Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah 6:1-8
Trinity Sunday B27


In the year that King UzziahA died,B I sawC the LordD sittingE

Notes on verse 1a

A “Uzziah” = Uzziyyah. From oz (strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security; also social or political power); {from azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word)} + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}}. This is Uzziah, meaning “my strength is the Lord.”
B “died” = mavet. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.
C “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
D “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.
E “sitting” = 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.

on a throne,F highG and lofty;H and the hemI of his robe filledJ the temple.K

Notes on verse 1b

F “throne” = kisse. From the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy. Thus, it is a seat that conveys authority.
G “high” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
H “lofty” = nasa. This 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.
I “hem” = shul. 11x in OT. This is hem or the train of a dress or robe.
J “filled” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
K “temple” = hekal. Perhaps from yakol (to be able, endure, overcome, prevail). This is a large building with public access such as a palace or temple.

SeraphsL were in attendanceM above him; each had six wings:N

Notes on verse 2a

L “seraphs” = saraph. 7x in OT. From saraph (to burn or kindle). This is burning or fiery. It can be a poisonous serpent or a seraph (seraphim). The heavenly being might be fiery or copper colored.
M “were in attendance” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
N “wings” = kanaph. This is wing, edge, corner, extremity. It can also be a flap or fold of a garment or the pinnacle of a building.

with two they coveredO their faces,P and with two they covered their feet,Q and with two they flew.R 

Notes on verse 2b

O “covered” = kasah. Perhaps related to “throne” in v1. See note F above.
P “faces” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
Q “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.
R “flew” = uph. This is to fly, flee, be weary. It can also mean to cloak with wings or darkness.

And one calledS to another and said:

“Holy,T holy, holy is the LordU of hosts;V

Notes on verse 3a

S “called” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
T “holy” = qadosh. From qodesh (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); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is sacred or holy in a ritual or moral sense. As a noun, it refers to a holy one (like a saint or angel), a holy place (the sanctuary), or God (the Holy One).
U “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Uzziah” in v1. See note A above.
V “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.

the whole earthW is fullX of his glory.”Y

Notes on verse 3b

W “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
X “full” = melo. Related to “filled” in v1. From male (see note J above). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.

4 The pivotsZ on the thresholdsAA shookBB at the voicesCC of those who called, and the houseDD filled with smoke.EE 

Notes on verse 4

Z “pivots” = ammah. From the same as em (mother). This is a cubit, post, threshold, pivot. It is mother as the basic measure (the length of the forearm). It is also mother as the which bonds an entryway i.e. the base of the door.
AA “thresholds” = saph. From saphaph (to guard an entry, be a doorkeeper, snatch). This is a basin or cup. It can also be a door post or threshold.
BB “shook” = nua. This is to waver in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be to tremble, quiver, totter. It could also refer to a fugitive.
CC “voices” = 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.
DD “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
EE “smoke” = ashan. From ashan (to smoke or burn in a literal or figurative sense; to be angry). This is smoke, vapor, dust, or anger.

And I said: “WoeFF is me! I am lost,GG for I am a manHH of uncleanII lips,JJ

Notes on verse 5a

FF “woe” = oy. Perhaps from avah (to desire, crave, wish for, lust after). This is a mournful cry – woe, alas. Perhaps where the Yiddish “oy” comes from.
GG “am lost” = damah. 15x in OT. This is to be silent, to cease, destroy, perish.
HH “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
II “unclean” = tame. From tame (to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
JJ “lips” = saphah. This is lip, edge border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language.

and I liveKK among a peopleLL of unclean lips; yet my eyesMM have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Notes on verse 5b

KK “live” = yashab. Same as “sitting” in v1. See note E above.
LL “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.
MM “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holdingNN a live coalOO that had been takenPP from the altarQQ with a pair of tongs.RR 

Notes on verse 6

NN “holding” = yad. Literally “in his hand.” This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
OO “live coal” = ritspah. Related to “seraphs” in v2. 8x in OT.  From reseph (coal or a hot stone used for cooking); from resheph (flame, flash, burning coal, spark, lightning, arrow, fever); from saraph (see note L above). This is a coal, hot stone, or pavement.
PP “taken” = laqach. Related to “pair of tongs” in v6. See note QQ below.
QQ “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
RR “pair of tongs” = melqach. 6x in OT. From laqach (to take, accept, carry away, receive). This is tongs or snuffers.

The seraph touchedSS my mouthTT with it and said: “NowUU that this has touched your lips,

Notes on verse 7a

SS “touched” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
TT “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
UU “now” = 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!

your guiltVV has departedWW and your sinXX is blotted out.”YY 

Notes on verse 7b

VV “guilt” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
WW “departed” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
XX “sin” = chatta’ah. From chata’ (to miss or go wrong and so to sin, bear the blame; it can also include the sense of forfeiting or lacking). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.
YY “blotted out” = kaphar. This is to appease, cover, pacify, cancel, make atonement, placate. Specifically, it can mean to cover with bitumen.

Then I heardZZ the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send,AAA and who will goBBB for us?”

And I said, “Here am I;CCC send me!”

Notes on verse 8

ZZ “heard” = 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.
AAA “send” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
BBB “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
CCC “here am I” = hen. Related to “now” in v7. See note UU above.

Image credit: “Isaiah’s Commission” by Masaru Horie, 2019.

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