1 Samuel 9:2

Hebrew Bible

1 There was a Benjaminite man named Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish was a prominent person. 2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome young man. There was no one among the Israelites more handsome than he was; he stood head and shoulders above all the people. 3 The donkeys of Saul’s father Kish wandered off, so Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go look for the donkeys.”

Isaiah 53:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the Lord’s power revealed through him? 2 He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him. 3 He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.

 Notes and References

"... The silence of gospel authors contrasts with the practice of biblical authors who consistently featured commentary on the appearance of Jesus’ biblical ancestors ... Joseph was “handsome and good-looking” (Genesis 39:6). Saul “was a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he” (1 Samuel 9:2). David, the future king, possessed “lovely eyes and a handsome appearance” (1 Samuel 16:12). Physical attractiveness continues down the Davidic line with Absalom: “In all Israel there was no one to be praised for his beauty so much as Absalom” (2 Samuel 14:25), and Adonijah: “He was also a very handsome man” (1 Kings 1:6). Commentary on the physical appearance of prominent leaders and acknowledgment of their handsomeness seem to be consistent features of Jewish sacred literature completely omitted in the gospel accounts of Jesus. Psalm 45:2 offers one indication why the description of physical appearance might be significant in the identification of Israel’s leaders: “You are the most handsome of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever”. Male leaders are handsome because they are the recipients of God’s grace; biblical authors recognised this outward sign of physical attractiveness as an indicator of divine favour and fitness for leadership ... maybe the gospel authors followed the prediction of the prophet Isaiah that the suffering servant would have “no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2) ..."

Ryan, Maurice What did Jesus look like? Reclaiming Jesus the Jew in Art and Religious Education (p. 239–252) Journal of Religious Education, No. 69, 2021

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