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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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52.1–6 : Jerusalem restored.

Repetition of the imperative is a common rhetorical device in chs 40–55 ( 40.1; 51.9,17; 52.11 ).

3–6 :

An additional note in prose referring to the tradition of oppression in Egypt (Ex 1–15 ) and the Assyrian domination in the eighth century. When the LORD releases his people from Babylon, they will know his name, i.e, his presence and power, as formerly he revealed his name in Egypt (Ex 2.25; 6.28 ). Here am I, the LORD's readiness to be present and to save, cf. 58.9; 65.1 .

52.7–12: The approach of the ruler.:

The basic metaphor is of the triumphant approach of a king to a subject kingdom. His coming is announced by lookouts on mountains along the route and eventually by sentinels on the walls of Jerusalem (cf. 2 Sam 18.25–27; Nah 1.15 ).

8 :

Sentinels, also a metaphor for prophet, seer ( 56.10; 62.6–7; Ezek 3.17; 33.2,6–7 ).

11–12 :

The surviving sacred vessels from the Temple are brought back to Jerusalem (see Ezra 1.7–11 ). Complete ritual purity was unattainable in a land like Babylon, where foreign cults were practiced. The exodus from Babylon will be different from the first Exodus; cf. Ex 12.11; 13.21–22 .

52.13–53.12 : The mission and violent death of a servant of the Lord.

The fourth of the “Servant Songs” (see 42.1–4n. ) consists of an extended comment by an adherent of this unnamed individual ( 53.1–11a ), placed between an opening and closing address of the LORD ( 52.13–15; 53.11b–12 ). The passage has been and continues to be the object of an enormous volume of commentary and is beset by problems of interpretation, several still unsolved.

52.13–15 :

The LORD proclaims the ultimate vindication and exaltation of his servant, now cruelly disfigured and the object of numbed astonishment to foreign peoples and their rulers ( 49.7,23 ).

53.1–3 :

The comment opens by referring to the unprepossessing origins of the servant. Like a leper, he suffers painful loneliness and rejection by the community (Job 19.13–19 ).

4–6 :

The commentator makes the extraordinary statement that the servant's sufferings and the violence inflicted on him were caused by the sins of others and make atonement for sin (cf. Lev 16 ).

7–9 :

Unlike Jeremiah (Jer 11.18–12.6 ) and Job, the servant suffered in silence. Early Christian interpretation applied Isa 53.4–9 to Jesus (Mt 8.17; Acts 8.32–33; 1 Pet 2.22–25 ).

10 :

The servant's offspring refer to those who follow his example and teaching after his death rather than indicating that he survived and was rehabilitated.

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