Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Isaiah 55:1-5: Participation in the Davidic Promises through Identification with New Servant Israel
by Dyk, Debra T., Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary, 2020, 280; 27962946
Abstract (Summary)

The interpretation of Isa 55:1-5, particularly v. 3b, has challenged many scholars. Many argue for democratization of the Davidic Covenant while others are just as adamant for other options. The poetic nature of the pericope leaves it ambiguous on multiple levels, adding to the complexity of interpretation. As one example, exegetical studies regarding the troublesome phrase, חסדי דוד הנאמנים, have not come to a consensus. Consequently, a broader exegetical approach looking at the Isaianic literary context is recommended. This will involve taking the book of Isaiah as a literary whole, thus expecting a measure of cognitive cohesion. Primarily, the focus will be on Isaiah’s structure, motifs and themes, and specifically how the servant image is portrayed within the book. The expectation is that these will help inform the interpretation of our passage.

In Isa 55:1-5 YHWH offers a new and everlasting covenant to the repentant remnant of Israel wherein he will show them his faithful lovingkindnesses promised to David. The thesis of this dissertation is that in this passage YHWH offers to the repentant remnant a new enduring covenant through which he identifies them with the suffering Davidic Servant and extends to them the Davidic promises. For example, the new covenant implies a greater intimacy of relationship wherein the very promises of YHWH to the Davidic Servant—including YHWH’s Spirit (Isa 11:2)—are now also the remnant’s, based on their participatory identification in him. The giving of YHWH’s Spirit is key to this new covenant (Isa 44:3; 59:21).

In addition to confirming the above thesis, the study concludes that the passage speaks of a new covenant patterned after, and based on, the Davidic Covenant. Aspects of the Davidic promise are now extended more directly to the community at large under the rubric of this new covenant. Thus, there is no democratization per se. The covenant is dependent on YHWH’s work (i.e., v. 3b as objective genitive); but further, it is dependent on identification with the ideal servant figure, resulting in the sharing of YHWH’s Spirit embodied in him. Finally, though Isaiah’s vision ends with YHWH as king above all, it is concluded that this does not nullify the promise of renewed Davidic rule as mentioned in the early chapters.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chisholm, Robert B.
Commitee: Taylor, Richard A., Boda, Mark J.
School: Dallas Theological Seminary
Department: Old Testament
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biblical studies, Theology
Keywords: Covenant, David, Democratization, Genitive, Isaiah, Servant
Publication Number: 27962946
ISBN: 9798662554146
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