Messiah in HaShem, is the Author and the Goal of Torah
(cf. Sefer Yochanan 1 & Rav Shaul's Letter to the Romans 10:4)
The oppression of others is born of the oppression of self. Apostasy and rebellion against God results when we forget our value in His eyes.
After addressing the hypocrisy of Israel’s fasting, Isaiah 58 ends with the hope and heritage of Jacob (Israel) illuminated through repentance and redemption. Now the prophet Isaiah begins an additional rebuke concerning the root of Israel’s sin and the resulting separation which Israel has manufactured between herself and HaShem. Thus, the prophetic rhythm of promised Salvation followed by sober rebuke continues the cyclical message of God’s mercy toward Israel preceding His judgement of her. The ultimate result being everlasting life.
59:1 Hein Behold, now, pay attention, lo-katzerah not shortened (small) yad-YHVH is the hand (strength) of HaShem (Mercy) meihoshia from saving ve'lo kavedah and not dull azeno is His ear mishemoa from hearing.
The sense here is that Israel might be wondering why she is not delivered already, given her attention to fasting (albeit hypocritical), and her vain assent to the Torah Instruction of HaShem. Thus, the reminder that God is more than able, and even willing to save, more than able and even willing to hear (Isa.58:3). Therefore, there is another reason for Israel’s predicament.
The Targum puts it beautifully:
“Behold, it is not on account of any deficiency in the power of the Lord that ye are not saved; nor because it is too difficult for Him to hear, that your prayer is not received:” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“And we find (viz.Sanhedrin 98a) that in the days of R. Yehoshua ben Levi he was told (viz. Tehillim 95:6) that the Messiah would come ‘today, if you hearkened to His voice’ — even though the time of the exile decreed for Israel (one thousand years, corresponding to the one thousand year "day" of the Holy One Blessed be He, had not yet passed [viz. Chida, Petach Eiynayim, Sanhedrin, Ibid.])” -Chofetz Chaim Preface 4
59:2 kiy For im-avonoteiychem with your perversity, depravity, hayu has come mavdiliym dividings, separations beineichem among you levein between you and Eloheiychem your God vechatoteiychem and your sins histiyru have hidden His paniym face (faces) from you mikem so as mishemoa not to hear.
“But your iniquities separate between you and your God, and your sins have caused Him to take away the favour of His Shekinah from you, not to receive your prayer.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
We note that the perversity of Israel has produced the fruit of separations and divisions between them and God. Thus, the manifestation of division in their social order is evidence of the separation they have made between them and God in the spiritual order. We note further that the sins of Israel have caused God to appear hidden from them, likewise the appearance that He has not heard them. Therefore, although God is all powerful they have refused to receive His power, and although He is all knowing (hearing), it is they who have blocked their ears to His voice.
“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.” -Ezekiel 18:30 (NIV)
“In those days people will no longer say,
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
Instead, everyone will die for their own sin;
whoever eats sour grapes--
their own teeth will be set on edge.” -Jeremiah 31:29-30 (NIV)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Messiah Yeshua.” -Romans 3:23-24
59:3 Kiy For chapeiychem your palms (hands) negoalu are defiled, polluted, desecrated vadam in blood ve'etzbeoteiychem and your fingers beavon in perversity, depravity siftoteiychem your lips, language, diberu-sheker have spoken lies leshonchem your tongue avlah tehgeh plots injustice.
Figuratively speaking the hands denote actions, the fingers accusation, the lips and language sedition.
We note that the palms of the hands are defiled with blood. This denotes contemplation of the aftermath of sinful action. Sins of blood are for the most part capital offenses (according to the Torah): murder, abortion etc. They must be atoned for in blood.
It is interesting to note that the Talmud explains each element in correlation with the several roles of a court of justice; the ‘hands’ are the judges; the ‘fingers’ of, the Scribes; the ‘lips’ are advocates and solicitors; and the ‘tongue’ is the adversaries, or the contending parties. (T. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 139. 1.)
Given the obvious correlation between the present passage and the adjudicators of Israel, it is safe to say that Israel’s rulers, judges and Torah scribes are in part, leading Israel in the sins for which she is to be held accountable.
59:4 Eiyn-korei None call out ve'tzedek in righteousness ve'eiyn and none nishpat judges be'emunah in faithfulness; batoach they trust al-tohu upon formless vanity ve'daver-shav and speak empty falsehood haro conceiving amal trouble veholeiyd bringing forth aven wickedness.
“There is none that truly prays, nor any that pleads for faithfulness: they trust in vanity and speak lies; they hasten, and bring forth words of violence out of their heart.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
The judicial issues alluded to implicitly in the former verse are now illuminated in the present verse. In a God honouring society righteousness, just judgement, faithfulness, order and truth are essential. In Israel at this time the opposite forces of unrighteousness, unjust judgement, infidelity, disorder, and lies were made manifest as a result of Israel’s rejection of relationship with her God YHVH.
There is a progression of the breaking down of moral society in this verse. A lack of righteousness is at the root of Israel’s problem. Not human righteousness but rather the righteousness that comes from God and is imparted to human beings through blood atonement and redemption. Israel has turned her heart away from HaShem, and as a result the heart of HaShem is unknown to her, in spite of her pious performance. Therefore, no one calls from a righteous inner being and as a result no one judges faithfully. It is of course impossible for someone who has chosen to trust in themselves to act out of the faithfulness of God, rather it is from their fallen nature of unfaithfulness that they judge.
Rather than trusting in HaShem Israel had chosen to trust in “tohu” empty, formless things. This is a figurative reference to idolatry and a reference to the formless void that preceded the creation of the earth (Genesis 1). It is important to note that the uncreated light precedes the created darkness and emptiness of the Genesis account. Further, truth and light are emanations (attributes) of the Creator, and therefore, are not subject to the created order. Whereas, emptiness, vanity and darkness are subject to the created order.
As a result of trusting in false gods Israel bears the fruit of lying lips and her thoughts conceive mischief which results in wickedness.
Therefore, the root causes of unrighteousness and rebellion (idolatry) are wreaking havoc on Israel (Judah) during the reign of Manasseh (lifetime of Isaiah). These are the things Israel had chosen for herself.
59:5 Beiytzeiy Eggs tzifoniy of a poisonous serpent bikeiu they hatch vekureiy and a web akaviysh of a spider ye'erogu they weave: haocheil the eating mibeiytzeiyhem of their eggs yamut has killed vehazureh and the crushed eggs tibaka break open revealing efeh snakes.
The serpent is associated to sin and the demonic forces that seek to ensnare humanity. It is also literally connected to plague (Numbers 21) and the death of the serpent is figurative of an end to sin and death (Numbers 21:8-9; Genesis 3:14-15; Revelation 12:9; 20:2, 10). Israel is said to be enabling the hatchlings of serpents. It is in the perfect tense meaning that it has and continues to be happening in her midst. Therefore, the poison of evil has been invited and has become invasive.
The web of a spider is a snare for its prey. It is also easily torn apart by larger animals and human beings. Therefore, what idolatrous Israel intends as a snare for others will be easily torn apart by the hand of God.
The figurative consumption of the eggs, poisons the inner person and any attempt to crush them results in the birth of more poisonous snakes that in turn lay eggs and perpetuate the cycle of evil in the midst of the people.
59:6 Kureiyhem Their webs lo-yihyu don’t become leveged garments (deceit) velo yitkasu and don't cover be'ma'aseiyhem over their works ma'aseiyhem after works: ma'aseiy-aven works of wickedness ufoal and the deed chamas of violence, cruelty bechapeiyhem is on their palms (hands).
“Behold, like a spider's web, with which no one can be covered, thus there is no profit from the works of the wicked; their works are the works of violence, and the work of a lie is in their hands.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
A spiders web is unsuitable for use as a garment. It is full of holes, therefore, not cover the naked body. Nor is it a suitable shelter from poor weather. Therefore, figuratively speaking it is not able to cover the many wicked works of apostate Israel.
Ultimately this refers back to idolatrous Israel’s blood guilt and the consequence of it, which is death.
