What is the literal translation of Isaiah 53:8? In KJV it says:

... for the transgression of my people was he stricken

, but according to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwwRGCOKuMA#t=4440 it says "To them", not "To Him".

  • Unclear: I don't see "To Him" in your quoted translation.
    – msh210
    Nov 26, 2013 at 21:44
  • 3
    What you are really asking, you should ask on Hebrew.SE. Here the traditional Jewish understanding will be the correct answer. From a strict language point of view, it could arguably be ambiguous. Some people take the ambiguity as proof it is the way they prefer. The real answer is context, and the obvious context is it is a reference to "my people." Why so much energy is expended on this I will never understand.
    – Yishai
    Nov 26, 2013 at 21:52
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    More like "it", which grammatically is 3s but doesn't mean a person. It's referring to Israel (the nation). Nov 27, 2013 at 1:49
  • Monica, Danno, Yishai, thank you all. I would mark that as answer and vote for the comments.
    – Andriy B
    Nov 27, 2013 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


As a strict language question, that should be asked on Hebrew.SE, which is where I think the question is coming from. From a Jewish perspective, it refers to the "my people" in that sentence.

From a strict language point of view, it could arguably be ambiguous (מו - the suffix is sometimes singular if the context indicates it), however according to all of the uses of the full word למו that I have seen here it is plural.

Deuteronomy 32:32, 33:2 (twice), Lamentations 1:19, Psalms 2:4, 64:6, 88:9, 119:165, etc.

Also, notably the standard term for them is להם which is pronounced La-Hem, but in order to make it more in tune with עמי - my people, pronounced A-Mi, it uses למו - La-Mo. If it wanted to say "him" it could have used לו - Lo, which would have the same vowel association without the ambiguity. (The Radak on the verse in question says that it should have used לו if it wanted to say him, directly addressing the Christian claim).

So regardless of the language argument of could it be singular (as I said, see Hebrew.SE) it very clearly could be plural, and seems to reference "my people". Which is why I don't understand the energy on this issue. At most you could demonstrate a plausible alternative reading, but hardly a compelling one.

  • You don't understand the energy on the issue? You're similar with me. Till I realize that sometimes, it's not the truth that matter, but how many people believing it. If 1 billion people believe in something, some energy will be spent on that thing
    – user4951
    May 12, 2016 at 10:25

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