Isaiah 52:1-10

Isaiah 52:1-10
A Women’s Lectionary – Epiphany I


Awake,A awake,
    put onB your strength,C O Zion!D

Notes on verse 1a

A “awake” = ur. This is to arise, lift, exult, or stir. It is to wake in a literal or figurative sense.
B “put on” = labash. This is to wrap around, which implies clothing oneself or someone else. This is wrapping around in a literal or figurative way.
C “strength” = oz. From azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word). This is strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security. It can also speak of social or political power.
D “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.

Put on your beautifulE garments,F
    O Jerusalem,G the holyH city;I

Notes on verse 1b

E “beautiful” = tipharah. From paar (to beautify or adorn, to gleam; can refer to showing honor or glorifying someone; also to boast or to shake a tree for harvest). This is beautiful, splendor, adornment, honor, bravery.
F “garments” = beged. From bagad (to cover or conceal; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage). This is clothing, garment, robe, or some other kind of clothing. Figuratively, it can be treachery or pillaging.
G “Jerusalem” = Yerushalaim. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
H “holy” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
I “city” = iyr. Related to “awake” in v1. From ur (see note A above). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.

for the uncircumcisedJ and the uncleanK
    shall enterL you no more.M

Notes on verse 1c

J “uncircumcised” = arel. From arel (to strip or expose, restrain; to remove in a literal or figurative sense). This is uncircumcised, unskilled, exposed, forbidden.
K “unclean” = tame. From tame (to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
L “enter” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
M “more” = yasaphod. Yasaph is to add, increase, continue, exceed. Od is still, yet, or again.

ShakeN yourself from the dust,O rise up,P
    O captiveQ Jerusalem;

Notes on verse 2a

N “shake” = naar. 11x in OT. This is to shake, toss up and down, tumble around, overthrow, shake off.
O “dust” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
P “rise up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
Q “captive” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.

looseR the bondsS from your neck,T
    O captiveU daughterV Zion!

Notes on verse 2b

R “loose” = patach. 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.
S “bonds” = moser. 11x in OT. From asar (to tie, yoke, bind, or fasten; can mean to harness an animal, to join in fighting a battle, or to imprison someone) OR from yasar (to discipline, correct, train, teach, punish; literally with blows, but figuratively using words). This is a band, bond, chain, or shackle. It is some kind of restraint or figuratively a chastisement.
T “neck” = tsavvar. Perhaps from tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress, adversary). This is the neck or the back of the neck.
U “captive” = shbiy. From shebo (valuable stone, maybe agate) OR from shabah (to take captive, keep, a captor). This is prisoner, exiled, captivity, booty.
V “daughter” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.

For thus says the Lord:W You were soldX for nothing,Y and you shall be redeemedZ without money.AA 

Notes on verse 3

W “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
X “sold” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
Y “nothing” = chinnam. From chen (grace, favor, kindness, beauty, precious); from chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is out of favor, so it can mean without cost, without payment, nothing, vain, or useless.
Z “redeemed” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
AA “money” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.

For thus says the LordBB God:CC Long ago,DD my peopleEE

Notes on verse 4a

BB “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.
CC “God” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v3. It has the same meaning as “Lord,” but with a different vowel pointing. See note W above.
DD “long ago” = rishon. From rishah (beginning or early time); from rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is first, former, ancestor, beginning, ranked first.
EE “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

went downFF into EgyptGG to reside there as aliens;HH the Assyrian,II too, has oppressedJJ them without cause.KK 

Notes on verse 4b

FF “went down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
GG “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Related to “neck” in v2. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (see note T above). This is Egypt.
HH “reside…as aliens” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
II “Assyrian” = Ashshur. From Akkadian Ashshur (“City of God Ashshur”) OR related to Hebrew ashar (to go straight, advance, proceed, direct, guide, be level, be honest, be blessed or happy). This is Assyria, referring to the place and its inhabitants. It is also a name – Ashshur, a descendant of Shem. See
JJ “oppressed” = ashaq. This is to wrong, deceive, violate, or use oppression.
KK “without cause” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.

