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.

God is with Israel (Isa 41:8-41:10)

“But you!

Israel!

My servant! Jacob!

I have chosen you!

The offspring of Abraham!

My friend!

I took you

From the ends of the earth.

I called you

From its farthest corners.

I said to you.

‘You are my servant.

I have chosen you.

I have not cast you off.

Do not fear!

I am with you!

Do not be afraid!

I am your God!

I will strengthen you!

I will help you!

I will uphold you

With my victorious right hand!’”

God will protect his servants, a theme that comes up over and over again. Second Isaiah used both terms ‘Israel’ and ‘Jacob’ to refer to the offspring of his friend Abraham, but there is little mention of Moses here. God uses the first person singular “I” when he says that he called them from the ends of the earth and all its corners. They were to be his chosen servants, since he would not cast them off. They should not be afraid or fear anything. God is with them to strengthen them, to help them, and to uphold them with his victorious right hand.

Yahweh helps the righteous (Ps 37:16-37:17)

Tet      

“Better is a little that the righteous person has

Than the abundance of many wicked people.

The arms of the wicked shall be broken.

But Yahweh upholds the righteous.”

It is better to have a little and be righteous than have an abundance of things like the wicked people have. The arms of the wicked shall be broken, but Yahweh will uphold the righteous.