59:7 Ragleiyhem Their feet la'ra to evil yarutzu have run viymaharu and make haste lishpoch to shed dam nakiy innocent blood machshevoteiyhem their thoughts machshevot are thoughts aven of wickedness, shod havoc vashever and crushing bimsilotam is in their raised roads.
Not only is Israel guilty of the most heinous of physical sins against her fellow man (bloodletting, murder), she is chasing after opportunities to murder the innocent. In addition her thoughts are focused on plotting wicked acts and the result is that any metaphorical roads she might build become the paths that lead to her own destruction.
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” -Romans 3:15-17 (NIV)
59:8 Derech A way shalom of peace, wholeness, wellbeing lo yadau they don't know ve'eiyn mishpat and no judgement, justice; bemagelotam their tracks netivoteihem trodden with their feet ikeshu are crooked lehem they kol dorech all lead to lo yada shalom no knowledge of peace, wholeness, wellbeing.
Rebellious Israel don’t know the way of peace and wholeness because they have rejected Peace Himself (HaShem). Therefore, they lack judgement and justice as a society. As a consequence of Israel’s lack of peace she treads crooked paths (idolatrous ways), all of which promise peace (spiritual enlightenment, prosperity etc.) but offer none. Thus, idolatrous Israel have no knowledge of Peace Himself.
59:9 Al-kein And truly therefore, rachak we have become far mishpat from justice mimenu as a result ve’lo and nor tasigeinu tzedakah does righteousness overtake us; nekaveh hoping expectantly we look la'or to the light (uncreated) ve'hinei-choshech and behold, pay attention, darkness (created) lingohot to brightness ba'afeilot in gloom nehaleich we walk.
We note that the language usage changes adopting the pronoun “we”. Therefore, the speakers in verse 9 through 13 are those who have soberly accessed the state of Israel in light of God’s Torah Instruction (and by the Word of the Prophets), and have found their people wanting. This is the righteous remnant, who, like the prophets, confess on behalf of their entire nation. The tragic conclusion of their observation bringing heart break to their souls.
“And truly therefore” means, because of our perversity and depravity, and our separating ourselves from God (v.2). Due to the blood on our hands, our mistreatment of our neighbours (pointing of the finger), our lying lips and our plotting wickedness (v.3). In light of the fact that we don’t demand righteousness or judge fairly, and trust in vain idolatry, speaking falsehood and acting wickedly as a result (v.4). Because we release the demonic and clothe ourselves with the worthless covering of the weak traps we set for others (v.5). Due to the fact that we multiply the work of our depravity and continue to do violence to others (v.6). In light of the fact that we run toward evil and rush to shed innocent blood, and that our thoughts are constantly set on perversity as we pursue paths that will crush us under the weight of our own sin (v.7). Finally, because we do not know a way of peace, wholeness and wellbeing, nor do we know Peace Himself (HaShem YHVH, Sar Shalom, The Prince of Peace [King Messiah]): there is no justice and we tread out tracks of unrepentant evil action, ruts that all lead to us having no knowledge of the way of peace (v.8). Thus, we have moved ourselves far from justice, nor does righteousness come to us and surpass us (v.9).
“Hoping expectantly we look to the light and behold, pay attention, darkness to brightness, in gloom we walk.” Idolatrous Israel had wandered so far from God through her own false belief, thoughts and actions, that when she looked for the light (of God) she was unable to see Him, and when she so desperately needed for the path to be lit up, instead it was gloomy, oppressing her steps. All this being self-inflicted blindness, wilful sin, self-destruction. Israel is treasured by Hashem, she has unfathomable worth to Him, and yet she had become blind to her worth through the defiling of herself, and had forgotten the Creator Who alone is able to redeem, sanctify and restore her.
59:10 Negashah We grope, feeling with the hand chaivriym like blind ones kir for a wall uche'eiyn and like those having no eiynayim eyes; negasheishah we grope, feeling with the hand kashalnu we stumble vatzohorayim in the midday kaneshef as if it were twilight ba'ashmaniym in desolation kameitiym as in places of death.
The confession of the righteous remnant continues.
“We grope, feeling with the hand like blind ones for a wall” Such is Idolatrous Israel’s spiritual blindness that she is unable to find a wall against which to steady herself. Instead she gropes about in useless grasping attempts for even the slightest possibility of touching something secure.
“like those having no eyes” This is a reference to Israel’s spiritual state of blindness. Though they have eyes (the potential to see), none the less, they do not see.
“we stumble in the midday as if it were twilight” Like the former simile, the meaning is that while it should be easy, even normal for them to see and walk upright, none the less they stumble.
“in desolation as in places of death” Ultimately all sin leads to the desolation and domain of death.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” -Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
59:11 Nehemeh We growl kadubiym like bears kulanu all of us vechayoniym and like doves hagoh mourning nehgeh murmuring nekaveh we wait, looking with expectant hope lamishpat for judgement va'ayin and there is none, liyshua for salvation rachakah is far off mimenu on account of us.
“We all roar like bears by reason of our enemies, who are gathered against us, and mourn like doves: we hoped for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far removed from us.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
Both the growling of bears and the murmuring of doves are responses born of the expectation of something they long for. In the case of Israel they are longing for deliverance from their self-imposed desolation, and quite literally from the approaching Babylonian captivity.
“looking with expectant hope for judgement and there is none, for salvation is far off on account of us.” Idolatrous Israel hopes for a judgement in her favour but none comes. Why? Because God is just and Israel’s just recompense at this point in her history is desolation.
We note that “Salvation is far off on account of us.” Therefore, the righteous remnant recognise that Israel has caused her own demise. However, Salvation may seem far off but He is coming to her, not because Israel deserves salvation but because HaShem, Who gave her worth, is willing to suffer for and redeem her.
59:12 Kiy For rabu great, abundant feshaeiynu are our rebellions negdecha which are conspicuously in front of You vechatoteiynu and our sins anetah testify banu against us kiy-feshaeiynu for our rebellions itanu are with us va'avonoteiynu and our perversity yeda'anum we know.
The confession of the righteous remnant unreservedly acknowledges the guilt of the people. In the midst of Israel’s debauchery, as is still the case today, there is a righteous, God fearing remnant who cry out in confession and repentance on behalf of the people of Israel.
Neither the righteous remnant nor the people in general can deny the conspicuous nature of their individual and national sin. We note again that the root “pesha” meaning rebellion, the root “chat” meaning sin, and the root “avon”, meaning perversity, cover the full gambit of sin born of rebellion, idolatry, witchcraft.
“Our perversity we know” is in stark contrast to “A way shalom of peace, wholeness, wellbeing they don't know”.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
59:13 Pashoa Rebelling vechachesh and lying ba'YHVH against HaShem (Mercy) ve'nasog and sliding backward meiachar from Eloheiynu our God daber-oshek speaking oppression vesarah and defection (apostasy) horo conceiving vehogo and murmuring (meditating) meleiv from the inner person (heart, core being) divreiy-shaker words of falsehood.
“We have rebelled, and acted falsely against the Word of the Lord; we have turned backward from following after the worship of our God; we have spoken falsehood and apostasy, hastening and bringing forth from their hearts lying words.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“Rebelling and lying against HaShem (Mercy) and sliding backward from our God” The tragic irony of rebelling against Mercy and turning away from the Judge that might acquit them, is not lost on Isaiah or the faithful remnant. We notice again that it is the sin of rebellion (idolatry, witchcraft) that is at the root of Israel’s lying against HaShem. Many today persist in trying to convince themselves of God’s demise, and thus turn their backs on their own redemption.
“speaking oppression and defection (apostasy)” The oppression of others is born of the oppression of self. Apostasy and rebellion against God results when we forget our value in His eyes.
“conceiving and murmuring from the inner person words of falsehood.” When the heart is dark the mouth is dark. Clean water cannot be drawn from a polluted well.
59:14 Vehusag And sliding backward achor to the rear mishpat justice utzedakah and righteousness meirachok are far off ta'amod standing, remaining: kiy chashelah varechov emet for the truth has stumbled in the open plaza unechochah and straightness, equity lo-tuchal doesn't prevail lavo to enter.
