Monday 18 November 2013

Seed of Isaiah 53:10

I know I have made the argument that zera or seed can be used metaphorically in  previous article, although I have recently stumbled upon after some contemplation of a possible theory in scripture. Namely regarding the use of the word zera.

We'll put aside the debate as to whether zera is physical or figurative for this time. In the mean time, let's assume that zera is speaking of physical descendants, but the question is, does the seed in Isaiah 53:10 belong to the Messiah? or is it a different people it belongs to.

Firstly, Nakdimon, goes out of his way to show that Zera can be used metaphorically, but that's not what I am speaking of in the article: this is what he says:

"Charge #8: Seed/ זָרַע (Zera) (30:15)
Rabbi Singer then goes on a rampage about the fact that Yeshua didn’t have any seed when the prophet explicitly says this, that is, according to the rabbi. The rabbi says that the servant has to have children. Rabbi Singer argues that the word “בֶן” (ben) is the proper word to refer to non-physical children, not “זָרַע” (zera). He actually goes so far to say that
“the word ‘zera’… can only mean physical children, NEVER spiritual children. By definition the word ‘zera’ means ‘seed’. It’s talking about that which leaves the loins of a man. It’s not talking about those people that follow his teachings. ‘Zera’ only means PHYSICAL children. NEVER does it mean someone’s gonna have spiritual children, that’s IMPOSSIBLE! And therefore it’s clear here that this is talking about physical children. ‘Prove it to me!’ Boy, am I gonna prove it to you!”
Then the rabbi gives us some verses that prove his point and then drills his point home with an account in Genesis 15, a dialogue between God and Abram where God appears to Abram and Abram mistakes Eliezer for his son (בֶן/ben) and says that God didn’t give him any seed  (זָרַע/zera). Sounds like a pretty convincing story, doesn’t it? However… yet again rabbi Tovia Singer is not telling the whole story and plays with the mind of his audience. Look at the quotes above again: 
zera only means physical seed…
never spiritual seed…
that’s impossible …
boy am I gonna prove it to you
If what rabbi Singer says is actually true, then we won’t be able to find a single instance where zera is used metaphorically (referring to non-physical seed) in the Tenach since he told his audience that was impossible, right? Okay! Now what the rabbi failed to tell his audience and conveniently left out is the following. A few chapters after Isaiah 53 we see the word seed used again. This is what Isaiah 57:4 says:
עַל-מִי תִּתְעַנָּגוּ עַל-מִי תַּרְחִיבוּ פֶה תַּאֲרִיכוּ לָשׁוֹן | הֲלוֹא-אַתֶּם יִלְדֵי-פֶשַׁע זֶרַע שָׁקֶר
Against whom do ye sport yourselves? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
Now unless rabbi Tovia Singer is going to argue that the people of Israel are direct descendants and physical offspring of falsehood, this pretty much looks like a metaphorical use of the word “zera”, something that rabbi Tovia Singer, who has great knowledge of Hebrew, said that was IMPOSSIBLE! Why does Isaiah then seem to think otherwise? Didn’t he know enough Hebrew to know what rabbi Singer knows? No, it’s simply because Isaiah doesn’t have to disprove or discredit anyone, but rabbi Singer clearly does! Again, is this just a slip of the tongue or deliberately left out? Now we will proceed to the next example, which comes from Psalm 22:31:
A seed shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord unto the next generation.
Unless you believe that God married some hot goddess and will have physical children, this pretty much looks like a metaphorical usage of the word “zera”. At least it looks like the word zera is used to describe to other peoples’ offspring and not of the subject itself, God. “But…”, you object, “…this doesn’t speak of Gods children at all. This just says that “a seed” (zera) will serve Him and not that “his seed” (zero) will serve Him!” To which my answer is; don’t you do the exact same thing regarding the servant in Isaiah 53? What does it say?
He will see seed
Exactly! It says “yir’eh zera” and not “yir’eh zero”, so why does rabbi Singer claim that the servant must have children or that he is promised children? The text doesn’t say that at all! Now I am aware of instances that the prophet doesn’t use the possessive form but it is still implied. But who says that he is implying it here? Nowhere in the text of Isaiah 53 is there ever a promise to the servant that he will have children. Maybe people with a double agenda may think so, but looking at the Hebrew text, which is the source of rabbi Singer’s arguments, there is no basis for that argument. Except theological bias, of course. Here are more references to metaphorical uses of zera in Isaiah:
"4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly..." (Isaiah 1)

"20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people; the seed of evil-doers shall not be named for ever."(Isaiah 14)

"3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the harlot." (Isaiah 57)
Unless one is going to argue that all the parents of the ones being addressed here are truly considered harlots and evildoers, you are going to have to concede that it's implied here to refer to people who follow the evil works and the ways of adultery like the generations before them, regardless if they are their physical children or not. For all we know most of the parents of those being addressed here have been righteous while they wandered off. This clearly refers to the works of their predecessors rather than their originsSo this charge remains without teeth, is made up from thin air and rabbi Singer is caught lying yet again!"

The one point I want to drive home is not that Zera is metaphorical, I'll grant for arguments sake it's physical, because Nakdimon has made the excellent point that the seed that is seen is not the Messiah's seed.

I postulate that the seed of Isaiah 53:10 is not the Messiah's seed, but it is the seed of Israel whom the Messiah died for. This is the theory that I am putting forward.

Also, Read Psalm 22:
""Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!""

We know contextually this is not the seed of God in a physical sense, so who is it referring to? The seed of the Gentiles who come to faith and love the God of Israel as a result of the Messiah. Remember, in my previous articles I have often mentioned that Psalm 22 is Messianic in nature.

In Isaiah 53, we have Jesus the Messiah seeing seed, but not his own seed, but the seed of Israel.

As for seed being spiritual, I direct you to this article right here

Hope that this article helps.

Answering Judaism.


  1. Fantastic post. I used it as a source for my video

    1. Thanks, Nakdimon's article was of great benefit to me.

    2. What's so interesting is that Tovia Singer is so blatantly deceiving his audience. No Jewish translation, apart from the paraphrastic targum, translates the verse as "false seed" (they translate it seed of deceit). Yet Tovia goes on a tirade about Christians mistranslating the verse as "seed of deceit" which no one who understands Hebrew would possibly use for the translation.

    3. The way the adjectives were phrased in Tovia Singer's video wasn't a refutation, if anything it came across as nitpicking, including the red ball analogy.

      Plus the Judaica Press destroyed his point to begin with.