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Isaiah 63:9-15

Context

63:9 Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. 1 

The messenger sent from his very presence 2  delivered them.

In his love and mercy he protected 3  them;

he lifted them up and carried them throughout ancient times. 4 

63:10 But they rebelled and offended 5  his holy Spirit, 6 

so he turned into an enemy

and fought against them.

63:11 His people remembered the ancient times. 7 

Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea,

along with the shepherd of 8  his flock?

Where is the one who placed his holy Spirit among them, 9 

63:12 the one who made his majestic power available to Moses, 10 

who divided the water before them,

gaining for himself a lasting reputation, 11 

63:13 who led them through the deep water?

Like a horse running on flat land 12  they did not stumble.

63:14 Like an animal that goes down into a valley to graze, 13 

so the Spirit of the Lord granted them rest.

In this way 14  you guided your people,

gaining for yourself an honored reputation. 15 

63:15 Look down from heaven and take notice,

from your holy, majestic palace!

Where are your zeal 16  and power?

Do not hold back your tender compassion! 17 

1 tn Heb “in all their distress, there was distress to him” (reading לוֹ [lo] with the margin/Qere).

2 tn Heb “the messenger [or “angel”] of his face”; NIV “the angel of his presence.”

sn This may refer to the “angel of God” mentioned in Exod 14:19, who in turn may be identical to the divine “presence” (literally, “face”) referred to in Exod 33:14-15 and Deut 4:37. Here in Isa 63 this messenger may be equated with God’s “holy Spirit” (see vv. 10-11) and “the Spirit of the Lord” (v. 14). See also Ps 139:7, where God’s “Spirit” seems to be equated with his “presence” (literally, “face”) in the synonymous parallelistic structure.

3 tn Or “redeemed” (KJV, NAB, NIV), or “delivered.”

4 tn Heb “all the days of antiquity”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “days of old.”

5 tn Or “grieved, hurt the feelings of.”

6 sn The phrase “holy Spirit” occurs in the OT only here (in v. 11 as well) and in Ps 51:11 (51:13 HT), where it is associated with the divine presence.

7 tn Heb “and he remembered the days of antiquity, Moses, his people.” The syntax of the statement is unclear. The translation assumes that “his people” is the subject of the verb “remembered.” If original, “Moses” is in apposition to “the days of antiquity,” more precisely identifying the time period referred to. However, the syntactical awkwardness suggests that “Moses” may have been an early marginal note (perhaps identifying “the shepherd of his flock” two lines later) that has worked its way into the text.

8 tn The Hebrew text has a plural form, which if retained and taken as a numerical plural, would probably refer to Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite tribal leaders at the time of the Exodus. Most prefer to emend the form to the singular (רָעָה, raah) and understand this as a reference just to Moses.

9 sn See the note at v. 10.

10 tn Heb “who caused to go at the right hand of Moses the arm of his splendor.”

11 tn Heb “making for himself a lasting name.”

12 tn Heb “in the desert [or “steppe”].”

13 tn The words “to graze” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

14 tn Or “so” (KJV, ASV), or “thus” (NAB, NRSV).

15 tn Heb “making for yourself a majestic name.”

16 tn This probably refers to his zeal for his people, which motivates him to angrily strike out against their enemies.

17 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “the agitation of your intestines and your compassion to me they are held back.” The phrase “agitation of your intestines” is metonymic, referring to the way in which one’s nervous system reacts when one feels pity and compassion toward another. אֵלַי (’elay, “to me”) is awkward in this context, where the speaker represents the nation and, following the introduction (see v. 7), utilizes first person plural forms. The translation assumes an emendation to the negative particle אַל (’al). This also necessitates emending the following verb form (which is a plural perfect) to a singular jussive (תִתְאַפָּק, titappaq). The Hitpael of אָפַק (’afaq) also occurs in 42:14.



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