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Isaiah 49:1--56:12

Context
Ideal Israel Delivers the Exiles

49:1 Listen to me, you coastlands! 1 

Pay attention, you people who live far away!

The Lord summoned me from birth; 2 

he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world. 3 

49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,

he hid me in the hollow of his hand;

he made me like a sharpened 4  arrow,

he hid me in his quiver. 5 

49:3 He said to me, “You are my servant,

Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor.” 6 

49:4 But I thought, 7  “I have worked in vain;

I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing.” 8 

But the Lord will vindicate me;

my God will reward me. 9 

49:5 So now the Lord says,

the one who formed me from birth 10  to be his servant –

he did this 11  to restore Jacob to himself,

so that Israel might be gathered to him;

and I will be honored 12  in the Lord’s sight,

for my God is my source of strength 13 

49:6 he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant,

to reestablish the tribes of Jacob,

and restore the remnant 14  of Israel? 15 

I will make you a light to the nations, 16 

so you can bring 17  my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.”

49:7 This is what the Lord,

the protector 18  of Israel, their Holy One, 19  says

to the one who is despised 20  and rejected 21  by nations, 22 

a servant of rulers:

“Kings will see and rise in respect, 23 

princes will bow down,

because of the faithful Lord,

the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”

49:8 This is what the Lord says:

“At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you;

in the day of deliverance I will help you;

I will protect you 24  and make you a covenant mediator for people, 25 

to rebuild 26  the land 27 

and to reassign the desolate property.

49:9 You will say 28  to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’

and to those who are in dark dungeons, 29  ‘Emerge.’ 30 

They will graze beside the roads;

on all the slopes they will find pasture.

49:10 They will not be hungry or thirsty;

the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, 31 

for one who has compassion on them will guide them;

he will lead them to springs of water.

49:11 I will make all my mountains into a road;

I will construct my roadways.”

49:12 Look, they come from far away!

Look, some come from the north and west,

and others from the land of Sinim! 32 

49:13 Shout for joy, O sky! 33 

Rejoice, O earth!

Let the mountains give a joyful shout!

For the Lord consoles his people

and shows compassion to the 34  oppressed.

The Lord Remembers Zion

49:14 “Zion said, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,

the sovereign master 35  has forgotten me.’

49:15 Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? 36 

Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? 37 

Even if mothers 38  were to forget,

I could never forget you! 39 

49:16 Look, I have inscribed your name 40  on my palms;

your walls are constantly before me.

49:17 Your children hurry back,

while those who destroyed and devastated you depart.

49:18 Look all around you! 41 

All of them gather to you.

As surely as I live,” says the Lord,

“you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry;

you will put them on as if you were a bride.

49:19 Yes, your land lies in ruins;

it is desolate and devastated. 42 

But now you will be too small to hold your residents,

and those who devoured you will be far away.

49:20 Yet the children born during your time of bereavement

will say within your hearing,

‘This place is too cramped for us, 43 

make room for us so we can live here.’ 44 

49:21 Then you will think to yourself, 45 

‘Who bore these children for me?

I was bereaved and barren,

dismissed and divorced. 46 

Who raised these children?

Look, I was left all alone;

where did these children come from?’”

49:22 This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“Look I will raise my hand to the nations;

I will raise my signal flag to the peoples.

They will bring your sons in their arms

and carry your daughters on their shoulders.

49:23 Kings will be your children’s 47  guardians;

their princesses will nurse your children. 48 

With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you

and they will lick the dirt on 49  your feet.

Then you will recognize that I am the Lord;

those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame.

49:24 Can spoils be taken from a warrior,

or captives be rescued from a conqueror? 50 

49:25 Indeed,” says the Lord,

“captives will be taken from a warrior;

spoils will be rescued from a conqueror.

I will oppose your adversary

and I will rescue your children.

49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;

they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine. 51 

Then all humankind 52  will recognize that

I am the Lord, your deliverer,

your protector, 53  the powerful ruler of Jacob.” 54 

50:1 This is what the Lord says:

“Where is your mother’s divorce certificate

by which I divorced her?

Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? 55 

Look, you were sold because of your sins; 56 

because of your rebellious acts I divorced your mother. 57 

50:2 Why does no one challenge me when I come?

Why does no one respond when I call? 58 

Is my hand too weak 59  to deliver 60  you?

Do I lack the power to rescue you?

Look, with a mere shout 61  I can dry up the sea;

I can turn streams into a desert,

so the fish rot away and die

from lack of water. 62 

50:3 I can clothe the sky in darkness;

I can cover it with sackcloth.”

The Servant Perseveres

50:4 The sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be his spokesman, 63 

so that I know how to help the weary. 64 

He wakes me up every morning;

he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do. 65 

50:5 The sovereign Lord has spoken to me clearly; 66 

I have not rebelled,

I have not turned back.

50:6 I offered my back to those who attacked, 67 

my jaws to those who tore out my beard;

I did not hide my face

from insults and spitting.

50:7 But the sovereign Lord helps me,

so I am not humiliated.

For that reason I am steadfastly resolved; 68 

I know I will not be put to shame.

50:8 The one who vindicates me is close by.

Who dares to argue with me? Let us confront each other! 69 

Who is my accuser? 70  Let him challenge me! 71 

50:9 Look, the sovereign Lord helps me.

Who dares to condemn me?

Look, all of them will wear out like clothes;

a moth will eat away at them.

50:10 Who among you fears the Lord?

Who obeys 72  his servant?

Whoever walks in deep darkness, 73 

without light,

should trust in the name of the Lord

and rely on his God.

50:11 Look, all of you who start a fire

and who equip yourselves with 74  flaming arrows, 75 

walk 76  in the light 77  of the fire you started

and among the flaming arrows you ignited! 78 

This is what you will receive from me: 79 

you will lie down in a place of pain. 80 

There is Hope for the Future

51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue godliness, 81 

who seek the Lord!

Look at the rock from which you were chiseled,

at the quarry 82  from which you were dug! 83 

51:2 Look at Abraham, your father,

and Sarah, who gave you birth. 84 

When I summoned him, he was a lone individual, 85 

but I blessed him 86  and gave him numerous descendants. 87 

51:3 Certainly the Lord will console Zion;

he will console all her ruins.

He will make her wilderness like Eden,

her desert like the Garden of the Lord.

Happiness and joy will be restored to 88  her,

thanksgiving and the sound of music.

51:4 Pay attention to me, my people!

Listen to me, my people!

For 89  I will issue a decree, 90 

I will make my justice a light to the nations. 91 

51:5 I am ready to vindicate, 92 

I am ready to deliver, 93 

I will establish justice among the nations. 94 

The coastlands 95  wait patiently for me;

they wait in anticipation for the revelation of my power. 96 

51:6 Look up at the sky!

Look at the earth below!

For the sky will dissipate 97  like smoke,

and the earth will wear out like clothes;

its residents will die like gnats.

But the deliverance I give 98  is permanent;

the vindication I provide 99  will not disappear. 100 

51:7 Listen to me, you who know what is right,

you people who are aware of my law! 101 

Don’t be afraid of the insults of men;

don’t be discouraged because of their abuse!

51:8 For a moth will eat away at them like clothes;

a clothes moth will devour them like wool.

But the vindication I provide 102  will be permanent;

the deliverance I give will last.”

51:9 Wake up! Wake up!

Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the Lord! 103 

Wake up as in former times, as in antiquity!

Did you not smash 104  the Proud One? 105 

Did you not 106  wound the sea monster? 107 

51:10 Did you not dry up the sea,

the waters of the great deep?

Did you not make 108  a path through the depths of the sea,

so those delivered from bondage 109  could cross over?

