My Notes on Isaiah 62:1-5

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Isa 62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.

Chapters 60-62 of Isaiah are concerned with the restoration, reconstitution of God’s people, here called Zion and Jerusalem. For the early Church Fathers the Church had become “the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16). Faithful Jews and Gentiles have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel (Heb 12:22-24).

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. The prophet’s constant and insistent prayer is the result of his faith that God will bring about his promises in due time, no matter how troubling his delay might appear to some (Isa 64:12 [64:11 in NAB]).

Until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.  “Vindication” and “salvation” can be translated in a variety of ways. Vindication = righteousness, right, etc. Salvation = victory, deliverance, etc. Some ancient translations read “just one” and “saviour,” lending themselves to a christological interpretation (see the following paragraph which I’ve based upon various fathers of the Church):

When Christ came to earth, he came as our vindication, righteousness and salvation, for he is the true light shining in the darkness of sin and death, the burning torch that guides us to salvation and victory. In the glow of the True Light’s countenance we walk, shouting joyfully at having been exalted by his justice (see today’s Responsorial Psalm 89:15-16 [89:16-17 NAB]).

Isa 62:2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will give.

What is this vindication of Zion and Jerusalem-God’s people-if not Jesus Christ? And how shall the nations see it if not through the proclamation of the Gospel?  Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim 3:16).

You shall be called by a new name. This should be seen in connection with verse 4 with tells us what the people will be called: You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.

Isa 62:3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

The people are here symbolized as a woman who will enjoy a queen’s status.

Isa 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.

You shall no more be termed forsaken. Previously, Lady Zion had claimed that she had been forsaken and forgotten by God (Isa 49:14). God himself had promised: For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you (Isa 54:5-7).

That God has not forsaken his people can be seen in the second reading for today (Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; see especially Acts 13:23). The entire Gospel reading for today (Matt 1:1-25) is also oriented toward this fact (see especially Matt 1:20-24). Finally, the responsorial celebrates it (especially Ps 89:4, Ps 89:29)

Your land shall no more be termed desolate. Recalls Isa 54:1~Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in travail! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her that is married, says the LORD. “Desolate” is an actual Hebrew name, Azuba (1 Kings 22:42).

But you shall be called My delight is in her , and your land Married. The name “my delight is in her” is a real Hebrew name, Hephzibah (2 Kings 21:1) and is a synonym for לרצון, acceptable (Isa 56:7; Isa 58:5-7). My delight expresses the divine acceptance and favor bestowed upon the people.

Isa 62:5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Sons makes no sense. The Hebrew בּן (bên) is derived from בּנה (bânâh), which means to build, hence many translations read “so shall your builder marry you.” This translation is taken as relating to the restoration of Zion theme of Isaiah (e.g., Isa 14:32, Isa 54:11).

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One Response to My Notes on Isaiah 62:1-5

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C | stjoeofoblog

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