Structure of Isaiah 42:1-9
The literary structure of Isaiah 42:1-9 points to the importance of
Isaiah’s servant, his call, and his mission. This passage contains two chiastic
structures, the first one suggested by W. A. M. Beuken, who sees the
structure of Isa 42:1-4 as a chiasm with a juridical literary genre.
A la Yhwh designates his Servant
Behold my servant, whom I uphold;
mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;B lb’ Yhwh equips his Servant
I have put my spirit upon him:C lb” his mission: mišpat
he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.D 2-3a his behavior: no shouting, no violence against the oppressed
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench:C’ 3b his mission: mišpat
he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.B’ 4a’ his destiny: oppression
He shall not fail nor be discouragedA’ 4a”-b his mission: mišpā† and tora.”
till he have set judgment in the earth:
and the isles shall wait for his law.
....the second chiasm, found in vv. 5 to 9, is structured as follows...
A 5 God’s creative acts
Thus saith God the LORD,
he that created the heavens, and stretched them out;
he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it;
he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:B 6a “I Yhwh” demonstrates his character to the servant/you (emphasis righteousness)
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness,
and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,C 6b-7 The Servant as a covenant to the people and his work
and give thee for a covenant of the people,
for a light of the Gentiles;
To open the blind eyes,
to bring out the prisoners from the prison,
and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.B’ 8 “I Yhwh” demonstrates his character to the servant (emphasis on "My Glory")
am the LORD: that is my name:
and my glory will I not give to another,
neither my praise to graven images.A’ 9 God’s creative acts by telling the future “new things"
Behold, the former things are come to pass,
and new things do I declare:
before they spring forth I tell you of them.
The structure of Isa 42:1-9 suggests two key elements about the servant.
1) Behavior & Mission
2) Mission Accomplished in His Behavior
Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 27/1-2 (2016)