Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

Isaiah 25


Isaiah 25:0


Song of Praise For God's FavorPraise to GodPsalm of ThanksgivingA Hymn of PraiseA Hymn of Thanksgiving
Isaiah 25:1-5(1-5)Isaiah 25:1-5(1-5)Isaiah 25:1-5(1-5)Isaiah 25:1-5(1-5)Isaiah 25:1-5(1-5)
Third Eschatological SectionGod Prepares A BanquetThe Divine Banquet
Isaiah 25:6-12(6-12)Isaiah 25:6-8(6-8)Isaiah 25:6-10a(6-10a)Isaiah 25:6-8Isaiah 25:6-12(6-8)
Isaiah 25:9-12(9)Isaiah 25:9 (9-12)
Oracle of DoomGod Will Punish Moab
(10-12)Isaiah 25:10-12(10b-12)Isaiah 25:10-12

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compareyour subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. What a marvelous chapter about YHWH's universal love!

1. the redemptive plan of God, Isaiah 25:0:1d

2. the loving character of God, Isaiah 25:4

B. This chapter is the OT origin of many of

1. Jesus' statements (i.e., John 5:28-29)

2. Paul's statements

a. in 1 Corinthians 15:0 of the resurrection, Isaiah 25:1 Cor. 25:54

b. the purpose of the veil in 2 Corinthians 3:15-16 and Ephesians 4:18

3. John's use of OT imagery in the Revelation

a. tears wiped away, Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4

b. world city destroyed (i.e., Babylon, Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:2)

c. Messianic banquet, Revelation 19:9

4. Luke's predetermined redemptive plan in Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28; also note Luke 22:22 (see Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-10)

C. This is one of several brief glimpses of the resurrection in the OT

1. Isaiah 26:19

2. Job 14:14; Job 19:25-27

3. Ezekiel 37:12-14

4. Daniel 12:2

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Isaiah 25:1-5 1O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. 2For You have made a city into a heap, A fortified city into a ruin; A palace of strangers is a city no more, It will never be rebuilt. 3Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless nations will revere You. 4For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. 5Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

Isaiah 25:1 “O Lord, You are my God” This section of Isaiah is very personal (cf. Isaiah 61:10). Isaiah knows YHWH (he is an ideal representative of the covenant spirit) and appeals to Him as friend, Savior, and Sovereign!

Note how Isaiah addresses YHWH.

1. I will exalt you, Isaiah 25:1, BDB 926, KB 1202, Polel IMPERFECT used in a COHORTATIVE sense

2. I will give thanks to Your name, Isaiah 25:1, BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a COHORTATIVE sense

Notice how he characterizes God.

1. You are my God, Isaiah 25:1

2. You have worked wonders, Isaiah 25:1

3. Your plans were formed long ago with perfect faithfulness, Isaiah 25:1

4. You have made a city into a heap, Isaiah 25:2

5. a strong people will glorify You, Isaiah 25:3

6. You have been a defense for the helpless, Isaiah 25:4

7. You did subdue the uproar of aliens, Isaiah 25:5

This is a psalm of praise, not unlike Psalms 145:0. This is the theological opposite of the universal judgment of chapter 24.

NASB“wonders” NKJV, RSV“wonderful things” TEV“amazing things” NJB“marvels”


“Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness” God is in complete control of history. This is a recurrent theme in the OT (i.e., Isaiah 14:24, Isaiah 14:26-27; Isaiah 23:8, Isaiah 23:9; Isaiah 46:10-11). History is not cyclical, but teleological. There is no VERB in the MT text (“formed” is assumed).

The two Hebrew words translated “perfect faithfulness” are from the same root.

1. the first one (אמונה, BDB 53) means “firmness,” “steadfastness,” or “fidelity.” It is a FEMININE NOUN (cf. Psalms 88:12; Psalms 89:1, Psalms 89:2, Psalms 89:5, Psalms 89:8; Hosea 2:20).

2. the second (אמן, BDB 53) means “trusting,” or “faithfulness.” It is a MASCULINE NOUN (cf. Isaiah 26:2; Deuteronomy 32:20).