51:11 Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return;

they will enter Zion with a happy shout.

Unending joy will crown them, 110 

happiness and joy will overwhelm 111  them;

grief and suffering will disappear. 112 

51:12 “I, I am the one who consoles you. 113 

Why are you afraid of mortal men,

of mere human beings who are as short-lived as grass? 114 

51:13 Why do you forget 115  the Lord, who made you,

who stretched out the sky 116 

and founded the earth?

Why do you constantly tremble all day long 117 

at the anger of the oppressor,

when he makes plans to destroy?

Where is the anger of the oppressor? 118 

51:14 The one who suffers 119  will soon be released;

he will not die in prison, 120 

he will not go hungry. 121 

51:15 I am the Lord your God,

who churns up the sea so that its waves surge.

The Lord who commands armies is his name!

Zion’s Time to Celebrate

51:16 I commission you 122  as my spokesman; 123 

I cover you with the palm of my hand, 124 

to establish 125  the sky and to found the earth,

to say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’” 126 

51:17 Wake up! Wake up!

Get up, O Jerusalem!

You drank from the cup the Lord passed to you,

which was full of his anger! 127 

You drained dry

the goblet full of intoxicating wine. 128 

51:18 There was no one to lead her

among all the children she bore;

there was no one to take her by the hand

among all the children she raised.

51:19 These double disasters confronted you.

But who feels sorry for you?

Destruction and devastation,

famine and sword.

But who consoles you? 129 

51:20 Your children faint;

they lie at the head of every street

like an antelope in a snare.

They are left in a stupor by the Lord’s anger,

by the battle cry of your God. 130 

51:21 So listen to this, oppressed one,

who is drunk, but not from wine!

51:22 This is what your sovereign master, 131  the Lord your God, says:

“Look, I have removed from your hand

the cup of intoxicating wine, 132 

the goblet full of my anger. 133 

You will no longer have to drink it.

51:23 I will put it into the hand of your tormentors 134 

who said to you, ‘Lie down, so we can walk over you.’

You made your back like the ground,

and like the street for those who walked over you.”

52:1 Wake up! Wake up!

Clothe yourself with strength, O Zion!

Put on your beautiful clothes,

O Jerusalem, 135  holy city!

For uncircumcised and unclean pagans

will no longer invade you.

52:2 Shake off the dirt! 136 

Get up, captive 137  Jerusalem!

Take off the iron chains around your neck,

O captive daughter Zion!

52:3 For this is what the Lord says:

“You were sold for nothing,

and you will not be redeemed for money.”

52:4 For this is what the sovereign Lord says:

“In the beginning my people went to live temporarily in Egypt;

Assyria oppressed them for no good reason.

52:5 And now, what do we have here?” 138  says the Lord.

“Indeed my people have been carried away for nothing,

those who rule over them taunt,” 139  says the Lord,

“and my name is constantly slandered 140  all day long.

52:6 For this reason my people will know my name,

for this reason they will know 141  at that time 142  that I am the one who says,

‘Here I am.’”

52:7 How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains 143 

the feet of a messenger who announces peace,

a messenger who brings good news, who announces deliverance,

who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 144 

52:8 Listen, 145  your watchmen shout;

in unison they shout for joy,

for they see with their very own eyes 146 

the Lord’s return to Zion.

52:9 In unison give a joyful shout,

O ruins of Jerusalem!

For the Lord consoles his people;

he protects 147  Jerusalem.

52:10 The Lord reveals 148  his royal power 149 

in the sight of all the nations;

the entire 150  earth sees

our God deliver. 151 

52:11 Leave! Leave! Get out of there!

Don’t touch anything unclean!

Get out of it!

Stay pure, you who carry the Lord’s holy items! 152 

52:12 Yet do not depart quickly

or leave in a panic. 153 

For the Lord goes before you;

the God of Israel is your rear guard.

The Lord Will Vindicate His Servant

52:13 “Look, my servant will succeed! 154 

He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted 155 

52:14 (just as many were horrified by the sight of you) 156 

he was so disfigured 157  he no longer looked like a man; 158 

52:15 his form was so marred he no longer looked human 159 

so now 160  he will startle 161  many nations.

Kings will be shocked by his exaltation, 162 

for they will witness something unannounced to them,

and they will understand something they had not heard about.

53:1 Who would have believed 163  what we 164  just heard? 165 

When 166  was the Lord’s power 167  revealed through him?

53:2 He sprouted up like a twig before God, 168 

like a root out of parched soil; 169 

he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, 170 

no special appearance that we should want to follow him. 171 

53:3 He was despised and rejected by people, 172 

one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;

people hid their faces from him; 173 

he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. 174 

53:4 But he lifted up our illnesses,

he carried our pain; 175 

even though we thought he was being punished,

attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. 176 

53:5 He was wounded because of 177  our rebellious deeds,

crushed because of our sins;

he endured punishment that made us well; 178 

because of his wounds we have been healed. 179 

53:6 All of us had wandered off like sheep;

each of us had strayed off on his own path,

but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him. 180 

53:7 He was treated harshly and afflicted, 181 

but he did not even open his mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,

like a sheep silent before her shearers,

he did not even open his mouth. 182 

53:8 He was led away after an unjust trial 183 

but who even cared? 184 

Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; 185 

because of the rebellion of his own 186  people he was wounded.

53:9 They intended to bury him with criminals, 187 

but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, 188 

because 189  he had committed no violent deeds,

nor had he spoken deceitfully.

53:10 Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill,

once restitution is made, 190 

he will see descendants and enjoy long life, 191 

and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him.

53:11 Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,

he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. 192 

“My servant 193  will acquit many, 194 

for he carried their sins. 195 

53:12 So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, 196 

he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, 197 

because he willingly submitted 198  to death

and was numbered with the rebels,

when he lifted up the sin of many

and intervened 199  on behalf of the rebels.”

Zion Will Be Secure

54:1 “Shout for joy, O barren one who has not given birth!

Give a joyful shout and cry out, you who have not been in labor!

For the children of the desolate one are more numerous

than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.

54:2 Make your tent larger,

stretch your tent curtains farther out! 200 

Spare no effort,

lengthen your ropes,

and pound your stakes deep. 201 

54:3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;

your children will conquer 202  nations

and will resettle desolate cities.

54:4 Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame!

Don’t be intimidated, 203  for you will not be humiliated!

You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth;

you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment. 204 

54:5 For your husband is the one who made you –

the Lord who commands armies is his name.

He is your protector, 205  the Holy One of Israel. 206 

He is called “God of the entire earth.”

54:6 “Indeed, the Lord will call you back

like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression, 207 

like a young wife when she has been rejected,” says your God.

54:7 “For a short time I abandoned 208  you,

but with great compassion I will gather you.

54:8 In a burst 209  of anger I rejected you 210  momentarily,

but with lasting devotion I will have compassion on you,”

says your protector, 211  the Lord.

54:9 “As far as I am concerned, this is like in Noah’s time, 212 

when I vowed that the waters of Noah’s flood 213  would never again cover the earth.

In the same way I have vowed that I will not be angry at you or shout at you.

54:10 Even if the mountains are removed

and the hills displaced,

my devotion will not be removed from you,

nor will my covenant of friendship 214  be displaced,”

says the Lord, the one who has compassion on you.

54:11 “O afflicted one, driven away, 215  and unconsoled!

Look, I am about to set your stones in antimony

and I lay your foundation with lapis-lazuli.

54:12 I will make your pinnacles out of gems, 216 

your gates out of beryl, 217 

and your outer wall 218  out of beautiful 219  stones.

