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Isaiah 55:3-6

Context

55:3 Pay attention and come to me!

Listen, so you can live! 1 

Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to 2  you,

just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David. 3 

55:4 Look, I made him a witness to nations, 4 

a ruler and commander of nations.”

55:5 Look, you will summon nations 5  you did not previously know;

nations 6  that did not previously know you will run to you,

because of the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, 7 

for he bestows honor on you.

55:6 Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; 8 

call to him while he is nearby!

1 tn The jussive with vav (ו) conjunctive following the imperative indicates purpose/result.

sn To live here refers to covenantal blessing, primarily material prosperity and national security (see vv. 4-5, 13, and Deut 30:6, 15, 19-20).

2 tn Or “an eternal covenant with.”

3 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.”

4 sn Ideally the Davidic king was to testify to the nations of God’s greatness (cf. Pss 18:50 HT [18:49 ET]; 22:28 HT [22:27 ET]). See J. H. Eaton, Kingship in the Psalms (SBT), 182-84.

5 tn Heb “a nation,” but the singular is collective here, as the plural verbs in the next line indicate (note that both “know” and “run” are third plural forms).

6 tn Heb “a nation,” but the singular is collective here, as the plural verbs that follow indicate.

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

8 tn Heb “while he allows himself to be found.” The Niphal form has a tolerative force here.



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