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Isaiah 61:1-3

Context
The Lord Will Rejuvenate His People

61:1 The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me,

because the Lord has chosen 1  me. 2 

He has commissioned 3  me to encourage 4  the poor,

to help 5  the brokenhearted,

to decree the release of captives,

and the freeing of prisoners,

61:2 to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor,

the day when our God will seek vengeance, 6 

to console all who mourn,

61:3 to strengthen those who mourn in Zion,

by giving them a turban, instead of ashes,

oil symbolizing joy, 7  instead of mourning,

a garment symbolizing praise, 8  instead of discouragement. 9 

They will be called oaks of righteousness, 10 

trees planted by the Lord to reveal his splendor. 11 

1 tn Heb “anointed,” i.e., designated to carry out an assigned task.

2 sn The speaker is not identified, but he is distinct from the Lord and from Zion’s suffering people. He possesses the divine spirit, is God’s spokesman, and is sent to release prisoners from bondage. The evidence suggests he is the Lord’s special servant, described earlier in the servant songs (see 42:1-4, 7; 49:2, 9; 50:4; see also 51:16).

3 tn Or “sent” (NAB); NCV “has appointed me.”

4 tn Or “proclaim good news to.”

5 tn Heb “to bind up [the wounds of].”

6 tn Heb “to announce the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance.

7 tn Heb “oil of joy” (KJV, ASV); NASB, NIV, NRSV “the oil of gladness.”

8 tn Heb “garment of praise.”

9 tn Heb “a faint spirit” (so NRSV); KJV, ASV “the spirit of heaviness”; NASB “a spirit of fainting.”

10 tn Rather than referring to the character of the people, צֶדֶק (tsedeq) may carry the nuance “vindication” here, suggesting that God’s restored people are a testimony to his justice. See v. 2, which alludes to the fact that God will take vengeance against the enemies of his people. Cf. NAB “oaks of justice.”

11 tn Heb “a planting of the Lord to reveal splendor.”



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