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Isaiah: Chapter 12

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1In that day, you shall say: “I give thanks to You, O LORD! Although You were wroth with me, Your wrath has turned back and You comfort me, 2Behold the God who gives me triumph! I am confident, unafraid; For Yah the LORD is my strength and might, a Others “song.” And He has been my deliverance.”

3Joyfully shall you draw water From the fountains of triumph, 4And you shall say on that day: “Praise the LORD, proclaim His name. Make His deeds known among the peoples; Declare that His name is exalted. 5Hymn the LORD, For He has done gloriously; Let this be made known In all the world! 6Oh, shout for joy, You who dwell in Zion! For great in your midst Is the Holy One of Israel.”

Notes:

a Others “song.”

Text Commentary view alone

Part III. 11.1–12.10 .

The ideal king in the peaceful future: The poem's final section is a messianic and eschatological prophecy comparable to 2.1–4 and 9.1–6 . Once vain human striving for empire ends (section II), a perfect Davidic king will reign in Jerusalem, and all the world will enjoy peace and equity.

1–5 :

The ideal age as manifested in jurisprudence. The king will be endowed with prophetic insight.

1 :

Jesse was King David's father; the shoot…out of the stump of Jesse is a king from David's dynasty. The imagery of the previous section continues here, linking the second and third sections of the poem. Whereas the high trees representing Assyria's imperial haughtiness will be cut down to size ( 10.33–34 ), real strength will emerge from the lowest part—the stock (lit. “roots”)—of the humble tree representing David's dynasty. Isaiah's insistence on humility and displeasure with human conceit determine the contrast between the images of trees in 11.1 and 10.33–34 ; cf. 2.2–4.6 . If the translation stump is correct, then this passage may presume that the Davidic dynasty will (or has) come to an end; this reading would deviate significantly from Isaiah's notion that Davidic kings will reign eternally (cf. 2 Sam. 7.8–16; Ps. 89.20–37 ). But the Heb “geza‘” refers not only to a stump of a tree that has been cut down but also to the trunk of a living tree. The latter translation does not presuppose the dynasty's downfall.

4 :

The messianic age will not be perfect; some people will still be poor, others ruthless or wicked. The difference from the current age will lie, rather, in the king's response to these problems: He will always render accurate and fair judgments. Cf. 2.2–4 , where conflicts among nations continue but are settled nonviolently.

6–9 :

The ideal age as manifested in nature.

10–16 :

The ideal age as manifested in Israel's relationship to other nations.

10 :

As in 2.2–4 , nations come to Jerusalem to receive instructions. The Davidic king will act as the prophetic conduit through whom responses to the nations' inquiries will come.

11–16 :

The ingathering of exiles, which is compared to the exodus from Egypt. Some view this passage as dating to the Babylonian exile (which began in 597, long after Isaiah's death) or thereafter. Northern Israelites had already been exiled in Isaiah's lifetime, however, and Isaiah predicted that many Judeans outside Jerusalem would be exiled by the Assyrians.

11 :

The list of nations is found in Assyrian texts much earlier than 597. Thus some see no reason to deny Isaiah's authorship of vv. 11–16 . The other part, or “remnant.” Elsewhere in Isaiah this term refers to Judeans who, having survived Assyrian invasion, remain in the land of Israel. Its use here to refer to exiles who return to the land of Israel is unique and may support the suggestion that these vv. are a later addition.

13 :

Ephraim and Judah refer to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, whose relationship reached a low point during the Syro‐Ephraimite crisis (see 7.1–8.23 n. ).

14 :

This is one of the only verses in First Isaiah that anticipates the Israelites and Judeans taking vengeance on their enemies. It contradicts not only the prediction of a nonviolent messianic age earlier in this ch but the consistent rejection of national revenge in Isaiah's prophecies. It may shed additional doubt on Isaianic authorship of vv. 11–16 .

12.1–6 :

A song of thanksgiving to be recited in the ideal age. Many of these phrases occur in other songs of thanksgiving, especially those associated with the exodus from Egypt. Cf. v. 2 with Exod. 15.2 and Ps. 118.14; cf. v. 4 with Ps. 105.1 and 148.13 . Isaiah or a later editor may have capped this section with quotations from these and other well‐known hymns.

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