Notes for Isa 57:1LEB

Or "righteous" (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB "the just man"; TEV "Good people."


Or perhaps, "understands." "and there is no man who sets [it] upon [his] heart."


"Men of loyalty are taken away." The Niphal of אָסַף (’asaf) here means "to die."


The Hebrew term בְּאֵין (en) often has the nuance "when there is no." See Prov 8:24LEB; Prov 14:4LEB; Prov 15:22LEB; Prov 26:20LEB; Prov 29:18LEB.


Or "realizes"; "understands" (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).


Or "righteous" (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB "the just man."


"are taken away." The Niphal of אָסַף (’asaf) here means "to die."


The term מִפְּנֵי (mippéne, "from the face of") often has a causal nuance. It also appears with the Niphal of אָסַף (’asaph, "gather") in 2 Chr 12:5LEB: אֲשֶׁר־נֶאֶסְפוּ אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלַם מִפְּנֵי שִׁישָׁק (’asher-neesphu el-yérushalam mippéney shishaq, "who had gathered at Jerusalem because of [i.e., due to fear of] Shishak").


The translation assumes that this verse, in proverbial fashion, laments society’s apathy over the persecution of the godly. The second half of the verse observes that such apathy results in more widespread oppression. Since the next verse pictures the godly being taken to a place of rest, some interpret the second half of v. 1 in a more positive vein. According to proponents of this view, Yahweh removes the godly so that they might be spared suffering and calamity, a fact which the general populace fails to realize.


Notes for Isa 57:2LEB

"he enters peace, they rest on their beds, the one who walks straight ahead of himself." The tomb is here viewed in a fairly positive way as a place where the dead are at peace and sleep undisturbed.


Notes for Isa 57:3LEB

The Hebrew text reads literally, "offspring of an adulterer [masculine] and [one who] has committed adultery." Perhaps the text has suffered from transposition of vav (ו) and tav (ת) and מְנָאֵף וַתִּזְנֶה (ménaef vattizneh) should be emended to מְנָאֶפֶת וְזֹנָה (ménaefet vézonah, "an adulteress and a prostitute"). Both singular nouns would be understood in a collective sense. Most modern English versions render both forms as nouns.


Notes for Isa 57:4LEB

"Are you not children of rebellion, offspring of a lie?" The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, "Of course you are!"


Notes for Isa 57:5LEB

"inflame yourselves"; NRSV "burn with lust." This verse alludes to the practice of ritual sex that accompanied pagan fertility rites.


This apparently alludes to the practice of child sacrifice (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).


Notes for Isa 57:6LEB

"among the smooth stones of the stream [is] your portion, they, they [are] your lot." The next line indicates idols are in view.


The text reads literally, "Because of these am I relenting?" If the prefixed interrogative particle is retained at the beginning of the sentence, then the question would be rhetorical, with the Niphal of נָחָם (nakham) probably being used in the sense of "relent, change one’s mind." One could translate: "Because of these things, how can I relent?" However, the initial letter he may be dittographic (note the final he [ה] on the preceding word). In this case one may understand the verb in the sense of "console oneself, seek vengeance," as in Isa 1:24LEB.


Notes for Isa 57:8LEB

The precise referent of זִכָּרוֹן (zikkaron) in this context is uncertain. Elsewhere the word refers to a memorial or commemorative sign. Here it likely refers to some type of idolatrous symbol.


Or "for" (KJV, NRSV).


The Hebrew text reads literally, "from me you uncover." The translation assumes an emendation of the Piel form גִּלִּית (gillit, "you uncover"), which has no object expressed here, to the Qal גָּלִית (galit, "you depart").


"you make wide your bed" (NASB similar).


"and you [second masculine singular, unless the form be taken as third feminine singular] cut for yourself [feminine singular] from them." Most English translations retain the MT reading in spite of at least three problems. This section makes significant use of feminine verbs and noun suffixes because of the sexual imagery. The verb in question is likely a 2nd person masculine singular verb. Nevertheless, this kind of fluctuation in gender appears elsewhere (GKC 127-28 §47.k and 462 §144.p; cf. Jer 3:5LEB; Ezek 22:4LEB; Ezek 23:32LEB; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 2:473, n. 13). Secondly, when this verbal root signifies establishing a covenant, it is normally accompanied by the noun for "covenant" (בְּרִית, bérit). Finally, this juxtaposition of the verb "to cut" and "covenant" normally is followed by the preposition "with," while here it is "from." The translation above assumes an emendation of וַתִּכְרָת (vatikhrah, "and you cut") to וְכָרִית (vékharit, "and you purchase") from the root כָּרָה (kharah); see HALOT 497 s.v. II כרה.