5 Now therefore what am I doing here, saysLL the Lord,MM seeing that my people are taken awayNN without cause?OO Their rulersPP howl,QQ saysRR the Lord,SS

Notes on verse 5a

LL “says” = neum. From na’am (to speak a prophecy; properly, to whisper, which implies saying an oracle). This is an utterance or speaking an oracle.
MM “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note W above.
NN “taken away” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
OO “without cause” = chinnam. Same as “nothing” in v3. See note Y above.
PP “rulers” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
QQ “howl” = yalal. This is to howl, yell, or wail.
RR “says” = neum. Same as “says” in v5. See note LL above.
SS “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note W above.

and continually,TT allUU dayVV long, my nameWW is despised.XX 

Notes on verse 5b

TT “continually” = tamid. May come from a word that means to stretch. This word means an indefinite period of time. So, it could be regular or daily. It could also be constantly, continually, always, or perpetually.
UU “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
VV “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
WW “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
XX “despised” = naats. This is to spurn, reject, provoke, abhor, treat with contempt. It can also mean bloom or flourish.

ThereforeYY my people shall knowZZ my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak;AAA here am I.BBB

Notes on verse 6

YY “therefore” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
ZZ “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
AAA “speak” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
BBB “here am I” = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.

How beautifulCCC upon the mountainsDDD
    are the feetEEE of the messengerFFF who announcesGGG peace,HHH

Notes on verse 7a

CCC “beautiful” = naah. 3x in OT. This is at home, lovely, befitting.
DDD “mountains” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
EEE “feet” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
FFF “messenger” = basar. This is being a messenger, to publish, carry, or preach. Properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news.
GGG “announces” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
HHH “peace” = shalom. Related to “Jerusalem” in v1. From shalam (see note G above). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).

who brings goodIII news,JJJ
    who announces salvation,KKK
    who says to Zion, “Your GodLLL reigns.”MMM

Notes on verse 7b

III “good” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
JJJ “brings…news” = basar. Same as “messenger” in v7. See note FFF above.
KKK “salvation” = yeshuah. From 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). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.
LLL “God” = Elohim.
MMM “reigns” = malak. To be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned. By implication, to take counsel. This word may be from the Hebrew word for king “melek” or vice versa.

8 Listen!NNN Your sentinelsOOO lift upPPP their voices,QQQ
    togetherRRR they sing for joy;SSS

Notes on verse 8a

NNN “listen” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
OOO “sentinels” = tsaphah. This is to look out, look around, spy watchman, sentinel. It is leaning out to look far away. So it is to await or observe.
PPP “lift up” = nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
QQQ “voices” = qol. Same as “listen” in v8. See note NNN above.
RRR “together” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.
SSS “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 in plain sightTTT they seeUUU
    the returnVVV of the LordWWW to Zion.

Notes on verse 8b

TTT “in plain sight” = ayin + ayin. Literally, “eye to eye.” This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
UUU “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
VVV “return” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
WWW “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note W above.

9 Break forthXXX together into singing,
    you ruinsYYY of Jerusalem;
for the LordZZZ has comfortedAAAA his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.

Notes on verse 9

XXX “break forth” = patsach. 8x in OT. This is to burst forth with in joy or with a loud sound.
YYY “ruins” = chorbah. From chareb (to be waste or desolate, destroyer). This is ruin, desert, waste place. Properly, it is a drought, which implies a desolated or decayed place.
ZZZ “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note W above.
AAAA “comforted” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.

10 The LordBBBB has baredCCCC his holy armDDDD
    before the eyesEEEE of all the nations;FFFF
and all the endsGGGG of the earthHHHH shall see
    the salvation of our God.

Notes on verse 10

BBBB “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note W above.
CCCC “bared” = chasaph. 11x in OT. This is to strip off, uncover, scoop, make bare. It is to strip off in order to exert oneself, or to make naked for shame. It can also mean to drain off a liquid or to skim it from the surface.
DDDD “arm” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
EEEE “eyes” = ayin. Same as “in plain sight” in v8. See note TTT above.
FFFF “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
GGGG “ends” = ephes. Same as “without cause” in v4. See note KK above.
HHHH “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

Image credit: “The Israeli coast along the Dead Sea” by Maglanist, 2008.

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