Notes for Isa 55:1LEB


The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, "woe, ah") was used in funeral laments and is often prefixed to judgment oracles for rhetorical effect. But here it appears to be a simple interjection, designed to grab the audience’s attention. Perhaps there is a note of sorrow or pity. See BDB 223 s.v.


The statement is an oxymoron. Its ironic quality adds to its rhetorical impact. The statement reminds one of the norm (one must normally buy commodities) as it expresses the astounding offer. One might paraphrase the statement: "Come and take freely what you normally have to pay for."


Notes for Isa 55:2LEB

"for what is not food."


The interrogative particle and the verb "spend" are understood here by ellipsis (note the preceding line).


"your labor," which stands by metonymy for that which one earns.


The infinitive absolute follows the imperative and lends emphasis to the exhortation.


"good" (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).


"Let your appetite delight in fine food."

Nourishing, fine food here represents the blessings Yahweh freely offers. These include forgiveness, a new covenantal relationship with Yahweh, and national prominence (see vv. 3–6).


Notes for Isa 55:3LEB

The jussive with vav (ו) conjunctive following the imperative indicates purpose/result.

To live here refers to covenantal blessing, primarily material prosperity and national security (see vv. 4–5, 13, and Deut 30:6LEB, Deut 15:19–20LEB).


Or "an eternal covenant with."


"the reliable expressions of loyalty of David." The syntactical relationship of חַסְדֵי (khasde, "expressions of loyalty") to the preceding line is unclear. If the term is appositional to בְּרִית (bérit, "covenant"), then Yahweh here transfers the promises of the Davidic covenant to the entire nation. Another option is to take חַסְדֵי (khasde) as an adverbial accusative and to translate "according to the reliable covenantal promises." In this case the new covenantal arrangement proposed here is viewed as an extension or perhaps fulfillment of the Davidic promises. A third option, the one reflected in the above translation, is to take the last line as comparative. In this case the new covenant being proposed is analogous to the Davidic covenant. Verses 4–5, which compare David’s international prominence to what Israel will experience, favors this view. In all three of these interpretations, "David" is an objective genitive; he is the recipient of covenantal promises. A fourth option would be to take David as a subjective genitive and understand the line as giving the basis for the preceding promise: "Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you, because of David’s faithful acts of covenantal loyalty."


Notes for Isa 55:4LEB

Ideally the Davidic king was to testify to the nations of Yahweh’s greatness (cf. Ps 18:50LEB HT [Ps 18:49LEB ET]; Ps 22:28LEB HT [Ps 22:27LEB ET]). See J. H. Eaton, Kingship in the Psalms (SBT), 182–84.


Notes for Isa 55:5LEB

"a nation," but the singular is collective here, as the plural verbs in the next line indicate (note that both "know" and "run" are third plural forms).


"a nation," but the singular is collective here, as the plural verbs that follow indicate.


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One of Israel" in Isa 1:4LEB.


Notes for Isa 55:6LEB

"while he allows himself to be found." The Niphal form has a tolerative force here.


Notes for Isa 55:7LEB

"Let the wicked one abandon his way." The singular is collective.


"and the man of evil his thoughts." The singular is collective.


"let him return." The singular is collective, meaning "let them."


The imperfect with vav (ו) conjunctive after the jussive indicates purpose/result.


The appeal and promise of vv. 6–7 echoes the language of Deut 4:25–31LEB; Deut 30:1–10LEB; and 1 Kgs 8:46–53LEB, all of which anticipate the exile and speak of the prerequisites for restoration.


Notes for Isa 55:8LEB

Or "For" (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV).


Or "thoughts" (so many English versions).


"are not." "Like" is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.


"ways" (so many English versions).


"are not." "Like" is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.


Notes for Isa 55:9LEB

Or "the heavens." The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated "heavens" or "sky" depending on the context.


"ways" (so many English versions).


"are higher than."


Or "thoughts" (so many English versions).


Notes for Isa 55:10LEB

This verse begins in the Hebrew text with כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר (ki kaasher, "for, just as"), which is completed by כֵּן (ken, "so, in the same way") at the beginning of v. 11. For stylistic reasons, this lengthy sentence is divided up into separate sentences in the translation.


Notes for Isa 55:11LEB

"so is the word which goes out from my mouth, it does not return to empty." "Word" refers here to divine promises, like the ones made just prior to and after this (see vv. 7b, 12–13).


"but it accomplishes what I desire, and succeeds [on the mission] which I send it."


Verses 8–11 focus on the reliability of the divine word and support the promises before (vv. 3–5, 7b) and after (vv. 12–13) this. Israel can be certain that repentance will bring forgiveness and a new covenantal relationship because Yahweh’s promises are reliable. In contrast to human plans (or "thoughts"), which are destined to fail (Ps 94:11LEB) apart from divine approval (Prov 19:21LEB), and human deeds (or "ways"), which are evil and lead to destruction (Prov 1:15–19LEB; Ps 3:31–33LEB; Ps 4:19LEB), Yahweh’s plans are realized and his deeds accomplish something positive.


Notes for Isa 55:13LEB

"to Yahweh for a name." For שֵׁם (shem) used in the sense of "monument," see also 56:5, where it stands parallel to יָד (yad).


Or, more literally, "a permanent sign that will not be cut off."