Louise Pettibone Smith.

The Messianic ideal of Isaiah online

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Presented to the Faculty of Bryn Mawr College

in part fulfilment of the requirement for

the degree of doctor of philosophy

June 1917


• • •

• • •




Presented to the Faculty of Bryn Mawr College

in part fulfilment of the requirement for

the degree of doctor of philosophy

June 1917


/ 158'* ?.'*!'. ' '; LjOT/telsrA'L of biblical literature


Louise Pettibone Smith

Wellesley College


In the first thirty-nine chapters of the book of Isaiah four pas-
sages are especially important in determining the course of the
development of the Messianic ideal of Israel, namely 1 : 24-27 ;
9 : 1-6 ; 10 : 33-11 : 10 (or as usually cited 11 : 1-9), and 32 : l-6( ?).
These four passages agree in describing a political kingdom with
a definite government distinct from the rule of Jahveh Himself.

The fact that the book of Isaiah, as it now stands, was compiled
some time after the exile from smaller collections of unrelated
fragments, many of which first circulated independently, and
gradually came to be associated with Isaiah, is now too generally
accepted by biblical scholars to need discussion here. Obviously,
then, the presence of a particular passage in the compilation
proves nothing concerning the identity of its author. It is in
the book simply because a compiler considered it worthy of
preservation. A large number of passages are clearly post-exilic
in form and content (e. g. the oracle against Babylon, ch. 13) ;
also many of the sections which as clearly belong to the eighth
century contain explanations and additions of a much later
date. The proportion of early and of late material in the several
independent collections differs considerably. In chs. 2-12, for
instance, the relative amount of Isaianic material is larger than
in any other part of the book. In chs. 28-32, on the other hand,
the few passages which may have been utterances of Isaiah are
almost hidden by the accumulations of later matter. Neverthe-
less, for the dating of any particular passage within the various
collections we must depend on internal evidence alone.

Among the passages of which the theme is the future pros-
perity of Israel, by far the larger number are unhesitatingly
assigned by modern scholars to a period during or after the
exile — in many of them, indeed, the exile is presupposed as the
historical background. The most important of such predictions
are chs. 11 : 11-12 : 6 ; 24-27 ; 35. These passages are distinctly


eschatological in character. Jahveh will shake the earth 24 : 18,
19, punish Leviathan 27 : 1, divide the river 11 : 15b, dry up the
sea 11 : 15a, cause streams to rise in the wilderness 35 : 6b, etc. ;
the return of Israel from exile and the establishment of the
world supremacy of Zion are to be effected by the direct action
of the miraculous power of Jahveh 11 : 11-12 ; 11 : 15-16 ; 12 :
1-6; 25:9,10; 26:5,12,13,21; 27:1; 35:4; all the world will
then acknowledge His power 24 : 14-15 ; 25 : 3, 7 ; 26 : 16 ; and
Jahveh Himself will reign in Jerusalem 12 : 6 ; 24 : 23 ; 25 : 6,
10 ; 26 : 13 — ideas which are all characteristic of Jewish thought
in the centuries after the exile. Of a similar type are a number
of shorter passages (2:2-4; 4:2-6; 17:12-14; 28:5, 6; 29:
17-24; 30:18-30; 32:15-20; 33:13-24) which probably belong
to the same period.

In direct contrast to such passages are the four already men-
tioned, in which the restored glory of Jerusalem is pictured as
directly the work of the human ruler of the nation, although
the ruler is of course the sign of Jahveh 's favor to His chosen
people. 16 : 1-5 is not to be included with them since, although
V. 5 promises one sitting on a throne *'in the tent of David," the
character of the section is quite different. The reference to the
ruler is here merely incidental in a prophecy which is chiefly
concerned with the fate of Moab; while in the other passages
the ruler is the chief figure. 16 : 1-5 is an insertion in the oracle
against Moab 15 : 1-16 : 12, which 16 : 13-14 expressly states to
be a quotation. The whole passage is probably late — should per-
haps be dated in the same period as the book of Euth^ — and
verse 5 is best understood as an allusion to an idea which had
long been a part of Jewish expectation. 4 : 2 ff. ; 7 : 10-25, and
8 : 5-8 are also omitted since modern exegesis and textual criti-
cism have proved conclusively that they were not intended to
have a Messianic significance. In 4 : 2 the phrase * ' branch of
Jahveh" is obviously parallel to "fruit of the land," so that
a personal interpretation is extremely improbable.^ 7 : 10 ff. is
evidently, from the context, a definite prediction of time f while
8 : 8 should be read '?N ^^Di^ O T^N , ending with the same refrain

^G. B. Gray, "Isaiah" (Int. Crit. Com.), 1911, pp. 275-277.
^ Duhm, Jesaia, p. 29, Gottingen, 1914.
^ For discussion see below, p. 197 f.



as 8 : 10* and thus containing no reference to an expected


To determine whether these four Messianic predictions
( 1 : 24-27 ; 9:1-6; 10 : 33-11 : 10 ; 32 : 1-6 (?) ) orginated after
the destruction of Jerusalem or whether they form an integral
part of the message which Isaiah brought to his people, a study
of the passages themselves is the first essential.

