the people 3 of Judah are the cultivated place in which he took delight.
He waited for justice, but look what he got – disobedience! 4
He waited for fairness, but look what he got – cries for help! 5
those who also accumulate landed property 7
until there is no land left, 8
and you are the only landowners remaining within the land. 9
“Many houses will certainly become desolate,
large, impressive houses will have no one living in them. 11
61:1 The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me,
to help 20 the brokenhearted,
to decree the release of captives,
and the freeing of prisoners,
61:2 to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor,
the day when our God will seek vengeance, 21
to console all who mourn,
1 tn Or “For” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).
2 tn Heb “the house of Israel” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
3 tn Heb “men,” but in a generic sense.
4 tn Heb “but, look, disobedience.” The precise meaning of מִשְׂפָּח (mishpakh), which occurs only here in the OT, is uncertain. Some have suggested a meaning “bloodshed.” The term is obviously chosen for its wordplay value; it sounds very much like מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat, “justice”). The sound play draws attention to the point being made; the people have not met the Lord’s expectations.
5 tn Heb “but, look, a cry for help.” The verb (“he waited”) does double duty in the parallelism. צְעָקָה (tsa’qah) refers to the cries for help made by the oppressed. It sounds very much like צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah, “fairness”). The sound play draws attention to the point being made; the people have not met the Lord’s expectations.
7 tn Heb “[who] bring a field near a field.”
sn This verse does not condemn real estate endeavors per se, but refers to the way in which the rich bureaucrats of Judah accumulated property by exploiting the poor, in violation of the covenantal principle that the land belonged to God and that every family was to have its own portion of land. See the note at 1:23.
8 tn Heb “until the end of the place”; NASB “until there is no more room.”
9 tn Heb “and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.”
10 tn Heb “in my ears, the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].”
11 tn Heb “great and good [houses], without a resident.”
12 tn Heb “a ten-yoke vineyard.” The Hebrew term צֶמֶד (tsemed, “yoke”) is here a unit of square measure. Apparently a ten-yoke vineyard covered the same amount of land it would take ten teams of oxen to plow in a certain period of time. The exact size is unknown.
13 tn Heb “one bath.” A bath was a liquid measure. Estimates of its modern equivalent range from approximately six to twelve gallons.
14 tn Heb “a homer.” A homer was a dry measure, the exact size of which is debated. Cf. NCV “ten bushels”; CEV “five bushels.”
15 tn Heb “an ephah.” An ephah was a dry measure; there were ten ephahs in a homer. So this verse envisions major crop failure, where only one-tenth of the anticipated harvest is realized.
16 tn Heb “anointed,” i.e., designated to carry out an assigned task.
17 sn The speaker is not identified, but he is distinct from the Lord and from Zion’s suffering people. He possesses the divine spirit, is God’s spokesman, and is sent to release prisoners from bondage. The evidence suggests he is the Lord’s special servant, described earlier in the servant songs (see 42:1-4, 7; 49:2, 9; 50:4; see also 51:16).
18 tn Or “sent” (NAB); NCV “has appointed me.”
19 tn Or “proclaim good news to.”
20 tn Heb “to bind up [the wounds of].”
21 tn Heb “to announce the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance.