Invitation to the banquet (Isa 55:1-55:2)

“O!

Everyone who thirsts!

Come to the waters!

You that have no money!

Come!

Buy!

Eat!

Come!

Buy wine!

Buy milk!

But without money!

But without a price!

Why do you spend your money

For that which is not bread?

Why do you labor

For that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me!

Eat what is good!

Delight yourselves in rich food!”

This seems to be a concluding hymn of joy. Second Isaiah has an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat without any price on the products. They can have water, wine, and milk. They should save their money for bread. Why are they working at jobs that they do not like? Eat good food, even rich food. Enjoy yourself at this banquet!

The weapons of the new Jerusalem (Isa 54:16-54:17)

“‘See!

It is I!

I have created the smith

Who blows the fire of coals.

He produces a weapon

Fit for its purpose.

I have also created the ravager

To destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned

Against you

Shall prosper.

You shall confute every tongue

That rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh

Their vindication is from me.’

So says Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh explain his position about the arms and protection of Jerusalem. Yahweh has created the blacksmiths who stand before the blast furnaces creating these weapons of destruction. He has also created the people who oppose them. No weapon will be successful against the Israelites. They will also have to fight off verbal aggression that would arise against them. These servants of Yahweh are his heritage, so that he will vindicate them.

The new people of Jerusalem (Isa 54:13-54:14)

“All your children

Shall be taught

By Yahweh.

Great shall be the prosperity

Of your children.

In righteousness,

You shall be established.

You shall be far from oppression.

You shall not fear.

Terror shall not come near you.

If anyone stirs up strife,

It is not from me.

Whoever stirs up strife

With you

Shall fall

Because of you.”

Second Isaiah says the children at the new Jerusalem will be taught directly by Yahweh. They will have great prosperity. Righteousness shall prevail. There will be no oppression, fear, or terror because of the established righteousness of this city and its people. However, there is a caution. If anyone stirs up strife, it is their own fault. Yahweh will not stir up any arguments. If they are not righteous, they will have to take care of it themselves.

The new beautiful Jerusalem (Isa 54:11-54:12)

“O afflicted one!

O Storm-tossed!

O Not comforted!

I am about to set your stones

In antimony.

I will lay your foundations

With sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles

Of rubies.

I will make your gates

Of jewels.

I will make your entire wall

Of precious stones.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh say that he is making a new Jerusalem with many precious jewels. Jerusalem was the afflicted, storm-tossed, and not comforted city. Now however, the new Jerusalem will have foundations of sapphires. The stones of the city will be set in antimony, a precious metal. The pinnacles will have rubies. The gates themselves will have jewels. The entire wall around Jerusalem will not have just stones, but precious stones. Jerusalem will be truly a jeweled city.

There will be no more destruction (Isa 54:9-54:10)

“This is

Like the days of Noah to me.

Just as I swore

That the waters of Noah

Should never again

Go over the earth,

I have sworn

That I will not be angry with you.

I will not rebuke you.

The mountains may depart.

The hills me be removed.

But my steadfast love

Shall not depart from you.

My covenant of peace

Shall not be removed.

So says Yahweh,

Who has compassion on you.”

Second Isaiah explains that there would be no more destruction for Israel. Citing the days of Noah, Yahweh has sworn that he would not destroy the earth with water again. Thus he said that he would not be angry or rebuke the people of Israel again. Yahweh says that the mountains and hills could fall, but his steadfast love would remain. His covenant of peace would not be removed, because he had compassion on Israel.

The love of Yahweh (Isa 54:7-54:8)

“‘For a brief moment,

I abandoned you.

But with great compassion,

I will gather you.

In overflowing wrath,

For a moment,

I hid my face from you.

But with everlasting love,

I will have compassion on you.’

Says Yahweh,

Your Redeemer.”

Second Isaiah shows that God did abandon Israel for a brief moment due to his overflowing wrath. However, Yahweh, the Redeemer, will now gather them back together. Although he had hid his face from Israel, he still had an everlasting love and compassion for them.

