A Missionary Wrote:
"According to the site that translates the Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 53:8 says: “From detention and judgment he was taken away-and who can even think about his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living, he was stricken for the transgression of my people.”
The translation at that site is by Christians: Dr. Peter Flint & Dr. Eugene Ulrich. Both men are devout Christians. Dr. Flint, now deceased, was formerly with the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and later at Trinity Western University, British Colombia, Canada. Dr. Ulrich, now emeritus faculty, was with the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Look at the Hebrew from the Great Isaiah Scroll. Here is an image of Isaiah 53:8.
The handwritten is from the Dead Sea Scrolls (Great Isaiah Scroll) for Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:8. The printed Hebrew is from the Masoretic Text (the bible).
They are nearly identical. The מִ֣י (who) appears to be different as does כִּ֤י (for) and נֶ֥גַע (plagued). Hence the translation you gave was really a mistranslation -- and the modern Jewish translation matches the Great Isaiah Scroll. The term לָֽמוֹ / lamo appears in the DSS (Great Isaiah Scroll) and in the MT -- it is plural, not singular.
The line in verse 8 in both the Great Isaiah Scroll and the MT ends with לָֽמוֹ lamo -- plural, further emphasizing that Isaiah is speaking of multiple people and multiple deaths.
The term לָֽמוֹ / lamo means "upon them" - on this one occasion, the Hebrew text uses the plural form "them" (לָֽמוֹ lamo is a poetic synonym for לָהֶם lahem, "to them").
Thus in the DSS Great Isaiah Scroll (as in the MT) this passage is about more than one person. Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:8 the last part of the sentence is in plural: they were killed, not "him." Jesus was not "them" ergo this passage does not apply to him.
"Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them / לָֽמוֹ / lamo that was my people's sin."
Then examine Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:12.
Again -- even if you don't read Hebrew you can see how similar they are.
The use of singular versus plural for the servant is immaterial -- the Jewish people are often referred to as "one people." The singular is often used to speak of the Jews. In Sh'mot / Exodus 20:1-14 G-d speaks to the entire nation of Israel in the singular (this is the giving of the 10 utterances). See also:
"And you shall say to Pharaoh, 'So said the L-rd, "My firstborn son is Israel." S'hmot / Exodus 4:22. Singular for the Jewish people.
It is interesting that the servant in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53 is referred to in singular and plural -- and obviously Jesus did not die multiple deaths!
In closing, the Great Isaiah Scroll is NOT reliable. It has many scribal errors. Many of the variances seem to be phonic in nature. This leads some experts to believe that it was copied from dictation, not from another written copy. It contains scribal spelling errors. Most of the differences are simply grammatical -- it most likely was in a genizah (a "graveyard" for defective copies) -- BUT the content is the same as the Hebrew we have today (even if there are some minor variations).
Per Emanuel Tov the Qumran caves yielded no less than twenty-one copies of the book of Isaiah. Sefer Isaiah was not found among the manuscripts at Masada, and but a copy was found at Wadi Murabba’at (circa 132 - 135 CE). Many texts from the Bar Kochba rebellion were found at Wadi Murabba'at.
It's interesting to note that the scribe of the Great Isaiah Scroll produced the most error filled, careless and irregular copy of Isaiah among the various (21 copies) of ancient manuscripts (see Emanuel Tov’s Scribal Practices). Many of these errors were corrected in the other Qumran texts. So the largest copy of an ancient Book of Isaiah is also the copy containing the most corrections (an average of one scribal intervention to every four lines of text).
The 1QIsb – is called the 2nd Isaiah Scroll. It is even closer to today’s Hebrew Isaiah. It is much more fragmentary than the Great Isaiah Scroll and is missing chapters 1-9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 27, 31-34, 36 and 42. Most of the Qumran (Dead Sea) texts of Isaiah including 1QIsb are similar in their consonantal framework (Hebrew does not have vowels) with the medieval Masoretic texts. 1QIsab has a large about of the Book of Isaiah, and read from chapter 38 to the end it is nearly identical with today's Masoretic Text (and differs more from its contemporary, the Great Isaiah Scroll). Emanuel Tov is the emeritus Professor in the Department of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1990 to 2010, Professor Emanuel Tov (Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) served as the Editor in Chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project, producing over thirty volumes from the famed 1947 discovery near Qumran. He wrote:
"When comparing 1QIsab, dating from the first century BCE, with codex L written one thousand years later, one easily recognizes the close relation between the two texts that are sometimes almost identical."
"the sources of Isaiah . . . level of differentiation is not very high. The number of proto-Masoretic texts is remarkable . . . the known texts of Isaiah do not differ from each other recensionally."
Many experts on the scrolls seem to think the Great Isaiah Scroll with its errors may have been a personal copy, and was therefore not "perfect."