The Holy One of Israel in Isaiah

3554 Words Oct 20th, 2011 15 Pages
The Holy One of Israel This essay concerns about the meaning of the divine title ‘The Holy One of Israel’ in the Book of Isaiah. It is going to state clearly the study approach before going into the discussion.

Approach of this essay

The book of Isaiah had been studied through different approaches of which three are quite distinctive[1].
(1) A pre-critical, or traditional, understanding, still found in some conservative scholars. They keep the entire book of Isaiah connected to the prophet Isaiah of the eighth century B.C.E. There is nothing intrinsically impossible as the approach is ‘prophecy’. With the rise of ‘historical criticism’, such an approach has been commonly rejected in the interpretive world.
(2) A critical
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Israel acquires holiness by being obedient to God’s commandments and faithful to His covenant (Lev 11:44; Deut 28:9)[4]. The concept of holiness permeates the life of Israel. Even the land occupied by the people is considered holy (Zech 2:12). The capital city Jerusalem is designated as the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High (Ps 46:4).

The Holy One of Israel

The term ‘The Holy One of Israel’ reflects the dialectical relation between ‘The Holy One’ and ‘Israel’. It is a relation with the Holy One with a non-holy entity[5]. The Holy One requires Israel to be holy. ‘Be holy because I, the Lord Your God, am holy’ (Lev 19:2). The separate one becomes the attached one. Their relation is bound by covenant. The challenge of the relation is Israel’s unfaithfulness in worshipping other god’s. The most notable example is the imposition of Baal worship on the northern kingdom by Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel. Both the northern and the southern kingdoms suffered captivity. Any ‘rebellious’ from Israel side causes ‘discipline’ from The Holy One side. ‘Exile’ from Israel causes ‘In the midst’ from the other, ‘punishment’ causes ‘redemption’, ‘go astray’ causes ‘teaches and leads’ etc. In the Book of Isaiah, the Holy One is the Lord, God. The Lord has passion. He is angry at Israel who rejects His laws (5:24; 31:1) but His compassion is good news more directly for the powerless (29:19). He is the Creator of Israel (43:15), the Maker of this nation (17:7;
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