We read in Matt 27:57-60 (NIV), of the burial of Jesus arranged by Joseph of Arimathea:

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.

We also read in Isaiah 53:9 (NASB):

And His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

It would require a lot of labor and money to cut a tomb of standard size out of the rock, and its owner Joseph was admittedly a rich man. As such, the prophesy of Isiah in 53:9 stood fulfilled on the burial of Jesus who had died in the company of two wicked men. But strangely, none of the Gospels mentions the fulfillment of a prophesy here.

My question therefore is: Why, according to Catholic Church is the burial of Jesus in a rich man's tomb not mentioned as fulfillment of OT prophesy ?

  • Do you mean why does Matthew not identify this as a fulfilment (like it doesn't with many other prophecy fulfilments) or why do Catholics not identify it (but they probably do)?
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 22, 2021 at 12:01
  • Why is the que directed to catholics particularly? what's their issue with the prophecy?
    – Michael16
    Jun 23, 2021 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


I have examined Isaiah 53:9 in Hebrew, hoping to find some useful clue.

Here is the critical part of the Hebrew text, followed by a literal English translation (inevitably clumsy). The Hebrew is to be read from right to left, divided in relevant phrases, and the corresponding English phrases are (again from right to left) in the line below:

וַיִּתֵּ֤ן______________ אֶת־רְשָׁעִים֙ __________ קִבְר֔וֹ___________ וְאֶת־עָשִׁ֖יר___________ בְּמֹתָ֑יו

in his death__but/and with the rich__his grave __with the wicked__And gave [they]

If there is any hope of understanding, it is likely to be in the comparison between the two key words:

  • רְשָׁעִים֙ which is the masculine plural of the adjective רָשְׁע (Strongs H7563 - rasha, "wicked")
  • עָשִׁ֖יר which is the masculine singular of the same adjective עָשִׁיר (Strong's H6223 - ashir, "rich")

Some scholars have noticed that עָשִׁיר (apart from the yod י) is specular of רָשְׁע, and tried to establish a parallelism between the two adjectives, without any convincing suggestion.

A mysterious (no) conclusion

If Isaiah 53:9 is indeed prophetically referred to Jesus, and his being buried by the rich secret disciple Joseph of Arimathea, then it is a real mystery why Matthew, in particular, always in search of the fulfillment in Jesus of OT prophecies, has not noticed and quoted it.

Edit to add (June 21, 2021 - 23:22 CET)

While there are several non-Catholic comments on the Burial of Jesus in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb as fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9, I could not find any Catholic source.

  • Could you please edit in some Catholic sources as the question does ask a Catholic perspective.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:21
  • Thanks, Miguel. In fact, different versions present Isiah 53:9 in varying phraseology. I chose NASB because it suits my question best. Jun 22, 2021 at 4:18
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan NET also translates that עַל with "because". This is the relative footnote; "If the second line is antithetical, then עַל (’al) is probably causal here, explaining why the servant was buried in a rich man’s tomb, rather than that of criminal. If the first two lines are synonymous, then עַל is probably concessive: “even though ...” Jun 22, 2021 at 7:29

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