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Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:1 reads:

בִּשְׁנַת־מוֹת֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ עֻזִּיָּ֔הוּ וָֽאֶרְאֶ֧ה אֶת־אֲדֹנָ֛י ישֵׁ֥ב עַל־כִּסֵּ֖א רָ֣ם וְנִשָּׂ֑א וְשׁוּלָ֖יו מְלֵאִ֥ים אֶת־הַהֵיכָֽל:

which Chabad.org translates as:

In the year of the death of King Uzziah, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and His lower extremity filled the Temple.

My understanding was that Hashem has no visible form. So what exactly did Yeshayahu (Isaiah) see? Was my understanding incorrect?

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  • See Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim: sefaria.org/…
    – Shmuel
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 19:24
  • Possibly an angel. Or he saw some form of G-d. Moshe “saw” Hashem so I would assume it was something of the same sort. It is interesting to think about because G-d is consistently described as sitting on His throne, so what exact form does this mean🤔 Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 1:50
  • @CuriousYid Of Moshe it says that he only say His 'back' for no man can see His face and live. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 8:09
  • @YaakovRoth either way the question still stands, what is His back? Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 18:37

1 Answer 1

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Take a look at the mefarshim (commentaries) over there - none of them refer to Yeshayahu actually seeing G-d:

  1. Rashi - He saw Hashem's "footstool"

  2. Ibn Ezra - Like Rashi, he didn't see Hashem in actuality but rather something emblematic of His throne.

And his train. The train of the throne; kings usually have their thrones covered with drapery.

A similar approach is employed by the Malbim.

  1. Radak - The language is allegorical: Either הכנוי כנגד הכבוד (lit. a nickname) i.e. a figurative reference to Hashem's great honour. Similar to the Targum Yonason who calls it "ומזיו יקריה אתמלי היכלא" - "and the temple was filled with the brightness of His glory". Alternatively, (like Ibn Ezra) it is a figurative reference to His Throne and the materials draped over it.

  2. See Rashbam on Shemos 1:7 - it was only a perception but nothing of a tangible nature.

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  • Your quote from Rashbam seems to be an interpolation of the translator, not Rashbam himself
    – N.T.
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 18:07

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