Where the world comes to study the Bible

Isaiah 25

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Song of Praise For God's Favor Praise to God Psalm of Thanksgiving A Hymn of Praise A Hymn of Thanksgiving
25:1-5
(1-5)
25:1-5
(1-5)
25:1-5
(1-5)
25:1-5
(1-5)
25:1-5
(1-5)
    Third Eschatological Section God Prepares A Banquet The Divine Banquet
25:6-12
(6-12)
25:6-8
(6-8)
25:6-10a
(6-10a)
25:6-8 25:6-12
(6-8)
  25:9-12
(9)
  25:9  (9-12)
    Oracle of Doom God Will Punish Moab  
  (10-12) 25:10b-12
(10b-12)
25:10-12  

READING CYCLE THREE (see introduction)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. What a marvelous chapter about YHWH's universal love!

1. the redemptive plan of God, v. 1d

2. the loving character of God, v. 4

 

B. This chapter is the OT origin of many of

1. Jesus' statements (i.e., John 5:28-29)

2. Paul's statements

a.  in I Corinthians 15 of the resurrection, v. 54

b. the purpose of the veil in II Cor. 3:15-16 and Eph. 4:18

3. John's use of OT imagery in the Revelation

a. tears wiped away, Rev. 7:17; 21:4

b. world city destroyed (i.e., Babylon, Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 18:2)

c. Messianic banquet, Rev. 19:9

4. Luke's predetermined redemptive plan in Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; also note Luke 22:22 (see Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-10)

 

C. This is one of several brief glimpses of the resurrection in the OT

1. Isaiah 26:19

2. Job 14:14; 19:25-27

3. Ezekiel 37:12-14

4. Daniel 12:2

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 25:1-5
1O Lord, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
2For You have made a city into a heap,
A fortified city into a ruin;
A palace of strangers is a city no more,
It will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore a strong people will glorify You;
Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.
4For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall.
5Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens;
Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

25:1 "O Lord, You are my God" This section of Isaiah is very personal (cf. 61:10). Isaiah knows YHWH (he is an ideal representative of the covenant spirit) and appeals to Him as friend, Savior, and Sovereign!

Note how Isaiah addresses YHWH.

1. I will exalt you, v. 1, BDB 926, KB 1202, Polel imperfect used in a cohortative sense

2. I will give thanks to Your name, v. 1, BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil imperfect used in a cohortative sense

Notice how he characterizes God.

1. You are my God, v. 1

2. You have worked wonders, v. 1

3. Your plans were formed long ago with perfect faithfulness, v. 1

4. You have made a city into a heap, v. 2

5. a strong people will glorify You, v. 3

6. You have been a defense for the helpless, v. 4

7. You did subdue the uproar of aliens, v. 5

This is a psalm of praise, not unlike Psalm 145. This is the theological opposite of the universal judgment of chapter 24.

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV"wonderful things"
TEV"amazing things"
NJB"marvels"

SPECIAL TOPIC: WONDERFUL THINGS (פלא)

▣ "Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness" God is in complete control of history. This is a recurrent theme in the OT (i.e., Isa. 14:24,26-27; 23:8,9; 46:10-11). History is not cyclical, but teleological. There is no verb in the MT text ("formed" is assumed).

The two Hebrew words translated "perfect faithfulness" are from the same root.

1. the first one (אמונה, BDB 53) means "firmness," "steadfastness," or "fidelity." It is a feminine noun (cf. Ps. 88:12; 89:1,2,5,8; Hosea 2:20).

2. the second (אמן, BDB 53) means "trusting," or "faithfulness." It is a masculine noun (cf. 26:2; Deut. 32:20).

Together they (the amen family of words) imply the complete and total faithfulness of God to His plans, promises, and purposes (i.e., Gen. 3:15; 12:3; Exod. 19:5-6; Isa. 2:2-4; 19:23-25, see Special Topic at 1:3).

