A location is personified as a representation of the sum of its inhabitants. Thus, Zion, which is a title given to the Jewish people, the land, the mount in Jerusalem and so on, is the sum of all Israel (ethnic, religious) and her land. She is a parched land, a people in need of redemption, and for her sake God will not keep silent.
Isa 62:1 Lema’an For the sake of Tziyon (Zion, parched land) lo I will not echesheh keep silent, ulema’an and for the sake of Yerushalayim (Flood, downpour of Peace) lo I will not eshkot shut up, ad-yeitzei kanogah tzidkah until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, viyshuatah and her salvation kelapiyd as a torch yivar burning.
“Till I work salvation for Zion, I will give no rest to the nations, until I bring consolation to Jerusalem, I will give no rest to the kingdoms, till her light be revealed as the early dawn, and her salvation shall burn as a lamp.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
As is often the case the question of “who is the speaker?” results in numerous and contrary answers. Iben Ezra suggests that the speaker is corporate Israel in exile in Babylon (Given both the prophetic and historical context his seems extremely unlikely). On the other hand a number of modern scholars, both Jewish and Christian suggest that Isaiah is the speaker (tenable but not consistent with other factors within the parasha [portion]).
In determining the speaker we must look at context (historical, cultural, prophetic etc.), nearest previous subject, inspiration and indeed, the prophet himself. The historical context is pre-exile (Babylon), the locational context is the land of Israel, the prophetic context relates to the redemptive work of God as it is worked out through the Salvation of Israel in the land of Israel. The nearest previous subject is God Himself (Isaiah 61:11), and the prophet is tasked, as always, with relaying the words of God.
Isaiah had no authority nor the means to appoint watchmen on the walls, nor is any man capable of assuring that watchmen will continue to cry out warning perpetually (v.6). It is also said that “The Lord has proclaimed” the salvation of the daughter of Zion to the ends of the land (v.11). Further still, the Hebrew “chashah” (silence) is commonly used of Adonay in reference to Himself when making a proclamation regarding His leaving things as they are (Isa. 65:6; 57:11; 64:11). Therefore, it seems most likely that God Himself is the speaker.
The Targum also supports the understanding that God is the speaker. After all, only God can work salvation for Zion.
With this in mind the text offers a powerful assurance, in the fact that it is God Himself Who will not keep silent, and will appoint others to resonate with that truth from the walls that surround the cities of Israel. In particular, the walls of Jerusalem. I am reminded of the familiar repetition of Pesach:
“God Himself and not a malakh (messenger), God Himself and not a seraph (Angel of fire)…”
“For the sake of Tziyon (Zion, parched land) I will not keep silent”. A location is personified as a representation of the sum of its inhabitants. Thus, Zion, which is a title given to the Jewish people, the land, the mount in Jerusalem and so on, is the sum of all Israel (ethnic, religious) and her land. She is a parched land, a people in need of redemption, and for her sake God will not keep silent.
“And for the sake of Yerushalayim (Flood, downpour of Peace) I will not shut up”. The use of the proper noun Jerusalem is of great significance here. Not only will God not keep silent regarding the entire people of Israel (ethnic, religious) in her parched state, He will further more not shut up until she is redeemed and transformed into her future state in the midst of a flood of peace (Jerusalem). Once again, a city is the sum of its inhabitants, therefore, it is for the sake of the Jews of Jerusalem that HaShem will not shut up.
“until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a torch burning.” Her righteousness is purchased of God and not of herself, for God has said elsewhere that the righteousness of human beings is as used menstrual cloth (Isaiah 64:6). In fact, Israel’s Righteousness, like her Salvation (v.11), is a person. While it is true that the Hebrew text uses the general noun “shuatah” for salvation, it none the less sets up the personification of Salvation in verse 11, where the general noun is used and followed by the phrase “His reward is with Him”. Therefore, it is quite acceptable to understand the present verse as:
“Her Righteousness (Yeshua) goes forth as brightness, and her Salvation (Yeshua) as a torch burning.”
“As a burning torch” This brings to mind the lit torches of the watchmen on the walls that shone across the valleys surrounding the city of Jerusalem, and were at times taken by a watchman to help retrieve returning Jews in the darkness of the night. A watchman was not only responsible for warning of coming danger, he was also responsible for assuring that any Jews returning to the city were afforded light and safe passage through the gates and in behind the city walls. Thus the figurative meaning is profound. Salvation (Yeshua) Himself is the greatest of watchmen and His torch (saving work) is a light of both warning and deliverance that goes out from the walls and into the darkness of the world that surrounds God’s holy City and its people (the Jews).
