Through His shed blood Yeshua gives defiled human beings access to undefiled heavenly things.
Hebrews 9:1-14 reminds the reader of the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting) it’s serving priests and its articles, showing them to be replicas that point to the original Mishkan in the heavens. The mercy seat of the heavens being the place where Yeshua the Great High Priest has sprinkled His blood in order to affect eternal atonement for all who receive Him and His saving work. The writer points out that if the blood of goats and bulls (Num. 16), and the ashes of the heifer could affect temporary outward cleansing of the body, then how much more can the blood of Messiah (which is everlasting) purge the soul of a human being, removing the decaying deeds of the sinful nature (yetzer hara).
The “goats and bulls” relate to the High Priest’s duties on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) relating to both his cleansing and the cleansing of the community of Israel from sin. The ashes of the red heifer mixed with water and applied with hyssop relate to the ritual cleansing of one who has touched a dead body. In both cases death, which is the fruit of sin, is associated to the rites. The writer of Hebrews is intentionally using these examples in order to solidify his point that the physical practices of the earthly sacrificial system cannot save the inner person from the just consequences of sin.
With regard to the ashes of the red heifer it is worth noting that the ashes mixed with water for the ritual cleansing of those who touch the dead (a metaphor for touching the fruit of sin), is called “water of separation” (Num. 19:13) because it cleanses ritually cleanses the person from that which “separates” them from God. The writer of the Book to the Hebrews inspired by the Holy Spirit uses this temporal earthly example to point to the fact that Yeshua’s sacrificial death and the sprinkling of His blood (ashes) mixed with water (life) truly and eternally cleanse the inner person of those who receive Him. This has been accomplished and is now offered to all until His return, at which time “separation from sin” (Heb. 9:28) will not be the subject of His coming but to reign in fullness over Judah, Israel and all the nations (those who have received Him).
In our previous study we noted that the ark of the covenant (Aron Ha-Briyt) was not present in the holy of holies during the earthly ministry of Messiah in the first century C.E. And that Yeshua never entered the holy of holies on earth but the holy of holies, or the holiest place in the heavens. We also learned that the book of Revelation tells us where the original Aron Ha-Briyt of God is located and that the vein pursuit of the earthly ark that can never affect redemption is an act of idolatry.
“Then the Temple of God in heaven was opened, and the Ark of His Covenant appeared in His Temple. And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder and an earthquake and heavy hail.” -Revelation 11:19 TLV
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have become defiled, unclean, sanctify as a means of purifying, cleansing the carnal form, flesh, body, 14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, Who through the eternal Spirit offered, presented, sacrificed His soul without blemish, mark, spot to God; purge, cleanse, purify your conscience, moral consciousness, heart, core being, inner person from dead, necrotic works, deeds, doing, in order to serve the living God?
Before we continue we note again that while Yeshua’s unique priesthood is “like” that of Melki Tzedek (the mortal king and priest of ancient Salem), Yeshua’s practice of atonement is likened to that of the high priest of the Levitical priesthood. Therefore, as previously stated, Yeshua’s priesthood over all peoples presents a convergent likeness that combines elements of both earthly temporal priesthoods. We thus glean understanding from both.
BOOK TO THE HEBREWS Chapter 9:15-28 (Author’s translation)
15 And through this He is the mediator, reconciler, go between, messenger advocate of a new covenant, so that, by means of His death we are found redeemed, atoned, purged of the violations that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. [alt. Hebrew text translates as, “that the elect might receive the promised eternal land.”] 16 For where there is a covenant, the death of the one who made it is necessary. 17 For a covenant is valid upon death, because it has no strength while the one who made it lives. 18 Nor was the first covenant consecrated, dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moshe[H] (drawn out, resurrected one) had spoken every commandment to all the people individually and collectively according to the Torah, Instruction, Law, he received/took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the Scroll itself and all the people individually and collectively, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21 Likewise he sprinkled, threw the blood on both the Tent of Meeting and all the vessels, utensils, implements of the service. 22 And with few exceptions all things individually and collectively are purged, cleansed, purified with blood, according to the Torah, Instruction, Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission, liberty, forgiveness, freedom. 23 Therefore it was necessary, right for the copies, patterns, warnings of the things in the heavens to be purged, cleansed, purified with these things, but the heavenly things themselves with better, more excellent sacrifices than these. 24 For the Messiah did not enter a holy place/sanctuary made by human hands, a copy, representation, figure of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us; 25 nor must He offer His soul often, repeatedly, many times like the high priest who enters the Holy place, sanctuary year after year with blood of others. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the beginning, foundation, conception of the world; but now once at the goal of the ages, generations, the world, forever He has been revealed, manifest to put away, cancel, abolish sin [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] by the sacrifice of His soul. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, the judgment, 28 so Messiah also, having been offered once to bear, carry the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to, separation from sin, to those who look for, eagerly await Him.
HEBREWS 9:15-28 (line upon line)
15 And through this (dia touto[G], zot[H]) He is the mediator, reconciler, go between, messenger advocate (mesitēs[G], malakh meiliytz[H]) of a new covenant (kainos diathēkē[G], labriyt hachadashah[H]), so that, by means of His death (Thanatos[G], umoto[H]) we are (nimtza[H]) found redeemed, atoned, purged (apolutrōsis[G], lechaparat[H]) of the violations (parabasis[G], haposhiym tachat[H]) that were committed under the first covenant (protos diathēkē[G], habriyt harishonah[H]), so that those who have been called (kaleō[G]) may receive (lambanō[G]) the promise (epaggelia[G], et-havtachat[H]) of the eternal (aiōnios[G], olam[H]) inheritance (klēronomia[G], nachalat[H]). [alt. Hebrew text translates as, “that the elect might receive the promised eternal land.”]
15 And through this He is the mediator, reconciler, go between, messenger advocate of a new covenant, so that, by means of His death we are found redeemed, atoned, purged of the violations that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. [alt. Hebrew text translates as, “that the elect might receive the promised eternal land.”]
“And through this…” Through His blood, the sacrifice of His unblemished soul, the eternal Spirit of God (v. 14).
“He is the mediator of a new covenant” In one sense Moses was mediator of the former covenant, but ultimately Yeshua is mediator of both covenants. However, only Yeshua could mediate the new covenant because it is a covenant that requires eternal blood atonement, something that Moses could never have provided.
The Greek diathēkē is equivalent to the Hebrew briyt. However, while the Greek diathēkē can mean “covenant” or “testament”, the Hebrew briyt does not carry both meanings in the same sense. There are other Hebrew words like edut (witness, testimony) that better convey the Greco-Roman idea of “testament”. This being said, one of the names of the ark of the covenant is Aron Edut “Ark of Testimony” (Ex. 25:22). Therefore, both meanings are valid.
However, the context of the present text denotes a covenant purchased by blood atonement and not a “will” or “testament” signed in anticipation of the death of the other party. Rav Shaul (Paul the Apostle) makes a similar drash in his writing to the Galatian believers (Gal. 3:15-18). The Jewish recipients of the Book to the Hebrews understand “covenant” and not “testament” as in “last will and testament”.
Sadly the majority of Christian scholars and commentators (and some Messianics) miss the point entirely by reading into the text a Greco-Roman or modern western understanding of the word diathēkē, seeing it (in spite of the context) as referring to “last will and testament” rather than “Blood Covenant”. Which, based on context, is the intended meaning of the Hebrew writer of this work.
Messiah Yeshua is Mediator of the new covenant:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and people, the man Messiah Yeshua; Who gave himself as a ransom for all, this has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” -1 Timothy 2:5-6 (Author’s Translation)
NB: These verses and many others refute the modern scholarship lie that says Messiah’s sacrifice is not a substitution. It clearly is, one who pays with his life a ransom for someone else, is by definition a substitute.
Messiah Yeshua’s blood inaugurated and perpetuates the new covenant:
“For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” -Matthew 26:28 (Author’s Translation)
Messiah Yeshua’s sacrificial, substitutionary death purges those who believe from all that the Mosaic covenant could not:
“Let it be known unto all of you therefore, both people, and Jewish brothers and sisters, that through this man (Yeshua) is preached unto all of you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him (Yeshua) all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Torah of Moses.” -Acts 13:38-39 (Author’s Translation)
“so that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” In order to properly understand the impact of this statement we must understand the Biblical historic weight of it. The Hebrew translation of this same statement reads:
“that the elect (chosen) might receive the promised eternal land”.
While it is true that all who believe both of the Jews and the nations, are given access to the eternal promise of inheritance in the family of God, it is nonetheless a secondary understanding. First and foremost, as understood by the first century Jewish recipients of this work, the “promise of eternal inheritance” relates to the fulfilment of the covenant promise made by God to Avraham and conferred upon Isaac and Jacob and thus the descendants of Jacob, Israel, the Jewish people. That eternal promise being for the inheritance of the land.
The word "inherit" (leishtah[H] [to inherit], from the root yarash, yaresh)is first used in the Tanakh (OT) in connection with the promise concerning the land:
“He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to inherit (leishtah[H]).” -Genesis 15:7
The covenant for the land was made by God while Avram (soon to be Avraham) was unconscious. Therefore, the fulfilment of the promise for the land is entirely incumbent upon God, Who in faithfulness will bring about its eternal outworking.
“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him… When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking fire pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land,” -Genesis 15”12, 17-18 NIV
The fact that God’s giving of the land to Israel (through Avraham) is eternal is testified to by Scripture:
“The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” -Genesis 17:8 NIV
Therefore, reading the present text (Heb. 9:15b) as a first century Jewish believer, we understand the meaning as “that the elect (descendants of Jacob who are in right standing with God through faith) might receive the promised eternal land”.
We must keep in mind that the terms “elect” and “chosen” when used by the new covenant Jewish writers, are understood to be speaking first and foremost of the chosen people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical, chosen). This is not an act of pride on the part of the writers but a matter of Biblical fact. While it remains true that all regardless of ethnicity are welcomed into the eternal inheritance of God through Messiah Yeshua, that is not what is first being said here. It is often the case that our election and stubbornness as Jews is used by God to protect us from apostasy, as is alluded to by Messiah in Matthew 24:24.
Rabbi Shaul’s (Paul) letter to the Galatian believers (Galatians 3-4), both Jewish and Gentile, is a superb commentary on Torah, election and faith as observed through the lens of the writer of the Book to the Hebrews. It illuminates the application of these ethno-religious promises to all believers providing the order of the promises are respected and access to them is understood as a privilege in Messiah Yeshua and not an opportunity to do away with the chosen (elect) descendants of Jacob to whom they were first given and continue to be first offered (Rom. 1:16).
16 For where there is a covenant (diathēkē[G], briyt[H]), the death (thanatos[G], mot[H]) of the one who made it (diatithemai[G]) is necessary (anagkē[G]). 17 For a covenant (diathēkē[G], briyt[H]) is valid upon death (epi nekros[G], hamavet[H]), because it has no strength (ischuō mepote[G]) while the one who made it (diatithemai[G]) lives (zaō[G], bechayeiy[H]). 18 Nor was the first covenant (protos diathēkē[G], habriyt harishonah[H]) consecrated, dedicated (egkainizō[G], chanukat[H]) without blood (aima[G], dam[H]).
16 For where there is a covenant, the death of the one who made it is necessary.
“For where there is a covenant, the death of the one who made it is necessary.” The death of the one who made it refers to the death purchased on behalf of the one who made it. There is no instance in the Torah where a person entering a covenant with God is required to give their own blood (life) in order to affect that covenant. Even Isaac received a substitutionary reprieve (Gen 22).
The covenants of the Tanakh (OT) with few exceptions (and then by inference) are ratified in blood. The blood shed is shed on behalf of the life of the one who is entering the covenant. Therefore, “where there is a covenant, the death of the one who made it is necessary”, means, the vicarious death of another (an animal) on behalf of the one (a human being) entering the covenant.
This verse does not refer to a “last will and testament” or covenant in the sense of “Testament” as so many conclude in error. It cannot, because the preceding and proceeding verses speak specifically of a blood covenant ratified according to the practices outlined in Torah and according to those covenants entered into by our forebears from Adam to Noah, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Israel. To misunderstand this covenant as referring to a last will and testament is to entirely misunderstand the meaning of the text.
17 For a covenant is valid upon death, because it has no strength while the one who made it lives.
“a covenant is valid upon death” The death of a substitutionary animal is required in order for a covenant to be ratified (Gen. 8:20; 9:9; 15:9, 17-18; 17:11; Ex. 24:1-8). That animal dies on behalf of the one entering the covenant. Therefore, it is as if that one has died. In the case of the new covenant Messiah Yeshua is the substitutionary sacrifice, and His blood causes the one who enters this new covenant to become dead to sin and alive in Messiah.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” -Leviticus 17:11
“it has no strength while the one who made it lives.” No covenant is binding without a substitutionary sacrifice of blood made on behalf of the one entering it. It is the vicarious death of another that gives a covenant strength (according to Torah).
18 Nor was the first covenant consecrated, dedicated without blood.
This verse shows that a Biblical covenant is being referred to by the writer and not a Greco-Roman “last will and testament”.
The “first covenant” refers to the Mosaic covenant, which was, like the new covenant, ratified with blood. Did Moses die in order for the Mosaic covenant to become of affect? Of course not. Was it the blood of the people of Israel that was shed in order for the Mosaic covenant to be ratified? Of course not. But it was the blood of animals that was shed in their place, so that the covenant might be ratified through the vicarious death of animals representing the death of the people who entered the covenant (Exodus 24:1-8). Therefore, the same is true of the new covenant which is established through the substitutionary sacrifice of Yeshua, whose blood is of everlasting affect.
19 For when Moshe[H] (drawn out, resurrected one) had spoken every commandment (entolē[G], mitzvah[H]) to all the people individually and collectively (pas ho laos[G], kol ha’am[H]) according to the Torah, Instruction, Law (ho nomos[G], haTorah[H]), he received/took (lambanō[G]) the blood (ho aima[G], hadam[H]) of the calves (moschos[G], va’agaliym[H]) and the goats (tragos[G], se’iyriym[H]), with water (hudōr[G]) and scarlet (Kokkinos[G]) wool (erion[G]) and hyssop (hussōpos[G]), and sprinkled (rhantizō[G]) both the Scroll (biblion[G]) itself and all the people individually and collectively (pas ho laos[G], kol ha’am[H]), 20 saying, “This is the blood (ho aima[G], hadam[H]) of the covenant (ho diathēkē[G], habriyt[H]) which God (Theos[G], Elohiym[G]) commanded (entellomai[G], tzivah[H]) you.”
19 For when Moshe[H] (drawn out, resurrected one) had spoken every commandment to all the people individually and collectively according to the Torah, Instruction, Law, he received/took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the Scroll itself and all the people individually and collectively, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”
“3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of Adonai as well as all the ordinances. All the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which Adonai has spoken, we will do.” 4 So Moses wrote down all the words of Adonai, then rose up early in the morning, and built an altar below the mountain, along with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He then sent out young men of Bnei-Yisrael, who sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings of oxen to Adonai. 6 Then Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins and the other half he poured out against the altar. 7 He took the Scroll of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. Again they said, “All that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey.” 8 Then Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which Adonai has cut with you, in agreement with all these words.” -Exodus 24:3-8 TLV
Moses sprinkled the scroll of the Torah in order to acknowledge its requirement for blood atonement (Lev. 17:11). He sprinkled blood on the people to show that blood had been shed on their behalf so that they had died symbolically according to the vicarious blood of the animal sacrifices. We note that the blood is of the covenant, meaning that blood shed is an intrinsic and necessary part of binding covenant. This is attested to throughout the Tanakh (OT).
While it is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture that Moses sprinkled the Torah scroll, it is nonetheless mentioned here. Objections to the truth of the present text are a rejection of its inspiration and therefore a rejection of God’s Word.
21 Likewise (homoiōs[G]) he sprinkled, threw the blood (ho aima[G], hadam[H]) on (rhantizō[G], zarak[H]) both the Tent of Meeting (skēnē[G], ha-Mishkan[H]) and all the vessels, utensils, implements (skeuos[G], keleiy hashareit[H]) of the service (leitourgia[G]). 22 And with few exceptions (schedon[G]) all things (hakol[H]) individually and collectively (pas[G]) are purged, cleansed, purified (katharizō[G], yithar[H]) with blood (aima[G], badam[H]), according to the Torah, Instruction, Law (ho nomos[G], haTorah[H]), and without the shedding of blood (aima[G], dam[H]) there is no remission, liberty, forgiveness, freedom (aphesis[G], eiyn slichah[H]). 23 Therefore it was necessary, right (anagkē[G], nachom[H]) for the copies, patterns, warnings (hupodeigma[G]) of the things in the heavens (ho Ouranos[G], hashamayim[H]) to be purged, cleansed, purified (katharizō[G], letaheir[H]) with these things, but the heavenly (epouranios[G]) things themselves with better, more excellent sacrifices (thusia[G], toviym mei’eileh[H]) than these.
21 Likewise he sprinkled, threw the blood on both the Tent of Meeting and all the vessels, utensils, implements of the service.
While it is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture that Moses sprinkled the Mishkan (Tent of Meeting), Leviticus 18:15, 19 speak of sprinkling blood on both the altar and Aaron the high priest, and thus infer the sprinkling of the Tent and utensils. Additionally Josephus the first century C.E. historian writes that consecration was made upon “the Tent and the vessels which belonged to it, both with oil that had first been incensed, and with the blood of bulls and rams." (Antiquities of the Jews 3:8:6)
22 And with few exceptions all things individually and collectively are purged, cleansed, purified with blood, according to the Torah, Instruction, Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission, liberty, forgiveness, freedom.
“And with few exceptions” Some things were purged by water and some by fire (Numbers 31:23). The exceptions relate to ritual uncleanness and not to the atonement of sin committed either in ignorance or by wilful intention. Therefore, the exceptions do not relate to the remission of sin. This is why the writer makes clear that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission (forgiveness) of sin (Exodus 29-30; Leviticus 1-9, 14-17).
“all things individually and collectively are purged, cleansed, purified with blood, according to the Torah, Instruction, Law” The Torah states explicitly, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” -Leviticus 17:11
“without the shedding of blood there is no remission, liberty, forgiveness, freedom.” The life is in the blood, whereas sin entered the world and brought death with it. In order to remove death, life is required. But the blood of animals could never do more than temporarily and symbolically cover sin. What is needed is not a temporary picture of redemption through blood but an eternal blood transfusion of the life blood of God. Sin cannot be removed any other way. There is no forgiveness or the freedom it brings without the shedding of blood.
Jewish tradition agrees, saying “eiyn kaparah alay badam” (no atonement except that made in blood) [Talmud Bavliy Yoma, fol. 5. 1. Zebachim, fol. 6. 1. & Menachot, fol. 93. 2.].
“Does the placing of hands atone for one’s sins? Isn’t atonement accomplished only by the sprinkling of the blood, as it is stated: “For it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life” (Leviticus 17:11)?” -Talmud Bavliy Yoma 5a. 2. Sefaria translation
In light of modern medical research the transfusion analogy is poignant. It has been observed that in cases where leukaemia patients receive bone marrow transplants, that their blood DNA changes to replicate the donor’s blood DNA. In the case of Messiah we receive a spiritual transfusion in His blood that purges our DNA of sin and causes us to take on, in a spiritual and transcendent sense, His genomic DNA, thus, becoming brothers and sisters who share in His sinless humanity.
23 Therefore it was necessary, right for the copies, patterns, warnings of the things in the heavens to be purged, cleansed, purified with these things, but the heavenly things themselves with better, more excellent sacrifices than these.
The earthly copies of the heavenly things required cleansing, but the heavenly things themselves are made accessible to sin affected humanity by more excellent sacrifices than those of animals.
"and thou shalt take the anointing oil, and thou shalt anoint the tabernacle, and all that is in it; and thou shall sanctify it, because of the crown of the kingdom of the house of Judah, and the King Messiah, who shall redeem Israel in the latter days.'' -Targum Yonatan Exodus 40:9
The heavenly things did not need purging or purifying, rather through His shed blood Yeshua gives defiled human beings access to undefiled heavenly things.
