper in his good pleasure.  


53:11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear.

53:11. From the subjection of the nations he will deliver their souls, they shall look upon the punishment of those that hate them, and be satisfied with the spoil of their kings; by his wisdom he will hold the guiltless free from guilt, in order to bring many into subjection to the law; AND FOR THEIR SINS HE WILL INTERCEDE.  


53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

53:12. Then will I divide for him the spoil of many peoples, and the possessions of strong cities shall he divide as prey, BECAUSE HE DELIVERED UP HIS SOUL TO DEATH, and made the rebellious subject to the Law: HE SHALL INTERCEDE FOR MANY SINS, and the rebellious FOR HIS SAKE shall be forgiven. (Nakdimon, Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 53; capital emphasis mine)


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