25:2 "a city into a heap" Here again is a city which symbolizes the rebellion of man (cf. 24:10). It stands for every capital of every human society which has tried to make its own way and meet its own needs without God. See note at 24:10 and chart at chapter 26, Introduction D.

The term "heap" (BDB 164) is used of the pile of rubble after a city is destroyed (cf. 37:26; II Kgs. 19:25; Jer. 9:11; 51:37). Fortified cities were their strongest defense, but now they are piles of stones!

▣ "A palace of strangers" JPSOA emendates this to "the citadel of arrogant men" (footnote), which is followed by JB, The Bible: An American Translation, by Smith and Goodspeed, and A Translation of the Old Testament Scriptures From the Original Hebrew by Spurrell. The LXX has "a city of ungodly (or impious) men."

This involves a change from

1. MT, זרים, BDB 266 I, KB 267, Qal active participle, "stranger"

2. זדים, BDB 267, "insolent," "prideful"

This is the confusion of the Hebrew "R" and "D," which look so similar.

25:3 "a strong people will glorify Thee" This possibly refers to differing groups of Gentiles.

1. 18:2,7 (Cush)

2. 19:19-25 (Egypt and Assyria)

3. 24:14-15 (nations of the east and west [coastlands])

The term "strong people" (BDB 766 & 738) is parallel to "ruthless nations" (BDB 156 & 792, vv. 4d,e and 5). The demonstration of YHWH's power (i.e., "wonderful things," BDB 810, v. 1) convinces them that He is the Lord of the universe.

▣ "Cities of ruthless nations will revere You" Here again is a play on the word "city," but the allusion seems to be that even these rebellious cities (i.e., 24:10; 25:2,3,12; 26:1-6) are going to one day praise and serve God. The surprising but recurrent universalism of Isaiah (i.e., 2:2-4; 19:23-25; 24:14-16a; 43:21) appears again (praise God!).

25:4 This is an obvious allusion to God caring for the socially and religiously ostracized (i.e., 4:5-6; 32:2). God loves the poor (cf. 29:19). Notice how YHWH acts toward the poor, helpless, and socially ostracized.

1. a defense for the helpless

2. a defense for the needy in distress

3. a refuge from the storm, cf. 4:6; 32:2

4. a shade from the heat

This is so different from "the ruthless" (BDB 792, cf. 29:5,20). This is how society was meant to be (i.e., Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5).

Also notice that these needy and poor people must seek/trust in YHWH and His promised help. God works with fallen humans in a covenant relationship. He always takes the initiative and sets the conditions, but humans must respond (cf. Ps. 50:15; 91:15; 107:6,13) to His offer in repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance. Both the OT and NT have benefits and responsibilities! See Special Topic at 1:3.

NASB"Is like a rain storm against a wall"
NKJV, Peshitta"is as a storm against the wall"
NRSV"like a winter rainstorm"
TEV, NJB"like a winter storm"
REB"like an ice storm"

The MT has "rain-storm" (BDB 281, cf. 4:6; 28:2; 30:30; 32:2) and "wall" (קיר, BDB 885, cf. 22:5; 38:2; 59:10). A similar word "cold" (קור, NRSV, TEV, NJB, REB, NIDOTTE, vol. 3, pp. 994, 995, קר is from קרר, BDB 903). The UBS Hebrew Text Project gives "wall" an A rating (very high probability).

25:5 "the song of the ruthless" JPSOA changes the Hebrew text from "song" to "rainstorm" (cf. v. 4).

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 25:6-12
6The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
9And it will be said in that day,
"Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
10For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
And Moab will be trodden down in his place
As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile.
11And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it
As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim,
But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands.
12The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down,
Lay low, and cast to the ground, even to the dust.

25:6 "The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain" Here Mount Zion is the scene of the end-time activity of God (cf. 2:2-4; Exod. 24:11; Matt. 8:11; Luke 14:15; 22:16; Rev.19:9). This Messianic banquet is for all peoples (cf. 27:13; 66:20). God will provide the best food (cf. Isa. 55)!