Ultimately the righteousness and salvation of Jerusalem will shine forth in fullness following the redemption of the entire remnant of ethnic, religious Israel (The Jewish people) [Romans 11:25-26], when the New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens and converge with the existing city (Heb. 11:22; Rev. 21).
Isa 62:2 Vekora goyim And the nations shall see tzidkeich your righteousness, vechol-melachiym and all kings kevodeich your glory, vekora lach sheim chadash and you shall be called by a new name, asher piy which the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) yikovenu shall pierce you with.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and they shall call thee by a new name, which the Word of the Lord shall declare.” -Targum Yonatan (2nd Century CE)
The nations will see Yeshua, the righteousness of Israel (ethnic, religious) and the rulers of those nations will be in awe of His glory reflected in the redeemed people of Israel (Modern Jews being the unification of the tribes previously returned from exile to Judah).
“You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) shall pierce you with” The imagery here denotes the application of a piece of bridal jewellery to the nose of the bride (Ezekiel 16:12; Genesis 24:22-31). Thus, the new name given to the people of Israel is symbolic of her position as bride of God. The giving of the new name also reflects the journey of Jacob and his wrestling with the man (Yeshua), God manifest (Gen. 32). This famous Torah account concludes with the renaming of Jacob (A Follower who struggles). Thus, through submitting to the man (God with us: Yeshua) Jacob is renamed (By that same One) Yisra-El (Overcomes in God). Therefore, the new name given to Israel, spoken by the mouth of HaShem, will reflect her redemption through His King Messiah Yeshua. Israel (ethnic, religious) will look upon the one Whom we have pierced and grieve as one mourns for an only son (Zech. 12:10).
It is interesting to note that the Targum alludes to the Word (Davar: John 1) of the Lord as being the origin of the declaration of Israel’s (Jerusalem’s, Zion’s) new name.
So what will the new name be? The truth is that there are numerous possibilities but no certainties. The new name will relate to the redeemed nature of the city of Jerusalem made one with the New Jerusalem, in which God Himself and the Lamb Yeshua will dwell and provide the city with light (Rev. 21:22-23). The last new name for Jerusalem mentioned in the Tanakh (OT) is found in Ezekiel.
“It will be 18,000 cubits all around. From that day on, the name of the city will be: ‘YHVH Shammah Adonai Is There.’” -Ezekiel 48:35
Isa 62:3 Vehayiyt And it will come to pass that you will be ateret a crown tiferet of splendour beyad-YHVH in the hand of HaShem, utzeniyf meluchah and a royal diadem bechaf-Elohayich in the palm of your God.
Israel (ethnic, religious) will be a crown revealing God’s glorious redemptive work and will be held by God’s mighty (hand) protection. Additionally she will be carefully cradled in the open palm of God’s hand as a treasured possession, protected and tenderly loved. Therefore, the themes of fierce protection and tender love are conveyed in the nuanced use of the Hebrew yad and chaf.
The Hebrew tzeniyf is used of both the headdress of the high priest (Ex. 28:4; Zech. 3:5) and of the king (Ezk. 21:26). Therefore, the redemption of Israel’s calling as a nation of priests is rendered in figurative language. There is also a connection to the unification of the kingship and priesthood of Israel in our King Messiah Yeshua.
Isa 62:4 Lo yei’ameir lach od You will not be spoken of any longer as azuvah forsaken; uleartzeich lo yei’ameir od neither will your land be spoken of any longer as being shemamah desolate: Kiy lach for you shall yikarei be called Cheftzi-vah (My delight is in her), uleartzeich and your land Be’ulah (Married one, possession, has a Husband); kiy-chafeitz YHVH for HaShem delights in you, ve’artzeich and your land shall tiba’eil be married (ruled over, have a Husband).
