Editor’s Note: The questioner mentions “Deutero Isaiah.” There is a commonly-accepted scholarly opinion that Isaiah only wrote Ch 1-39, and that Ch 40 onward was written after the exile by another author. This theory is somewhat speculative, but has some reasonable evidence supporting it. The author is assuming presuppositionally that the theory is true.


Deutero Isaiah borrowed Jeremiah’s life events in an astonishing manner, i.e. Isa. 53:7-8 from Jer. 11:19, Isa. 53:3 from Jer. 15:10, and Isa. 53:5 from Jer. 15:18.  Dr. Oakes, what’s your reply?


I think that someone is applying a presupposition and applying it to Isaiah 53 in order to “prove” something that they certainly have not proved at all.  I see literally no contextual connection between any of these three sets of comparisons.  In the first case, being “led like a lamb to the slaughter” was a common idiom. Even today it is a common idiom. If two different people use it, it is NOT evidence that one is borrowing from the other!  It is not at all surprising that both Isaiah and Jeremiah might use this idiom.  However, in the case of Jeremiah, he is using it metaphorically about himself, but Isaiah is using it as part of a messianic prophecy which was to be fulfilled more than seven hundred years later when Jesus was killed.  Isaiah 53 is rather obviously messianic, while Jeremiah 11 is not a prophecy at all. Isaiah 53 is not about an actual plot on an actual person alive at the time, while Jeremiah 11:19 is.  It is disingenuous to imply that Isaiah borrowed from Jeremiah’s life.  This is cherry-picking and evidence, not of borrowing, but of reading something out of nothing.
As for the other two examples, the charge of borrowing is a big stretch—a really big stretch.  There is very little similarity between these two sets of passages.  Just read them for yourself. I would say really no similarity at all.  I see literally no real similarity between Isaiah 53:3 and Jeremiah 15:10.  The same can be said for Isaiah 53:5 and Jeremiah 15:18.  Honestly, I do not even see even a single three-word phrase repeated in these passages.  The claims of borrowing are completely illegitimate.  This has every appearance of a person beginning with a conclusion, then trying really hard to find evidence to back it up.  The weakness of the so-called evidence is evidence that the presupposed conclusion is quite likely not even true.
The only “astonishing” thing here is that the source of this charge has the nerve to make this charge of borrowing.  That is my response.
John Oakes

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