Much confusion and many needless eschatological debates have been caused by the negligent mistranslation of the Hebrew text of certain parts of this chapter of Isaiah.
Isaiah’s plea for the redemption of his people on behalf of the righteous remnant is now responded to by HaShem. Throughout this chapter Adonay makes a distinction between the faithful and the unfaithful among Israel and between Israel, who He refers to using the Hebrew “am” tribe, people, and the nations, who He refers to using the Hebrew “goy” nation. Quite contrary to the Christian Successionism (evolved replacement theology) nonsense that is pervasive in our time, the prophet is not speaking of God’s rejecting of His chosen, ethnic, religious people (tribe) Israel. In fact, Rav Shaul (Paul) ha-shaliach (the sent one) explains this well when he says that the blindness of Israel (ethnic, religious) is partial and for the sake of the redemption of the goyim (nations), then, something miraculous, all the remnant of Israel ethnic, religious, the chosen tribe of God, will be saved (Romans 11:25-26).
In the current chapter with regard to Israel, God accuses the unfaithful among her of the worst forms of syncretism and idolatry and the faithful He calls His righteous servants and promises a time of deliverance, redemption, salvation and freedom in a land devoid of oppression, an eternal land yet future. This is of course an allusion to the Olam Haba (World to come), a place beyond the shackles of time and space which many Christians mistakenly call Heaven.
Much confusion and many needless eschatological debates have been caused by the negligent mistranslation of the Hebrew text of certain parts of this chapter of Isaiah. From verse 17 onward one must very carefully render the Hebrew text in such a way as to avoid unnecessary frustration and confusion to the English reader. Almost every popular Christian English translation (including the TLV and D. H. Stern translations) makes translational choices that force the text into a contradictory spiral, and all for lack of due consideration for the Hebrew text and Hebrew thought. My translation attempts to convey the Hebrew text as accurately as possible, and although at times this makes for awkward reading, it none the less avoids the foolish theological conundrums inspired by other English translations.
Isa 65:1 Nidrashtiy lelo sha’alu I am sought by those who don’t ask; nimtzeitiy lelo vikshuniy I am found by those who don’t seek Me. Amartiy I said, “Hineiniy Behold, now, here I am, ready and willing, hineiniy Behold, now, here I am, ready and willing,” el-goy to a nation lo kora vishmiy not called in (by) My Name.
The speaker is HaShem via the prophet. The key to understanding the identity of the “goy” nation being spoken of, is the phrase “Not called by My Name”. Israel (Yisra: overcome, El: in God) is called by God’s Name. This is one of the primary reasons that God will never forsake Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen). Thus, the present verse is seen to refer to those that are not ethnically or religiously Israel, nor will they ever be called by the ethnic, religious title “Israel” (as many Christian theologians foolishly [Satanically) suggest). To the contrary, this verse is simply expounding the fact that Salvation Himself will make Himself available to the nations even though they have neither been called nor named for the God of Israel.
“I am sought by those who don’t ask; I am found by those who don’t seek Me.” Essentially this statement conveys the idea that although the nations were devoid of knowledge of God and His Torah, and were subsequently not afforded the language required to ask, and the cognition to seek, none the less they have seen God revealed in His creation, and have also seen the light of the Servant King Messiah shining from Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen), and have sought Him using what they did know and could say. This in stark contrast to the unfaithful among Israel at the time, who though they had the knowledge of God and His Torah, did not seek Him in a right way but instead turned to idolatry and debauchery. Therefore:
“when Gentiles, who do not have the Torah, do by nature the things of the Torah, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the Torah. 15 They show that the work of the Torah is written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts switching between accusing or defending them 16 on the day when God judges the secrets of men according to my Good News through Messiah Yeshua.” -Romans 2:14-16 (TLV)
Speaking of the Messiah Isaiah 55:5 reflects this same understanding:
“Behold, you will summon a nation you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you will run to you,
because of Adonai your God
and the Holy One of Israel,
for He has glorified you.” -Isaiah 55:5 (TLV)
“I said, ‘Behold, now, here I am, ready and willing, Behold, now, here I am, ready and willing,’ to a nation not called in (by) My Name.” With the exception of Rabbi Moses Hakkohen, the majority of Jewish commentators are wrong in concluding that this verse refers to Israel using the Hebrew “goy”. This is simply impossible: although on rare occasions Israel is called a “goy”, she is more often labelled “am” a tribe (people) and not a “goy” nation. This is because God is making a clear distinction in the Tanakh (OT) between the people of Israel who bear His Name and the peoples of the nations who do not. Additionally, the phrase “a nation not called by My Name” disqualifies Israel, who have and will continue to be called by God’s Name.
Rav Shaul (Paul) explains the meaning of Isaiah 65:1-2 in clear terms, making a distinction between Isaiah 65:1 and Isaiah 65:2 when he quotes the prophet’s words in reference to the salvation of the gentiles:
“And Isaiah is so bold as to say,
‘I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I became visible to those who did not ask for Me.’
21 But about Israel He says,
‘All day long I stretched forth My hands
to a disobedient and contrary people.’” -Romans 10:20-21 (TLV)
It is important to remind ourselves at this juncture, of the way that Isaiah uses the terms “am, amiym” tribe, tribes and “goy, goyim” nation, nations, in his scroll. With the exception of qualified singular use, “The nation, My nation, a nation in a day” etc. (Isa.1:4; 9:3; 10:6; 26:2,15 49:7; 58:2; 60:22; 66:8) Isaiah exclusively uses “am, amiym” tribe, tribes to refer to Israel, and “goy, goyim” nation, nations, to refer to nations other than Israel. While there are a number of exceptions they’re easily identified due to contextual variances and qualifying language. In the present text no such variance or qualifying language exists except when referring to the “am” tribe (Israel): therefore, we can conclude that the prophet is using the terms “goy” and “am” to in counter-distinction to distinguish between the two groups within the text of Isaiah 65.
“In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the amiym (tribes of Israel)—of Him shall the goyim (nations) inquire, and His dwelling place shall be glorious. -Isaiah 11:10
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, always first for the Jew and also always for the Greek (non-Jew).” -Romans 1:16 (YBYT)
Isa 65:2 Perastiy I spread out, broke in pieces yaday My hands kol-hayom all the day el-am to a people sorier rebellious, haholechiym whose walkings ha’derech are the way lo-tov that is not good, achar following machshevoteiyhem their own thoughts, devices, inventions, purposes;
“I have sent my prophets every day unto a rebellious people, which walk in a way which was not good, after their own thoughts;” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“But about Israel He says,
‘All day long I stretched forth My hands
to a disobedient and contrary people.’” -Romans 10:21 (TLV)
“I spread out, broke in pieces My hands all the day to a people rebellious” Having spoken of a nation that has not known Him, HaShem now speaks to the people (am: tribe) who do know Him. The language infers suffering, and specifically damage to the hands. There is a strong correlation here with the type of death suffered by the Servant King Messiah. The expression “All day long” conveys a sense of God’s limitless patience, while also reading as an indictment against unfaithful Israel’s stubbornness. Thus, they had remained a rebellious people, rebellion being both the cause and fruit of idolatry.
“whose walkings ha’derech are the way lo-tov that is not good” In Hebrew “ha-derech” the way, often carries a figurative spiritual sense, like the term “halakhah” meaning, the way we walk. The same is intended here. The Hebrew “lo-tov” not good, is far more than a colloquial expression. In this context “not good” (lo-tov) means “evil” (ra). This is in direct contradiction to the words of the psalmist “Lead me in Your Way everlasting”. The way that is “not good” is the way to death. This reference to choosing not to do good correlates to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen.2:9) and finds its counterpoint in verse 22 where “ha-eiytz” the tree (a reference to the Tree of Life/Living known as Eiytz Chayim) is mentioned.
“following their own thoughts, devices, inventions, purposes” This verse exposes the foundation for unfaithful Israel’s sin and the reason for the pursuant affliction. This verse also foreshadows the following verse and the burning of incense on man-made bricks.
Isa 65:3 Ha’am The tribe hamachiysiym who provoke (anger) otiy Me al-panay to My face tamiyd continually, zovechiym sacrificing (slaughtering) baganot in gardens umekateriym and burning incense (offerings of smoke) al-haleveiniym on bricks;
“A people that provoke my Word to anger continually to my face; that sacrifice in gardens to idols, and offer aromatic spices upon bricks;” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“Ha’am The tribe hamachiysiym who provoke (anger) otiy Me al-panay to My face tamiyd continually” The provocation of Israel is ever before the face of God because He is always concerned for Israel’s well-being. Unqualified, the Hebrew “Ha’am” always refers to Israel, the tribe of God.
“sacrificing (slaughtering) baganot in gardens umekateriym and burning incense (offerings of smoke) al-haleveiniym on bricks;” Altars of brick are in direct contradiction to the prescribed altar of HaShem which was to be made of uncut stones, meaning that human manufacture had nothing to do with the altar of Hashem whereas the altars to foreign deities were often erected using man-made bricks and cut stone (Exodus 20:25; Joshua 8:31).
“Bricks” may also be rendered “tiles”, which is consistent with the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
“The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah—all the houses on whose roofs offerings have been offered to all the host of heaven, and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods—shall be defiled like the place of Topheth.” -Jeremiah 19:13 (ESV)
Isa 65:4 Hayosheviym who sit bakevariym in tombs, uvanetzuriym and keep watch yaliynu overnight; ha’ocheliym who eat besar flesh hachaziyr of pigs, umerak and broth piguliym of tainted meat (foul refuse) kleiyhem is in their vessels, implements, utensils;
"who dwell in houses built of the dust of graves, and lodge with the corpse of the children of men;'' -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
“who sit in tombs, and keep watch overnight” This reflects a Canaanite occult practice and is related to necromancy, speaking to the dead, which is explicitly forbidden in Scripture (Deut.18:11; 1 Sam.28:3).
If the last clause refers to the vessels of the Temple service, then this is an horrific indictment against the worst kind of syncretism. The meat of unclean animals caused ritual uncleanness (Lev.11:7; Deut.14:8), but its figurative application here concerns a far more heinous spiritual condition (Isaiah 66:17).
Isa 65:5 Haomeriym Who say, “Kerav eileicha al-tigash-biy Keep to yourself, do not come near me, kiy kedashtiycha for I am too holy for you.” Eileh These ashan are a smoke beapiy in My nostrils, eish yokedet kol-hayom a fire that burns all the day.
Such was the syncretistic hypocrisy of the unfaithful in Israel at that time that they considered their mixture of Jewish and pagan rites as a mechanism that actually purified them and set them apart as holy.
“Smoke in My nostrils” is an expression of irritation spoken as a counterpoint to the offering of incense in verse 3. We note that in counter distinction to God holding out His hands all day long (v.2), unfaithful Israel provokes Him with her sin all day long.
Isa 65:6 Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, chetuvah it is written (ketubah) lefanay before My face: “Lo echeseh kiy I will not keep silent, im-shilamtiy not concerning My contract of peace; veshilamtiy and My contract of peace al-cheiykam is upon her breast (bosom)
“Chetuvah”, literally “it is written”, is also the name for the marriage contract (agreement) written by the Jewish groom as a promise of provision, honour, shelter, fidelity etc. to the bride. It is worth noting that in ancient Jewish betrothal tradition (still practiced by many today), it is the groom alone who writes this promissory contract and gives it to the bride: the bride writes no such document but must simply accept the proposed agreement, written by the groom as an assurance for her wellbeing in the covenant of marriage. This document is usually framed and mounted on the wall of the couple’s home in a prominent location.
“I will not keep silent, not concerning My contract of peace; and My contract of peace is upon her breast (bosom)” The contract of peace which is of God (the Groom) is a reference to the chetuvah (marriage contract/agreement) in the previous clause. Thus, HaShem is saying that He has made a written agreement of fidelity, protection and provision which Israel His bride (wife) had accepted (at Sinai), and He will not keep silent about it. He will ensure that His commitment to her is honoured even if Israel (His bride/wife) has forsaken Him and committed spiritual adultery.
Isa 65:7 Avonoteiychem Your depravity va’avonot and your fathers' avonoteiychem depravity yachdav together, amar says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy); asher those who kiteru burned incense (smoke offerings) al-hehariym on the mountains ve’al-hagevaot and on the hills cheirefuniy blasphemed (taunted, defied) Me, umadotiy I will measure out feulatam payments rishonah for their former deeds el-cheiykam against them.”
This is not the sins of the fathers being meted out against the sons, rather it is the combined sins of both the fathers and the sons being recompensed with the justice of God.
The mountains and the hills were the high places where various deities were being worshipped in direct opposition to the God of Israel. Worse still, there were those who were combining Jewish worship practice with pagan worship practice on these high places and were thus blaspheming YHVH by associating His holy Name with the names of false gods and created things.
Isa 65:8 Koh Thus amar says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy): “ka’asher As yimatzei hatiyrosh the new wine is found baeshkol in the cluster, ve’amar and it is said, ‘Al-tashchiyteihu Do not destroy it, kiy for verachah blessing bo is in it,’ kiy so e’eseh I will act lema’an on behalf avaday of My servants', leviltiy hashchiyt hakol and not destroy the whole.
This analogy reflects the practice of the vinedresser when finding a missed cluster of grapes after the harvested fruit of the vineyard has been pressed into new wine. This cluster is added to the already pressed fruit rather than being left to go to waste. In the same way God has His eye on the holy remnant (faithful Israelites: ethnic, religious, chosen), and will ensure their inclusion in His redemptive purposes. This idea of a holy remnant among the ethnic, religious, chosen people of Israel is conveyed throughout the scroll of Isaiah (1:9; 10-20-23; 11:11-16).
We note that in this chapter the faithful Jewish remnant are called out from the whole community of “My servants”, and set apart as good “servants”, teaching us that service and faithfulness are brothers and that relationship in God gives birth to them both.
“Do not destroy it, for blessing is in it” There is both symbolic and practical blessing in the discovery of a last bunch of grapes found late in the harvest. Practically speaking it is these grapes that are used to create the sweet Kiddush wine used in the ceremonial blessings of Shabbat and the moeidim (feasts), and spiritually speaking the Lord always saves the best for last (John 2:10-11).
Isa 65:9 Vehotzeitiy And I will bring forth miyakov from Jacob (Follower) zera offspring (seed), umiyhudah and from Judah (Praise) yoreish an inheritor hariy of My mountains; viyreishuah vechiyray and My chosen One shall possess it, va’avaday and my servants yishkenu-shamah shall dwell there.
“And I will bring forth miyakov from Jacob (Follower) zera offspring (seed)” The language here is very specific and puts an end to the lies of the successionist (replacement) theology proponents. Jacob is ethnic, religious, chosen Israel, and NOT the Church (Body of believers). Further, while “seed” here can be understood to refer to the righteous remnant that will be saved in Messiah by grace through faith alone, the following phrase regarding Judah refers to an individual.
“and from Judah (Praise) yoreish an inheritor hariy of My mountains” This statement refers to an individual Who will inherit authority over all God’s mountains. This can be no other than the King Messiah, the greater son of David Who is promised to rule over Israel and the nations. We also note that all the mountains will belong to God, meaning that all idolatry associated with the high places will be removed.
“and My chosen One shall possess it, va’avaday and my servants yishkenu-shamah shall dwell there.” The chosen One is the Inheritor of the previous verse and the servants of Hashem are the righteous remnant of Israel, Jews, who will inhabit the new land forever under the rule of Israel’s One true King.
Isa 65:10 Vehayah And it will come to pass Hasharon the Sharon (a plain) tzon will be a pasture for flocks, ve’eimek and the Valley of Achor (trouble) lereivetz bakar a place for herds to lie down, leamiy for My tribe asher who derashuniy have sought (enquired of) Me with care.
The Sharon plain is the fertile valley stretching from the Carmel mountains in the north of Israel all the way down to Yafo (Tel Aviv) in the south, and the Achor valley runs from the lower regions of the river Jordan to the plains of Jericho in the south. Therefore, the meaning is that the redeemed children of Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen) will inhabit all of the land promised by God to Abraham.
Israel had a shepherding history in Sharon:
“Over the herds that pastured in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite; over the herds in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai.” -1 Chronicles 27:29 (ESV)
Achor was named for Achan who was stoned for withholding spoils of war from God, and because of the trouble he gave to Israel (Joshua 7:26). Therefore, there is a redemptive quality to this allusion.
We note that through the prophet, HaShem calls ethnic, religious Israel (the Jewish people) “amiy” My tribe, as being distinct from all other tribes of the earth, and more specifically He speaks of those who are of the tribe of Israel who have sought Him with care (the righteous remnant).
Isa 65:11 Ve’atem And you (plural) ozeveiy who forsake HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), hashecheichiym who forget et-har kadshiy My holy mountain, ha’orechiym who set lagad for Gad (Fortune, invader) shulchan a table, veham’maliym lamniy mimesach and fill cups for Meniy (god of destiny [fate] of the Babylonians) as drink offerings,
Having spoken of the righteous remnant HaShem now speaks to the wicked majority. Where the righteous had “sought” Him the wicked have “forsaken” Him. They had turned their back on the prescribed worship of the Torah and the Temple (Holy Mountain, Zion, Jerusalem) cult and had instead worshipped foreign gods and in some cases syncretised both practices.
“who set lagad for Gad (Fortune, invader) shulchan a table” Gad was a Semitic god of fortune who the unfaithful among Israel were worshipping and relying on to tell them their future. The setting of tables can refer to both food offerings and fortune telling practices which were the precursors to modern day tarot card reading etc. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew meaning of Gad is “invader”.
“and fill cups for Meniy (god of destiny [fate] of the Babylonians) as drink offerings” Meniy was the Babylonian deity of destiny or fate. And the pouring of drink offerings was probably associated with actions like reading coffee grounds or tea leaves, and or their equivalent.
Thus, both deities, one from the Canaanites and one from the far off land of Babylon, were being sought after for divining the future. The tragedy is that given the other textual evidence, it is likely that cups that were intended for use in the worship of Hashem were being used instead in the worship of this false deity.
The Greeks and Romans had similar deities in Jupiter and Venus.
Isa 65:12 Umaniytiy And I will destine (fate) etchem you (plural) lacherev to the sword, vechulechem and all of you latevach will go to slaughter tichra’u bowing down, ya’an because, karatiy I called, ve’lo aniytem and you did not answer; dibartiy I spoke, ve’lo shematem and you did not listen, va’ta’asu ha-ra but you did the evil be’eiynay in My eyes uva’asher lo-chafatztiy bechartem and chose what I did not delight in.”
“Umaniytiy And I will destine (fate) etchem you (plural) lacherev to the sword,” “Maniytiy” meaning “I will destine you” is a play on words concerning Meniy the Babylonian deity of fate or destiny whose name is based on the same Hebrew root. Therefore, God is saying, “So you want to know your destiny, so be it, the destiny of the wicked is the sword (death)”.
“I called, and you did not answer; I spoke, and you did not listen, but you did the evil in My eyes and chose what I did not delight in.” Put simply, “You were given ample opportunity to receive My grace and mercy, and instead you refused My love, My constant calling (all day long) and chose, not an evil but the evil (lo-tov, not good), that is, to reject the redeeming love of God in favour of idolatry, lust, debauchery and self-deification.”
Isa 65:13 Lachein Therefore koh thus amar says Adonay HaShem (YHVH: Mercy): “Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, avaday My servants yocheilu shall eat, ve’atem but you (plural) tiranu will go hungry; hineih behold, now, pay attention, avaday My servants yoshtu shall drink, ve’atem but you (plural) titzmau will go thirsty; hineih behold, now, pay attention, avaday My servants yismachu shall rejoice, ve’atem but you teivoshu will be put to shame;
Here the Lord makes a clear distinction between the righteous remnant of Israel and the wicked. This distinction is reflected in the practicalities of life: the righteous will have food, drink and joy but the wicked will have none of those things. In fact, this is an analogy concerning the death of the wicked and is a precursor to the eternal death of the wicked.
Isa 65:14 Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, avaday My servants yaronu shall sing mituv from goodness leiv of heart (core being), ve’atem but you (plural) titzaku will cry out mike’eiv from pain leiv of heart (core being) umisheiver and from ruin ruach of spirit teyeililu you will wail.
“My servants yaronu shall sing mituv from goodness leiv of heart (core being)” The Hebrew is careful to say that the servants of God will sing “from goodness of heart”, meaning that their joy and singing is the fruit of God, Who alone is good, dwelling within them.
“but you (plural) will cry out from pain of heart (core being) and from ruin of spirit you will wail.” In stark contrast to the righteous the wicked will cry out from the pain of having rejected God and the ruining of spirit that results.
Isa 65:15 Ve’hinachtem shimchem And you (plural) shall leave your (plural) name lishvuah as a curse, livchiyray for My Chosen One vehemitecha will slay you, Adonay HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), vela’avadayv but His servants yikra He will call sheim acheir by another name,
Speaking of Israel in her sinful state Jeremiah reflects the same sentiment:
“I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them.” -Jeremiah 24:9 (ESV)
“And you (plural) shall leave your (plural) name as a curse, for My Chosen One will slay you,” This refers to the unfaithful among Israel. It does not refer to all Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen).
“but His servants He will call by another name,” Primarily, at least in a national sense “Name” is associated with reputation, therefore, the name of ill repute due to wickedness will be transformed by God through Messiah so that Israel is given a new name (reputation) of honour.
Ultimately redeemed Israel will be called by the Name of HaShem’s King Messiah Yeshua. It is not an indication that Israel will no longer be called Israel but rather, in the same way Jacob (follower) became Israel (One who overcomes in God) [Gen.32:28], Israel will have a transforming experience of the same Man that Jacob once wrestled with, only they will wrestle with the Man and be saved as an entire nation (Romans 11:25-26). This Man is of course Yeshua the King Messiah. Therefore, the new name of ethnic, religious, chosen and redeemed Israel is in the King Messiah, and they will retain their unique identity in Him.
Isa 65:16 Asher Because hamitbareich he who blesses ba’aretz in the land yitbareich shall bless beiloheiy in the God amein of truth (agreeing), ve’hanishba and he who takes an oath ba’aretz in the land yishava shall swear beiloheiy in the God amein of truth (agreeing); Kiy because nishkechu forgotten, (withered) hatzarot are the troubles harishonot of the first things ve’kiy and because nisteru they’re concealed mei’einay from My eyes.
The new name given to the redeemed remnant of Israel through Messiah will direct people to God and all of redeemed Israel in the promised land of Israel will know that they have come to the land through God’s redemptive work both spiritual and physical. Therefore, they will say yes and amen in agreement with the manifestation of God’s redemption, and will constantly bless and acknowledge the God of Truth.
“because forgotten, (withered) are the troubles of the first things and because they’re concealed from My eyes.” This final clause is a transition to the next verse which declares the new creation. Notice that the Hebrew literally says “first things” and not “former things” (as most English translations). This is important. Former things can be any number of things prior to the present but first things refers specifically to the creation of the heavens and the earth, the first universe and its order, the entry of sin and death etc.
Isa 65:17 “Kiy For hiniy behold, I vorei create shamayim heavens chadashiym new (ones) ve’aretz and the land chadashah new, ve’lo and not to be tizarcharnah recalled (remembered) are harishonot the first things ve’lo and nor ta’aleiyna will they ascend al-leiv upon My inner being (heart, core being).
At this point, given the clear explanation of the new creation and the putting away entirely of the first things, that is the first creation which became sin affected: we must understand that what follows is a description (albeit in part poetic) of the Olam Haba (World to come), the new heavens and the new earth which is later alluded to in the Revelation of Yeshua to Yochanan. Therefore, any seemingly temporal language is subject to the everlasting nature of the new creation, and cannot, as some foolishly suggest, refer to some sort of dispensational, so called, millennial reign period, as if life and death might continue for the redeemed of the Lord. There is no death in the world to come (Rev.21:4).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2 I also saw the holy city—the New Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying,
“Behold, the dwelling of God is among men,
and He shall tabernacle among them.
They shall be His people,
and God Himself shall be among them
and be their God.
4 He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more.
Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer,
for the former things have passed away.”
5 And the One seated upon the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new!” -Revelation 21:1-5a (TLV)
Isa 65:18 Kiy im-siysu But be glad vegiylu and rejoice adeiy-ad until perpetuity (forever) ahser in that which Aniy I vorei create; Kiy for hiniy behold, I vorei create et-Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem: A flood of Peace) giylah to be a joy, ve’amah and her tribe masos from exultation.
