1 1 If only you would tear apart the sky2 and come down!
The mountains would tremble3 before you!
2 As when fire ignites dry wood,
or fire makes water boil,
let your adversaries know who you are,4
and may the nations shake at your presence!
3 When you performed awesome deeds that took us by surprise,5
you came down, and the mountains trembled6 before you.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard or perceived,7
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who intervenes for those who wait for him.
5 You assist8 those who delight in doing what is right,9
who observe your commandments.10
Look, you were angry because we violated them continually.
How then can we be saved?11
6 We are all like one who is unclean,
all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight.12
We all wither like a leaf;
our sins carry us away like the wind.
7 No one invokes13 your name,
or makes an effort14 to take hold of you.
For you have rejected us15
and handed us over to our own sins.16
8 Yet,17 Lord, you are our father.
We are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the product of your labor.18
9 Lord, do not be too angry!
Do not hold our sins against us continually!19
Take a good look at your people, at all of us!20
10 Your chosen21 cities have become a desert;
Zion has become a desert,
Jerusalem22 is a desolate ruin.
11 Our holy temple, our pride and joy,23
the place where our ancestors praised you,
has been burned with fire;
all our prized possessions have been destroyed.24
12 In light of all this,25 how can you still hold back, Lord?
How can you be silent and continue to humiliate us?
164:1sn In BHS the chapter division occurs in a different place from the English Bible: 64:1 ET (63:19b HT) and 64:2-12 (64:1-11 HT). Beginning with 65:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same. 264:1tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context. 364:1tn Or “quake.” נָזֹלּוּ (nazollu) is from the verbal root זָלַל (zalal, “quake”; see HALOT 272 s.v. II זלל). Perhaps there is a verbal allusion to Judg 5:5, the only other passage where this verb occurs. In that passage the poet tells how the Lord’s appearance to do battle caused the mountains to shake. 464:2tn Heb “to make known your name to your adversaries.” Perhaps the infinitive construct with preposition -לְ (lamed) should be construed with “come down” in v. 1a, or subordinated to the following line: “To make known your name to your adversaries, let the nations shake from before you.” 564:3tn Heb “[for which] we were not waiting.” 664:3tn See the note at v. 1. 764:4tn Heb “from ancient times they have not heard, they have not listened.” 864:5tn Heb “meet [with kindness].” 964:5tn Heb “the one who rejoices and does righteousness.” 1064:5tn Heb “in your ways they remember you.” 1164:5tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “look, you were angry and we sinned against them continually [or perhaps, “in ancient times”] and we were delivered.” The statement makes little sense as it stands. The first vav [ו] consecutive (“and we sinned”) must introduce an explanatory clause here (see Num 1:48 and Isa 39:1 for other examples of this relatively rare use of the vav [ו] consecutive). The final verb (if rendered positively) makes no sense in this context – God’s anger at their sin resulted in judgment, not deliverance. One of the alternatives involves an emendation to וַנִּרְשָׁע (vannirsha’, “and we were evil”; LXX, NRSV, TEV). The Vulgate and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa support the MT reading. One can either accept an emendation or cast the statement as a question (as above). 1264:6tn Heb “and like a garment of menstruation [are] all our righteous acts”; KJV, NIV “filthy rags”; ASV “a polluted garment.” 1364:7tn Or “calls out in”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “calls on.” 1464:7tn Or “rouses himself”; NASB “arouses himself.” 1564:7tn Heb “for you have hidden your face from us.” 1664:7tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and you caused us to melt in the hand of our sin.” The verb וַתְּמוּגֵנוּ (vattÿmugenu) is a Qal preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the root מוּג (mug, “melt”). However, elsewhere the Qal of this verb is intransitive. If the verbal root מוּג (mug) is retained here, the form should be emended to a Polel pattern (וַתְּמֹגְגֵנוּ, vattÿmogÿgenu). The translation assumes an emendation to וַתְּמַגְּנֵנוּ (vattÿmaggÿnenu, “and you handed us over”). This form is a Piel preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the verbal root מִגֵּן (miggen, “hand over, surrender”; see HALOT 545 s.v. מגן and BDB 171 s.v. מָגָן). The point is that God has abandoned them to their sinful ways and no longer seeks reconciliation. 1764:8tn On the force of וְעַתָּה (vÿattah) here, see HALOT 902 s.v. עַתָּה. 1864:8tn Heb “the work of your hand.” 1964:9tn Heb “do not remember sin continually.” 2064:9tn Heb “Look, gaze at your people, all of us.” Another option is to translate, “Take a good look! We are all your people.” 2164:10tn Heb “holy” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT); NIV “sacred.” 2264:10map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 2364:11tn Heb “our source of pride.” 2464:11tn Or “all that we valued has become a ruin.” 2564:12tn Heb “because of these”; KJV, ASV “for these things.”