“He is the voice
Of one crying out
In the wilderness.
‘Prepare the way
Of the Lord!
Make his paths
φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ,
Just as in Matthew, chapter 3:3, Mark has this citation from Isaiah about John the Baptist. Both Mark and Matthew have this exact same quotation, word for word from Isaiah, chapter 40:3. John, chapter 1:23, and Luke, chapter 3:4, have this very same quotation. John used it as an explanation of who John the Baptist was. Originally in Deutero-Isaiah, this was about preparing a new path or 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 to prepare a path for Yahweh. However, it is clear that John the Baptist was the messenger being sent ahead. He was a voice crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ) to prepare the way of the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου,). He was going to make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ). Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist and Isaiah the prophet.
“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.
“A highway shall be there.
It shall be called the Holy Way.
The unclean shall not travel on it.
But it shall be for God’s people.
Not even fools,
Shall go astray.
No lion shall be there.
No ravenous beast shall come up on it.
They shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there.
The ransomed of Yahweh shall return.
They shall come to Zion with singing.
Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.
They shall obtain joy.
They shall obtain gladness.
Sorrow shall flee away.
Sighing shall flee away.”
Isaiah has something called the Holy Way highway. On this road there will be no unclean people, only God’s people. However, there is no indication about how they would patrol this road. No one would ever get lost on this highway, not even a fool. Perhaps they must have had good signs on the Holy Way highway. No lions or predatory animals would be on this great holy highway. Only the redeemed and the ransomed of Yahweh would be on this road as they went to Mount Zion singing. There would be joy and gladness with no sorrow or sighing. Obviously, this is about the time of the return after the exile.