What are the actual words used for Isaiah 44:28 to describe his anointed? Why do most Bible translation translate that as shepherd? I've heard the Masoretic Text uses "messiah" and the Septuagint uses "Christ". The English translation uses the word "shepherd," which seems like lying or filtering. Why the discrepancy?

I stumbled upon some atheist sites and found this. Translating a word like Christ into shepherd seems very misleading.

I also came across this discussion about this on the web.

  • Yea I got it. I didn't write the answer. I copied some explanation on the web. Sorry. Didn't mean to swear. Yea. I was reading atheist sites talking about religious filtering and I stumble upon this. Obviously Isaiah think that Cyrus, rather than Jesus is the Messiah. Yet christian translator nicely hide the controversy by translating the bible in a very misleading way. – user4951 Oct 27 '11 at 7:19
  • JimThio: Okay... an easy mistake to make. The question looks better to me now. :) – Flimzy Oct 27 '11 at 7:21
  • I don't know about this particular case, but it could be a case of proper noun confusion, not deliberate filtering. The word "messiah" simply means "annointed," and if Isaiah wanted to say that Cyrus was annointed by the Lord, he could easily have used that word without actually meaning that he was The Capital-M Messiah, the Annointed One who had been promised. But according to Waggers's answer, he used a different word anyway, so it's a bit of a moot point. – Mason Wheeler Oct 27 '11 at 12:21

The original Hebrew word being used here is רֹעִי (ro·'i),[1][2], which does indeed translate as "shepherd" according to Strong's Concordance.[3][4]

| improve this answer | |
  • yes, but that is from the masoretic text I believe. There are other strands of the hebrew text that may vary from that word. – jchaffee Oct 27 '11 at 14:57
  • Oh. So the translator is honest then. I see. Never mind. Are there any other different strands that say Messiah? – user4951 Oct 31 '11 at 6:35
  • @jchaffee Can you provide any examples? – Waggers Oct 31 '11 at 8:39
  • @jchaffee Which of those uses a word other than one that translates as "shepherd" for this particular verse? – Waggers Dec 14 '11 at 16:17

Take this answer as a complement. As Waggers said, the word being used is רֹעִי (ro·'i) and it means shepherd. (This is in Isaiah 44:28)

But the Jewish commentary sheds light on this issue, because Rashi comments that shepherd is used as a metaphor for king.

On Isaiah 45:1, it is said that Cyrus is the anointed:

This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus [...]

The words used are לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְכוֹרֶשׁ, which according to Strong's concordance is "anointed" or "messiah"; but in general it refers to a consecrated person with a special mission. In this case it is being said that Cyrus will be an instrument of God to facilitate the return to Zion.

And again, Rashi's commentary complements it remembering how the word anointed is used as a title:

Every title of greatness is called anointing. Comp. (Num. 18:8) “To you I have given them for greatness (לְמָשְׁחָה).” [greatness=portion (NIV); greatness=by the reason of the anointing (KJV); pro oficio sacerdotali legitima (vulgate)]

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.