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Isaiah 63

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
God's Vengeance on the Nations The Lord in Judgment and Salvation Poem on Divine Vengeance The Lord's Victory Over the Nations Judgment on the Nations
63:1-6  (1-6) 63:1a  (1a) 63:1a  (1a) 63:1a 63:1-6  (1-6)
  63:1b  (1b) 63:1b  (1b) 63:1b  
  63:2  (2) 63:2  (2) 63:2  
  63:3-6  (3-6) 63:3-6  (3-6) 63:3-6  
The Ancient Mercies Recalled God's Mercy Remembered Psalm of Intercession (63:7-64:12) The Lord's Goodness to Israel Mediation of the History of Israel (63:7-64:11)
63:7-14  (7-14) 63:7-10  (7-10) 63:7-9  (7-9) 63:7  (7) 63:7  (7)
      63:8-10 63:8-10  (8-10)
    63:10-14  (10-14)    
  63:11-14  (11-14)   63:11-13a 63:11-14  (11-14)
      63:13b-14  
"You Are Our Father" A Prayer of Penitence (63:15-64:12)   A Prayer For Mercy and Help (63:15-64:12)  
63:15-19  (15-19) 63:15-19  (15-19) 63:15-19  (15-19) 63:15-17 63:15-19b  (15-19b)
      63:18-64:7  
        63:19c-64:11  (19c-64:11)

 

READING CYCLE THREE

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.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 63:1-6
1Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
"It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
2Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
3"I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
4For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.
5I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me.
6I trod down the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

63:1-6 This is a dialogue or diatribe (question-answer) between the prophet/Servant and YHWH.

1. Prophet asks the first question, v. 1 - YHWH is described as coming from Edom in majestic apparel, vv. 1a-d,2

2. YHWH speaks, v. 1e

a. speak in righteousness

b. mighty to save

3. Prophet asks a second question, v. 2

4. YHWH answers, vv. 3-6

a. trodden the wine trough alone (i.e., judgment)

b. no one from the peoples with Him (cf. v 5; 59:16)

 

63:1 "Edom" This neighboring nation is often a symbol for all Gentile nations (cf. 34:5-15) that are judged by YHWH.

SPECIAL TOPIC: EDOM AND ISRAEL

▣ "Bozrah" This was a major city in Edom, often its capital. It is mentioned often in the "Woe" oracles of judgment (cf. Isa. 34:6; 63:1; Jer. 49:13,22; Amos 1:12).

NASB, NRSV,
TEV, NJB"marching"
NKJV"traveling"
JPSOA"pressing forward"
REB"striding along"

In 51:14 the word (צעה, BDB 858, KB 1040) is understood as "stooping," but here that connotation does not fit. Some suggest an emendation to the root, דעצ (KB 1040), which means "marching" or "striding." The UBS Text Project gives "stooping" a B rating, but it does not fit the parallelism.

63:3 "the wine trough" This imagery of judgment is also found in Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:13; Rev. 14:19,20; 19:15. This is God/Messiah as the Divine Warrior.

63:4 Notice how the day of vengeance (cf. 34:8; 35:4,8; 61:2) is a necessary precursor to the day (year) of redemption!

The Day of the Lord and the day of salvation are two sides of one coming! For the faithful God's coming is a great reunion of fellowship; for those who are unfaithful His coming is the final act of separation and rejection (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15)!

63:5 "So My own arm brought salvation to Me,

And My wrath upheld Me" This is related to lines 1-2. YHWH could depend on no human help in bringing salvation. He and He alone could do it (cf. Ezek. 36:22-38). This text may be the imagery the Apostle John used in Revelation 5, only one is worthy to open the book, only one, the crucified, risen Lamb of God/Messiah/Servant!

63:6 YHWH's judgment is described by the use of three metaphors (i.e., YHWH as the Divine Warrior, cf. 59:17; Exod. 15:3).

1. trod down - Qal imperfect, BDB 100, KB 115 (parallel to "tread," used three times in vv. 2-3)

2. made them drunk - Piel imperfect, BDB 1016, KB 1500 (judgment as drunkenness, cf. 51:22-23; Ps. 75:8)

3. poured out (lit. "brought down their juice to the earth") - Hiphil imperfect, BDB 432, KB 434 (people lying dead on the ground)

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 63:7-14
7I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord , the praises of the Lord ,
According to all that the Lord has granted us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has granted them according to His compassion
And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.
8For He said, "Surely, they are My people,
Sons who will not deal falsely."
So He became their Savior.
9In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the angel of His presence saved them;
In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them,
And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
10But they rebelled
And grieved His Holy Spirit;
Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,
He fought against them.
11Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.
Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,
12Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,
Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,
13Who led them through the depths?
Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;
14As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So You led Your people,
To make for Yourself a glorious name.

63:7 "the lovingkindness of the Lord" This is the special covenant noun, hesed. See Special Topic at 40:6.

▣ "according" Notice how the NASB uses this word three times to describe YHWH.

1. the great goodness

2. His compassion

3. multitude of His lovingkindness

 

63:8 "they are My people" This is covenant language (cf. Exod. 6:7; Isa. 51:4).

▣ "Sons who will not deal falsely" This is the exact opposite of 1:2-3 (cf. Jer. 3:22).

