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
Isaiah 58: The Fast I Choose
Scripture teaches that fasting is to be a physical reflection of an inner desire to repent, reconcile, make restitution, mourn, be contrite and seek God through sober self-assessment. Nowhere does Scripture teach fasting as a means to earn God's favour or activate His blessing: such fasting infers that our actions determine God's actions. Fasting is not a magic formula for blessing. To the contrary, those who fast in order to get something have entirely misunderstood the reasons for fasting.
The previous chapter ends with the sober declaration, “‘There is no peace for the wicked’ says my God!” This is now followed by a more detailed public declaration exposing the hypocrisy of the actions of idolatrous Israel (the house of Jacob). What God promised He would do in Isaiah 57:12, He now sets in motion via the mouth of Isaiah:
“I will expose your ‘righteousness’, and your deeds—they will not profit you.”
Isa 58:1 Kera Call out, read, recite, proclaim, cry aloud, ve’garon from within your throat, al-tachsoch don’t withhold it, ka’shofar like a ram’s horn ha’reim the rising kolecha of your voice, ve’hageid and be conspicuous, make known le’amiy to My tribe pisham their rebellion (transgression), ule’veiyt and to the house Ya’akov of Jacob (follower) chatotam their sins.
“Cry aloud, O prophet, spare not, lift up thy voice like the voice of a trumpet, and shew unto my people their rebellion, and unto the house of Jacob their sins.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
Here Isaiah is addressed by God and instructed to make himself heard by all the people of Israel (Judah). His declaration is to be like the alarm sounded by the shofarot (rams horns) that call Israel to gather for holy convocations, and alert Israel to the approach of danger. The prophet Isaiah therefore, stands to counter the drunken watchmen of Israel and their false leaders (religious and secular) [Isa.56:10-12].
“Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me.” -Ezekiel 3:17
Christians and so called Messianic gentiles should be careful to note that God appoints Jews as watchmen of Israel.
Like the prophet Ezekiel who was deported to Babylon in 597 BCE, Isaiah (740-695 BCE) is to be alert, and to hold Israel to account for her sinful syncretistic worship, and her hypocrisy. Believers today who speak out as Isaiah was commanded to do are often labelled critical, unloving, lacking in grace, judgemental, hateful. Isaiah received the same response from the wicked ones of his generation. How sad it is to realise that those who speak out today to challenge the hypocrisy and sin of this generation are most often criticised by the church (albeit the apostate church), the very same church (apostate) that passes judgement on the ethnic-religious Jewish people.
“Call out, read, recite, proclaim, cry aloud, from within your throat” The phrase “from within your throat” denotes a cry so loud and repeated so often in so many locations that it makes the throat raw. The passion that is expressed in the guttural throat sounds of the Hebrew language are also being referred to. This is to be a forceful and passionate admonishment, a voice of alarm, warning, and accountability.
“Don’t withhold it like a ram’s horn the rising of your voice, and be conspicuous” In some circumstances the prophets were to withhold certain aspects of prophecy from the people (Daniel 9:24; 12:4). This is not the case here. HaShem is instructing Isaiah to speak the full prophetic warning and keep none of it hidden. All Israel (Judah) is to hear this call to repentance in its entirety even to the least child and the lowliest servant who serves in the houses of Israel villages.
It’s worth noting that the shofar (rams horn) imagery used here can be linked to the blowing of the shofar at the beginning and end of Israel’s only Biblically commanded fast day, that is Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). Therefore, the subsequent dialogue over fasting in part proposes a discussion over the one fast God has commanded Israel in the Torah.
“Make known to My tribe their rebellion (transgression), and to the house Ya’akov of Jacob (follower) their sins.” All humanity needs to repent, and yet, these words are spoken specifically to Israel (ethnic, religious). HaShem says “make known to My tribe” and He affirms the identity of His tribe by naming Yaakov (Jacob, the follower). There are two different words used to describe Israel’s sin. “Pisham” means rebellion and infers idolatry, the root of all sin, and “chatotam” (sin) is the fruit of rebellion.
Isa 58:2 Ve’otiy And Me yom yom day after day yidroshun they seek, enquire of, ve’da’at and know derachay my ways yechpatzun having delighted in them: ke’goy as a nation asher-tzedakah after righteousness, asah doing umishpat the judgements of Elohayv their God, lo azav not leaving (forsaking), lishaluniy they ask to borrow mishpeteiy-tzedek My righteous judgments; kirvat approaching Elohiym God (gods) yechpatzun they delight.
