The Land and Its People Are Transformed
1 Let the desert and dry region be happy;1
let the wilderness2 rejoice and bloom like a lily!
2 Let it richly bloom;3
let it rejoice and shout with delight!4
It is given the grandeur5 of Lebanon,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the grandeur of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the hands that have gone limp,
steady the knees that shake!6
4 Tell those who panic,7
“Be strong! Do not fear!
Look, your God comes to avenge!
With divine retribution he comes to deliver you.”8
5 Then blind eyes will open,
deaf ears will hear.
6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,
the mute tongue will shout for joy;
for water will flow9 in the desert,
streams in the wilderness.10
7 The dry soil will become a pool of water,
the parched ground springs of water.
Where jackals once lived and sprawled out,
grass, reeds, and papyrus will grow.
8 A thoroughfare will be there
it will be called the Way of Holiness.11
The unclean will not travel on it;
it is reserved for those authorized to use it12
fools13 will not stray into it.
9 No lions will be there,
no ferocious wild animals will be on it14
they will not be found there.
Those delivered from bondage will travel on it,
10 those whom the Lord has ransomed will return that way.15
They will enter Zion with a happy shout.
Unending joy will crown them,16
happiness and joy will overwhelm17 them;
grief and suffering will disappear.18
135:1tn The final mem (ם) on the verb יְשֻׂשׂוּם (yÿsusum) is dittographic (note the initial mem on the following noun מִדְבָּר [midbar]). The ambiguous verbal form is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel). The jussive is used rhetorically here, not as a literal command or prayer. 235:1tn Or “Arabah” (NASB); NAB, NIV, TEV “desert.” 335:2tn The ambiguous verb form תִּפְרַח (tifrakh) is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel). 435:2tn Heb “and let it rejoice, yes [with] rejoicing and shouting.” גִּילַת (gilat) may be an archaic feminine nominal form (see GKC 421 §130.b). 535:2tn Or “glory” (KJV, NIV, NRSV); also a second time later in this verse. 635:3tn Heb “staggering knees”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “feeble knees”; NIV “knees that give way.” 735:4tn Heb “Say to the hasty of heart,” i.e., those whose hearts beat quickly from fear. 835:4tn The jussive form וְיֹשַׁעֲכֶם (vÿyoshaakhem), which is subordinated to the preceding imperfect with vav conjunctive, indicates purpose. 935:6tn Heb “burst forth” (so NAB); KJV “break out.” 1035:6tn Or “Arabah” (NASB); KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT “desert.” 1135:8tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and there will be there a road and a way, and the Way of Holiness it will be called.” וְדֶרֶךְ (vÿderekh, “and a/the way”) is accidentally duplicated; the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not reflect the repetition of the phrase. 1235:8tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads literally “and it is for them, the one who walks [on the] way.” In this context those authorized to use the Way of Holiness would be morally upright people who are the recipients of God’s deliverance, in contrast to the morally impure and foolish who are excluded from the new covenant community. 1335:8tn In this context “fools” are those who are morally corrupt, not those with limited intellectual capacity. 1435:9tn Heb “will go up on it”; TEV “will pass that way.” 1535:10tn Heb “and the redeemed will walk, the ransomed of the Lord will return.” 1635:10tn Heb “[will be] on their head[s].” “Joy” may be likened here to a crown (cf. 2 Sam 1:10). The statement may also be an ironic twist on the idiom “earth/dust on the head” (cf. 2 Sam 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), referring to a mourning practice. 1735:10tn Heb “will overtake” (NIV); NLT “they will be overcome with.” 1835:10tn Heb “grief and groaning will flee”; KJV “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”