24 For the Messiah (Christos[G], ha-Mashiyach[H]) did not enter a holy place/sanctuary (hagion[G]) made by human hands (cheiropoiētos[G], biydeiy adam[H]), a copy, representation, figure (antitupon[G]) of the true one (ho alēthinos[G]), but into heaven itself (ouranos[G], hashamayim[H]), now (nun[G]) to appear before the face (prosōpon[G], peneiy[H]) of God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]) for us; 25 nor must (hina[G]) He offer (prospherō[G], lehak’riyv[H]) His soul (et nafsho[H]) often, repeatedly, many times (pollakis[G]) like the high priest (ho archiereus[G], Kohen hagadol[H]) who enters the Holy place, sanctuary (ho hagion[G], el-hakodesh[H]) year after year with blood (aima[G], dam[H]) of others (allotrios[G], acheiriym[H]).
24 For the Messiah did not enter a holy place/sanctuary made by human hands, a copy, representation, figure of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us;
“Messiah did not enter a holy place/sanctuary made by human hands” Yeshua never entered the holy of holies of the second temple. Rather He entered the Holiest Place of which the earthly Mishkan (Tent) and Mikdash (Temple) were temporal replicas.
“now to appear before the face of God for us” Yeshua is “now” before the face of God for us. This is an eternally present statement that gives us assurance of everlasting security in Him. This statement was true for the first century C.E. recipients and remains true for all who receive Yeshua.
“My children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Intercessor with the Father—the righteous Messiah Yeshua. 2 He is the atonement for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.” -1 John 2:1-12 TLV
25 nor must He offer His soul often, repeatedly, many times like the high priest who enters the Holy place, sanctuary year after year with blood of others.
Messiah’s sacrifice is of eternal affect. Unlike the high priests of the Levitical priesthood He need not offer sacrifices for Himself because He is sinless, without blemish. Therefore, He has died once for all and stands perpetually before the face of God to intercede on behalf of those who have received His vicarious sacrifice.
26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer (paschō[G]) often since the beginning, foundation, conception (katabolē[G], meireishiyt[H]) of the world (kosmos[G], haolam[H]); but now (nun[G]) once (hapax[G], echat[H]) at the goal (sunteleia[G]) of the ages, generations, the world, forever (aiōn[G], hadorot[H]) He has been revealed, manifest (phaneroō[G]) to put away, cancel, abolish (eis athetēsis[G]) sin (hamartia[G], et hacheite[H]) [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] by the sacrifice (thusia[G], bezevach[H]) of His soul (nafsho[H]). 27 And just as it is appointed (apokeimai[G]) for people (beneiy adam[H]) to die (apothnēskō[G], lamot[H]) once (hapax[G], echat[H]), and after this, the judgment (krisis[G], hamishpat[H]), 28 so Messiah (Christos[G], ha-Mashiyach[H]) also, having been offered (prospherō[G]) once (hapax[G], echat[H]) to bear, carry (anapherō[G]) the sins (hamartia[G], cheite[H]) of many, will appear (optanomai[G]) a second (deuteros[G], sheiniyt[H]) time for salvation (sōtēria[G], liyeshuah[H]) without reference to, separation from (chōris[G]) sin (hamartia[G], cheite[H]), to those who look for, eagerly await (apekdechomai[G], yeiraeh[H]) Him.
26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the beginning, foundation, conception of the world; but now once at the goal of the ages, generations, the world, forever He has been revealed, manifest to put away, cancel, abolish sin [missing the mark set by God’s holiness] by the sacrifice of His soul.
Because of His perfect sacrifice Messiah need not die many times, over and over again. Nor has He need of somehow retrospectively atoning for the righteous ones of our past. Yeshua the Messiah is resurrected and transcendent unbound by time and space and is therefore able to save all (from Adam to the last human born into time and space) through His blood.
“19 but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” - 1 Peter 1:19-20 TLV
“8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” -Revelation 13:8 NIV
“but now once at the goal of the ages, He has been revealed, to abolish sin by the sacrifice of His soul.” Now (in the first century C.E.) and now (in the present), Yeshua is manifest as the Goal of the Torah (Rom. 10:4), the mediator of a better covenant in His blood, one that brings eternal atonement and everlasting life for all who receive Him. So that both those who “now” received Him in the first century C.E. and those who “now” receive Him in our time, have already passed from death into His eternal life. Our spiritual DNA has changed.
27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, the judgment,
This verse puts death to the false claims of those who say they have died and literally been to heaven and have come back to shared their experiences. While according to Scripture (2 Cor. 12:2-4) one can claim to have experienced a vision of paradise (Gan Eden, Bosom of Abraham ref. Luke 16:19-31) as convergent with the third heaven (not heaven but a part of Sheol), one cannot legitimately claim to have actually, physically or metaphysically entered the heaven of heavens (John 3:13; Heb. 9:27; Luke 23:43)[note that Elijah was taken into “hashamayim” the heavens pl. and not into the heaven of heavens in particular (2 Kings 2). Also in the case of Enoch who “was not”, heaven is not mentioned (Gen 5:24).
The Scripture does not say “it is appointed to human beings to die and spend time in heaven and then come back for a while and die again etc…” But, “It is appointed to human beings to die once and then the judgement”, not “and then some other things and then the judgement”, but “and then the judgement” which by necessity precedes what Christians mistakenly call “heaven”, but is actually the Olam haba (world to come). Only following the judgement do we dwell forever in the Olam Haba (World to come), prior to that the redeemed await the judgement in Paradise (Bosom of Abraham, Gan Eden). Those Scriptures used to support the counterfeit experiences of those who have “passed” and been revived, when examined closely, affirm the present text rather than being divergent in their meaning.
This verse also puts to death the false idea of the ghosts of human souls, which in reality are demonic spirits (false elohim [gods]) masquerading as departed human souls. This is extremely important in light of the many foolish misinterpretations of Hebrews 12:1 and 1 Samuel 28:3-21.
According to this verse there are two steps between the present temporal life and the Olam Haba (world to come) [mis referred to by Christians as “heaven”]:
1. The death of the human being as a result of the sin affected world
There are no intermediary stages mentioned, nor does the wealth of Scripture support such stages. Those who teach otherwise teach apostasy.
***For Additional Study***
An explanation of the verses commonly used in an attempt to circumvent the truth of Hebrews 9:27.
My commentary on 1 Samuel 28:3-21
The allusion to the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 is referring back to the list of those witnesses to God’s faithfulness who are listed in Hebrews 11, commonly known as the Faith Chapter. These witnesses, as can be seen from Hebrews 11, are the now deceased patriarchs and heroes of the Jewish faith. The writer of Hebrews, a Jew and a Kohen (Priest), knows that the witnesses he is referring to are deceased and that many of them are buried throughout the land of Israel, and that they are therefore uncontactable according to the teaching of Scripture regarding the dead (Hebrews 9:27).
In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16) Yeshua explains that while the dead are conscious, they are not able either to traverse the chasm between Gehinnom (torment) and Gan Eden (Paradise) nor (re: Lazarus etc. once they are finally deceased [Hebrews 9:27]) are they able to traverse the distance between Sheol and the present world. In my article on Saul, Samuel and the Witch of Eyndor, I explain why the events of 1 Samuel 28:3-21 are not describing the dead spirit of Samuel called up but rather an evil spirit that fools both the witch and Saul, and is subsequently used by God to condemn Saul (ref. see link above).
The writer of the book of Hebrews is using the deceased Jewish witnesses of Hebrews 11 as a figurative example. When he says:
“Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses lying around us, let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-2a
He is making a drash (inquiry/comparative teaching) regarding how we should act in light of the figurative (not literal) cloud of witnesses that are buried throughout the land of Israel. We must remember that the writer is probably writing from the perspective of a priest living in the Land of Israel prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E (A.D). He then qualifies this teaching by instructing us, not to focus on the cloud of witnesses, but on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of our faith (The faith that our Jewish forebears shared in the coming Messiah Yeshua).
We cannot engage with this cloud of witnesses because they are deceased and according to Scripture (Hebrews 9:27) they are uncontactable. Those who do seek to speak to the dead are in fact speaking with demonic forces rather than the spirits of dead people (1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Corinthians 10:20-21; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.” –Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Therefore, not only are we unable to engage with the dead witnesses of Hebrews 11-12, we are also commanded by God not to attempt to speak with the dead.
1 Peter 3:14-21
“If you suffer for righteousness' sake, be glad: and don’t be afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify (Kiddush) HaShem (Merciful) Elohiym (Judge) in your core being (heart): and be ready always to give an answer to every human being that asks you the reason for the hope that is in you with humility and reverent awe: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conduct in Messiah. For it’s better if God’s will is that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. For Messiah also at one time suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Ruach (Spirit). By Whom (The Spirit) He also went and made proclamation to the ruachiym (spirits) in prison (phulake: foo-lak-ay). Who were formerly disobedient, when at one time the longsuffering God waited in the days of Noach (Comfort), while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is eight souls (nefesh) were saved by water (mikveh: gathering of water). This figurative likeness being a representation of the immersion (baptism) that now also saves us (not the washing of the flesh but the earnest seeking of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah.”
–1 Peter 3:17-21
In the context of Peter’s letter, the community of believers is being encouraged to share their faith with anyone who asks, and not to shy away from suffering if that is what God’s will entails. Peter then offers Yeshua as an example of One Who suffered and shared His message in the Spirit of God. It is explained that Yeshua’s suffering puts to death the sinful practices of the flesh and resurrects each believer in the life giving Spirit of God. It is by this same Spirit that the resurrected Messiah (not in Sheol) transcends time and space, and thus traverses time and space by the Spirit, to proclaim His saving work to those spirits of human beings who were still living in the flesh at the time of Noah prior to the flood. The text explains that during the time of Noah only eight imprisoned spirits heard Yeshua’s message received it and were delivered through the figurative tevilah immersion (baptism) of the flood, which the author shows to be a prefigure of the same tevilah immersion (baptism) that believers in Messiah have received unto salvation.
From the p’shat (plain) meaning of the text and the subsequent, remez (hint), drash (comparative) and sod (mystery), we see that it does not place Yeshua in Sheol in relation to His proclamation but shows that it is by the Spirit of God following His resurrection that He spoke to the imprisoned spirits of humanity past. This text is not teaching anything even remotely to do with communicating with imprisoned dead people or angelic spirits. To the contrary, it simply teaches that God is just and that all humanity from Adam to the end of days has and will have an opportunity to either reject or receive the message of Messiah. This text shows how in the Spirit (of God), the resurrected Messiah transcends time and space and manifests the supernatural reality that He was both literally and figuratively slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
2 Corinthians 12:1-5
Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations [a]of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. -2 Corinthians 12:1-4 NASB
V.1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations [a]of the Lord.
What Rav Shaul (Paul) is about to speak of is a “vision”, a “revelation” and not a physical or metaphysical event. Therefore, based on the very nature of either a vision or a revelation, the events described are already presumed unreal, not actual, neither physical nor metaphysical, but instead, something seen in the imagination, mind’s eye or spirit.
V2. I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
Rav Shaul is possibly speaking of himself in the guise of apologetic self-promoting rhetoric like that employed elsewhere in his works. Alternatively he is relaying the vision experience of a trusted fellow believer, perhaps one of his brothers among the Jewish Church fathers.
He states clearly “whether in the body I don’t know, or out of the body I don’t know, God knows…” He is describing the experience of a vision. Those who experience visions have all kinds of feelings and sensory adventures but are not literally in the places they are visioning. Rav Shaul is not espousing “out of body experience”, which is an occult practice connected with Gnosticism, transcendental meditation and other false religious beliefs. To the contrary, Biblical Judaism abhors this idea viewing it as a form of witchcraft. Instead, Rav Shaul is alluding to the difference between experiencing a vision as if it were inside us verses experiencing a vision as if we are looking outwardly at it (both occurring within the mind’s eye or consciousness but neither occurring outside the body). In neither case does the spirit leave the body. Biblical Judaism teaches that the human soul (Body, mind, spirit etc.) is a unity unseparated until death when the spirit leaves and goes to Sheol.
The Greek harpaso is poorly translated here by the NASB. In the context of this vision it means “caught away” and not caught up.
Rav Shaul is right to give the interpretation to God, saying “God Knows”. Yes, God does know, in fact, so as to avoid confusion God has authored His word to say, “No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.” (John 3:13), and “it is appointed for people to die once, and after this, the judgment…” (Heb. 9:27).
V.3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows..”
He repeats, “whether in the body I don’t know, or out of the body I don’t know, God knows…” because he is bewildered by the vision experience he is referring to and rightly understands that it was not a tangible, literal experience. Neither a physical or metaphysical reality. In Biblical Hebrew thought and interpretation something repeated is firmly established. Therefore, Rav Shaul has firmly established that he doesn’t know where the “man” was. As explained, the Scripture tells us where he was not.
V.4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
The Greek harpaso is again poorly translated here by the NASB. In the context of this vision it means “caught away” and not caught up. We know this because the Jewish writer refers to paradise (Gan Eden, the Bosom of Abraham), which is a part of Sheol, meaning that the qualification of heaven, written as “third heaven” refers to the convergent presence of the Messiah in both the heavens and paradise simultaneously, following His resurrection. Following His resurrection the King Messiah being unbound by time, space, situational and locational being etc. In short, regardless of the issue of traversing the heavens as believers, this text is referring to a convergent form of paradise (in Sheol) and not to the heaven of heavens.
Therefore, the text of 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 does not teach that a person (perhaps Paul) ascended to the heaven of heavens, something that would contradict the words of Yeshua and the teaching of Hebrews 9:27.
Regarding the Resurrections of Lazarus, the Son of the widow of Nain etc.
All (those temporally resurrected) had not yet passed into Sheol but were in transition sleep. Meaning unconscious but the spirit had not left the body according to ancient Jewish tradition (3 to 4 day period of unconscious sleep, the first stage of death/passing). This means that the person cannot communicate with the living, nor are they yet in Sheol (When Yeshua says "Today you will be with me in paradise" to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43) I believe the word "today" is used in an eternally present sense. Alternatively, some pass over more quickly than others, although with regard to time and space how could we even begin to determine the measure by which we could access such a process?)
In all these cases of temporal resurrections (they are exceptions, and include Elijah raising the woman's son) the resurrected are resurrected within four days of death, and their spirits have not entered death finally with regard to entering Sheol.
"Appointed unto man once to die" regards the spirit's entry into Sheol and not the transition period of soul sleep (a euphemism used by Yeshua [John 11:11]). No one in transition sleep (first stage of separation) can communicate to the living. Therefore, the point I made regarding ghosts being demons remains the same, ghosts are not wandering human spirits.
Additionally, Hebrews 9:27 makes both Karma and Reincarnation untenable concepts:
Hebrews 9:27 of course also refutes the false beliefs of karma and reincarnation. Those who claim “sowing and reaping” to be the same concept as “karma” do so by ignoring the Scriptures that qualify sowing and reaping. Sowing and reaping applies to the temporal actions and outcomes of this life and to the cumulative actions of this life and their eternal outcome following judgement. It does not seek to solve the problem of injustice by perpetuating injustice, as is the case with karma and reincarnation. Karma attempts to provide a solution for evil by offering a cycle of lives that provide an opportunity to act rightly in order to become perfect, divine. The flaw in this delusion is that an inherently sinful person can never act perfectly, not in any life, nor can an evil act which has already been done, be undone by a good act. Ample evidence against the delusion of karma is recorded throughout human history for all to see. What’s more, karma says that a suffering destitute person (of a lower class) should be left to suffer in order to perfect their karma for a better reincarnation, this in direct opposition to the teaching of Scripture, which admonishes us to help the destitute and suffering.
There is no justice in karma. It offers nothing more than a perpetual prison of impossible restitution and the false promise of (counterfeit) divinity. Whereas the God of justice has made restitution on behalf of all who will receive His loving sacrifice through Yeshua, and promises eternal life in Him (the Divine One).
28 so Messiah also, having been offered once to bear, carry the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to, separation from sin [ref. Num. 19:13], to those who look for, eagerly await Him.
“Messiah also, having been offered once” Just as the life of a human being ends in death (of the body) once, so too the death of Messiah occurs once in order to carry upon Himself the sin and death of many, and produces eternal life as a result.
“to carry the sins of many” This is a quote from Isaiah 53:12, and is part of a Messianic prophecy spanning Isaiah 52:13-53:12. It is also alluded to in Mark 10:45 and a different portion of it is quoted in Acts 8:32-35.
Notice that Messiah carries the sins of many, not all. God Who is all-knowing seeing the end from the beginning, sent Messiah to atone for all who would receive Him. The sins of the willfully unrepentant remain unatoned and thus, they will suffer the just punishment for their sins eternally as the antithesis to eternal living (Hebrews 6:2; Daniel 12:2; Mark 9:44-48; John 5:29; Matthew 25:41, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:10).
“will appear a second time for salvation without reference to, separation from sin [ref. Num. 19:13],” His second coming does not address the issue of sin, which has already been solved in His death and resurrection. Rather His second coming brings the fullness of the promise of eternal life made manifest in the new heavens and new earth for all who have received Him and been reconciled to God in right relationship.
That Messiah will return is certain (Mark 13:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
“to those who look for, eagerly await Him.” With regard to the first century Jewish believers who are the recipients of this work, they are to await Yeshua just as the people of Israel awaited the return of the high priest from the holy of holies on Yom Kippur. The distinction of “those who look for and eagerly await Him” is important. The writer has already addressed the issue of disobedience and those Israelites who failed to enter God’s rest (Heb. 4), now he gives a gentle reminder to his hearers, admonishing them to remain focussed on Yeshua and His promised return.
Rav Shaul teaches rightly that not all ethnic-religious Jews are truly Jewish in soul, that is, not all ethnic-religious Jews have chosen to receive Yeshua’s redemptive work (Romans 9:6). Rav Shaul’s writing on this matter specifically refers to Jews (ethnic) and does not refer to the spiritual condition of non-Jews (as some foolishly misinterpret). As I’ve said on many occasions, the context of Romans 9 relates to Jews who are Messiah followers (true Israelites), and Jews who are ethnically Israel but are not Messiah followers. All examples given in Romans 9 relate to Jews, Gentiles are not mentioned in relation to the inward spiritual condition of a Jew. Therefore, it is utter nonsense for a Gentile to call himself a “spiritual Jew”. The only “Spiritual Jew” is an “ethnic Jew”, given that “Jew”, and “Israel” are ethnic nouns describing the descendants of Jacob (they are never used in Scripture to describe Gentiles, physically, spiritually or otherwise). As I have said many times, a Gentile calling himself a “Spiritual Jew” is comparable to a Briton calling himself a “Spiritual Navajo”. The same applies to a Church that claims to be Spiritual Israel. That Church is apostate.
By way of Hebrews 9:28 being applied as a universal principle, applicable to all who truly believe: as disciples of Yeshua our faith is an ongoing walk of looking to Him, hoping in Him, eagerly awaiting Him. He is present and returning, and in Him we have returned to the eternal present.
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
In the sense that God is in control of all things and that He allows but is not subject to free will, the phrase “You make us wander” is accurate. It is in fact in our wandering that we discover the need for direction.
Isa 63:1 Miy zeh Who is this ba Who comes mei’edom from Edom (red), chamutz in leavened, fermented, dyed crimson begadiym garments mibatzrah from Bozrah (sheepfold), zeh hadur this One Who is splendid, honourable, glorious, majestic bilvusho in His clothing, tzo’eh stooping berov in the greatness kocho of His strength? “Aniy It is I, me’dabeir speaking bitzdakah in righteousness, rav mighty lehoshiya to save.”
There are a number of reasons we understand the speaker in verse 1 to be HaShem, and by extension the Servant King Messiah. First, chapter 62:11 speaks of Salvation the Person (Yeshua) coming to deliver Israel (Zion, Jerusalem), following which the prophet speaks of the redeemed people of Zion and the titles by which the redeemed city of Jerusalem will be described. Therefore, the One described in verse 1 of Isaiah 63 must be the Salvation that comes in 62:11, bringing reward and recompense (just vengeance). Second, only God Himself is capable of truly saving Israel, which alerts us again to the intrinsic connection between the Servant Redeemer, Who is Salvation, and HaShem. In fact, the Salvation personified in the previous chapter is that of God Himself coming as God with us, the King Messiah. He comes with reward for the redeemed and recompense for the wicked.
