Friday, October 29, 2010

Poetry, by Isaiah

They skipped this passage in Sunday School last week, so it's been on my  mind. This just might be my all-time favorite passage of scripture, as well as possibly my favorite piece of poetry. I couldn't figure out how they could just pass over it in Sunday School (to talk about the last half of the chapter, which is also gorgeous, but to focus on "pleased the Lord to bruise him" and that's ALL, from the whole chapter, they talked about!). Even in translation, this is wonderful.

Who hath believed our report? and
to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.

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.

I could spend time tearing it apart like English majors do poetry ("surely" as in a sure-footed donkey, not "surely you don't mean that"; borne our griefs and sorrows, not just sins; "chastisement of our peace" is a fantastic phrase.....etc.).  But I think this one stands so beautifully on its own.

It's in Isaiah 53, in case you want to read the rest. Or you can discover it the way I first did, quoted by another great prophet here: Mosiah 14. (My favorite phrase from the last half: "...when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed...")

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