Isaiah 66:10-13

Isaiah 66:10-13
A Women’s Lectionary Christmas at Dawn


10 RejoiceA with Jerusalem,B and be gladC for her,
    allD you who loveE her;

Notes on verse 10a

A “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
B “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.
C “be glad” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
D “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
E “love” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.

rejoiceF with her in joy,G
    all you who mournH over her—

11 that you may nurseI and be satisfiedJ
    from her consolingK breast;L

Notes on verses 10b-11a

F “rejoice” = sus. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to be bright or cheerful.
G “joy” = masos. Related to “rejoice” in v10. 17x in OT. From sus (see note F above). This is delight, joy, something that causes joy or the feeling itself.
H “mourn” = abal. This is to lament or bewail.
I “nurse” = yanaq. This is to suckle or to nurse. In a causative sense, it can mean to give milk. So, this word can be used for a nursing mother or for her suckling child.
J “be satisfied” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
K “consoling” = tanchum. 5x in OT. From nacham (a strong breath or sigh; to be sorry, to pity, console, comfort, or repent; also to comfort oneself with thoughts of vengeance). This is consolation, comfort, or solace.
L “breast” = shad. This is breast, whether of a human woman or an animal.

that you may drink deeplyM with delightN
    from her gloriousO bosom.P

Notes on verse 11b

M “drink deeply” = matsats. 1x in OT. This is to drain or suck – as drinking deeply or suckling milk.
N “delight” = anog. 10x in OT. This is soft or delicate. Figuratively, it can mean luxurious or effeminate. Also, a dainty, delight, or joke.
O “glorious” = 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.
P “bosom” = ziyz. 3x in OT. This is moving things like animals, abundance, a full chest.

12 For thus says the Lord:Q
RI will extendS prosperityT to her like a river,U

Notes on verse 12a

Q “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.
R {untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
S “extend” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
T “prosperity” = shalom. Related to “Jerusalem” in v10. From shalam (see note B 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).
U “river” = nahar. Form nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.

    and the wealthV of the nationsW like an overflowingX stream;Y

Notes on verse 12b

V “wealth” = kabod. Same as “glorious” in v11. See note O above.
W “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.
X “overflowing” = shataph. This is to overflow, rinse, overwhelm, run, drown, rush, flood, cleanse, gallop, conquer.
Y “stream” = 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.

and you shall nurse and be carriedZ on her arm,AA
    and dandledBB on her knees.CC

Notes on verse 12c

Z “carried” = 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.
AA “arm” = tsad. Root may mean to sidle. This is a side or an arm. It can also be used to mean beside or, figuratively, an adversary.
BB “dandled” = sha’a. 9x in OT – all in the Psalms and Isaiah. This is to play, delight, stare, cry out, cheer. It can also be to shut eyes, to be blind.
CC “knees” = berek. From barak (to kneel, bless; blessing God as part of worship and adoration; blessing humans to help them; can be used as a euphemism to say curse God). This is the knee.

13 As a motherDD comfortsEE her child,FF
    soGG I will comfort you;
    you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Notes on verse 13

DD “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
EE “comforts” = nacham. Related to “consoling” in v11. See note K above.
FF “child” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
GG “so” = 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.

Image credit: “Feeding, a Painted Mother” photo by Orin Zebest, 2007.

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