Here justice, righteousness, truth and equity are personified as forgotten (to the rear), distant (far off), stumbling in public (open plaza), and unable to enter the city (doesn’t prevail to enter). This of course is not because these personifications of the emanations of God’s character are unable to remain present, affecting transformation; rather it is because Israel had refused them a. prominence (to the rear), b. welcome (far off), c. honour (open plaza), d. entry (doesn’t prevail to enter). God forces Himself on no person. Without freewill love cannot exist.
59:15 Vatehiy And it has come about that haemet the truth nederet is lacking vesar and departed mara from evil mishtolel like prey: vayar YHVH and HaShem sees vayera and it is evil be'eiynav in His eyes kiy-eiyn for it is not mishpat justice.
Truth has not “failed” as some English translations so foolishly render the text. To the contrary, Truth is available but it is lacking because Israel is lacking. It has departed because Israel has departed from it. Truth is an attribute of God’s character, it never fails because He never fails.
HaShem is fully aware (He sees) of the injustice and evil that reigns in the hearts of the apostate Israelites.
59:16 Vayar And He saw kiy-eiyn iysh there was no man (one, person) vayishtomeim and was appalled kiy eiyn for there was no mafgiya intercessor vatusha or salvation lo zero'o therefore, with His own arm vetzidkato and His righteousness hiy He semachatehu upheld it.
“He saw there was no man (one, person) and was appalled for there was no intercessor or salvation” Simply put, no human being is righteous of themselves, nor is there anyone who qualifies to save another. God alone saves.
“Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.” -Psalm 143:2 (NKJV)
“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.” - Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NIV)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” -Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
Rav Shaul (Paul the Apostle) appears to be making a drash on Isaiah 59 when he combines passages from the Tanakh (OT) to say:
“As it is written,
The Babylonian Talmud interprets this latter clause of the King Messiah, Who will come in an age when there are none but wicked men (T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1.)
59:17 Vayilbash And He clothed Himself tzedakah with righteousness kashiryan as a breastplate vechova yeshuah and salvation as a helmet be'rosho on His head vayilbash and put on bigdeiy garments nakam of vengeance tilboshet vayat and wrapped Himself in raiment kamiyl as a robe kinah of zeal, jealousy.
“It is revealed, that He will work a great salvation for His people, yea, He will render vengeance to His enemies.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
There is a foundational correlation here between the present verse and the armour of God of Ephesians 6:10-18:
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. 16 Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim.” (TLV)
To have the armour of God placed upon us is to be clothed with the nature of the King Messiah: it is to be clothed with the nature of God with us. The armour of God is not the invention of Greco-Roman thought, rather it is firmly rooted in the present text of Isaiah.
When we are endowed with the armour of God we are invested with the zeal and jealousy of God for His people and His redemptive purposes for humanity. The breastplate of righteousness protects our inner person (leiv) and the helmet of Salvation (Yeshua) guards our minds and reminds us that our salvation is secure outside of time and space and cannot be compromised because it is entirely reliant on God. We are wrapped in vengeance against the forces of darkness and their resulting sin, and we are robed with zeal for the kingdom of God.
“He clothed Himself with righteousness as a breastplate” The previous verse explains how and by what means HaShem will uphold salvation for His people. Now HaShem Himself is pictured wearing righteousness as a breastplate. He is going to war for the salvation of His people Israel (and in turn for the nations). Of course, this is a description of both the Father and the Son, our King Messiah.
“And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” -Revelation 19:11 (ASV)
“Salvation as a helmet on His head” The head “rosh” is the ruler of the body and the origin of thought (But not of consciousness). HaShem need not wear either the breastplate or the helmet for protection, rather they are symbolic representations of His character. The protection is for us. Therefore, we don the nature of HaShem through Messiah and are prepared for spiritual war in the present sin affected age.
“and put on garments of vengeance and wrapped Himself in raiment as a robe of zeal, jealousy.” We note that His righteousness and salvation come with vengeance against the adversary (Satan) and the demonic forces, against sin and its defiling work, against the wilfully wicked and perpetually rebellious sons and daughters of the evil one. This is a war for the redemption of His people, He is jealous for Israel, just as He is jealous for all who would turn to Him in repentance and receive His redemption, love, mercy, and the grace born of His Holiness.
“And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” -Revelation 19:13 (ASV)
59:18 Ke'al According to gemulot their deeds ke'al so yeshalem He will fully repay (through a covenant of peace) chemah rage letzarav to His adversaries, gemul recompense leoyevayv to His enemies, laiyim to the islands (of the Mediterranean) gemul recompense yeshalem in full (through a covenant of peace).
The peace that had eluded apostate Israel (v.8) is now the mechanism by which judgement comes against the enemies of God both foreign and domestic. The indictment against evil widens to include the Islands of the Mediterranean and in a figurative sense, it includes all who do evil.
59:19 Veyireu And they will fear mima'arav from the west et-sheim the Name YHVH HaShem (Mercy) umimizrach-shemesh and from the eastern sun et-kevodo His glory kiy-yavo for it will come to pass chanahar when like a river tzar the adversary comes, Ruach YHVH the Spirit of HaShem nosesah will raise a sign against him (will cause him to flee).
“They shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the oppressors shall come in like an inundation of the river Euphrates, they shall be broken by the Word of the Lord.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE).
“they will fear from the west the Name YHVH HaShem (Mercy) and from the eastern sun His glory” The western nations will fear and be in awe of the Person of HaShem, His nature, character, redemptive purposes etc. The eastern nations will fear the manifestation of His glory and power.
“for it will come to pass when like a river the adversary comes, Ruach YHVH the Spirit of HaShem will raise a sign against him (will cause him to flee).” This verse has found partial fulfilment on many occasions in Israel’s history, and the Targum supports the idea of a physical enemy from the east being defeated in latter times: something that the Revelation also describes. However, its greatest fulfilment has both come and is yet to come. The ultimate enemy of Israel is not the united anti-Semitic nations of the earth, rather the greatest enemy of Israel is Ha-Satan and the fallen nature of the human soul. Therefore, the “nes” miracle, sign, wonder that HaShem has and will raise up by His Spirit: was, is and will be the King Messiah Yeshua, His vicarious sacrificial death and resurrection through which Israel finds atonement, redemption, salvation and restoration, resulting in everlasting life.
“This verse is in perfect harmony with the prophecy, And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was, etc. (Dan. 12:1). At that time Israel alone will be saved; therefore this verse is followed by the words, And the Redeemer shall come to Zion.” -Iben Ezra
59:20 Uva And will come letziyon to Zion (parched land) Goel a Redeemer uleshaveiy and will turn back fesha the rebellion beyaakov in Jacob (follower) neum declares YHVH HaShem (Mercy).
“And will come letziyon to Zion (parched land) Goel a Redeemer (Kinsman)” We note that the Redeemer will come to Zion, that is Israel (ethnic, religious), the Jewish people.
“This is the Messiah” -Iben Ezra
“For I am not ashamed of the good proclamation, message, news of Messiah, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first perpetually and also perpetually for the Goyim (nations).” -Romans 1:16
“and will turn back the rebellion in Jacob (follower) declares YHVH HaShem (Mercy).” Such will be the power of the Redeemer’s actions, that through Him God will transform the hearts and minds of the Jewish people (Jacob, Israel). So much so that they will turn back from evil, turn back toward HaShem, turn away from the very root of sin itself (rebellion against God) and turn toward Mercy Himself YHVH through the Redeemer, the King Messiah Yeshua.
“’Unto them that turn from transgression.’ Every one that shall be found written in the book (Dan. 12:1)” -Iben Ezra
59:21 Va'aniy And I zot beriytiy this is My covenant otam with them amar says YHVH HaShem Ruachiy My Spirit asher Who aleycha is upon you udevaray and My words asher which samtiy I have put befiycha in your mouth lo-yamushu will not depart mipiycha from your mouth umipiy nor out of the mouth zaracha of your seed umipiy nor out of the mouth zera zaracha of your seed's seed amar says YHVH HaShem, meiatah from now ve'ad-olam and as far as forever, in a world perpetual.