“Some refer this to Messiah, others to the angel Michael; but more correctly it may be referred to God.” -Iben Ezra
A number of Jewish commentators, both ancient and modern, interpret this portion of Isaiah as referring to the Messiah, specifically in relation to what they understand as His first (only) coming. They also understand Edom as being figurative of Rome, given that the political and physical end of the Edomites actually occured during the Maccabean period (167-160 BCE), when the Edomites were conquered and forced into conversion to Judaism. Following this their land became nothing more than a desert wasteland.
When the King Messiah shall come, he will be clothed in purple, beautiful to look at, which in colour shall be like to wine for the clothing of the King Messiah shall be silk, red as blood; and it shall be worked with the needle in various colours, and he shall be the Head of Israel; and this is what is said in Isa. 63:3 ‘wherefore art thou red in thy apparel?’'' - R. Moses Haddarsan in Bereshit Rabba in Gen. xlix. 11.
“the Ishmaelites or Turks shall fight three battles in the latter day; one in the forest of Arabia; another in the sea; and a third in the great city Rome, which shall be greater than the other two; and from thence shall spring the Messiah, and he shall look upon the destruction of the one and of the other, and from thence shall he come into the land of Israel, as it is said, ‘who is this that comes from Edom?’” - Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. fol. 32. 1.
“the Ishmaelites or Turks shall come against Rome, and destroy it; and then shall be revealed the Messiah, the son of David, and shall complete the redemption of the Lord, according to Dan 12:1 … the son of David, shall be of the Jews that are in the captivity of Edom (or Rome), Isa. 63:1 ‘who is this that comes from Edom?’” – Abarbinel; Mashmiah Yeshuah, fol. 44. 1, 2.
Also the Jewish commentator Kimchi interprets the present verse as prophetic of the time to come (Messianic age). However, although it is true that the King Messiah is intended, the present text relates to His second coming, and not to any current historical event or to His ascension to heaven, after his death and resurrection; which took place in Judea, and on the Mount Olives, near to Jerusalem (not in or from Edom, which is south east of Jerusalem). Therefore, the present text finds its greater fulfilment yet future, when Messiah returns to take vengeance on the anti-messiah, and all the anti-messianic powers (empire of the Beast).
Edom, while being a brother nation to Israel, also symbolises pagan opposition toward God and Israel (Chosen, ethnic, religious) [Isa.34:5; Jer.25:22; 49:17].
Bozrah was once a strong city in Edom on the shore of the Sea of Salt (Dead Sea). Edom is another name for Esau (Gen. 36:8), and comes from the root adom (red), thus, blood stains or wine juice, the blood of grapes. Bozrah, meaning sheepfold, is related to the Hebrew bazir “a vintage” and is therefore an interesting poetic allusion within the wider narrative of Isaiah 63.
Yet another Jewish commentator Yarchi interprets the garments of the One coming from Edom as being dyed in blood, or dipped in it; which agrees with the vesture od Messiah as described in the Revelation:
“On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ Then I saw a single angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he cried out to all the birds flying high in the sky, ‘Come, gather for the great banquet of God--18 to eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of generals and the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and those riding on them, the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great!’” -Revelation 19:16-18 (TLV)
Ultimately the King Messiah will return as the warring Mashiyach Ben David, coming with reward for the righteous and bringing judgement upon the wicked:
“These kings are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them—because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” -Revelation 17:13-14 (TLV)
Isa 63:2 Madua Why adom lilvushecha is your clothing red, uve’gadeycha and your garments kedoreich be’gat like one who treads in the winepress?
As alluded to previously, adom and edom are easily related and convey the extent of the punishment of the wicked who oppose God and His purposes for redeeming Israel. The treading of the winepress and the act of harvesting are figurative Biblical pictures of judgement against the wicked (Joel 3:13; Isa. 63:2-3; Rev. 14:19).
Isa 63:3 “Purah darachtiy levadiy The winepress I have trodden alone, umei’amiym and from the tribes eiyn-iysh no man (one) itiy with me; ve’edrecheim I trod on them be’apiy in My anger ve’ermeseim and trampled them bachamatiy in My rage; ve’yeiz nitzcham their lifeblood spattered al-begaday on my garments, vechol-malbushay and all My attire egaletiy I will stain.
Both the literal and figurative judgements that God executes over Edom are His doing alone accomplished without the assistance of anyone from among the tribes of Israel (with the exception of Yeshua of course).
He treads on Edom, the enemies of God and of His chosen people Israel. The wine press is a wine press of wrath, and the trampling results in the garments of HaShem being spattered with blood like stains. The life sap (nitscham) is symbolic of the blood of the enemies of God.
“He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” -Revelation 19:13 (ESV)
The context of this correlating passage from Revelation is one of God’s wrath meted out through the Messiah. Therefore, the blood of the Messiah’s robe in this context is the blood of vengeance and not the Messiah’s own shed blood of redemption
Isa 63:4 Kiy For yom a day nakam of vengeance belibiy is in My heart, ushenat and My year geulay of redemption ba’ah is come.
Once again we note that God’s vengeance is brief (a day) and His redemption is wide (a year).
In order that Israel might be redeemed, Edom, both the literal and figurative, perpetual enemy of Israel must be wiped out.
Isa 63:5 Veabiyt And I looked, ve’eiyn but there was no ozer help; ve’eshtomeim I was appalled, ve’eiyn but there was no someich one to uphold; vatusha liy zeroiy so My own arm brought Me salvation, vachamatiy and My rage hiy He semachateniy upheld Me.
God needs no help from man, thus the meaning is related to the fact that there was no one without sin. Nor is any man capable of redeeming himself, let alone bringing salvation to all Israel.
“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought him salvation, and His righteousness upheld him.” -Isaiah 59:16 (ESV)
The arm of God is the King Messiah Who brings salvation and the rage of God against sin and death is the force that upholds and renders His righteous judgement.
Isa 63:6 Ve’avus And I trampled down (rejected) amiym the tribes be’apiy in My anger; va’ashakereim making them drunk bachamatiy in My rage, veoriyd and descending la’aretz to the land nitzcham their lifeblood (grape juice).”
Israel will also suffer under the anger and wrath of God as a result of her sin and rebellion. At this point HaShem has come up from trampling Edom and is bringing just punishment against Israel as a precursor to her redemption and the remembrance of His covenant promises, His loving kindness and mercy toward her.
“For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.” -Psalm 75:8 (ESV)
Isa 63:7 Chasdeiy The kindnesses of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), azkiyr I will remember, tehilot the praises of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), ke’al because upon kol all asher-gemalanu HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) that the LORD has recompensed, ve’rav-tov and the great good le’veiyt to the house Yisrael of Israel asher-gemalam that He has granted them kerachamayv according to His compassion, uchero and according to the abundance of chasadayv His steadfast kindness.
From 63:7- 64:12 the prophet Isaiah cries out in humble confession and from a place of great desperation, on behalf of his people Israel: seeking forgiveness and restoration to right relationship with God.
“Chasdeiy” is plural and indicates the many miraculous works of deliverance and loving kindnesses of God toward Israel.
This verse begins and ends with “Chesed” loving kindness, the action of love.
Isa 63:8 Vayomer And He said, “Ach-amiy Indeed they are My tribe, heimah baniym lo yeshakeiru children who will not deal falsely.” Vayhiy And I became lahem to them le’moshiya their Saviour.
Once again God is quoted as calling Israel His tribe and Himself her Saviour. However, this becomes an indictment against the people of Israel who should have acted rightly toward their God. None the less, He has and will continue to be a Saviour to them.
Isa 63:9 Be-chol In all tzaratam their affliction (distress, trouble, rival wives) lo tzar He was afflicted (distress, trouble, a rival wife), umalach and the messenger (angel) of panayv His face hoshiyam saved them; beahavato in His love uvechemlato and in His mercy hu ge’alam He redeemed them; vaynateleim He lifted them up vaynaseim and carried them kol-yemeiy all the days olam in perpetuity.
“In all tzaratam their affliction (distress, trouble) lo tzar He was afflicted (distressed, troubled)…” God suffers because of, with, and for His people, both emotionally and literally (Messiah Yeshua). The Hebrew “tzarah” (affliction, distress, trouble) can also mean “rival wife”. Thus, there is a sense in which the prophet is making a comparison between the hurt Israel feels at being rejected by God and God’s hurt at being rejected by His people.
“and the messenger (angel) of panayv His face hoshiyam saved them…” We have previously read that HaShem’s own arm will bring Salvation (v.5). Therefore, the Messenger of the Face of God must also be God with us. In fact, the Angel of the presence that went before and behind Israel as she fled Egyptian bondage was none other than Yeshua the transcendent resurrected King Messiah.
“Behold, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 21 Watch for Him and listen to His voice. Do not rebel against Him because He will not pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him. 22 But if you listen closely to His voice, and do everything I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” -Exodus 23:20-22 (TLV)
“in His love uvechemlato and in His mercy hu ge’alam He redeemed them; vaynateleim He lifted them up vaynaseim and carried them kol-yemeiy all the days olam perpetuity.” The nearest previous subject is the Angel of the Face, therefore, God with us, the King Messiah is meant, none other qualifies to action the love, mercy, and redemption of Hashem, nor did anyone other than Hashem lift up and carry Israel perpetually.
Isa 63:10 Ve’heimah And they maru rebelled ve’itzevu and grieved et-ruach kadosho His Holy Spirit; vayeihafeich therefore He turned to become lahem leoyeiv their enemy, hu nilcham-bam He fought against them.
“Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.” -Deut. 9:7 (ESV)
“Some understand by the Holy Spirit the Angel of the Lord.” -Iben Ezra
“But they rebelled against the word of His holy prophets, and blasphemed, and His Word became their enemy, and He waged war against them.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Centruy CE)
“Now if in spite of these things you will not be chastened by Me, but walk contrary to Me instead, 24 then I will also walk contrary to you. Then I will strike you, I Myself, seven times for your sins. 25 I will bring a sword upon you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant, and you will be gathered together inside your cities. I will send the pestilence among you and you will be given into the hand of the enemy.” -Leviticus 26:23-25 (TLV)
Isa 63:11 Vayizkor Then bringing to remembrance (recalling) yemeiy-olam the days of perpetuity, Mosheh of Moses, amo His people. Ayeih Where hama’aleim is He Who brought them up out mi’yam from the sea eit roeiy with the shepherd tzono of His flock? Ayeih Where is He Who hasham put bekirbo in the midst of them et-ruach kadesho His Holy Spirit,
“And He had compassion for the glory of His name, because of the remembrance of His goodness of old, the mighty works which He did by the hands of Moses for His people; lest the Gentiles should say, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea? Where is He that led them through the wilderness, as a shepherd his flock? Where is He that made the word of His holy prophets to dwell amongst them?” - Targum Yonatan (2nd Centruy CE)
“Where is He?” The greater answer is that He never left them or truly forsook them. While the reference to a shepherd (shepherds) may refer to Moses, or Moses and Aaron collectively, it is equally likely to refer to the Angel of the presence and or God Himself. It is also acceptable to understand the shepherds to be all the aforementioned.
“You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.” -Nehemiah 9:20 (ESV)
Isa 63:12 Moliych liymiyn Mosheh zeroa tifarto Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, bokei’a who divided (split, broke open, tore up) mayim the waters mipeneiyhem from before their faces la’asot to make for lo sheim olam Himself an everlasting name,
“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
7 And in the greatness of Your excellence
You have overthrown those who rose against You;
You sent forth Your wrath;
It consumed them like stubble.
8 And with the blast of Your nostrils
The waters were gathered together;
The floods stood upright like a heap;
The depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue,
I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword,
My hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with Your wind,
The sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.” -Exodus 15:6-10
Isa 63:13 Moliycham Who led batehomot them in the depths? Kasus Like a horse bamidbar in the desert (ba in, mi from, davar word, essence) lo yikashelu they did not stumble.
A poetic way of referring to Israel’s escape through the depths of the Red sea and her journey through the desert to the promised land.
Isa 63:14 Kabeheimah Like livestock babikah tered going into the valley, Ruach-YHVH the Spirit of the LORD teniychenu gave them rest. Kein So nihageta you drove, led, guided amecha Your tribe, la’asot to make lecha for Yourself sheim tifaret a glorious name.
We note that the Spirit of the Lord, Who is called “Comforter” in the Brit HaChadashah (NT), is described here as the One Who gives Israel rest.
The strong theme of the glorification of God’s Name is significant because it is through the recognition of the saving God of Israel that all who seek redemption are saved in the Messiah and reconciled to the God of Israel.
Isa 63:15 Habet Look (regard, consider) mishamayim from the heavens ure’eih and see, mizevul kodshecha from the lofty habitation of Your holiness vetifartecha and Your Glory, Majesty, Splendour. Ayeih Where are kinatecha Your zeal, jealousy ugevurotecha and Your strength? Hamon The roar (stirring, tumult, sound) me’eicha from Your intestines (inner parts) verachameycha and Your womb (compassion) eilay hitapaku are held back from me.
The prophet expresses the people’s feelings of abandonment. Though the prophet knows that God is ever present, he uses distancing language to show both the Lofty glory and all powerful nature of God and His seeming rejection of the people of Israel who have acted so wickedly toward Him.
We note that the literal Hebrew translation reveals both the masculine and feminine nature of God. “The roar me’eicha from Your intestines (masculine), verachameycha and your womb (feminine)…”
Isa 63:16 Kiy-atah For You are Avinu our Father, kiy Avraham lo yeda’anu for Abraham does not know us, ve’yisrael and Israel (The individual progenitor Jacob) lo yakiranu does not acknowledge us; Atah You, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), Avinu are our Father, Goaleinu our Redeemer mei’olam she’meicha from perpetuity is Your name.
The prophet reminds himself and Israel that they are generations from the patriarchs and must remember that from before the beginning of Israel’s existence God has been her Father and Redeemer.
I recall a foolish Christian teacher who once told me that “Jews don’t understand God as Father but Christians do because Jesus taught us to prayer which says, ‘Our Father Who is in Heaven’”. I responded, “You obviously know very little about Jewish people and the Bible (present text not withstanding). One of the central prayers of Rosh Hashanah begins, ‘Our Father, Our King’”.
Isa 63:17 Lamah tateinu YHVH mideracheycha, Why do You make us wander from your ways HaShem, takshiach hardening libeinu our core being (heart), miyiratecha from fearing You? Shuv Turn back lema’an for the sake avadeycha of your servants, shivteiy the branches of nachalatecha Your inheritance (heritage, possession, property).
“Why hast Thou cast us off, Lord, that we should go astray from the paths which are right in Thy sight, as the nations which have no part in the instruction of Thy law? Our heart is not turned away from Thy fear: return Thy Shekinah unto Thy people, for the sake of Thy righteous servants, unto whom Thou hast sworn by Thy Word to make the tribes amongst them Thine inheritance.” - Targum Yonatan (2nd Centruy CE)
In the sense that God is in control of all things and that He allows but is not subject to free will, the phrase “You make us wander” is accurate. It is in fact in our wandering that we discover the need for direction.
Though God had never truly left Israel, Isaiah asks Him to turn back toward her for the sake of His righteous servants the prophets and the Patriarchs of Israel, the branches of God’s inheritance.
Isa 63:18 Lamitzar For a little while yareshu am-kodshecha Your tribe took hold of Your Holiness; tzareinu our adversaries bossu have trampled mikdashecha Your sanctuary.
This refers to the dwelling of God’s presence in a manifest way upon the Temple in Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign and the subsequent withdrawal of His glory during Israel’s years of idolatry and debauchery.
Isa 63:19 Hayiynu meiolam lo-mashalta ba lo-nikra shimcha We have become from perpetuity, like those not ruled by You, like those not called by Your name.
It’s as if Israel has become like a goy (foreign nation) who have never known God. The weight of this statement is lost on the modern reader. The nation God chose and to whom He revealed His glory, power, might and Holy fearful presence, has now become like those who never knew Him. Tragic, beyond appalling. The prophet is distraught, gutted, grieved to the core of his being by this sobering realisation.
Copyright 2019 Yaakov Brown
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
The comfort of the revelation of fearless existence follows the poetic description of the choosing, conceiving and forming of the people of Israel. We do well to remember that these words apply to Israel as a nation, and while there is a spiritual principle here that can be applied to every believer, it is only so based on the plain application to the nation of Israel, ethnic, religious, chosen.
Isa 44:1 And now shema hear, listen, receive, understand, Yaakov (follower, Jacob) avdiy My servant; and Yisrael (overcome in God, Israel), whom I have chosen:
This chapter begins with the familiar refrain identifying Israel’s journey from inception to service and culminating in her chosen identity. Following the explanation of Israel’s terrible plight in the previous chapter the prophet now conveys a message of unsurpassed blessing. Therefore, “Listen carefully Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen”.
Isa 44:2 Thus says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Who osecha (from asah) fashioned you, ve’yotzer and formed (framed, bound together) you from the womb, who will help you; “Al tiyra No fear, Yaakov (follower, Jacob), avdiy My servant; and you, Yeshurun (upright, lawful, smooth, integrity), whom barchatiy I have chosen (elected, decided for).
The comfort of the revelation of fearless existence follows the poetic description of the choosing, conceiving and forming of the people of Israel. We do well to remember that these words apply to Israel as a nation, and while there is a spiritual principal here that can be applied to every believer, it is only so based on the plain application to the nation of Israel, ethnic, religious, chosen.
God is revealed as “Mercy, Helper, Creator, Artisan” and the One through Whom Israel is called Yeshurun “Upright One”.
The title Yeshurun is used elsewhere only three times (Deut. 32:15; 33:5, 26). The first of the three other instances, like the present example, places the “Upright One” in a state of unrighteousness. The second reference alludes to Moses as king in Yeshurun and the third proclaims the uniqueness of the God of Yeshurun, Who has no equal. Collecting these four occurrences of the name Yeshurun, we’re able to conclude that her uprightness is the state in which God sees her complete outside of circumstance and through His redemptive work. She is not upright of her own accord, nor have her actions made her that way, to the contrary, it is because God has chosen her that He has made certain of her redemption. This is the very essence of the Gospel of our King Messiah Yeshua.
Isa 44:3 For I will pour mayim water upon the thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour ruachiy My Spirit upon your seed (progeny, offspring), u’virchatiy and My blessing upon your offspring:
The poetic form of repetition connects the figure of water poured onto dry ground to the Spirit of God poured out upon the seed of Israel. Both the water and the Spirit bear the fruit of blessing, physical and spiritual.
The Hebrew mayim even in its singular form, denotes an intensity found in plural use. Therefore, water carries the sense of waters.
The water is first poured out upon the thirsty, this with the purpose of satisfying the thirst of the desperately repentant. Subsequently the water floods the dry ground, something that results in sweeping away the transient layer of top soil. To this day in Israel’s desert region, when there is a torrential rainfall, flooding and mudslides cause great damage in the Negev and elsewhere, sometimes resulting in the deaths of residents and hikers caught in the deluge. Therefore, there is at least a sense in which the present verse reveals the Spirit of God as a double edged sword bringing deliverance and life to the repentant while sweeping away those who continue to wander from the truth.
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You: my soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water;” -Psalm 63:1
Isa 44:4 And they will spring up in the midst of grass, as willows in the water courses (streams, irrigation etc.)
The seed of Israel will spring up in the midst of a revived and green land, both literally and figuratively. Like the willows that grow in water ways with access to a constant supply of water, so too Israel’s progeny will grow immersed in the constant supply of God’s Spirit.
Isa 44:5 Zeh This one will yomar say, “to HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) ani I am;” ve’zeh and this one will yikra call (proclaim) besheim-Yaakov in the name of Jacob (follower); and ve’zeh and this one will yichtov inscribe his hand to HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), u’vesheim and in the name of Yisrael (Israel, overcome in God) ye’khaneh a (future) title (actionable identity).
Each of the titles alluded to in this verse are chosen by individuals from among the people of Israel to show the desire of each one to be identified as belonging to the God of Israel. Thus, this verse is revealing the fact that in the future Israel will return to God both individually and corporately, each one delighting in the uniqueness of a personal and national identity found only in the redemptive work of God through the Messiah.
“To HaShem I am.” In other words, “I belong to HaShem” or, “I belong to Mercy”. This is similar to the identifying mark on the forehead plate of the High Priest of Israel, Kadosh YHVH, “Holy unto HaShem” or, “Holy, set apart to Mercy”. Thus in some sense there is a connection to the priesthood of the nation of Israel.
