There is Hope for the Future
1Listen to me, you who pursue godliness,1
who seek the Lord!
Look at the rock from which you were chiseled,
at the quarry2 from which you were dug!3
2 Look at Abraham, your father,
and Sarah, who gave you birth.4
When I summoned him, he was a lone individual,5
but I blessed him6 and gave him numerous descendants.7
3 Certainly the Lord will console Zion;
he will console all her ruins.
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the Garden of the Lord.
Happiness and joy will be restored to8 her,
thanksgiving and the sound of music.
4 Pay attention to me, my people!
Listen to me, my people!
For9 I will issue a decree,10
I will make my justice a light to the nations.11
5 I am ready to vindicate,12
I am ready to deliver,13
I will establish justice among the nations.14
The coastlands15 wait patiently for me;
they wait in anticipation for the revelation of my power.16
6 Look up at the sky!
Look at the earth below!
For the sky will dissipate17 like smoke,
and the earth will wear out like clothes;
its residents will die like gnats.
But the deliverance I give18 is permanent;
the vindication I provide19 will not disappear.20
7 Listen to me, you who know what is right,
you people who are aware of my law!21
Don’t be afraid of the insults of men;
don’t be discouraged because of their abuse!
8 For a moth will eat away at them like clothes;
a clothes moth will devour them like wool.
But the vindication I provide22 will be permanent;
the deliverance I give will last.”
9 Wake up! Wake up!
Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the Lord!23
Wake up as in former times, as in antiquity!
Did you not smash24 the Proud One?25
Did you not26 wound the sea monster?27
10 Did you not dry up the sea,
the waters of the great deep?
Did you not make28 a path through the depths of the sea,
so those delivered from bondage29 could cross over?
11 Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return;
they will enter Zion with a happy shout.
Unending joy will crown them,30
happiness and joy will overwhelm31 them;
grief and suffering will disappear.32
12I, I am the one who consoles you.33
Why are you afraid of mortal men,
of mere human beings who are as short-lived as grass?34
13 Why do you forget35 the Lord, who made you,
who stretched out the sky36
and founded the earth?
Why do you constantly tremble all day long37
at the anger of the oppressor,
when he makes plans to destroy?
Where is the anger of the oppressor?38
14 The one who suffers39 will soon be released;
he will not die in prison,40
he will not go hungry.41
15 I am the Lord your God,
who churns up the sea so that its waves surge.
The Lord who commands armies is his name!
Zion’s Time to Celebrate
16 I commission you42 as my spokesman;43
I cover you with the palm of my hand,44
to establish45 the sky and to found the earth,
to say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’46
17 Wake up! Wake up!
Get up, O Jerusalem!
You drank from the cup the Lord passed to you,
which was full of his anger!47
You drained dry
the goblet full of intoxicating wine.48
18 There was no one to lead her
among all the children she bore;
there was no one to take her by the hand
among all the children she raised.
19 These double disasters confronted you.
But who feels sorry for you?
Destruction and devastation,
famine and sword.
But who consoles you?49
20 Your children faint;
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a snare.
They are left in a stupor by the Lord’s anger,
by the battle cry of your God.50
21 So listen to this, oppressed one,
who is drunk, but not from wine!
22 This is what your sovereign master,51 the Lord your God, says:
“Look, I have removed from your hand
the cup of intoxicating wine,52
the goblet full of my anger.53
You will no longer have to drink it.
23 I will put it into the hand of your tormentors54
who said to you, ‘Lie down, so we can walk over you.’
You made your back like the ground,
and like the street for those who walked over you.”
151:1tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “justice”; NLT “hope for deliverance.” 251:1tn Heb “the excavation of the hole.” 351:1sn The “rock” and “quarry” refer here to Abraham and Sarah, the progenitors of the nation. 451:2sn Although Abraham and Sarah are distant ancestors of the people the prophet is addressing, they are spoken of as the immediate parents. 551:2tn Heb “one”; NLT “was alone”; TEV “was childless.” 651:2tn “Bless” may here carry the sense of “endue with potency, reproductive power.” See Gen 1:28. 751:2tn Heb “and I made him numerous.” 851:3tn Heb “found in” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). 951:4tn Or “certainly.” 1051:4tn Heb “instruction [or “a law”] will go out from me.” 1151:4tn Heb “and my justice for a light to the nations I will cause to rest.” 1251:5tn Heb “my righteousness [or “vindication”] is near.” 1351:5tn Heb “my deliverance goes forth.” 1451:5tn Heb “and my arms will judge [on behalf of] nations.” 1551:5tn Or “islands” (NIV); TEV “Distant lands.” 1651:5tn Heb “for my arm” (so NIV, NRSV). 1751:6tn Heb “will be torn in pieces.” The perfect indicates the certitude of the event, from the Lord’s rhetorical perspective. 1851:6tn Heb “my deliverance.” The same Hebrew word can also be translated “salvation” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); cf. CEV “victory.” 1951:6tn Heb “my righteousness [or “vindication”].” 2051:6tn Heb “will not be shattered [or “dismayed”].” 2151:7tn Heb “people (who have) my law in their heart.” 2251:8tn Heb “my vindication”; many English versions “my righteousness”; NRSV, TEV “my deliverance”; CEV “my victory.” 