This is not as some suggest describing a temporal renewal prior to eternity, it cannot be, for it states clearly “Be glad and rejoice FOREVER in that which I create…”
By using the determiner “et” prior to “Yerushalayim” the Hebrew text infers a Jerusalem that is outside of time and space, thus “The Jerusalem” perpetual. This is prophetic allusion to the New Jerusalem later described in Yeshua’s Revelation to Yochanan.
Isa 65:19 Ve’galtiy I will rejoice viyrushalayim in Jerusalem ve’sastiy and I will exult ve’amiy in My tribe; ve’lo-yishama bah od and no more perpetually shall be heard kol a voice bechiy of weeping ve’kol and a voice ze’akah of distressed crying.
Although there will be people from all nations in the new Jerusalem, that is not the meaning here. Redeemed Israel is specifically alluded to as “My tribe”. As a people we have endured His rebuke, now we will receive His redemption and the reward that accompanies it.
Isa 65:20 Lo-yihyeh It shall not come about misham from this place od perpetually ul an infant yamiym who lives but a few days, ve’zakein and an old person asher who lo-yemalei does not complete his days, et-yamayn the days kiy for ha’na’ar the young man will be as ben-meiah a son of a hundred shanah years; yamot it will come about that dead ve’hachote will be the sinner (who remains in guilt, unclean, continues to miss the mark) meiah a hundred shanah years yekulal accursed.
“Et-yamayn” the days, like “Et-Yerushalayim” the Jerusalem (v.18), is an allusion to those days not subject to time and space, and therefore, any allusion to length is figurative, given that eternity has no beginning or end. Likewise “ha’na’ar” the young man is a singular typology referring to the nature of the renewed (resurrected) human being, as different from “na’ar” a young man of the present sin affected creation (age). Notice that the counterpoint to this is “ha’chote” the sinner, which uses the determiner “ha” as denoting the sin affected human being who has remained in his condition by refusing the grace of God. In both the case of the redeemed young man and the sinner, one hundred years is used as a figure for eternity, being the multiplication of the Hebrew number 10 (which represents fullness) by itself (10 x 10 = 100). We know this because verses 17 through 19 speak in terms of “perpetuity, eternity, going round forever”. Therefore, the language concerning the living and the dead is figurative and indicates the nature of both the renewed resurrected human in Messiah and the human resurrected unto eternal punishment through rejection of the King Messiah.
Isa 65:21 U’vanu And they shall build vatiym houses veyashavu and inhabit them; ve’nate’u and they shall plant cheramiym vineyards ve’achelu and eat their piryam fruit.
“They” are the righteous of the former verse, after all, the (perpetually) dead cannot plant and reap, nor can they drink.
Those who say there will be no eating or drinking in the Olam Haba (world to come) have obviously never read the words of the King Messiah Who says, “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." -Matthew 26:29 (NIV)
Isa 65:22 Lo yivnu They shall not build ve’acheir and another yei’sheiv inhabit; lo yite’u they shall not plant ve’acheir yocheil and another eat; kiy-chiymeiy for like the days Ha-eitz of the tree yemeiy shall the days amiy of My tribe be, uma’aseih and yedeiyhem of their hands yevalu they will enjoy vechiyray My chosen.
It is tragic that so many English versions of the Bible mistranslate “ha-eiytz” the tree, as “a tree”. What foolish misdirection this is. The Hebrew says “ha-eiytz” for a reason, that reason being that the days of human beings in the Olam Haba (world to come) are being likened to the days of Eiytz Chayim the tree of life (living) which is perpetual, everlasting.
Isa 65:23 Lo yigeu They shall not labour lariyk in vain ve’lo yeledu or bear children labehalah for calamity, kiy for they are zera a seed berucheiy blessed by HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) heimah Whom ve’tze’etza’eiyhem their offspring are near to.
Labouring in vain is the fruit of the fallen creation, it will not be possible in the Olam Haba (world to come). They will not bear children for calamity because there will no longer be procreation of the human species (Mark 12:25; Matt. 22:30) and there will no longer be sin or death and therefore no calamity.
“for they are a seed blessed by HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Whom their offspring are near to.” The first clause refers to Israel and the second clause refers to all born to Israel prior to the return of Messiah who receive Messiah and are reconciled to God. It does not, as some suggest, refer to offspring born in a millennial transitional period prior to the fullness of the Olam Haba (World to come).
Isa 65:24 Ve’hayah And it will come about that terem-yikrau Before they call va’aniy e’eneh I will answer; od hem while they are yet medaberiym speaking eshma I will hear.
This is the counterpoint to the rejection of God’s call by the wicked (v.2, 11). Whereas the wicked refused to hear (though Hashem held out His hands all day long), the righteous living in intimate relationship with God in the Olam Haba (world to come) will have such a beautiful intrinsic form of communication with Him that His loving answer will precede their request and both the speaking and the hearing of metaphysical conversation will be made one (echad), a complex and perpetual unity.
Isa 65:25 Ze’eiv A wolf ve’taleh and a lamb yiru will feed che’echad together; ve’aryeih and a lion kabakar like a bullock, yochal will eat teven straw, venachash and the snake’s afar lachmo food will be the dust. Lo yarei’u They shall not do evil velo-yashchiytu or corrupt bechol-har kadshiy in all my holy mountain,” amar says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
The wolf and lamb feeding together is a poetic figure which denotes the cessation of death (those animals once carnivorous will no longer be carnivorous). The imagery is of course cemented by the proceeding clause concerning the vegan lion. However, just because the language is figurative doesn’t mean it is not also literal. The idea of a new earth without animals (an idea that many are adamant about), is ludicrous in light of the nature of the first creation and the consistent message of Scripture concerning the renewal of all things. Or else, why does “all creation (which includes animals) eagerly await the revealing of the sons of God”? (Romans 8:19) Therefore, with the exception of the serpent (perhaps), it seems very likely that the new earth will be populated by animals of the new creation.
“The snake’s food will be the dust” is a figure denoting the eternal punishment of ha-Satan (the Devil). In counter distinction to the first creation where the snake (Satan) entered the story at the beginning and seeded death, at the inception of the new creation the snake (Satan) will be exited from creation unto death everlasting.
“They shall not do evil or corrupt in all my holy mountain,” This phrasing refers to all the enemies of God and His people both spiritual and physical. That is, those who have fallen prey to the sin and death seeded by the Serpent (Satan), who have now been cast along with the Serpent (Satan) into the lake of fire which is the second and everlasting death (Revelation 20:14-15).
“They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
for the land will be full of the knowledge of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy),
as the waters will cover the sea.” -Isaiah 11:9
Copyright 2019 Yaakov Brown
A location is personified as a representation of the sum of its inhabitants. Thus, Zion, which is a title given to the Jewish people, the land, the mount in Jerusalem and so on, is the sum of all Israel (ethnic, religious) and her land. She is a parched land, a people in need of redemption, and for her sake God will not keep silent.
Isa 62:1 Lema’an For the sake of Tziyon (Zion, parched land) lo I will not echesheh keep silent, ulema’an and for the sake of Yerushalayim (Flood, downpour of Peace) lo I will not eshkot shut up, ad-yeitzei kanogah tzidkah until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, viyshuatah and her salvation kelapiyd as a torch yivar burning.
“Till I work salvation for Zion, I will give no rest to the nations, until I bring consolation to Jerusalem, I will give no rest to the kingdoms, till her light be revealed as the early dawn, and her salvation shall burn as a lamp.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
As is often the case the question of “who is the speaker?” results in numerous and contrary answers. Iben Ezra suggests that the speaker is corporate Israel in exile in Babylon (Given both the prophetic and historical context his seems extremely unlikely). On the other hand a number of modern scholars, both Jewish and Christian suggest that Isaiah is the speaker (tenable but not consistent with other factors within the parasha [portion]).
In determining the speaker we must look at context (historical, cultural, prophetic etc.), nearest previous subject, inspiration and indeed, the prophet himself. The historical context is pre-exile (Babylon), the locational context is the land of Israel, the prophetic context relates to the redemptive work of God as it is worked out through the Salvation of Israel in the land of Israel. The nearest previous subject is God Himself (Isaiah 61:11), and the prophet is tasked, as always, with relaying the words of God.
Isaiah had no authority nor the means to appoint watchmen on the walls, nor is any man capable of assuring that watchmen will continue to cry out warning perpetually (v.6). It is also said that “The Lord has proclaimed” the salvation of the daughter of Zion to the ends of the land (v.11). Further still, the Hebrew “chashah” (silence) is commonly used of Adonay in reference to Himself when making a proclamation regarding His leaving things as they are (Isa. 65:6; 57:11; 64:11). Therefore, it seems most likely that God Himself is the speaker.
The Targum also supports the understanding that God is the speaker. After all, only God can work salvation for Zion.
With this in mind the text offers a powerful assurance, in the fact that it is God Himself Who will not keep silent, and will appoint others to resonate with that truth from the walls that surround the cities of Israel. In particular, the walls of Jerusalem. I am reminded of the familiar repetition of Pesach:
“God Himself and not a malakh (messenger), God Himself and not a seraph (Angel of fire)…”
“For the sake of Tziyon (Zion, parched land) I will not keep silent”. A location is personified as a representation of the sum of its inhabitants. Thus, Zion, which is a title given to the Jewish people, the land, the mount in Jerusalem and so on, is the sum of all Israel (ethnic, religious) and her land. She is a parched land, a people in need of redemption, and for her sake God will not keep silent.
“And for the sake of Yerushalayim (Flood, downpour of Peace) I will not shut up”. The use of the proper noun Jerusalem is of great significance here. Not only will God not keep silent regarding the entire people of Israel (ethnic, religious) in her parched state, He will further more not shut up until she is redeemed and transformed into her future state in the midst of a flood of peace (Jerusalem). Once again, a city is the sum of its inhabitants, therefore, it is for the sake of the Jews of Jerusalem that HaShem will not shut up.
“until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a torch burning.” Her righteousness is purchased of God and not of herself, for God has said elsewhere that the righteousness of human beings is as used menstrual cloth (Isaiah 64:6). In fact, Israel’s Righteousness, like her Salvation (v.11), is a person. While it is true that the Hebrew text uses the general noun “shuatah” for salvation, it none the less sets up the personification of Salvation in verse 11, where the general noun is used and followed by the phrase “His reward is with Him”. Therefore, it is quite acceptable to understand the present verse as:
“Her Righteousness (Yeshua) goes forth as brightness, and her Salvation (Yeshua) as a torch burning.”
“As a burning torch” This brings to mind the lit torches of the watchmen on the walls that shone across the valleys surrounding the city of Jerusalem, and were at times taken by a watchman to help retrieve returning Jews in the darkness of the night. A watchman was not only responsible for warning of coming danger, he was also responsible for assuring that any Jews returning to the city were afforded light and safe passage through the gates and in behind the city walls. Thus the figurative meaning is profound. Salvation (Yeshua) Himself is the greatest of watchmen and His torch (saving work) is a light of both warning and deliverance that goes out from the walls and into the darkness of the world that surrounds God’s holy City and its people (the Jews).
Ultimately the righteousness and salvation of Jerusalem will shine forth in fullness following the redemption of the entire remnant of ethnic, religious Israel (The Jewish people) [Romans 11:25-26], when the New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens and converge with the existing city (Heb. 11:22; Rev. 21).
Isa 62:2 Vekora goyim And the nations shall see tzidkeich your righteousness, vechol-melachiym and all kings kevodeich your glory, vekora lach sheim chadash and you shall be called by a new name, asher piy which the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) yikovenu shall pierce you with.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and they shall call thee by a new name, which the Word of the Lord shall declare.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
The nations will see Yeshua, the righteousness of Israel (ethnic, religious) and the rulers of those nations will be in awe of His glory reflected in the redeemed people of Israel (Modern Jews being the unification of the tribes previously returned from exile to Judah).
“You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) shall pierce you with” The imagery here denotes the application of a piece of bridal jewellery to the nose of the bride (Ezekiel 16:12; Genesis 24:22-31). Thus, the new name given to the people of Israel is symbolic of her position as bride of God. The giving of the new name also reflects the journey of Jacob and his wrestling with the man (Yeshua), God manifest (Gen. 32). This famous Torah account concludes with the renaming of Jacob (A Follower who struggles). Thus, through submitting to the man (God with us: Yeshua) Jacob is renamed (By that same One) Yisra-El (Overcomes in God). Therefore, the new name given to Israel, spoken by the mouth of HaShem, will reflect her redemption through His King Messiah Yeshua. Israel (ethnic, religious) will look upon the one Whom we have pierced and grieve as one mourns for an only son (Zech. 12:10).
