“Yahweh has walled me about
So that I cannot escape.
He has put heavy chains
Although I call,
Although I cry for help,
He shuts out
He has blocked
With hewn stones.
He has made
My paths crooked.”
This author feels walled in. He cannot escape, because he has heavy chains on him. When he calls for help, no one listens to him. Yahweh has blocked his way with carved stone walls. He can no longer walk a straight path, since all his paths are crooked, like a maze. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel in this acrostic poem.
“A voice cries out.
‘In the wilderness,
Prepare the way of Yahweh!
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up.
Every mountain shall be made low.
Every hill shall be made low.
The uneven ground shall become level.
The rough places shall become a plain.
The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed.
All the people shall see it together.
The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.’”
Here we have the famous phrase that was used by the Christian writers of the New Testament to speak about John the Baptist. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke both use these phrases from the Greek Septuagint when citing them from Isaiah. Apparently this new path is a way out of the Exile, just as there was the path of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way that was mentioned earlier in chapter 35, to prepare a path for Yahweh. This would also be a time of upheaval. The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall. Also the uneven and rough places would become level and plain. All the people would then see the glory of God revealed. In case there was any doubt, Second Isaiah said that this was spoken by the mouth of Yahweh.