Is it true that Jesus did nothing of a violent nature during his lifetime?

Gerald Sigal shows another reason why Isaiah 53 cannot refer to the Biblical Jesus.

Blogging Theology


An interesting article from Jews for Judaism

In this question and answer post, find out from Gerald Sigal whether Jesus did anything of violent nature during his lifetime.

Is it true that in conformity with Isaiah 53:9, “he had done no violence,” Jesus did nothing of a violent nature during his lifetime?

Answer: No, this is not true.

Violence, while not always an act of evil, may be defined as causing injury or damage by rough or abusive treatment. If the New Testament account is true, Jesus did commit certain acts of violence. Whip in hand he attacked the merchants in the Temple area, causing a fracas (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15-16, Luke 19:45, John 2:15). He caused the death, by drowning, of a herd of swine by allowing demons to purposely enter their bodies (Matthew 8:32, Mark 5:13, Luke 8:33) and destroyed a fig tree for not having fruit out…

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2 thoughts on “Is it true that Jesus did nothing of a violent nature during his lifetime?

  1. mr.heathcliff

    isaiah 53 is definitely not about jesus.

    jesus was full of abuse while dying on the cross

    jesus was not diseased

    “What do you think being smitten by God means?”

    disease, obviously. like it says.

    i think crucifixion is being smitten by romans.

    “ell it means being punished, in this case”

    right, with disease, like it says.

    Yet it was our sickness that he was bearing,
    Our suffering that he endured.
    We accounted him plagued,
    Smitten and afflicted by God;

    verse 7.

    But the Lord chose to crush him by disease,
    That, if he made himself an offering for guilt,
    He might see offspring and have long life,
    And that through him the Lord’s purpose might prosper.

    verse 10.

    why do you keep ignoring the words that are actually on the page in favor of words that aren’t?

    Scorned and isolated from men, a man of pains and accustomed to illness, as one from whom we would hide our faces; he was scorned and we had no regard for him.

    The prophet continues with the words of the kings who had shunned the servant throughout his time of lowliness. The general state of the servant throughout this period was that he was separated from the rest of humanity. The kings describe him as a figure that was so visibly stricken by suffering that it was difficult for people to look at him.


    אָכֵן חֳלָיֵנוּ הוּא נָשָׂא
    וּמַכְאֹבֵינוּ סְבָלָם
    וַאֲנַחְנוּ חֲשַׁבְנֻהוּ,
    נָגוּעַ מֻכֵּה אֱלֹהִים וּמְעֻנֶּה


    וַיהוָה חָפֵץ דַּכְּאוֹ, הֶחֱלִי
    אִם-תָּשִׂים אָשָׁם נַפְשׁוֹ
    יִרְאֶה זֶרַע יַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים
    וְחֵפֶץ יְהוָה, בְּיָדוֹ יִצְלָח.

    those words mean “disease”.

    so the masoretic hebrew, which i quoted, is wrong?


  2. mr.heathcliff

    Literally conceived, that he didn’t “open his mouth” to speak at all may find its first echo in Jesus’ preliminary silence during the sanhedrin trial, in Mark 14:61 and the parallels to this—though he powerfully breaks this silence in Mark 14:62; and see also Jesus’ response in Luke 22:67-69. It may also be evoked in Mark 15:3-5 and Matthew 27:12-14, where Jesus remains totally silent in his questioning by the Jewish leaders and Pilate—though immediately prior to this, he does indeed speak several words to Pilate. Similarly, this silence is also found in Luke 23:9, in Jesus’ questioning by Herod (though, again, recording a brief answer to Pilate earlier).

    This changes somewhat significantly in the gospel of John, where Jesus actually says a few different things in response to Pilate, in 18:34-37 and 19:11.

    So in one sense, in the same way that the gospel authors made no obvious usage of Isaiah 52:14, either—and perhaps also in how John seems somewhat of the odd gospel out here—this leads Eckhard Schnabel to argue that “Jesus was not consistently silent during the trial, and it is therefore not surprising that the Gospel writers make nothing of a possible correspondence between the silence of the Suffering Servant in Isa 53:7 and the silence of Jesus during his trial” (“The Silence of Jesus: The Galilean Rabbi Who was More than a Prophet”).

    It’s not quite as simple as that, though. It’s hard to see Isaiah 53:7 as being focused on a literal silence in and of itself. Rather, as Schnabel describes it, the main gist seems to be that the servant “did not verbally accuse or retaliate, despite physical abuse, but trusted in God for his vindication as his suffering is part of God’s plan.” Or perhaps even more broadly stated, it’s simply that the servant accepts his suffering in equanimity, without protest.

    But seen in this light, there are actually several things in the trial and passion narrative that may give us pause in seeing these events—Jesus’ actions during these events—as a perfect fulfillment of our text from Isaiah. Schnabel suggests, for example, that the servant in Isaiah 53:7 “did not verbally accuse.” But if this is an accurate description, then statements from the trial narrative, like Jesus’ climactic profession in Mark 14:62, doseem to contrast with this: if the Jewish leaders are currently the ones accusing Jesus, he suggests that they themselves will be accused when they see the exaltation of the Son of Man, and his coming in judgment (see Revelation 1:7; Marcus, Mark 8-16, 1016). Further, during the crucifixion itself, in Luke 23:28-31, Jesus starkly announces the judgment on Jerusalem—those who have “done these things” to him.

    Similarly, if Isaiah 53:7 suggests something like the total equanimity and faithfulness of the servant even in suffering, then there are several breaches of this in the gospel narratives, too. First and foremost, there’s Jesus loud cry and the infamous expression of abandonmentin Mark 15:34 and its parallels—a text that’s often the subject of unconvincing apologetic interpretations. Finally, there’s the existential dread of Jesus in the lead-up to his arrest, including the controversial statement in Mark 14:36, suggesting that there was some sense in which Jesus’ and God’s will were at odds. As Davies and Allison, note, “orthodox theology has sometimes hesitated to accept the sincerity of Jesus’ prayer and urged that he prayed not for himself but for others, or to show the weakness of the human nature he bore.”


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