“And they seek daily instruction from me, as if to know the ways which are right before me, finding delight in my presence as a people that doeth righteousness, and have not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of me judgment and truth, as if they delighted to draw nigh to the fear of the Lord.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
In the former chapter HaShem spoke of exposing the righteousness of the wicked (57:12). This begins by detailing the apparent religious zeal of Israel.
“And Me day after day they seek, enquire of” There can be no doubt that the people of Israel continued to seek God daily at this point in history, however, it seems clear that the motivation of their hearts was sinful.
“and know my ways having delighted in them” When the rebuke is issued, no one will be able to say, “We didn’t know what You required” because they were clearly aware of what God required and even appeared to delight in the ways of God.
“as a nation after righteousness, doing the judgements of their God” Here is the first indication that the nature of Israel’s worship was idolatrous. Israel (Judah) is called a “goy”, which while technically accurate, is none the less an insinuation that she is acting like the pagan nations that surround her and is mirroring their behaviour in pursuit of her God. Thus, a tacit syncretism is implied.
“not leaving (forsaking), they ask to borrow My righteous judgments” The Hebrew seems to convey the sense that the idolatrous Israelites (Judeans) neither forsake the judgements (Torah) of HaShem, nor do they truly practise them, but rather they “borrow” them as an add on to their other practices. This is a description of cultural religion rather than true religion, and can be seen today in numerous Jewish Synagogues and Christian Churches, where God’s existence and supremacy are of little concern in the wake of vain tradition. Too often those who would seek to worship God mistake the architecture of a cathedral for awe and the rhythm of tradition for security.
“approaching Elohiym God (gods) they delight” The use of the Hebrew “Elohiym” conveys a subtle message of idolatry and supports the idea of ongoing syncretistic worship. In Hebrew “elohiym” can mean “God, gods, judges, rulers”. While the context denotes the flawed pursuit of the God of Israel, the reality is that Israel was pursuing many elohiym (gods) at this time and simply adding Jewish religious observances to the plethora of other worship practises.
“And they come unto you as the people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but do them not; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their gain.” -Ezekiel 33:31
Isa 58:3 “Lama Why tzamnu have we fasted, ve’lo raiyta and You don’t see? Iniynu We busied ourselves, afflicting nafsheinu our soul (life, person, existence), ve’lo teidat and without your knowledge (alt. and you’ve not known us)?” Hein Behold, pay attention, be’yom in the day tzomechem of your fast timtze’u-cheifetz you find pleasure, ve’chol-atzeveiychem and all your labours tingosu oppress.
“They say, Wherefore do we fast, as it is revealed before Thee? wherefore have we afflicted ourselves, as known unto Thee? The prophet said unto them, Behold, in the day of your fast ye seek your extortions, and ye bring near all your stumbling-blocks.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“Why have we fasted, and You don’t see?” This is the incredulous query of Israel’s observant ones. They believe they have done what’s required to please God with their empty actions and traditions however, God has not responded. It may be that in part they have not seen abundant seasonal rains or fruitful crops among other things that they desired. On the other hand, they may be complaining because they had fasted for their own gain and yet have not received the riches they wanted. There is of course an excellent NT scripture that addresses this:
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives so you may spend it on your passions. You adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” -Yaakov (James) 4:3-4 (TLV)
“We busied ourselves, afflicting our soul (life, person, existence), and without your knowledge (alt. and you’ve not known us)?” The Hebrew is ambiguous for a reason. “Iniynu” can mean both “afflicted ourselves” and “busied ourselves”. The affliction of the soul is an idiom referring to fasting but there is also an inferred sense here of vain busyness in religious practise. The phrase “And you’ve not known us” is interesting in that it is an idiom that denotes God’s rejecting of the wicked.
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” -Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV)
“Behold, pay attention, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and all your labours oppress.” We note that God describes Israel’s fast as “your fast” meaning, not the fast I appointed. Further we see that although Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) requires the affliction of the body through fasting and the associated practise of genuine repentance for sin, the fast of Israel (Judah) is one where they seek their own pleasure and worse still, while they seek their pleasure they are requiring there workers (many of whom are either foreigners or fellow Israelites under indentured service) to continue to labour in spite of the Torah requirement for the foreigner living among them to cease work during the observance of the convocations (moediym) of God (Num.9:14). Thus they rob themselves of the true freedom found through God’s instruction and also prevent others from enjoying that freedom.
