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Isaiah 63:3-6

Context

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

no one from the nations joined me.

I stomped on them 1  in my anger;

I trampled them down in my rage.

Their juice splashed on my garments,

and stained 2  all my clothes.

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

and then payback time arrived. 3 

63:5 I looked, but there was no one to help;

I was shocked because there was no one offering support. 4 

So my right arm accomplished deliverance;

my raging anger drove me on. 5 

63:6 I trampled nations in my anger,

I made them drunk 6  in my rage,

I splashed their blood on the ground.” 7 

1 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.

2 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).

3 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.

4 sn See Isa 59:16 for similar language.

5 tn Heb “and my anger, it supported me”; NIV “my own wrath sustained me.”

6 sn See Isa 49:26 and 51:23 for similar imagery.

7 tn Heb “and I brought down to the ground their juice.” “Juice” refers to their blood (see v. 3).



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