63:7 I will tell of the faithful acts of the Lord,
of the Lord’s praiseworthy deeds.
I will tell about all 1 the Lord did for us,
the many good things he did for the family of Israel, 2
because of 3 his compassion and great faithfulness.
63:8 He said, “Certainly they will be my people,
children who are not disloyal.” 4
He became their deliverer.
The messenger sent from his very presence 6 delivered them.
In his love and mercy he protected 7 them;
he lifted them up and carried them throughout ancient times. 8
so he turned into an enemy
and fought against them.
Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea,
along with the shepherd of 12 his flock?
Where is the one who placed his holy Spirit among them, 13
who divided the water before them,
gaining for himself a lasting reputation, 15
63:13 who led them through the deep water?
Like a horse running on flat land 16 they did not stumble.
so the Spirit of the Lord granted them rest.
In this way 18 you guided your people,
gaining for yourself an honored reputation. 19
63:15 Look down from heaven and take notice,
from your holy, majestic palace!
Where are your zeal 20 and power?
Do not hold back your tender compassion! 21
63:16 For you are our father,
though Abraham does not know us
and Israel does not recognize us.
You, Lord, are our father;
you have been called our protector from ancient times. 22
and make our minds stubborn so that we do not obey you? 25
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your inheritance!
but then our adversaries knocked down 28 your holy sanctuary.
but you did not rule over them,
they were not your subjects. 30
The mountains would tremble 33 before you!
64:2 (64:1) As when fire ignites dry wood,
or fire makes water boil,
let your adversaries know who you are, 34
and may the nations shake at your presence!
you came down, and the mountains trembled 36 before you.
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who intervenes for those who wait for him.
who observe your commandments. 40
Look, you were angry because we violated them continually.
How then can we be saved? 41
64:6 We are all like one who is unclean,
all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. 42
We all wither like a leaf;
our sins carry us away like the wind.
or makes an effort 44 to take hold of you.
For you have rejected us 45
and handed us over to our own sins. 46
We are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the product of your labor. 48
64:9 Lord, do not be too angry!
Do not hold our sins against us continually! 49
Take a good look at your people, at all of us! 50
Zion has become a desert,
Jerusalem 52 is a desolate ruin.
the place where our ancestors praised you,
has been burned with fire;
all our prized possessions have been destroyed. 54
How can you be silent and continue to humiliate us?
1 tn Heb “according to all which.”
2 tn Heb “greatness of goodness to the house of Israel which he did for them.”
3 tn Heb “according to.”
4 tn Heb “children [who] do not act deceitfully.” Here the verb refers to covenantal loyalty.
5 tn Heb “in all their distress, there was distress to him” (reading לוֹ [lo] with the margin/Qere).
6 tn Heb “the messenger [or “angel”] of his face”; NIV “the angel of his presence.”
sn This may refer to the “angel of God” mentioned in Exod 14:19, who in turn may be identical to the divine “presence” (literally, “face”) referred to in Exod 33:14-15 and Deut 4:37. Here in Isa 63 this messenger may be equated with God’s “holy Spirit” (see vv. 10-11) and “the Spirit of the Lord” (v. 14). See also Ps 139:7, where God’s “Spirit” seems to be equated with his “presence” (literally, “face”) in the synonymous parallelistic structure.
7 tn Or “redeemed” (KJV, NAB, NIV), or “delivered.”
8 tn Heb “all the days of antiquity”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “days of old.”
9 tn Or “grieved, hurt the feelings of.”
11 tn Heb “and he remembered the days of antiquity, Moses, his people.” The syntax of the statement is unclear. The translation assumes that “his people” is the subject of the verb “remembered.” If original, “Moses” is in apposition to “the days of antiquity,” more precisely identifying the time period referred to. However, the syntactical awkwardness suggests that “Moses” may have been an early marginal note (perhaps identifying “the shepherd of his flock” two lines later) that has worked its way into the text.
12 tn The Hebrew text has a plural form, which if retained and taken as a numerical plural, would probably refer to Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite tribal leaders at the time of the Exodus. Most prefer to emend the form to the singular (רָעָה, ra’ah) and understand this as a reference just to Moses.
14 tn Heb “who caused to go at the right hand of Moses the arm of his splendor.”
15 tn Heb “making for himself a lasting name.”
16 tn Heb “in the desert [or “steppe”].”
17 tn The words “to graze” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
18 tn Or “so” (KJV, ASV), or “thus” (NAB, NRSV).
19 tn Heb “making for yourself a majestic name.”
20 tn This probably refers to his zeal for his people, which motivates him to angrily strike out against their enemies.
21 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “the agitation of your intestines and your compassion to me they are held back.” The phrase “agitation of your intestines” is metonymic, referring to the way in which one’s nervous system reacts when one feels pity and compassion toward another. אֵלַי (’elay, “to me”) is awkward in this context, where the speaker represents the nation and, following the introduction (see v. 7), utilizes first person plural forms. The translation assumes an emendation to the negative particle אַל (’al). This also necessitates emending the following verb form (which is a plural perfect) to a singular jussive (תִתְאַפָּק, tit’appaq). The Hitpael of אָפַק (’afaq) also occurs in 42:14.
22 tn Heb “our protector [or “redeemer”] from antiquity [is] your name.”
