The identity of the Anonymous Servant of Yahweh(‘eḇeḏ yhwh) in Deutero-Isaiah

Original Research

The Identity of the Anonymous Servant of Yahweh (‘ee yhwh) in Deutero-Isaiah

Philip Igbo

Nsukka Journal of Religion and Cultural Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | © 2022 Philip Agbo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 February 2022 | Published: 11 July 2022

About the author(s)

Philip Agbo is a lecturer at the Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu, Enugu State, Ngeria

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The term ‘servant of Yahweh’ (‘eḇeḏ yhwh) is a fundamental term in Deutero-Isaiah. There are four poems in DI usually referred to as ‘Servant-Songs’. Yahweh directly addresses the servant as ‘my chosen’ (bəḥîrî), upon whom he has put his spirit. This mysterious servant is tasked with the mission to open the eyes of the blind and to set prisoners free (cf. Isa 42:7). The anonymous servant has a mission “to raise up the tribes of Jacob/Israel” and to be “a light to the nations” and to bring God’s salvation to the nations (Isa 49:5-6). He carries out his mission despite the opposition and insults he suffers. He is “despised and rejected”, but he is Yahweh’s agent of salvation. His death is a vicarious death by which he saves many. One of the challenging issues in the debate about the identity of the servant in Isaiah’s servant songs is the question of the identity of the mysterious ‘Servant’ of the Lord. Does the term ‘Servant’ refer to Israel or to a royal, or messianic or prophetic figure? These are the questions that this work sets out to address. The study adopts an exegetical method of biblical analysis spiced with theological reflection on the selected passages.


Yahweh, Servant, Cyrus, my chosen, anointed one, Deutero-Isaiah.