Targum Jonathan Ben Uziel:
The Chaldee Paraphrase on
The Prophet Isaiah

Translated by
Rev. C. W. H. Pauli



"The kingdom of your God is revealed." (Isaiah 52:7)


Word of the Lord in the Targum of Isaiah

Targum Ben Uziel on Isaiah   Comparison of Jewish Publication Society
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Jonathan Ben Uziel, the author of the Chaldee Paraphrases on the major and minor Prophets lived thirty years before the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was a disciple of Hillel.*

* Vide Succah, f. 28; Baba Bathra, f. 134; Zemach David I., f. 17; Col. 2-18; Col. 3 et 35; Shalsheleth Hakkabala, p. 20; Geschichte der Israeliten, Dr. J. M. Jost, 4. Theil, p. 114; Salomo Duitsch, 3. Deel, de Verlossing, p. 116.
We have to distinguish our author from the Pseudo Jonathan Ben Uziel, who wrote a Chaldee Paraphrase on the Pentateuch and the hagiographical books. This author is held by the Jews in the highest esteem. His paraphrases are considered by the Synagogue as inspired. The Synagogue maintains, that the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi gave Jonathan Ben Uziel the Paraphrase written upon a roll spread over his head. (Shalsheleth Hakkabala, p. 20.) These paraphrases contain the doctrines of Christianity, expressed and enforced in the plainest language.

There are many more fabulous legends preserved by the Synagogue respecting this Jewish Church father. To mention but one. We read in the Talmud: (Succah, p. 28, f. 1.) "Jo. Ben Uziel was a worthy of the Shekina (the Holy Spirit*) which rested upon him, as he did upon our teacher Moses. He was such a holy man, that when he studied in the law, the birds flying over him were burnt to death." (Tract. Megilla, cap. iii. col. 1.)

* Shekina expresses also sometimes the Messiah.

Such legends, fabulous as they are, express the high veneration in which this writer is held, and his authority in matters of faith. His paraphrases shew us, that the ancient Jewish Church believed in the Divinity of the Messiah then to come, and that that Messiah was to bring in everlasting righteousness by his fulfilling the law, by which righteousness all Israel shall be justified. (Isa 9: 5, Engl. 6; xlv. 25.)

The unprejudiced Jew by reading this Para- phrase will see, that we Christians believe in no other salvation, than that which their fathers expected the Messiah should bring.

If the doctrines of Jonathan Ben Uziel are considered by the Synagogue to be inspired, it follows that the present Jewish faith cannot be the faith of their fathers.

We beg every Israelite to emancipate himself from all imbibed prejudices, and to search the Scriptures with the paraphrases of Jonathan Ben Uziel in his hands, that he may see whether our Christian faith is not the faith of their fathers, before it degenerated through the traditions of the elders.

I have followed the text of the Biblia Magna Hebraica (קחילת משח), the authorized and accepted text of the Synagogue, though I prefer the text of the Royal Polyglot, and that of Buxtorff, as given in Bishop Walton's Polyglot. Any objection which the Jews would have brought against me, if I had translated from a Christian text, must therefore fall to the ground.

The Biblical and the theological student will find in this Paraphrase a welcome help in many difficult passages in this Evangelical Prophet; and for the study of the New Testament, this, as well as all other paraphrases of Jonathan Ben Uziel, are invaluable.

I have followed the English Authorized Version of the Hebrew text, wherever it was possible.

I have investigated and compared the best Christian and Jewish editions of this Paraphrase. I give the most important various readings met with in the different copies, with critical and analytical notes. I also give the various interpolations in the Jewish editions.*

* It is a lamentable fact, that the modern rabbies hesitated not to interpolate even those books which are considered by them to be an infallible authority in matters of faith. In their bigotry against Jesus of Nazareth they scrupled not to interpolate the Sohar, called by them "the holy Sohar," (see the last Amsterdam edition, vol. iii., p. 282.) The rabbies in Frankfort-on-the-Maine, who reprinted this edition, were ashamed of this blasphemous interpolation, and omitted it.
When I resided in Oxford, I intended publish ing this work in 1839, expressly for the learned world. I had collected a variety of exegetical and analytical notes, with various quotations, from ancient poetical Chaldee poetry, which I omit for the present, as the only object in this edition is to convince the upright Israelite that the Christian Church interprets the Messianic prophecies in no other sense than the ancient Synagogue did before the coming of Jesus of Nazareth.

I beg the reader will bear in mind, that the uncreated and essential WORD (St. John 1:1, &c., &c.) is written with capitals, to distinguish it from a created word. Jonathan Ben Uziel seldom uses מֵימְרׇא, (Memra) but פִּתְגׇּם for the latter.

I take this opportunity to thank my highly- esteemed and learned friend, the Rev. W. Ayerst, M.A., for his very valuable assistance in carrying this work through the press.


Episcopal Mission Church, Amsterdam, 1871.


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