Isaiah 35:4-7a

Isaiah 35:4-7a
Ordinary B41


Say to those who are of a fearful heart,A
    “Be strong,B do not fear!C
HereD is your God.E

Notes on verse 4a

A “fearful heart” = mahar + leb. Mahar is being liquid, which implies flowing. So, this word implies hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense. Leb may be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
B “be strong” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.
C “fear” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
D “here” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
E “God” = Elohim.

    He will comeF with vengeance,G
with terrible recompense.H
    HeI will come and saveJ you.”

Notes on verse 4b

F “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
G “vengeance” = naqam. 17x in OT. From naqam (to avenge, punish, have a grudge, execute). This can be a quarrel or vengeance.
H “recompense” = gemul. 19x in OT. From gamal (how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite; to wean or the work that goes into something ripening). This is benefit, deed, recompense. It is some treatment that is deserved or earned, whether positive or negative. It can be reward or requital.
I “he” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note E above.
J “save” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.

Then the eyesK of the blindL shall be opened,M

Notes on verse 5a

K “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
L “blind” = ivver. From avar (to blind, put out). This is blindness or someone who is blind. It can be used literally or figuratively.
M “opened” = paqach. This is open, as opening one’s senses, particularly eyes. So, figuratively this can refer to being watchful.

    and the earsN of the deafO unstopped;P

Notes on verse 5b

N “ears” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.
O “deaf” = cheresh. 9x in OT. From charash (to scratch, which implies etching or plowing; to manufacture regardless of materials used; figuratively, to devise or conceal; secrecy – hence, being silent, left alone, or speechless). This is deaf or a someone who is deaf in a literal or figurative sense.
P “unstopped” = pathach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.

then the lameQ shall leapR like a deer,S

Notes on verse 6a

Q “lame” = pisseach. 13x in OT. From pasach (to limp, hesistate). This is lameness or someone who is lame.
R “leap” = dalag. 5x in OT. This is to leap or spring over, to climb.
S “deer” = ayyal. 11x in OT. From the same as ulam (porch, hall); from the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power); from alam (to bind or tie fast; to be silent or speechless, whether voluntary or involuntary) or from ayil (strength; things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks). This is deer, hart. It can symbolize leaping, looking for pasture or sustenance. It can also be used to refer to princes.

    and the tongueT of the speechlessU sing for joy.V

Notes on verse 6b

T “tongue” = lashon. This is tongue, talker, language, or wedge. It can also be a tongue of flame or a water cove.
U “speechless” = illem. 6x in OT. From the same as alam (to bind or tie fast; to be silent or speechless, whether voluntary or involuntary). This is mute or speechless.
V “sing for joy” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.

For watersW shall break forthX in the wilderness,Y
    and streamsZ in the desert;AA

Notes on verse 6c

W “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
X “break forth” = baqa. This is to break open, breach, divide, rip, shake, tear. It can also mean dash into pieces or being ready to burst.
Y “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
Z “streams” = nachal. From nachal (to take as heritage, inherit, or distribute). This is a river or stream. It could be a wadi or arroyo – sometimes a narrow valley with no water at all, but in strong rains or when winter snow melts, it swells or floods with water.
AA “desert” = arabah. From the same as arab (desert plateau, Arabia) OR from arab (to become evening); {from ereb (evening) or from arab (to exchange, give or take on pledge, braid, intermix)}. This is a desert valley or plain, wilderness. Also, the name of a place Arabah.

the burning sandBB shall becomeCC a pool,DD
    and the thirsty groundEE springsFF of water;

Notes on verse 7a

BB “burning sand” = sharab. 2x in OT. This could be burning heat or scorched land. The root may mean to glare so it would refer to the wavy appearance of the air in intense heat.
CC “become” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
DD “pool” = agam. 9x in OT. From a root that means to collect water. So, this is a marsh, muddy pool, pond, swamp, standing water. A place where reeds grow.
EE “thirsty ground” = tsimmaon. 3x in OT. From tsame (to be thirsty or thirst literally or figuratively). This is drought or dry ground. A thirsty place, by implication, a desert.
FF “springs” = mabbua. 3x in OT. From naba (to flow, spring, bubble up, pour, gush forth; figurative for speaking good or poor words. Can also mean giving off a bad smell). This is a spring of water, well, or fountain.

the hauntGG of jackalsHH shall become a swamp,II

Notes on verse 7b

GG “haunt” = naveh. From navah (home, beautify, praise) This is home, place where shepherd or sheep live. It is at home – implies a lovely place or a place of satisfaction. It can also be used for the Temple or a pasture as the home of wild animals.
HH “jackals” = tannin. From the same as tan (jackal, dragon, whale). It may stem from a root meaning elongate. It is some kind of monster of and or sea like a jackal or a sea serpent.
II “swamp” = rebets. 4x in OT. From rabats (to stretch out, lie down, rest, sit; this is lying down on all fours like an animal. It implies recline, repose, lurk, brook). This is a place of lying down, a dwelling or resting place.

    the grassJJ shall become reedsKK and rushes.LL

Notes on verse 7c

JJ “grass” = chatsir. Perhaps from the same as chatsir (village, settlement); from chatser (enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in); from chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is grass, plant, hay, leeks.
KK “reeds” = qaneh. Perhaps from qanah (to get, buy, redeem, create, possess). This is reed, branch, stalk, beam, or measuring rod.
LL “rushes” = gome. 4x in OT. From gama (to drink or absorb, literally or figuratively). This is something that is absorbent, i.e. a reed or rush. It can also be used for papyrus or wicker.

Image credit: “Persian Fallow Deer in the Carmel mountain, Israel” by Tamar Assaf, 2008.

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