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Isaiah 55:11-12

Context

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

does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. 1 

No, it is realized as I desire

and is fulfilled as I intend.” 2 

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.

Zechariah 4:6-7

Context
4:6 Therefore he told me, “These signify the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ 3  says the Lord who rules over all.”

Oracle of Response

4:7 “What are you, you great mountain? 4  Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple 5  capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ 6  because of this.”

1 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).

2 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.

3 sn It is premature to understand the Spirit here as the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity), though the OT prepares the way for that NT revelation (cf. Gen 1:2; Exod 23:3; 31:3; Num 11:17-29; Judg 3:10; 6:34; 2 Kgs 2:9, 15, 16; Ezek 2:2; 3:12; 11:1, 5).

4 sn In context, the great mountain here must be viewed as a metaphor for the enormous task of rebuilding the temple and establishing the messianic kingdom (cf. TEV “Obstacles as great as mountains”).

5 tn The word “temple” has been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent (cf. NLT “final stone of the Temple”).

6 sn Grace is a fitting response to the idea that it was “not by strength and not by power” but by God’s gracious Spirit that the work could be done (cf. v. 6).



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