Who killed Isaiah

The Talmud, Yebamoth 49b, records death of prophet ISAIAH as, Supposedly Manasseh bought him to trial for contradicting Moses teachings that,

  • Man could not see God and live (Exodus 33:20). Isaiah had claimed that he saw God recorded (Isaiah 6:1).
  • Moses had taught God was near Israel (Deuteronomy 4:7). Isaiah said that God must be sought in (Isaiah 55:6).
  • Moses taught God would fulfill our days , not make additions (Exodus 23:26). Isaiah said that God would add fifteen years to Hezekiah (2 kings 20:6).

Knowing that Manassah would not accept anything he said, Isaiah

thereupon pronounced [the divine] Name and was swallowed up by a cedar. The cedar, however, was bought and sawn asunder. When the saw reached his mouth he died.

In Sanhedrin 103b, another talmudic tradition says that the statement that Manasseh shed innocent blood every day, 2 Kings 21:16, was interpreted in Babylon to refer to killing of Isaiah.

Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 120, in Ante-Nicene Father, I, 259, records the tradition: whom [Isaiah] you sawed with a wooden saw.

Origen, Ante-Nicene Father, IV, 388, refers to the “tradition … that Esaias the Prophet was sawn asunder”.

Similar references can be found among others as,

  • Albert barens, I, 10;
  • Page H. Kelley, Isaiah in The Broadman Bible commentary, V, 1971, 150;
  • George Rawlinson, Isaiah, in The Pulpit Commentary,
  • Refer to the view that Hebrew 11:37 refers to Isaiah’s death.

Referenced from Peter A Steveson’s commentary on Isaiah.

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