“And I this is My covenant with them says YHVH HaShem” (Romans 11:27) This covenant (bloodshed, cutting) is of God alone. His blood will bind and sustain the covenant.
“My Spirit Who is upon you and My words which I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth nor out of the mouth of your seed nor out of the mouth of your seed's seed says YHVH HaShem, from now and as far as forever, in a world perpetual.” The Living Word our King Messiah will, by the Spirit of Hashem, come and indwell the redeemed people of Israel and His life will be passed on from generation to generation. This began at Shavuot (Pentecost) 33 CE (AD) and has continued through the redeemed Messianic remnant of Israel to this day as is testified to in my own life according to the passing on of Messianic Jewish faith by my forebears. This will find its ultimate fulfilment in the salvation of the entire remnant of Israel following the fullness of the nations at the end of this age (Romans 11:25-26), and will be sustained forever perpetually through Messiah in Olam Haba (the world to come).
Copyright Yaakov Brown 2019
Until naked, uncovered, poured out emptied on us; spirit, wind, breath, from on high, and it comes to pass that from the Word will be a fruitful field, and the Carmel (fruitful field) will be a forest of esteem and value. -Yeshayahu 32:15
Isa 32:1 Behold, letzedek for righteousness yimelakh will reign melekh a king, ulesariym and princes lemishpat will justly rule.
Some of our sages (Rashi, Ibn Ezra) suggest that this verse refers to the coming reign of Hezekiah, who would be a more righteous king than his father Ahaz. However, although Hezekiah was indeed more righteous than his father, he was by no means a king who’s reign was epitomized by righteousness, nor did just princes reign with him. In fact the council of his subordinate rulers was often opposed to that of the Lord. At best Hezekiah might be considered a type for the righteous king to come but neither he nor any subsequent king of Israel has ever qualified to meet the plan meaning of this text. At least not until the first century CE/AD when the greater son of David (Yeshua) was born of Judah and into the kingdom of Israel.
This text, when read plainly names the king “Tzedek” righteousness. “Behold! For righteousness will reign a king.” The writer of the book of Hebrews names the righteous king of Salem (Jerusalem, Peace) as a type for the Messiah (Heb. 7). There is a correlation here between the prophetic type Melkhi-tzedek (My king of righteousness) and the coming King Messiah (Gen. 14).
Some will say that Yeshua did not reign, and while He has always reigned with HaShem outside of time and space, it is true that at His first coming he did not literally take on the physical throne of David and defeat Israel’s enemies. However, Scripture clearly teaches of a second coming of the King Messiah. When He returns He will reign meta-physically over all creation upon the throne of David and in deference to HaShem.
Who are the princes that are qualified by their just rule? Yeshua the King of Righteousness told us who they would be:
“Then Kefa (Peter) said to Him (Yeshua), ‘Look, we’ve left everything to follow You! So what will we have?” And Yeshua said to them, “Amen, certainly, I tell you, when the Ben Adam Son of Man sits on His glorious throne in the regeneration, you (Talmidiym) who have followed Me shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” -Matthew 19:27-28 [Luke 22:28-30].
The princes of Isaiah 32:1 are Jews who dispense justice according to the will of the King of Righteousness. The talmidiym of Yeshua alone qualify for this role. Thus, Yeshua affirms the prophecy of Isaiah in His promise to His disciples.
This description of the King of Righteousness is a further illumination of Isaiah’s previous prophecy recorded in chapter 11:1-10.
Isa 32:2 And it has come to pass, iysh a man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a shelter from the rain; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great cliff face in a weary land.
The man of the present verse is the Righteous King of the first verse. Verses 1 and 2 give as a beautiful insight into the character of the King Messiah. In verse 1 He is called “Righteousness” and His reign is “Just”. In the present verse He is described as “A man”. He is also poetically referred to as “A hiding place”, “A shelter”, “Streams of water”, and “A shadow”. Each of these similes conveys an aspect of the King Messiah’s character and person.
By naming Him “A man” the prophet puts to flight any gnostic or post-modern esoteric view of the Messiah. The King Messiah is literally a man while at the same time being Righteousness Himself, a title that only God qualifies for.
He is “A hiding place”. That is an intimate description. Those who hide in Him have drawn near to seek refuge and protection from the harsh winds of life.
He is “A shelter”. A hiding place denotes a surrounding protection while a shelter more specifically alludes to covering which is above and protects from that which falls. In this case the rain is seen as a threat that the King Messiah will shelter Israel from. The counterpoint to this is seen in the second to last verse where the raining hail destroys Assyria, Israel’s enemy.
He is “Rivers of water in a dry place”. With verse 19 in mind we might consider the rain from above as a symbol of water falling in judgement. The counterpoint is the rivers of water that bring life to the desperately dry land and her people. Israel will quench her desperate thirst with the living waters of the King of Righteousness.
He is “A shadow of a great cliff face”. This simile conveys a sense of the immutable and immovable nature of the King’s protection over His people and the relief that it brings. Travellers in the middle east often endure harsh conditions as they journey through arid places. Thus, when they come across a cliff face that shelters, cools and protects them they are filled with a sense of relief and security. The shadow of the righteous brings relief from the hot sun, whereas the shadow of the wicked makes the shivering one colder still.
Isa 32:3 And the eyes of roiym seeing ones will not look away, veazneiy and the ears of shomei’iym hearing ones will tiksavenah hear, heed, be attentive.
“And the eyes of the righteous shall not be shut, and the ears of those who receive instruction shall hear.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/AD)
This is the counterpoint to Isaiah’s earlier prophecy concerning Judah’s inability to see or hear the sound teaching and warnings of Hashem.
This seeing and hearing will be upon the entire nation of Israel. The curse of blindness and wilful resistance will be removed by the Righteous King and the renewed nation will be judged with justice, tribe by tribe.
Isa 32:4 ulevav And the core being (heart) of nimhariym the hurried (anxious) will understand lada’at knowledge, uleshon and the tongue of those who speak nonsense will hurry to speak clearly.
For the Hebrew the lev/levav (heart) is not the seat of emotion. The heart is the point of convergence for all aspects of the human existence, while it manifests emotion it is not the sole domain of emotion. Therefore, we understand “heart” to mean “core being”. Thus when the Scripture says “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) it does not mean “The emotion of man (alone) is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”, rather it means “Humanity now has a fallen nature that is manifested within the core of its existence”. In terms of rabbinical nomenclature we would call this sin affected aspect of our nature “Yetzer ha-ra” inclination of the evil.
In the present text the core being of the hasty and anxious person will be set free to receive and understand the knowledge that comes from Hashem. In addition, the one who is undecided and speaks nonsense will be set free to speak clearly and relay the righteous paths of Hashem. All this is the fruit of the reign of the King of Righteousness mentioned in verse 1.
Isa 32:5 lenaval The vile fool will no longer be called nadiyv generous, nor the scoundrel (withholder) said to be shoa noble, free.
"the wicked man shall be no more called just, and they that transgress His word shall not be called mighty.'' – Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/AD)
The Hebrew naval denotes villainy and foolishness. The fool Nabal is famous for his mistreatment of David and his men (1 Sam. 25). The Hebrew text of verse 5 is a transliterated word play “lo yikarei od naval nadiyv”.
This verse is saying that the truth will no longer be made a lie by the upside down nature of the wicked tongue. The vile will be known for who they are and the scoundrel will no longer be seen as noble.
Isa 32:6 For naval a vile fool will speak vile, foolish words, ve’libo and his core being (heart) will make wickedness, to practice godless hypocrisy, and to speak error against HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), to make empty nefesh the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the irrigation of the thirsty to fail.
This is a vehement denunciation of the ruling class of Jerusalem that explicitly calls out their vile behaviour and hypocrisy. The King of verse 1 will illuminate the truth of their actions and evil will be seen for what it is. It is often true that a soft heart that has been deluded by lies is quick to repent when faced with the realization of evil’s true nature.