Zion herself had complained that she had been forsaken by God:
“But Zion said, HaShem has forsaken me, and Adonay has forgotten me.” -Isaiah 49:14
Earlier Isaiah prophecies the word of the Lord acknowledging that Israel has been left desolate as a result of her sin, and making a similar promise to that of the present verse:
“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” -Isaiah 60:15
“You will not be spoken of any longer as azuvah forsaken”. This is a reference to an estranged or divorced wife and is consistent with the bridal language used throughout chapters 61 and 62.
“neither will your land be spoken of any longer as being shemamah desolate”. The land is personified here as a barren woman, no longer fruit bearing, desolate.
“for you shall yikarei be called Cheftzi-vah (My delight is in her), uleartzeich and your land Be’ulah (Married one, possession, has a Husband)” Now the figurative language takes on a redemptive quality. The people once forsaken (divorced) is now called the delight of her husband, and the land once barren (desolate, fruitless) is now called a married woman. The role of the ancient Jewish groom and husband was to care for and provide for His bride, wife. Therefore, in the arms of a righteous husband a woman was highly valued, protected, delighted in, adored, given fruitful land and shelter for her progeny. How wicked our generation has become, that we should rob women of the very thing they desire most, to be cared for, protected, provided for and made fruitful. Instead our women spurn the roles of creation and our men take no responsibility for their depraved actions, resulting in the objectification of women and the demeaning of men and the rapid decay of western civilization. A society once founded on Biblical morality.
If, as some conjecture, the king of Judah at this time was Manasseh, the use of the name Cheftzivah is a strong indictment against Manasseh’s evil choices given that He was born to a mother of the same name:
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; and he reigned fifty five years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Hephzibah.” -2 Kings 21:1
“For HaShem delights in you, and your land shall be married (ruled over, have a Husband).” We are reminded that at the time of this prophecy Israel’s behaviour was far from delightful, and yet HaShem saw her redeemed outside of time and space through the blood of His Son the King Messiah, Israel’s Salvation. Therefore, He delights in her redeemed future self, a bride made pure and dressed to adorn her Husband’s arm.
Notice that the land of Israel is intrinsically connected to her redemption and marriage to HaShem. He has promised the land through Abraham and will bring the full bride price to the wedding feast. Redeemed Israel (ethnic, religious) will inhabit the new land, transformed through the vicarious work of the King Messiah.
Isa 62:5 Kiy For yival bachur as a young man marries betulah a virgin, yivaluch banayich so shall your sons marry you; umesos and rejoicing chatan as the bridegroom -kalah over the bride, yasiys alayich Elohayich so shall your God rejoice over you.
The meaning is that of devotion in the first love of youth. The sons of Redeemed Israel will so delight in being part of the people of Israel that they will be like excited grooms pursuing their brides. Likewise, God Himself will rejoice over Israel (ethnic, religious) as a Groom over His bride. This language is reminiscent of but not the same as that of Revelation 21:2; 22:17 where the New Jerusalem is called the bride of Messiah. A city is the sum of its inhabitants and the sum of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem will include goyim as well as Jews. However, the present verse specifically refers to ethnic, religious Jews redeemed through Messiah, and the location, while it includes Jerusalem, is none the less the entire land of Israel promised and delivered to Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen).
Isa 62:6 Al-chomotayich Upon your walls Yerushalayim, hifkadtiy I have set shomeriym guardians (watchmen); kol-hayom all day ve’kol-halaylah and all night tamid perpetually lo yecheshu they shall never be silent: hamazkiriym the remembrances et YHVH of HaShem (Mercy) al-domiy lachem don’t you cease!
“Upon your walls Yerushalayim I have set shomeriym guardians (watchmen)” The speaker is HaShem, He alone is qualified to appoint perpetual guardians on the walls of Jerusalem. The use of the Hebrew shomeriym guardians from shomer guard, (keep), illuminates the role of watchman. A watchman of the walls of Jerusalem was by necessity a Jew, a sabra (born of the land) and was appointed by the head watchman under the ruler of the city guard and ultimately at the order of the king of Judah (Israel). A Gentile could not perform this role because a Gentile does not have a blood connection to the people and the land, nor does he (generally and contextually speaking) have a connection to the God of Israel (except through Messiah) and is therefore more likely to flee at the slightest sign of trouble.
“All day and all night perpetually they shall never be silent: the remembrances of HaShem (Mercy) don’t you cease observing them!”