“In the name of Jacob”. In other words, “I’m proud to be called a Jew” or, “I’m unashamed of the fact that I’m a follower of God”.
“Inscribe his hand to HaShem.” To inscribe one’s hand is to commit all action to that which is inscribed upon it. Thus, this is an act of devotion to God and to a life of service in His kingdom. This last identifier is followed by “In the name of Israel yet to be titled.” This is not a “surname” in the traditional English sense, rather the Hebrew prefix “ye” denotes something yet future and “Khaneh” refers to a title or secondary name. Therefore, it is an affirmation of Israel’s continued ethnic religious identity and a restating of her “overcoming in God”. Thus, her willingness to inscribe her actions to HaShem and her subsequent ministry as the servant of God will affirm her chosen status and reveal her completeness as Yeshurun, the beloved and upright one of God. Made upright through His redemptive work.
I have chosen to explain the so called “surname” in terms of “actionable identity”.
Isa 44:6 Thus says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Melekh-Yisrael the King of Israel, ve’goalo and his (kinsman) redeemer HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) tzeva’ot who goes warring (of hosts); “Ani I am rishon first, va’ani and I am acharon last (lasting); and beside me (without me) eiyn elohiym there is no god (there are no gods/judges).”
Corresponding to the titles adopted by Israel in verse 5 are the titles of HaShem in verse 6:
Verse 5 Verse 6
Belonging to Hashem Israel is subject to the King of Mercy. Jacob the follower finds redemption in a kinsman. Having been redeemed Israel is inscribed with freedom and Hashem goes to war for her. Israel chosen before creation by the One God, first and lasting.
Iben Ezra makes a correlation between Israel in the land and the title King of Israel: likewise he connects Israel’s exile with the title Redeemer.
Isa 44:7 And who, cha’moniy is like Me, who will call, and will declare it, and set it in order for Me, since I appointed am-olam a people forever (in worlds perpetual)? and the coming things, and that which will come, let them show.
“Am-olam (A people forever)” is applied elsewhere to those who have already gone on to Sheol (holding place of the departed). The epithet is evidence of the ancient Jewish understanding of the everlasting nature of the soul.
The God of Israel is like no other. The rhetorical questions posed expose the inability of the false gods and idols of Israel to accurately predict the future or establish Israel as a people.
Isa 44:8 “Al-tifchadu Don’t tremble (dread), ve’al-tirhu and don’t be afraid: have I not told you me’az from that time? and I have declared it! And you are certainly eidaiy My witnesses. Is there a god beside (without) Me? And, there is no tzur rock; I know not any.”
HaShem directs Israel to neither tremble or be afraid of that which He has foretold through His prophet Isaiah: the catastrophe coming on the nations at the hand of Cyrus. Thus, as Israel watches nation after nation crumble along with their deaf, dumb and incompetent idols, Israel is to rest in the knowledge that her God had foreseen and planned all these things (including her exile) for her ultimate benefit.
God reminds Israel that He has chosen her to bear witness of His redemptive wonders, and that He is her Rock (tzur: an immovable cliff face).
Isa 44:9 They that form an idol are all of them tohu formless; and their coveted things will not profit; and they are their own witnesses; don’t see, and don’t know; so that they may be ashamed. Isa 44:10 Who has formed el a god, or forged a graven image, which profits nothing?
Verses 9 through 20 explain the illogic and folly of idolatry.
We note that the opening phrase calls the idol maker “formless”. The verse goes on to explain that lusting after things (Something Rav Shaul called “the love of earthly wealth [mammon]”), bears no fruit. In counter distinction to Israel, who are chosen witnesses to God’s redemptive wonders, those who fashion idols and pursue worldly wealth are invalid witnesses because they testify to their own deeds. Added to this, they are blind and ignorant, giving eye witness accounts of what they can’t see and applying knowledge they haven’t learned. All this is allowed by God in order to bring them to a point of shame and repentance.
“For the love of worldly wealth is the root of all evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” -1Timothy 6:10
The first of the idols of verses 9-20 is forged. Subsequently hammered idols and wooden idols are also mentioned in order to cover the variety of idols created and worshipped by the surrounding nations.
Isa 44:11 Hein Now, behold, all chaveirav his companions will be ashamed: and the workmen, they are me’adam from humanity: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they will fear, and they will be ashamed together.
Fellow idol makers stand together and will likewise be ashamed of their futile work. Every idol maker described is a human being me’adam “from a man, from humanity”. They will fear and be ashamed together when they realize their error. The question remains, “Will they repent?”
Isa 44:12 The shaper with the axe both works in the coals, and fashions with hammers, and works with the strength of his arms: also, he gets hungry, and his strength fails: he drinks no water, and is faint.
This same ironical language is used in Jeremiah 10:3 to expose the futility of the human propensity for creating our own gods using created things and expending our energy to the point of exhaustion in order to complete something which will never complete us.
Isa 44:13 The cutter of eitziym trees stretches out his ruler; he marks out with a line; he fashions with planes, and he marks it out with the compass, and makes the figure of iysh a man, ke’tiferet according to the beauty, glory, adornment of adam humanity (a man); la’shevet to dwell in bayt a house.
Here the idol made of wood from the forest is made in the likeness of a man “iysh”, and the Hebrew “iysh” is connected to the Hebrew “eish” meaning “fire”. Thus, the irony of the same wood used to make the idol being burned in fire (v.15-16).
The second descriptor adam, meaning man or humanity, is thought by some to distinguish between iysh man and adam woman (human form). The Targum follows this understanding:
“according to the praise of a woman;'' -Targum Yonatan
Yarchi also understands the Hebrew text this way:
“this is a woman, who is the glory of her husband;''
If this is correct, both male and female idols are being alluded to in their distinct roles as symbolic governors of the land (male) and the home (female). Hence the Hebrew bayt (house) in reference to the adorned adam “dwelling in bayt”.
Isa 44:14 He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, and is strengthened among the trees of the forest: he plants an ash, and the rain brings nourishment.
All the trees mentioned here are pleasant to look at and good for fuel but none bear fruit. Thus the spiritual truth that idolatry is fruitless, a self-defeating act that offers no progeny.
Isa 44:15 Then it becomes fuel for a man to burn: for he will take from them, and warm himself; he kindles it, and bakes bread; he makes el a god, and worships it; he fashions an idol, and prostrates before it.
The irony here goes beyond the simple lack of logic involved in worshipping something one uses for fuel. The wood born of creation is, like the human being himself, a created thing. This wood is created for the purpose of warming the human being and for use in food preparation, all this being a gift from the Creator. Therefore, having enjoyed the gift of warmth and sustenance from God, the human being chooses to worship the gift instead of the giver. Some today in the Christian Church do the same, so enamoured are they by miracles and manifestations, that they have begun to worship the gifts of God rather than the Giver.
Isa 44:16 Half saraph He burns b’mo in eish fire; al-chetzyo upon half basar flesh yocheil he eats; he roasts the roast, and is satisfied: indeed, he warms himself, and says, heach “Now aha, I am warm, I have seen Ur the light:”
“Ur” is light of the fire (also the name of the city from which Abraham came), not fire as in the burning flames but the light that emanates from it. It is spelled the same way as the uncreated light of the beginning “Or”. This is therefore, equivalent to the exclamation of epiphany made in colloquial English, “I have seen the light.” However, in this context the worshipper of an idol has not seen “The Light”, rather he has seen a false “light” that is born of darkness. Thus, he blasphemes the true “Light” by likening Him to the demonic light of the wood born idol.
Isa 44:17 And the remainder he makes a god, his graven image: he prostrates himself before it, and worships it, and prays to it, and says, “Deliver me; for you are eiliy my god.”
Here the idol is called an el “god”. Thus, while inanimate objects have no power of their own, none the less, spiritual entities are often associated with them and dwell near them in order to deceive and bind idolaters.
“And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,” -Psalm 106:36-37
“And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the demons, and for the calves which he had made.” -2 Chronicles 11:15
“What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” -1 Corinthians 10:19-20
“The rest of humanity, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,” -Revelation 9:20
In the case of Israel, any one among the people of Israel who is asking a false god to “deliver” them is in direct opposition to the Deliverer of Israel, Hashem.
Isa 44:18 They have not yadeu known nor yaviynu discerned: for He has shut their eyes, so they cannot see; and livotam their hearts, so they cannot yashiyv turn.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” -Romans 1:18-25
Isa 44:19 And none yashiv turns back in li’bo his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned part of it in fire; certainly, also I have baked bread upon the coals from it; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and will I now make the remainder of it le’toeivah into an abomination (disgusting thing)? Will I prostrate myself before the stock of a tree?”
There is heartbreak in these words, “And none turns back”. HaShem longs for right relationship with these idolaters, and yet they resist His love. With incredulity the prophet describes the idolaters lack of ability to apply basic logic to the situation. Thus he quotes what he sees as the appropriate revelation of the situation, “I’ve made a god out of a tree, which I also used for warmth and food and now like a fool am I going to bow down to what’s left of it?”
Isa 44:20 He feeds on eipher ashes: a deceived leiv heart has turned him aside, so he can’t deliver nafsho his soul, nor say, “Is this not a lie in my right hand?”
The Hebrew eipher meaning ashes is also used figuratively to refer to a worthless practice. We note that it is the idolaters own deceived heart (core being) that has turned him away from God, and that he is unable to deliver his own soul, not even by simply recognizing that “this idol built with the strength of my right hand is a lie”.
Isa 44:21 “Zechor Remember these, Yaakov (follower, Jacob) and Yisrael (overcomes in God, Israel); for you are avdiy My servant: I have formed you; you are eved-liy My servant: you Yisrael (Israel), will not be forgotten by Me.”
Having explained the futility of idolatry the prophet now repeats the words of HaShem that began the chapter. HaShem implores Israel to remember the futility of the idolatrous practices that she herself has been engaged in and instead accept the role of witness to HaShem’s wonderous acts of deliverance and redemption.
All would do well to remember the promise of Hashem here:
“Israel will not be forgotten by Me!”
Isa 44:22 “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, peshaeicha your rebellion (transgressions) and, as a dark cloud, chatoteicha your sins (missing the mark): shuvah return to Me; for ge’altiycha (from goel, a kinsman) I have redeemed you.”
Ultimately it is Hashem’s desire that Israel return to Him in love. Having exposed the worthless practices of Israel and the surrounding nations He now offers forgiveness with open arms, through the redeeming act of blotting out the rebellion and sin of His chosen people. He reminds Israel that it is He Himself who has redeemed her as a kinsman redeemer redeems a family member.
Isa 44:23 Ranu He overcomes, shamayim you heavens; for HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has done it: ha-riu give a blast (shout), you lowest parts of aretz land (earth): break forth hariym the mountains rinah in a ringing cry, O forest, and every tree therein: for HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) has ga’al redeemed Yaakov (Jacob), and in Yisrael (Israel) yitpa’ar adorned (glorified) himself.
We notice that for all the worthless uses of creation observed in the practice of idolatry there is a counterpoint here. The heavens which had given the rain for the growth of the trees (cut down to make idols) are now called upon to witness the spiritual overcoming of Israel in the One true God HaShem. The land and soil beneath which had provided nutrients for the trees from which the idols were made is now called on to witness the works of God, and the mountains on which the idols were worshipped (at the high places) are called on to give a ringing cry along with the trees themselves, announcing that HaShem has redeemed Jacob and has adorned Himself in Israel with glory: all this in direct opposition to the adorning of the idolatrous humanoid figures of verse 13.
Creation celebrates the redemption of humanity and the renewal of all things:
“For the earnest expectation of created thing waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the created thing was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the created thing itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” -Romans 8:19-23
Isa 44:24 Thus says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), go’alecha your redeemer, and He that yotzercha formed (bound together) you from the womb, “I am HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) that oseh makes all things; that stretches forth the shamayim heavens levadiy Myself; and spreads abroad ha’aretz the earth (land) water;”
HaShem is affirmed again as Kinsman Redeemer, Creator and the One intimately involved in Israel being knitted together from her conception. He alone is Creator of the universe, and it is He alone Who has provided the waters of the heavens to bring life to the soil of the earth, providing sustenance to His creation.
Isa 44:25 That frustrates otot the signs (omens) of the badiym liars, and makes diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish;
HaShem intentionally frustrates the omens offered by spiritualists and mediums, false prophets and Sooth Sayers. Specifically badiym “Babbling liars” and those who consult spirits and pretend to control demonic forces. Those who think themselves wise are turned back and made to look foolish because their wisdom is of men and not of God.
Isa 44:26 Me’kiym Continually raising de’var a word avdo of His servant, and the counsel of His messengers yashliym makes peace; Who says to Yerushalayim (Downpour of peace, Jerusalem), “You will be inhabited;” and to the cities of Yehudah (praise, Judah), “You will be built, and I will raise up the decayed places there:”
“Me’kiym” is a contraction made up of “me” from, and “kum” arise, and in this plural form denotes a continual arising of something. In this case that something is “de’var” a word for God’s servant (singular) and a counsel that comes from His messengers “malachaiv” (angels, prophets etc). His servant Isaiah brings a word (Messiah) and that word (Messiah) is also imparted through the prophets and messengers of God to Israel. He promises to restore Jerusalem (literally and figuratively), and the cities of Judah. He promises to rebuild the people of Israel and the decayed land of her idolatrous practices.
Isa 44:27 Who says latzulah to the deep (ocean), “Be dry, and I will dry up your rivers:”
This is an idiom referring to Sheol (in a figurative way). The deep (Sheol), will one day be dried up (emptied), and the rivers of decay that result from death (fruit of sin) will no longer affect humanity.
Isa 44:28 Who says of Koresh Cyrus (you possess the furnace), “Roiy My shepherd, and all that I desire, yashliym makes peace:” even saying to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), “You will be built; and to the temple, your foundation will be laid (established).”
“Koresh” Cyrus, is mentioned by name here some 150 years before his birth. There can be no doubt that the God of Israel knows the end from the beginning.
Cyrus is called “My Shepherd” by HaShem because HaShem has appointed him to bring discipline to Israel and restore her again to the land of Israel following her exile. In fact, it was to be Cyrus who issued the decree for the Jews of Persia to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1 through 3; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23).
Josephus the Jewish historian of the first century CE (AD) writes that when Cyrus was made aware of this portion of the scroll of Isaiah, that he immediately decreed the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and gave them permission to rebuild the temple (Josephus Antiquities 11:2).
© 2018 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
Until naked, uncovered, poured out emptied on us; spirit, wind, breath, from on high, and it comes to pass that from the Word will be a fruitful field, and the Carmel (fruitful field) will be a forest of esteem and value. -Yishayahu (Isaiah) 32:15
Isa 32:1 Behold, letzedek for righteousness yimelakh will reign melekh a king, ulesariym and princes lemishpat will justly rule.
Some of our sages (Rashi, Ibn Ezra) suggest that this verse refers to the coming reign of Hezekiah, who would be a more righteous king than his father Ahaz. However, although Hezekiah was indeed more righteous than his father, he was by no means a king who’s reign was epitomized by righteousness, nor did just princes reign with him. In fact the council of his subordinate rulers was often opposed to that of the Lord. At best Hezekiah might be considered a type for the righteous king to come but neither he nor any subsequent king of Israel has ever qualified to meet the plan meaning of this text. At least not until the first century CE/AD when the greater son of David (Yeshua) was born of Judah and into the kingdom of Israel.
This text, when read plainly names the king “Tzedek” righteousness. “Behold! For righteousness will reign a king.” The writer of the book of Hebrews names the righteous king of Salem (Jerusalem, Peace) as a type for the Messiah (Heb. 7). There is a correlation here between the prophetic type Melkhi-tzedek (My king of righteousness) and the coming King Messiah (Gen. 14).
Some will say that Yeshua did not reign, and while He has always reigned with HaShem outside of time and space, it is true that at His first coming he did not literally take on the physical throne of David and defeat Israel’s enemies. However, Scripture clearly teaches of a second coming of the King Messiah. When He returns He will reign meta-physically over all creation upon the throne of David and in deference to HaShem.
Who are the princes that are qualified by their just rule? Yeshua the King of Righteousness told us who they would be:
“Then Kefa (Peter) said to Him (Yeshua), ‘Look, we’ve left everything to follow You! So what will we have?” And Yeshua said to them, “Amen, certainly, I tell you, when the Ben Adam Son of Man sits on His glorious throne in the regeneration, you (Talmidiym) who have followed Me shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” -Matthew 19:27-28 [Luke 22:28-30].
The princes of Isaiah 32:1 are Jews who dispense justice according to the will of the King of Righteousness. The talmidiym of Yeshua alone qualify for this role. Thus, Yeshua affirms the prophecy of Isaiah in His promise to His disciples.
This description of the King of Righteousness is a further illumination of Isaiah’s previous prophecy recorded in chapter 11:1-10.
Isa 32:2 And it has come to pass, iysh a man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a shelter from the rain; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great cliff face in a weary land.
The man of the present verse is the Righteous King of the first verse. Verses 1 and 2 give as a beautiful insight into the character of the King Messiah. In verse 1 He is called “Righteousness” and His reign is “Just”. In the present verse He is described as “A man”. He is also poetically referred to as “A hiding place”, “A shelter”, “Streams of water”, and “A shadow”. Each of these similes conveys an aspect of the King Messiah’s character and person.
By naming Him “A man” the prophet puts to flight any gnostic or post-modern esoteric view of the Messiah. The King Messiah is literally a man while at the same time being Righteousness Himself, a title that only God qualifies for.
He is “A hiding place”. That is an intimate description. Those who hide in Him have drawn near to seek refuge and protection from the harsh winds of life.
He is “A shelter”. A hiding place denotes a surrounding protection while a shelter more specifically alludes to covering which is above and protects from that which falls. In this case the rain is seen as a threat that the King Messiah will shelter Israel from. The counterpoint to this is seen in the second to last verse where the raining hail destroys Assyria, Israel’s enemy.
He is “Rivers of water in a dry place”. With verse 19 in mind we might consider the rain from above as a symbol of water falling in judgement. The counterpoint is the rivers of water that bring life to the desperately dry land and her people. Israel will quench her desperate thirst with the living waters of the King of Righteousness.
He is “A shadow of a great cliff face”. This simile conveys a sense of the immutable and immovable nature of the King’s protection over His people and the relief that it brings. Travellers in the middle east often endure harsh conditions as they journey through arid places. Thus, when they come across a cliff face that shelters, cools and protects them they are filled with a sense of relief and security. The shadow of the righteous brings relief from the hot sun, whereas the shadow of the wicked makes the shivering one colder still.
Isa 32:3 And the eyes of roiym seeing ones will not look away, veazneiy and the ears of shomei’iym hearing ones will tiksavenah hear, heed, be attentive.
“And the eyes of the righteous shall not be shut, and the ears of those who receive instruction shall hear.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/AD)
This is the counterpoint to Isaiah’s earlier prophecy concerning Judah’s inability to see or hear the sound teaching and warnings of Hashem.
This seeing and hearing will be upon the entire nation of Israel. The curse of blindness and wilful resistance will be removed by the Righteous King and the renewed nation will be judged with justice, tribe by tribe.
Isa 32:4 ulevav And the core being (heart) of nimhariym the hurried (anxious) will understand lada’at knowledge, uleshon and the tongue of those who speak nonsense will hurry to speak clearly.
For the Hebrew the lev/levav (heart) is not the seat of emotion. The heart is the point of convergence for all aspects of the human existence, while it manifests emotion it is not the sole domain of emotion. Therefore, we understand “heart” to mean “core being”. Thus when the Scripture says “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) it does not mean “The emotion of man (alone) is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”, rather it means “Humanity now has a fallen nature that is manifested within the core of its existence”. In terms of rabbinical nomenclature we would call this sin affected aspect of our nature “Yetzer ha-ra” inclination of the evil.
In the present text the core being of the hasty and anxious person will be set free to receive and understand the knowledge that comes from Hashem. In addition, the one who is undecided and speaks nonsense will be set free to speak clearly and relay the righteous paths of Hashem. All this is the fruit of the reign of the King of Righteousness mentioned in verse 1.
Isa 32:5 lenaval The vile fool will no longer be called nadiyv generous, nor the scoundrel (withholder) said to be shoa noble, free.