54:13 All your children will be followers of the Lord,

and your children will enjoy great prosperity. 220 

54:14 You will be reestablished when I vindicate you. 221 

You will not experience oppression; 222 

indeed, you will not be afraid.

You will not be terrified, 223 

for nothing frightening 224  will come near you.

54:15 If anyone dares to 225  challenge you, it will not be my doing!

Whoever tries to challenge you will be defeated. 226 

54:16 Look, I create the craftsman,

who fans the coals into a fire

and forges a weapon. 227 

I create the destroyer so he might devastate.

54:17 No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed;

you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. 228 

This is what the Lord will do for his servants –

I will vindicate them,” 229 

says the Lord.

The Lord Gives an Invitation

55:1 “Hey, 230  all who are thirsty, come to the water!

You who have no money, come!

Buy and eat!

Come! Buy wine and milk

without money and without cost! 231 

55:2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? 232 

Why spend 233  your hard-earned money 234  on something that will not satisfy?

Listen carefully 235  to me and eat what is nourishing! 236 

Enjoy fine food! 237 

55:3 Pay attention and come to me!

Listen, so you can live! 238 

Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to 239  you,

just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David. 240 

55:4 Look, I made him a witness to nations, 241 

a ruler and commander of nations.”

55:5 Look, you will summon nations 242  you did not previously know;

nations 243  that did not previously know you will run to you,

because of the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, 244 

for he bestows honor on you.

55:6 Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; 245 

call to him while he is nearby!

55:7 The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle 246 

and sinful people their plans. 247 

They should return 248  to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them, 249 

and to their God, for he will freely forgive them. 250 

55:8 “Indeed, 251  my plans 252  are not like 253  your plans,

and my deeds 254  are not like 255  your deeds,

55:9 for just as the sky 256  is higher than the earth,

so my deeds 257  are superior to 258  your deeds

and my plans 259  superior to your plans.

55:10 260 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. 261 

No, it is realized as I desire

and is fulfilled as I intend.” 262 

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, 263 

a permanent reminder that will remain. 264 

The Lord Invites Outsiders to Enter

56:1 This is what the Lord says,

“Promote 265  justice! Do what is right!

For I am ready to deliver you;

I am ready to vindicate you openly. 266 

56:2 The people who do this will be blessed, 267 

the people who commit themselves to obedience, 268 

who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it,

who refrain from doing anything that is wrong. 269 

56:3 No foreigner who becomes a follower of 270  the Lord should say,

‘The Lord will certainly 271  exclude me from his people.’

The eunuch should not say,

‘Look, I am like a dried-up tree.’”

56:4 For this is what the Lord says:

“For the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths

and choose what pleases me

and are faithful to 272  my covenant,

56:5 I will set up within my temple and my walls a monument 273 

that will be better than sons and daughters.

I will set up a permanent monument 274  for them that will remain.

56:6 As for foreigners who become followers of 275  the Lord and serve him,

who love the name of the Lord and want to be his servants –

all who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it,

and who are faithful to 276  my covenant –

56:7 I will bring them to my holy mountain;

I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me. 277 

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar,

for my temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray.” 278 

56:8 The sovereign Lord says this,

the one who gathers the dispersed of Israel:

“I will still gather them up.” 279 

The Lord Denounces Israel’s Paganism

56:9 All you wild animals in the fields, come and devour,

all you wild animals in the forest!

56:10 All their watchmen 280  are blind,

they are unaware. 281 

All of them are like mute dogs,

unable to bark.

They pant, 282  lie down,

and love to snooze.

56:11 The dogs have big appetites;

they are never full. 283 

They are shepherds who have no understanding;

they all go their own way,

each one looking for monetary gain. 284 

56:12 Each one says, 285 

‘Come on, I’ll get some wine!

Let’s guzzle some beer!

Tomorrow will be just like today!

We’ll have everything we want!’ 286 

1 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV); NLT “in far-off lands.”

sn The Lord’s special servant, introduced in chap. 42, speaks here of his commission.

2 tn Heb “called me from the womb.”

3 tn Heb “from the inner parts of my mother he mentioned my name.”

4 tn Or perhaps, “polished” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); NASB “a select arrow.”

5 sn The figurative language emphasizes the servant’s importance as the Lord’s effective instrument. The servant’s mouth, which stands metonymically for his words, is compared to a sharp sword because he will be an effective spokesman on God’s behalf (see 50:4). The Lord holds his hand on the servant, ready to draw and use him at the appropriate time. The servant is like a sharpened arrow reserved in a quiver for just the right moment.

6 sn This verse identifies the servant as Israel. This seems to refer to the exiled nation (cf. 41:8-9; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20), but in vv. 5-6 this servant says he has been commissioned to reconcile Israel to God, so he must be distinct from the exiled nation. This servant is an ideal “Israel” who, like Moses of old, mediates a covenant for the nation (see v. 8), leads them out of bondage (v. 9a), and carries out God’s original plan for Israel by positively impacting the pagan nations (see v. 6b). By living according to God’s law, Israel was to be a model of God’s standards of justice to the surrounding nations (Deut 4:6-8). The sinful nation failed, but the servant, the ideal “Israel,” will succeed by establishing justice throughout the earth.

7 tn Or “said” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “I replied.”

8 tn Heb “for nothing and emptiness.” Synonyms are combined to emphasize the common idea.

9 tn Heb “But my justice is with the Lord, and my reward [or “wage”] with my God.”

10 tn Heb “from the womb” (so KJV, NASB).

11 tn The words “he did this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the infinitive construct of purpose is subordinated to the previous statement.

12 tn The vav (ו) + imperfect is translated here as a result clause; one might interpret it as indicating purpose, “and so I might be honored.”

13 tn Heb “and my God is [perhaps, “having been”] my strength.” The disjunctive structure (vav [ו] + subject + verb) is interpreted here as indicating a causal circumstantial clause.

14 tn Heb “the protected [or “preserved”] ones.”

15 sn The question is purely rhetorical; it does not imply that the servant was dissatisfied with his commission or that he minimized the restoration of Israel.

16 tn See the note at 42:6.

17 tn Heb “be” (so KJV, ASV); CEV “you must take.”

18 tn Heb “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

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

20 tc The Hebrew text reads literally “to [one who] despises life.” It is preferable to read with the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa לבזוי, which should be vocalized as a passive participle, לִבְזוּי (livzuy, “to the one despised with respect to life” [נֶפֶשׁ is a genitive of specification]). The consonantal sequence וי was probably misread as ה in the MT tradition. The contextual argument favors the 1QIsaa reading. As J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:294) points out, the three terse phrases “convey a picture of lowliness, worthlessness, and helplessness.”

21 tn MT’s Piel participle (“to the one who rejects”) does not fit contextually. The form should be revocalized as a Pual, “to the one rejected.”

22 tn Parallelism (see “rulers,” “kings,” “princes”) suggests that the singular גּוֹי (goy) be emended to a plural or understood in a collective sense (see 55:5).

23 tn For this sense of קוּם (qum), see Gen 19:1; 23:7; 33:10; Lev 19:32; 1 Sam 20:41; 25:41; 1 Kgs 2:19; Job 29:8.

24 tn The translation assumes the verb is derived from the root נָצָר (natsar, “protect”). Some prefer to derive it from the root יָצָר (yatsar, “form”).

25 tn Heb “a covenant of people.” A person cannot literally be a covenant; בְּרִית (bÿrit) is probably metonymic here, indicating a covenant mediator. Here עָם (’am, “people”) appears to refer to Israel. See the note at 42:6.

26 tn The Hiphil of קוּם (qum, “arise”) is probably used here in the sense of “rebuild.”

