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Isaiah 55:10-13

Context

55:10 1 The rain and snow fall from the sky

and do not return,

but instead water the earth

and make it produce and yield crops,

and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat.

55:11 In the same way, the promise that I make

does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. 2 

No, it is realized as I desire

and is fulfilled as I intend.” 3 

55:12 Indeed you will go out with joy;

you will be led along in peace;

the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you,

and all the trees in the field will clap their hands.

55:13 Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes,

firs will grow in place of nettles;

they will be a monument to the Lord, 4 

a permanent reminder that will remain. 5 

1 tn This verse begins in the Hebrew text with כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר (ki kaasher, “for, just as”), which is completed by כֵּן (ken, “so, in the same way”) at the beginning of v. 11. For stylistic reasons, this lengthy sentence is divided up into separate sentences in the translation.

2 tn Heb “so is the word which goes out from my mouth, it does not return to empty.” “Word” refers here to divine promises, like the ones made just prior to and after this (see vv. 7b, 12-13).

3 tn Heb “but it accomplishes what I desire, and succeeds [on the mission] which I send it.”

sn Verses 8-11 focus on the reliability of the divine word and support the promises before (vv. 3-5, 7b) and after (vv. 12-13) this. Israel can be certain that repentance will bring forgiveness and a new covenantal relationship because God’s promises are reliable. In contrast to human plans (or “thoughts”), which are destined to fail (Ps 94:11) apart from divine approval (Prov 19:21), and human deeds (or “ways”), which are evil and lead to destruction (Prov 1:15-19; 3:31-33; 4:19), God’s plans are realized and his deeds accomplish something positive.

4 tn Heb “to the Lord for a name.” For שֵׁם (shem) used in the sense of “monument,” see also 56:5, where it stands parallel to יָד (yad).

5 tn Or, more literally, “a permanent sign that will not be cut off.”



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