We note that those being exposed are speaking error against God (YHVH: Mercy) and that the result is hunger of the soul (nefesh) and not the stomach (beten). In other words the wickedness of Jerusalem’s rulers and priests has produced a spiritual hunger in the unlearned classes and has meant that the irrigation of Biblical teaching has been stopped up, preventing the people from receiving the streams of water that would otherwise have flowed forth to them.
However, verse 1 pre-empts this with the promise of the King of Righteousness, Who will come as streams of life giving water.
The Targum of Yonatan supports this understanding:
"to make the soul of the righteous weary, who desire doctrine, as a hungry man bread; and the words of the law, which are as water to him that is thirsty, they think to cause to cease.''
Isa 32:7 Vecheilay And a scoundrel’s (withholder) keilayn instruments, vessels, utensils, are raiym evil, injurious: hu he zimot plans to counsel le’chabeil to bind aniyiym the humble, afflicted, poor beimreiy with speech of deception, uvdabeir when the words evyon of the needy seek justice.
The instruments of the withholder are those of the false shepherd (Zechariah 11:15), sent against Israel by Adonay Himself. These false shepherds, like those of Zechariah’s time, have claimed to worship Adonay but have instead syncretised the faith of Israel and birthed the idolatry of compromise. Their deceptive teaching has severely afflicted those who most needed their care and their words had denied the needy justice. This in complete opposition to the coming King and His just princes.
Isa 32:8 venadiyv And the generous one counsels nediyvot generous things; vehu and he, al upon nediyvot generosity yakum arises.
Once again Ibn Ezra and others claim that this refers to Hezekiah. Once again, if it does, it is only so in the sense that Hezekiah is a type for the Messiah. However, there is no explicit evidence of Hezekiah acting in this way toward the people of Jerusalem and Judea during his reign. In fact, this verse is referring back to the Righteous King of verse 1 Who’s generous counsel will produce generous outcomes as He arises in Israel and reveals His character to those being redeemed through Him. We note that He arises upon generosity meaning that generosity is an attribute of His character.
Isa 32:9 Women of leisure; komenah arise shemanah listen, hear, receive, understand koli my voice, banot daughters botchot trusting; hazeinah give ear to imratiy my speech.
From the very beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry he has pointed out that the fruit of moral decay is often made manifest in a care free, flirtatious and selfish lifestyle (Isa. 3:16-26). This had continued to be the case in the lives of Judah’s leading women. Thus, he once again warns those same women of their need to listen to Hashem and repent of their self-idolatry.
Isaiah uses a formula that is familiar to the writings of the prophets Moses and Amos (A contemporary of Isaiah).
“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:” -Genesis 4:23
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria…” -Amos 6:1
Notice the use of the Hebrew “botchot” trusting, a feminine plural from the root batach. The point is, “What are you trusting in?”
So we see that it is not trust that is important so much as who or what we place our trust in.
Ibn Ezra sees these women as allegorical of the towns of Samaria.
Isa 32:10 Yamiym Days upon shanah a year will tirgaznah agitate, trouble, perturb you, botechot trusting ones: for the vintage will cease, the gathering will be worn out and be brought in.
Ibn Ezra suggests that “yamiym al shanah” equates to “shanah al shanah” year after year. However, this is unlikely given the similar use of shanah elsewhere in Scripture as alluded to by the Scholars Keil & Delitzch:
“Shanah is the current year. In an undefined number of days, at the most a year from the present time (which is sometimes the meaning of yamiym).” -Keil & Delitzch
Therefore, what seems to be meant here is that “Within the days of the current year, you trusting daughters will be troubled, for the vintage will cease and before you get even a small amount of the harvest collected you will find it to be devoid of any real value.”
This is most likely in reference to the invasion of Sennacherib the Assyrian ruler, who invaded Judea in 704 BCE/BC and brought devastation and ruin to the land causing the harvest to cease and the ingathering to fail. This means that Isaiah prophesied these words approximately 702-703, a year or so prior to the Assyrian invasion of Judea.
Isa 32:11 Chirdu Tremble, be afraid, women of leisure; regazah quake, rage, be agitated, botechot trusting ones: veorah make yourself bare, and gird your loins.
This is both a warning of the natural outcome of invasion and at the same time a call to repentance. The phrase “veorah” is often linked to the donning of sackcloth and is a symbol and practice of repentance and genuine sorrow for sin as well as a sign of mourning.
These words are reminiscent of the words of the prophet Joel:
“Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withheld from the house of your God.” -Joel 1:13
“Gird your loins” means prepare to flee.
Isa 32:12 Upon your shadayim breasts, wail, mourn, upon the shedeiy-chemed field of delight, upon the fruitful vine.
Like sackcloth, the beating of the breast is a sign of mourning and repentance. Here it will be done in response to the failing fields of Judea at the coming invasion of the Assyrian army. There is a word play here that links the Hebrew shadayim (breasts) to the shedeiy (field).
Isa 32:13 Upon adamat the land ami of my people thorns and sharp stones will come up; for, upon all the houses of masos exaltation in the village jubilant:
The sharp stones and thorns are both literal and allegorical. The stones and thorns that burden the soil of the middle east are the bane of the farmers existence. They must be removed constantly or they will cause the crop to fail and the feet of the workers to become bruised and cut. Spiritually speaking Israel’s failure to remove the stones and thorns of idolatry and sin will result in the failing of the spiritual crop, even in that city that has been exalted as holy and celebrated with pilgrimage.
“The village Jubilant” is most likely a poetic title for Jerusalem.
Both God and the prophet continue to call Israel, and in particular Judah, “My people”. God and the prophet Isaiah are suffering the grief and heartbreak of the suffering of Israel, even when that suffering is the result of the sin choices of the people. Israel, ethnic-religious is always God’s people. Her identity is not measured by her actions.
Isa 32:14 Because a palace will be forsaken; a multitude in anguish will leave a ofel vebachan hill fort, and a watch tower will become surrounded by dens ad-olam perpetually forever (in the world), an exaltation of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;
“Armon” palace is singular, "the palace", meaning the royal palace. Thus, Iben Ezra and Yarchi interpret it of the king's palace in Jerusalem. The Targum of Yonatan paraphrases armon as “the house of the sanctuary”, or the temple, which was eventually left desolate. Messiah foretold this in Matthew 23:38.
“Ofel vebachan” are said by some to be the names of two towers in Jerusalem. “Ofel” is located on the south-eastern fortified slope of the temple mountain (2 Chronicles 27:3).
The “watch tower” is translated by some (Rashi) to refer to the ramparts or citadel (Ibn Ezra) of Jerusalem but may also be understood to be the same as the “Tower of the flock” mentioned in Micah 4:8. Migdal Eder (Tower of Eder [flock]), which is located in Bethlehem.
The Hebrew “ad-olam” must be understood relative to the “olam” world it refers to. There are essentially two worlds: the olam hazeh, literally “world this one”, and olam haba “world the coming” or “the world to come”, meaning eternity. Thus, in the present passage the context of “ad” perpetually going round “olam” forever, or in the world, refers to the olam hazeh (present world) rather than the olam haba (world to come).
Therefore, the desolation being spoken of is repeated over and again throughout Israel’s history until the Righteous King of Isaiah 32:1 returns to deliver Jerusalem and unite it to the heavenly Jerusalem which will exist in the olam haba ad-olam “In the world to come perpetually forever”.
Isa 32:15 Ad Until yeiareh naked, uncovered, poured out emptied aleiynu on us ruach spirit, wind, breath, from on high, and it comes to pass that midbar the wilderness will be a fruitful field, vehacarmel and the Carmel (fruitful field) be a forest yeichasheiv of esteem, value, (countless).
The theme of verses 15 to 20 is one of restoration, which will come to a repentant Jerusalem. The city being defined by its inhabitants.
The plain meaning is that the desolation decreed against Jerusalem will continue throughout history until Israel receives the unveiled Spirit of God and repents of her sin. As a result she will experience fruitfulness both physical and spiritual, even in the barren wilderness.
“Ad” until, means, the desolation described in the previous verses will continue to come against Jerusalem, Judah and all Israel until the unveiled Spirit is poured out upon the Jewish people (Israel ethnic, religious) from above. That is until the Spirit of God is poured out upon the repentant Jewish people.