▣ "on this mountain" This refers to a renewed Mt. Zion (i.e., Jerusalem) or Mt. Moriah (i.e., the temple) in Judah (cf. 24:23). Jerusalem, in these eschatological contexts, could refer

1. literally to a city in Judah

2. symbolically to a new earth (cf. Rev. 21:1-2)

 

▣ "wine" Notice the different kinds.

1. aged wine, BDB 1038 II, this refers to wine left to settle

2. refined wine, BDB 279, KB 279, Pual participle, this refers to strained or filtered wine after it has settled for a long time, which made it a premiere quality

See Special Topic: Alcohol and Alcoholism at 1:22.

25:7 "And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,

Even the veil which is stretched over all nations" This is extremely significant. Notice again that God is going to remove something (lit. "faces" [BDB 815], "covering" [BDB 532, KB 523, Qal active participle], "which covers" [BDB 532, KB 523, Qal active participle]; the parallel phrase is literally "the veil" [BDB 697], "that is spread" [BDB 651 II, KB 703, Qal passive participle], or "weaved" [BDB 651 II, NASB marginal note, NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 253]) from the Gentiles ("over all people" parallel with "over all nations," these are inclusive, universal phrases) that they might come to Him. There have been several theories about this "covering."

1. death itself (cf. v. 8, repeats the verb of v. 7)

2. a sign of mourning for the dead (cf. II Sam. 15:30)

3. a sign of shame (cf. II Sam. 19:5; Jer. 14:3)

4. spiritual blindness (cf.II Cor. 3:15-16; Eph. 4:18)

5. the Hebrew root לוט (BDB 532) occurs only here. It is related to טל (BDB 532), which means "secret" (cf. Ruth 3:7; I Sam. 18:22; 24:4 and often refers to idolatry, cf. Exod. 7:22; 8:7,18).

The "covering" may refer to false religions that have blinded the eyes of fallen humanity (cf. Rom. 1:21-32).

25:8 "He will swallow up death for all time" What a marvelous statement! The original status of Eden is restored (cf. 65:19-20). Sinful, rebellious humans can be redeemed permanently! Resurrection is specifically mentioned in 26:19 (cf. Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Ezek. 37:12-14; Dan. 12:2; I Corinthians 15).

Death reigned from Adam to Christ (cf. Rom. 5:12-21), but with Jesus' resurrection, death has been defeated (cf. Hosea 13:14 quoted in I Cor. 15:55-57).

In the OT the soul that sins will die (cf. Ezek. 18:4,20; Rom. 6:23). The Mosaic covenant was a performance-based covenant (cf. Lev. 18:5; Gal. 3:12), but because of the Fall (cf. Genesis 3) and human weakness it became a death sentence, a curse (cf. Gal. 3:13; 4:5). Jesus, the Messiah, will deliver us from the death sentence (cf. Col. 2:14).

▣ "the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces" Notice it is the covenant God of Israel (lit. Adon YHWH) who does the wiping (BDB 562, KB 567, Qal perfect, cf. 43:25; 44:22; Ps. 51:1,9). Also note it is "all faces" (BDB 481 and BDB 815)!

This theme of sorrow, remorse (judgment), and joy (salvation) restored is recurrent in Isaiah (cf. 30:19; 35:10; 51:11; 65:19; also note its usage in the NT, Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

▣ "He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth" This has two possible meanings.

1. it relates to the new covenant in Ezek. 36:22-38 which repairs the image of Israel among the nations

2. it relates "His people" to all people (cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Rom. 9:6; and 11:26; also note Gal. 6:16; I Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6). Reproach is the result of sin. Its removal is an act of forgiveness and restoration. This is a divine plan of universal redemption (v. 1)!

 

▣ "For the Lord has spoken" Here again is the certainty of events because God has said it (cf. 24:3; 30-31; 40:8; 55:10-11).