"the wicked man shall be no more called just, and they that transgress His word shall not be called mighty.'' – Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/AD)
The Hebrew naval denotes villainy and foolishness. The fool Nabal is famous for his mistreatment of David and his men (1 Sam. 25). The Hebrew text of verse 5 is a transliterated word play “lo yikarei od naval nadiyv”.
This verse is saying that the truth will no longer be made a lie by the upside down nature of the wicked tongue. The vile will be known for who they are and the scoundrel will no longer be seen as noble.
Isa 32:6 For naval a vile fool will speak vile, foolish words, ve’libo and his core being (heart) will make wickedness, to practice godless hypocrisy, and to speak error against HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), to make empty nefesh the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the irrigation of the thirsty to fail.
This is a vehement denunciation of the ruling class of Jerusalem that explicitly calls out their vile behaviour and hypocrisy. The King of verse 1 will illuminate the truth of their actions and evil will be seen for what it is. It is often true that a soft heart that has been deluded by lies is quick to repent when faced with the realization of evil’s true nature.
We note that those being exposed are speaking error against God (YHVH: Mercy) and that the result is hunger of the soul (nefesh) and not the stomach (beten). In other words the wickedness of Jerusalem’s rulers and priests has produced a spiritual hunger in the unlearned classes and has meant that the irrigation of Biblical teaching has been stopped up, preventing the people from receiving the streams of water that would otherwise have flowed forth to them.
However, verse 1 pre-empts this with the promise of the King of Righteousness, Who will come as streams of life giving water.
The Targum of Yonatan supports this understanding:
"to make the soul of the righteous weary, who desire doctrine, as a hungry man bread; and the words of the law, which are as water to him that is thirsty, they think to cause to cease.''
Isa 32:7 Vecheilay And a scoundrel’s (withholder) keilayn instruments, vessels, utensils, are raiym evil, injurious: hu he zimot plans to counsel le’chabeil to bind aniyiym the humble, afflicted, poor beimreiy with speech of deception, uvdabeir when the words evyon of the needy seek justice.
The instruments of the withholder are those of the false shepherd (Zechariah 11:15), sent against Israel by Adonay Himself. These false shepherds, like those of Zechariah’s time, have claimed to worship Adonay but have instead syncretised the faith of Israel and birthed the idolatry of compromise. Their deceptive teaching has severely afflicted those who most needed their care and their words had denied the needy justice. This in complete opposition to the coming King and His just princes.
Isa 32:8 venadiyv And the generous one counsels nediyvot generous things; vehu and he, al upon nediyvot generosity yakum arises.
Once again Ibn Ezra and others claim that this refers to Hezekiah. Once again, if it does, it is only so in the sense that Hezekiah is a type for the Messiah. However, there is no explicit evidence of Hezekiah acting in this way toward the people of Jerusalem and Judea during his reign. In fact, this verse is referring back to the Righteous King of verse 1 Who’s generous counsel will produce generous outcomes as He arises in Israel and reveals His character to those being redeemed through Him. We note that He arises upon generosity meaning that generosity is an attribute of His character.
Isa 32:9 Women of leisure; komenah arise shemanah listen, hear, receive, understand koli my voice, banot daughters botchot trusting; hazeinah give ear to imratiy my speech.
From the very beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry he has pointed out that the fruit of moral decay is often made manifest in a care free, flirtatious and selfish lifestyle (Isa. 3:16-26). This had continued to be the case in the lives of Judah’s leading women. Thus, he once again warns those same women of their need to listen to Hashem and repent of their self-idolatry.
Isaiah uses a formula that is familiar to the writings of the prophets Moses and Amos (A contemporary of Isaiah).
“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:” -Genesis 4:23
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria…” -Amos 6:1
Notice the use of the Hebrew “botchot” trusting, a feminine plural from the root batach. The point is, “What are you trusting in?”
So we see that it is not trust that is important so much as who or what we place our trust in.
Ibn Ezra sees these women as allegorical of the towns of Samaria.
Isa 32:10 Yamiym Days upon shanah a year will tirgaznah agitate, trouble, perturb you, botechot trusting ones: for the vintage will cease, the gathering will be worn out and be brought in.
Ibn Ezra suggests that “yamiym al shanah” equates to “shanah al shanah” year after year. However, this is unlikely given the similar use of shanah elsewhere in Scripture as alluded to by the Scholars Keil & Delitzch:
“Shanah is the current year. In an undefined number of days, at the most a year from the present time (which is sometimes the meaning of yamiym).” -Keil & Delitzch
Therefore, what seems to be meant here is that “Within the days of the current year, you trusting daughters will be troubled, for the vintage will cease and before you get even a small amount of the harvest collected you will find it to be devoid of any real value.”
This is most likely in reference to the invasion of Sennacherib the Assyrian ruler, who invaded Judea in 704 BCE/BC and brought devastation and ruin to the land causing the harvest to cease and the ingathering to fail. This means that Isaiah prophesied these words approximately 702-703, a year or so prior to the Assyrian invasion of Judea.
Isa 32:11 Chirdu Tremble, be afraid, women of leisure; regazah quake, rage, be agitated, botechot trusting ones: veorah make yourself bare, and gird your loins.
This is both a warning of the natural outcome of invasion and at the same time a call to repentance. The phrase “veorah” is often linked to the donning of sackcloth and is a symbol and practice of repentance and genuine sorrow for sin as well as a sign of mourning.
These words are reminiscent of the words of the prophet Joel:
“Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withheld from the house of your God.” -Joel 1:13
“Gird your loins” means prepare to flee.
Isa 32:12 Upon your shadayim breasts, wail, mourn, upon the shedeiy-chemed field of delight, upon the fruitful vine.
Like sackcloth, the beating of the breast is a sign of mourning and repentance. Here it will be done in response to the failing fields of Judea at the coming invasion of the Assyrian army. There is a word play here that links the Hebrew shadayim (breasts) to the shedeiy (field).
Isa 32:13 Upon adamat the land ami of my people thorns and sharp stones will come up; for, upon all the houses of masos exaltation in the village jubilant:
The sharp stones and thorns are both literal and allegorical. The stones and thorns that burden the soil of the middle east are the bane of the farmers existence. They must be removed constantly or they will cause the crop to fail and the feet of the workers to become bruised and cut. Spiritually speaking Israel’s failure to remove the stones and thorns of idolatry and sin will result in the failing of the spiritual crop, even in that city that has been exalted as holy and celebrated with pilgrimage.
“The village Jubilant” is most likely a poetic title for Jerusalem.
Both God and the prophet continue to call Israel, and in particular Judah, “My people”. God and the prophet Isaiah are suffering the grief and heartbreak of the suffering of Israel, even when that suffering is the result of the sin choices of the people. Israel, ethnic-religious is always God’s people. Her identity is not measured by her actions.
Isa 32:14 Because a palace will be forsaken; a multitude in anguish will leave a ofel vebachan hill fort, and a watch tower will become surrounded by dens ad-olam perpetually forever (in the world), an exaltation of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;
“Armon” palace is singular, "the palace", meaning the royal palace. Thus, Iben Ezra and Yarchi interpret it of the king's palace in Jerusalem. The Targum of Yonatan paraphrases armon as “the house of the sanctuary”, or the temple, which was eventually left desolate. Messiah foretold this in Matthew 23:38.
“Ofel vebachan” are said by some to be the names of two towers in Jerusalem. “Ofel” is located on the south-eastern fortified slope of the temple mountain (2 Chronicles 27:3).
The “watch tower” is translated by some (Rashi) to refer to the ramparts or citadel (Ibn Ezra) of Jerusalem but may also be understood to be the same as the “Tower of the flock” mentioned in Micah 4:8. Migdal Eder (Tower of Eder [flock]), which is located in Bethlehem.
The Hebrew “ad-olam” must be understood relative to the “olam” world it refers to. There are essentially two worlds: the olam hazeh, literally “world this one”, and olam haba “world the coming” or “the world to come”, meaning eternity. Thus, in the present passage the context of “ad” perpetually going round “olam” forever, or in the world, refers to the olam hazeh (present world) rather than the olam haba (world to come).
Therefore, the desolation being spoken of is repeated over and again throughout Israel’s history until the Righteous King of Isaiah 32:1 returns to deliver Jerusalem and unite it to the heavenly Jerusalem which will exist in the olam haba ad-olam “In the world to come perpetually forever”.
Isa 32:15 Ad Until yeiareh naked, uncovered, poured out emptied aleiynu on us ruach spirit, wind, breath, from on high, and it comes to pass that midbar the wilderness will be a fruitful field, vehacarmel and the Carmel (fruitful field) be a forest yeichasheiv of esteem, value, (countless).
The theme of verses 15 to 20 is one of restoration, which will come to a repentant Jerusalem. The city being defined by its inhabitants.
The plain meaning is that the desolation decreed against Jerusalem will continue throughout history until Israel receives the unveiled Spirit of God and repents of her sin. As a result she will experience fruitfulness both physical and spiritual, even in the barren wilderness.
“Ad” until, means, the desolation described in the previous verses will continue to come against Jerusalem, Judah and all Israel until the unveiled Spirit is poured out upon the Jewish people (Israel ethnic, religious) from above. That is until the Spirit of God is poured out upon the repentant Jewish people.
The Hebrew “yeiareh” means naked, uncovered, emptied and figuratively, poured out. This is a description of intimacy and relational force. The Spirit is to be revealed unveiled to the people of Israel. We know that this work of redemptive revelation was begun in Jerusalem (Judah, Israel) in the first century CE/AD (Acts 2). Ethnic Jews from throughout the world received the Spirit of God at the aliyot festival celebration of Sukkot (Pentecost) [approximately 33 to 39 CE/AD]. The account of Acts 2 details the Spirit descending like fire, another symbol of naked, unveiled power, and recalls the Jewish tradition that says fire descended upon the elders of Israel at the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
We note that this was the inception, the beginning of the full filling of this prophesied promise of Isaiah. While the salvation of the Jewish people has begun and continues as each one turns to God through Yeshua the Messiah (Righteous King of verse 1), it will not be complete until the fullness of the nations have come to Messiah, at which time those Messianic Jews who have already received the Spirit from above will be joined by the remnant of ethnic religious Israel (Romans 11:25-26). When Shaul (Paul) says “a partial hardening has come to Israel” it means that part of ethnic Israel continues to resist Messiah while other ethnic Jews accept Him. When Shaul (Paul) says “in this way all Israel will be saved” it means that following the salvation of the fullness of the nations the remnant of Israel (ethnic) who remain in disbelief will receive Messiah and be joined to those who are already Messianic Jews (ethnic), thus, all Israel (ethnic) will be saved and reunited in Messiah.
The Hebrew “midbar” meaning wilderness, pasture, uninhabited land, comes from the root dabar meaning essence, thing, word etc. In fact midbar seems to be a contraction of the Hebrew “me” meaning from, and “davar” meaning word, essence. Therefore, as a remez we can read “from the word will come fruitfulness.” The Word is Messiah, the fruit is right action born of Messiah in us.
Isa 32:16 Veshakhan And dwelling bamidbar in the wilderness (ba-in, & mi-from the, d’bar-word), mishpat judgment utzedakah and righteousness bacarmel in the Carmel (fruitful land) teishev will dwell, remain, abide.
“And dwelling in and from the Word, right judgements and righteousness we will abide in the fruit of right action.”
“shakhan” is the root from which we get “Mishkhan” The Tent of Meeting where the Kadosh HaShem (Glory of YHVH) would presence Himself while Israel camped in the desert.
Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace; va’avodat and the service (effect) of ha-tzadakah the righteousness, ha-shekheit the shut it (quietness) vavetach and security (trust) ad-olam perpetually forever (in the world).
This verse begins with a powerful and timeless statement. “The work of righteousness will be peace”. Peace is not the result of military power or political alliances but of right action. That is, righteous faith that bears right action.
In fact the Scripture says “For no one is righteous, not even one” (Psalm 51:4) and “No one living is righteous before You” (Psalm 143:2) and “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Daniel 9:11; Romans 3:23) and still further, “Our righteousness is like menstrual rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, only God and His Messiah are truly righteous. Thus verse 17 draws the reader’s attention back to the first verse of this chapter and the righteousness of the King. Thus, we can read “The work of Righteousness Himself will bring peace.” Not temporal but lasting peace.
Yeshua illuminates this truth further:
“Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Yeshua answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” -Yochanan (John) 6:28-29
This work of righteousness continues within the present world until it meets the world to come.
It is utter nonsense to claim as Iben Ezra does, that the peace born of righteousness described here happened during Hezekiah’s reign. The Scripture itself testifies against this interpretation. Israel did not enjoy any lasting peace during the reign of Hezekiah. One might best describe Hezekiah’s reign as a temporary reprieve, almost ruined completely by Hezekiah’s own compromised faith journey.
Isa 32:18 Veyashav And dwelling ami My people in an binevah abode (shepherd shelter) of peace, uvmishkenot and in dwellings, mivtachiym of trusting, refuge, confidence, uvimnuchot and in resting places shaananot secure, quiet, at ease;
Under the reign of the Righteous King Messiah “My people” will dwell in the abode of The Shepherd (God, Yeshua), and in dwellings of trust and refuge. Resting secure.
This is a picture of the Mishkhan (Tent of Meeting) and the sukkot (dwellings) of Israel while she wondered the desert. Uvmishkenot uses the feminine plural form of Mishkhan. This poetic image is transferred to the Messianic reign and the city of the New Jerusalem, where there will be no Temple, but God Himself and the Lamb will be its Temple (Revelation 21:22).
Isa 32:19 Uvarad And it will hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.
Having concluded the prophecy concerning the redemption and peace of Israel the prophet now turns back to the coming destruction of Israel’s enemies. Specifically the hail coming against the forest, which is connected to Assyria’s army in Isaiah 10:34, and against the prosperity and pride of Nineveh the capital of Assyria, which is figuratively called a low place and is ironically made lower still.
Isa 32:20 Ashreiychem Happily Blessed are you that scatter seed upon all mayim waters, meshalesheiy that send forth the feet of the ox and the ass.
As quickly as the prophet had digressed, he now returns to the subject at hand, that of Israel’s future redemption and the conditions she will enjoy under the reign of the King of Righteousness. Seed scattered on many waters is an idiom that conveys fruitfulness and life born of living and abundant water supply. The sending forth of the feet of the ox and ass is a picture of the shore footed path of livestock, from the strong animals used for ploughing and threshing to the domestic animals of burden, all will be readily available to Israel in the Messianic Kingdom. This kingdom will begin in the olam hazeh (present world) and converge with the olam haba (world to come).
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
Philosophy over thinks itself into oblivion and theology presumes to illuminate hidden things: both are the constructs of human wisdom. In our search for the profound we have become enamoured by our own counsel and have manifested dark deeds. We think ourselves unseen and unknown but we are seen, we are known.
This chapter collects three distinct poetic warnings concerning Jerusalem, Judah and her inhabitants, each section describing a people worthy of punishment and each one ultimately prophesying salvation for Judah.
Each section of chapter 29 describes Judah in a unique way:
Against this is the description of God’s character, revealed in three unique ways as a response to the identity, stubbornness and unworthiness of His people:
Isa 29:1 Oy Grief, hope, heart wrenching woe, Ariyeil (Piercing Lion [image of a lion] gatherer of God or hearth of God), Ariyeil, the city encampment of David (Beloved) [the city David besieged]! Consuming year upon year chagiym festivals, [Regaliym, Aliyot], (going up feasts), festival sacrifices as they come around [are killed, cut off].
Ariyeil is a poetic name for Jerusalem, the city of David. This is qualified by the phrase “city encampment of David” and by the text of Ezekiel 43:15-16, where the prophet uses the Hebrew words Harel and Ariyeil to describe the Temple Mount and the Altar of sacrifice in Jerusalem within the context of restoration.
Ezekiel figuratively calls the altar of burnt sacrifice Ariyeil “Lion of God”. Ariyeil is used to describe the altar because of the continuity between the devouring lion and the devouring fire upon the altar. This has great prophetic significance with regard to the use of figurative language in the scroll of Isaiah. In the previous chapter Isaiah uses the personification of the even stone to depict the coming Messiah, now he illuminates the difference between a false altar/Messiah and the legitimate altar/Messiah. The altar that sheds the blood of animals in idolatrous syncretism will be replaced by the altar on which eternal atonement will be made for Judah, Benjamin and all the house of Israel. It is right then that we understand the connection between the altar, the Temple mount, the Lion of God, and our King Messiah Yeshua, the Lion of Judah.
The Targum of Yonatan also understands the name Ariyeil to refer to the altar of burnt offerings in Jerusalem:
“Woe, altar, altar, which was built in the city where David dwelt;”
Ariyeil is a contraction made up of Ariy (lion, or image of a lion, gatherer of food) and El (God, gods, judges). The association of the lion with the tribe of Judah stems from the blessing of Joseph over Judah in Genesis 49:9. The Hebrew root arah, meaning to pluck, gather, pierce, is the basis for the word Ariy, lion, gatherer. In one sense Ariyeil means “a picture of the Lion, gatherer of God”: thus in this context it is a representation of the Lion of Judah Who is yet to come. This understanding invokes an even greater sense of woe because the city and her people bear the name of HaShem’s Messiah and thus represent His character, and yet they have lived in a way that dishonours and misrepresents the character of God and His Messiah.
The alternate reading, “The city David besieged” is a reference to David’s victory over the heathen Jebusites whom he conquered in c.1010 BCE (BC) [2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11].
The final clause “festival sacrifices come around [are killed, cut off].” Can be understood to mean either that the festival sacrifices will continue right up until Jerusalem comes under siege or that the festival sacrifices will cease completely.
“the festivities will cease” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
Isa 29:2 And yet I will constrain, distress Ariyeil (Piercing Lion [image of a lion] gatherer of God or hearth of God), and there will be mourning and sorrow: and she shall become to Me Ariyeil (Piercing Lion [image of a lion] gatherer of God or hearth of God).
"and I will distress the city where the altar is, and it shall be desolate and empty; and it shall be surrounded before me with the blood of the slain, as the altar is surrounded with the blood of the holy sacrifices on a solemn feast day all around;'' -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
Historically speaking this distress came in 701 BCE with the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. It could also be suggested that this prophecy has been fulfilled over and over again throughout Israel’s history, and that it is yet to be fully filled.
This verse encapsulates the very essence of the Gospel (Good News) of God. God disciplines the ones He loves (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:6). Thus, the verse begins with distress being brought against the prideful people that bear God’s name and are witness to His altar of blood covering. The people respond in the appropriate way in repentance, mourning and sorrow over their sin, and as a result they return to God and become a true representation of His love for humanity. The false altar becomes a true altar, and the one who gathered idolatries becomes a gatherer of men. She shall become to me a gathering lion of God and a keeper of the altar of salvation.
Isa 29:3 And I will camp against you surrounding you, and will lay siege against you with a mountain, and I will raise siege-works against you.
Notice that God Himself will camp against Jerusalem. This is of course in reference to the siege of the Assyrians, who are described figuratively as a mountain, meaning that they will appear to be an unconquerable foe raising walls against Jerusalem’s walls. It can also be applied to the final Roman siege of Jerusalem which occurred at a much later date: its final fulfillment is still yet future. In a spiritual sense it is God Himself who comes against Jerusalem in order to discipline her for her own good.
Isa 29:4 And you will be brought down, speaking from the ground, and dust will meet your mouth’s utterances, and it has come to pass that like the keov water skin (one who evokes the dead), your voice will be a dusty utterance, nothing more than a gurgling whisper.
This verse is rich with Hebrew cultural idiom and metaphor which makes it difficult for the English mind. It begins with a metaphor of humility. The proud are brought so low that their speech is hampered by the dust in their mouths. The Hebrew ov meaning “water skin” is sometimes used figuratively to describe the hollow mumbling of a medium who consults the dead. There is however no mention of dead spirits in the Hebrew. The Hebrew may infer the idea of a familiar spirit, that is a demonic spirit and its mutterings, but no more than that. The many English translations that render this clause as “ghosts from the earth” are at best appeasing superstition and at worst completely misleading the reader. Isaiah has used similar language in the past (Isaiah 8:19).
The humility described here refers specifically to the submissive language of Hezekiah to Sennacherib, and his messengers (2 Kings 18:14).