There is a terrible irony throughout this passage regarding the Hebrew “tzum” fast. It comes from the root tzm meaning to press, tie up, constrain, and is related to the phrase “Nefesh ina”, which translates “Do violence to the natural life” or more literally “Soul affliction”. This constraint is meant to invoke repentance. Yom Kippur (the day of atonement (the tenth of the seventh month Tizri. Lev.23:27), Judaism’s Tzum (fast) is a day of sober reflection preceded by many days of preparatory supplication to God. It is the opposite of delight, pleasure and celebration. From sundown to sundown Israel prays, repents, seeks reconciliation with one another and with God. Ironically, rather than constrain themselves, the Israelites of Isaiah’s time were delighting themselves and restraining others. This is the very opposite of what God had instructed.
The Jewish people also fasted at other times not commanded in the Torah as a show of repentance and contrition (Zechariah 8:19, Jeremiah 14:12; 36:9; Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1, Esther 4:3, 16, Joel 1:14; 2:12, 15). Therefore, it is not fasting itself that is being brought into question but the motivation behind the fasting.
Scripture teaches that fasting is to be a physical reflection of an inner desire to repent, reconcile, make restitution, mourn, be contrite and seek God through sober self-assessment. Nowhere does Scripture teach fasting as a means to earn God's favour or activate His blessing: such fasting infers that our actions determine God's actions. Fasting is not a magic formula for blessing. To the contrary, those who fast in order to get something have entirely misunderstood the reasons for fasting.
Isa 58:4 Hein Behold, pay attention, le’riyv for strife, controversy, dispute umatzah and contention, tatzumu you fast ulehakot and to smite be’egrof with the fist resha of wickedness: lo-tatzumu you don’t fast chayom for this day le’hasmiya to be heard bamarom on high kolchem your voices.
The true motivation for Israel’s fasting is brought into the light. The hypocrisy of the people is great. Though they make all the outward signs of fasting and piety they are none the less seeking to win arguments, contend with enemies. They have not fasted in order to be heard by God.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” -Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
Isa 58:5 Ha’chazeh Is this which yihyeh has come to pass tzom a fast evchareihu I have chosen? Yom A day anot to be busy oppressing adam a man’s nafsho soul (life)? Halachof The bending down ke’agmon rosho of his head like a bulrush, vesak and sackcloth va’eifer and ashes yatziya spread out as a bed? Halazeh For this you tikra-tzom call a fast, veyom and a day ratzon acceptable to HaShem (YHVH: Mercy)?
“Is this which has come to pass a fast I have chosen?” It is the motivation and action of the type of fasting being practised that is challenged. God has not chosen a fast of pleasure and oppression, to the contrary, He has commanded a fast (Yom Kippur) of repentance and freedom through atonement.
“A day to be busy oppressing a man’s soul (life)?” Once again the language of afflicting the soul conveys a sense of irony, given that this is commanded in connection with the day of atonement but is being misapplied by sinful Israel and thus does not meet the requirements of the fast God has chosen. Nor is it born of the truly contrite heart.
“The bending down of his head like a bulrush, and sackcloth and ashes spread out as a bed?” In and of themselves these are outward signs of inward contrition, however, they are not the fast God has chosen because they are outward signs alone.
“For this you call a fast, and a day acceptable to HaShem (YHVH: Mercy)?” Thus, Hashem exposes the hearts of Israel and berates her for her disgusting hypocrisy.
Isa 58:6 Ha’lo zeh Is not this tzom a fast evchareihu I have chosen: pateiach to open chartzubot the bonds resha of guilt, hateir to cause trembling agudot to the bindings motah of the yoke, ve’shalach and send retzutziym oppressed ones chafeshiym free, vechol-motah and every yoke tenateiku you are to break, lift off.
“Is not this the fast which I have chosen? to scatter the assembly of wickedness, to loose the fetters of a decree of perverted judgment, to set at liberty the sons of the freeborn, who have suffered violence, and to remove all perverted judgment?” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“Is not this a fast I have chosen” Israel is now given a clear picture of the expectations of God regarding true fasting. What follows are a list of righteous actions that result from a truly contrite heart before God. The Hebrew intentionally says “tzom” a fast, rather than “Ha-tzom” the fast, because God is addressing the actions that result from a right motivation in fasting rather than calling attention to Yom Kippur alone.
