Isaiah 64

1( [Heb. 63:19b4:1]
In BHS the chapter division occurs in a different place from the English Bible: 64:1 ET (63:19b HT) and 64:2–12 (64:1–11 HT). Beginning with 65:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
If only you would tear apart the sky
Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
and come down!
The mountains would tremble
Or “quake.” נָזֹלּוּ (nazollu) is from the verbal root זָלַל (zalal, “quake”; see HALOT 272 s.v. II זלל). Perhaps there is a verbal allusion to Judg 5:5, the only other passage where this verb occurs. In that passage the poet tells how the Lord’s appearance to do battle caused the mountains to shake.
before you!
2 [Heb. 64:1] As when fire ignites dry wood,
or fire makes water boil,
let your adversaries know who you are,
Heb “to make known your name to your adversaries.” Perhaps the infinitive construct with preposition -לְ (lamed) should be construed with “come down” in v. 1a, or subordinated to the following line: “To make known your name to your adversaries, let the nations shake from before you.”

and may the nations shake at your presence!
3 When you performed awesome deeds that took us by surprise,
Heb “[for which] we were not waiting.”

you came down, and the mountains trembled
See the note at v. 1.
before you.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard or perceived,
Heb “from ancient times they have not heard, they have not listened.”

no eye has seen any God besides you,
who intervenes for those who wait for him.
5 You assist
Heb “meet [with kindness].”
those who delight in doing what is right,
Heb “the one who rejoices and does righteousness.”

who observe your commandments.
Heb “in your ways they remember you.”

Look, you were angry because we violated them continually.
How then can we be saved?
The Hebrew text reads literally, “look, you were angry and we sinned against them continually [or perhaps, “in ancient times”] and we were delivered.” The statement makes little sense as it stands. The first vav [ו] consecutive (“and we sinned”) must introduce an explanatory clause here (see Num 1:48 and Isa 39:1 for other examples of this relatively rare use of the vav [ו] consecutive). The final verb (if rendered positively) makes no sense in this context – God’s anger at their sin resulted in judgment, not deliverance. One of the alternatives involves an emendation to וַנִּרְשָׁע (vannirsha’, “and we were evil”; LXX, NRSV, TEV). The Vulgate and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa support the MT reading. One can either accept an emendation or cast the statement as a question (as above).

6 We are all like one who is unclean,
all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight.
Heb “and like a garment of menstruation [are] all our righteous acts”; KJV, NIV “filthy rags”; ASV “a polluted garment.”

We all wither like a leaf;
our sins carry us away like the wind.
7 No one invokes
Or “calls out in”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “calls on.”
your name,
or makes an effort
Or “rouses himself”; NASB “arouses himself.”
to take hold of you.
For you have rejected us
Heb “for you have hidden your face from us.”

and handed us over to our own sins.
The Hebrew text reads literally, “and you caused us to melt in the hand of our sin.” The verb וַתְּמוּגֵנוּ (vattemugenu) is a Qal preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the root מוּג (mug, “melt”). However, elsewhere the Qal of this verb is intransitive. If the verbal root מוּג (mug) is retained here, the form should be emended to a Polel pattern (וַתְּמֹגְגֵנוּ, vattemogegenu). The translation assumes an emendation to וַתְּמַגְּנֵנוּ (vattemaggenenu, “and you handed us over”). This form is a Piel preterite 2nd person masculine singular with a 1st person common plural suffix from the verbal root מִגֵּן (miggen, “hand over, surrender”; see HALOT 545 s.v. מגן and BDB 171 s.v. מָגָן). The point is that God has abandoned them to their sinful ways and no longer seeks reconciliation.

8 Yet,
On the force of וְעַתָּה (veattah) here, see HALOT 902 s.v. עַתָּה.
Lord, you are our father.
We are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the product of your labor.
Heb “the work of your hand.”

9 Lord, do not be too angry!
Do not hold our sins against us continually!
Heb “do not remember sin continually.”

Take a good look at your people, at all of us!
Heb “Look, gaze at your people, all of us.” Another option is to translate, “Take a good look! We are all your people.”

10 Your chosen
Heb “holy” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT); NIV “sacred.”
cities have become a desert;
Zion has become a desert,
Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11 Our holy temple, our pride and joy,
Heb “our source of pride.”

the place where our ancestors praised you,
has been burned with fire;
all our prized possessions have been destroyed.
Or “all that we valued has become a ruin.”

12 In light of all this,
Heb “because of these”; KJV, ASV “for these things.”
how can you still hold back, Lord?
How can you be silent and continue to humiliate us?
Copyright information for NETfull