Justice and Wisdom Will Prevail
1 Look, a king will promote fairness;1
officials will promote justice.2
2 Each of them3 will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from a rainstorm;
like streams of water in a dry region
and like the shade of a large cliff in a parched land.
3 Eyes4 will no longer be blind5
and ears6 will be attentive.
4 The mind that acts rashly will possess discernment7
and the tongue that stutters will speak with ease and clarity.
5 A fool will no longer be called honorable;
a deceiver will no longer be called principled.
6 For a fool speaks disgraceful things;8
his mind plans out sinful deeds.9
He commits godless deeds10
and says misleading things about the Lord;
he gives the hungry nothing to satisfy their appetite11
and gives the thirsty nothing to drink.12
7 A deceiver’s methods are evil;13
he dreams up evil plans14
to ruin the poor with lies,
even when the needy are in the right.15
8 An honorable man makes honorable plans;
his honorable character gives him security.16
The Lord Will Give True Security
9 You complacent17 women,
get up and listen to me!
You carefree18 daughters,
pay attention to what I say!
10 In a year’s time19
you carefree ones will shake with fear,
for the grape20 harvest will fail,
and the fruit harvest will not arrive.
11 Tremble, you complacent ones!
Shake with fear, you carefree ones!
Strip off your clothes and expose yourselves –
put sackcloth on your waist!21
12 Mourn over the field,22
over the delightful fields
and the fruitful vine!
13 Mourn23 over the land of my people,
which is overgrown with thorns and briers,
and over all the once-happy houses24
in the city filled with revelry.25
14 For the fortress is neglected;
the once-crowded26 city is abandoned.
Hill27 and watchtower
are permanently uninhabited.28
Wild donkeys love to go there,
and flocks graze there.29
15 This desolation will continue until new life is poured out on us from heaven.30
Then the desert will become an orchard
and the orchard will be considered a forest.31
16 Justice will settle down in the desert
and fairness will live in the orchard.32
17 Fairness will produce peace33
and result in lasting security.34
18 My people will live in peaceful settlements,
in secure homes,
and in safe, quiet places.35
19 Even if the forest is destroyed36
and the city is annihilated,37
20 you will be blessed,
you who plant seed by all the banks of the streams,38
you who let your ox and donkey graze.39
132:1tn Heb “will reign according to fairness.” 232:1tn Heb “will rule according to justice.” 332:2tn Heb “a man,” but אִישׁ (’ish) probably refers here to “each” of the officials mentioned in the previous verse. 432:3tn Heb “Eyes that see.” 532:3tn The Hebrew text as vocalized reads literally “will not gaze,” but this is contradictory to the context. The verb form should be revocalized as תְּשֹׁעֶינָה (tÿshoenah) from שָׁעַע (sha’a’, “be blinded”); see Isa 6:10; 29:9. 632:3tn Heb “ears that hear.” 732:4tn Heb “the heart of rashness will understand knowledge”; cf. NAB “The flighty will become wise and capable.” 832:6tn Or “foolishness,” in a moral-ethical sense. See 9:17. 932:6tn Heb “and his heart commits sin”; KJV, ASV “his heart will work iniquity”; NASB “inclines toward wickedness.” 1032:6tn Heb “in order to do [or “so that he does”] what is godless [or “defiled”].” 1132:6tn Heb “so that he leaves empty the appetite [or “desire”] of the hungry.” 1232:6tn Heb “and the drink of the thirsty he causes to fail.” 1332:7tn Heb “as for a deceiver, his implements [or “weapons”] are evil.” 1432:7tn Or “he plans evil things”; NIV “he makes up evil schemes.” 1532:7tn Heb “to ruin the poor with words of falsehood, even when the needy speak what is just.” 1632:8tn Heb “and he upon honorable things stands.” 1732:9tn Or “self-assured”; NASB, NRSV “who are at ease.” 1832:9tn Or “self-confident”; NAB “overconfident.” 1932:10tn Heb “days upon a year.” 2032:10tn Or perhaps, “olive.” See 24:13. 2132:11tn The imperatival forms in v. 11 are problematic. The first (חִרְדוּ, khirdu, “tremble”) is masculine plural in form, though spoken to a feminine plural addressee (שַׁאֲנַנּוֹת, shaanannot, “complacent ones”). The four imperatival forms that follow (רְגָזָה, rÿgazah, “shake with fear”; פְּשֹׁטָה, pÿshotah, “strip off your clothes”; עֹרָה, ’orah, “expose yourselves”; and חֲגוֹרָה, khagorah, “put on”) all appear to be lengthened (so-called “emphatic”) masculine singular forms, even though they too appear to be spoken to a feminine plural addressee. GKC 131-32 §48.i suggests emending חִרְדוּ (khirdu) to חֲרָדָה (kharadah) and understanding all five imperatives as feminine plural “aramaized” forms. 