You who have no money, come!
Buy and eat!
Come! Buy wine and milk
without money and without cost! 2
Enjoy fine food! 8
55:3 Pay attention and come to me!
Listen, so you can live! 9
Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to 10 you,
just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David. 11
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).
9 tn The jussive with vav (ו) conjunctive following the imperative indicates purpose/result.
10 tn Or “an eternal covenant with.”
11 tn Heb “the reliable expressions of loyalty of David.” The syntactical relationship of חַסְדֵי (khasde, “expressions of loyalty”) to the preceding line is unclear. If the term is appositional to בְּרִית (bÿrit, “covenant”), then the Lord here transfers the promises of the Davidic covenant to the entire nation. Another option is to take חַסְדֵי (khasde) as an adverbial accusative and to translate “according to the reliable covenantal promises.” In this case the new covenantal arrangement proposed here is viewed as an extension or perhaps fulfillment of the Davidic promises. A third option, the one reflected in the above translation, is to take the last line as comparative. In this case the new covenant being proposed is analogous to the Davidic covenant. Verses 4-5, which compare David’s international prominence to what Israel will experience, favors this view. In all three of these interpretations, “David” is an objective genitive; he is the recipient of covenantal promises. A fourth option would be to take David as a subjective genitive and understand the line as giving the basis for the preceding promise: “Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you, because of David’s faithful acts of covenantal loyalty.”