25:9 "in that day" This refers to the day of God's visitation. To some it will be a day of judgment; to some it will be a day of salvation (cf. 12:1-4; 26:1; 27:1-2). See note at 2:11.

▣ "this is our God" This could refer to (1) the God of Israel (i.e., Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 12,15,17) or (2) the God of creation who promised deliverance to all humans made in His image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26,27) in Gen. 3:15.

▣ "we have waited" This verb (BDB 875, KB 1082, Piel perfect) appears twice (cf. 8:17; 26:8; 33:2; 40:31; 49:23; 51:5; 60:9). It has the connotation of "longing for," "trusting in," "waiting eagerly for"! It is used most often in the Psalms and Isaiah.

▣ "that He might save us" Usually in the OT this verb (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil imperfect) means "to deliver" (i.e., physical deliverance, Gen. 12:12; Exod. 1:17-22; 14:30; James 5:20), but in this context its meaning is more in line with the NT usage of "saved" (i.e., Matt. 1:21; 18:11; I Cor. 1:21; 9:22; I Tim. 1:15; II Tim. 1:9). These people (Jew and Gentile) will be saved from sin and death. See Special Topic at 33:2.

▣ "Let us rejoice and be glad" These are both cohortatives.

1. BDB 162, KB 189, Qal cohortative

2. BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal cohortative

His salvation brings the restoration of joy and gladness to His creation (cf. 35:1-2,10; 65:18; 66:10).

25:10-11 There is a series of doubled words for emphasis.

1. trodden down, v. 10, BDB 190, KB 218

a. Niphal perfect

b. Niphal infinitive construct

2. spread out his hands, v. 11, BDB 831, KB 975

a. Piel perfect

b. Piel imperfect

3. to swim, v. 11, BDB 965, KB 1314

a. Qal participle

b. Qal infinitive construct

Moab will try to swim in the cesspool (v. 10, this is the only occurrence of the term [ןמד, BDB 199]). The LXX and Peshitta do not follow this reading, but have "as they tread the floor with wagons." The JPSOA emendates it to a place name "Madmenah," close to Jerusalem, cf. 10:31.

25:10-12 This seems to return to the theme of judgment on the surrounding nations and in particular on Moab (JPSOA suggests emendation to "Assyria"). Moab has been previously judged in Isaiah 15-16. Here, Moab (the only specific nation mentioned in chapters 24-27) seems to be a symbol of all rebellious human beings, prideful of their own situation. Moab, located physically on a high plateau and very wealthy because of her commerce trade, is symbolic of all of human achievement apart from God. This seems to be the background of (1) "the city of chaos" in Isa. 24:10 or (2) "the unassailable city" mentioned in Isa. 26:5.

25:11 "But the Lord will lay low his pride" The verb (BDB 1050, KB 1631, Hiphil perfect, cf. v. 10) is also used twice in 26:5 to refer to YHWH bringing down "the city" (cf. 24:10; 25:2-3). It is a recurrent verb in Isaiah connected to YHWH judging the proud and arrogant (cf. 2:9,11,12,17; 5:15 [twice]; 10:33; 13:11; 25:11; 29:4; 40:4; note II Sam. 22:28; Job 40:11; Ps. 18:27; Pro. 29:23).

Moab's excessive pride was mentioned earlier in 16:6 and her ruin in 16:14.

NASB, NKJV"the trickery of his hands"
NRSV"the struggle of their hands"
TEV"their hands will sink helplessly"
NJB"what his hands may attempt"
JB"he stretches out his hands"
Peshitta"the spoils of their hands"

The JPSOA suggests an emendation "along with the emblems of their power," which may link to "the unassailable fortifications," cf. v. 12.

The problem is the term "trickery," ארבות (BDB 70), which is found only here in the OT, but a close form, מארב (BDB 70) means "ambush" or ארב (BDB 70) means "lie in wait" or "ambush," but this does not fit the context.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the difference between "that day" in 25:9 and 24:21?

2. Why is Moab singled out in 25:10-12?