▣ "So He became their Savior" Notice the contrast between vv. 5 and 8b. Although God's sovereignty is emphasized, still there is a place for Israel's faithfulness!

63:9 "In all their affliction He was afflicted" In English this is a powerful statement of the unity between YHWH and His covenant people (cf. 57:15), but the MT is difficult to follow.

1. This phrase may relate with the last line of v. 8 (NRSV, TEV).

2. This phrase may relate to the second line of v. 9 (NJB).

The MT has "not" (לא) but the Masoretic scholars suggest לו, "him" (qere, JPSOA).

▣ "the angel of His presence" This is a direct allusion to Exod. 23:20-23; 33:14,15. It refers to events during the Wilderness Wandering Period. Israel's sin caused YHWH to replace Himself with a personal representative (i.e., the angel of the Lord).

YHWH affirmed His personal presence (cf. Deut. 32:9-14).

1. He redeemed them - Qal perfect, BDB 145, KB 169

2. He lifted them - Piel imperfect, BDB 642, KB 694

3. He carried them - Piel imperfect, BDB 669, KB 724 (cf. 46:3; Deut. 1:31)

Also note the three NT Divine Persons in vv. 9-10.

1. the Father, v. 9a

2. the pre-incarnate Messiah, v. 9b

3. the Holy Spirit, v. 10b

 

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TRINITY

63:10 Notice two verbs describe Israel's sin and two verbs describe YHWH's reaction (synonymous parallelism).

1. rebelled - Qal perfect, BDB 598, KB 632

2. grieved His Holy Spirit - Piel perfect, BDB 780, KB 864 (cf. Acts 7:51; see Special Topic: The Personhood of the Spirit at 42:1; for a good article entitled "Who Is the OT Holy Spirit?" see Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 273-274, also pp. 306-207)

3. He turned Himself to become their enemy - Niphal perfect, BDB 245, KB 253, cf. Lam. 2:4-5

4. He fought against them - Niphal perfect, BDB 535, KB 526

 

63:11-14 This lists the things that YHWH did for Israel during the Exodus.

1. brought them up out of the sea (cf. Exodus 14-15)

2. put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them (cf. Num. 11:17,25,29; Haggai 2:5)

3. caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses (cf. Exod. 6:6; 15:16)

4. divided the waters before them

a. Red Sea - Exodus 14-15 (Isa. 11:15; 51:10)

b. Jordan River - Joshua 3

5. led them through the depths (same as #4)

6. gave them rest (i.e., the Spirit, cf. Josh. 21:44; 23:1)

7. led Your people

YHWH did all of this for Israel "to make Thyself a glorious name." YHWH wanted to reveal Himself to all humanity through Israel. His acts toward them were for the greater good (i.e., eternal redemptive plan, see Special Topic at 40:15).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 63:15-19
15Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation;
Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds?
The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me.
16For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us
And Israel does not recognize us.
You, O Lord, are our Father,
Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.
17Why, O Lord, do You cause us to stray from Your ways
And harden our heart from fearing You?
Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage.
18Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while,
Our adversaries have trodden it down.
19We have become like those over whom You have never ruled,
Like those who were not called by Your name.

63:15 "Look. . .see" These are two imperatives seeking YHWH's attention.

1. look - Hiphil imperative, BDB 613, KB 661, cf. Deut. 26:15

2. see - Qal imperative, BDB 906, KB 1157, cf. Ps. 80:14

 

▣ "Your holy and glorious habitation" This is a way of speaking about the temple. For the ancient Israelites, the Ark of the Covenant was a footstool for YHWH, who dwelt in heaven (cf. I Chr. 28:2; Ps. 99:5; 132:7; Isa. 66:1; Lam. 2:1; Matt. 5:35; Acts 7:49).

A new book by John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, asserts that Gen. 1:1-2:3 is YHWH building His temple.

▣ "The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me" This powerful poetry is personifying Jerusalem pleading for YHWH to again recognize and return to her.

63:16 "You are our Father" This is the logical conclusion from Israel being called "sons" (i.e., 1:2). The phrase is repeated in 64:8.

SPECIAL TOPIC: FATHERHOOD OF GOD

▣ ". . .though Abraham does not know us

And Israel does not recognize us"

The Patriarchs would not know/recognize these Judeans because of

1. the time between their generations

2. the sin of these descendants

 

▣ "Redeemer" See note at 41:14. For the concept of "redeem" see Special Topic at 41:14.

63:17 The first two lines of this verse show how the concept of the sovereignty of God can be used to diminish personal responsibility. See Special Topics: Election/Predestination and the Need for Theological Balance at 44:18 and Predestination versus Human Free Will below.

SPECIAL TOPIC: ELECTION/PREDESTINATION AND THE NEED FOR A THEOLOGICAL BALANCE (Calvinism) Versus Human Free Will (Arminianism)

▣ "return for the sake of Your servants" This is a Qal imperative (BDB 996, KB 1427) used as a prayer.

63:18-19 These verses show how the Judeans perceived themselves.

1. they had the temple for only a short time

2. their enemies had taken control of it

3. they had become like "just another nation"

4. they had become like the nations who were never called by YHWH's name

 

Related Topics: Bible Study Methods