The Hebrew text has simply חָזָה (khazah, "gaze"). The adverb "longingly" is interpretive (see the context, where sexual lust is depicted).


"[at] a hand you gaze." The term יָד (yad, "hand") probably has the sense of "power, manhood" here, where it is used, as in Ugaritic, as a euphemism for the genitals. See HALOT 387 s.v. I יָד.


Notes for Isa 57:9LEB

"you journey with oil."


"the king." Since the context refers to idolatry and child sacrifice (see v. 5), some emend מֶלֶך (melekh, "king") to "Molech." Perhaps Israel’s devotion to her idols is likened here to a subject taking tribute to a ruler.


"and you multiply your perfumes."


Israel’s devotion to her idols is inordinate, irrational, and self-destructive.


Notes for Isa 57:10LEB

"by the greatness [i.e., "length," see BDB 914 s.v. רֹב 2] of your way you get tired."


"it is hopeless" (so NAB, NASB, NIV); NRSV "It is useless."


"the life of your hand you find." The term חַיָּה (khayyah, "life") is here used in the sense of "renewal" (see BDB 312 s.v.) while יָד (yad) is used of "strength."


"you do not grow weak."


Notes for Isa 57:11LEB

"you do not place [it] on your heart."


"Is it not [because] I have been silent, and from long ago?"


Yahweh’s patience with sinful Israel has caused them to think that they can sin with impunity and suffer no consequences.


Notes for Isa 57:12LEB

"I, I will declare your righteousness and your deeds."


Notes for Isa 57:13LEB

The Hebrew text has קִבּוּצַיִךְ (qibbutsayikh, "your gatherings"), an otherwise unattested noun from the verbal root קָבַץ (qavats, "gather"). Perhaps this alludes to their religious assemblies and by metonymy to their rituals. Since idolatry is a prominent theme in the context, some understand this as a reference to a collection of idols. The second half of the verse also favors this view.


"all of them a wind lifts up."


"a breath takes [them] away."


Or "seeks refuge in me." "Seeking refuge" is a metonymy for "being loyal to."


"possess, own." The point seems to be that he will have free access to Yahweh’s presence, as if Yahweh’s temple mount were his personal possession.


Notes for Isa 57:14LEB

Since Yahweh is speaking throughout this context, perhaps we should emend the text to "and I say." However, divine speech is introduced in v. 15.


Notes for Isa 57:15LEB

"the one who dwells forever." שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhen ad) is sometimes translated "the one who lives forever," and understood as a reference to Yahweh’s eternal existence. However, the immediately preceding and following descriptions ("high and exalted" and "holy") emphasize his sovereign rule. In the next line, he declares, "I dwell in an exalted and holy [place]," which refers to the place from which he rules. Therefore it is more likely that שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhen ad) means "I dwell [in my lofty palace] forever" and refers to Yahweh’s eternal kingship.


"and also with the crushed and lowly of spirit." This may refer to the repentant who have humbled themselves (see Isa 66:2LEB) or more generally to the exiles who have experienced discouragement and humiliation.


"to restore the lowly of spirit and to restore the heart of the crushed."


Notes for Isa 57:16LEB

Or perhaps, "argue," or "accuse" (so NAB, NIV, NRSV).


"for a spirit from before me would be faint."


Notes for Isa 57:17LEB

"and I struck him, hiding, and I was angry." פָּנַיִם (panayim, "face") is the implied object of "hiding."


"and he walked [as an] apostate in the way of his heart."


Notes for Isa 57:18LEB

"his ways" (so KJV, NASB, NIV); TEV "how they acted."


"and I will restore consolation to him, to his mourners."


Notes for Isa 57:19LEB

The Hebrew text has literally, "one who creates fruit of lips." Perhaps the pronoun אֲנִי (’ani) should be inserted after the participle; it may have been accidentally omitted by haplography: נוּב שְׂפָתָיִם[אֲנִי] בּוֹרֵא (bore [’ani] nuv séfatayim). "Fruit of the lips" is often understood as a metonymy for praise; perhaps it refers more generally to joyful shouts (see v. 18).


"Peace, peace." The repetition of the noun emphasizes degree.