Third (section of) Isaiah (53:1 – 66:24)
53:3-8 – Holy Cow! Did second Isaiah ever have an impact – ritual Sabbath yes, but eunuchs in and proselytes in – cf. Jesus’ insistence that people not profane the only section of the Temple which these people could worship in, by booting out the commercial people and those taking a "shortcut" through that section of the Temple.
56:9f – people don't change fast – old superstitions held by those who were not exiled, broke out once more openly.
56:10f – the silence of complacency in prophecy versus the roar of Amos 1:2 and Isaiah 58:1 – "dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber" with an insatiable appetite for self-comfort! Cf. also Ezekiel 34:1ff.
56:12 – part of an old drinking song? Cf. Jesus' "eat drink and be merry" story
57:1 – indifference to death of righteous people. Note the two groups of people now – not one people being addressed – a split community.
57:8 – what goes on behind the writings, crucifixes, posters, etc. we hang up to say one thing and then live another. A lot of people now (then?) Hang up consistent material with their second-rate lifestyle.
57:9b – religious compromise and political intrigue. The reverse is also true to stave off the latter, cleanup the former and draw life from God and his spiritual resources – cf.: "the mind of the King is in the hand of the Lord and he bends it like a River".
57:9 and 10 – a long journey to what destination? Cf.: 57:14 and 35:8 for a different "way" – false gods or God? – life or death?
57:13b – it's a two-way street. They are in the physical land – this is a spiritual land.
57:14 – now the obstacles are moral and spiritual – they are home (physically). You can sure see where Jesus picked up his ideas.
57:14f – the way! Wow!
57:15 – words for the alcoholic at Sun center!
57:18 – life goes on – after restoration the comfort of forgiveness.
57:19-20 – peace or a tossing sea – that about sums it up.
58:3f – superficial religious practice.
58:3-4 – the only discipline God sees in their lives is commercial strife and contention and their discipline for such a fight – some things don't change!
58:5 – fancy religious fasting etc. is no substitute for a radical change of heart and obedience.
58:6f – appropriate behaviour of those who fast truly. Nice list!
58:8 and 9 – the results of appropriate and sincere prayer is "light" – God's presence.
58:12 – and preceding verses – to be called the repairer of the breach and restorer of streets to dwell in, you must live out your faith in practical ways.
58:13-14 the proper use of the Sabbath – the Temple is the place, the Sabbath is the time for the appropriation of the spiritual heritage of Jacob – inheriting the holy Mountain (57:13)
59:1f – bad social conditions continue after the return – so much for rapid social change! It sounds a lot like the post-1960s disillusionment amongst so many of my peers – delays in social justice.
59:1 – hatching and weaving wickedness – the snake and the spider
59:2 – sin is what separates man and God – social injustice.
59:5-6 – spiders and snakes – Hatch and spin webs to cause mischief.
59:6 – webs don't make good clothing – in the end, unjust gain is unsubstantial.
59:7b-8 – four words for "way" – this sort of activity because a person's way no matter what you call it – and no peace on any road this way.
59:9 – human righteousness with God as the basis of it – interpersonal relations.
59:10 – the walking dead and blind are indeed the members of our society and church that have lost their way from losing sight of him.
59:9-15 – a general confession of sin by the community – sure not namby-pamby! The church and society are one and both victims and perpetrators are in attendance and absent!
59:14bf – for truth has fallen in the public squares... and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey!
59:16 – the servant sloughs off again and God has to intervene! (Future prophetic perfect tense?!)
59:21 – a lovely promise! I still wonder if the above passages have an intermediary in mind regarding God's intervention – check later.
60:1f – nice stuff! Very hopeful stuff through the church especially towards the end of the chapter.
61:1f – an inspired speech on the true nature of redemption/release – on the occasion of the Jubilee celebrations (liberty to the captives).
61:1 – prison – eyes – internal prisons are tougher even than external ones – a release here of a general type from the injustices and difficulties of post-exilic life.
61:2 – when our 586 BC E./538 B.C.E. (verse 2) turned to ashes (verse 3) comfort is for the disillusioned here now, not the exiles. I wonder about the 1960s "children" who found the 1970s and 80s so devastating in their loss of idealism of a new "age of Aquarius" they thought they could bring in. Cf. "your dreams had better come down-to-earth or they are liable to turn into nightmares."
61:3b – oaks of righteousness – wouldn't that be something in the workplace! As in the midst of their injustice and social deterioration.
61:4 – the rubble of generations – no wonder they were disillusioned.
61:7 (marginal) – "I hate robbery with a burnt offering"
62:1f – likely preachers under the stress of having second Isaiah thrown in their teeth – some glory – life amongst the rubble!
62:4 – fulfillment of second Isaiah and Hosea 1-3 in marriage – covenant relationship
62:6 – seems to be a two-way street – the speaking to both God and man about the terrible situation until that's fixed up.
62:12 – the central biblical principle of redemption. You shall be called "sought out", "a city not forsaken". I can identify with them right now – it's so hard to be forsaken and not sought out – yet so much of that is our need to be needed and our own vanity.
63:1f – God stomping on Edom! Yuch! – (Esau's descendents as well so really bad feeling here)
63:7f – details of third Isaiah's intercessory prayer – an interesting mix.
63:9 (LXX) "neither envoy nor messenger but his holy presence_saves___(word?) Them".
63:10 – his spirit directs man's will – a rebellion is an act of will against that spirit.
63:16 – you are our father though we don't act like Abraham's brothers!
63:19 – we have become like your non-elect people! Some admission. Cf. the sociology study of the church/secular people that states exactly that!
64:1f – a beautiful appeal for divine intervention and frank admission of the sad state of affairs.
64:7 – there is no one! No one bestirs himself to take hold of thee.
... thou hast delivered us (melted us) into the hand of our iniquities."
64:8 – Clay and Potter, sons and father
64:12 – God's silence (and the Prophets noise!) Cf. 42:14 (?) As well.
65:1f – cf. my image of God's trying to get our attention like a great six girl tries to get the attention of an uninterested boy.
65:8 – the original wheat and tares principle – now it's a separation of the two, not a saving of the whole because of a few good ones.
65:11f – worship of the gods of fate seems to be an old tradition.
65:13f – the split community – a beautiful piece – the new Jerusalem
65:17f – the new heavens etc. is seen for the "good guys" part of the community.
65:20 – "or an old man who does not fill out his days"
65:23 – "or bear children for calamity"
66:1f – a parallel to 65 – another answer to prayer.
66:1 and 2 – the greatness of God is in his independence of a temple! God is in his temple and his throne is the heavens.
66:4 – and bring their fears upon them – God forbid!
66:7f – birth of a new age without birth pangs – swift and unexpected.
66:7-9 – "shall I bring to the birth stage and not bring forth?"
Still within history.
66:10-11 – Jerusalem the breast of the world! Jerusalem the mother theme. 12-14 new Jerusalem parallel in "mother" imagery
66:18-24 (less 19 and 20 gloss) a sum up of it all. Fulfillment of 40:5
66:24 – Universal, yes, but with a real life-death lifestyle choice for each.