Isaiah 59 – “Prophetic Homily”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The prophet blames the people for sinning and relates that God will fight their battles, restore Zion, and establish a new covenant.

II. Photo
The prophet harangues the sinners: “Their webs will not serve as a garment, what they make cannot serve as clothing; Their deeds are deeds of mischief, their hands commit lawless acts!” (v. 6)

III. Important Verses
2-3: But your iniquities have been a barrier Between you and your God, Your sins have made Him turn His face away And refuse to hear you. For your hands are defiled with crime And your fingers with iniquity. Your lips speak falsehood, Your tongue utters treachery.
5-8: They hatch adder’s eggs And weave spider webs; He who eats of those eggs will die, And if one is crushed, it hatches out a viper. Their webs will not serve as a garment, What they make cannot serve as clothing; Their deeds are deeds of mischief, Their hands commit lawless acts, Their feet run after evil, They hasten to shed the blood of the innocent. Their plans are plans of mischief, Destructiveness and injury are on their roads. They do not care for the way of integrity, There is no justice on their paths. They make their courses crooked, No one who walks in them cares for integrity.
15b-17: The LORD saw and was displeased That there was no redress. He saw that there was no man, He gazed long, but no one intervened. Then His own arm won Him triumph, His victorious right hand supported Him. He donned victory like a coat of mail, With a helmet of triumph on His head; He clothed Himself with garments of retribution, Wrapped himself in zeal as in a robe.

IV. Outline

1-15a. Homily about sin
    1-4. The people’s sins distance them from God
    5-6a. Metaphor about iniquity
    6b-8. The people’s murderous ways
    9-15a. Sin is the reason for the people’s troubles; Metaphors of the people’s wretched state
15b-21. Prophetic pronouncement of a new covenant
    15b-17. God dons his armor
    18-20. God will vanquish his foes and redeem Zion
    21. Oracular covenant: the people will always speak God’s words

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).
Photo taken from