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Isaiah 57:14-21

Context

57:14 He says, 1 

“Build it! Build it! Clear a way!

Remove all the obstacles out of the way of my people!”

57:15 For this is what the high and exalted one says,

the one who rules 2  forever, whose name is holy:

“I dwell in an exalted and holy place,

but also with the discouraged and humiliated, 3 

in order to cheer up the humiliated

and to encourage the discouraged. 4 

57:16 For I will not be hostile 5  forever

or perpetually angry,

for then man’s spirit would grow faint before me, 6 

the life-giving breath I created.

57:17 I was angry because of their sinful greed;

I attacked them and angrily rejected them, 7 

yet they remained disobedient and stubborn. 8 

57:18 I have seen their behavior, 9 

but I will heal them and give them rest,

and I will once again console those who mourn. 10 

57:19 I am the one who gives them reason to celebrate. 11 

Complete prosperity 12  is available both to those who are far away and those who are nearby,”

says the Lord, “and I will heal them.

57:20 But the wicked are like a surging sea

that is unable to be quiet;

its waves toss up mud and sand.

57:21 There will be no prosperity,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

1 tn Since God is speaking throughout this context, perhaps we should emend the text to “and I say.” However, divine speech is introduced in v. 15.

2 tn Heb “the one who dwells forever.” שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhenad) is sometimes translated “the one who lives forever,” and understood as a reference to God’s eternal existence. However, the immediately preceding and following descriptions (“high and exalted” and “holy”) emphasize his sovereign rule. In the next line, he declares, “I dwell in an exalted and holy [place],” which refers to the place from which he rules. Therefore it is more likely that שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhenad) means “I dwell [in my lofty palace] forever” and refers to God’s eternal kingship.

3 tn Heb “and also with the crushed and lowly of spirit.” This may refer to the repentant who have humbled themselves (see 66:2) or more generally to the exiles who have experienced discouragement and humiliation.

4 tn Heb “to restore the lowly of spirit and to restore the heart of the crushed.”

5 tn Or perhaps, “argue,” or “accuse” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV).

6 tn Heb “for a spirit from before me would be faint.”

7 tn Heb “and I struck him, hiding, and I was angry.” פָּנַיִם (panayim, “face”) is the implied object of “hiding.”

8 tn Heb “and he walked [as an] apostate in the way of his heart.”

9 tn Heb “his ways” (so KJV, NASB, NIV); TEV “how they acted.”

10 tn Heb “and I will restore consolation to him, to his mourners.”

11 tc The Hebrew text has literally, “one who creates fruit of lips.” Perhaps the pronoun אֲנִי (’ani) should be inserted after the participle; it may have been accidentally omitted by haplography: נוּב שְׂפָתָיִם[אֲנִי] בּוֹרֵא (bore’ [’ani] nuv sÿfatayim). “Fruit of the lips” is often understood as a metonymy for praise; perhaps it refers more generally to joyful shouts (see v. 18).

12 tn Heb “Peace, peace.” The repetition of the noun emphasizes degree.



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