Isaiah 52

 

עוּרִי עוּרִי לִבְשִׁי עֻזֵּךְ צִיֹּון לִבְשִׁי בִּגְדֵי תִפְאַרְתֵּךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ כִּי לֹא יֹוסִיף יָבֹא־בָךְ עֹוד עָרֵל   52:1 וְטָמֵא׃

Isai. 52:1   Awaken, awaken, put on your strength, O Zion!

                              Put on the garments of your glory,

                    Jerusalem, city of holiness!

                              For the uncircumcised and the unclean

                    shall no longer come into you any more.

הִתְנַעֲרִי מֵעָפָר קוּמִי שְּׁבִי יְרוּשָׁלִָם (הִתְפַּתְּחוּ) [הִתְפַּתְּחִי] מֹוסְרֵי צַוָּארֵךְ שְׁבִיָּה בַּת־צִיֹּון׃   52:2

Isai. 52:2   Shake out of the dust,

                             Rise up, sit, Jerusalem!

                    Loosen the bands of your neck,

                             O captive, O daughter of Zion!

The error in the parentheses is produced by a vav in place of a yad.  As it stands, it would be a masculine imperative, but it is directed at Jerusalem, which in this case is treated as feminine.  The other three imperatives in this verse (Shake out, Rise up, and sit), all addressed to Jerusalem, are indeed feminine.  The correction in the brackets makes the word translated as Loosen feminine also.

כִּי־כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה חִנָּם נִמְכַּרְתֶּם וְלֹא בְכֶסֶף תִּגָּאֵלוּ׃   52:3

Isai. 52:3   For thus says the Lord:

                            “For nothing you were sold,

                    so you will not be redeemed with money.”

כִּי כֹה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה מִצְרַיִם יָרַד־עַמִּי בָרִאשֹׁנָה לָגוּר שָׁם וְאַשּׁוּר בְּאֶפֶס עֲשָׁקֹו׃   52:4

Isai. 52:4   For thus says the Master, the Lord:

                            “To Egypt My people went down in the past to sojourn there,

                    and the Assyrian oppressed it without cause.”

וְעַתָּה מַה־לִּי־פֹה נְאֻם־יְהוָה כִּי־לֻקַּח עַמִּי חִנָּם (מֹשְׁלֹו) [מֹשְׁלָיו] יְהֵילִילוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְתָמִיד   52:5 כָּל־הַיֹּום שְׁמִי מִנֹּאָץ׃

Isai. 52:5   “And now what is here for Me,” declares the Lord,

                             “that he took away My people at no cost?”

                    “Its rulers howl,” declares the Lord,

                             “and every day My name is always being blasphemed.”

The word in parentheses, translated as Its rulers, has a yad missing, making it singular, although its verb, howl, is plural.  The correction is in the brackets.

לָכֵן יֵדַע עַמִּי שְׁמִי לָכֵן בַּיֹּום הַהוּא כִּי־אֲנִי־הוּא הַמְדַבֵּר הִנֵּנִי׃   52:6

Isai. 52:6   “Therefore My people must know My name;

                              also that I am He Who is saying in that day, ‘Behold, I am.’”

מַה־נָּאווּ עַל־הֶהָרִים רַגְלֵי מְבַשֵּׂר מַשְׁמִיעַ שָׁלֹום מְבַשֵּׂר טֹוב מַשְׁמִיעַ יְשׁוּעָה אֹמֵר לְצִיֹּון מָלַךְ   52:7 אֱלֹהָיִךְ׃

Isai. 52:7   How beautiful upon the mountains

                              are the feet of the messenger,

                     the proclaimer of peace,

                               the bearer of good tidings,

                     the announcer of salvation!

                              He says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

For some reason the commentators seem to think that the messenger mentioned in this verse is not Isaiah.  I suspect he is Isaiah, as this is what he has been saying for much of this book.  Why would it have to be any other messenger?  This seems to me to be the simplest answer, and in my understanding the simplest answer tends to be the right answer.