1 : 24-27 is a part of a twelve line poem, beginning with verse
21, which is universally ascribed to Isaiah. The date is uncer-
tain. Duhm refers it to the Syro-Ephraimitic war, while
Cheyne and Marti date it about 705 b. c. The poem, which is
in the Kinah or 3 : 2 metre, is usually considered to end at verse
26, although this leaves the second strophe half a line short. I
am inclined to include verse 27 which is also a 3 : 2 line and omit
the rather colorless beginning of verse 25 which in the present
text scans 3:3:2. Verses 28 ff. are a late prose addition
describing the fate of the wicked, a subject with which verse
27 has no connection. Also it seems somewhat unnatural that
the supplementer of the poem should have begun his addition in
the metre of the poem and continued it in prose. There is no
linguistic argument against verse 27; the parallelism with
np"lV requires O^ti^D to mean "just judgement" as often in
Isaiah and not "judgement day."^ Although the word n"l£3
is not found elsewhere in Isaiah, it occurs twice in Hosea,^ thus
showing that it was in use in Isaiah's time.'^ Verse 27, then,
would be an allusion to Hezekiah's contemplated offer of tribute
to Sennacherib (II Kings 18 : 13-16), which according to Isaiah ^s
view would be useless without the intervention of Jahveh — an
intervention conditioned on the reformation of the nation.
Marti^ suggests that v. 23 refers to the alliance with Egypt
of which Isaiah strongly disapproved. The poem would thus

^Duhm, iUd., p. 56 (ed. 1902); Marti, Jesaja, p. 85, Tubingen, 1900.

5 G. B. Gray, Isaiah, p. 36.

«Hos. 7: 13; 13: 14.

' Cheyne, Introduction to Isaiah, p. 7. ^

^ Marti, Jesaja, p. 20.


date at some time during the blockade of Jerusalem by Senna-
cherib, before the retirement of the Assyrian army.

1 : 21-27.

21. A harlot she has become,

the city of trust.
With justice was Zion once filled,

within her dwelt right.

22. Thy silver is but dross,

thy drink impure.

23. Unruly are those ruling thee,

companions of thieves.
Everyone of them loves a bribe,

and seeks a reward.
No widow's cause they decide,

no orphan they judge.

24. Hence speaks Jahveh of Hosts,

Israel's might:
On mine enemy I take revenge,

and vengeance on my foe.

25. In fire will I cleanse thy dross,

purge all thine alloy,

26. Restore thy judges as at first,

thy counsellors as of old.
Then righteous shalt thou be called,
the city of trust.

27. By justice shall Zion be redeemed,

her inhabitants by right.

n:ir'? nWn nyi< 21 a
njDN:! nnp

D^i^D^ iTH 'ifiDD 22
Dnno vn "intr 23 ^


D*iD'?tr tinn

nit:^NiaD ^^bfitr rra^b^Ni 26 a

ni^N:i nhp
nS^n toWoD n^^ 27
npnvn notrn

21b. fW added from the Greek. The verse is too long by
two accents. The final D^H^ID HHi^) is an awkward change
to the concrete and may easily be a gloss, perhaps suggested by
verse 15. (Cf. Duhm, p. 11; followed by Marti, p. 17; Gray,
p. 33.)

22. D^DD apparently added to explain ^)nf2 which is more
probably to be taken as olive juice, cf. Ar. maJil (cf. Gray,
p. 36). Ken. 3 Mss. read D^M .

23a. Vn added by Budde (ZAW., 1891, p. 246) ; it improves
the metre and also keeps the first half the line parallel in form
to 21a and 22. nDH] M = nam, omit 1 with (m and Ken.
4 Mss.

23b. tp'l M = r^ini , omit 1 with O^B® and Ken. 1 Ms.

23c. IJO'-N'?] ill= Dn*':'J< i (g o-^ roi? ^^r^Xois, hence Marti
and Cheyne suggest in^IND' cf. Zech. 11:2. But some term
parallel to ^/H^D is needed; Kittel suggests D"l"lpD "with
an ax." ynm, cf. II Sam. 12:31, and p^H, Am. 1:3
requires less change of the Hebrew.

11:1. n>y] M nn£)V (^WB^IE read m£3^

11:2. n^y mm il n^TI n;rn mn, a peculiar con-
struction, since DVI is probably construct, with no noun imme-
diately following, cf . GK, 128^ and note 1.

11:3. Before i

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Online LibraryLouise Pettibone SmithThe Messianic ideal of Isaiah → online text (page 1 of 5)