It is interesting to note that the Targum alludes to the Word (Davar: John 1) of the Lord as being the origin of the declaration of Israel’s (Jerusalem’s, Zion’s) new name.
So what will the new name be? The truth is that there are numerous possibilities but no certainties. The new name will relate to the redeemed nature of the city of Jerusalem made one with the New Jerusalem, in which God Himself and the Lamb Yeshua will dwell and provide the city with light (Rev. 21:22-23). The last new name for Jerusalem mentioned in the Tanakh (OT) is found in Ezekiel.
“It will be 18,000 cubits all around. From that day on, the name of the city will be: ‘YHVH Shammah Adonai Is There.’” -Ezekiel 48:35
Isa 62:3 Vehayiyt And it will come to pass that you will be ateret a crown tiferet of splendour beyad-YHVH in the hand of HaShem, utzeniyf meluchah and a royal diadem bechaf-Elohayich in the palm of your God.
Israel (ethnic, religious) will be a crown revealing God’s glorious redemptive work and will be held by God’s mighty (hand) protection. Additionally she will be carefully cradled in the open palm of God’s hand as a treasured possession, protected and tenderly loved. Therefore, the themes of fierce protection and tender love are conveyed in the nuanced use of the Hebrew yad and chaf.
The Hebrew tzeniyf is used of both the headdress of the high priest (Ex. 28:4; Zech. 3:5) and of the king (Ezk. 21:26). Therefore, the redemption of Israel’s calling as a nation of priests is rendered in figurative language. There is also a connection to the unification of the kingship and priesthood of Israel in our King Messiah Yeshua.
Isa 62:4 Lo yei’ameir lach od You will not be spoken of any longer as azuvah forsaken; uleartzeich lo yei’ameir od neither will your land be spoken of any longer as being shemamah desolate: Kiy lach for you shall yikarei be called Cheftzi-vah (My delight is in her), uleartzeich and your land Be’ulah (Married one, possession, has a Husband); kiy-chafeitz YHVH for HaShem delights in you, ve’artzeich and your land shall tiba’eil be married (ruled over, have a Husband).
Zion herself had complained that she had been forsaken by God:
“But Zion said, HaShem has forsaken me, and Adonay has forgotten me.” -Isaiah 49:14
Earlier Isaiah prophecies the word of the Lord acknowledging that Israel has been left desolate as a result of her sin, and making a similar promise to that of the present verse:
“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” -Isaiah 60:15
“You will not be spoken of any longer as azuvah forsaken”. This is a reference to an estranged or divorced wife and is consistent with the bridal language used throughout chapters 61 and 62.
“neither will your land be spoken of any longer as being shemamah desolate”. The land is personified here as a barren woman, no longer fruit bearing, desolate.
“for you shall yikarei be called Cheftzi-vah (My delight is in her), uleartzeich and your land Be’ulah (Married one, possession, has a Husband)” Now the figurative language takes on a redemptive quality. The people once forsaken (divorced) is now called the delight of her husband, and the land once barren (desolate, fruitless) is now called a married woman. The role of the ancient Jewish groom and husband was to care for and provide for His bride, wife. Therefore, in the arms of a righteous husband a woman was highly valued, protected, delighted in, adored, given fruitful land and shelter for her progeny. How wicked our generation has become, that we should rob women of the very thing they desire most, to be cared for, protected, provided for and made fruitful. Instead our women spurn the roles of creation and our men take no responsibility for their depraved actions, resulting in the objectification of women and the demeaning of men and the rapid decay of western civilization. A society once founded on Biblical morality.
If, as some conjecture, the king of Judah at this time was Manasseh, the use of the name Cheftzivah is a strong indictment against Manasseh’s evil choices given that He was born to a mother of the same name:
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; and he reigned fifty five years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Hephzibah.” -2 Kings 21:1
“For HaShem delights in you, and your land shall be married (ruled over, have a Husband).” We are reminded that at the time of this prophecy Israel’s behaviour was far from delightful, and yet HaShem saw her redeemed outside of time and space through the blood of His Son the King Messiah, Israel’s Salvation. Therefore, He delights in her redeemed future self, a bride made pure and dressed to adorn her Husband’s arm.
Notice that the land of Israel is intrinsically connected to her redemption and marriage to HaShem. He has promised the land through Abraham and will bring the full bride price to the wedding feast. Redeemed Israel (ethnic, religious) will inhabit the new land, transformed through the vicarious work of the King Messiah.
Isa 62:5 Kiy For yival bachur as a young man marries betulah a virgin, yivaluch banayich so shall your sons marry you; umesos and rejoicing chatan as the bridegroom -kalah over the bride, yasiys alayich Elohayich so shall your God rejoice over you.
The meaning is that of devotion in the first love of youth. The sons of Redeemed Israel will so delight in being part of the people of Israel that they will be like excited grooms pursuing their brides. Likewise, God Himself will rejoice over Israel (ethnic, religious) as a Groom over His bride. This language is reminiscent of but not the same as that of Revelation 21:2; 22:17 where the New Jerusalem is called the bride of Messiah. A city is the sum of its inhabitants and the sum of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem will include goyim as well as Jews. However, the present verse specifically refers to ethnic, religious Jews redeemed through Messiah, and the location, while it includes Jerusalem, is none the less the entire land of Israel promised and delivered to Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen).
Isa 62:6 Al-chomotayich Upon your walls Yerushalayim, hifkadtiy I have set shomeriym guardians (watchmen); kol-hayom all day ve’kol-halaylah and all night tamid perpetually lo yecheshu they shall never be silent: hamazkiriym the remembrances et YHVH of HaShem (Mercy) al-domiy lachem don’t you cease!
“Upon your walls Yerushalayim I have set shomeriym guardians (watchmen)” The speaker is HaShem, He alone is qualified to appoint perpetual guardians on the walls of Jerusalem. The use of the Hebrew shomeriym guardians from shomer guard, (keep), illuminates the role of watchman. A watchman of the walls of Jerusalem was by necessity a Jew, a sabra (born of the land) and was appointed by the head watchman under the ruler of the city guard and ultimately at the order of the king of Judah (Israel). A Gentile could not perform this role because a Gentile does not have a blood connection to the people and the land, nor does he (generally and contextually speaking) have a connection to the God of Israel (except through Messiah) and is therefore more likely to flee at the slightest sign of trouble.
“All day and all night perpetually they shall never be silent: the remembrances of HaShem (Mercy) don’t you cease observing them!”
These particular watchmen are appointed in every generation: they never fail to warn the city of coming danger, nor do these watchmen ever forsake the remembrances of HaShem (Shabbaot, moedim Festivals, regaliym and Temple service of worship). Therefore, these are watchmen over both the physical and spiritual well-being of Israel (ethnic, religious). They are not silent when the people prosper (day), nor do they fail to warn the people when they pursue evil (night). Like HaShem Who chose them they are always working (John 5:17).
The word shomer is used to refer to many religious obligations in Judaism. We are to shomer Shabbat, guard or keep the Shabbat. We practice shomer Torah, the keeping or guarding of the Torah and so on. The watchmen being referred to here are not only looking out for coming trouble, they are also tasked with thwarting the trouble which results from the sin of the people. They do this through the maintaining of the Instruction (Torah) of HaShem, in worship, observances, remembrance of His mighty deeds and vigilant purity. A watchman is responsible for proclaiming the Word of HaShem in every generation. In fact, Isaiah is one such watchman and the prophets of Israel are his co-workers. However, the watchman is not responsible for the response of the people. Their choice for or against God is their own.
“Do not be as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, ‘Thus says Adonai of hosts, “Return you now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, says Adonai.’” -Zechariah 1:4
The watchmen that succeeded the time of captivity in Babylon were:
“Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai stands upon the walls of Jerusalem, and proclaims the glory of the second temple as surpassing that of the first. Zechariah points from Joshua and Zerubbabel onwards to the sprout of the Lord, who is priest and prince in one person, and builds the true temple of God. Malachi predicts the coming of the Lord to His temple, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. Under the eyes of these prophets the city of God rose up again, and they stand upon its pinnacles, and look thence into the glorious future that awaits it, and hasten its approach through the word of their testimony. Such prophets, who carry the good of their people day and night upon their anxious praying hearts, does Jehovah give to the Jerusalem after the captivity, which is one in the prophet's view with the Jerusalem of the last days.” -Keil & Delitzsch
These watchmen are the righteous counterparts of the previously mentioned unrighteous watchmen:
“His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” -Isaiah 56:10
Isa 62:7 Ve’al titenu domiy and give Him no rest, lo ad yechonein till He establishes, ve’al yasiym and till He makes et-Yerushalayim tehilah a praise ba’aretz in the land.
It is m Who the prophets are to give no rest. He has instructed them to be advocates in the likeness of His Son the King Messiah, the greatest of advocates. What awesome hope for Israel (ethnic, religious) and for all the earth. For the watchmen of God will not stop crying out to Him until He establishes the city of His glory, the city where Peace Himself brings a flood of wholeness, well-being and eternal peace. The capital city of the Jewish people and the location of the eternal Jerusalem which comes down from the heavens. All the land of Israel, meaning all her tribes collectively will look to their capital and hear her praises as a result of the redemptive work of the King Messiah.
“But Yeshua answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working.’” – John 5:17
Isa 62:8 Nishba YHVH HaShem (Mercy) has sworn biymiyno by his right hand, uvizroa uzi and by the arm of His strength, im-etein Surely I will no longer give et-deganeich your wheat to be od again ma’achal food leoyevayich for your enemies; ve’im-yishtu veneiy-neichar and sons of strangers shall not drink tiyrosheich your new wine, yaga’at bo for which you have laboured:
Make no mistake, the context makes Israel the recipient of this promise (not the Church). HaShem has sworn that never again will foreign nations steal the harvest and posterity of the Jewish people. We will no longer labour in vain. Therefore, Iben Ezra is right in saying:
“This verse also proves clearly, that this prophecy refers to the time yet to come; for the Lord hath sworn, that is, has made an unconditional decree. By His right hand. By His might, which is everlasting. The right hand is mentioned here to indicate His power of preventing enemies despoiling the Israelites of their corn, etc.”
The doubling of the right hand and strong arm firmly establishes this promise.
Isa 62:9 Kiy For me’asfayv they that have gathered it yocheluhu shall eat it, vehillu and praise et HaShem (YHVH: Mercy); umekabetzayv and they that have gathered it yishtuhu shall drink it bechatzrot in the courts kodshiy of My sanctuary.
The food gathered and eaten in the courts of the Temple refers to festival foods and the ritual offerings of the Temple cult along with the tithes for the Levites etc. rather than to all the food gathered (Deut. 14:22-27, 29). The connecting of the harvest to the Temple worship shows a link between spiritual renewal and agricultural prosperity.
Isa 62:10 Ivru ivru Go through, go through basheariym in the gates; panu clear you derech a way ha’am for the tribe; solu solu lift up, lift up hamsilah the highway; sakelu throw stones; mei’even from the stone hariymu the raising up neis of a sign (a miracle. A banner) al-ha’amiym upon the tribes.
This is interpreted by some to refer to the gates of Israel’s captivity but seems more likely to refer to the clearing of a way into the gates of the city of Jerusalem upon the return of the exiles via the highway that is to be built up as prophesied previously:
“And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, that shall remain, from Assyria; like as there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” -Isaiah 11:16
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for: the wayfaring men, yes, fools shall not go about on it.” -Isaiah 35:8
“The voice of one that cries, ‘Prepare you in the wilderness the way of Adonay; make level in the desert a highway for our God.’” -Isaiah 40:3
“And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.” -Isaiah 49:11
“And He will say, ‘Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.’” -Isaiah 57:14
“mei’even from the stone hariymu the raising up neis of a sign (a miracle. A banner) al-ha’amiym upon the tribes.” This miraculous sign (neis) will be raised up from the stone (even) as a means of drawing the tribes of Israel in returning to Hashem. The Hebrew amiym is poorly translated by those who render “peoples”. In this context it clearly refers to the tribes of Israel as distinct from the goyim, or else why does it not say goyim? This sign is of course the Messiah Himself, lifted up on the cross for all to see, and, He being the foundation, corner, and cap stone (Ha-even) [as well as the stone on which one is broken and under which the other is crushed], is both the One through Whom all things are created (John 1; Colossians 1: Jewish tradition also teaches that the universe was created through the stone [Ha-even] on the Temple mount [Moriah] in Jerusalem), and the firstborn from the dead, the Salvation of Israel and the hope of the nations.
