The Interpretation Of יזה In Isaiah 52:15 -- By: Edward J. Young

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 03:2 (May 1941)
Article: The Interpretation Of יזה In Isaiah 52:15
Author: Edward J. Young


The Interpretation Of יזה In Isaiah 52:15

Edward J. Young

“So shall he sprinkle many nations” (Isaiah 52:15a).

THE verb יַזָּה in Isaiah 52:15 has generally been translated “to sprinkle”.1 In recent times particularly, however, this translation has been subjected to severe criticism and has largely been abandoned. Scholars who attack this rendering may be divided into two general classes. On the one hand there are those who maintain that יַזָּה is not the original reading and consequently, textual emendation is necessary. On the other hand some assert that no textual emendation is necessary, but that the translation “to sprinkle” does not correctly represent the force of the original.

Among those who would emend the text unanimity of opinion as to the correct emendation is by no means to be found. For example, Cheyne,2 suggests that “if a conjecture is to be ventured upon” we should probably read יַר in place of יַזָּה, a word which occurs in Habakkuk 3:6. The confusion between יַר and יַזָּה might easily, he thinks, have occurred. The verb נָר means “to spring, start up”, and Cheyne feels that the sense requires such a word “expressing the shock of joyful surprise with which the nations shall greet the turn in the Servant’s fortunes, as an antithesis to the shock of horror in v. 143 .

Bernhard Duhm4 would emend the text to read רַבִּים ן יַזְִהִניר “so wird er erglänzen vor vielen”. The meaning then would be that even as many were astonished at the Servant, so would he shine before many, since he has come out of death and is now high and exalted. This meaning, thinks Duhm, explains the verbs in verse thirteen. He also thinks that Daniel 12:1 may possibly be dependent upon the Isaiah passage.5

Another emendation is that advocated by Karl Marti6 namely, יִשְׁתַּתֲווּ. This differs from the suggestions of Cheyne and Duhm in that it discovers the ...

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