2351:9tn The arm of the Lord is a symbol of divine military power. Here it is personified and told to arouse itself from sleep and prepare for action. 2451:9tn Heb “Are you not the one who smashed?” The feminine singular forms agree grammatically with the feminine noun “arm.” The Hebrew text has ַהמַּחְצֶבֶת (hammakhtsevet), from the verbal root חָצַב (khatsav, “hew, chop”). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has, probably correctly, המחצת, from the verbal root מָחַץ (makhats, “smash”) which is used in Job 26:12 to describe God’s victory over “the Proud One.” 2551:9tn This title (רַהַב, rahav, “proud one”) is sometimes translated as a proper name: “Rahab” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). It is used here of a symbolic sea monster, known elsewhere in the Bible and in Ugaritic myth as Leviathan. This sea creature symbolizes the forces of chaos that seek to destroy the created order. In the Bible “the Proud One” opposes God’s creative work, but is defeated (see Job 26:12; Ps 89:10). Here the title refers to Pharaoh’s Egyptian army that opposed Israel at the Red Sea (see v. 10, and note also Isa 30:7 and Ps 87:4, where the title is used of Egypt). 2651:9tn The words “did you not” are understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line). The rhetorical questions here and in v. 10 expect the answer, “Yes, you certainly did!” 2751:9tn Hebrew תַּנִּין (tannin) is another name for the symbolic sea monster. See the note at 27:1. In this context the sea creature represents Egypt. See the note on the title “Proud One” earlier in this verse. 2851:10tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Are you not the one who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made…?” 2951:10tn Heb “the redeemed” (so ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV “the ransomed.” 3051:11tn 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. 3151:11tn Heb “overtake” (so NIV); NASB “they will obtain.” 3251:11tn Heb “grief and groaning will flee.” 3351:12tc The plural suffix should probably be emended to the second masculine singular (which is used in v. 13). The final mem (ם) is probably dittographic; note the mem at the beginning of the next word. 3451:12tn Heb “Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and of the son of man who [as] grass is given up?” The feminine singular forms should probably be emended to the masculine singular (see v. 13). They have probably been influenced by the construction אַתְּ־הִיא (’at-hi’) in vv. 9-10. 3551:13tn Heb “and that you forget.” 3651:13tn Or “the heavens” (also in v. 16). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context. 3751:13tn Heb “and that you tremble constantly all the day.” 3851:13tn The question anticipates the answer, “Ready to disappear!” See v. 14. 3951:14tn Heb “who is stooped over” (under a burden). 4051:14tn Heb “the pit” (so KJV); ASV, NAB “die and go down into the pit”; NASB, NIV “dungeon”; NCV “prison.” 4151:14tn Heb “he will not lack his bread.” 4251:16tn The addressee (second masculine singular, as in vv. 13, 15) in this verse is unclear. The exiles are addressed in the immediately preceding verses (note the critical tone of vv. 12-13 and the reference to the exiles in v. 14). However, it seems unlikely that they are addressed in v. 16, for the addressee appears to be commissioned to tell Zion, who here represents the restored exiles, “you are my people.” The addressee is distinct from the exiles. The language of v. 16a is reminiscent of 49:2 and 50:4, where the Lord’s special servant says he is God’s spokesman and effective instrument. Perhaps the Lord, having spoken to the exiles in vv. 1-15, now responds to this servant, who spoke just prior to this in 50:4-11. 4351:16tn Heb “I place my words in your mouth.” 4451:16tn Heb “with the shadow of my hand.” 4551:16tc The Hebrew text has לִנְטֹעַ (lintoa’, “to plant”). Several scholars prefer to emend this form to לִנְטֹת (lintot) from נָטָה (natah, “to stretch out”); see v. 13, as well as 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; cf. NAB, NCV, NRSV. However, since the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa, LXX (and Aquila and Symmachus), and Vulgate support the MT reading, there is no need to emend the form. The interpretation is clear enough: Yahweh fixed the sky in its place. 4651:16tn The infinitives in v. 16b are most naturally understood as indicating the purpose of the divine actions described in v. 16a. The relationship of the third infinitive to the commission is clear enough – the Lord has made the addressee (his special servant?) his spokesman so that the latter might speak encouraging words to those in Zion. But how do the first two infinitives relate? The text seems to indicate that the Lord has commissioned the addressee so that the latter might create the universe! Perhaps creation imagery is employed metaphorically here to refer to the transformation that Jerusalem will experience (see 65:17-18). 4751:17tn Heb “[you] who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his anger.” 4851:17tn Heb “the goblet, the cup [that causes] staggering, you drank, you drained.” 4951:19tc The Hebrew text has אֲנַחֲמֵךְ (’anakhamekh), a first person form, but the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads correctly יִנַחֲמֵךְ (yinakhamekh), a third person form. 5051:20tn Heb “those who are full of the anger of the Lord, the shout [or “rebuke”] of your God.” 5151:22tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay). 5251:22tn Heb “the cup of [= that causes] staggering” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV); NASB “the cup of reeling.” 5351:22tn Heb “the goblet of the cup of my anger.” 5451:23tn That is, to make them drink it.