Note the distinction in the following verses regarding the goyim (nations) and the amiym (tribes), Israel, Judah. It is not to say that the sign is only for the tribes of Israel but rather that the sign of Messiah has a unique instantaneous national redemptive outcome with regard to Israel (Romans 11:25-26). Whereas it brings the nations in their fullness over a predetermined period of time prior to the great salvation (through Yeshua the King Messiah) of the entire remnant of the Jewish people.
“He will raise a sign la-goyim for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the land.” -Isaiah 11:12
“Thus says the Lord YHVH: ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the goyim nations, and raise My sign to the amiym tribes; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” -Isaiah 49:22
Isa 62:11 Hineih Behold, now, pay attention! HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) hishmiya el-ketzeh has demanded that the extremity of ha’aretz the land hear, imru Say you lebat-Tziyon to the daughter of Zion, Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, yisheich your salvation ba comes; Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, secharo His reward ito is with Him, ufeulato and His recompense (repayment) lefanayv is before His face.
As always the use of Hineih is a call to attention. HaShem demands that all the tribes of Israel hear and take note. Even to the very extremity of the land of Israel. How do we know that the land of Israel is meant and not the earth entirely? Because the message is to the daughter of Zion, and the closest previous subject is the tribes of Israel.
The daughter of Zion is now called to pay attention. “yisheich your salvation ba comes”…
“Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, secharo His reward ito is with Him, ufeulato and His recompense (reward) lefanayv is before His face.”
Zion’s Salvation is a Him. Therefore, yeshuah the noun is revealed as Yeshua the Person, some 700 years before the entry into time and space of the King Messiah Yeshua.
Yeshua (Salvation) comes to Zion with reward for the repentant and recompense for the wicked. Therefore, this speaks of His second coming.
Isa 62:12 Vekareu And they shall call them am-hakodesh The holy tribe, geuleiy redeemed of Hashem (YHVH: Mercy): veloch and you Yikarei derushah shall be called Sought out, iyr lo ne’ezavah a city not forsaken.
“They” are those who look on and see the redemption of the entire remnant of Israel (ethnic, religious) at the end of the age. They will call them “The Holy Tribe”, “Redeemed of YHVH”, and Jerusalem (that is the New Jerusalem) will be called “Sought Out”, “A City Not Forsaken”!
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,” -Isaiah 2:2
“In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honour of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” -Isaiah 4:2-6
Copyright Yaakov Brown 2019
Messiah, like the waters of the heavens, comes and does not return (precipitation) until He has accomplished His purpose of satisfying the spiritual thirst of those who live on earth and seeding in them the fruit of redemption. Through His death and resurrection He offers water (The Holy Spirit) to the thirsty soil of the human soul.
Isa 55:1 “Hoy Oiy, alas, wow, woe, relief, exhale, an invitation to kol-tzamei everyone who thirsts, lechu (from halak walk) walk toward la’mayim to the waters; ve’asher and the one eiyn-lo kasef without money, lechu walk toward, shivru purchase ve’echolu and eat! lechu walk toward, shivru purchase belo-kesef without money uvelo and without mechiyr hire, yayiyn wine ve’chalav and milk.
The previous chapter ended with the certain promise of God to Israel, that “no weapon formed against” her would prosper. As the prophet indicated, there would be weapons formed against her but they would not be of God but of the enemies of God and of Israel His people. Thus, the present chapter begins with an exclamation of warning mixed with relief. The Hebrew “Hoy” is difficult to translate. The sense is that of woe mixed with an exhaling and causative awe: an invitation. It is as if HaShem were saying, “It’s true that weapons will be formed against you by other nations and peoples, and after all those weapons have been defeated, ‘Hoy’, relax and pay careful, even woeful attention: because once these things have passed God will offer His waters to all, both to you and to the repentant among your former enemies…”
“kol-tzamei everyone who thirsts,” This is obviously addressed to everyone in both Israel and among the nations who thirst. The thirst is clearly spiritual (Isa. 41:17; 44:3; Psalm 42:1-2; 63:1) and can only be satiated by the spiritual waters that come from God.
Iben Ezra sees the “water” as being a metaphor for the Torah (Instruction, Law). This is consistent with the idea that the living Word of God, the King Messiah (John 1; 4:14; 7:37), offers water that will satisfy the human soul for all eternity.
“Yeshua replied to her, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty. The water that I give him will become a fountain of water within him, springing up to eternal life!’” -Yochanan (John) 4:13-14 (TLV)
The Jewish commentator Kimchi says, “after the war of Gog and Magog (an eschatological battle at the end of the age), the nations shall know that the Lord reigns, and shall come and be desirous of learning his judgments and laws.”
The Targum also understands “waters” as a metaphor for the doctrines (Law) of God:
“Ho, every one that is willing to learn, let him come and learn, and he that hath no silver, come, hear and learn; come, hear and learn, without price and money, doctrine that is better than wine and milk.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.E.)
“lechu (from halak walk) walk toward la’mayim to the waters” The standard translation “Come to the waters” falls short of conveying the greater meaning of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew reads “lechu” lit. “He walks”, from the root “Halak” meaning “To walk”. Therefore, the waters must be walked toward in repentance. These waters are offered to all but are not received by all, rather, they are received by all who come in repentance. Halakhah is the way we walk, it is more than coming, it is coming in humility and repentance.
Notice that the Hebrew “mayim” is intense, plural, “waters”. It is not “water” but “waters” that are being offered. God’s Word (alluded to later in the chapter in relation to the waters of the heavens) is perpetual, intense, everlasting, and the waters of verse one are a metaphor for God’s Word, essence (D’var).
“And the one without money, lechu walk toward, shivru purchase ve’echolu and eat!” Again, this is a metaphor regarding spiritual food.
“Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find—eat this scroll. Then go, speak to the house of Israel.’” -Ezekiel 3:1 (TLV)
Produce from the earth is sold by human beings to one another but the produce of the heavens cannot be bought and sold. The food that is purchased without money is the food of the heavens, the sustenance of the everlasting soul of humanity that comes from God and can be received from no other source. We notice that this must be “walked toward”: it is not forced on anyone. Those who refuse freely offered food will starve according to their own decision. God doesn’t send fallen angels or people to the lake of fire (Rev.19:20; 20:10-15), to the contrary, they choose to go by refusing God’s present, redeeming, loving action.
“lechu walk toward, shivru purchase belo-kesef without money uvelo and without mechiyr hire, yayiyn wine ve’chalav and milk.” The wine and milk are also metaphors for the Torah (Instruction, Law). In fact, the waters, food (bread), wine and milk to which the prophet refers are all aspects of God’s Word (D’var, essence).
Water is essential to life. Without water life as we know it cannot exist. Likewise, food sustains life, bread is the fuel of a healthy existence (according to an ancient middle eastern diet and not the modern forms of grain which contain modified gluten). Wine is both a comfort in sorrow and a delight in our celebrations. It was often used medicinally in the ancient middle east and is a constant reminder of the need for blood atonement. Finally, milk is essential to early childhood development. In the case of a mother’s milk the nutrients and enzymes present offer strengthened immunity to the new-born and sustain the baby’s growth to a point where the child can consume and digest solid foods. Each of these symbols conveys an aspect of God’s written (Ketuviym: Scriptures) and living Word (D’var: essence, Yeshua: John 1) at work in the lives of those who believe and receive Him in repentance.
The living waters of God are offered freely and received in repentance and humility. No matter how wealthy a person becomes in this world, a human being cannot buy the everlasting waters of God. This living water has been purchased for humanity by God’s Servant Redeemer, it cannot be earned, it can only be received in humility and repentance.
“For the payment for sin is death; but the gift of God is everlasting life through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.” -Rav shaul’s letter to the Roman believers 6:23
Isa 55:2 Lamah Why tishkelu-kesef do you weigh out (spend) your money belo-lechem for that which is not bread, viygiyachem and your labour (toil, working) belo lesave’ah for that which does not satisfy (fill you up)? Shimu shamoa Listen, hear, understand with diligence (pay careful attention) eilay to Me, ve’ichlu-tov and you eat what is good, vetit’anag and delight badeshen nafshechem your souls in fatness (rich food, fertility, blessing).
“Wherefore do ye weigh out your silver for that which is not food? and your wealth for that which satisfies not? Hearken diligently to my Word, and ye shall eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”-Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.E.)
It is interesting to note that the Targum equates the “Word” to “God.”
“Why do you weigh out (spend) your money for that which is not bread, and your labour (toil, working) for that which does not satisfy (fill you up)?”
If the former verse uses metaphor to convey spiritual truth then so does the present verse. The money spent by the hungry is the wealth they have earned from their temporal labour. They spend it on “that which is not bread”, bread being the metaphor for the Word of Hashem (Both written and living). Therefore, “That which is not bread,” is an allusion to the idolatry of Israel and of all humanity.
“He afflicted you and let you hunger, then He fed you manna—which neither you nor your fathers had known—in order to make you understand that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai.” -Devarim (Deuteronomy) 8:3 (TLV)
It is God Who allowed Israel’s hunger as a result of her sin. Israel continued to purchase false spiritual food from other gods and as a result her spiritual hunger was not satisfied. She was constantly tormented in body, mind and spirit because the spiritual food she received from false gods did not satisfy her need. In fact, the spiritual food purchased from false gods did harm to Israel’s body (collective and individual) because it is the spiritual equivalent of junk food. Israel, like all the nations of the world, hungered for right relationship with God her Creator but foolishly sought to satisfy that hunger with the temporal junk food of false gods.
We note that the waters of God are offered freely but the worthless food of false gods (Satanic forces) costs dearly. The waters of God give life and sustain it, whereas the food of false gods harm the body and soul and bring death. Therefore, the incredulous question “Why do you weigh out (spend) your money for that which is not bread…” is more than justified in the mouth of God’s prophet.
“Shimu shamoa Listen, hear, understand with diligence (pay careful attention) eilay to Me, ve’ichlu-tov and you eat what is good, vetit’anag and delight badeshen nafshechem your souls in fatness (rich food, fertility, blessing).”
The Hebrew “Shimu shamoa” translates as “Listen, listen carefully”. God demands Israel’s attention, indeed, He demands that all humanity pay attention to His Word. The inference is, “Stop listening to those who do not satisfy your hunger for truth…”
“Eat what is good…” In other words, “Stop eating the damaging food of false gods and start eating My Word.”
Yeshua challenged Israel (ethnic, religious) to see the manna of her desert wanderings as a figure for His body, life, spirituality, and to feed on Him through His sacrificial atoning death and resurrection. He identified Himself as the “the true bread that comes down from heaven”. His teaching, His life, His example, His offer of redemption, is all symbolised by the bread that comes from heaven. This is what the prophet Isaiah is referring to when He writes on HaShem’s instruction, “Eat what is good”. Elsewhere Yeshua says, “Why do you call me good, only God is good” (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). He says this in order to reveal to the one who called Him good, that He is Imanu (with us) El (God). In other words, “You are right to call Me good, Only God is good”.
“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘Out of heaven He gave them bread to eat.’” 32 Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, it isn’t Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world.” 34 So they said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread from now on!” 35 Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen Me, yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and anyone coming to Me I will never reject. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of the One who sent Me.” - John 6:31-38 (TLV)
“Delight your souls in fatness (rich food, fertility, blessing).” The modern reader could be confused by the use of the word “fatness”, after all, in our society an over indulgence in “fat” is frowned upon: it is a cause of obesity and its related health concerns. However, there are two things to consider: first, fat is not the problem, excessive consumption (the sin of gluttony) is. Second, the ancient Israeli diet consisted mainly of grains, vegetables, milk, the occasional meat or fish (usually on festive occasions or once a week at Shabbat dinner), and received the majority of its fat from olive oil with the obvious exception of the lamb and beef consumed on a less regular basis to modern western practice. To the ancient Jew “fat” meant abundance, blessing, fertility, true wealth, strength, security, satisfaction, and joy. This is what God is offering, only He is offering the spiritual equivalent to the temporal earthly metaphor. This is in fact a picture of the Olam Haba (World to come), where the righteous will “feast” with God and His King Messiah.