Isa 29:5 And it has come to pass like fine dust are your many strangers, and like chaff that passes away will be the many terrifying ones: and it has come to pass in an instant, suddenly.
Once again the text prophecies the coming Assyrian siege and subsequently the many sieges of Jerusalem throughout the ages, culminating in the final siege of Revelation.
The sudden destruction of the Assyrian army by the Malakh HaShem Angel of the Lord during its siege of Jerusalem is recorded in 2 Kings 19:35.
We note however that the siege will cease in an instant at the visitation of HaShem, and the enemies of Hashem and His people will be blown away like the dust or the worthless chaff which is removed from the grain at harvest time. While this image alludes to the Assyrian siege it is equally applicable to all of Israel’s historical enemies and to the latter days.
Isa 29:6 Beside you will be HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Tzevaot (of hosts) Who goes to war, with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
The Malakh Hashem Angel/Messenger of the Lord Himself visited destruction on the Assyrian army: in the latter days He will act against the enemies of God and Israel (ethnic-religious).
It is Mercy (YHVH) Who goes to war for Israel’s sake, a mighty storm, quaking the earth, a flame of devouring fire.
The storm is the turmoil that God will bring against those who put His people in turmoil, and the devouring flame is the righteous judgement of God upon the wicked.
Isa 29:7 And it has come to pass that the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariyeil (Piercing Lion [image of a lion] gatherer of God or hearth of God), all the siege works and those who fight against her, and that distress her, shall be like a dream, a night vision.
The Assyrian army was dealt with overnight as if Israel had only dreamed of the siege (2 Kings 19:35).
Those that fight against redeemed Israel (ethnic-religious: the gathering lion of God) will be gone in an instant as if they had been nothing more than a dream or a passing vision. Thus, In Messiah, Israel’s eternal reality will surpass the temporal dream of the sin affected world.
Isa 29:8 And it has come to pass like a hungry one who dreams and hinei behold, now he eats but awakens, and naf’shu his soul (existence) is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreams and hinei behold, now, he drinks but he awakens, and, hinei behold, now, he is faint, weary, weak and naf’shu his soul (existence) thirsts: so will the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Har mount Tziyon (Zion: Parched Land).
The nations have always sought the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Mountain of God to satisfy their lust for power, their hunger for riches and their desire to become gods. However, like a man who dreams he has eaten and awakes hungry, the enemies of God and Israel will be left wanting, and awaken to judgement.
This is why the Hebrew text says “so will the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against Har mount Tziyon”. Notice that they have not come against Israel alone but rather they have sought to take the Mount of HaShem, the place where HaShem has placed His Name. This is true today, the mosque of the moon god Allah sits as a desecration atop the Temple Mount, defiling the place where God has Placed His Name. This mosque, and the false religion and nations it represents will one day be torn down and forgotten like a faded dream, and in an instant the Mountain of the Lord will be united with the eternal Jerusalem of the heavens.
Isa 29:9 Wait, and be astounded; your eyes smeared over, and blinded: they are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
“Wait” means pause and consider, ready yourselves to be astounded by the work of God.
“be astounded” is also a call to wake out of stupor.
The poetic Hebrew image of eyes being smeared over has become a prophetic refrain for the people of Judah and Israel. Yeshua counteracted this symbolically when He healed the blind man, spitting into the dirt and making a mud poultice which He smeared over the blind man’s eyes. After the mud washed away in the pool of Siloam (sent) the man began to see, both physically and spiritually (Yochanan 9:5-7).
These words continue to be spoken to the people of Judah and Zion. Their drunkenness and staggering is spiritual, they have been given over to their own pursuit of vain religion and idolatry.
Isa 29:10 For poured out upon all of you is HaShem’s (YHVH Mercy) Ruach Spirit, Wind of tardeimah deep sleep, trance, and He has closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers (heads), ha-choziym the seers He has kisah covered, hidden, concealed, overwhelmed.
The Targum Yonatan reads:
"the prophets, and the Scribes, and the teachers that teach the law.''
Yeshua reminds His hearers:
“And Yeshua said, ‘For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”-John 9:39
The deep hypnotic sleep tardeimah is also born of the work of God’s Spirit in Genesis 2:21; 15:12; 1 Samuel 26:12. It is a state of physical unconsciousness best likened to that of an anaesthetised patient.
The title ha-choziym (The Seers) is used in addition to the nevi’iym (Prophets) and rosheiychem (Heads, Rulers), in order to emphasise the blindness that has resulted from the closed eyes of Judah’s secular and spiritual leadership.
Israel’s blindness is a temporary act of mercy perpetuated until the fullness of the nations have received God’s Messiah. Make no mistake, Messiah will deliver His people, ethnic-religious and remove their blindness. The day is coming soon when all ethnic-religious Israel will come to faith in Messiah Yeshua and be healed of her blindness and redeemed unto eternal life (Romans 11).
Isa 29:11 And it has become to you all chazot visions ke’divreiy of all of the words, essence, of ha-seifer the book that is sealed, which is given to one that yodeia knows, ha-seifer the book to say, “Read this aloud, I plead with you:” and he says, “I’m unable to because it (he) is sealed:”
The chazot (visions, seeing) of all the divreiy (From D’var: Word, Essence, Thing, Substance [John 1]) of ha-seifer (The Book), can be understood either to refer to the Torah, which was complete at this point in Israel’s History, or to both the Torah and the words of Israel’s prophets up to this point in Israel’s history, or specifically to the words of Isaiah’s prophecies, which, although they have been spoken aloud in the hearing of the people, have none the less been ignored and are therefore, in a sense sealed up and unfathomable from the perspective of those who are choosing to wilfully reject God’s word spoken by His prophet.
The Targum of Yonatan understands the divreiy (words, essence etc.) to refer to Isaiah’s prophecy:
‘And all the prophecy shall be unto you as the words of a sealed book, which if one gives to a man that is learned, saying, "Read this now";' then he shall answer, "I am not able, because it is sealed."’
If “The Book” refers to the Torah, then it is given to one who knows it, and he is instructed to read it aloud, only to discover that he doesn’t comprehend its meaning: thus it is as if it were sealed. The idea of reading the Torah aloud before the people is one that invokes national repentance. The prophet Ezra reads the Torah aloud to the people at a much later date in Israel’s history following her return from exile in Babylon (Nehemiah 8).
The priests and teachers of the law among Judah are being asked to warn the people by reading the Torah aloud to them. However, the one who knows (Or should know) the book responds by saying, “I’m unable to because it is sealed”. We know that the Torah was not sealed but made available to Judah and Israel. We also know that Isaiah’s prophecies and indeed the prophecies of all the prophets up to that point had been proclaimed to all the people in order to give them just warning. Therefore, the Hebrew chatum (sealed) must refer to the inability of the learned ones to comprehend both the Torah and the prophets, Isaiah included, and not because the words were literally sealed or inaccessible.
A seal or seals usually include an identifying mark of the one who made them. In the case of a king or priest that mark would denote his authority and would act as a sign to those who received the scroll or book. Only those who are approved by the king or priest would be allowed to break the seal or seals. In the present context the rulers, prophets, priests and seers of Israel are unable to open the book because they are not in right relationship with the King of kings HaShem. Isaiah is a messenger, sent to deliver a sealed scroll to Judah, the tribe from which Israel received her kings, however, Judah did not recognize the seals of her God and King and were therefore, unable to open the scroll and receive the warning and the promises that were written within.
In many ways this text prefigures the sevenfold sealed scroll of Revelation 5. Though at that later period in history the scroll of Revelation 5 can be seen to contain (at least chronologically speaking) a greater number of prophecies and instructions, being the culmination of the revealed warning and promises, it none the less serves a similar purpose to the sealed scroll of Isaiah 29. What is most important is that there is someone Who is worthy to break the seals, One Who knows the King Hashem intimately and is without sin before Him. This person has been alluded to throughout Isaiah and is further illuminated in the current chapter. He shares the root of His name with Isaiah, in fact, His name is the root from which Isaiah receives his identity.
In one sense, given that ha-seifer hu (The Book) is masculine and that the D’var (Word) is a figurative way of referring to the Messiah Yeshua (John 1), we could say that the final clause “I’m unable to because it (he) is sealed:” infers that the one who knows ha-seifer (The Book: Torah, Prophets etc.) is unable to properly understand it because the knowledge of Messiah is sealed up so that it might be revealed at the appropriate time to a repentant remnant. Yeshua experienced this very thing when the religious leaders of His day failed to understand His message, just as the religious leaders of Isaiah’s time failed to understand him. Yeshua responds to the religious leaders (Blind Guides) with the words, “You are in error because you do not know the Tanakh or the power of God!” (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24). They knew the Tanakh and believed in the power of God, and yet Yeshua says that they comprehended neither. We must be careful to ensure that we do not find ourselves in the same position.
For further study regarding the sealed scroll please follow the link to my article on Revelation 5:
Isa 29:12 And giving ha-seifer the book to one who doesn’t know, saying, “Read this aloud, I plead with you:” and he says, “I don’t know a book.
The plain meaning of the text in verses 11 & 12 conveys the idea that neither the educated nor the uneducated were able to comprehend the words of The Book.
From a spiritual perspective, if the book is the Torah, and or the prophecies of Isaiah, the fact that the average uneducated person doesn’t know The Book denotes a failure on the part of Judah’s spiritual and secular leaders to teach the uneducated to read and learn the words of HaShem in all their available forms. Therefore, while each one is accountable for his or her own response to God, spiritual leaders are judged more strictly because they have been given a role in educating others concerning the things of God.
Isa 29:13 And speaking Adonay the Lord says, “Because drawing near to Me ha-am the people ha-zeh this one, with mouths and language, speaking glory, but with hearts far removed from me, and their reverence/fear toward me is mitzvat commands that anashiym men teach:”
“Wherefore the Lord hath said: Because I am magnified by the mouth of this people, and with their lips they do honour me, but their heart is far from my fear, and their fear towards me is as the commandment of men teaching them:” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
Yeshua speaks these same words to the generation of Israel in the first century CE. These words are true of every generation of humanity. There will always be those who pay God lip service but are not known to Messiah (in respect to salvation) nor do they know Him.
“And answering, He said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” -Matthew 15:3
“Hypocrites! Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying, ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” -Matthew 15:7-9 TLV
To the Hebrew the heart “levav” is not simply the seat of emotion but rather the centre of the being where all parts of the human existence converge. Therefore, this text is not saying that the people are devoid of an emotional love toward God, rather it is saying that their entire human existence is wilfully numb to Him, relationally, spiritually, physically, mentally and so on. Thus the commandment says, “Love the Lord your God with all your levav core being, heart, and with all your nefesh soul, and with all your meod exceeding strength.”
Isa 29:14 Therefore, hineni now, behold, yosif adding, increasing, again I will do a marvellous work among ha-am the people, ha-zeh this one, ha-pelei va-pele a distinguishing act, difficult to understand, and a wonder: for destroyed will be the wisdom of their wise ones, and the discernment of their prudent ones will be hidden, concealed.
“Therefore” because you refuse to receive My warning through Torah and the prophets, specifically the words of Isaiah, and because you have chosen blindness over sight and the wisdom of humanity over the wisdom of God. I will give you over to the self-destruction of your human wisdom and true discernment will be hidden from you.
“Hineni” Wake up and listen!!! One last plea for repentance.
“A marvellous work” A work of God that will astound and leave the people in awe. This work is in one of its fulfilments, seen in the overnight defeat of the Assyrians. However, the prophet has also been speaking of the spiritual redemption of Israel yet future. Thus this marvellous work must also refer to something more, something associated to the Messiah, the stone.
“The people, this one” Is Judah and by extension Israel as a whole.
“Ha-pelei va pele” is a repetition that denotes a firmly established work. The Hebrew “pele” means, “a wonder, extraordinary, a distinguishing act, an act difficult to understand”. The doubling of this phrase makes the establishment of this act immutable. It is done on earth as it is done in heaven.
Whatever this wonderful extraordinary act is, it will expose and destroy the wisdom of humanity and blind the wicked who have claimed to see.
Isa 29:15 Oy Grief, hope, heart wrenching woe, unto the ones who seek profound things: from HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) they seek to hide their counsel and have come into dark deeds, and they say, “Who sees us? and who knows us?”
The plain meaning as it pertains to the history of the period infers that a powerful group connected to the military and political leadership of Judah were attempting to undermine Hezekiah’s kingship by making secret alliances with Egypt against the Assyrians. They did this in secret knowing that Isaiah and therefore, the Lord, was opposed to their plans. Thus, in a very literal way the prophet’s words describe and expose the true motivation of these leaders of Judah, who think that no one sees them or knows what they are planning.
Spiritually speaking the living mashal of the historical figures corresponds to the practices of all who seek to hide their plans from God. The thinking of the one who seeks to hide his sin is twice flawed: it first presumes that God is not omniscient (All knowing), and then believes that if he is not found out he will not be punished. This thinking stems from a world view that stands in judgement of God and His Prophets (Nevi’iym), Writings (Ketuviym) and Instruction (Torah). Those who consider themselves worthy of standing in judgement over Gods Word will, to their dismay, find themselves being judged by it. Philosophy over thinks itself into oblivion and theology presumes to illuminate hidden things: both are the constructs of human wisdom. In our search for the profound we have become enamoured by our own counsel and have manifested dark deeds. We think ourselves unseen and unknown but we are seen, we are known.
Isa 29:16 Hafkechem The perversities (turning upside down) you fashion are regarded like a potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, “He didn’t make me?” or shall the thing fashioned say of him that fashioned it, “He had no understanding”?
The literal and plain meaning of the Hebrew text of this verse is often misunderstood due to its similarity to the potter/clay references in Isaiah 45 and 64. While Adonay is later described as a Potter and Israel the clay, and while in the latter context of Isaiah this is used comparatively by Rav Shaul (Paul) the apostle in Romans 9:21, it is not the case here. The present use of the potter and clay simile is in regard to the perverse actions of the rebellious people of Judah and not in relationship to God. It is the perversities fashioned by the rebellious people of Judah that are the works/moulded clay. Judah is the potter and in spite of her attempts to hide her wicked deeds (see previous verse), the deeds themselves testify against her. Therefore, the clay in its completed form reflects the character of the potter, who in this case is Judah/Israel. Context is essential.
Isa 29:17 Is it not so, that in a very little while, Levanon (witness) will be turned la-carmel into a fruitful orchard, a plantation and a highly esteemed forest?
The promise of redemption begins with a counterpoint to the “Upside down” perversion described in the previous verse. HaShem will turn the barrenness of Levanon on its head and cause the lands of Israel’s northern neighbours to flourish like the Carmel (from kerem: vineyard), which was the lush agricultural region by the Mediterranean ocean belonging to Manasseh, one of the sons of the Yosef (HaShem adds) [See. 29:14].
Isa 29:18 Veshamu And hearing, listening, obeying bayom in the day ha-hu that one (the he) the deaf divreiy the words, essence, substance of seifer a book, and out of obscurity, and out of darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.
In a day or time period yet future, the deaf (spiritually deaf) of Judah (Israel) will have their ears opened to a book or scroll. This may refer specifically to the scroll of Isaiah and its quotation by Yeshua the Messiah. Or it may be a figure for the Messiah, Yeshua being Ha-D’var the Word, Essence, Substance of God with us. Like the book of the current verse Messiah Yeshua’s life was and is heard by those who were once deaf and has and will bring sight to those who were once blind: for the Jew first, and also for the nations.
Isa 29:19 Veyasefu (from Yasaf) Added to the afflicted ba-YHVH in HaShem (Mercy), simchah joy, and the poor among adam humanity bik’dosh in the holiness (set apartness) of Yisrael (overcomes in God) will rejoice [in the Holy One of Israel will rejoice].
This is now the second use of the Hebrew root yasaf “add”. God has firmly established and made immutable the fruitfulness, mercy and joy of His redemptive work.
It is to those afflicted in Him that He will add joy, and those who are poor in spirit among all humanity, who have also recognized Him as the Holy One of Israel, will be set apart for rejoicing.
There will be no place for those who reject the God of Israel and His chosen people, ethnic-religious.
Isa 29:20 Because an end will come to striking terror, and the scornful mouth will be consumed, and all who are awake to wickedness will be cut off:
The “striking terror” is the foreign oppressor and the “scornful mouth” is the native Judean cynic.
Isa 29:21 Those who condemn a man for a word, and lay a snare for him who judges in the gate, and pervert with emptiness a tzadiyk righteous one.
This is a description of injustice, both on an individual level in giving false testimony and on a corporate level at the city gate where the elders of the city sit in judgement. With no evidence the wicked pervert the course of a righteous man’s life. There will be an end to this in Judah and all Israel. In order for Yaakov to be without shame he must first repent.
Isa 29:22 Therefore thus says HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), to the house of Yaakov (Follower), Who redeemed Avraham (Father of Many Peoples), concerning the house of Yaakov, “No shame now Yaakov, neither will his face now grow pale.”
With great compassion and mercy HaShem speaks of Yaakov’s (Israel’s) redemption. A time, spoken of in both the present and future tense. “No shame now Yaakov” and “Neither will his face grow pale”. The prophet speaks of a time now and yet to come when Jacob (Israel) will be free of foreign oppression and of domestic injustice.
Isa 29:23 Because when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, yakedishu (From Kadash: be holy, set apart) they swill sanctify (set apart) My name, vehi-yakedishu and sanctify et Kadosh the Holy One of Yaakov, ve’et Eloheiy and be in awe of the God (Judge) of Yisrael (Overcomes in God).
According to the plain meaning of the text he children are the ethnic descendants of Jacob (Israel). They are the work of God’s hands because for all intent and purposes they have miraculously survived their oppressors and the division within their own people. Thus, having witnessed the mercy of God upon their nation, the children of Jacob will stand among their people Israel, and in the midst of the land of Israel and will sanctify, set apart and devotedly worship the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 29:24 And he who is known to have erred in spirit will understand, and they that were backbiters (whisperers) shall learn to receive instruction.
God will show mercy to the repentant ones who have sinned against Him in spirit and they will understand and return to Him. Likewise, the dissenters among the people of Israel will repent and seek out the instruction of God.
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
One by one we will truly become echad (one).
Chapter 27 continues the theme of the impending judgement of the nations, in particular the three world powers of Isaiah’s day, Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. In the midst of God’s judgement against Israel’s enemies, He turns to the subject of Israel herself. His precious vineyard, Israel is not treated with the same severity as her enemies in regard to her moral decay. Rather, she is disciplined as a beloved child. Thus, the song of the vineyard, which mirrors that of Isaiah 5, is the story of Israel’s physical and spiritual redemption. The present text has historical, geographical and cultural context that must not be overlooked, however, it is also rich with figurative prophecy alluding to yet future events. Therefore, as in all cases, we do not limit ourselves to the false choices proposed by so many theologians, both Jewish and Christian, rather, we accept the mystery that is held in balance between the plain meaning and the figurative meaning. Once again, the remez (hint), drash (comparative), and the sod (mystery) while important and relevant, must submit to the p’shat (plain) meaning of the text. This is just one of the ways that God has given us to avoid error in interpretation. As always, we of course rely on the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) as He reveals the teaching of the Rabbi Yeshua our King Messiah.
Isa 27:1 Bayom In the day ha-hu the (he) one, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will punish leve’yatan (serpent, sea creature, entwined, self-joining one) the nachash (Serpent, dragon) bariach (fleeing, fugitive) with a severe chereb sword, great and strong, even leve’yatan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay ha-taniyn the dragon that’s in bayam the sea (body of water).
“At that time the Lord shall punish with his great, mighty, and strong sword the king, who has magnified himself as Pharaoh the first, and the king who has exalted himself as Senna cherib the second; and he shall slay the king that is strong as the dragon that is in the sea.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
Once again, “the Day” is a reference to that future day, and or time period, when historically, Israel sees the fulfilment of the defeat of her enemies, and to the yet future day, and or time period, at the end of days, when HaShem will bring about Israel’s physical and spiritual redemption through His Son our King Messiah Yeshua. The sense is not so much one of chronology as it is of convergence. Therefore, “the Day” is a day of convergence, be it in 24 hours or in days plural made echad (one).
