Isaiah 51 – “Prophetic Sermon; God Pledges to Rebuild Jerusalem”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The prophet predicts a population increase and the ingathering of the exiles. God pledges to rebuild Jerusalem and punish its enemies.

II. Photo
God urges the people to ignore the detractors: “For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, the worm shall eat them up like wool!” (v. 8a)

III. Important Verses
1-2: Listen to Me, you who pursue justice, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock you were hewn from, To the quarry you were dug from. Look back to Abraham your father And to Sarah who brought you forth. For he was only one when I called him, But I blessed him and made him many.
9-10: Awake, awake, clothe yourself with splendor. O arm of the LORD! Awake as in days of old, As in former ages! It was you that hacked Rahab in pieces, That pierced the Dragon. It was you that dried up the Sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the abysses of the Sea A road the redeemed might walk.
17-19: Rouse, rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who from the LORD’s hand Have drunk the cup of His wrath, You who have drained to the dregs The bowl, the cup of reeling! She has none to guide her Of all the sons she bore; None takes her by the hand, Of all the sons she reared. These two things have befallen you: Wrack and ruin — who can console you? Famine and sword — how shall I comfort you?

IV. Outline

1-3. Prophetic sermon
    1-2. A patriarchal model for population increase
    3. The rebuilding of Jerusalem
4-8. Oracle #1
    4-6. God will provide salvation for the people
    7-8. Exhortation: do not listen to the detractors
9-11. Prophetic prediction
    9-10. Hymnic praise: God defeated the sea and its monsters
    11. Prediction: the exiles will return
12-23. Oracle #2
    12-16. God reassures the people of their safety
    17-20. Jerusalem’s deplorable state
    21-23. God guarantees salvation for Jerusalem and disaster for its enemies

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
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