The Judgment and Deliverance of Israel
1On that day,
The LORD will punish with his sword
that is cruel, great, and strong,
Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan the coiled serpent;
he will slay the dragon* in the sea.a
2* On that day—
The pleasant vineyard, sing about it!b
3I, the LORD, am its keeper,
I water it every moment;
Lest anyone harm it,
night and day I guard it.c
4I am not angry.
But if I were to find briers and thorns,
In battle I would march against it;
I would burn it all.d
5But if it holds fast to my refuge,
it shall have peace with me;e
it shall have peace with me.
6In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall sprout and blossom,
covering all the world with fruit.f
7* Was he smitten as his smiter was smitten?
Was he slain as his slayer was slain?
8Driving out and expelling, he struggled against it,
carrying it off with his cruel wind on a day of storm.g
9This, then, shall be the expiation of Jacob’s guilt,
this the result of removing his sin:
He shall pulverize all the stones of the altars
like pieces of chalk;
no asherahs or incense altars shall stand.
10For the fortified city shall be desolate,
an abandoned pasture, a forsaken wilderness;
There calves shall graze, there they shall lie down,
and consume its branches.
11When its boughs wither, they shall be broken off;
and women shall come to kindle fires with them.
For this is not an understanding people;
therefore their maker shall not spare them;
their creator shall not be gracious to them.h
12On that day,
The LORD shall beat out grain
from the channel of the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt,
and you shall be gleaned* one by one, children of Israel.
13On that day,*
A great trumpet shall blow,
and the lost in the land of Assyria
and the outcasts in the land of Egypt
Shall come and worship the LORD
on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem.i
* [27:1] Leviathan…dragon: the description of Leviathan is almost identical to a passage from a much earlier Ugaritic text. The sea dragon became a symbol of the forces of evil which God vanquishes even as he overcame primeval chaos; cf. notes on 30:7; 51:9–10; Jb 3:8; 7:12; no power can challenge God. Leviathan is even spoken of playfully in Ps 104:26.
* [27:2–5] This passage mitigates the harsh words on Israel as the Lord’s vineyard in 5:1–7; here is given the rain there withheld, though Israel’s welfare is still made dependent on fidelity.
* [27:7–9] Israel was not treated as sternly as were its enemies whom God used to punish it. God did, however, drive Israel from its land, and if it wants to make peace with God, it must change its former cultic practices, destroying its altars and sacred groves (cf. 17:7–11).
* [27:12] Gleaned: God will harvest his people who have been scattered from Assyria to Egypt. Note the same language of gleaning to describe the remnant of the Northern Kingdom in 17:5–6.
* [27:13] The remnant of Israel will return to Jerusalem for worship; cf. 11:10–16.
a. [27:1] Jb 40:25–32; Ps 74:12–14; Ez 32:2.
f. [27:6] Is 37:31–32; Hos 14:5–6.
h. [27:11] Is 1:3; 5:13; Jer 4:22.