27 tn The “land” probably stands by metonymy for the ruins within it.

28 tn Heb “to say.” In the Hebrew text the infinitive construct is subordinated to what precedes.

29 tn Heb “in darkness” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “the prisoners of darkness.”

30 tn Heb “show yourselves” (so ASV, NAB, NASB).

31 tn Heb “and the heat and the sun will not strike them.” In Isa 35:7, its only other occurrence in the OT, שָׁרָב (sharav) stands parallel to “parched ground” and in contrast to “pool.” In later Hebrew and Aramaic it refers to “dry heat, heat of the sun” (Jastrow 1627 s.v.). Here it likely has this nuance and forms a hendiadys with “sun.”

32 tc The MT reads “Sinim” here; the Dead Sea Scrolls read “Syene,” a location in Egypt associated with modern Aswan. A number of recent translations adopt this reading: “Syene” (NAB, NRSV); “Aswan” (NIV); “Egypt” (NLT).

sn The precise location of the land of Sinim is uncertain, but since the north and west are mentioned in the previous line, it was a probably located in the distant east or south.

33 tn Or “O heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

34 tn Heb “his” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

35 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

36 tn Heb “her suckling”; NASB “her nursing child.”

37 tn Heb “so as not to have compassion on the son of her womb?”

38 tn Heb “these” (so ASV, NASB).

39 sn The argument of v. 15 seems to develop as follows: The Lord has an innate attachment to Zion, just like a mother does for her infant child. But even if mothers were to suddenly abandon their children, the Lord would never forsake Zion. In other words, the Lord’s attachment to Zion is like a mother’s attachment to her infant child, but even stronger.

40 tn Heb “you.” Here the pronoun is put by metonymy for the person’s name.

41 tn Heb “Lift up around your eyes and see.”

42 tn Heb “Indeed your ruins and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction.” This statement is abruptly terminated in the Hebrew text and left incomplete.

43 tn Heb “me.” The singular is collective.

44 tn Heb “draw near to me so I can dwell.”

45 tn Heb “and you will say in your heart.”

46 tn Or “exiled and thrust away”; NIV “exiled and rejected.”

47 tn Heb “your,” but Zion here stands by metonymy for her children (see v. 22b).

48 tn Heb “you.” See the preceding note.

49 tn Or “at your feet” (NAB, NIV); NLT “from your feet.”

50 tc The Hebrew text has צָדִיק (tsadiq, “a righteous [one]”), but this makes no sense in the parallelism. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads correctly עריץ (“violent [one], tyrant”; see v. 25).

51 sn Verse 26a depicts siege warfare and bloody defeat. The besieged enemy will be so starved they will their own flesh. The bloodstained bodies lying on the blood-soaked battle site will look as if they collapsed in drunkenness.

52 tn Heb “flesh” (so KJV, NASB).

53 tn Heb “your redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

54 tn Heb “the powerful [one] of Jacob.” See 1:24.

55 sn The Lord challenges the exiles (Zion’s children) to bring incriminating evidence against him. The rhetorical questions imply that Israel accused the Lord of divorcing his wife (Zion) and selling his children (the Israelites) into slavery to pay off a debt.

56 sn The Lord admits that he did sell the Israelites, but it was because of their sins, not because of some debt he owed. If he had sold them to a creditor, they ought to be able to point him out, but the preceding rhetorical question implies they would not be able to do so.

57 sn The Lord admits he did divorce Zion, but that too was the result of the nation’s sins. The force of the earlier rhetorical question comes into clearer focus now. The question does not imply that a certificate does not exist and that no divorce occurred. Rather, the question asks for the certificate to be produced so the accuser can see the reason for the divorce in black and white. The Lord did not put Zion away arbitrarily.

58 sn The present tense translation of the verbs assumes that the Lord is questioning why Israel does not attempt to counter his arguments. Another possibility is to take the verbs as referring to past events: “Why did no one meet me when I came? Why did no one answer when I called?” In this case the Lord might be asking why Israel rejected his calls to repent and his offer to deliver them.

59 tn Heb “short” (so NAB, NASB, NIV).

60 tn Or “ransom” (NAB, NASB, NIV).

61 tn Heb “with my rebuke.”

62 tn Heb “the fish stink from lack of water and die from thirst.”

63 tn Heb “has given to me a tongue of disciples.”

sn Verses 4-11 contain the third of the so-called servant songs, which depict the career of the Lord’s special servant, envisioned as an ideal Israel (49:3) who rescues the exiles and fulfills God’s purposes for the world. Here the servant alludes to opposition (something hinted at in 49:4), but also expresses his determination to persevere with the Lord’s help.

64 tc Heb “to know [?] the weary with a word.” Comparing it with Arabic and Aramaic cognates yields the meaning of “help, sustain.” Nevertheless, the meaning of עוּת (’ut) is uncertain. The word occurs only here in the OT (see BDB 736 s.v.). Various scholars have suggested an emendation to עָנוֹת (’anot) from עָנָה (’anah, “answer”): “so that I know how to respond kindly to the weary.” Since the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and the Vulgate support the MT reading, that reading is retained.

65 tn Heb “he arouses for me an ear, to hear like disciples.”

66 tn Or perhaps, “makes me obedient.” The text reads literally, “has opened for me an ear.”

67 tn Or perhaps, “who beat [me].”

68 tn Heb “Therefore I set my face like flint.”

69 tn Heb “Let us stand together!”

70 tn Heb “Who is the master of my judgment?”

71 tn Heb “let him approach me”; NAB, NIV “Let him confront me.”

72 tn Heb “[who] listens to the voice of his servant?” The interrogative is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

73 tn The plural indicates degree. Darkness may refer to exile and/or moral evil.

74 tc Several more recent commentators have proposed an emendation of מְאַזְּרֵי (mÿazzÿre, “who put on”) to מְאִירִי (mÿiri, “who light”). However, both Qumran scrolls of Isaiah and the Vulgate support the MT reading (cf. NIV, ESV).

75 tn On the meaning of זִיקוֹת (ziqot, “flaming arrows”), see HALOT 268 s.v. זִיקוֹת.

76 tn The imperative is probably rhetorical and has a predictive force.

77 tn Or perhaps, “flame” (so ASV).

78 sn Perhaps the servant here speaks to his enemies and warns them that they will self-destruct.

79 tn Heb “from my hand” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

80 sn The imagery may be that of a person who becomes ill and is forced to lie down in pain on a sickbed. Some see this as an allusion to a fiery place of damnation because of the imagery employed earlier in the verse.

81 tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “justice”; NLT “hope for deliverance.”

82 tn Heb “the excavation of the hole.”

83 sn The “rock” and “quarry” refer here to Abraham and Sarah, the progenitors of the nation.

84 sn Although Abraham and Sarah are distant ancestors of the people the prophet is addressing, they are spoken of as the immediate parents.

85 tn Heb “one”; NLT “was alone”; TEV “was childless.”

86 tn “Bless” may here carry the sense of “endue with potency, reproductive power.” See Gen 1:28.

87 tn Heb “and I made him numerous.”

88 tn Heb “found in” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

89 tn Or “certainly.”

90 tn Heb “instruction [or “a law”] will go out from me.”

91 tn Heb “and my justice for a light to the nations I will cause to rest.”

92 tn Heb “my righteousness [or “vindication”] is near.”

93 tn Heb “my deliverance goes forth.”

94 tn Heb “and my arms will judge [on behalf of] nations.”

95 tn Or “islands” (NIV); TEV “Distant lands.”

96 tn Heb “for my arm” (so NIV, NRSV).

