“With a rich man in his death” — Holy Saturday thoughts

(Old Facebook Post)

Today is the day we remember Christ was in the grave. Have you ever considered that there, too, he was unexpectedly exalted? The NASB brings this out in its translation of Isaiah 53:9:

“His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”

The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary Buy on Amazon J. Alec Motyer comments:

“Since the Servant was condemned as a criminal, the natural expectation was that he would be brought to a criminal’s grave but, on the contrary, following a superb/real/violent death [suggested by the fact that in Hebrew the word “death” in this verse is actually plural] he was found ‘with a rich man.’ The enigma of 52:13-15 (how could such suffering lead to such exaltation?) and of 53:1-3 (how could one so plainly human be “the arm of the Lord”?) is, therefore, compounded: how could a condemned man receive a rich man’s burial? …Like the other enigmas of this Song, this too is written so that when the turn of events provides the explanation [that is, when Jesus was actually buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s grave] we shall know for certain that we stand in the presence of the Servant of the Lord.” (The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, J. Alec Motyer, IVP Academic, 1993, page 436).


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