The Hebrew “yeiareh” means naked, uncovered, emptied and figuratively, poured out. This is a description of intimacy and relational force. The Spirit is to be revealed unveiled to the people of Israel. We know that this work of redemptive revelation was begun in Jerusalem (Judah, Israel) in the first century CE/AD (Acts 2). Ethnic Jews from throughout the world received the Spirit of God at the aliyot festival celebration of Sukkot (Pentecost) [approximately 33 to 39 CE/AD]. The account of Acts 2 details the Spirit descending like fire, another symbol of naked, unveiled power, and recalls the Jewish tradition that says fire descended upon the elders of Israel at the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
We note that this was the inception, the beginning of the full filling of this prophesied promise of Isaiah. While the salvation of the Jewish people has begun and continues as each one turns to God through Yeshua the Messiah (Righteous King of verse 1), it will not be complete until the fullness of the nations have come to Messiah, at which time those Messianic Jews who have already received the Spirit from above will be joined by the remnant of ethnic religious Israel (Romans 11:25-26). When Shaul (Paul) says “a partial hardening has come to Israel” it means that part of ethnic Israel continues to resist Messiah while other ethnic Jews accept Him. When Shaul (Paul) says “in this way all Israel will be saved” it means that following the salvation of the fullness of the nations the remnant of Israel (ethnic) who remain in disbelief will receive Messiah and be joined to those who are already Messianic Jews (ethnic), thus, all Israel (ethnic) will be saved and reunited in Messiah.
The Hebrew “midbar” meaning wilderness, pasture, uninhabited land, comes from the root dabar meaning essence, thing, word etc. In fact midbar seems to be a contraction of the Hebrew “me” meaning from, and “davar” meaning word, essence. Therefore, as a remez we can read “from the word will come fruitfulness.” The Word is Messiah, the fruit is right action born of Messiah in us.
Isa 32:16 Veshakhan And dwelling bamidbar in the wilderness (ba-in, & mi-from the, d’bar-word), mishpat judgment utzedakah and righteousness bacarmel in the Carmel (fruitful land) teishev will dwell, remain, abide.
“And dwelling in and from the Word, right judgements and righteousness we will abide in the fruit of right action.”
“shakhan” is the root from which we get “Mishkhan” The Tent of Meeting where the Kadosh HaShem (Glory of YHVH) would presence Himself while Israel camped in the desert.
Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace; va’avodat and the service (effect) of ha-tzadakah the righteousness, ha-shekheit the shut it (quietness) vavetach and security (trust) ad-olam perpetually forever (in the world).
This verse begins with a powerful and timeless statement. “The work of righteousness will be peace”. Peace is not the result of military power or political alliances but of right action. That is, righteous faith that bears right action.
In fact the Scripture says “For no one is righteous, not even one” (Psalm 51:4) and “No one living is righteous before You” (Psalm 143:2) and “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Daniel 9:11; Romans 3:23) and still further, “Our righteousness is like menstrual rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, only God and His Messiah are truly righteous. Thus verse 17 draws the reader’s attention back to the first verse of this chapter and the righteousness of the King. Thus, we can read “The work of Righteousness Himself will bring peace.” Not temporal but lasting peace.
Yeshua illuminates this truth further:
“Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Yeshua answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” -Yochanan (John) 6:28-29
This work of righteousness continues within the present world until it meets the world to come.
It is utter nonsense to claim as Iben Ezra does, that the peace born of righteousness described here happened during Hezekiah’s reign. The Scripture itself testifies against this interpretation. Israel did not enjoy any lasting peace during the reign of Hezekiah. One might best describe Hezekiah’s reign as a temporary reprieve, almost ruined completely by Hezekiah’s own compromised faith journey.
Isa 32:18 Veyashav And dwelling ami My people in an binevah abode (shepherd shelter) of peace, uvmishkenot and in dwellings, mivtachiym of trusting, refuge, confidence, uvimnuchot and in resting places shaananot secure, quiet, at ease;
Under the reign of the Righteous King Messiah “My people” will dwell in the abode of The Shepherd (God, Yeshua), and in dwellings of trust and refuge. Resting secure.
This is a picture of the Mishkhan (Tent of Meeting) and the sukkot (dwellings) of Israel while she wondered the desert. Uvmishkenot uses the feminine plural form of Mishkhan. This poetic image is transferred to the Messianic reign and the city of the New Jerusalem, where there will be no Temple, but God Himself and the Lamb will be its Temple (Revelation 21:22).
Isa 32:19 Uvarad And it will hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.
Having concluded the prophecy concerning the redemption and peace of Israel the prophet now turns back to the coming destruction of Israel’s enemies. Specifically the hail coming against the forest, which is connected to Assyria’s army in Isaiah 10:34, and against the prosperity and pride of Nineveh the capital of Assyria, which is figuratively called a low place and is ironically made lower still.
Isa 32:20 Ashreiychem Happily Blessed are you that scatter seed upon all mayim waters, meshalesheiy that send forth the feet of the ox and the ass.
As quickly as the prophet had digressed, he now returns to the subject at hand, that of Israel’s future redemption and the conditions she will enjoy under the reign of the King of Righteousness. Seed scattered on many waters is an idiom that conveys fruitfulness and life born of living and abundant water supply. The sending forth of the feet of the ox and ass is a picture of the shore footed path of livestock, from the strong animals used for ploughing and threshing to the domestic animals of burden, all will be readily available to Israel in the Messianic Kingdom. This kingdom will begin in the olam hazeh (present world) and converge with the olam haba (world to come).
Copyright 2018 Yaakov Brown
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Isaiah 26 is a song of the redeemed people of ethnic-religious Israel. Who, at the time of their individual and national redemption at the end of the age “In the Day”, will reflect on the Lord’s love and protection over them and rejoice; soberly acknowledging that though other lords “adoniym”, have ruled them in their disobedience, a remnant has always sought the one true God of Israel HaShem (YHVH), her King of Mercy. Thus, having received her own Messiah Yeshua, in “The Day” (Last Day: time period) she will rejoice and sing of God’s goodness and judgement against His enemies.
NB: This chapter is not, as some foolishly assert, a song of or about, the Church.
It is worth noting that the Holy Personal Name of God YHVH, which denotes mercy, is used 12 times in this portion of scripture. A portion that details a song of the redeemed 12 tribes of Israel. A people whom God calls, “Ami” (My people).
Isa 26:1 Bayom In the day, that (he) one, singing the song, this one, be’eretz in the land of Yehudah (Judah: Praise): A city of strength to us; yeshuah salvation appointed as a wall and fortress.
“At that time they shall sing a new song in the land of the house of Judah: ‘We have a strong city, salvation and mercy shall be established upon her walls.’” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“Praise HaShem (YHVH). Sing unto HaShem (YHVH) a new song, and praise Him in the congregation of Chasidiym faithful ones.” -Tehillim/Psalms 149:1
“The city of Jerusalem, which was always our strength from time immemorial, the Savior shall place salvation for its walls and its bulwark.” -Rashi
“A city of strength” refers to Jerusalem, both earthly and new (now and not yet) [Revelation 21:2].
NB: A bulwark is a smaller wall of defence that precedes the main city walls.
Iben Ezra notes that this city is Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem is strength to “us”, that is, to Israel (religious, ethnic, empirical). He further states that “God will appoint salvation.”
Jerusalem, the meaning of which is “Flood/downpour of Peace”, is our present strength and our future hope. It is our present strength because in Messiah Yeshua we receive the flood of Peace that comes with the seal of His redemptive sacrifice and resurrection. This peace is imparted to us through the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Jerusalem is also our future hope because we are currently bound to time and space. We look to the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), something the writers of the Targum also looked toward. That Jerusalem is prepared for us outside of time and space and will descend at the coming of the Messiah. God has appointed our salvation (yeshuah) in Himself. His name is Yeshua, and He is the King Messiah of Israel.
Isa 26:2 Open His gates, ve’yavo and enter in goy a nation tzadik righteous shomeir keeping, guarding, awaiting emuniym faithfulness, trusts, trusting.
