Isaiah Chapter 29 Notes

Isaiah Ch 29 Commentary // larryhuntbiblecommentary.wordpress.com

Notes on Isaiah 29

v. 3: Here is another instance of Isaiah’s ironic tone: God will encamp against Jerusalem “like David” did.  The irony is that God will be encamping against the people of David’s own kingdom.  Because of vs. 5-7, I believe this refers to the Assyrian invasion of Judah, during which God encamped against Jerusalem by means of the Assyrians.

Vs. 5-8: These verses describe the frustration of those who are attacking Jerusalem.  “The multitude that fight against Ariel [Jerusalem]” (29:7) are compared to “a hungry person” who “dreams of eating and wakes up still hungry” (29:8).  Such frustration seems most applicable to the Assyrians, who must have believed they were going to be satisfied in their desire to conqueror Jerusalem, right up until the point of their sudden and unexpected defeat at the hands of God.

Vs. 9-12: The organization of this chapter is very similar to that of chapter twenty-eight: Isaiah begins by describing the terror of the Assyrian invasion, and then mentions how quickly Judah forgets the lessons of that invasion.

Like 28:11-13, these verses remind me of Isaiah 6, and I believe their interpretation is the same.

v. 13: In Matthew 15:1-9, Christ gives the definitive interpretation of this verse by using it to reference the behavior of the Pharisees as an example of what it means to honor God with our lips while our hearts are far from him.

v. 16: The same image appears in 64:8.

v. 18: I wonder if this is an allusion to vs. 10-12.

v. 20: I agree with Barnes that the “tyrant” and “scoffer” here refer to Jewish rulers (as opposed to foreign rulers such as the Babylonians).  See 28:14.

Vs. 13-21: This is a very skillful use of juxtaposition and irony by Isaiah.  Here is how I would paraphrase these verses.

The corrupt rulers of Judah have insulted the wisdom of God and reversed the way things should beby taking advantage of the weak.

“You turn things upside down!  Shall the thing formed say of the one who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?  [The rulers] deny justice to the one in the right.”

Therefore, God will reverse the way things are by frustrating the wisdom of those rulers and giving their power to the weak.

“Because these people draw near with their mouths…while their hearts are far from me…I will do amazing things…shocking and amazing.  The wisdom of their wise shall perish.  The deaf shall hear the words of a scroll.  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD.  For the tyrant…and the scoffer shall cease to be.”

v. 23: I believe “…the work of my hands…” is an allusion to the image of the potter and the clay in v. 16.


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