“to open the bonds of guilt” That is to offer salvation to those who are rightly imprisoned. This is in fact the goal of the modern Yom Kippur observance: to repent and seek to be released from the books of judgement and be sealed in the book of life.
“to cause trembling to the bindings of the yoke” Meaning to set free those who have been made captive to oppression of every kind. The yoke is also a figure for false teaching and thus carries the sense of setting people free from idolatry and its subtle influence on the religion of Israel.
“and send oppressed ones free” This is an admonition to those in Israel who have held indentured brothers beyond the shmita (seventh year) and or held foreigners under oppressive conditions.
“and every yoke you are to break, lift off” This is a summation of the entire list and addresses both the physical and spiritual freedom that is to result from godly fasting.
Isa 58:7 Ha’lo zeh Is it not to faros divide laraeiv to the hungry lachmecha your bread, va’aniym and the poor merudiym that are wandering taviy bring in vayit to thy house; kiy-tireh when you see arom a naked one, vechisiyto and you cover him; umibesarecha and from your own flesh, lo tit’alam do not hide?
The list of the practical fruit of godly fasting continues.
“Is it not to divide to the hungry your bread” Rather than storing up food for yourself, divide it up with the hungry and destitute.
“the poor that are wandering bring in to thy house” Bring the wandering and homeless poor into your home. Put a mattress down for them on the living room floor if you must.
“when you see a naked one, and you cover him” Clothe the naked.
All these practical helps are alluded to by the King Messiah Yeshua in his mashal (parable):
“for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” -Matthew 25:35-36 (NKJV)
“from your own flesh, do not hide?” Marriage and family are the ultimate figure of God’s relational nature. Therefore, the worst form of general sin regarding relationship with other human beings is the sin of failing to help your own blood.
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” -1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV)
Isa 58:8 Az Then yibaka breaking open kashachar like the dawn orecha your light, va’aruchatecha and your restoration meheirah will speedily titzmach spring forth; vehalach and walking lefaneycha before your face tzidkecha your righteousness; kevod the glory of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) ya’asfecha will be your rear guard (gathering at the rear).
Israel had complained that God was not hearing them. Thus, God explained to them the hypocrisy of their practise and the reason that they were not being blessed or rewarded for it. Now, having given Israel a pattern for godly fasting, He also gives them a promise for the progression of blessing and renewal that will result from their repentance and godly actions.
“Then” means, once you repent and fast from truly contrite hearts, living godly lives, then you will see this…
“breaking open like the dawn your light” The most blinding light in creation as seen from earth is the breaking dawn. Not only will God’s light shine upon Israel, He will dwell in her. Thus, His light will become their light. This is why the Hebrew is formed from the word “or” which indicates uncreated light.
“your restoration will speedily spring forth” The restoration promised will come quickly, as soon as Israel truly repents.
“walking before your face your righteousness” In a primary sense the righteousness that walks before the face of Israel is the Righteous One the King Messiah Yeshua. In another sense the righteousness that redeemed Israel are bent on performing will be ever before their faces. In both cases that righteousness is born of God through the King Messiah. This righteousness goes before Israel, just as He did when she was being lead out of Egyptian captivity. In fact, this describes in a figurative way the cloud of the presence of the Malakh HaShem, the Angel of the Lord, Who is Himself, Yeshua our King Messiah.
“the glory of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will be your rear guard” Once again the journey of freedom from bondage in Egypt is used figuratively to illuminate God’s present manifest protection at Israel’s rear as she escapes captivity (both physical and spiritual) and returns to the land. The glory of Hashem that guards the rear and gathers the slow travellers is synonymous with the cloud of the presence, the pillar of fire that both lead and guarded Israel on her journey to the land of promise.
“Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” -Isaiah 60:21 (ASV)
Isa 58:9 Az Then tikra you will call, and HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) ya’aneh will answer; teshava you will cry, veyomar and He will say, “Hineiniy Behold, pay attention, here I am. Im-tasiyr If you take away mitocha from the midst of you motah the yoke, shelach etzba stretching forth of the finger, vedaber-aen and speaking wickedly;
“Then, when you have returned to HaShem He will answer” but the journey doesn’t end there. He will call you to pay careful attention and require you to walk in righteousness. When HaShem delivers you, you must remove the yoke of oppression and idolatry from your midst, and cease pointing fingers at your neighbours, demanding their land or accusing them falsely. You must refrain from wicked talk and instead speak rightly.