The “Serpent/Snake/Monster” is used throughout Scripture as a symbol of the enemy Satan (Accuser) and his dark forces (Genesis 3 etc.). In the Tanakh it is seen as a created animal (Job 26:13, Psalm 58:4 etc.) and figuratively as the kings and armies sent against Israel (Jeremiah 8:17; 46:22; Psalm 140:3).
Given the context of this passage, we are wise to consider the correlation between the three serpents referred to in verse 1 and the three predominant kingdoms alluded to in verses12 and 13.
There are obvious comparisons to be made between the present text and the book of Revelation. The greatest of serpents is of course Satan (Genesis 3), who is the enemy of all who believe, both Jew and Gentile. In the latter days he will suffer the fullness of his ultimate defeat, begun within time and space at the cross of our Messiah and purposed outside of time and space from before the creation (Rev. 20:2-3, 10).
The “severe chereb (sword)” is a sword of judgement (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 5:3; 1 Sam. 15:8; Rev. 19:15).
Isa 27:2 Bayom In the day ha-hu the (he) one, kerem vineyard chemed delightful (desirable, pleasant) answer her.
“At that time the congregation of Israel, which is like a vineyard planted in a goodly land, shall sing concerning that vineyard” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
In the day when God destroys the serpents, a song will be sung of His vineyard (Israel). A song, a parable, a prophecy.
Israel is referred to as a vineyard in numerous Scriptures throughout the Bible (Isaiah 5:1; Son. 8:11; John 15:1; Luke 13:6).
These words draw the reader’s attention and remind the reader of the former song of Hashem’s vineyard in which Israel is judged and found wanting (Isaiah 5). In the present text however, the song, while alluding to Israel’s fallen nature, also tells of the redemption of Israel.
Israel (ethnic, religious) is in no way a figure for the Church. It is ludicrous, historically inaccurate, prophetically untenable, anti-Semitic and intellectually dishonest to say such a thing.
Isa 27:3 Ani I HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) notzrah am guarding it with fidelity, I will water it every moment: lest any visit harm upon it, night and day I will guard it with fidelity.
“I, the Lord, keep the covenant of their fathers with them, that I may not destroy them; but at the time that they provoked me to anger, I gave them the cup of their punishment to drink; but their sins were the cause of their punishment; nevertheless, my Word shall protect them by day and by night.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
“Behold, the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” -Psalm 121:4 (TLV)
Mercy speaks of His undying devotion to His chosen people Israel (Delightful vineyard). He guards her perpetually and with absolute fidelity. It is HaShem Himself Who is guarding the vineyard, and not some subordinate ruler. It is He Who gives life, He Who also perpetually waters His people with Mayim Chayim living waters.
“I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.” -Hosea 14:5
Iben Ezra says that “I will water it every moment”, means that “The prophecy will not cease.” We know that prophecy is born of the D’var Word of God, and that “the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus” (Revelation 19:10). The Brit Chadashah (NT) speaks of the husbands role as one who washes his wife in the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-27). In fact, Rav Shaul is making a drash of the present passage, setting husbands the task of emulating the greatest of Husbands, that is HaShem, the Husband of Israel.
“And HaShem shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” -Isaiah 58:10
Waters that never fail are eternal. Thus, when Hashem says He will water every moment He is alluding to the life giving water of the Word, Who is God with us, His Son our Messiah Yeshua.
‘Yeshua answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’ -Yochanan (John) 4:13-14
Isa 27:4 Chemah eiyn li Fury is not in Me: who would set briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
HaShem does not deal in fury when it comes to His chosen, rather He acts in discipline for the sake of their redemption.
Perhaps the best commentary on this verse is the 2nd Century CE paraphrase Targum Yonatan:
“Behold, many mighty works are before me. Is it not so? If the house of Israel would set their face to do my law, I would send my anger and my fury among the nations, who are waging war against them, and I would destroy them, as the fire destroy the briers and the thorns together.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
However, it is also possible that the thorns referred to here are in fact disloyal dissenters within Israel, who, like the sons of Belial (Worthless), have been thorns in Israel from ancient times (Deut. 13:13; Judges 20:13; 1 Sam 25:17; 25:25; 30:22; 2 Sam 20:1).
“But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:” -2 Samuel 23:7
Isa 27:5 Or let him find strength be’mauzi in My refuge, shalom peace (wholeness) with Me; shalom peace (wholeness) will be accomplished with Me.
“Or” which is also translated “If” by some Jewish sages, means that mercy is being offered even to the dissenters within the vineyard (Israel). This is an offer to the wicked, an offer of redemption. HaShem promises to accomplish peace and wholeness in and with those wicked ones who will return to Him to find strength rather than trusting in their own strength and the worship of false gods. The peace that He offers is eternal, twice spoken, firmly established. But it is only found with HaShem.
“Fury is not in me, what I am going to say, I shall not say with fury. מי יתנני וגו׳ Who would give me—comp. נתתני thou hast given me (Judges 1:15)—the briers and thorns of the vineyard! I would go through them, etc.; that is, if they do not remove the wicked men of Israel, I will slay them all” - R. Moses Hakkohen
Isa 27:6 He will cause the roots of Yaakov (Jacob: follower) to blossom and shine: Yisrael (Overcome in God/Judge) will sprout forth, and fill the face of the teiveil world with fruit.
The Targum Yonatan understands “fruit” as applying to the “children’s children” of Israel, a way of denoting perpetual lineage and connection to the land of Israel (the vineyard).
“They shall be gathered from the midst of their captivity, and return to their country; there children shall be born to the house of Jacob; they of the house of Israel shall be fruitful, and they shall multiply; their children's children shall fill the face of the world.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE/BCE)
Iben Ezra, Yarchi, and Ben Melekh understand this text to be saying that in days "to come, he shall cause Jacob to take root": or, he "shall take root", a prophecy of the stability that yet awaits Israel (ethnic, religious).
We note that the follower Jacob will undergo a change that will cause him to blossom and shine, and, having become one who overcomes in God (Israel) the Judge, he will sprout forth and become a blessing to all nations. This is the story of Israel’s redemption in Messiah Yeshua. The Rav Shaul (Paul) reminds us that the blindness of Israel has meant riches for the Gentiles (Romans 11:12), but that Israel’s reconciliation to God through Yeshua will mean “life from the dead!” (Romans 11:15).
Isa 27:7 The striking ones, He struck: He struck those slaughterers, the murderer is murdered.
Given the opening verse and the fact that HaShem has just stated that He will not deal with Israel in fury as He has done with her enemies, we can conclude that the “striking ones” are the three enemies of Israel: Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. The same being figuratively slain as serpents in verse 1 and named in verses 12 and 13.
Isa 27:8 In measure, in stretching out, you will contend to remove: be’ruacho in His fierce spirit, breath, wind, in the day of the east wind.
Ben Melekh observes that the word “hagah” conveys the sense of “removing” in Prov. 25:4, 5. This is likened to the removing of bad fruit. Therefore, the understanding would be that the fierce east wind (enemy armies from the east) will be used by God as a sifting of the people of Israel, blowing bad fruit away and leaving the good fruit. Thus, God’s actions toward Israel are “measured”, they are actions of discipline rather than “fury” (27:4).
Isa 27:9 By this therefore will the iniquity of Yaakov (follower) ye’chupar be covered; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten to pieces, the Asheirah (Ashterot star, Astarte fortune goddess) groves ve’chamaniym and images, altars, will not rise up.
The iniquity of Jacob will be covered when he turns away from idolatry and toward God. This is at the heart of Jewish belief, the concept of shuva, or, teshuvah (to turn back).
“The stones of the altar (singular)” probably refer specifically to the altar which Achaz made (2 Kings 16:10), which was an altar of heathen worship replicated in Israel after he saw a heathen altar in Damascus while seeking help from Tiglathpileser the king of Assyria instead of trusting God’s Word through the prophet.
Isa 27:10 Yet the defended city will be desolate, the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches of that place.
The “Defended city” is most likely to be that of one of Israel’s enemies because the following verse qualifies the people of that city as those upon whom God will have no mercy nor show favour toward: this cannot refer to Israel whom He has just said He has no fury against (v.4). The most likely candidate is Babylon, however, the capitals of Assyria and or Egypt could also be meant.
Isa 27:11 When the harvest there has withered, they will be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for this is a am tribe (people) without understanding: therefore He Who made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.
This is a description of the wicked who perpetually refuse God’s mercy and lack understanding as a result. Therefore, He will give them over to their own wishes and the terrible consequences of their own sin.
Isa 27:12 And it has come to pass ba’yom in the day, that (he) one, HaShem (YHVH: mercy) will thresh from the channel of the river unto the stream of Mitzrayim (Egypt: double distress), and you will be te’lukto picked up, gathered, cleaned la’achad achad one by one, benei children of Yisrael (Overcome in God/Judge).
“And it has come to pass” because the prophet has received the Word of God Who sees complete outside of time and space that which He has now spoken into time and space.
“The river” is a reference to the Euphrates (Symbolic of Babylon). “The stream of Egypt” is an allusion to the Nile river.
The subject of this verse is Israel (both individually and corporately). Having dealt with her enemies, God will now pick up, gather, clean and collect her, one by one, the Benei Yisrael (Children of Israel), who overcome in God. They are gathered “one by one” because all must receive the Messiah personally and all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25). Thus, “la’achad achad” one by one we will truly become echad (one).
Isa 27:13 And it has come to pass ba’yom in the day, the (he) one, that the be’shofar gadol great shofar will be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Ashur (Assyria, a step), and the outcasts in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt: double distress), and will worship HaShem (YHVH: mercy) be’har in the mount hakodesh, the holy, be’yerushalayim in (Jerusalem: downpour of peace).
This prophecy has in one sense been partially fulfilled with the return of Jews from Babylon and Egypt following the exiles that followed the pronouncement of Isaiah’s prophecy, and more recently over the past 200 years from the birth of modern Zionism up to the present day. However, Israel is still yet to have access to worship on the Holy Mount (Tziyon, Moriah, Har Beit). Today as I write this Jews are still banned from prayer on the Temple mount and rather than HaShem, the ancient feminine moon deity Allah is worshipped in a mosque that is an abomination and desecration of that same Holy Mount. Therefore, the full filling of this prophecy is yet future.
The Talmudists apply this text to the Olam Haba (World to come), and or the times of the Messiah, when the tribes of Israel return to the land (T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 110. 2. Midrash Kohelet. fol. 68. 3.)
It is to the literal Jerusalem and Mount Zion that Israel will return, in a day when all of Israel will be redeemed through Yeshua the King Messiah. It is to the transcendent Jerusalem and Mount Zion that Israel will return, to that city that ascends in the latter days as recorded in the Revelation of Yeshua to Yochanan (Rev. 21).
“But you have come to Mount Zion—to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, a joyous gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are written in a scroll in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect, and to Yeshua, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than the blood of Abel.” -Hebrews 12:22-24 (TLV)
Therefore, it is Israel (ethnic religious) as an entire redeemed remnant, who will come in Messiah to the Holy Mountain at the end of days and worship HaShem in the city of the downpour of Peace (Jerusalem). A firmly established perpetual peace (v.5). There to dwell in the city that has no Temple, because God Himself and the Lamb (Yeshua) are it’s Temple and its light.
“I saw no temple in her, for its Temple is Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot and the Lamb.” -Revelation 21:22 (TLV)
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Isaiah 26 is a song of the redeemed people of ethnic-religious Israel. Who, at the time of their individual and national redemption at the end of the age “In the Day”, will reflect on the Lord’s love and protection over them and rejoice; soberly acknowledging that though other lords “adoniym”, have ruled them in their disobedience, a remnant has always sought the one true God of Israel HaShem (YHVH), her King of Mercy. Thus, having received her own Messiah Yeshua, in “The Day” (Last Day: time period) she will rejoice and sing of God’s goodness and judgement against His enemies.
NB: This chapter is not, as some foolishly assert, a song of or about, the Church.
It is worth noting that the Holy Personal Name of God YHVH, which denotes mercy, is used 12 times in this portion of scripture. A portion that details a song of the redeemed 12 tribes of Israel. A people whom God calls, “Ami” (My people).
Isa 26:1 Bayom In the day, that (he) one, singing the song, this one, be’eretz in the land of Yehudah (Judah: Praise): A city of strength to us; yeshuah salvation appointed as a wall and fortress.
“At that time they shall sing a new song in the land of the house of Judah: ‘We have a strong city, salvation and mercy shall be established upon her walls.’” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“Praise HaShem (YHVH). Sing unto HaShem (YHVH) a new song, and praise Him in the congregation of Chasidiym faithful ones.” -Tehillim/Psalms 149:1
“The city of Jerusalem, which was always our strength from time immemorial, the Savior shall place salvation for its walls and its bulwark.” -Rashi
“A city of strength” refers to Jerusalem, both earthly and new (now and not yet) [Revelation 21:2].
NB: A bulwark is a smaller wall of defence that precedes the main city walls.
Iben Ezra notes that this city is Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem is strength to “us”, that is, to Israel (religious, ethnic, empirical). He further states that “God will appoint salvation.”
Jerusalem, the meaning of which is “Flood/downpour of Peace”, is our present strength and our future hope. It is our present strength because in Messiah Yeshua we receive the flood of Peace that comes with the seal of His redemptive sacrifice and resurrection. This peace is imparted to us through the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Jerusalem is also our future hope because we are currently bound to time and space. We look to the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), something the writers of the Targum also looked toward. That Jerusalem is prepared for us outside of time and space and will descend at the coming of the Messiah. God has appointed our salvation (yeshuah) in Himself. His name is Yeshua, and He is the King Messiah of Israel.
Isa 26:2 Open His gates, ve’yavo and enter in goy a nation tzadik righteous shomeir keeping, guarding, awaiting emuniym faithfulness, trusts, trusting.
A city is usually referred to in the feminine, therefore, the opening phrase “Open His gates” is likely a referance to the Lord because the nearest subject is the walls which are also feminine. Thus, it seems that it is the New Jerusalem that is alluded to here, the city whose gates belong to HaShem. This is why the masculine is used.
The righteous nation mentioned is none other than redeemed ethnic-religious Israel (redeemed through Yeshua the Messiah). She is pictured here as the nation who guards, keeps, awaits, and carries the emuniym, eternal trust and faithfulness of God. This trust is in the One Who both birthed her and is born of her, that is Yeshua the Messiah.
While the more common usage of shomeir is “Guard, keep” etc. Rashi alludes to its use in other parts of Scripture in the sense of “awaiting”:
“Shomeir-waiting. Compare Gen 37:11, ‘And his father awaited (shomeir) the matter.’ Similarly Deut. 7:12, ‘And the Lord, your God, shall await (shomeir) the covenant for you.” -Rashi
The Rabbeinu Bahya on Shemot (Exodus) 19:6:2 explains that the phrase “goy kadosh” (Holy nation) is possessive and can be rendered as “Nation belonging to the Holy One”. It further states that a similar construction is used in Isaiah 26:2, “goy tzadek” (Nation belonging to the Righteous One). It explains that these constructions are in reference to ethnic-religious Israel’s role in the Olam Haba (world to come), whereas the construction “mamlechet kohaniym” (Kingdom of Priests [Exodus 19:6:2]) represents Israel’s role in the Olam Hazeh (present world).
Iben Ezra, says that “The gates of that city should only be opened for righteous people”. We know that no one is truly righteous but God, and that it is only through God the Son that we can be made righteous. Therefore, those who are made righteous through Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, will enter this city; which is the New Jerusalem.
Isa 26:3 Yitzer forming, purposing samukh rest titzor to watch over him in shalom, shalom peace, peace (wholeness, wholeness, immutable peace, peace firmly established, eternal peace), because in Him he batuach firmly places trust, feels secure, safe, without care.
“In a perfect heart they shall preserve peace: peace shall be wrought for them, because they have trusted in thy Word.” -Targum Yonatan (approx. 2nd Century CE)
Notice that it is God Who forms and purposes rest, and that God’s rest watches over the believer in immutable (perfect and perpetual) peace as a result of the believer responding to God’s love with a continual act of temporal trust (batuach). Temporal meaning, this world is temporal. Thus, we trust in Him daily until we enter the Olam Haba (world to come).
The word "perfect" is not in the Hebrew text, rather the text says, "shalom, shalom (peace, peace)". This doubling of the word shalom denotes the fact that peace has been firmly established for those who trust (betach) in HaShem. This peace is immutable and corresponds to the eternal trust/faith (emunah) received by those who act in perpetual temporal trust (betach) as a response to God’s redemptive offer of eternal life through His Son Yeshua.
Isa 26:4 Bitchu His trust, Ba’YHVH is in HaShem (Mercy) adeiy-ad beyond perpetuity (for ever and ever); for beYH in Yah (YHVH: Mercy) HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), tzur is rock, cliff face, olamiym everlasting, worlds perpetual.
“Trust ye in the Word of the Lord for ever and ever: thus ye shall be saved by the Word, who is the fear of the Lord, the mighty One to eternity.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
Note that the Targum Yonatan ( an ancient non-messianic paraphrase) alludes to the fact that the Word of the Lord is the One Who saves. Compare Yochanan (John) chapter 1.
The fact that the Holy personal name of God is used three times in this verse is significant given that it is a verse which explains the kind of temporal trust action that leads to eternal security in God.
We read that HaShem is like a “rock, cliff face”, which is a metaphor for immovable strength. and he has been the Rock of His people ethnic-religious Israel in olam hazeh this world, and in ha-olam haba the world to come. The Talmud explains that “He that trusts in HaShem has a refuge in this world, and in the world to come.” [Talmud. Bab. Menachot. Fol. 29. 2.]
Isa 26:5 For He has brought down them that dwell on high, the lofty city: He lays it low, He lays it low even to the ground; He brings it even to the dust.
Here, the proud and lofty city is alluded to in contrast to the city of God where the righteous will dwell. The lofty city is a figure for the seat of Satan’s temporal power on earth, that is Babylon. In a wider sense it refers to any city that rejects God and His people. Rashi compares the lofty city with Tyre and Rome, a city which later Jewish commentators see as a subsequent manifestation of Babylon. Iben Ezra says that “Them that dwell on high, etc. This refers to the heathens.” And adds that “He will continually lay it low.”
Speaking of Babylon in the previous chapter Isaiah says, “And the high place of your fortress walls He brought down to strike the soil, ground, land until it turned to dust.” In both cases “dust” is a metaphor for death and destruction.
Isa 26:6 The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, and the steps of the lowly.
Kimchi explains that these are the poor of Israel. Therefore, this follows the theme of the previous chapter and Israel ruling over those who had oppressed her.
“He will bring it so low, that it will be trodden not by the foot of the noble but by that of the poor.” – Iben Ezra
Yarchi interprets the “feet of the poor” as referring to the feet of the King Messiah, according to Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.” -Zechariah 9:9
Isa 26:7 Orakh A path la’tzadik to the righteous: meiyoshariym upright ones, a straight magal track, entrenchment tzadik a righteous tepaleis balance, justice, ponderance, weighing.
“The paths of the righteous are right: thou wilt establish the works of the ways of the just.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” -Jeremiah 31:9
Once again the prophet refers to righteous redeemed Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical). When compared to the words of Jeremiah we see that the Lord entrenches the paths of the righteous in living waters that flow toward the goal He has set for them. In Him the path of the righteous leads to a merciful judgement that weighs love on the scales of justice and finds in favour of the redeemed. His path is clear and straight, there is no wavering in it.
Isa 26:8 Indeed, in the path of Your judgments, justice HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), kiveynucha we hope expectantly, waiting; for Your name, for Your remembering, ta’avat is the desire, longing of our nafesh entire being (Soul).
“He shows His Word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.” -Tehillim/Psalms 147:19
We note that the individual (Yaakov: follower) who seeks redemption is shown the Word (D’var: Yeshua) of the Lord, and that the corporate body born of the follower (Yaakov) and named for her salvation, that is Israel (Yisra-overcome El-in God/the Judge), is guided by His ordinance and right judgements.
Many misunderstand the Hebrew word “nefesh” (soul). While it can refer to that which is eternal in every created living being, it also encompasses the mechanisms and material elements of the body and its functioning within this world. Therefore, it is better to translate nafesh as “entire being”, meaning, from conception unto eternity.
Note that it is in the path of God’s ordered guidelines and His manifest justice that the faithful place their hope, and not in the temporal and flawed justice and rules of humanity. Not only does the servant of God hope in His justice and instruction, the servant also waits patiently and expectantly for the fullness of God’s justice. Waiting expectantly for the Holy Name of Mercy YHVH and remembering His attributes. This is the unquenchable desire and longing of the entire being of the faithful servant of HaShem.
