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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

Isaiah 27

Verses 1-13

“In That Day” (27:1-13)

Chapter 27 is composed of several fragments or short prophecies, with very little connection between them. Verse 1 is the most dramatic of them and is a very stirring symbol. Here allusion is made to the Canaanite creation myth in which one of the chief gods killed the dragon of chaos symbolized by turbulent waters of the sea, or else by a great serpent or dragon in the sea. Here in a prophetic context it refers to the dragon as no longer a symbol of the chaos of nature, but rather as a symbol of the evil of the world in defiance against God. In God’s final day his triumph over the dragon thus is a symbol of his triumph

over all forces of alienation in this world. Amos 9:3 is another reference, as is also Psalms 74:12-15 (note also Isaiah 51:9-10). In later Jewish exegesis the dragon is, of course, identified with Satan. Perhaps the most dramatic use of this type of language for God’s future destruction of all powers of evil in the earth is found in Revelation 20:2-3; Revelation 21:1. In Revelation 21:1 it is stated that when the first heaven and earth have passed away and a new heaven and earth are made, the sea—that is, the old symbol of the chaos of earth—is to be no more: God has conquered evil.

In verses 2-6 the theme of the vineyard of the Lord is used in a sense opposite to its use in 5:1-7. In the days to come God will be the protector of his vineyard; and in verse 6 it is made clear that the vineyard stands for his people.

Verses 7-11 do not seem to be unified, and the connection between the parts is not easy to discern. The over-all theme, however, seems to be an explanation of the suffering meted out to the people by God: it was for the purpose of expiating the guilt and removing the sins of the people of Jacob (vs. 9). Verses 10-11 seem to refer to a desolated city, whether to Samaria or to Jerusalem is not stated. Whichever it is, its people were without discernment and therefore had no favor with God.

In the final section (vss. 12-13), however, there is a remarkable picture of the future time when the people of Israel, scattered now among the nations, will be brought back to the Promised Land and to their common worship of the Lord at Jerusalem. It is this religious dimension in its relation to salvation that has always given Jerusalem a special symbolic power for both Christians and Jews.

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"Commentary on Isaiah 27". "Layman's Bible Commentary".