Iben Ezra notes that the pointing of the finger is the stretching out of one’s hand to strike a neighbour or take his property.
“A worthless person, a wicked man,
Walks with a perverse mouth;
He winks with his eyes,
He shuffles his feet,
He points with his fingers;
Perversity is in his heart,
He devises evil continually,
He sows discord.
” -Proverbs 6:12-14 (NKJV)
Isa 58:10 Ve’tafeik And if you pour out laraeiv to the hungry nafshecha your soul (life), na’anah tasbiya and satisfy the afflicted: vezarach then breaking out bachoshech in the darkness orecha your light katzohorayim as the midday;
“And if you pour out to the hungry your soul (life) and satisfy the afflicted” This is not just an admonition to give to a food bank from time to time, or minister to the emotionally afflicted once a week at a church meeting. It is a call to a life of service to the hungry and afflicted, both physical and spiritual. This means that God will empower those who serve Him to give of themselves and provide them with the means to perpetuate their giving as a lifestyle rather than a single act.
“then breaking out in the darkness your light as the midday;” As a result, not just of repenting and receiving God’s redemption but of putting that redemptive journey into practise, “your light” that is the light of Messiah in you, will break out in the darkness. In every dark and oppressive area of life the light of God will break out in you, and your light will bring midday to the midnight.
Isa 58:11 Venachacha HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will lead you tamiyd continually, vehisbiya and satisfy betzachtzachot in scorched land nafshecha your soul (life), ve’atzmoteycha yachaliytz and equip your bones; vehayita and you will become ke’gan raveh like a watered garden, uchemotza and like a spring mayim of water, asher lo-yechazevu meiymayn whose waters don’t fail.
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in the years of drought, and He shall quicken thy body with eternal life, and thy soul shall be full with delicacies like a watered garden, well irrigated, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will lead you continually” One of the meanings of the Hebrew “tamiyd” is eternal. We call the flame that hangs above the Aron Hakodesh (Torah Ark) the “Nir Tamiyd” eternal flame (light). It is representative of the presence of the glory (shekhinah) of God. Thus, the present verse refers to eternal life. The Targum agrees.
“satisfy in scorched land your soul (life),” God will be present with the redeemed within the present world to satisfy their needs when they’re in distress in a scorched land. This infers that eternal life is entered into in this life and proceeds into the Olam Haba (world to come). This is consistent with the words of the King Messiah Yeshua:
“Yeshua said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he die, yet will he live.’” -Yochanan (John) 11:25
“and equip your bones” Is a euphemism for eternal life. Bones are interred in a tomb, thus, the figurative strengthening of them is an allusion to the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. The Targum agrees saying, “He shall quicken thy body with eternal life”.
“and you will become like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters don’t fail.” It is hard to miss the obvious correlation to the words of Yeshua:
“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” -Yochanan (John) 7:38 (TLV) cf. Isa. 44:3, 55:1, 58:11; Ezek. 47; Zech. 14:8.
Isa 58:12 Uvanu mimecha And those who come from you will build charevot the waste places olam of antiquity; Mosdei the foundations dor-vador generation after generation tekomem will rise up vekora lecha you will be called “Godeir peretz Mason (repairer) of the breach, meshoveiv Restorer (returner) netiyvot of pathways lashavet to remain, dwell, sit, abide, rest in.
“And those who come from you will build the waste places of antiquity” This came to pass quite literally through the returned captives of Babylon lead by Ezra (458 BCE) and Nehemiah (445 BCE), some 250 years after the present text was spoken and recorded before Israel (Judah), prior to her exile to Babylon. The returned exiles worked to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore the Temple.
“the foundations generation after generation will rise up” This is both literal and figurative. The generations of Israel (ethnic, religious) have continued to rise up and maintain the foundation of ethno-religious identity. The foundation is that set by God, first as the stone of Mount Zion (Who is the King messiah) and also through the faith of Abraham, which was passed on through Isaac and Jacob and subsequently became the foundation of Israel, having entered into covenant with God and receiving the Torah and the promised goal of the Torah the King Messiah. Therefore, the foundation of Israel’s faith will continue to rise up generation after generation through a righteous remnant set apart by God unto the salvation of all the remnant of Israel in the latter days (Romans 11:25-26).