“On this mountain, Adonai-Tzva’ot
will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples--
a banquet of aged wine--
of rich food, of choice marrow, of aged wine well refined.” -Isaiah 25:6 (TLV)
“I will fill the soul of the kohanim with fatness
and My people will be satisfied with My goodness.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.” -Jeremiah 31:13 (14) (TLV)
“Then the angel tells me, ‘Write: How fortunate are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!’ He also tells me, ‘These are the true words of God.’” -Revelation 19:9 (TLV)
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” -Psalm 36:7-9 (ESV)
Isa 55:3 Hatu Incline (stretch out) azenechem your ear, ulechu and walk toward Me; Shimu hear, listen, understand utechiy nafshechem and your soul will live; ve’echretah and I will cut (make) lechem with you beriyt a covenant (cutting) olam everlasting, perpetual, chasdiy my love, loving actions, for David hane’emaniym are faithfulness, certain, steadfast, sure, supportive.
“Incline your ear and receive instruction of my law, obey my Word and your soul shall be quickened, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the mercies of David, which are sure.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.E.)
“Incline (stretch out) your ear, ulechu and walk toward Me; Shimu hear, listen, understand utechiy nafshechem and your soul will live…”
In order for Israel and indeed all humanity to receive the waters (Word of God, Yeshua) from the heavens and live (eternally), they must have ears to hear, listen, understand. From the Hebrew we could translate, “Walk your ears toward me with your ear canal tilted to receive what I have to say…” Only the willing, repentant, teachable person is able to receive the water from the heavens and live.
“‘And your soul shall live.’ That is, your soul shall live for ever after the death of the body, or you will receive new life through Messiah, when you will return to the Divine Law (Torah).” -Iben Ezra
“Ve’echretah and I will cut (make) lechem with you beriyt a covenant (cutting) olam everlasting, perpetual, chasdiy my love, loving actions, for David hane’emaniym are faithfulness, certain, steadfast, sure, supportive.”
This everlasting covenant is intrinsically connected to the line of David and is made complete in keeping with the promises God has made to David.
“So your house and your kingship will be secure forever before you; your throne will be established forever.” -2 Samuel 7:16 (TLV)
“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 34:23 (ESV)
“I will maintain My love for him forever,
and My covenant with him will be firm.” -Psalm 89:29 (TLV)
“But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.” -Jeremiah 30:9 (ESV)
“It is also possible, that by David in this verse Messiah is meant, who will be of the family of David. As the prophet is sometimes called Israel for the same reason (49:3); and the meaning of ‘hane’emaniym chasdiy Daveed’ is in that case: for the kindness of Messiah is sure. This explaination is supported by the next verse.” -Iben Ezra
This covenant which is connected to the covenant of peace of Isaiah 54:10 and is clearly a reference to the work of the Servant Redeemer, the King Messiah Yeshua. The covenant concerning the mercies toward David cannot be a reference to David himself, who died centuries before this prophecy was first spoken, rather it refers to the Messiah Who is the greater son of David and the One through Whom God carries out His redemptive purposes for Israel and the nations.
It is also clear from the previous verses that this everlasting covenant is the fruit of the Word Who came like waters from the heavens to bring life to humanity and to all creation which had been held hostage to the drought caused by sin.
“And we proclaim to you Good News—the promise to the fathers has arrived! 33 For God has fulfilled this promise to the children—to us—by raising up Yeshua, as it is also written in the second psalm:
‘You are My Son.
Today I have become Your Father.’
34 “But since He raised Him up from the dead, never to return to decay, He has spoken in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure mercies of David.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another psalm, ‘You will not permit Your Holy One to see decay.’ 36 For after David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he went to sleep and was laid with his fathers and saw decay. 37 But the One whom God raised up did not see decay.
38 “Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this One is proclaimed to you the removal of sins, including all those from which you could not be set right by the Torah of Moses. 39 Through this One everyone who keeps trusting is made righteous.” -Acts 13:32-38 (TLV)
Isa 55:4 Hein Behold, Now, Pay attention, eid lumiym (from am tribe, people) He is a witness to the tribes (peoples), netatiyn I have given Him nagid as a ruler (leader) umetzaveih and commander leumiym for the tribes (peoples).
“He is leader of the tribes, I have given Him as a ruler and commander over the tribes.”
As Iben Ezra rightly notes, the nearest subject is David or rather, the Messiah as the greater son of David, for David, now dead cannot be the future ruler over the tribes. Thus, it is the Servant King Messiah Who is being referred to here.
The Jewish commentators Iben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melekh all interpret this verse as referring to the Messiah.
The use of the Hebrew “umiym” tribes is important. To the modern English reader the translation “peoples”, while technically correct, is none the less misleading. The better translation is “tribes”. Israel is a “goy” nation made up of “umiym” tribes (peoples). The modern English reader misunderstands the word “peoples” to refer to all the peoples of the earth, however, in this context it does not. The following verse affirms this by speaking of a “goy” nation that will run to the individual in the present verse who is a witness to the tribes of Israel and in fact is born of Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical).
It is here that Isaiah joins the two images of the Servant into one. By comparing Isaiah 11:10 we see that the Servant (King Messiah) is first a sign to the amiym tribes of Israel and as a result becomes a sign to the goyim nations.
“And in that day there shall be a root of Yishay which shall stand for a nes miracle (sign) of amiym the tribes: toward Him the goyim nations shall seek: and His rest shall be glorious.” -Isaiah 11:10
When combining the message of these verses it is clear that by amyim (tribes, peoples) Israel as a corporate entity is meant, and when the term goy is used in the next verse it refers to a nation other than Israel.
Isa 55:5 Hein Behold, Now, Pay attention, goy a nation lo-teida not known to you tikra you will call, ve’goy and a nation lo-yedaucha you didn’t know eilecha in your direction yarutzu will run lema’an because of Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) Eloheycha your God, ve’likdush Ysirael and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.
This second “Hein” draws attention to a new related subject. These words are spoken to the individual of the former verse (The Servant King Messiah Yeshua), and to Israel, who through her greater son the King Messiah, has made it possible for those who would believe among the nations to enter God’s kingdom through the redemptive and vicarious sacrifice and resurrection of His Son the Messiah Yeshua.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” -John 10:14-16 (NIV)
Notice that it is “because of Hashem” that the “nation” made up of peoples (amiym) from among the nations (goyim) will come to Israel’s God. Thus, Israel is glorified because of the work of the Servant King Messiah, performed by her God, the Holy One of Israel.
This verse offers hope to those among the nations who receive Messiah while also warning those who refuse God’s continued purposes for the Jewish people.
“For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them. I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets. You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses. The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation—” Psalm 18:39-46 (ESV)
Isa 55:6 “Diroshu Seek with care, enquire of Hashem (YHVH: Mercy) behimatzeo while He may be found, encountered, learned from; kera’uhu call upon Him bihyoto in His becoming (while He is) karov near;
Historically this warning relates to God’s presence manifest among the people of Israel and to the coming Babylonian exile and subsequent return. God will not allow death to continue on the earth indefinitely. Therefore, Israel has a limited time to seek and find Him, as do all who live on the earth.
“Seek ye the fear of the Lord whilst ye are alive, supplicate before His presence whilst ye remain.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.C.)
The Targum rightly understands this verse as referring to the time frame of a person’s life. In other words, a person may seek out the free gift of God’s redemptive action as long as that person lives in this sin affected world. There is no opportunity for salvation after death for, “It is appointed unto each human being to die once (in finality), and then the judgement.” (Heb. 9:27).
The Jewish commentator Kimchi compares the present verse with Eccl. 9:10:
“God is certainly everywhere at all times… but the meaning of this phrase is, while the decree is not yet resolved upon: in a similar way the phrase, while He is near is to be explained, namely, while He permits His glory to rest upon the Temple.” -Iben Ezra
We must remember that at the time of this prophecy Israel (Judah) was yet to be taken into Babylonian captivity.
Everyone, the Jew first and also the nations, must receive the saving work of the Messiah and walk in, learn from Him.
“For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:” -Psalm 95:7-8 (KJV)
Isaiah speaks of the “Acceptable year of our Lord”, and Luke quotes the same phrase from Isaiah 61:2 (Luke 4:19). That “Acceptable year” remains in time and space through the redemptive work of the Messiah and until the return of the Messiah. However, those who refuse God’s offer of acceptance and wilfully resist Him until the “Acceptable year” reaches its goal, will find themselves refusing Him on their way into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
Isa 55:7 Ya’azo rasa darco Let the wicked forsake his way, veiysh and the man aven of idolatrous machshevotav thoughts, plans, inventions; veyashov and return to Hashem (YHVH: Mercy), viyrachameihu and He will have compassion (love deeply, show mercy to) on him, ve’el-Eloheiynu and to our God, kiy-yarbeh lisloach for He will greatly pardon, forgive.
“Let the wicked forsake his way of wickedness, and the man of violence his thoughts, and let him return to the worship of the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and into the fear of our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.E.)
We note that the “wickedness” of humanity is related to the “idolatrous thoughts” of humanity. In fact, idolatry is the root of all sin. Yaakov the brother of Yeshua puts it this way:
“But each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is full grown, it brings forth death.” -Yaakov (James) 1:14-15 (TLV)
“Return to HaShem (Mercy), and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will greatly pardon.” As is constantly the case, God opens His arms wide to receive the returning one. Yeshua’s mashal (parable) of the returning son is one of the best examples of How great the compassion of God is toward all who would humbly return to Him (Luke 15:11-32).
We can see that the “way” of the wicked and the “thoughts” of the wicked are intrinsically linked, distinct and inseparable. When we walk in God’s grace our actions are the fruit of thoughts that echo that grace, however, when we despise and spurn God’s love our actions are the fruit of our own fallen thoughts.
Isa 55:8 Kiy lo machshevotay For my thoughts, plans, inventions, are not machshevoteiychem your thoughts, plans, inventions; velo darcheiychem neither are your ways derachay My ways, neum declares Hashem (YHVH: Mercy).
This verse beautifully juxtaposes God’s thoughts and actions against the thoughts and actions of fallen (sin affected) humanity.
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” -Genesis 6:5 (NIV)
“The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
When the Hebrew text speaks of machashebet “thought, invention, purpose,” it is speaking of that which comes from the core being “lev” heart. The Hebrew lev (heart) is the point at which all other aspects of human existence converge. Therefore, “thought” in this context applies to the will and in particular to the sin affected will which in Hebrew is known as yetzer ha-ra (the inclination toward evil).
It is impossible for we as human beings to fully fathom the thoughts and actions of God except by the revelation of God’s Spirit and only to the extent which God allows us to understand Him from our point of view within time and space (sin affected). Thus, God has revealed Himself through His Word (D’var), both written (Scripture) and living (Messiah).
Having said this, the present verse is not only a statement of fact it is also an invitation to the sin affected human being to receive the thoughts and ways of God as far as they are available to each person through Messiah. This happens when we forsake our idolatrous thoughts and their related actions and instead turn to Mercy Himself in order to receive His Spirit, Who in turn through right thinking, births right action in us. One practical outworking of this is seen in the diligent, Holy Spirit filled study of His Word (Scripture).
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant community of faith, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” -Ephesians 5:25-27
“I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:1-2 (TLV)
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Messiah Yeshua:” -Philippians 2:5
Isa 55:9 Kiy gavehu shamayim For as the heavens are higher (exalted) meiaretz than (from) the earth, kein gavehu derachay so are My ways higher (exalted) midarcheiychem than (from) your ways umachshevotay and My thoughts, plans, inventions machshevoteiychem than (from) your thoughts, plans, inventions.
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
8 They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
9 Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.” -Job 11:7-9 (NIV)
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” -Psalm 103:11 (NASB)
One of the reasons God’s thoughts and plans are beyond human understanding is that His thoughts and actions are intrinsically connected to His lovingkindness, where His nature is selfless love, human nature exhibits selfish desire.
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” -Numbers 23:19 (NASB)
One of the reasons God’s ways are beyond human understanding is that He is unable to lie. We as human beings on the other hand are inclined to lie when it suits our purposes.
“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counsellor has informed Him?
With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?” -Isaiah 40:13-14 (NASB)
These rhetorical questions from earlier in the scroll of Isaiah illuminate the irony in humanity’s pretentious claims to deity. At the heart of the matter we find that it is the nature of God that sets Him apart in every way. Therefore, His thoughts, inventions, purposes, and His actions, paths, and ways are higher. He offers to impart His nature to us through His Messiah and by His Spirit but first we must acknowledge that His thoughts and ways are beyond our understanding.