97 tn Heb “will be torn in pieces.” The perfect indicates the certitude of the event, from the Lord’s rhetorical perspective.

98 tn Heb “my deliverance.” The same Hebrew word can also be translated “salvation” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); cf. CEV “victory.”

99 tn Heb “my righteousness [or “vindication”].”

100 tn Heb “will not be shattered [or “dismayed”].”

101 tn Heb “people (who have) my law in their heart.”

102 tn Heb “my vindication”; many English versions “my righteousness”; NRSV, TEV “my deliverance”; CEV “my victory.”

103 tn The arm of the Lord is a symbol of divine military power. Here it is personified and told to arouse itself from sleep and prepare for action.

104 tn Heb “Are you not the one who smashed?” The feminine singular forms agree grammatically with the feminine noun “arm.” The Hebrew text has ַהמַּחְצֶבֶת (hammakhtsevet), from the verbal root חָצַב (khatsav, “hew, chop”). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has, probably correctly, המחצת, from the verbal root מָחַץ (makhats, “smash”) which is used in Job 26:12 to describe God’s victory over “the Proud One.”

105 tn This title (רַהַב, rahav, “proud one”) is sometimes translated as a proper name: “Rahab” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). It is used here of a symbolic sea monster, known elsewhere in the Bible and in Ugaritic myth as Leviathan. This sea creature symbolizes the forces of chaos that seek to destroy the created order. In the Bible “the Proud One” opposes God’s creative work, but is defeated (see Job 26:12; Ps 89:10). Here the title refers to Pharaoh’s Egyptian army that opposed Israel at the Red Sea (see v. 10, and note also Isa 30:7 and Ps 87:4, where the title is used of Egypt).

106 tn The words “did you not” are understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line). The rhetorical questions here and in v. 10 expect the answer, “Yes, you certainly did!”

107 tn Hebrew תַּנִּין (tannin) is another name for the symbolic sea monster. See the note at 27:1. In this context the sea creature represents Egypt. See the note on the title “Proud One” earlier in this verse.

108 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Are you not the one who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made…?”

109 tn Heb “the redeemed” (so ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV “the ransomed.”

110 tn Heb “[will be] on their head[s].” “Joy” may be likened here to a crown (cf. 2 Sam 1:10). The statement may also be an ironic twist on the idiom “earth/dust on the head” (cf. 2 Sam 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), referring to a mourning practice.

111 tn Heb “overtake” (so NIV); NASB “they will obtain.”

112 tn Heb “grief and groaning will flee.”

113 tc The plural suffix should probably be emended to the second masculine singular (which is used in v. 13). The final mem (ם) is probably dittographic; note the mem at the beginning of the next word.

114 tn Heb “Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and of the son of man who [as] grass is given up?” The feminine singular forms should probably be emended to the masculine singular (see v. 13). They have probably been influenced by the construction אַתְּ־הִיא (’at-hi’) in vv. 9-10.

115 tn Heb “and that you forget.”

116 tn Or “the heavens” (also in v. 16). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

117 tn Heb “and that you tremble constantly all the day.”

118 tn The question anticipates the answer, “Ready to disappear!” See v. 14.

119 tn Heb “who is stooped over” (under a burden).

120 tn Heb “the pit” (so KJV); ASV, NAB “die and go down into the pit”; NASB, NIV “dungeon”; NCV “prison.”

121 tn Heb “he will not lack his bread.”

122 tn The addressee (second masculine singular, as in vv. 13, 15) in this verse is unclear. The exiles are addressed in the immediately preceding verses (note the critical tone of vv. 12-13 and the reference to the exiles in v. 14). However, it seems unlikely that they are addressed in v. 16, for the addressee appears to be commissioned to tell Zion, who here represents the restored exiles, “you are my people.” The addressee is distinct from the exiles. The language of v. 16a is reminiscent of 49:2 and 50:4, where the Lord’s special servant says he is God’s spokesman and effective instrument. Perhaps the Lord, having spoken to the exiles in vv. 1-15, now responds to this servant, who spoke just prior to this in 50:4-11.

123 tn Heb “I place my words in your mouth.”

124 tn Heb “with the shadow of my hand.”

125 tc The Hebrew text has לִנְטֹעַ (lintoa’, “to plant”). Several scholars prefer to emend this form to לִנְטֹת (lintot) from נָטָה (natah, “to stretch out”); see v. 13, as well as 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; cf. NAB, NCV, NRSV. However, since the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa, LXX (and Aquila and Symmachus), and Vulgate support the MT reading, there is no need to emend the form. The interpretation is clear enough: Yahweh fixed the sky in its place.

126 tn The infinitives in v. 16b are most naturally understood as indicating the purpose of the divine actions described in v. 16a. The relationship of the third infinitive to the commission is clear enough – the Lord has made the addressee (his special servant?) his spokesman so that the latter might speak encouraging words to those in Zion. But how do the first two infinitives relate? The text seems to indicate that the Lord has commissioned the addressee so that the latter might create the universe! Perhaps creation imagery is employed metaphorically here to refer to the transformation that Jerusalem will experience (see 65:17-18).

127 tn Heb “[you] who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his anger.”

128 tn Heb “the goblet, the cup [that causes] staggering, you drank, you drained.”

129 tc The Hebrew text has אֲנַחֲמֵךְ (’anakhamekh), a first person form, but the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads correctly יִנַחֲמֵךְ (yinakhamekh), a third person form.

130 tn Heb “those who are full of the anger of the Lord, the shout [or “rebuke”] of your God.”

131 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

132 tn Heb “the cup of [= that causes] staggering” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV); NASB “the cup of reeling.”

133 tn Heb “the goblet of the cup of my anger.”

134 tn That is, to make them drink it.

135 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

136 tn Heb “Shake yourself free from the dirt.”

137 tc The Hebrew text has שְּׂבִי (shÿvi), which some understand as a feminine singular imperative from יָשַׁב (yashav, “sit”). The LXX, Vulgate, Syriac, and the Targum support the MT reading (the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does indirectly). Some interpret this to mean “take your throne”: The Lord exhorts Jerusalem to get up from the dirt and sit, probably with the idea of sitting in a place of honor (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 2:361). However, the form is likely a corruption of שְׁבִיָּה (shÿviyyah, “captive”), which appears in the parallel line.

138 tn Heb “and now what [following the marginal reading (Qere)] to me here?”

139 tn The verb appears to be a Hiphil form from the root יָלַל (yalal, “howl”), perhaps here in the sense of “mock.” Some emend the form to יְהוֹלָּלוֹ (yÿhollalo) and understand a Polel form of the root הָלַל meaning here “mock, taunt.”

140 tn The verb is apparently a Hitpolal form (with assimilated tav, ת) from the root נָאַץ (naats), but GKC 151-52 §55.b explains it as a mixed form, combining Pual and Hitpolel readings.

141 tn The verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

142 tn Heb “in that day” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

143 tn Heb “How delightful on the mountains.”

144 tn Or “has become king.” When a new king was enthroned, his followers would give this shout. For other examples of this enthronement formula (Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular מָלַךְ [malakh], followed by the name of the king), see 2 Sam 15:10; 1 Kgs 1:11, 13, 18; 2 Kgs 9:13. The Lord is an eternal king, but here he is pictured as a victorious warrior who establishes his rule from Zion.

145 tn קוֹל (qol, “voice”) is used at the beginning of the verse as an interjection.

146 tn Heb “eye in eye”; KJV, ASV “eye to eye”; NAB “directly, before their eyes.”

147 tn Or “redeems.” See the note at 41:14.

148 tn Heb “lays bare”; NLT “will demonstrate.”

149 tn Heb “his holy arm.” This is a metonymy for his power.

