Today’s lectionary reading is one of the places in Isaiah where there is an explicit identification of the servant, as in the servant of the “Servant Songs.” Nothing new here for academics, but it throws a bit of a wrench in for those who grew up accustomed to thinking about many of the “Servant Songs” (primarily the one in Is. 52 & 53) as prophecies foretelling the death of Jesus hundreds of years beforehand.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (Is 49.3)
The identification of the servant is notoriously difficult as almost all proposals do not work well for every one of the servant passages in Isaiah. Proposals range from Moses, to Israel, to the prophet Isaiah, …