23 tn Some suggest a tolerative use of the Hiphil here, “[why do] you allow us to stray?” (cf. NLT). Though the Hiphil of תָעָה (ta’ah) appears to be tolerative in Jer 50:6, elsewhere it is preferable or necessary to take it as causative. See Isa 3:12; 9:15; and 30:28, as well as Gen 20:13; 2 Kgs 21:9; Job 12:24-25; Prov 12:26; Jer 23:13, 32; Hos 4:12; Amos 2:4; Mic 3:5.
24 tn This probably refers to God’s commands.
25 tn Heb “[Why do] you harden our heart[s] so as not to fear you.” The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).
sn How direct this hardening is, one cannot be sure. The speaker may envision direct involvement on the Lord’s part. The Lord has brought the exile as judgment for the nation’s sin and now he continues to keep them at arm’s length by blinding them spiritually. The second half of 64:7 might support this, though the precise reading of the final verb is uncertain. On the other hand, the idiom of lament is sometimes ironic and hyperbolically deterministic. For example, Naomi lamented that Shaddai was directly opposing her and bringing her calamity (Ruth 1:20-21), while the author of Ps 88 directly attributes his horrible suffering and loneliness to God (see especially vv. 6-8, 16-18). Both individuals make little, if any, room for intermediate causes or the principle of sin and death which ravages the human race. In the same way, the speaker in Isa 63:17 (who evidences great spiritual sensitivity and is anything but “hardened”) may be referring to the hardships of exile, which discouraged and even embittered the people, causing many of them to retreat from their Yahwistic faith. In this case, the “hardening” in view is more indirect and can be lifted by the Lord’s intervention. Whether the hardening here is indirect or direct, it is important to recognize that the speaker sees it as one of the effects of rebellion against the Lord (note especially 64:5-6).
26 tn Or “holy” (ASV, NASB, NRSV, TEV, NLT).
27 tn Heb “for a short time they had a possession, the people of your holiness.”
28 tn Heb “your adversaries trampled on.”
30 tn Heb “you did not rule them, your name was not called over them.” The expression “the name is called over” indicates ownership; see the note at 4:1. As these two lines stand they are very difficult to interpret. They appear to be stating that the adversaries just mentioned in v. 18 have not been subject to the Lord’s rule in the past, perhaps explaining why they could commit the atrocity described in v. 18b.
31 sn In BHS the chapter division occurs in a different place from the English Bible: 64:1 ET (63:19b HT) and 64:2-12 (64:1-11 HT). Beginning with 65:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
32 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
33 tn Or “quake.” נָזֹלּוּ (nazollu) is from the verbal root זָלַל (zalal, “quake”; see HALOT 272 s.v. II זלל). Perhaps there is a verbal allusion to Judg 5:5, the only other passage where this verb occurs. In that passage the poet tells how the Lord’s appearance to do battle caused the mountains to shake.
34 tn Heb “to make known your name to your adversaries.” Perhaps the infinitive construct with preposition -לְ (lamed) should be construed with “come down” in v. 1a, or subordinated to the following line: “To make known your name to your adversaries, let the nations shake from before you.”
35 tn Heb “[for which] we were not waiting.”
37 tn Heb “from ancient times they have not heard, they have not listened.”
38 tn Heb “meet [with kindness].”
39 tn Heb “the one who rejoices and does righteousness.”
40 tn Heb “in your ways they remember you.”
41 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “look, you were angry and we sinned against them continually [or perhaps, “in ancient times”] and we were delivered.” The statement makes little sense as it stands. The first vav [ו] consecutive (“and we sinned”) must introduce an explanatory clause here (see Num 1:48 and Isa 39:1 for other examples of this relatively rare use of the vav [ו] consecutive). The final verb (if rendered positively) makes no sense in this context – God’s anger at their sin resulted in judgment, not deliverance. One of the alternatives involves an emendation to וַנִּרְשָׁע (vannirsha’, “and we were evil”; LXX, NRSV, TEV). The Vulgate and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa support the MT reading. One can either accept an emendation or cast the statement as a question (as above).
42 tn Heb “and like a garment of menstruation [are] all our righteous acts”; KJV, NIV “filthy rags”; ASV “a polluted garment.”
43 tn Or “calls out in”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “calls on.”
44 tn Or “rouses himself”; NASB “arouses himself.”
45 tn Heb “for you have hidden your face from us.”
46 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and you caused us to melt in the hand of our sin.” The verb וַתְּמוּגֵנוּ (vattÿmugenu) is a Qal preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the root מוּג (mug, “melt”). However, elsewhere the Qal of this verb is intransitive. If the verbal root מוּג (mug) is retained here, the form should be emended to a Polel pattern (וַתְּמֹגְגֵנוּ, vattÿmogÿgenu). The translation assumes an emendation to וַתְּמַגְּנֵנוּ (vattÿmaggÿnenu, “and you handed us over”). This form is a Piel preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the verbal root מִגֵּן (miggen, “hand over, surrender”; see HALOT 545 s.v. מגן and BDB 171 s.v. מָגָן). The point is that God has abandoned them to their sinful ways and no longer seeks reconciliation.
47 tn On the force of וְעַתָּה (vÿ’attah) here, see HALOT 902 s.v. עַתָּה.
48 tn Heb “the work of your hand.”
49 tn Heb “do not remember sin continually.”
50 tn Heb “Look, gaze at your people, all of us.” Another option is to translate, “Take a good look! We are all your people.”
51 tn Heb “holy” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT); NIV “sacred.”
53 tn Heb “our source of pride.”
54 tn Or “all that we valued has become a ruin.”
55 tn Heb “because of these”; KJV, ASV “for these things.”