קֹול צֹפַיִךְ נָשְׂאוּ קֹול יַחְדָּו יְרַנֵּנוּ כִּי עַיִן בְּעַיִן יִרְאוּ בְּשׁוּב יְהוָה צִיֹּון׃   52:8

Isai. 52:8   A sound!  Your watchmen, they raise up a voice.

                             Together they will sing,

                    for eye to eye shall they see the Lord returning to Zion.

The second-person pronoun Your in the first line in this verse is singular feminine, and refers to Jerusalem.  The Lord is returning with His redeemed.

פִּצְחוּ רַנְּנוּ יַחְדָּו חָרְבֹות יְרוּשָׁלִָם כִּי־נִחַם יְהוָה עַמֹּו גָּאַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   52:9

Isai. 52:9   Break out, sing together,

                              O waste places of Jerusalem!

                    Because the Lord comforts His people,

                              He redeems Jerusalem.

Please recall that Isaiah lived some 100 years before the fall of Jerusalem.  So if he wrote this book, he was prophesying about a horrific future event that did actually transpire.  So why do many disbelieve or discount his other prophecies that speak of the eternal Israel and Zion, and that Israel will eventually witness the final judgment of the nations for their millennia of anti-Semitism?

חָשַׂף יְהוָה אֶת־זְרֹועַ קָדְשֹׁו לְעֵינֵי כָּל־הַגֹּויִם וְרָאוּ כָּל־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ אֵת יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃   52:10

Isai. 52:10   The Lord makes bare His holy power

                               for the eyes of all the nations,

                       and all the ends of the earth

                               shall see the salvation of our God.

סוּרוּ סוּרוּ צְאוּ מִשָּׁם טָמֵא אַל־תִּגָּעוּ צְאוּ מִתֹּוכָהּ הִבָּרוּ נֹשְׂאֵי כְּלֵי יְהוָה׃   52:11

Isai. 52:11   Withdraw, withdraw come out from there!

                               You must not touch an unclean thing.

                      Come out from her midst!

                               Be cleansed, O bearers of the vessels of the Lord!

כִּי לֹא בְחִפָּזֹון תֵּצֵאוּ וּבִמְנוּסָה לֹא תֵלֵכוּן כִּי־הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיכֶם יְהוָה וּמְאַסִּפְכֶם אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   52:12

Isai. 52:12   But you should not come out in haste,

                                and you should not come in flight,

                       for the Lord is going before you,

                                and the God of Israel is your Rear Guard.

הִנֵּה יַשְׂכִּיל עַבְדִּי יָרוּם וְנִשָּׂא וְגָבַהּ מְאֹד׃   52:13

Isai. 52:13   “Behold, My servant shall prosper.

                                 He shall be exalted and lifted up and be very high.”

Here the servant that the Lord mentions must be Israel.

כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמְמוּ עָלֶיךָ רַבִּים כֵּן־מִשְׁחַת מֵאִישׁ מַרְאֵהוּ וְתֹאֲרֹו מִבְּנֵי אָדָם׃   52:14

Isai. 52:14   As many were appalled by you

                                  -- his face so much more marred than a man,

                       and his form than the sons of men --

Isaiah speaks of Israel in a strange way.  His face more marred, and his form?  This must be Isaiah’s way of describing Israel’s suffering and torment.  More and longer than any other nation.

כֵּן יַזֶּה גֹּויִם רַבִּים עָלָיו יִקְפְּצוּ מְלָכִים פִּיהֶם כִּי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־סֻפַּר לָהֶם רָאוּ וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא־שָׁמְעו   52:15 הִתְבֹּונָנוּ׃

Isai. 52:15   so shall he startle many nations.

                                Because of him kings would shut their mouths,

                      because what was not recounted to them they saw,

                                and what they had not heard they understood.

That sounds like Israel all right.  Israel does startle nations, and kings will eventually understand Israel’s divine place in the world, not because they are told, but because they finally come to understand.

 

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