The New Zion
1Raise a glad cry, you barren one* who never bore a child,
break forth in jubilant song, you who have never been in labor,
For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife
than the children of her who has a husband,
says the LORD.a
2Enlarge the space for your tent,
spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
lengthen your ropes and make firm your pegs.b
3For you shall spread abroad to the right and left;
your descendants shall dispossess the nations
and shall people the deserted cities.*
4* Do not fear, you shall not be put to shame;
do not be discouraged, you shall not be disgraced.
For the shame of your youth you shall forget,
the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
5For your husband is your Maker;
the LORD of hosts is his name,
Your redeemer,* the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
6The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.c
7For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
8In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.
9This is for me like the days of Noah:
As I swore then that the waters of Noah
should never again flood the earth,
So I have sworn now not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.d
10Though the mountains fall away
and the hills be shaken,
My love shall never fall away from you
nor my covenant of peace* be shaken,
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.e
11O afflicted one,* storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
your foundations in sapphires;f
12I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
13All your children shall be taught by the LORD;
great shall be the peace of your children.
14In justice shall you be established,
far from oppression, you shall not fear,
from destruction, it cannot come near.
15If there be an attack, it is not my doing;
whoever attacks shall fall before you.
16See, I have created the smith
who blows on the burning coals
and forges weapons as his work;
It is I also who have created
the destroyer to work havoc.
17Every weapon fashioned against you shall fail;
every tongue that brings you to trial
you shall prove false.
This is the lot of the servants of the LORD,
their vindication from me—oracle of the LORD.
* [54:1] Jerusalem, pictured as a wife who had been barren and deserted, now suddenly finds herself with innumerable children (the returning exiles); cf. Gal 4:27 for an application to a new context.
* [54:3] Those who had taken advantage of the exile to encroach on Jerusalem’s territory will be driven out, and the returning exiles will repopulate the cities of Judah.
* [54:4–8] As with some other Old Testament themes, Second Isaiah uses that of Israel as the Lord’s bride in a new manner. Whereas Hosea and Jeremiah had depicted Israel as the Lord’s spouse to emphasize both Israel’s infidelity and the Lord’s continued love (Hos 1–3; Jer 2:2; 3:1–15) and Ezekiel to accuse Israel unsparingly (Ez 16; 23), Second Isaiah speaks only of the love with which the Lord restores the people, speaking tender words with no hint of reproach.
* [54:5] Redeemer: cf. note on 41:14.
* [54:10] Covenant of peace: this whole section, vv. 9–17, is given to various assurances of God’s love for Israel and of safety from various possible threats; the phrase sums up both the positive aspects of shalom, which implies a fullness of blessing, and protection from all that might harm. Cf. also 55:3; Nm 25:12; Ez 34:25; 37:26; Mal 2:5.
* [54:11] Afflicted one: Jerusalem.