Stand as one

Isaiah 50:7-9 is structured chiastically. On either side of verse 8 are declarations that “Lord Yahweh will help me” (vv. 7, 9; the clause is identical in Hebrew). In verse 8 itself, we have this structure:

A. Near my vindicator

B. Who brings a case?

C. Let us stand as one

B’. Who is my judge?

A’. Let him approach

The judge (pictured as a prosecutor with a case against the Servant) is opposed to the vindicator. At the center of the verse two stand together as one, presumably the vindicator and the accused. In context, the vindicator must be Lord Yahweh. Yahweh joins the accused in the bar, so that as one they can repel accusations. In New Testament terms, we can say that the justification of the Servant depends on union with Christ. But this passage puts a particular spin on that point by picturing it in a judicial context.

Paul repeats the defiant questions of Isaiah to his accusers in a well-known passage in Romans 8: If God is for us, who is against us? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God justifies, who is the one who condemns? This moves immediately into an assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Reading Romans 8 in the light of Isaiah 50, we might say: Nothing can separate the helper from the accused, since they stand as one in the dock.

And the overall context of Romans 8 perhaps suggests an additional gloss on the assurance that “Lord Yahweh will help me.” Romans 8 is one of the great New Testament passages about the Spirit, who according to Jesus is the “Helper,” specifically the “Helper at law” ( parakletos ). “Lord Yahweh will help” means “the Spirit intercedes for us” because the Spirit of Jesus stands at one with us in the dock.

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