The Nature of God
1. Self-Existing (uncreated, eternal)
2. Self-sufficient (Reliant on nothing)
3. Spirit (Unseen)
4. Love (God defines love)
5. Immutable (unchanging)
6. Omniscient (All knowing)
7. Omnipotent (All powerful)
8. Omnipresent (All present)
9. Truth (He cannot lie)
10. Sovereign (He Rules over all things)
11. Holy (There is none like Him)
In Messiah we are filled with His Spirit and reflect His nature but devoid of Messiah human beings are unable to truly comprehend or reflect His nature. Of course aspects of His nature are seen even in fallen humanity because of the common grace that allows us to seek Him in our sinful state. However, this common grace has a set limit, following which only those who have received God’s saving grace will enjoy an eternity of dwelling within the manifest presence of His good nature.
Isa 55:10 “Kiy ka’asher yeireid For as the coming down of hageshem the rain vehasheleg and the snow min-hashamayim from the heavens ve’shamah and there lo yashuv do not return kiy until they hirvah satiate, satisfy the thirst of et-haaretz the earth (land), veholiydah and it brings forth vehitzmiychah and sprouts, venatan and gives zera seed lazoreia to the sower velechem and bread laocheil to the eater,
“He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
19 He declares His words to Jacob,
His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise the Lord!” - Psalm 147:18-20 (NASB)
In beautiful poetic form the psalmist connects the flowing waters to the words and instructions of God to Jacob (Israel). The Word of the Lord being Messiah Yeshua (John 1), Who has come from the heavens:
“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” -John 3:13-15 (NASB)
Messiah, like the waters of the heavens, comes and does not return (precipitation) until He has accomplished His purpose of satisfying the spiritual thirst of those who live on earth and seeding in them the fruit of redemption. Through His death and resurrection He offers water (The Holy Spirit) to the thirsty soil of the human soul.
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yeshua stood up and cried out loudly, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now He said this about the Ruach, whom those who trusted in Him were going to receive; for the Ruach was not yet given, since Yeshua was not yet glorified.” -John 7:37-39 (TLV)
A careful reading of John 4:5-38 shows a correlation between the words of Isaiah 55 and the complete dialogue Yeshua engaged in with the Samaritan woman and the disciples and people of the village of Sychar (Shechem).
“Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” -Hosea 6:3 (ESV)
Isa 55:11 Kein yihyeh So will it come to pass that Devariy My Word asher yeitzei which goes out mipiy from My mouth; lo-yashuv will not return eiliy to Me reiykam void, empty, vainly, kiy for im-asah rather, it will accomplish, make, fashion (asah, from something) that which chafatztiy I delight in, desire, am pleased with, take pleasure in, vehitzliyach and will rush, advance, prosper, succeed in asher that for which shelachtiyv I sent it.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword—piercing right through to a separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12 (TLV)
In one sense the word is that of the Torah, prophets and writings, and as Yeshua says “Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.” (Matthew 5:18) Ultimately however, Messiah is the Word that goes out from the mouth of God (John 1:11-18). He comes to water the spiritual desert of Israel’s soul, and in turn the spiritual thirst of humanity. Due to the sinful practices of Israel God would withdraw His Word from her “for a brief moment”.
“Behold, days are coming”
—declares my Lord Adonai--
“when I will send a famine on the land
—not a famine of bread
nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of Adonai.” -Amos 8:11 (TLV)
However, as we came to understand from the previous chapter, He will not leave her forsaken:
“For a brief moment I deserted you,
but I will regather you with great compassion.” -Isaiah 54:7 (TLV)
Thus, the living Word of God Yeshua the King Messiah will accomplish, make, fashion that which God delights in, desires, and is pleased with, and takes pleasure in, that is the redemption of the repentant: He will rush, advance, prosper, succeed in that for which God sent Him. He will not return to God void but will return having seeded a harvest of everlasting fruit.
In hindsight we see that this is exactly what Yeshua has done and like the precipitating rains of the heavens He has returned to the heavens and has rained down the Spirit of the Father and the Son on all who have received Him.
Isa 55:12 “Kiy vesimchah For in joy (gladness) tetzeiu you will go out uveshalom and in peace, wholeness, well-being tuvalun be led forth; hehariym the mountains vehagevaot and the hills yiftzechu will break out, burst forth lifneiychem before your faces rinah in a shrill ringing cry, vechol-atzeiy and all the trees hasadeih of the field yimchau-chaf will clap their hands.
First this is a description of Israel’s return from exile in Babylon (Ezra 1:3), and further still, from every exile subsequent to that. Second, it is a description of the spread of the Gospel of the Messiah from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and then back to Jerusalem to await His return.
The exultant creation described here shows the prophet’s view of an intrinsic connection between the restoration of Israel and humanity, and the restoration of the created order.
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” -Romans 8:19-21 (TLV)
Isa 55:13 Tachat Instead of hana’atzitz the thorn-bush ya’aleh verush a cypress will come up; vetachat and instead of hasirpad the brier (desert nettle) ya’aleh hadas the myrtle will come up; vehayah and it will come to pass la’YHVH to HaShem (Mercy), leshem for a name leot for a miraculous sign olam everlasting lo never yikareit cut off.”
“Instead of the wicked the righteous shall rise up, and instead of sinners shall rise up those that fear sin: and it shall be before the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not cease.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century C.E.)
The Targum rightly understands the thorn-bush and brier to represent the wicked and sinners, and the cypress and myrtle to represent the righteous and those who fear God.
The plants chosen to reflect the incredible transformation that will take place in the return of Israel both to the land and to the Lord through Messiah, have an important symbolic meaning.
The thorn-bush and the brier are symbols of satanic barbs (2 Corinthians 12:6-8), death, drought, and fruitlessness. They are good only for throwing on the fire. This brings to mind the warning spoken to Israel by Yochanan the Immerser:
“The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” -Matthew 3:10 (NIV)
Likewise Yeshua warned:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” -Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)
The good news is that in the day of Israel’s corporate spiritual redemption (Romans 11:25), cypress and myrtle will be found in place of thorn-bushes and briers. This is a picture of spiritual transformation.
In ancient Israel the cypress (being an evergreen) represented healing, uprightness, eternal life. It is a long living tree that is able to endure harsh climates and poor soil. Biblically trees are used as symbols of kingdoms and in particular the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:22-24) sees David’s Messianic dynasty symbolised in a cedar tree that the nations (birds) will shelter in. We see this same imagery used in Yeshua’s mashal (parable) where He makes a drash on Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the kingdom of God (Mark 4:30-32). There is an obvious correlation to the present passage.
The myrtle is a slow growing fragrant tree with a beautiful white blossom. It is a deciduous shrub, always green (though not an evergreen), and has a strong root system. Even when it is cut to a stump, it’s roots cause it to sprout again. There are many parallels to be drawn with the journey of Israel (ethnic, religious) and the walk of a Messiah follower. Israel in her redeemed and transformed state will be always green, fragrant with the sweet salvation of the Gospel, rooted deeply on the mountain of the Lord and flowering with the majesty of God.
This portion of Isaiah leaves us with a hopeful picture of the future restored remnant of Israel and those nations who will come to her in Messiah to be joined with her in the worship of Hashem the God of Israel. Just as the many miracles performed by God on Israel’s behalf became signs to the nations, so too this great miracle of redemption and restoration will be a sign. One that will never be cut off. This of course is an allusion to the redemptive act of Messiah and the resulting spiritual transformation of Israel (ethnic, religious) in the last days following the fullness of the nations (Romans 11:25).
© 2019 Yaakov Brown
Not "fear not" but "no fear": "fear not" is an instruction that requires the victim of fear to act, whereas "no fear" is a Statement declaring that God has already acted on the victim's behalf.
Isa 41:1 Ha-charishu Be dumb, keep silent, remain speechless before Me, imiym islands, coastlands (Mediterranean); and ule-umiym let the peoples renew their strength: let them come near; yedabeiru then let them speak: yachdav together lamishpat to judgment nikravah let us draw near.
The opening phrase describes the awe that results when the Goyim (nations, island dwellers of the Mediterranean etc.) first realize that the God of Israel is El-Elyon (God above all gods). They remain speechless and in awe until they are permitted to speak.
The “imiym” islands, coastlands are those adjoining the Mediterranean. The modern reader must remember that the prophet’s words are spoken to those whose perspective from within the land associates islands with the Mediterranean to the west and a vast expanse in the lands to the east.
“Let the peoples renew their strength” means, let the peoples recover from their speechless awe.
“Let them come near; then let them speak: together to judgement let us draw near.” This judgement is to determine who is greater, the peoples or the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 41:2 Who raised up mimizrach from the east tzedek a righteous man, called him to his feet, yitein gave lefanayv before his face goyim nations, and made him ruler over kings? he yitein gave them as dust to his sword, and as chaff driven to his bow.
This argument is premised on a future historical event, made known to the prophet in advance by the Spirit of God. The prophet speaks into time and space that which God has already seen completed outside of time and space and in a time yet future.
The man from the east is most likely Cyrus king of the Persians, who is later mentioned by name (Isa. 44:28, 45:1). In this case God has caused Cyrus to do His will and Cyrus is called tzedek (righteous) in the sense that as an instrument of Hashem his actions defeat injustice and are right according to God’s greater redemptive purpose for Israel and humanity.
However, the Targum Yonatan understands it to refer to Avraham. While this is inconsistent with the following chapters of Isaiah (44:28; 45:1), it is none the less, interesting.
“Who openly brought Abraham from the east? He brought the chosen of the righteous in truth to his place. He delivered up nations before him, and broke in pieces mighty kings, he cast the slain down like the dust before his sword, and he pursued them like stubble before his bow.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
If Abraham is intended, he was from the east (Gen. 11:31), is called righteous (Gen. 15:6) and the phrasing “made him ruler over kings? he gave them as dust to his sword, and as chaff driven to his bow” refers to his military victory in Genesis 14. However, this is inconsistent with the remainder of this chapter and the subsequent prophecies regarding Cyrus.
Isa 41:3 He pursued them, and passed shalom peacefully; by orach a path (way) that he had not gone with his feet.
Some understand the “He” of verses 2-3 as a reference to God Himself. However, it seems more likely that given the fact that “he” is raised up from the east and seemingly directed to fulfil God’s will for Israel, that “he” refers to Cyrus, and or possibly but less likely a reference to Avraham. This is further qualified by the phrasing “by a path that he had not gone with his feet.”
Isa 41:4 Who has fa’al practised ve’asah and made it, calling ha-dorot the generations meirosh from the beginning? Ani I HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), rishon first, ve’et and the acharoniym last (plural: continuing); Ani hu I am He.
The initial question is rhetorical with the certain and obvious answer that the “Who” is God Himself. So important is the clarification of this fact that the question is immediately followed by the proclamation of Hashem “I YHVH, first and last perpetually, I am He!”
Isa 41:5 The imiym islands, coastlands (Mediterranean) saw it, and feared; the ends of ha-aretz the land (earth) were afraid, approached, and arrived.
When Cyrus appeared from the north-east he swept nations and kingdoms before him and caused panic among the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, both the islands and the coastlines. This is qualified by ha-aretz, a reference to the land of Israel.
Isa 41:6 Each man helped his neighbour; and said to his brother, chazak be strong.
It is a natural response in times of fear to spur on those close to us whom we might rely on as trials unfold. Thus, “be strong” is what the trembling inhabitants of the Mediterranean said in earnest to one another.
Isa 41:7 Vaychazek And be strengthened charash craftsman, the tzoreif smelter, refiner and he that smooths with the hammer him that strikes the anvil, saying, It is ready for the joining: and he strengthened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
Foolishly, rather than repent and turn to the God of Israel, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean seem to perceive the coming of Cyrus as a punishment from their own false deities and seek out those who craft their idols in order to find help from their deaf, dumb and blind gods.
Isa 41:8 And you, Yisrael (Yisra-overcome; El – in God: Israel), avdiy My servant, Yaakov (follower: Jacob) whom I have chosen, the zera seed of Avraham (father of a great number of peoples; Abraham) ohaviy my loved one.
Adonai temporarily leaves His challenge to the idolatrous Mediterranean nations and turns to His chosen people Israel.
God sees Israel not as she is within time and space but as she is, complete through redemption outside of time and space. He speaks to the Israel she will become, connecting her to the patriarch Jacob and ultimately to ha-ivri the Hebrew Avraham (Gen. 14:13).
Israel is called “My servant”, not based on her merits but on God’s grace and faithfulness toward her. Israel may disobey Him and receive just punishment but she remains His servant, His chosen people regardless.