“you will be called “Godeir peretz Mason (repairer) of the breach, meshoveiv Restorer (returner) netiyvot of pathways lashavet to remain, dwell, sit, abide, rest in.” Literally “restorer of the pathways to Shabbat”. The language refers to an individual, as do the titles. “Godeir peretz” is a Repairer of the walls, and “Meshoveiv netiyvot” is a Restorer (returner) of pathways. Therefore, this latter clause describes an individual who will repair the walls of Israel’s cities, particularly Jerusalem and will return her to Shabbat rest in its truest sense. While this may be considered fulfilled in part by the many workers of Israel who worked on the Temple with Ezra and the walls with Nehemiah, it was and is yet to be fully filled by Yeshua the King Messiah in both a metaphysical and eternal spiritual sense. Thus, the everlasting Shabbat of the Olam Haba is inferred.
Isa 58:13 Im-tashiv If you turn away mishabat from the Sabbath raglecha your foot, asot from doing chafatzeycha your pleasure beyom kodshiy in My holy day; vekarata and call lashabat the Sabbath oneg exquisite, likdosh and the holy to HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) mechubad from weighty glory; vechibadto and honouring it due to its weighty glory, meiasot not fashioning deracheycha your own ways, mimetzo nor finding cheftzecha your own pleasure, ve’dabeir davar nor speaking excessively:
As an act of contrition Israel must stop walking toward her own desires and pleasures on the Shabbat day and instead take delight in the true joy of gathering to rest together in the merciful grace of God that endures forever. Israel must honour the weighty glory of God symbolically alluded to in the seventh day and acknowledge His awesome (fearful), holy presence in their weekly observance of Shabbat. When the Jewish people keep Shabbat in holiness and focus on God’s goodness and provision of redemption and rest through the Messiah, they will truly stand in awe of His weighty glory and find themselves reconciled to Him.
We note that Israel is not to pursue her own ways or pleasure, nor is there to be excessive speaking. This is reminiscent of the words of our Messiah:
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! But you, when you pray, go into your inner room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. And when you are praying, do not babble on and on like the pagans; for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” -Matthew 6:5-8 (TLV)
Isa 58:14 Az Then titanag you will become soft al in HaShem (YHVH: Mercy); vehirkavtiycha and I will cause you to ride al-bamoteiy upon the high places of aretz the land; veha’achaltiycha and I will feed you nachalat with the heritage, property, portion, share, inheritance, possession of Yaakov (Jacob, follower) aviycha your father: kiy piy for the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) dibeir has spoken.
“Then you will become soft in HaShem (YHVH: Mercy)” The phrasing is beautiful. As a result of Israel’s reconciliation to God through repentance and the receiving of the King Messiah, each one will become soft of spirit in Mercy (YHVH). Thus they will live as ones who impart mercy to others.
“and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the land” Meaning that Israel under the rule of her Messiah will reign over all the earth.
“and I will feed you with the heritage, property, portion, share, inheritance, possession of Yaakov (Jacob, follower) your father” The redeemed of Israel will feed quite literally on the produce of the land which has been given to Jacob (Israel) in the progression of the promised covenant made through Abraham and passed on to Isaac. The inheritance of Israel also includes the faith of Abraham and its manifestation through Moses at Sinai where Israel entered into covenant with God and received the Torah and the goal of the Torah the King Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, the redeemed of Israel will feed on the spiritual food of the life, body and redeeming blood of Yeshua the Lamb of God and will thus inherit eternity in Him.
Regarding the reason that Jacob is mentioned in connection to the inheritance of the redeemed of Israel:
“not Abraham, of whom it is written, "arise, walk through the land in the length of it", &c. Gen 13:17, nor Isaac, of whom it is written, "for unto thee, and to thy seed, will I give all these countries", &c. Gen 26:3, but Jacob, of whom it is written, "and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south", &c. Gen 28:14expressing the larger extent of the inheritance” - T. Bab. Sabbat, fol 118. 2.
“because he is the father of all true Israelites, who are, as he was, wrestling and prevailing.” -Kimchi
“for the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has spoken.” All this is firmly and immutably established in eternity and has been revealed to those who have received Messiah as the eternal present reality.
© 2019 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,