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Isaiah 29:17-24

Changes are Coming

29:17 In just a very short time 1 

Lebanon will turn into an orchard,

and the orchard will be considered a forest. 2 

29:18 At that time 3  the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll,

and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness. 4 

29:19 The downtrodden will again rejoice in the Lord;

the poor among humankind will take delight 5  in the Holy One of Israel. 6 

29:20 For tyrants will disappear,

those who taunt will vanish,

and all those who love to do wrong will be eliminated 7 

29:21 those who bear false testimony against a person, 8 

who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate 9 

and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges. 10 

29:22 So this is what the Lord, the one who delivered Abraham, says to the family of Jacob: 11 

“Jacob will no longer be ashamed;

their faces will no longer show their embarrassment. 12 

29:23 For when they see their children,

whom I will produce among them, 13 

they will honor 14  my name.

They will honor the Holy One of Jacob; 15 

they will respect 16  the God of Israel.

29:24 Those who stray morally will gain understanding; 17 

those who complain will acquire insight. 18 

1 tn The Hebrew text phrases this as a rhetorical question, “Is it not yet a little, a short [time]?”

2 sn The meaning of this verse is debated, but it seems to depict a reversal in fortunes. The mighty forest of Lebanon (symbolic of the proud and powerful, see 2:13; 10:34) will be changed into a common orchard, while the common orchard (symbolic of the oppressed and lowly) will grow into a great forest. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:538.

3 tn Or “In that day” (KJV).

4 tn Heb “and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.”

sn Perhaps this depicts the spiritual transformation of the once spiritually insensitive nation (see vv. 10-12, cf. also 6:9-10).

5 tn Or “will rejoice” (NIV, NCV, NLT).

6 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

7 tn Heb “and all the watchers of wrong will be cut off.”

8 tn Heb “the ones who make a man a sinner with a word.” The Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) here has a delocutive sense: “declare a man sinful/guilty.”

9 sn Legal disputes were resolved at the city gate, where the town elders met. See Amos 5:10.

10 tn Heb “and deprive by emptiness the innocent.”

11 tn Heb “So this is what the Lord says to the house of Jacob, the one who ransomed Abraham.” The relative pronoun must refer back to “the Lord,” not to the immediately preceding “Jacob.” It is uncertain to what event in Abraham’s experience this refers. Perhaps the name “Abraham” stands here by metonymy for his descendants through Jacob. If so, the Exodus is in view.

12 tn Heb “and his face will no longer be pale.”

13 tn Heb “for when he sees his children, the work of my hands in his midst.”

14 tn Or “treat as holy” (also in the following line); NASB, NRSV “will sanctify.”

15 sn Holy One of Jacob is similar to the phrase “Holy One of Israel” common throughout Isaiah; see the sn at Isa 1:4.

16 tn Or “fear,” in the sense of “stand in awe of.”

17 tn Heb “and the ones who stray in spirit will know understanding.”

18 tn Heb “will learn instruction”; cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “will accept instruction.”

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