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The Suffering Servant- Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (53:6; ESV)

No one is free from the need of the work of the Messiah. All of us have gone down our own path. I like the ESV with the emphasis on “every one” has gone his own way. This is similar to the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 3 that there is no one righteous, no not one. But it is the second part of the verse that I want to examine in our remaining time. Most translations, including the ESV, say that the Lord laid on the servant our iniquities. This, therefore, becomes proof that Jesus had sin placed upon him and therefore died out of fellowship with God. But we need to carefully look at the meaning of the Hebrew word “laid.”

The Hebrew word is paga and Strong’s says the word means: “come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, intreat, lay, light (upon), meet (together), pray, reach, run.” As you can see, there are a number of different meanings. The NASB uses the meaning “fall”: “But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Interesting that the translator notes to the NET Bible states, “paga’ means “to intercede verbally” (Jer 15:11; 36:25) or “to intervene militarily” (Isa 59:16), but neither nuance fits here.”

I would like to know why the word “intercession” does not fit here! The same Hebrew word is used just a couple of verses later in Isaiah 53:12 and notice that the word is translated “interceded” by all translations. Further, Isaiah uses this Hebrew word paga to mean “intercession” in Isaiah 59:16: He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. (ESV)

I suggest that the scholars and translators may be colored by their Calvinistic beliefs and want this word to mean “laid” when “interceded” is appropriate. Further confirmation of our analysis is the Septuagint (LXX), which has been translated: “…and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins.” Therefore, Isaiah did not prophecy that the Lord laid sin of the servant. Rather, even though we have gone our own way, the servant would be used by the Lord to make intercession.

These two verses are partially quoted by Peter: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25; ESV)

The Calvinist may argue that we see Peter directly saying that he bore our sins in his body. However, the Greek word for “bore” means “to carry up, to lift up, to offer up.” So again we see that it is just as reasonable to say that Jesus himself made an offering for our sins with his body on the cross. Or Jesus himself carried away our sins with his body on the cross. Amazing, two translations not known for being literal, word for word translations have this rendering:

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross… (NLT)

Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross… (God’s Word)

There was nothing about the servant that we would follow after him. He would carry away sickness and diseases and yet the people would consider the servant struck down by God. He was pierced through to death because of our rebellion. The suffering of the servant would be the way for peace to exist between God and man, making us whole and complete. Every one of us went down our own path rather than down the path of the Lord. So God used the servant to make intercession for our sins.