These particular watchmen are appointed in every generation: they never fail to warn the city of coming danger, nor do these watchmen ever forsake the remembrances of HaShem (Shabbaot, moedim Festivals, regaliym and Temple service of worship). Therefore, these are watchmen over both the physical and spiritual well-being of Israel (ethnic, religious). They are not silent when the people prosper (day), nor do they fail to warn the people when they pursue evil (night). Like HaShem Who chose them they are always working (John 5:17).
The word shomer is used to refer to many religious obligations in Judaism. We are to shomer Shabbat, guard or keep the Shabbat. We practice shomer Torah, the keeping or guarding of the Torah and so on. The watchmen being referred to here are not only looking out for coming trouble, they are also tasked with thwarting the trouble which results from the sin of the people. They do this through the maintaining of the Instruction (Torah) of HaShem, in worship, observances, remembrance of His mighty deeds and vigilant purity. A watchman is responsible for proclaiming the Word of HaShem in every generation. In fact, Isaiah is one such watchman and the prophets of Israel are his co-workers. However, the watchman is not responsible for the response of the people. Their choice for or against God is their own.
“Do not be as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, ‘Thus says Adonai of hosts, “Return you now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, says Adonai.’” -Zechariah 1:4
The watchmen that succeeded the time of captivity in Babylon were:
“Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai stands upon the walls of Jerusalem, and proclaims the glory of the second temple as surpassing that of the first. Zechariah points from Joshua and Zerubbabel onwards to the sprout of the Lord, who is priest and prince in one person, and builds the true temple of God. Malachi predicts the coming of the Lord to His temple, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. Under the eyes of these prophets the city of God rose up again, and they stand upon its pinnacles, and look thence into the glorious future that awaits it, and hasten its approach through the word of their testimony. Such prophets, who carry the good of their people day and night upon their anxious praying hearts, does Jehovah give to the Jerusalem after the captivity, which is one in the prophet's view with the Jerusalem of the last days.” -Keil & Delitzsch
These watchmen are the righteous counterparts of the previously mentioned unrighteous watchmen:
“His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” -Isaiah 56:10
Isa 62:7 Ve’al titenu domiy and give Him no rest, lo ad yechonein till He establishes, ve’al yasiym and till He makes et-Yerushalayim tehilah a praise ba’aretz in the land.
It is m Who the prophets are to give no rest. He has instructed them to be advocates in the likeness of His Son the King Messiah, the greatest of advocates. What awesome hope for Israel (ethnic, religious) and for all the earth. For the watchmen of God will not stop crying out to Him until He establishes the city of His glory, the city where Peace Himself brings a flood of wholeness, well-being and eternal peace. The capital city of the Jewish people and the location of the eternal Jerusalem which comes down from the heavens. All the land of Israel, meaning all her tribes collectively will look to their capital and hear her praises as a result of the redemptive work of the King Messiah.
“But Yeshua answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working.’” – John 5:17
Isa 62:8 Nishba YHVH HaShem (Mercy) has sworn biymiyno by his right hand, uvizroa uzi and by the arm of His strength, im-etein Surely I will no longer give et-deganeich your wheat to be od again ma’achal food leoyevayich for your enemies; ve’im-yishtu veneiy-neichar and sons of strangers shall not drink tiyrosheich your new wine, yaga’at bo for which you have laboured:
Make no mistake, the context makes Israel the recipient of this promise (not the Church). HaShem has sworn that never again will foreign nations steal the harvest and posterity of the Jewish people. We will no longer labour in vain. Therefore, Iben Ezra is right in saying:
“This verse also proves clearly, that this prophecy refers to the time yet to come; for the Lord hath sworn, that is, has made an unconditional decree. By His right hand. By His might, which is everlasting. The right hand is mentioned here to indicate His power of preventing enemies despoiling the Israelites of their corn, etc.”
The doubling of the right hand and strong arm firmly establishes this promise.
Isa 62:9 Kiy For me’asfayv they that have gathered it yocheluhu shall eat it, vehillu and praise et HaShem (YHVH: Mercy); umekabetzayv and they that have gathered it yishtuhu shall drink it bechatzrot in the courts kodshiy of My sanctuary.
The food gathered and eaten in the courts of the Temple refers to festival foods and the ritual offerings of the Temple cult along with the tithes for the Levites etc. rather than to all the food gathered (Deut. 14:22-27, 29). The connecting of the harvest to the Temple worship shows a link between spiritual renewal and agricultural prosperity.
