Description of the servant of Yahweh (Matt 12:19-12:21)

“He will not quarrel.

He will not cry aloud.

They will not hear his voice

In the streets.

He will not break

A bruised reed.

He will not quench

A smoldering wick,

Until he brings justice to victory.

In his name,

The gentiles will hope.”

 

οὐκ ἐρίσει οὐδὲ κραυγάσει, οὐδὲ ἀκούσει τις ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ.

κάλαμον συντετριμμένον οὐ κατεάξει καὶ λίνον τυφόμενον οὐ σβέσει, ἕως ἂν ἐκβάλῃ εἰς νῖκος τὴν κρίσιν.

καὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ ἔθνη ἐλπιοῦσιν.

 

Second Isaiah, chapter 42:2-4, described this servant of Yahweh.  He would not cry nor lift up his voice in the streets.  He would not break the bruised reeds nor put out a dimly burning wick on a candle.  In other words, he would be a very quiet person.  However, he would fight for justice.  He would not be faint or crushed, until he has established justice on the whole earth.  Matthew clearly applied this description to Jesus since Jesus would not quarrel or be contentious (οὐκ ἐρίσει).  Jesus would not cry out or shout (οὐδὲ κραυγάσει).  They would not hear Jesus’ voice in the streets (οὐδὲ ἀκούσει τις ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ).  Jesus would not break a bruised reed into pieces (κάλαμον συντετριμμένον οὐ κατεάξει).  Jesus would not quench a smoldering wick on a candle (καὶ λίνον τυφόμενον οὐ σβέσει).  Jesus would bring justice to victory (ἕως ἂν ἐκβάλῃ εἰς νῖκος τὴν κρίσιν).  In the name of Jesus (καὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ), the gentile nations would hope (ἔθνη ἐλπιοῦσιν).  There was no doubt in the mind of Matthew that Jesus was the servant of Yahweh from Isaiah.

The servant of Yahweh (Matt 12:18-12:18)

“Here is my servant!

I have chosen him.

My beloved!

My soul is well pleased

With him.

I will put my Spirit

Upon him.

He shall proclaim justice

To the gentile nations.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ὁ παῖς μου ὃν ᾑρέτισα, ὁ ἀγαπητός μου ὃν εὐδόκησεν ἡ ψυχή μου· θήσω τὸ Πνεῦμά μου ἐπ’ αὐτόν, καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ.

 

A series of scholarly debates has risen about who this servant of Yahweh is in Isaiah, chapter 42:1.  Is it the country and people of Israel or is it an individual prophetic person?  Sometimes the reference is singular as here, but is that also symbolic?  There are many chants or songs about the servant in Second Isaiah.  This oracle has Yahweh speak directly about his servant, who he will uphold, since he is the chosen one.  Yahweh’s soul delights in him.  He puts his Spirit upon him.  This servant of Yahweh will bring about justice for all the nations.  At first take, this appears to be an individual that Yahweh really likes.  Mathew made a clear choice about this servant of Yahweh.  Jesus is the servant of God (Ἰδοὺ ὁ παῖς μου).  God has chosen him (ὃν ᾑρέτισα).  He is God’s beloved (ὁ ἀγαπητός μου).  The soul of God has delighted in Jesus (ὃν εὐδόκησεν ἡ ψυχή μου).  God would put his Spirit on Jesus (θήσω τὸ Πνεῦμά μου ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Jesus would proclaim a just judgment to the gentile nations (καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ).  The text that Matthew used is not an exact copy of the Greek or Hebrew text, but close enough.

The fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah (Mt 12:17-12:17)

“This was to fulfill

What was spoken

Through the prophet Isaiah.”

 

ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

 

There is no question that this citation from Second Isaiah, chapter 42-1-4, was unique to Matthew.  He was a strong believer that these sayings of the Old Testament or Hebrew scriptures were fulfilled with Jesus (ἵνα πληρωθῇ) and his healings.  Matthew explicitly mentions that the prophet Isaiah had spoken these words (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος).

Panic in the land (Jer 10:19-10:21)

“Woe is me!

Because of my hurt,

My wound is severe.

But I said.

‘Truly this is my punishment.

I must bear it.’

My tent is destroyed.

All my cords are broken.

My children have gone from me.

They are no more.

There is no one

To spread my tent again,

There is no one

To set up my curtains.

The shepherds are stupid.

They do not inquire of Yahweh.

Therefore they have not prospered.

All their flock is scattered.”

Jeremiah presents this lamentation about what was happening to him personally. He has been hurt and wounded. He understood that this was his punishment and that he had to bear it. His tent was destroyed with all its cords. In this sense, it is also like Second Isaiah. His children have left him. There was no one to help him with his tent and its curtains. The idea of the stupid shepherds is a reference to their rulers. They never inquired of Yahweh, so that they have not prospered. Their flocks have scattered all over the place.

False wooden idols (Jer 10:3-10:5)

“The customs of the people

Are false.

A tree from the forest

Is cut down.

It is worked with an ax

By the hands of an artisan.

People deck it with silver.

They deck it with gold.

They fasten it with a hammer.

They fasten it with nails.

Thus it cannot move.

Their idols are

Like scarecrows in a cucumber field.

They cannot speak.

They have to be carried.

They cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them!

They cannot do evil.

It is not in them to do good.”

This section is a lot like that of Second Isaiah, especially chapters 40-44, against false human made idol gods. Thus this probably also comes from the later exilic times. Many people have this false custom of idol worship. He reminded them that these wooden idols come from a tree. Someone cut down the tree in the forest. Then an artisan or wood carver axed or created an image with a hammer and nails. Then they put silver and gold on it. Thus these false wooden idols cannot move. They are more like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch. They cannot talk or walk, since they have to be carried around. No one should be afraid of these scarecrow idols, since they cannot do any evil to you. However, they also cannot do any good for you either. Once again, this is an argument against the false wooden idol gods and their human makers.

The glory of Yahweh at Jerusalem (Isa 60:1-60:3)

“Arise!

Shine!

Your light has come!

The glory of Yahweh

Has risen upon you.

Darkness shall cover the earth.

A thick darkness shall cover the people.

But Yahweh will arise above you.

His glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come

To your light.

Kings shall come

To the brightness of your dawn.”

Now here are a series of poems that are reminiscent of Second Isaiah and the Book of Consolation. The theme is the restoration of Jerusalem in all its glory. The glory of Yahweh has Jerusalem wake up and shine. Although darkness will cover the earth and its entire people, Yahweh will make his light shine. Thus nations and kings will come to Jerusalem because of its bright dawn light.

The joyful new Exodus (Isa 55:12-55:13)

“You shall go out in joy!

You shall be led back in peace!

The mountains before you

Shall burst into song.

The hills before you

Shall break out into singing.

All the trees of the field

Shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn bushes,

The cypress tree shall come up.

Instead of the briar patch,

The myrtle tree shall come up.

It shall be a memorial to Yahweh.

It shall be an everlasting sign

That you shall not be cut off.”

Second Isaiah concludes this section by talking about a happy return to Jerusalem. The Israelites will return in joy and peace because the singing mountains and hills are alive with the sound of music. The trees of the field will clap with their branches, as if they were hands. Instead of thorn bushes and briar patches, cypress and myrtle trees will grow. This will be a memorial to Yahweh as an everlasting sign that they will never be cut off from Yahweh again.