A city is usually referred to in the feminine, therefore, the opening phrase “Open His gates” is likely a referance to the Lord because the nearest subject is the walls which are also feminine. Thus, it seems that it is the New Jerusalem that is alluded to here, the city whose gates belong to HaShem. This is why the masculine is used.
The righteous nation mentioned is none other than redeemed ethnic-religious Israel (redeemed through Yeshua the Messiah). She is pictured here as the nation who guards, keeps, awaits, and carries the emuniym, eternal trust and faithfulness of God. This trust is in the One Who both birthed her and is born of her, that is Yeshua the Messiah.
While the more common usage of shomeir is “Guard, keep” etc. Rashi alludes to its use in other parts of Scripture in the sense of “awaiting”:
“Shomeir-waiting. Compare Gen 37:11, ‘And his father awaited (shomeir) the matter.’ Similarly Deut. 7:12, ‘And the Lord, your God, shall await (shomeir) the covenant for you.” -Rashi
The Rabbeinu Bahya on Shemot (Exodus) 19:6:2 explains that the phrase “goy kadosh” (Holy nation) is possessive and can be rendered as “Nation belonging to the Holy One”. It further states that a similar construction is used in Isaiah 26:2, “goy tzadek” (Nation belonging to the Righteous One). It explains that these constructions are in reference to ethnic-religious Israel’s role in the Olam Haba (world to come), whereas the construction “mamlechet kohaniym” (Kingdom of Priests [Exodus 19:6:2]) represents Israel’s role in the Olam Hazeh (present world).
Iben Ezra, says that “The gates of that city should only be opened for righteous people”. We know that no one is truly righteous but God, and that it is only through God the Son that we can be made righteous. Therefore, those who are made righteous through Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, will enter this city; which is the New Jerusalem.
Isa 26:3 Yitzer forming, purposing samukh rest titzor to watch over him in shalom, shalom peace, peace (wholeness, wholeness, immutable peace, peace firmly established, eternal peace), because in Him he batuach firmly places trust, feels secure, safe, without care.
“In a perfect heart they shall preserve peace: peace shall be wrought for them, because they have trusted in thy Word.” -Targum Yonatan (approx. 2nd Century CE)
Notice that it is God Who forms and purposes rest, and that God’s rest watches over the believer in immutable (perfect and perpetual) peace as a result of the believer responding to God’s love with a continual act of temporal trust (batuach). Temporal meaning, this world is temporal. Thus, we trust in Him daily until we enter the Olam Haba (world to come).
The word "perfect" is not in the Hebrew text, rather the text says, "shalom, shalom (peace, peace)". This doubling of the word shalom denotes the fact that peace has been firmly established for those who trust (betach) in HaShem. This peace is immutable and corresponds to the eternal trust/faith (emunah) received by those who act in perpetual temporal trust (betach) as a response to God’s redemptive offer of eternal life through His Son Yeshua.
Isa 26:4 Bitchu His trust, Ba’YHVH is in HaShem (Mercy) adeiy-ad beyond perpetuity (for ever and ever); for beYH in Yah (YHVH: Mercy) HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), tzur is rock, cliff face, olamiym everlasting, worlds perpetual.
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Note that the Targum Yonatan ( an ancient non-messianic paraphrase) alludes to the fact that the Word of the Lord is the One Who saves. Compare Yochanan (John) chapter 1.
The fact that the Holy personal name of God is used three times in this verse is significant given that it is a verse which explains the kind of temporal trust action that leads to eternal security in God.
We read that HaShem is like a “rock, cliff face”, which is a metaphor for immovable strength. and he has been the Rock of His people ethnic-religious Israel in olam hazeh this world, and in ha-olam haba the world to come. The Talmud explains that “He that trusts in HaShem has a refuge in this world, and in the world to come.” [Talmud. Bab. Menachot. Fol. 29. 2.]
Isa 26:5 For He has brought down them that dwell on high, the lofty city: He lays it low, He lays it low even to the ground; He brings it even to the dust.
Here, the proud and lofty city is alluded to in contrast to the city of God where the righteous will dwell. The lofty city is a figure for the seat of Satan’s temporal power on earth, that is Babylon. In a wider sense it refers to any city that rejects God and His people. Rashi compares the lofty city with Tyre and Rome, a city which later Jewish commentators see as a subsequent manifestation of Babylon. Iben Ezra says that “Them that dwell on high, etc. This refers to the heathens.” And adds that “He will continually lay it low.”
Speaking of Babylon in the previous chapter Isaiah says, “And the high place of your fortress walls He brought down to strike the soil, ground, land until it turned to dust.” In both cases “dust” is a metaphor for death and destruction.
Isa 26:6 The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, and the steps of the lowly.
Kimchi explains that these are the poor of Israel. Therefore, this follows the theme of the previous chapter and Israel ruling over those who had oppressed her.
“He will bring it so low, that it will be trodden not by the foot of the noble but by that of the poor.” – Iben Ezra
Yarchi interprets the “feet of the poor” as referring to the feet of the King Messiah, according to Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.” -Zechariah 9:9
Isa 26:7 Orakh A path la’tzadik to the righteous: meiyoshariym upright ones, a straight magal track, entrenchment tzadik a righteous tepaleis balance, justice, ponderance, weighing.
“The paths of the righteous are right: thou wilt establish the works of the ways of the just.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” -Jeremiah 31:9
Once again the prophet refers to righteous redeemed Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical). When compared to the words of Jeremiah we see that the Lord entrenches the paths of the righteous in living waters that flow toward the goal He has set for them. In Him the path of the righteous leads to a merciful judgement that weighs love on the scales of justice and finds in favour of the redeemed. His path is clear and straight, there is no wavering in it.
Isa 26:8 Indeed, in the path of Your judgments, justice HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), kiveynucha we hope expectantly, waiting; for Your name, for Your remembering, ta’avat is the desire, longing of our nafesh entire being (Soul).
“He shows His Word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.” -Tehillim/Psalms 147:19
We note that the individual (Yaakov: follower) who seeks redemption is shown the Word (D’var: Yeshua) of the Lord, and that the corporate body born of the follower (Yaakov) and named for her salvation, that is Israel (Yisra-overcome El-in God/the Judge), is guided by His ordinance and right judgements.
Many misunderstand the Hebrew word “nefesh” (soul). While it can refer to that which is eternal in every created living being, it also encompasses the mechanisms and material elements of the body and its functioning within this world. Therefore, it is better to translate nafesh as “entire being”, meaning, from conception unto eternity.
Note that it is in the path of God’s ordered guidelines and His manifest justice that the faithful place their hope, and not in the temporal and flawed justice and rules of humanity. Not only does the servant of God hope in His justice and instruction, the servant also waits patiently and expectantly for the fullness of God’s justice. Waiting expectantly for the Holy Name of Mercy YHVH and remembering His attributes. This is the unquenchable desire and longing of the entire being of the faithful servant of HaShem.
Isa 26:9 Nafshi My entire self (Soul) iviytiycha desires, sighs, wants, longs for You balaylah in the night; indeed, ruachi my spirit, breath within me ashacharecha diligently, earnestly seeks for you early, because when Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land/earth, tzedek righteousness Lamdu is learned by he who dwells in the teiveil world.
While the Hebrew words “nefesh” and “ruach” are associated with all living creatures, the convergence of the two is unique within the human being and is referred to in Hebrew as “neshamah” (breath, spirit, panting of flesh, soul and spirit as one). The divisions of soul and spirit in the present text should not lead us to conclude a disunity within the soul as a complete entity. The purpose of the distinction is to reveal the unique and intimate nature of humanity in relationship to the Creator God. Animals and plant life do not share the neshamah of humanity, rather they are created to be cared for by humanity as an expression of humanity’s likeness to the Creator Who is the singular uncreated relational being.
“My soul longs for You at night” is both literal and figurative. Israel, both as individuals and as a redeemed nation long for God at night time. In addition, the night can refer to a state of captivity and distress (Yarchi). Therefore, we can read “My soul longs for You when I am in captivity”.