Isa 62:10 Ivru ivru Go through, go through basheariym in the gates; panu clear you derech a way ha’am for the tribe; solu solu lift up, lift up hamsilah the highway; sakelu throw stones; mei’even from the stone hariymu the raising up neis of a sign (a miracle. A banner) al-ha’amiym upon the tribes.
This is interpreted by some to refer to the gates of Israel’s captivity but seems more likely to refer to the clearing of a way into the gates of the city of Jerusalem upon the return of the exiles via the highway that is to be built up as prophesied previously:
“And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, that shall remain, from Assyria; like as there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” -Isaiah 11:16
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for: the wayfaring men, yes, fools shall not go about on it.” -Isaiah 35:8
“The voice of one that cries, ‘Prepare you in the wilderness the way of Adonay; make level in the desert a highway for our God.’” -Isaiah 40:3
“And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.” -Isaiah 49:11
“And He will say, ‘Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.’” -Isaiah 57:14
“mei’even from the stone hariymu the raising up neis of a sign (a miracle. A banner) al-ha’amiym upon the tribes.” This miraculous sign (neis) will be raised up from the stone (even) as a means of drawing the tribes of Israel in returning to Hashem. The Hebrew amiym is poorly translated by those who render “peoples”. In this context it clearly refers to the tribes of Israel as distinct from the goyim, or else why does it not say goyim? This sign is of course the Messiah Himself, lifted up on the cross for all to see, and, He being the foundation, corner, and cap stone (Ha-even) [as well as the stone on which one is broken and under which the other is crushed], is both the One through Whom all things are created (John 1; Colossians 1: Jewish tradition also teaches that the universe was created through the stone [Ha-even] on the Temple mount [Moriah] in Jerusalem), and the firstborn from the dead, the Salvation of Israel and the hope of the nations.
Note the distinction in the following verses regarding the goyim (nations) and the amiym (tribes), Israel, Judah. It is not to say that the sign is only for the tribes of Israel but rather that the sign of Messiah has a unique instantaneous national redemptive outcome with regard to Israel (Romans 11:25-26). Whereas it brings the nations in their fullness over a predetermined period of time prior to the great salvation (through Yeshua the King Messiah) of the entire remnant of the Jewish people.
“He will raise a sign la-goyim for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the land.” -Isaiah 11:12
“Thus says the Lord YHVH: ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the goyim nations, and raise My sign to the amiym tribes; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” -Isaiah 49:22
Isa 62:11 Hineih Behold, now, pay attention! HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) hishmiya el-ketzeh has demanded that the extremity of ha’aretz the land hear, imru Say you lebat-Tziyon to the daughter of Zion, Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, yisheich your salvation ba comes; Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, secharo His reward ito is with Him, ufeulato and His recompense (repayment) lefanayv is before His face.
As always the use of Hineih is a call to attention. HaShem demands that all the tribes of Israel hear and take note. Even to the very extremity of the land of Israel. How do we know that the land of Israel is meant and not the earth entirely? Because the message is to the daughter of Zion, and the closest previous subject is the tribes of Israel.
The daughter of Zion is now called to pay attention. “yisheich your salvation ba comes”…
“Hineih Behold, now, pay attention, secharo His reward ito is with Him, ufeulato and His recompense (reward) lefanayv is before His face.”
Zion’s Salvation is a Him. Therefore, yeshuah the noun is revealed as Yeshua the Person, some 700 years before the entry into time and space of the King Messiah Yeshua.
Yeshua (Salvation) comes to Zion with reward for the repentant and recompense for the wicked. Therefore, this speaks of His second coming.
Isa 62:12 Vekareu And they shall call them am-hakodesh The holy tribe, geuleiy redeemed of Hashem (YHVH: Mercy): veloch and you Yikarei derushah shall be called Sought out, iyr lo ne’ezavah a city not forsaken.
“They” are those who look on and see the redemption of the entire remnant of Israel (ethnic, religious) at the end of the age. They will call them “The Holy Tribe”, “Redeemed of YHVH”, and Jerusalem (that is the New Jerusalem) will be called “Sought Out”, “A City Not Forsaken”!
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,” -Isaiah 2:2
“In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honour of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” -Isaiah 4:2-6
Copyright Yaakov Brown 2019
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.