1sn Edom is here an archetype for the Lord’s enemies. See 34:5.

2tn Heb “[in] bright red garments, from Bozrah.”

3tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis; note the first line of the verse.

4tn Heb “honored in his clothing”; KJV, ASV “glorious in his apparel.”

5tc The Hebrew text has צָעָה (tsaah), which means “stoop, bend” (51:14). The translation assumes an emendation to צָעַד (tsaad, “march”; see BDB 858 s.v. צָעָה).

6tn Heb “I, [the one] speaking in vindication [or “righteousness”], great to deliver.”

7tn Heb “and your garments like one who treads in a vat?”

8sn Nations, headed by Edom, are the object of the Lord’s anger (see v. 6). He compares military slaughter to stomping on grapes in a vat.

9tn Heb “and I stained.” For discussion of the difficult verb form, see HALOT 170 s.v. II גאל. Perhaps the form is mixed, combining the first person forms of the imperfect (note the alef prefix) and perfect (note the תי- ending).

10tn Heb “for the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my revenge came.” The term גְּאוּלַי (ulai) is sometimes translated here “my redemption,” for the verbal root גאל often means “deliver, buy back.” A גֹּאֵל (goel, “kinsman-redeemer”) was responsible for protecting the extended family’s interests, often by redeeming property that had been sold outside the family. However, the responsibilities of a גֹּאֵל extended beyond financial concerns. He was also responsible for avenging the shed blood of a family member (see Num 35:19-27; Deut 19:6-12). In Isa 63:4, where vengeance is a prominent theme (note the previous line), it is probably this function of the family protector that is in view. The Lord pictures himself as a blood avenger who waits for the day of vengeance to arrive and then springs into action.

11sn See Isa 59:16 for similar language.

12tn Heb “and my anger, it supported me”; NIV “my own wrath sustained me.”

13sn See Isa 49:26 and 51:23 for similar imagery.

14tn Heb “and I brought down to the ground their juice.” “Juice” refers to their blood (see v. 3).

15tn Heb “according to all which.”

16tn Heb “greatness of goodness to the house of Israel which he did for them.”

17tn Heb “according to.”

18tn Heb “children [who] do not act deceitfully.” Here the verb refers to covenantal loyalty.

19tn Heb “in all their distress, there was distress to him” (reading לוֹ [lo] with the margin/Qere).

20tn Heb “the messenger [or “angel”] of his face”; NIV “the angel of his presence.”

sn This may refer to the “angel of God” mentioned in Exod 14:19, who in turn may be identical to the divine “presence” (literally, “face”) referred to in Exod 33:14-15 and Deut 4:37. Here in Isa 63 this messenger may be equated with God’s “holy Spirit” (see vv. 10-11) and “the Spirit of the Lord” (v. 14). See also Ps 139:7, where God’s “Spirit” seems to be equated with his “presence” (literally, “face”) in the synonymous parallelistic structure.

21tn Or “redeemed” (KJV, NAB, NIV), or “delivered.”

22tn Heb “all the days of antiquity”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “days of old.”

23tn Or “grieved, hurt the feelings of.”

24sn The phrase “holy Spirit” occurs in the OT only here (in v. 11 as well) and in Ps 51:11 (51:13 HT), where it is associated with the divine presence.

25tn Heb “and he remembered the days of antiquity, Moses, his people.” The syntax of the statement is unclear. The translation assumes that “his people” is the subject of the verb “remembered.” If original, “Moses” is in apposition to “the days of antiquity,” more precisely identifying the time period referred to. However, the syntactical awkwardness suggests that “Moses” may have been an early marginal note (perhaps identifying “the shepherd of his flock” two lines later) that has worked its way into the text.

26tn The Hebrew text has a plural form, which if retained and taken as a numerical plural, would probably refer to Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite tribal leaders at the time of the Exodus. Most prefer to emend the form to the singular (רָעָה, raah) and understand this as a reference just to Moses.

27sn See the note at v. 10.

28tn Heb “who caused to go at the right hand of Moses the arm of his splendor.”

29tn Heb “making for himself a lasting name.”

30tn Heb “in the desert [or “steppe”].”

31tn The words “to graze” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

32tn Or “so” (KJV, ASV), or “thus” (NAB, NRSV).

33tn Heb “making for yourself a majestic name.”

34tn This probably refers to his zeal for his people, which motivates him to angrily strike out against their enemies.

35tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “the agitation of your intestines and your compassion to me they are held back.” The phrase “agitation of your intestines” is metonymic, referring to the way in which one’s nervous system reacts when one feels pity and compassion toward another. אֵלַי (’elay, “to me”) is awkward in this context, where the speaker represents the nation and, following the introduction (see v. 7), utilizes first person plural forms. The translation assumes an emendation to the negative particle אַל (’al). This also necessitates emending the following verb form (which is a plural perfect) to a singular jussive (תִתְאַפָּק, titappaq). The Hitpael of אָפַק (’afaq) also occurs in 42:14.

36tn Heb “our protector [or “redeemer”] from antiquity [is] your name.”

37tn Some suggest a tolerative use of the Hiphil here, “[why do] you allow us to stray?” (cf. NLT). Though the Hiphil of תָעָה (taah) appears to be tolerative in Jer 50:6, elsewhere it is preferable or necessary to take it as causative. See Isa 3:12; 9:15; and 30:28, as well as Gen 20:13; 2 Kgs 21:9; Job 12:24-25; Prov 12:26; Jer 23:13, 32; Hos 4:12; Amos 2:4; Mic 3:5.

38tn This probably refers to God’s commands.

39tn Heb “[Why do] you harden our heart[s] so as not to fear you.” The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

sn How direct this hardening is, one cannot be sure. The speaker may envision direct involvement on the Lord’s part. The Lord has brought the exile as judgment for the nation’s sin and now he continues to keep them at arm’s length by blinding them spiritually. The second half of 64:7 might support this, though the precise reading of the final verb is uncertain. On the other hand, the idiom of lament is sometimes ironic and hyperbolically deterministic. For example, Naomi lamented that Shaddai was directly opposing her and bringing her calamity (Ruth 1:20-21), while the author of Ps 88 directly attributes his horrible suffering and loneliness to God (see especially vv. 6-8, 16-18). Both individuals make little, if any, room for intermediate causes or the principle of sin and death which ravages the human race. In the same way, the speaker in Isa 63:17 (who evidences great spiritual sensitivity and is anything but “hardened”) may be referring to the hardships of exile, which discouraged and even embittered the people, causing many of them to retreat from their Yahwistic faith. In this case, the “hardening” in view is more indirect and can be lifted by the Lord’s intervention. Whether the hardening here is indirect or direct, it is important to recognize that the speaker sees it as one of the effects of rebellion against the Lord (note especially 64:5-6).

40tn Or “holy” (ASV, NASB, NRSV, TEV, NLT).

41tn Heb “for a short time they had a possession, the people of your holiness.”

42tn Heb “your adversaries trampled on.”

43tn Heb “we were from antiquity” (see v. 16). The collocation עוֹלָם + מִן + הָיָה (hayah + min + ’olam) occurs only here.

44tn Heb “you did not rule them, your name was not called over them.” The expression “the name is called over” indicates ownership; see the note at 4:1. As these two lines stand they are very difficult to interpret. They appear to be stating that the adversaries just mentioned in v. 18 have not been subject to the Lord’s rule in the past, perhaps explaining why they could commit the atrocity described in v. 18b.