The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 64

Isa 64:1

Isa 64: A mighty theophany, reminiscent of that in Sinai.

REND THE HEAVENS AND COME DOWN: "Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently... The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain" (Exo 19:18,20).

NT: At the baptism of Jesus, the heavens were torn apart, and the Spirit like a dove descended (Mar 1:10). Cp, at crucifixion, the veil in the Most Holy (the heavenly place) was torn from top to bottom (Mat 27:51), as by a divine hand.

Isa 64:2

AS WHEN FIRE SETS TWIGS ABLAZE: The Glory of God appearing in the burning bush (Exo 3:2-4).

TO MAKE YOUR NAME KNOWN TO YOUR ENEMIES: "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth" (Exo 9:16).

Isa 64:4

NO EAR HAS PERCEIVED, NO EYE HAS SEEN ANY GOD BESIDES YOU...: At the wonders they saw in Sinai, the people removed far off and hid themselves (Exo 20:18,19). "Thereafter the divine revelation which Israel refused at Sinai became the special privilege of those who saw the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But the wisdom of God in him was shut to Israel's leaders -- ' "Eye did not see, nor did ear hear, what things God prepared for them that love him." BUT GOD revealed them by His Spirit' (1Co 2:8-10)" (WIsa 538).

THOSE WHO WAIT FOR HIM: Moses going up into the mount to wait for a revelation from God.

Isa 64:5

YOU WERE ANGRY: Poss ref to incident of golden calf.

Isa 64:6

FILTHY RAGS: "Menstruous rags" (NET); "polluted garment" (RSV; ASV). Cp idea of "rubbish" in Phi 3:8. Also cp Mat 23:25; Luk 11:39,40.

Isa 64:7

YOU HAVE HIDDEN YOUR FACE FROM US: "The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 'I will hide my face from them,' he said" (Deu 32:19,20).

Isa 64:8

Vv 8-12: Once again (as in Isa 63:15-19), Isaiah breaks forth into an impassioned prayer of intercession for the nation as a whole: note the "we... all", etc.

OUR FATHER: Along with Isa 63:16, the only refs to God as "our Father" in the OT.


Isa 64:11

A ref to Assyrian soldiers garrisoned in the Temple area: "Ahaz took some of the things from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace and from the princes and presented them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help him" (2Ch 28:21). 2Ch 28:21. Lit, "divided up a portion of the temple" -- giving it to the Assyrian soldiers as a place to rest and reside. (A similar policy was followed by the Assyrians with other vassal nations; cp also the Roman garrison next to the Temple in NT times). Cp idea, Isa 63:18; 64:11; Psa 74:3-8; 79:1; Isa 7:13; 11:9; 52:1; Mic 5:5.

HAS BEEN...: Or "will be"? Does Isaiah speak of the plans and threats of Sennacherib and Rabshakeh as though they had already happened?

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