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Isaiah 54:5-6

Context

54:5 For your husband is the one who made you –

the Lord who commands armies is his name.

He is your protector, 1  the Holy One of Israel. 2 

He is called “God of the entire earth.”

54:6 “Indeed, the Lord will call you back

like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression, 3 

like a young wife when she has been rejected,” says your God.

Isaiah 62:4-5

Context

62:4 You will no longer be called, “Abandoned,”

and your land will no longer be called “Desolate.”

Indeed, 4  you will be called “My Delight is in Her,” 5 

and your land “Married.” 6 

For the Lord will take delight in you,

and your land will be married to him. 7 

62:5 As a young man marries a young woman,

so your sons 8  will marry you.

As a bridegroom rejoices over a bride,

so your God will rejoice over you.

Isaiah 4:1-6

Context

4:1 Seven women will grab hold of

one man at that time. 9 

They will say, “We will provide 10  our own food,

we will provide 11  our own clothes;

but let us belong to you 12 

take away our shame!” 13 

The Branch of the Lord

4:2 At that time 14 

the crops given by the Lord will bring admiration and honor; 15 

the produce of the land will be a source of pride and delight

to those who remain in Israel. 16 

4:3 Those remaining in Zion, 17  those left in Jerusalem, 18 

will be called “holy,” 19 

all in Jerusalem who are destined to live. 20 

4:4 At that time 21  the sovereign master 22  will wash the excrement 23  from Zion’s women,

he will rinse the bloodstains from Jerusalem’s midst, 24 

as he comes to judge

and to bring devastation. 25 

4:5 Then the Lord will create

over all of Mount Zion 26 

and over its convocations

a cloud and smoke by day

and a bright flame of fire by night; 27 

indeed a canopy will accompany the Lord’s glorious presence. 28 

4:6 By day it will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat,

as well as safety and protection from the heavy downpour. 29 

1 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

2 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

3 tn Heb “like a woman abandoned and grieved in spirit.”

4 tn Or “for”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “but.”

5 tn Hebrew חֶפְצִי־בָהּ (kheftsi-vah), traditionally transliterated “Hephzibah” (so KJV, ASV, NIV).

6 tn Hebrew בְּעוּלָה (bÿulah), traditionally transliterated “Beulah” (so KJV, ASV, NIV).

7 tn That is, the land will be restored to the Lord’s favor and once again enjoy his blessing and protection. To indicate the land’s relationship to the Lord, the words “to him” have been supplied at the end of the clause.

8 tc The Hebrew text has “your sons,” but this produces an odd metaphor and is somewhat incongruous with the parallelism. In the context (v. 4b, see also 54:5-7) the Lord is the one who “marries” Zion. Therefore several prefer to emend “your sons” to בֹּנָיִךְ (bonayikh, “your builder”; e.g., NRSV). In Ps 147:2 the Lord is called the “builder of Jerusalem.” However, this emendation is not the best option for at least four reasons. First, although the Lord is never called the “builder” of Jerusalem in Isaiah, the idea of Zion’s children possessing the land does occur (Isa 49:20; 54:3; cf. also 14:1; 60:21). Secondly, all the ancient versions support the MT reading. Thirdly, although the verb בָּעַל (baal) can mean “to marry,” its basic idea is “to possess.” Consequently, the verb stresses a relationship more than a state. All the ancient versions render this verb “to dwell in” or “to dwell with.” The point is not just that the land will be reinhabited, but that it will be in a relationship of “belonging” to the Israelites. Hence a relational verb like בָּעַל is used (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 2:581). Finally, “sons” is a well-known metaphor for “inhabitants” (J. de Waard, Isaiah, 208).

9 tn Or “in that day” (ASV).

sn The seven to one ratio emphasizes the great disparity that will exist in the population due to the death of so many men in battle.

10 tn Heb “eat” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “buy.”

11 tn Heb “wear” (so NASB, NRSV); NCV “make.”