Yahweh God as your husband (Isa 54:4-54:6)

“‘Do not fear!

You will not be ashamed.

Do not be discouraged!

You will not suffer disgrace.

You will forget the shame of your youth!

You will remember no more

The disgrace of your widowhood.

Your Maker is your husband.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.

The Holy One of Israel is

Your Redeemer.

He is called

The God of the whole earth.

Yahweh has called you

Like a wife forsaken,

Like a wife grieved in spirit,            

Like the wife of a man’s youth

When she is cast off.’

So says your God.”

Second Isaiah says that you should not be fearful or discouraged because you will not be ashamed or suffer disgrace. You will forget the shameful sins of your youth. You will forget the disgrace of your widowhood, living in Exile. Your maker or creator, Yahweh of hosts, is your husband. The Holy One of Israel will be your redeemer. He is God of the whole earth, not just Israel. You were like a grieving spurned wife or like the first wife who has been cast off for the trophy wife. God is telling you this so that you do not feel bad.

The servant of Yahweh suffers for us (Isa 53:4-53:6)

“Surely he has borne our infirmities.

He has carried our diseases.

Yet we accounted him stricken.

He was struck down by God.

He was afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities.

Upon him

Was the punishment

That made us whole.

By his bruises

We are healed.

All of us

Like sheep

Have gone astray.

We have turned

To our own way.

Yahweh has laid on him

The iniquity of us all.”

According to Second Isaiah, this suffering servant has become a scapegoat for all of us, at least the Israelites. He bears their infirmities and diseases. He suffers their illness for them. God has stricken and afflicted him. He was wounded for their transgressions and crushed for their sins. His punishment made them whole. His bruises healed them. They were like sheep that had gone astray. He carries the iniquity of all of them. Who is this servant? How can it be Israel saving Israel? You can see why the early Christian writers applied these same ideas about this suffering servant in Second Isaiah to Jesus Christ in a more universal appeal.

The rejected servant of Yahweh (Isa 53:1-53:3)

“Who has believed

What we have heard?

To whom has the arm of Yahweh

Been revealed?

He grew up

Like a young plant,

Like a root out of dry ground.

He had no form.

He had no majesty

That we should look at him.

There was nothing in his appearance

That we should desire him.

He was despised.

He was rejected by others.

He was a man of suffering.

He was acquainted with infirmity.

He was as one

From whom others hide their faces.

He was despised.

We held him of no account.”

Second Isaiah asks who believed us. Has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? This suffering servant grew up like a plant or a root from dry earth, not moist soil. This servant was not particularly good looking, not really desirable, and not majestic. In fact, he was despised and rejected by others. He seems to be suffering from some sickness or infirmity. People hid their faces from him as if he was a leper. Most people did not think much of him. Who then is this suffering servant? Is it Israel, Isaiah, or as some Christians project it to Jesus Christ?

The disfigured suffering servant (Isa 52:13-52:15)

“See!

My servant shall prosper.

He shall be exalted.

He shall be lifted up.

He shall be very high.

There were many

Who were astonished at him.

His appearance was so marred,

Beyond human semblance.

His form was beyond

That of mortals.

Thus he shall startle many nations.

Kings shall shut their mouths

Because of him.

What had not been told them,

They shall see.

What they have not heard,

They shall contemplate.”

Now Second Isaiah has the 4th chant of the suffering servant. Here there is a painful description of this servant of Yahweh, who is going to prosper, be exalted, and be lifted up very high. Many people were astonished at his marred figure that was beyond human semblance. He hardly looked human, so that he startled many nations. Kings shut their mouths. They suddenly saw things that they did not know about. They contemplated things that they had not heard. Was this an individual or the country of Israel? Obviously the text is not clear, except to say that he or Israel was badly disfigured, but that he or they would prosper anyway.