“My spirit within me earnestly seeks for You early” is again both literal and figurative. Literal in the sense of morning prayer (Sacharit) and figurative in the sense of rejoicing in freedom from captivity, symbolized by the breaking of dawn and the morning light. Thus, with all of his being both soul and spirit the faithful servant of HaShem seeks Him “evening and morning” according to the pattern of creation (Compare Genesis 1).
“When Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land, tzedek righteousness is learned by he who dwells in the world.” In other words, “When the righteousness of God dwells in the hearts and lives of redeemed Israel in the land of Israel, the other nations witness it and learn to fear, honour and worship the God of Israel. The Hebrew teiveil refers to the inhabited parts of the earth.
Isa 26:10 Yuchan Though grace, unmerited favour is shown to the wicked, yet he refuses to learn righteousness; in the land of nechokhot straightness he acts wrongfully, and refuses to see the majesty of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This verse while speaking specifically of the wicked who act shamefully against the land and people of Israel and her God, also applies to the wicked at large. God does not send wicked people to eternal punishment, rather, due to their own self worship and stubborn refusal of God’s love, they are left with no other destination. Therefore, although they are shown and offered grace they refuse it and spit on the goodness of God in order to promote themselves. God’s majesty is seen throughout creation, but they refuse to see it.
The Jewish commentator Yarchi interprets the “land of straightness” as Jerusalem, and the temple, and sees the wrongful acts as being perpetrated by Israel’s enemies, who spoil, plunder, and destroy the holy hill.
The Talmud (T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.) interprets the wicked as being Esau, who is a figure for the Romans, the destroyers of Jerusalem and the land of Israel in the latter part of the first century CE/AD.
Isa 26:11 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), Your hand is lifted up, and yet they don’t see: but they will be put to shame when they see Your zeal for the people; indeed, fire will devour, burn up, consume Your, enemies.
“O Lord, when thou shalt be revealed in thy power to do good to them that fear thee, there will be no light to the enemies of thy people: the wicked shall see it, and shall be confounded. The vengeance of thy people shall cover them; yea, fire shall consume thy enemies.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
In the latter days fire will come from God’s prophets and consume His enemies:
“And if any man will hurt them, fire will proceed out of their mouth, and devour their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” -Revelation 11:5
Notice that the enemies of God (the wicked) will be put to shame, when they see God’s zeal for His people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical).
Isa 26:12 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You will establish shalom peace for us; for You have also made all our works (deeds) in us.
All that has, is, and will be done in Israel, has been purposed by the hand of God for His glory and her established peace.
In other words, “You have always done for us that which we did not know how to do.”
Isa 26:13 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Eloheinu our God (Judge), other adoniym lords besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only will we make mention of Your name.
In other words, “We won’t associate Your Name with inferior lords”.
The Targum interprets this to refer to the unfaithful Jewish governors who had ruled over Israel. It may also refer to the Assyrians and Babylonians, and can certainly represent any and all anti-Messianic lords and rulers who seek to oppress Israel. It probably does not refer to the worship of the baaliym (husbands, masters, false gods) or else the Hebrew would have been “baaliym” rather than “adoniym”. However, the reason for the choosing of “adoniym” may have been to use a title that encompassed both human and demonic rulers. In which case “baaliym” can be interpreted implicitly. This is less likely though, given the following verse which speaks of the lords being dead, something that is not appointed for demonic entities until the judgement and subsequent eternal punishment.
Isa 26:14 They are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise: therefore You have visited and destroyed them, and made all remembrance of them to perish.
The fact that the lords of the previous verse are dead, will not live, and are deceased; they will not to rise, means that they are wicked human rulers who are destined for the second death of eternal punishment. Thus there will be no remembrance of them and they will perish in the lake of fire alluded to in the Revelation. Additionally, they no longer have power over Israel because she has been redeemed by HaShem and she will give Him glory alone forever.
Isa 26:15 You have added increase to the nation, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You have added increase to the nation; You are glorified; You have enlarged all the borders of the aretz land.
The “Nation” is Israel, who has previously been called “The righteous nation” (Isaiah 26:2). and the borders are of Israel’s aretz land. Once again the repetition denotes the fact that God has firmly established this outcome.
Isa 26:16 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), in distress they have sought You; tzakun they poured out, melted into lachash whispering when Your discipline was upon them.
The whispering prayer is of the weak and penitent, the desperate and remorseful. Notice that the distress which Israel had suffered causes her to melt and be poured out, resulting in these whispered prayers of supplication.
Isa 26:17 Like a woman with child, that draws near to the time of her delivery, and is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before You, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This is an analogy that denotes great expectation, hope and anticipation on the part of the nation of Israel.
Isa 26:18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any yeshuot salvation in the aretz land/earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Israel had thought herself pregnant with the hope of a redemption born of her own piety, only to find that her own piety was nothing but flatulence. What she thought to be her deliverance was nothing more than worthless air devoid of salvation. She was not able to obtain salvation in her own land, nor were those in the inhabited world able to obtain salvation. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Salvation cannot be accomplished by human beings, it must be received. No effort on our part will bring about redemption, but God Himself will redeem (Just as the Passover Haggadah proclaims, “I have redeemed you: I Myself, and no other!”
Isa 26:19 Your dead will live; my dead body will arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust; for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist, vearetz and the land/earth will cast forth the dead.
This is one of the places in Scripture from which the Jewish belief in the resurrection is proved; a belief that predates Hellenistic thought by at least 400 years. This verse is also applied to the times of the Messiah, and to the resurrection in His days (Talmud. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 90. 2, & Cetubot, fol. 111. 1. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 62. 3. Targum in loc.).
“Your dead will live” is an allusion to the resurrection of the righteous and specifically to the resurrection of the righteous of Israel.
“My dead body will arise” is firstly a personal testimony of the prophet himself and secondly the prophetic testimony of the Messiah. The first person singular should not be interpreted to refer to multiple people.
“Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust” is a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. This is a poetic repetition like the couplets of the psalms which seeks to remind the reader that these matters are firmly established.
“for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist:” This is an allusion to the present glory of God in the convergence of the resurrection. The Shekhinah or k’vod HaShem, a mist or dew of lights that raise the dead. Water (dew) and light are pictured together here as the mechanisms for bringing forth the plant that grows from that which had perished. As Rav Shaul says:
“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” – 1 Corinthians 15:53
Isa 26:20 Come, ami My people, enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.
HaShem now speaks gently to His beloved chosen people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical), saying, “Ami” (My people). Israel is being asked to do as she did during the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, “enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.”
The indignation and rage are that of HaShem against the wicked. Therefore, He once again hides Israel “in the cleft of the Rock” as it were. This concerns the latter days and a time when HaShem will once again shield Israel, this time as a redeemed nation through Yeshua the King Messiah. Hashem’s messenger (Angel) will once again pass over and see the blood of the Pesach Lamb (Yeshua) on the doorframes of the houses of Israel and she will be spared while her enemies and those who have hated HaShem will suffer His rage.
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” -Daniel 12:1(NIV)
Isa 26:21 For, behold, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) comes forth out of His place to punish the inhabitants of ha-aretz the land/earth for their iniquity: ha-aretz the land/earth also shall reveal her blood, and will cover her slain no more.
"and the earth shall reveal the innocent blood that is shed on it, and shall no more cover her slain.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“For, behold, the Lord comes forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.” -Micah 1:3
God, being omnipresent, is everywhere, however, the Hebrew text uses picture language to convey a sense of God’s immutable authority over all things, thus, He comes forth from the heavens, out of His dwelling place, His throne, and descends to the highest places of the earth, showing them to be figuratively, far beneath His heights. Thus, He justly punishes iniquity.
At the coming of God in power at the end of the age, the land will reveal all the innocent blood shed from the blood of Abel to the last of the martyrs, that is those who have died “Kadosh Hashem” sanctifying the Holy Name.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” -Revelation 18:24
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sister, were killed just as they had been.” -Revelation 6:9-11
How long, Sovereign Lord of Mercy?
Copyright 2018 Yaakov Brown
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