In Deuteronomy, Moses details the necessary behavior of Israel’s future king. The monarch must not acquire too much wealth, return the people to Egypt, or exalt himself over his fellow Israelites. If the king follows God’s commands, he will ensure a lengthy reign. Isaiah recalls Moses’ words with reference to the “servant” (עבד; eved) whose suffering and death will provide the atonement necessary for Israel’s return from exile. The prophet’s repurposing of Moses’ language suggests that the servant performs a royal act. In giving his life for his people, Isaiah’s suffering servant gains the reward of Israel’s king. Jesus follows this model when he dies as a servant-king and enacts salvation from sin.  

On the cusp of Canaan, Moses tells his people, “When you come into the land (ארץ; erets)… you may appoint over you a king whom the Lord your God will choose” (Deut 17:14). This king must have a copy of the Torah written in the presence of the priests, which he will read “all the days of his life” (כל ימי חייו; kol yamey hayyav) to ensure that he keeps God’s commands (17:19). Provided that the royal leader does not deviate from the divine regulations, he will “lengthen [his] days” (יאריך ימים; ya’arikh yamim) as the king of Israel (17:20). Deuteronomy establishes the requirements for the most exalted figure among the people of Israel.

Isaiah describes a servant whose suffering and death will result in his being “high and exalted” (Isa 52:13)—terms usually reserved for God (cf. Isa 6:1; 57:15). This servant will give his life as a “guilt offering” (אשׁם; asham) for his people in order to enact the return from exile. The prophetic portrayal of the servant echoes Moses’ description of Israel’s king (53:10): “The Lord was pleased to crush and afflict [the servant]; when he appoints his life (נפשׁו; naphsho) as a guilt offering, he shall see seed and prolong [his] days (יאריך ימים).” Deuteronomy’s king would read Torah “all the days of his life” and thereby prolongs his days in the land, but Isaiah’s servant prolongs his days after he dies, having been “cut off from the land of the living (ארץ חיים; erets hayyim)” (Isa 53:8). By echoing Deuteronomy, Isaiah suggests that the servant’s sacrificial death leads to his crowning as a king. This paradoxical picture of a sacrificial servant-king reemerges in the Gospels: Yeshua declares that he came “to serve (διακονῆσαι; diakonesai), and to give his life (ψυχὴν; psuchèn) as a ransom [sacrifice] (λύτρον; lútron) in exchange for many” (Matt 20:28; Mk 10:45). As with Isaiah’s servant, Jesus is crowned “King of the Jews” in the midst of his suffering and death, and he prolongs his days when God raises him from the dead.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

9 COMMENTS

  1. as my belief & understanding is from this moment, is that Kingship is not ever to be an 'ego trip' ... that the essential integrity of Kingship is to be Servant, Shepard, & Saviour to your people ... this is large economy of soul, to give, to be without stint all that your people need this is large to be drawn from the deep well's of righteous qualities of the human psyche from the very depths of the Well's of Wisdom of YWHW ... from the very epitome' of the ensample of our Lord & Savior Jesus the Christ ... all Good Sheperds herd from the rear of the flock (hindsight is better than forsight?) not in front with a blindness to the rear, and possibly an arrogance as to the 'right Road' .. as there is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends thus, the flock is deemed worthy of the same so Kingship? yes, not of crown's or accolades of this life ... but, of the Life to Come
  2. Can you see the theme of your article reflected in the meaning of the 18th Hebrew letter? Or deeper still, Deuteronomy 18:18? If yes to these, how about even Deut.1:3 wondrously, curiously foreshadowing Isaiah 11:1? The gospel truely is first to the Jew, then the gentile. First Thessalonians 2:3. Shalom.
  3. Ezek.37:24-25 unlocks a mystery--"David my servant" is the eternal king of Israel, and "my servant David" is my Brother, the eternal King of Kings. Dan.9--Messiah the Prince, Ezek.37:25, their Prince forever. Isaiah.52:13 & 53:11 conform to this designation. My Brother's seed are "born again". "Sure house"(1Sam2:35) and Psalm.89:3-4 are mine(Dan.9:26).
  4. The Messiah is seen in the scriptures as a Suffering Servant and also as a King. The question is how will He first come? Messiah must come first as a Suffering Servant and He did. He is Jesus and He is very soon coming as King.
  5. Do you believe the Second Coming will happen after Daniel 2:44? If so, as I, you would not think this event happens "soon". The Second Coming, Zech.14:4, happens after Father's Third Temple is built. Will you be praying in the court of the gentiles, or the court of the Jews?
  6. We should also remember that 1 Samuel 8:6-20 is against the concept of a king. The point was the control that kings (and governments) would have over His people was (and is) wrong.
  7. Ruth, great-grandmother of King David ben Jesse, has her own book in the Bible, a back-story for her CHOSEN great-grandson. Ruth precedes 1 Samuel for a reason. See a difference between 1Sam.8:5,&Duet.17:14? Father SNUBBED ISRAEL with the tall guy! Israel should've asked who'd been chosen. Gen.17:6&Matt.19:28 challenge your interpretation--"wrong"--no. Incorrect.

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