Israel’s role as servant is connected back through Jacob to Abraham, who is credited righteousness through faith (Gen. 15:16). Here God calls Abraham His loved one, literally “My love”, an intimate relational statement of deep affection, however, elsewhere Abraham is called God’s servant (Gen. 26:24). Thus, the nation that comes from his seed is also called God’s servant.
The progression of Israel’s service is interesting. In reverse order we read:
Thus we read, “The Father calls a follower who becomes an overcomer in God” and, “A friend chosen to serve.
“The seed of Abraham My friend” conveys a rich illumination of God’s redemptive plan. Israel is seen as the fruit of the father of faith. This fruit is only made whole through redemption. Thus, Yisra (overcome in) El (God).
This sets Israel apart from her idolatrous neighbours as a people belonging to the one true God.
Isa 41:9 You whom he-chezakticha I have taken in strength (from chazaq) from the extremity of ha-aretz the land (earth), and called you from the chief men there, and said to you, you are my servant; I have chosen you, and not rejected you.
This is spoken from Isaiah’s perspective in the land of Israel. Thus, “Whom I have taken in strength from the extremity of the land” is an allusion to God’s bringing Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans, which was to the extreme east of Israel’s location: The edge of the known world, as it were.
“I have chosen you, and not rejected you.” Israel had endured numerous trials as a result of her sin and the idolatry of the nations, however, God reminds her that He is faithful, that those whom He chooses He does not forsake. Israel’s security is in God’s character, His love, His immutable fidelity.
Isa 41:10 Al tiyra No fear; for I am with you: no anxiety; for I am Eloheiycha your God (Judge): I will strengthen you; moreover, I will help you; certainly, I will uphold you with the yemin tzidki right hand of My righteousness.
“Al tiyra” literally “No fear; for I am with you”. To translate “Fear not” is to miss the fact that it is God Who removes the fear and not our choice not to fear. “No fear” means “I remove fear” and, “For I am with you” assures the servant Israel that in the midst of her turmoil God is closer to her than breathing. Likewise “No anxiety” is not “Don’t be anxious” rather it means “I will remove anxiety from you”, why? Because “I am your God, your judge, and through the lens of redemption I have acquitted you of your sin”.
Not "fear not" but "no fear": "fear not" is an instruction that requires the victim of fear to act, whereas "no fear" is a Statement declaring that God has already acted on the victim's behalf.
“I will strengthen you” not, “strengthen yourself in Me”. “Moreover, I will help you” not, “Help yourself” and finally the affirmation “af” is employed to assure Israel that these things are certain regardless of circumstance, “I will uphold you” and this will be done in the “right hand of My righteousness”. Tzidki from tzedek is used to convey a righteousness that overcomes injustice.
Isa 41:11 Hein Behold, put to shame and humiliated will be those who were furious against you: they will be as nothing; and they that dispute with you will perish.
This is a comfort to Israel and a fierce warning to those in every generation who would dispute with and hate the Jewish people (Israel, ethnic, religious).
“Hein” means “Pay attention!” Those who are furious against Israel will be both shamed and humiliated. Put to shame before all nations and further humiliated in their shameful state.
Isa 41:12 You will seek them, and not find those that contended with you: they that war against you will be as nothing, and as a thing of ceasing.
This is a further promise to Israel and a yet another warning to her enemies. God has placed His Name upon Israel and will utterly wipe out those nations that come against her. So much so that those who have warred against her will disappear, they will cease to be. This is an encouragement to suffering Israel while also being a firm warning to her enemies both national and individual. Many Empires who have oppressed Israel have risen and fallen throughout history but Israel has remained because God has placed is Name on her, her very identity is in Him.
Isa 41:13 For I HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Eloheycha your God (Judge) will strengthen your right hand, saying to you, “Al-tiyra No fear; I will help you!”
Mercy Himself the God and Judge of Israel will strengthen her and perpetually remind her that He is removing all fear from her. Mercy is Israel’s helper and guardian, she need want for no other.
Isa 41:14 Al-tiyra No fear, you tola’at scarlet string (worm) Yaakov (follower: Jacob), and you men of Yisrael (Yisra-overcome in El – God: Israel); I will help you, says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), and your Redeemer, the kedush Holy One of Yisrael (Israel).
For the third time “No fear” is proclaimed over Israel. Twice denotes an established truth and three times an immutable reality.
The anti-Semitic translation of the New English Bible “Fear not, Jacob you worm and Israel you poor louse” both misunderstands the Hebrew tola’at in a negative sense and adds “louse” insinuating that Israel is retched and worthless. In fact the Hebrew tola’at is employed here as a term of endearment and conveys the crimson symbolism of redemption through blood. The Hebrew literally means “Scarlet worm/string”. One can interpret the remez “No fear because I have covered you with blood little worm my follower, persons of Israel who overcome in Me (El).”
“I will help you says Mercy! Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” The Hebrew “goel” meaning redeemer is used of a kinsman (A blood relation) who pays off a debt in order to redeem an impoverished or bonded relative. Thus, Hashem identifies Israel as more than a servant- follower, He sees her as a family member, born of Him, and in a sense intrinsically connected to Him. Quite literally the Messiah Yeshua (God with us) is a blood born Jew and the ultimate human kinsman redeemer of Israel.
Isa 41:15 Hineih Now, behold, I will make you a chadash new, sharp threshing sledge, ba’al a master (Husband) piyfiyot having teeth: you will thresh the mountains, and crush the hills making them as chaff. Isa 41:16 You will fan them, and the wind will carry them away, and the whirlwind will scatter them: and you will rejoice in HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), and in the Holy One of Yisrael (Israel) tithalal you will praise, shine on.
“Pay attention!” Once again Israel is called to stop in her tracks and listen carefully. Not only will Hashem redeem Israel from bondage, He will also make her an instrument of judgement against the idolatrous nations. Israel will become a ba’al (master) that brings judgement and threshing to the crop of peoples among the nations, testing the pride of the lofty ones (mountains) and crushing the lesser rulers of iniquity (hills) discarding the wicked as chaff. This will come about both through Israel as a nation and through the Messiah Who will issue forth from her. After all, “Salvation (Himself) is from the Jews (plural)” (John 4:22). Thus, the prophet Isaiah looks forward to Israel’s spiritual redemption and her physical victory over the enemies of God.
Isa 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues are parched with thirst, I HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will hear them, I the Eloheiy God of Yisrael (Israel) will not forsake them.
This refers to the poor and needy of Israel during the coming exile. Beforehand Hashem is promising to be with Israel in exile and to hear her cries for help and not forsake her.
Isa 41:18 I will open rivers in high places, and mayanot springs in the midst of the valleys: I will asiym make (plural) the wilderness a pool of water, and the tziyah dry eretz land le-motza’ei springs of water. Isa 41:19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah acacia tree, and the myrtle, and the shamen olive tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
This is both literal and figurative at the same time. The transformation of nature is intrinsically linked to the spiritual renewal of Israel (41:20 & 55:13). Both those in high places and those in lowly places will receive the living waters that flow forth from Hashem through the coming Messiah. In addition, the land of Israel will be revitalized and the climate transformed when Israel as a nation returns to her God.
Isa 41:20 That they yiru may see, ve’yedeu and know, and consider, ve’yedeu and understand together, that the hand of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has done this, u’kedush and the Holy One of Yisrael (Israel) has bera’ah created it (from bara: creation performed by God alone).
Israel is asked to:
…that the “hand”, the manifest strength of God has already made these things complete outside of time and space and secured them in a future time within time and space.
For the second time in this chapter Hashem refers to Himself as the Holy One of Israel and reveals His continued creative power in the past tense while referring to the future within time and space. The Hebrew bera’ah “created” is from bara and refers to the creative acts performed by God alone from the beginning.
Isa 41:21 “Karevu Present your cause,” says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy); “bring forth your argument,” says the Melekh King of Yaakov (Jacob).
Having consoled Israel Adonai now returns to His dispute with the idolatrous nations (begun in verses 1-4). Now the dispute is with the idols of those nations.
Notice that Hashem quite literally takes sides. He Names Himself “King of Jacob”. Many in the modern Christian Church foolishly assume that God is neutral in political conflict. This is clearly not the case when political conflict coincides with spiritual conflict. Or why did Yeshua say, “The children’s food should not be given to their dogs”? The singular text quoted in defence of pacifist Christian neutrality is the account of the Angel of Hashem speaking to Joshua saying, “I am neither for you or for your enemies, but as the commander of the host of Hashem I have now come.” (Joshua 5:14) They neglect of course the numerous other passages that state God’s explicit siding with and or fighting for Israel (Gen. 12:3; Deut. 1:30; 31:6; Zech. 2:8; Isa. 31:4, 41:11-12, 54:17; Psalm. 138:7; Ezekiel 38-39; Jerimiah 1:19 etc).
Isa 41:22 Approach and make known to us what will happen: let them show what the former things consisted of, that we may consider them, and know the latter goal of them; or declare to us ha-ba’ot the things to come.
God challenges the deaf, dumb and blind gods of the nations’ essentially saying, “If the gods of the Goyim are really gods, let them accurately foretell the future, let them explain the creation of the world, let them reveal the goal of creation and declare the events of the latter days.”
Isa 41:23 Make known the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you (plural) are elohiym gods, judges: indeed, do good, and do evil, that we may be dismayed, and see it yachdav together.
Again, “If you are gods, do something, anything, be it good or evil. But you cannot, because you are simply deaf, dumb and mute idols constructed by the hands that worship you.”
Isa 41:24 Hein Behold, you (plural) are of nothing, and your work worthless: an abomination chooses you.
“So now, listen up you non gods, you are nothing, your work is nil and those who worship you are self-deluded and abominable.”
Isa 41:25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun will he call upon vish-mi My name: and he will come upon princes as upon cement, and as the potter treads clay.
Once again it is God, Sovereign over human history Who orders kings to arise and causes their downfall. It is God Who raises up Cyrus for His purposes.
“I have raised up one from the north” Both 41:2 and 41:25 were fulfilled by Cyrus who was a Persian belonging to the clan of Achaemenes, the head of the tribe. According to the majority of ancient accounts, he was connected with the royal house of Media. After Astyages was dethroned, he became head and chief of the Medes as well as of the Persians. Media was to the north (Isa. 41:25) of Babylonia, and Persia to the east (Isa. 41:2) so that his victorious march had for its starting-point both the east and the north.
“He will call on My Name” alludes to the edict of Cyrus made in Ezra 1:2:
“Thus, says King Cyrus of Persia: ‘Hashem (YHVH), the Elohim God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build a House for Him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.’”
Isa 41:26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? U’milefaniym and before the faces (presence), that we may say, “He is righteous?” Indeed, there is none that declares, indeed, there is none that listens, indeed, there is none that hears (obeys) imreichem your speeches.
The prophet Isaiah makes clear the fact that these predictions are being made long before the events they foretell, making the foolish assertion that the latter sections of Isaiah are post exilic, untenable.
The question is rhetorical and the answer is immutable, “There is none like Hashem”.
Isa 41:27 Rishon First letziyon to Zion (parched land), Hineih Behold, Hineih behold ve’lirushalayim and to Jerusalem (Flood of peace) good news I will give them.
It is Hashem Who is the first Zionist. First to give Zion to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: First to choose her for a people: First to reveal to her the good news of His redemptive purpose for humanity. Thus, “Now, behold, listen up!” The good news promised may be seen at a number of points in Israel’s historical timeline, and is certainly a reference to Isaiah, who has brought news of Israel’s redemption long before her exile to Babylon (Isa. 11:10-16; 21:1-10; 35:10). However, it also refers to Hashem’s redemptive purposes for Israel and all humanity, fulfilled in the King Messiah Yeshua and His atoning sacrificial work. Therefore, “Jacob you scarlet string (worm).”
Isa 41:28 And seeing no man among them, and no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
Once again, there is not one among all humanity who could debate the fact that the God of Israel is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Immutable, Faithful etc. He alone gives true counsel, He alone can answer.
Isa 41:29 Hein Behold, kulam all are trouble; their works are worthless: ruach a wind, breath ve’tohu and confusion, formlessness are their molten images.
Finally and again, “Now, listen up!” All human beings have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The idols of the nations, who are non-gods, are none the less the abode of demons who seek to perpetuate the tohu confusion and formlessness of the Satanic agenda. In this case they are a deluding and passing wind that will come to nothing.
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.