Christianity claims that Isaiah 53 speaks about their messiah.
However the plain text of Isaiah clearly shows it speaks about the nation Israel, and not about the messiah.
If Christians disagree, please give some proof from the prophet Isaiah, or from the rest of the Tanach, that Isaiah 53 speaks about the messiah.
I will start by giving some proof it speaks about the people of Israel:
Isaiah 52:13; Behold My servant shall deal prudently . The key question here is: Who is it that the prophet Isaiah calls the servant of God? We shall let the prophet Isaiah speak for himself, and please keep in mind that the name of Jacob was changed into Israel after the fight with the angel in the end of Genesis 32; Jacob is synonymous with Israel:
Isaiah 41:8: But thou , Israel
art my servant, Jacob
whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou who I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thou from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee: Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Isaiah 44:1-2; Yet now hear, O Jacob
my servant, and Israel
who I have chosen. Thus said the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; fear not O Jacob my servant, and thou Jesurun whom I have chosen.
Isaiah 44:21; Remember these, O Jacob
, for thou art my servant. I have formed thee, thou art my servant; O Israel
thou shalt not be forgotten of me
Isaiah 45:4; For Jacob
, my servant’s sake, and Israel
mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name.
Isaiah 48:20; The lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob
Isaiah 49:3; And said unto me: Thou art my servant, O Israel
, in whom I will be glorified.
There is more where this comes from, but with these you can catch it in one sentence.
So anyway, the servant of God is clearly identified in Isaiah (and in other prophets) as ISRAEL.
And an interesting point is that the messiah is NOWHERE in Isaiah, NOWHERE in the whole Tanach, ever referred to as "servant of God".
And when we look at the context of this text, we see that it speaks about ISRAEL. No messiah to be found in the context.
So also the context proves it speaks about ISRAEL, and not about the messiah.
And there is of course the conceptual proof:
The concept of God who must let Himself be killed by His creatures before He can forgive them, is NOWHERE to be found in the Tanach.
But, if we fill in Israel as the servant, what we get is the following:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." We also have to ask: who is the 'our' and the 'we'? Here is the prophet Isaiah speaking as a part of the Jewish people. So also the 'we' points to the Jewish people. Now in stead of the metaphor, 'the servant', let's fill in the Jewish people and see what we get: But [the Jewish people] were wounded for the transgressions of [the Jewish people], [the Jewish people] were bruised for the iniquities of [the Jewish people], the chastisement of the peace of [the Jewish people] was upon [the Jewish people], and with the stripes of [the Jewish people] [the Jewish people] are healed.
So what we see here, is that the Jews were punished by God for the sins of the Jews.
And that just happens to be a concept which is all over the Tanach.
And now: What proof from Isaiah or the rest of the Tanach do the Christians have that Isaiah 53 speaks about the messiah?
Absolutely totally nothing.
Glad to be of service,
In the service of Y-H-W-H
Eliyahu, light unto the nations
"Hear Israel, Y-H-W-H
is our God, Y-H-W-H
is ONE!" Deut 6:4
"All the peoples walk each in the name of his god, but as for us; we will walk in the name of Y-H-W-H
our God forever and ever!" Micah 4:5