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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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63.1–6 : Vengeance on Edom.

1–2 :

The lookout (cf. 62.6 ) questions the one approaching Jerusalem from Edom and its principal city Bozrah about his identity and appearance. Edom, lying to the south and east of Judah, profited by the Babylonian conquest to encroach on Judean territory ( 34.5–17; Ob 13–14; Jer 49.7–22; Ezek 25.12–14; 35.1–15; Ps 137.7 ), a situation confirmed by the archaeological record; hence the violence of the metaphoric language in this passage. At a later time “Edom” served as a code name for the oppressive Roman Empire.

3 :

Cf. Lam 1.15; Joel 3.13 . This imagery influences descriptions of eschatological judgment (Rev 14.19 ).

4 :

Day of vengeance, 34.8; 61.2 .

5 :

A variant of 59.16 .

63.7–64.12 : A psalm of communal lamentation,

composed not long after the Babylonian conquest (see 63.18; 64.10–11 ) and reflecting the religious disorientation of that time (cf. Ps 44; 74; 79; 89; and Lamentations).

7–9 :

Israel's deliverance from Egypt is recalled. For the role of the angel‐messenger and the divine presence, see Ex 23.20,23; 32.34; 33.2,14–15 .

10–14 :

The story of national origins in Egypt and the trek through the wilderness is retold in the manner of the Deuteronomists (e.g., Deut 9.6–21; cf. Ps 78 ), recounting the LORD's benevolence and Israel's inadequate response, but with emphasis on the spirit of God characteristic of the postexilic period (vv. 10,11,14 ).

15–16 :

The contrast between God as father ( 63.16; 64.8; cf. Deut 32.6 ) and the ancestors reflects the crisis of continuity and tradition in the aftermath of the Babylonian conquest.

17–19 :

The loss of independent possession of the land and the destruction of the Temple induced a deep sense of failure, sin, and alienation (cf. Ps 79 ).

64.1–3 :

A direct appeal to God, characteristic of the lament psalms, to intervene, to appear in power as in the days of old (cf. Ex 19.16–18; Judg 5.4–5; Ps 68.7–8; Hab 3.3–15 ).

4–5a :

While the incomparability of Israel's God is an idea characteristic of the exilic Isaiah ( 40.18,25; 43.10; 44.6–8; 45.5–6,21; 46.5,9 ), the call to wait for God in faith and trust is heard throughout the book ( 8.17; 30.18; 40.31; cf. Hab 2.3; Zeph 3.8 ).

5b–7 :

One of the strongest and most poignant expressions in the Bible of a sense of alienation and distance from God expressed in terms of God's anger, silence, and hiddenness.

8–12 :

A final appeal to God as father (cf. 63.16 ) and creator (cf. 29.16; 45.9 ) to turn away from anger and observe what has become of God's people as a result of conquest and foreign occupation of God's own land (Lev 25.23 ): cities destroyed and depopulated, the Temple burnt to the ground.

12 :

Will you keep silent? Cf. Ps 28.1; 79.5; 85.5–7 .

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