2232:12tc The Hebrew text has “over mourning breasts.” The reference to “breasts” would make sense in light of v. 11, which refers to the practice of women baring their breasts as a sign of sorrow (see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:585). However, one expects the preposition עַל (’al) to introduce the source or reason for mourning (see vv. 12b-13a) and the participle סֹפְדִים (sofedim, “mourning”) seems odd modifying “breasts.” The translation above assumes a twofold emendation: (1) שָׁדַיִם (shadayim, “breasts”) is emended to [ם]שָׂדַי (saday[m], “field,” a term that also appears in Isa 56:9). The final mem (ם) would be enclitic in this case, not a plural indicator. (The Hebrew noun שָׂדֶה (sadeh, “field”) forms its plural with an וֹת- [-ot] ending). (2) The plural participle סֹפְדִים is emended to סְפֹדָה (sÿfodah), a lengthened imperatival form, meaning “mourn.” For an overview of various suggestions that have been made for this difficult line, see Oswalt, 586, n. 12). 2332:13tn “Mourn” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 12-13 are one long sentence. 2432:13tn Heb “indeed, over all the houses of joy.” It is not certain if this refers to individual homes or to places where parties and celebrations were held. 2532:13sn This same phrase is used in 22:2. 2632:14tn Or “noisy” (NAB, NIV, NCV). 2732:14tn Hebrew עֹפֶל (’ofel), probably refers here to a specific area within the city of Jerusalem. See HALOT 861 s.v. II עֹפֶל. 2832:14tn The Hebrew text has בְעַד מְעָרוֹת (vÿad mÿarot). The force of בְעַד, which usually means “behind, through, round about,” or “for the benefit of,” is uncertain here. HALOT 616 s.v. *מְעָרָה takes מְעָרוֹת (mÿ’arot) as a homonym of “cave” and define it here as “cleared field.” Despite these lexical problems, the general point of the statement seems clear – the city will be uninhabited. 2932:14tn Heb “the joy of wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks.” 3032:15tn Heb “until a spirit is emptied out on us from on high.” The words “this desolation will continue” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic purposes. The verb עָרָה (’arah), used here in the Niphal, normally means “lay bare, expose.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) is often understood here as a reference to the divine spirit (cf. 44:3 and NASB, NIV, CEV, NLT), but it appears here without an article (cf. NRSV “a spirit”), pronominal suffix, or a genitive (such as “of the Lord”). The translation assumes that it carries an impersonal nuance “vivacity, vigor” in this context. 3132:15sn The same statement appears in 29:17b, where, in conjunction with the preceding line, it appears to picture a reversal. Here it seems to depict supernatural growth. The desert will blossom into an orchard, and the trees of the orchard will multiply and grow tall, becoming a forest. 3232:16sn This new era of divine blessing will also include a moral/ethical transformation, as justice and fairness fill the land and replace the social injustice so prevalent in Isaiah’s time. 3332:17tn Heb “and the product of fairness will be peace.” 3432:17tn Heb “and the work of fairness [will be] calmness and security forever.” 3532:18tn Or “in safe resting places”; NAB, NRSV “quiet resting places.” 3632:19tn Heb “and [?] when the forest descends.” The form וּבָרַד (uvarad) is often understood as an otherwise unattested denominative verb meaning “to hail” (HALOT 154 s.v. I ברד). In this case one might translate, “and it hails when the forest is destroyed” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV). Perhaps the text alludes to a powerful wind and hail storm that knocks down limbs and trees. Some prefer to emend the form to וְיָרַד (vÿyarad), “and it descends,” which provides better, though not perfect, symmetry with the parallel line (cf. NAB). Perhaps וּבָרַד should be dismissed as dittographic. In this case the statement (“when the forest descends”) lacks a finite verb and seems incomplete, but perhaps it is subordinate to v. 20. 3732:19tn Heb “and in humiliation the city is laid low.” 3832:20tn Heb “by all the waters.” 3932:20tn Heb “who set free the foot of the ox and donkey”; NIV “letting your cattle and donkeys range free.”sn This verse seems to anticipate a time when fertile land is available to cultivate and crops are so abundant that the farm animals can be allowed to graze freely.