12 tn Heb “only let your name be called over us.” The Hebrew idiom “call the name over” indicates ownership. See 2 Sam 12:28, and BDB 896 s.v. I ָקרָא Niph. 2.d.(4). The language reflects the cultural reality of ancient Israel, where women were legally the property of their husbands.

13 sn This refers to the humiliation of being unmarried and childless. The women’s words reflect the cultural standards of ancient Israel, where a woman’s primary duties were to be a wife and mother.

14 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

15 tn Heb “and the vegetation of the Lord will become beauty and honor.” Many English versions understand the phrase צֶמַח יְהוָה (tsemakh yÿhvah) as a messianic reference and render it, “the Branch of the Lord” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT, and others). Though צֶמַח (tsemakh) is used by later prophets of a royal descendant (Jer 23;5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12), those passages contain clear contextual indicators that a human ruler is in view and that the word is being used in a metaphorical way of offspring. However, in Isa 4:2 there are no such contextual indicators. To the contrary, in the parallel structure of the verse צֶמַח יְהוָה corresponds to “produce of the land,” a phrase that refers elsewhere exclusively to literal agricultural produce (see Num 13:20, 26; Deut 1:25). In the majority of its uses צֶמַח refers to literal crops or vegetation (in Ps 65:10 the Lord is the source of this vegetation). A reference to the Lord restoring crops would make excellent sense in Isa 4 and the prophets frequently included this theme in their visions of the future age (see Isa 30:23-24; 32:20; Jer 31:12; Ezek 34:26-29; and Amos 9:13-14).

16 tn Heb “and the fruit of the land will become pride and beauty for the remnant of Israel.”

17 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

18 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

19 tn Or “set apart,” cf. CEV “special.”

20 tn Heb “all who are written down for life in Jerusalem.” A city register is envisioned; everyone whose name appears on the roll will be spared. This group comprises the remnant of the city referred to earlier in the verse.

21 tn Heb “when” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); CEV “after”; NRSV “once.”

22 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

23 tn The word refers elsewhere to vomit (Isa 28:8) and fecal material (Isa 36:12). Many English versions render this somewhat euphemistically as “filth” (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV). Ironically in God’s sight the beautiful jewelry described earlier is nothing but vomit and feces, for it symbolizes the moral decay of the city’s residents (cf. NLT “moral filth”).

24 sn See 1:21 for a related concept.

25 tn Heb “by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.” The precise meaning of the second half of the verse is uncertain. רוּחַ (ruakh) can be understood as “wind” in which case the passage pictures the Lord using a destructive wind as an instrument of judgment. However, this would create a mixed metaphor, for the first half of the verse uses the imagery of washing and rinsing to depict judgment. Perhaps the image would be that of a windstorm accompanied by heavy rain. רוּחַ can also mean “spirit,” in which case the verse may be referring to the Lord’s Spirit or, more likely, to a disposition that the Lord brings to the task of judgment. It is also uncertain if בָּעַר (baar) here means “burning” or “sweeping away, devastating.”

26 tn Heb “over all the place, Mount Zion.” Cf. NLT “Jerusalem”; CEV “the whole city.”

27 tn Heb “a cloud by day, and smoke, and brightness of fire, a flame by night.” Though the accents in the Hebrew text suggest otherwise, it might be preferable to take “smoke” with what follows, since one would expect smoke to accompany fire.

sn The imagery of the cloud by day and fire by night recalls the days of Moses, when a cloud and fire were tangible reminders that the Lord was guiding and protecting his people (Exod 13:21-22; 14:19, 24). In the future age envisioned in Isa 4, the Lord’s protective presence will be a reality.

28 tn Heb “indeed (or “for”) over all the glory, a canopy.” This may allude to Exod 40:34-35, where a cloud overshadows the meeting tent as it is filled with God’s glory.

29 tn Heb “a shelter it will be for shade by day from heat, and for a place of refuge and for a hiding place from cloudburst and rain.” Since both of the last nouns of this verse can mean rain, they can either refer to the rain storm and the rain as distinct items or together refer to a heavy downpour. Regardless, they do not represent unrelated phenomena.



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