Isa 26:9 Nafshi My entire self (Soul) iviytiycha desires, sighs, wants, longs for You balaylah in the night; indeed, ruachi my spirit, breath within me ashacharecha diligently, earnestly seeks for you early, because when Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land/earth, tzedek righteousness Lamdu is learned by he who dwells in the teiveil world.
While the Hebrew words “nefesh” and “ruach” are associated with all living creatures, the convergence of the two is unique within the human being and is referred to in Hebrew as “neshamah” (breath, spirit, panting of flesh, soul and spirit as one). The divisions of soul and spirit in the present text should not lead us to conclude a disunity within the soul as a complete entity. The purpose of the distinction is to reveal the unique and intimate nature of humanity in relationship to the Creator God. Animals and plant life do not share the neshamah of humanity, rather they are created to be cared for by humanity as an expression of humanity’s likeness to the Creator Who is the singular uncreated relational being.
“My soul longs for You at night” is both literal and figurative. Israel, both as individuals and as a redeemed nation long for God at night time. In addition, the night can refer to a state of captivity and distress (Yarchi). Therefore, we can read “My soul longs for You when I am in captivity”.
“My spirit within me earnestly seeks for You early” is again both literal and figurative. Literal in the sense of morning prayer (Sacharit) and figurative in the sense of rejoicing in freedom from captivity, symbolized by the breaking of dawn and the morning light. Thus, with all of his being both soul and spirit the faithful servant of HaShem seeks Him “evening and morning” according to the pattern of creation (Compare Genesis 1).
“When Your judgments, justice are laaretz in the land, tzedek righteousness is learned by he who dwells in the world.” In other words, “When the righteousness of God dwells in the hearts and lives of redeemed Israel in the land of Israel, the other nations witness it and learn to fear, honour and worship the God of Israel. The Hebrew teiveil refers to the inhabited parts of the earth.
Isa 26:10 Yuchan Though grace, unmerited favour is shown to the wicked, yet he refuses to learn righteousness; in the land of nechokhot straightness he acts wrongfully, and refuses to see the majesty of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This verse while speaking specifically of the wicked who act shamefully against the land and people of Israel and her God, also applies to the wicked at large. God does not send wicked people to eternal punishment, rather, due to their own self worship and stubborn refusal of God’s love, they are left with no other destination. Therefore, although they are shown and offered grace they refuse it and spit on the goodness of God in order to promote themselves. God’s majesty is seen throughout creation, but they refuse to see it.
The Jewish commentator Yarchi interprets the “land of straightness” as Jerusalem, and the temple, and sees the wrongful acts as being perpetrated by Israel’s enemies, who spoil, plunder, and destroy the holy hill.
The Talmud (T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.) interprets the wicked as being Esau, who is a figure for the Romans, the destroyers of Jerusalem and the land of Israel in the latter part of the first century CE/AD.
Isa 26:11 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), Your hand is lifted up, and yet they don’t see: but they will be put to shame when they see Your zeal for the people; indeed, fire will devour, burn up, consume Your, enemies.
“O Lord, when thou shalt be revealed in thy power to do good to them that fear thee, there will be no light to the enemies of thy people: the wicked shall see it, and shall be confounded. The vengeance of thy people shall cover them; yea, fire shall consume thy enemies.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
In the latter days fire will come from God’s prophets and consume His enemies:
“And if any man will hurt them, fire will proceed out of their mouth, and devour their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” -Revelation 11:5
Notice that the enemies of God (the wicked) will be put to shame, when they see God’s zeal for His people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical).
Isa 26:12 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You will establish shalom peace for us; for You have also made all our works (deeds) in us.
All that has, is, and will be done in Israel, has been purposed by the hand of God for His glory and her established peace.
In other words, “You have always done for us that which we did not know how to do.”
Isa 26:13 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Eloheinu our God (Judge), other adoniym lords besides You have had dominion over us; but by You only will we make mention of Your name.
In other words, “We won’t associate Your Name with inferior lords”.
The Targum interprets this to refer to the unfaithful Jewish governors who had ruled over Israel. It may also refer to the Assyrians and Babylonians, and can certainly represent any and all anti-Messianic lords and rulers who seek to oppress Israel. It probably does not refer to the worship of the baaliym (husbands, masters, false gods) or else the Hebrew would have been “baaliym” rather than “adoniym”. However, the reason for the choosing of “adoniym” may have been to use a title that encompassed both human and demonic rulers. In which case “baaliym” can be interpreted implicitly. This is less likely though, given the following verse which speaks of the lords being dead, something that is not appointed for demonic entities until the judgement and subsequent eternal punishment.
Isa 26:14 They are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise: therefore You have visited and destroyed them, and made all remembrance of them to perish.
The fact that the lords of the previous verse are dead, will not live, and are deceased; they will not to rise, means that they are wicked human rulers who are destined for the second death of eternal punishment. Thus there will be no remembrance of them and they will perish in the lake of fire alluded to in the Revelation. Additionally, they no longer have power over Israel because she has been redeemed by HaShem and she will give Him glory alone forever.
Isa 26:15 You have added increase to the nation, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You have added increase to the nation; You are glorified; You have enlarged all the borders of the aretz land.
The “Nation” is Israel, who has previously been called “The righteous nation” (Isaiah 26:2). and the borders are of Israel’s aretz land. Once again the repetition denotes the fact that God has firmly established this outcome.
Isa 26:16 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), in distress they have sought You; tzakun they poured out, melted into lachash whispering when Your discipline was upon them.
The whispering prayer is of the weak and penitent, the desperate and remorseful. Notice that the distress which Israel had suffered causes her to melt and be poured out, resulting in these whispered prayers of supplication.
Isa 26:17 Like a woman with child, that draws near to the time of her delivery, and is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before You, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
This is an analogy that denotes great expectation, hope and anticipation on the part of the nation of Israel.
Isa 26:18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any yeshuot salvation in the aretz land/earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Israel had thought herself pregnant with the hope of a redemption born of her own piety, only to find that her own piety was nothing but flatulence. What she thought to be her deliverance was nothing more than worthless air devoid of salvation. She was not able to obtain salvation in her own land, nor were those in the inhabited world able to obtain salvation. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Salvation cannot be accomplished by human beings, it must be received. No effort on our part will bring about redemption, but God Himself will redeem (Just as the Passover Haggadah proclaims, “I have redeemed you: I Myself, and no other!”
Isa 26:19 Your dead will live; my dead body will arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust; for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist, vearetz and the land/earth will cast forth the dead.
This is one of the places in Scripture from which the Jewish belief in the resurrection is proved; a belief that predates Hellenistic thought by at least 400 years. This verse is also applied to the times of the Messiah, and to the resurrection in His days (Talmud. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 90. 2, & Cetubot, fol. 111. 1. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 62. 3. Targum in loc.).
“Your dead will live” is an allusion to the resurrection of the righteous and specifically to the resurrection of the righteous of Israel.
“My dead body will arise” is firstly a personal testimony of the prophet himself and secondly the prophetic testimony of the Messiah. The first person singular should not be interpreted to refer to multiple people.
“Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust” is a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. This is a poetic repetition like the couplets of the psalms which seeks to remind the reader that these matters are firmly established.
“for your tal dew (night mist) is oraot lights, talecha your night mist:” This is an allusion to the present glory of God in the convergence of the resurrection. The Shekhinah or k’vod HaShem, a mist or dew of lights that raise the dead. Water (dew) and light are pictured together here as the mechanisms for bringing forth the plant that grows from that which had perished. As Rav Shaul says:
“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” – 1 Corinthians 15:53
Isa 26:20 Come, ami My people, enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.
HaShem now speaks gently to His beloved chosen people Israel (ethnic, religious, empirical), saying, “Ami” (My people). Israel is being asked to do as she did during the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, “enter into your innermost chambers, and shut your doors: hide yourself for a little moment, until the za’am indignation, rage, has passed over.”
The indignation and rage are that of HaShem against the wicked. Therefore, He once again hides Israel “in the cleft of the Rock” as it were. This concerns the latter days and a time when HaShem will once again shield Israel, this time as a redeemed nation through Yeshua the King Messiah. Hashem’s messenger (Angel) will once again pass over and see the blood of the Pesach Lamb (Yeshua) on the doorframes of the houses of Israel and she will be spared while her enemies and those who have hated HaShem will suffer His rage.
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” -Daniel 12:1(NIV)
Isa 26:21 For, behold, HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) comes forth out of His place to punish the inhabitants of ha-aretz the land/earth for their iniquity: ha-aretz the land/earth also shall reveal her blood, and will cover her slain no more.
"and the earth shall reveal the innocent blood that is shed on it, and shall no more cover her slain.” -Targum Yonatan (approx.. 2nd Century CE)
“For, behold, the Lord comes forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.” -Micah 1:3
God, being omnipresent, is everywhere, however, the Hebrew text uses picture language to convey a sense of God’s immutable authority over all things, thus, He comes forth from the heavens, out of His dwelling place, His throne, and descends to the highest places of the earth, showing them to be figuratively, far beneath His heights. Thus, He justly punishes iniquity.
At the coming of God in power at the end of the age, the land will reveal all the innocent blood shed from the blood of Abel to the last of the martyrs, that is those who have died “Kadosh Hashem” sanctifying the Holy Name.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” -Revelation 18:24
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sister, were killed just as they had been.” -Revelation 6:9-11
How long, Sovereign Lord of Mercy?
© 2018 Yaakov Brown
The covering that is wrapped tightly around all the tribes (all of humanity) is the root of sin and it’s fruit of death. And the veil is the lie of disbelief and self-worship which has been woven by the father of lies. These have bound humanity to the fear of death from the first sin of Adam and Eve.
Chapters 24-27 are referred to by some as the Apocalypse of Isaiah, and for good reason. Those familiar with the wider canon of Scripture see many correlations between Isaiah 24-27 and other apocalyptic writings in both the Tanakh (OT) and the Brit Ha-Chadashah (NT).
Chapter 24 deals with the final judgement of all humanity and creation. It is the beginning of the culmination of the prophetic destiny of each of the nations who surround Israel, to whom Isaiah has prophesied in chapters 13-23. Ultimately, Israel’s enemies fall that Israel might rise.
The present chapter is therefore, a hymn/song of praise to HaShem for His deliverance, not only from physical oppression but also from the fear of death, which has bound, even suffocated Israel and all of humanity.
This chapter, like those before it, addresses both temporal maters and eternal realities.
The following are both the prophetic words of Isaiah and the yet future words of redeemed Israel.
Isa 25:1 HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), You are Elohay my God (Judge); I will exalt You, I will odeh cast, throw confession, and praise, Your name; for You have asiyta fashioned pele wonderful things, advice, eitzot counsel from distant ones, in emunah faithfulness, trust, omen support, agreement, faithfulness, truth.
Having seen the wonders (peliym) of God’s deliverance, redeemed Israel offers praise to HaShem (Mercy) her Elohiym God-Judge, from the foundation of confession.
The one who acknowledges that HaShem is his Judge (God) is free to throw both confession and praise toward God.
The distant ones through whom God affirmed His counsel to Israel are acknowledged and His faithfulness, fidelity, support and trust are named as both attributes and experienced realities. Redeemed Israel gratefully recognizes the perfect character of her God.
Isa 25:2 For You have samta appointed, placed meiyr anguish (a city) lagal as a wave (heap), kiryah a fortified city to be a ruin, a palace of zariym strangers, foreigners, meiyr anguished (a city); leolam perpetually never rebuilt.
The city that is the subject of this verse may be Rome (which saw its ruin) or Babylon, however, these words will be visited on any and all cities that resist God’s people and His Messiah. In a figurative sense, the city in question is ultimately representative of the seat of Satan’s power on earth. Just as death entered through humanities accepting of Satan’s wicked counsel, so death will exit forever through the utter annihilation of Satan and his seat of temporal authority.
Isa 25:3 Therefore shall a people of strength glorify You; a city of goyim nations be terrified and in awe of You.
This verse speaks of the repentance of strong people who have been brought low by the judgements of God and as a result, the collected nations making up this greater people are in awe of the God of Israel.
Isa 25:4 For You have been a maoz stronghold, refuge ladal to the poor, weak, a maoz stronghold, refuge to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when ruach a wind, spirit of the terrible ones was as a storm against the wall.
The poor, weak, needy, distressed and vulnerable among God’s people acknowledge that He has been their refuge and fortress, even when a terrible spirit came like a storm against them. The faithfulness of God is a strong theme in this chapter.
Isa 25:5 Cechorev As cutting heat betzayon in the parched land You will bring down, humble the shaon noise, roar, din of zariym strangers, foreigners; as the Cechorev cutting heat betzeil in the shadow of av a thick darkness (cloud), a song of ariytziym terrible ones will ya’aneh testify.
The Hebrew phrase “betzayon” shares its root (tziyah) with the name “Tziyon” (Zion), which means “parched land”. Thus, given the context of this passage and the pursuant clause regarding the mountain of HaShem in verse 6, we understand that the land of Israel is being referred to here.
This verse seems to be speaking specifically of those foreign enemies of Israel who have lived as a thorn in Israel’s side, within the land of Israel. The cutting heat is in the “parched land”, an allusion to the Land of Zion (Parched land). This is a poetic play on words that illuminates a remez (hint) at the location of these events. The cutting heat of the dark clouds may be a description of literal lightening that will strike down with precision the enemies of Israel.
Ironically the song of the terrible ones will testify against them. They will be cut down in the heat that emanates from the thick darkness that overshadows them.
Isa 25:6 Ve-asah And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) Tzevaot Who goes out warring (of hosts) will fashion all ha-amiym the peoples, tribes, ba’har hazeh on this mountain, a feast of shemaniym oils (fat), mishteih wines on the shemariym lees, dregs, and both shemaniym oils (fat) and wines, will be wiped clean of dregs, well refined.
“This mountain” refers to the Temple Mount, Mount Zion.
God will war against evil and those among the nations who repent will be fashioned anew in His Holy Mountain (Tziyon, the Temple Mount). He will take the sin (dregs) affected oil and wine and remove the sin (dregs) from them so that both blood (wine) and spirit (oil) will be made pure through the saving work of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Thus the nations will feast with the chosen people of God (ethno-religious Israel) on the Holy Mountain according to Isaiah’s previous prophecy (Isa. 2:2-4).
Isa 25:7 U-vila And He will swallow up Ba-har in this mountain the face of the covering that is wrapped tightly upon col all ha-amiym the peoples, tribes, ve’hamaseichah and the veil (cast image) that hansuchah is woven al over col-ha-goyim all the nations.
The covering which HaShem will swallow up is illuminated in the following verse. This is a Hebrew literary device that acts to both cement the readers understanding and firmly establish the action being described.
The covering that is wrapped tightly around all the tribes (all of humanity) is the root of sin and it’s fruit of death. And the veil is the lie of disbelief and self-worship which has been woven by the father of lies. These have bound humanity to the fear of death from the first sin of Adam and Eve.
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.” -Hebrews 2:14-16 (NASB)
Hashem will swallow up all this death and disbelief in His Holy Mountain. Silencing them forever.
Isa 25:8 Bila He has swallowed up ha-mavet the death la-netzach for perpetuity; and the Adonay Lord HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will machah will blot out, wipe away tears from upon all faces; and the reproach of amu His people will be turned aside from upon all ha-aretz the land/earth: for HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) dibeir speaks, declares.
This text was written down some 700 years before the birth of Messiah. How then is it possible that HaShem had already swallowed up death? It is possible because the resurrected Messiah transcends time and space. Once again, through the prophet Isaiah, HaShem speaks into time and space that which has already occurred outside of the limitations of time and space.
The Hebrew says “ha-mavet” the death, because it refers to the root of all death and not just the temporal nature of death. Rav shaul quotes the opening clause of this verse in reference to the eternal nature of the future resurrected and imperishable bodies of believers.
“For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” - 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (NASB)
“Wipe away tears from all faces” is a figurative way of saying that there will be no more tears resulting from sin and death. This does not negate tears of joy.
“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” -Revelation 7:16-17
‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”’ -Revelation 21:3-5
It’s important to note that the sign that will accompany these things will be the removal of all reproach (bad mouthing, criticism, political bias, abuse, persecution, hatred) from Israel (ethno-religious), and her land. Thus “ha-aretz”, in all the land, in all the earth.
The Messianic Jewish commentator Victor Buksbazen puts it beautifully:
“An integral part of the vision of God’s triumph over sin is the vindication of God’s people Israel, whose reproach will be removed forever. As long as the forces of evil are triumphant in this world, God’s people (ethno-religious Israel) will always be despised and put to shame.”
Today we see the nations of the earth criticizing, demonizing, attacking, sanctioning, persecuting and abusing the Jewish people and the modern Jewish State. This will come to an end. May it come about speedily and soon bezerat HaShem!
The Hebrew “DiVeiR” shares its root with “DaVaR” (Word, Essence, Speech). In fact, devoid of the nikudot (Masoretic vowel markings), it is spelled exactly the same way DVR. Davar is of course the Hebrew word used to describe Yeshua in Yochanan (John) 1:1.
Isa 25:9 And it will be spoken beyom in the day, ha-hu that one, hinei behold, now, Eloheiynu our God (Judge), the one we looked for, waited for, hoped in: veyoshieiynu and save, redeem us, this HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) kiveinu our hope, waiting, expectation negilah glad, exultation venishmeiachah and great rejoicing beyeshuato is in His salvation/redemption.
“In that day” refers to the day of Israel’s redemption.
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
‘The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’
‘This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.’” -Romans 11:25-27 (NASB)
This verse speaks of the faithful waiting of the righteous remnant within ethno-religious Israel and the faithfulness of God Who both seeded their hope and filled it with His Son, their salvation.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure persecution with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” -Hebrews 11:24-26
The Hebrew root “yeshuah” is the basis for both “our salvation” and “His salvation”. It is because Messiah is God with us and is the Salvation of God, that He has also become our Salvation. Salvation is a redemptive action born of the Redeemer.
Isa 25:10 Ki-tanuach For rest, comfort from yad the hand of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) will be ba-har on the mountain, this one; and Moav (of his father) shall be trodden down in his place, even as straw is trodden down in the water of the dung-hill.
Again, in unison with the prophecy of Isaiah 2, the mountain of the Lord is identified as the place where HaShem will pour out rest and comfort. The follower of Messiah sees in this a reference to that eternal Jerusalem that will descend from the heavens to rest on the very location of Zion, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
“Moav” here is figurative of the children of Satan. Moab was the first people group following Israel’s escape from Egypt, to seek to attack and annihilate Israel. Israel were weak from slavery, vulnerable and small, and Moab sought to take advantage of Israel’s frailty and destroy her. This would subsequently have removed all possibility of a Messiah coming forth from her: thus, this attempt by Moab was an affront, not only to the physical people of Israel but also to the redemptive plan of the God of creation. Therefore, Moab has been a figure for the B’nai Adam (Children of men, rejecters of God), sons and daughters of the Adversary, Satan. This is why Moav alone is mentioned here.
Notice that Moav will not be trodden down on the Mountain of the Lord but “in his place”, which means, “where Moav dwells”. This is most likely to refer to Babylon and her final destruction, as spoken of in the Revelation.
Isa 25:11 And he shall spread forth his hands bekirbo in the inner part, the midst of it, he will spread out like a swimmer spreading forth his hands to swim; but his pride will be laid low together with the arbot deceit of his hands.
In this verse “He “ refers to Moab, who is the nearest subject for the actions described. Moav is said (Figuratively) to spread out his hands in the midst of watery dung and vainly attempt to swim. So full of pride, are the children of Satan, that even when their rightful end is upon them, they still reject God and prefer to swim in their own filth. However, in spite of these foolish attempts at renewed autonomy, Moav will be laid lower still and the deceitful actions of his hands will never resurface again.
Isa 25:12 And the high place of your fortress walls heishach he brought down to strike the soil, ground, land until it turned to dust.
The “High place” is a reference both to the practical elevation of a well-built fortress and the high place of pagan worship. Thus, Moav (Satan’s kingdom) will be brought down and turned to dust, both physically and spiritually.
Copyright 2018 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,