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Isaiah 55:1-2

Context
The Lord Gives an Invitation

55:1 “Hey, 1  all who are thirsty, come to the water!

You who have no money, come!

Buy and eat!

Come! Buy wine and milk

without money and without cost! 2 

55:2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? 3 

Why spend 4  your hard-earned money 5  on something that will not satisfy?

Listen carefully 6  to me and eat what is nourishing! 7 

Enjoy fine food! 8 

1 tn The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) was used in funeral laments and is often prefixed to judgment oracles for rhetorical effect. But here it appears to be a simple interjection, designed to grab the audience’s attention. Perhaps there is a note of sorrow or pity. See BDB 223 s.v.

2 sn The statement is an oxymoron. Its ironic quality adds to its rhetorical impact. The statement reminds one of the norm (one must normally buy commodities) as it expresses the astounding offer. One might paraphrase the statement: “Come and take freely what you normally have to pay for.”

3 tn Heb “for what is not food.”

4 tn The interrogative particle and the verb “spend” are understood here by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

5 tn Heb “your labor,” which stands by metonymy for that which one earns.

6 tn The infinitive absolute follows the imperative and lends emphasis to the exhortation.

7 tn Heb “good” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

8 tn Heb “Let your appetite delight in fine food.”

sn Nourishing, fine food here represents the blessings God freely offers. These include forgiveness, a new covenantal relationship with God, and national prominence (see vv. 3-6).



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