150 tn Heb “the remote regions,” which here stand for the extremities and everything in between.

151 tn Heb “the deliverance of our God.” “God” is a subjective genitive here.

152 tn Heb “the vessels of the Lord” (so KJV, NAB).

153 tn Heb “or go in flight”; NAB “leave in headlong flight.”

154 tn Heb “act wisely,” which by metonymy means “succeed.”

155 tn This piling up of synonyms emphasizes the degree of the servant’s coming exaltation.

156 tn Some witnesses read “him,” which is more consistent with the context, where the servant is spoken about, not addressed. However, it is possible that the Lord briefly addresses the servant here. The present translation assumes the latter view and places the phrase in parentheses.

157 tn Heb “such was the disfigurement.” The noun מִשְׁחַת (mishkhat) occurs only here. It may be derived from the verbal root שָׁחַת (shakhat, “be ruined”; see BDB 1007-8 s.v. שָׁחַת). The construct form appears here before a prepositional phrase (cf. GKC 421 §130.a).

158 tn Heb “from a man his appearance.” The preposition מִן (min) here carries the sense “away from,” i.e., “so as not to be.” See BDB 583 s.v.

159 tn Heb “and his form from the sons of men.” The preposition מִן (min) here carries the sense “away from,” i.e., “so as not to be.”

160 tn This statement completes the sentence begun in v. 14a. The introductory כֵּן (ken) answers to the introductory כַּאֲשֶׁר (kaasher) of v. 14a. Verses 14b-15a are parenthetical, explaining why many were horrified.

161 tn Traditionally the verb יַזֶּה (yazzeh, a Hiphil stem) has been understood as a causative of נָזָה (nazah, “spurt, spatter”) and translated “sprinkle.” In this case the passage pictures the servant as a priest who “sprinkles” (or spiritually cleanses) the nations. Though the verb נָזָה does occur in the Hiphil with the meaning “sprinkle,” the usual interpretation is problematic. In all other instances where the object or person sprinkled is indicated, the verb is combined with a preposition. This is not the case in Isaiah 52:15, unless one takes the following עָלָיו (’alayv, “on him”) with the preceding line. But then one would have to emend the verb to a plural, make the nations the subject of the verb “sprinkle,” and take the servant as the object. Consequently some interpreters doubt the cultic idea of “sprinkling” is present here. Some emend the text; others propose a homonymic root meaning “spring, leap,” which in the Hiphil could mean “cause to leap, startle” and would fit the parallelism of the verse nicely.

162 tn Heb “Because of him kings will shut their mouths,” i.e., be speechless.

163 tn The perfect has a hypothetical force in this rhetorical question. For another example, see Gen 21:7.

164 sn The speaker shifts here from God to an unidentified group (note the first person plural pronouns throughout vv. 1-6). The content of the speech suggests that the prophet speaks here as representative of the sinful nation Israel. The group acknowledges its sin and recognizes that the servant suffered on their behalf.

165 tn The first half of v. 1 is traditionally translated, “Who has believed our report?” or “Who has believed our message?” as if the group speaking is lamenting that no one will believe what they have to say. But that doesn’t seem to be the point in this context. Here the group speaking does not cast itself in the role of a preacher or evangelist. No, they are repentant sinners, who finally see the light. The phrase “our report” can mean (1) the report which we deliver, or (2) the report which was delivered to us. The latter fits better here, where the report is most naturally taken as the announcement that has just been made in 52:13-15.

166 tn Heb “to whom” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

167 tn Heb “the arm of the Lord.” The “arm of the Lord” is a metaphor of military power; it pictures the Lord as a warrior who bares his arm, takes up his weapon, and crushes his enemies (cf. 51:9-10; 63:5-6). But Israel had not seen the Lord’s military power at work in the servant.

168 tn Heb “before him.” Some suggest an emendation to “before us.” If the third singular suffix of the Hebrew text is retained, it probably refers to the Lord (see v. 1b). For a defense of this reading, see R. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66 (NCBC), 173-74.

169 sn The metaphor in this verse suggests insignificance.

170 tn Heb “that we might see him.” The vav conjunctive prefixed to the imperfect introduces a result clause here. See GKC 504-5 §166.a.

171 tn Heb “that we should desire him.” The vav conjunctive prefixed to the imperfect introduces a result clause here. See GKC 504-5 §166.a.

172 tn Heb “lacking of men.” If the genitive is taken as specifying (“lacking with respect to men”), then the idea is that he lacked company because he was rejected by people. Another option is to take the genitive as indicating genus or larger class (i.e., “one lacking among men”). In this case one could translate, “he was a transient” (cf. the use of חָדֵל [khadel] in Ps 39:5 HT [39:4 ET]).

173 tn Heb “like a hiding of the face from him,” i.e., “like one before whom the face is hidden” (see BDB 712 s.v. מַסְתֵּר).

174 sn The servant is likened to a seriously ill person who is shunned by others because of his horrible disease.

175 sn Illness and pain stand by metonymy (or perhaps as metaphors) for sin and its effects, as vv. 11-12 make clear.

176 tn The words “for something he had done” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The group now realizes he suffered because of his identification with them, not simply because he was a special target of divine anger.

177 tn The preposition מִן (min) has a causal sense (translated “because of”) here and in the following clause.

178 tn Heb “the punishment of our peace [was] on him.” שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) is here a genitive of result, i.e., “punishment that resulted in our peace.”

179 sn Continuing to utilize the imagery of physical illness, the group acknowledges that the servant’s willingness to carry their illnesses (v. 4) resulted in their being healed. Healing is a metaphor for forgiveness here.

180 tn Elsewhere the Hiphil of פָגַע (paga’) means “to intercede verbally” (Jer 15:11; 36:25) or “to intervene militarily” (Isa 59:16), but neither nuance fits here. Apparently here the Hiphil is the causative of the normal Qal meaning, “encounter, meet, touch.” The Qal sometimes refers to a hostile encounter or attack; when used in this way the object is normally introduced by the preposition -בְּ (bet, see Josh 2:16; Judg 8:21; 15:12, etc.). Here the causative Hiphil has a double object – the Lord makes “sin” attack “him” (note that the object attacked is introduced by the preposition -בְּ. In their sin the group was like sheep who had wandered from God’s path. They were vulnerable to attack; the guilt of their sin was ready to attack and destroy them. But then the servant stepped in and took the full force of the attack.

181 tn The translation assumes the Niphal is passive; another option is take the clause (note the subject + verb pattern) as concessive and the Niphal as reflexive, “though he humbled himself.”

182 sn This verse emphasizes the servant’s silent submission. The comparison to a sheep does not necessarily suggest a sacrificial metaphor. Sheep were slaughtered for food as well as for sacrificial rituals, and טֶבַח (tevakh) need not refer to sacrificial slaughter (see Gen 43:16; Prov 7:22; 9:2; Jer 50:27; note also the use of the related verb in Exod 21:37; Deut 28:31; 1 Sam 25:11).

183 tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. The present translation assumes that מִן (min) here has an instrumental sense (“by, through”) and understands עֹצֶר וּמִמִּשְׁפָּט (’otser umimmishpat, “coercion and legal decision”) as a hendiadys meaning “coercive legal decision,” thus “an unjust trial.” Other interpretive options include: (1) “without [for this sense of מִן, see BDB 578 s.v. 1.b] hindrance and proper judicial process,” i.e., “unfairly and with no one to defend him,” (2) “from [in the sense of “after,” see BDB 581 s.v. 4.b] arrest and judgment.”

