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Isaiah 63:1-4

Context
The Victorious Divine Warrior

63:1 Who is this who comes from Edom, 1 

dressed in bright red, coming from Bozrah? 2 

Who 3  is this one wearing royal attire, 4 

who marches confidently 5  because of his great strength?

“It is I, the one who announces vindication,

and who is able to deliver!” 6 

63:2 Why are your clothes red?

Why do you look like someone who has stomped on grapes in a vat? 7 

63:3 “I have stomped grapes in the winepress all by myself;

no one from the nations joined me.

I stomped on them 8  in my anger;

I trampled them down in my rage.

Their juice splashed on my garments,

and stained 9  all my clothes.

63:4 For I looked forward to the day of vengeance,

and then payback time arrived. 10 

1 sn Edom is here an archetype for the Lord’s enemies. See 34:5.

2 tn Heb “[in] bright red garments, from Bozrah.”

3 tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis; note the first line of the verse.

4 tn Heb “honored in his clothing”; KJV, ASV “glorious in his apparel.”

5 tc The Hebrew text has צָעָה (tsaah), which means “stoop, bend” (51:14). The translation assumes an emendation to צָעַד (tsaad, “march”; see BDB 858 s.v. צָעָה).

6 tn Heb “I, [the one] speaking in vindication [or “righteousness”], great to deliver.”

7 tn Heb “and your garments like one who treads in a vat?”

8 sn Nations, headed by Edom, are the object of the Lord’s anger (see v. 6). He compares military slaughter to stomping on grapes in a vat.

9 tn Heb “and I stained.” For discussion of the difficult verb form, see HALOT 170 s.v. II גאל. Perhaps the form is mixed, combining the first person forms of the imperfect (note the alef prefix) and perfect (note the תי- ending).

10 tn Heb “for the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my revenge came.” The term גְּאוּלַי (gÿulai) is sometimes translated here “my redemption,” for the verbal root גאל often means “deliver, buy back.” A גֹּאֵל (goel, “kinsman-redeemer”) was responsible for protecting the extended family’s interests, often by redeeming property that had been sold outside the family. However, the responsibilities of a גֹּאֵל extended beyond financial concerns. He was also responsible for avenging the shed blood of a family member (see Num 35:19-27; Deut 19:6-12). In Isa 63:4, where vengeance is a prominent theme (note the previous line), it is probably this function of the family protector that is in view. The Lord pictures himself as a blood avenger who waits for the day of vengeance to arrive and then springs into action.



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