184 tn Heb “and his generation, who considers?” (NASB similar). Some understand “his generation” as a reference to descendants. In this case the question would suggest that he will have none. However, אֶת (’et) may be taken here as specifying a new subject (see BDB 85 s.v. I אֵת 3). If “his generation” refers to the servant’s contemporary generation, one may then translate, “As for his contemporary generation, who took note?” The point would be that few were concerned about the harsh treatment he received.

185 sn The “land of the living” is an idiom for the sphere where people live, in contrast to the underworld realm of the dead. See, for example, Ezek 32:23-27.

186 tn The Hebrew text reads “my people,” a reading followed by most English versions, but this is problematic in a context where the first person plural predominates, and where God does not appear to speak again until v. 11b. Therefore, it is preferable to read with the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa עמו (“his people”). In this case, the group speaking in these verses is identified as the servant’s people (compare פְּשָׁעֵנוּ [pÿshaenu, “our rebellious deeds”] in v. 5 with פֶּשַׁע עַמִּי [pesha’ ’ammi, “the rebellion of his people”] in v. 8).

187 tn Heb “one assigned his grave with criminals.” The subject of the singular is impersonal; English typically uses “they” in such constructions.

188 tn This line reads literally, “and with the rich in his death.” בְּמֹתָיו (bÿmotayv) combines a preposition, a plural form of the noun מוֹת (mot), and a third masculine singular suffix. The plural of the noun is problematic and the יו may be the result of virtual dittography. The form should probably be emended to בָּמָתוֹ (bamato, singular noun). The relationship between this line and the preceding one is uncertain. The parallelism appears to be synonymous (note “his grave” and “in his death”), but “criminals” and “the rich” hardly make a compatible pair in this context, for they would not be buried in the same kind of tomb. Some emend עָשִׁיר (’ashir, “rich”) to עָשֵׂי רָע (’ase ra’, “doers of evil”) but the absence of the ayin (ע) is not readily explained in this graphic environment. Others suggest an emendation to שְׂעִירִים (sÿirim, “he-goats, demons”), but the meaning in this case is not entirely transparent and the proposal assumes that the form suffered from both transposition and the inexplicable loss of a final mem. Still others relate עָשִׁיר (’ashir) to an alleged Arabic cognate meaning “mob.” See HALOT 896 s.v. עָשִׁיר. Perhaps the parallelism is antithetical, rather than synonymous. In this case, the point is made that the servant’s burial in a rich man’s tomb, in contrast to a criminal’s burial, was appropriate, for he had done nothing wrong.

189 tn If the second line is antithetical, then עַל (’al) is probably causal here, explaining why the servant was buried in a rich man’s tomb, rather than that of criminal. If the first two lines are synonymous, then עַל is probably concessive: “even though….”

190 tn The meaning of this line is uncertain. It reads literally, “if you/she makes, a reparation offering, his life.” The verb תָּשִׂים (tasim) could be second masculine singular,in which case it would have to be addressed to the servant or to God. However, the servant is only addressed once in this servant song (see 52:14a), and God either speaks or is spoken about in this servant song; he is never addressed. Furthermore, the idea of God himself making a reparation offering is odd. If the verb is taken as third feminine singular, then the feminine noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) at the end of the line is the likely subject. In this case one can take the suffixed form of the noun as equivalent to a pronoun and translate, “if he [literally, “his life”] makes a reparation offering.”

sn What constitutes the servant’s reparation offering? Some might think his suffering, but the preceding context views this as past, while the verb here is imperfect in form. The offering appears to be something the servant does after his suffering has been completed. Perhaps the background of the language can be found in the Levitical code, where a healed leper would offer a reparation offering as part of the ritual to achieve ceremonial cleanliness (see Lev 14). The servant was pictured earlier in the song as being severely ill. This illness (a metaphor for the effects of the people’s sin) separated him from God. However, here we discover the separation is not final; once reparation is made, so to speak, he will again experience the Lord’s favor.

191 sn The idiomatic and stereotypical language emphasizes the servant’s restoration to divine favor. Having numerous descendants and living a long life are standard signs of divine blessing. See Job 42:13-16.

192 tn Heb “he will be satisfied by his knowledge,” i.e., “when he knows.” The preposition is understood as temporal and the suffix as a subjective genitive. Some take בְּדַעְתּוֹ (bÿdato, “by his knowledge”) with what follows and translate “by knowledge of him,” understanding the preposition as instrumental and the suffix as objective.

193 sn The song ends as it began (cf. 52:13-15), with the Lord announcing the servant’s vindication and exaltation.

194 tn Heb “he will acquit, a righteous one, my servant, many.” צַדִּיק (tsadiq) may refer to the servant, but more likely it is dittographic (note the preceding verb יַצְדִּיק, yatsdiq). The precise meaning of the verb (the Hiphil of צָדַק, tsadaq) is debated. Elsewhere the Hiphil is used at least six times in the sense of “make righteous” in a legal sense, i.e., “pronounce innocent, acquit” (see Exod 23:7; Deut 25:1; 1 Kgs 8:32 = 2 Chr 6:23; Prov 17:15; Isa 5:23). It can also mean “render justice” (as a royal function, see 2 Sam 15:4; Ps 82:3), “concede” (Job 27:5), “vindicate” (Isa 50:8), and “lead to righteousness” (by teaching and example, Dan 12:3). The preceding context and the next line suggest a legal sense here. Because of his willingness to carry the people’s sins, the servant is able to “acquit” them.

sn Some (e.g., H. M. Orlinsky, “The So-called ‘Suffering Servant’ in Isaiah 53,22,” VTSup 14 [1967]: 3-133) object to this legal interpretation of the language, arguing that it would be unjust for the righteous to suffer for the wicked and for the wicked to be declared innocent. However, such a surprising development is consistent with the ironic nature of this song. It does seem unfair for the innocent to die for the guilty. But what is God to do when all have sinned and wandered off like stray sheep (cf. v. 6)? Covenant law demands punishment, but punishment in this case would mean annihilation of what God has created. God’s justice, as demanded by the law, must be satisfied. To satisfy his justice, he does something seemingly unjust. He punishes his sinless servant, the only one who has not strayed off! In the progress of biblical revelation, we discover that the sinless servant is really God in the flesh, who offers himself because he is committed to the world he has created. If his justice can only be satisfied if he himself endures the punishment, then so be it. What appears to be an act of injustice is really love satisfying the demands of justice!

195 tn The circumstantial clause (note the vav [ו] + object + subject + verb pattern) is understood as causal here. The prefixed verb form is either a preterite or an imperfect used in a customary manner.

196 tn Scholars have debated the precise meaning of the term רַבִּים (rabbim) that occurs five times in this passage (Isa 52:14, 15; 53:11, 12 [2x]). Its two broad categories of translation are “much”/“many” and “great” (HALOT 1171-72 s.v. I רַב). Unlike other Hebrew terms for might or strength, this term is linked with numbers or abundance. In all sixteen uses outside of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (articular and plural) it signifies an inclusive meaning: “the majority” or “the multitude” (J. Jeremias, TDNT 6:536-37). This term occurs in parallelism with עֲצוּמִים (’atsumim), which normally signifies “numerous” or “large” or “powerful” (through large numbers). Like רַבִּים (rabbim), it refers to greatness in numbers (cf. Deut 4:38; 7:1; 9:1; 11:34). It emphasizes the multitudes with whom the Servant will share the spoil of his victory. As J. Olley wrote: “Yahweh has won the victory and vindicates his Servant, giving to him many subservient people, together with their spoils. These numerous peoples in turn receive blessing, sharing in the “peace” resulting from Yahweh’s victory and the Servant’s suffering” (John W. Olley, “‘The Many’: How Is Isa 53,12a to Be Understood,” Bib 68 [1987]: 330-56).

197 sn The servant is compared here to a warrior who will be richly rewarded for his effort and success in battle.

198 tn Heb “because he laid bare his life”; traditionally, ASV “because he (+ hath KJV) poured out his soul (life NIV) unto death.”

199 tn The Hiphil of פָּגַע (paga’) can mean “cause to attack” (v. 6), “urge, plead verbally” (Jer 15:11; 36:25), or “intervene militarily” (Isa 59:16). Perhaps the third nuance fits best here, for military imagery is employed in the first two lines of the verse.

200 tn Heb “the curtains of our dwelling places let them stretch out.”

201 tn Heb “your stakes strengthen.”

202 tn Or “take possession of”; NAB “shall dispossess.”

203 tn Or “embarrassed”; NASB “humiliated…disgraced.”

204 tn Another option is to translate, “the disgrace of our widowhood” (so NRSV). However, the following context (vv. 6-7) refers to Zion’s husband, the Lord, abandoning her, not dying. This suggests that an אַלְמָנָה (’almanah) was a woman who had lost her husband, whether by death or abandonment.

205 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

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

207 tn Heb “like a woman abandoned and grieved in spirit.”

208 tn Or “forsook” (NASB).

209 tn According to BDB 1009 s.v. שֶׁטֶף the noun שֶׁצֶף here is an alternate form of שֶׁטֶף (shetef, “flood”). Some relate the word to an alleged Akkadian cognate meaning “strength.”

210 tn Heb “I hid my face from you.”

211 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

212 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “For [or “indeed”] the waters of Noah [is] this to me.” כִּי־מֵי (ki-me, “for the waters of”) should be emended to כְּמֵי (kÿmey, “like the days of”), which is supported by the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and all the ancient versions except LXX.

213 tn Heb “the waters of Noah” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV).

214 tn Heb “peace” (so many English versions); NLT “of blessing.”

215 tn Or, more literally, “windblown, storm tossed.”

216 tn Perhaps, “rubies” (so ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

217 tn On the meaning of אֶקְדָּח (’eqdakh), which occurs only here, see HALOT 82 s.v.

218 tn Heb “border” (so ASV); NASB “your entire wall.”

219 tn Heb “delightful”; KJV “pleasant.”

220 tn Heb “and great [will be] the peace of your sons.”

221 tn Heb “in righteousness [or “vindication”] you will be established.” The precise meaning of צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah) here is uncertain. It could mean “righteousness, justice,” indicating that the city will be a center for justice. But the context focuses on deliverance, suggesting that the term means “deliverance, vindication” here.

222 tn Heb “Be far from oppression!” The imperative is used here in a rhetorical manner to express certainty and assurance. See GKC 324 §110.c.

223 tn Heb “from terror.” The rhetorical command, “be far” is understood by ellipsis here. Note the preceding context.

224 tn Heb “it,” i.e., the “terror” just mentioned.

225 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb here for emphasis.

226 tn Heb “will fall over you.” The expression נָפַל עַל (nafalal) can mean “attack,” but here it means “fall over to,” i.e., “surrender to.”

227 tn Heb “who brings out an implement for his work.”

228 tn Heb “and every tongue that rises up for judgment with you will prove to be guilty.”

229 tn Heb “this is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication from me.”

230 tn The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) was used in funeral laments and is often prefixed to judgment oracles for rhetorical effect. But here it appears to be a simple interjection, designed to grab the audience’s attention. Perhaps there is a note of sorrow or pity. See BDB 223 s.v.

231 sn The statement is an oxymoron. Its ironic quality adds to its rhetorical impact. The statement reminds one of the norm (one must normally buy commodities) as it expresses the astounding offer. One might paraphrase the statement: “Come and take freely what you normally have to pay for.”

232 tn Heb “for what is not food.”

233 tn The interrogative particle and the verb “spend” are understood here by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

234 tn Heb “your labor,” which stands by metonymy for that which one earns.

235 tn The infinitive absolute follows the imperative and lends emphasis to the exhortation.

236 tn Heb “good” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

237 tn Heb “Let your appetite delight in fine food.”

sn Nourishing, fine food here represents the blessings God freely offers. These include forgiveness, a new covenantal relationship with God, and national prominence (see vv. 3-6).

238 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).

239 tn Or “an eternal covenant with.”

240 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.”

241 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.

242 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).

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

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

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

246 tn Heb “Let the wicked one abandon his way.” The singular is collective.

247 tn Heb “and the man of evil his thoughts.” The singular is collective.

248 tn Heb “let him return.” The singular is collective, meaning “let them.”

249 tn The imperfect with vav (ו) conjunctive after the jussive indicates purpose/result.

250 sn The appeal and promise of vv. 6-7 echoes the language of Deut 4:25-31; 30:1-10; and 1 Kgs 8:46-53, all of which anticipate the exile and speak of the prerequisites for restoration.

251 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV).

252 tn Or “thoughts” (so many English versions).

253 tn Heb “are not.” “Like” is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.

254 tn Heb “ways” (so many English versions).

255 tn Heb “are not.” “Like” is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.

256 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

257 tn Heb “ways” (so many English versions).

258 tn Heb “are higher than.”

259 tn Or “thoughts” (so many English versions).

260 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.

261 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).

262 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.

263 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).

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

265 tn Heb “guard”; KJV “Keep”; NAB “Observe”; NASB “Preserve”; NIV, NRSV “Maintain.”

266 tn Heb “for near is my deliverance to enter, and my vindication [or “righteousness”] to be revealed.”

267 tn Heb “blessed is the man who does this.”

268 tn Heb “the son of mankind who takes hold of it.”

269 tn Heb and who keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

270 tn Heb “who attaches himself to.”

271 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

272 tn Heb “and take hold of” (so KJV); NASB “hold fast.”

273 tn Heb “a hand and a name.” For other examples where יָד (yad) refers to a monument, see HALOT 388 s.v.

274 tn Heb “name” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV).

275 tn Heb “who attach themselves to.”

276 tn Heb “and take hold of”; NAB “hold to”; NIV, NRSV “hold fast.”

277 tn Heb “in the house of my prayer.”

278 tn Heb “for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.”

279 tn The meaning of the statement is unclear. The text reads literally, “Still I will gather upon him to his gathered ones.” Perhaps the preposition -לְ (lamed) before “gathered ones” introduces the object of the verb, as in Jer 49:5. The third masculine singular suffix on both עָלָיו (’alayv) and נִקְבָּצָיו (niqbatsayv) probably refers to “Israel.” In this case one can translate literally, “Still I will gather to him his gathered ones.”

280 sn The “watchmen” are probably spiritual leaders, most likely prophets and priests, responsible for giving the people moral direction.

281 tn Heb “they do not know”; KJV “they are all ignorant”; NIV “they all lack knowledge.”

282 tn The Hebrew text has הֹזִים (hozim), which appears to be derived from an otherwise unattested verbal root הָזָה (hazah). On the basis of alleged cognates, BDB 223 s.v. הָזָה offers the definition “dream, rave” while HALOT 243 s.v. הזה lists “pant.” In this case the dog metaphor of the preceding lines continues. The reference to dogs at the beginning of v. 11 favors the extension of the metaphor. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has חזים (“seers”) here. In this case the “watchmen” are directly identified as prophets and depicted as lazy.

283 sn The phrase never full alludes to the greed of the leaders.

284 tn Heb “for his gain from his end.”

285 tn The words “each one says” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

286 tn Heb “great, [in] abundance, very much,” i.e., “very great indeed.” See HALOT 452 s.v. יֶתֶר.



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