Together they (the amen family of words) imply the complete and total faithfulness of God to His plans, promises, and purposes (i.e., Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 19:23-25, see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith, and Faithfulness in the OT).

Isaiah 25:2 “a city into a heap” Here again is a city which symbolizes the rebellion of man (cf. Isaiah 24:10). It stands for every capital of every human society which has tried to make its own way and meet its own needs without God. See note at Isaiah 24:10 and chart at chapter 26, Introduction D.

The term “heap” (BDB 164) is used of the pile of rubble after a city is destroyed (cf. Isaiah 37:26; 2 Kings 19:25; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 51:37). Fortified cities were their strongest defense, but now they are piles of stones!

“A palace of strangers” JPSOA emendates this to “the citadel of arrogant men” (footnote), which is followed by JB, The Bible: An American Translation, by Smith and Goodspeed, and A Translation of the Old Testament Scriptures From the Original Hebrew by Spurrell. The LXX has “a city of ungodly (or impious) men.”

This involves a change from

1. MT, זרים, BDB 266 I, KB 267, Qal ACTIVE PARTICIPLE, “stranger”

2. זדים, BDB 267, “insolent,” “prideful”

This is the confusion of the Hebrew “R” and “D,” which look so similar.

Isaiah 25:3 “a strong people will glorify You” This possibly refers to differing groups of Gentiles.

Isaiah 25:1. Isaiah 18:2, Isaiah 18:7 (Cush)

Isaiah 25:2. Isaiah 19:19-25 (Egypt and Assyria)

Isaiah 25:3. Isaiah 24:14-15 (nations of the east and west [coastlands])

The term “strong people” (BDB 766 & 738) is parallel to “ruthless nations” (BDB 156 & 792, Isaiah 25:0:4d and 5). The demonstration of YHWH's power (i.e., “wonderful things,” BDB 810, Isaiah 25:1) convinces them that He is the LORD of the universe.

“Cities of ruthless nations will revere You” Here again is a play on the word “city,” but the allusion seems to be that even these rebellious cities (i.e., Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 25:2, Isaiah 25:3, Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 26:1-6) are going to one day praise and serve God. The surprising but recurrent universalism of Isaiah (i.e., Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 19:23-25; Isaiah 24:14-16a; Isaiah 43:21) appears again (praise God!). See Special Topic: The Two “Cities” of Isaiah.

Isaiah 25:4 This is an obvious allusion to God caring for the socially and religiously ostracized (i.e., Isaiah 4:5-6; Isaiah 32:2). God loves the poor (cf. Isaiah 29:19). Notice how YHWH acts toward the poor, helpless, and socially ostracized.

1. a defense for the helpless

2. a defense for the needy in distress

3. a refuge from the storm, cf. Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 32:2

4. a shade from the heat

This is so different from “the ruthless” (BDB 792, cf. Isaiah 29:5, Isaiah 29:20). This is how society was meant to be (i.e., Exodus 20:0; Deuteronomy 5:0).

Also notice that these needy and poor people must seek/trust in YHWH and His promised help. God works with fallen humans in a covenant relationship. He always takes the initiative and sets the conditions, but humans must respond (cf. Psalms 50:15; Psalms 91:15; Psalms 107:6, Psalms 107:13) to His offer in repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance. Both the OT and NT have benefits and responsibilities! See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan.

NASB“Is like a rain storm against a wall” NKJV, PESHITTA“is as a storm against the wall” NRSV“like a winter rainstorm” TEV, NJB“like a winter storm” REB“like an ice storm”

The MT has “rain-storm” (BDB 281, cf. Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 32:2) and “wall” (קיר, BDB 885, cf. Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 38:2; Isaiah 59:10). A similar word “cold” (קור, NRSV, TEV, NJB, REB, NIDOTTE, vol. 3, pp. 994, 995, קר is from קרר, BDB 903). The UBS Hebrew Text Project gives “wall” an A rating (very high probability).

Isaiah 25:5 “the song of the ruthless” JPSOA changes the Hebrew text from “song” to “rainstorm” (cf. Isaiah 25:4).

Verses 6-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Isaiah 25:6-12 6The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. 7And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. 8He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. 9And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 10For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile. 11And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim, But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands. 12The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, Lay low, and cast to the ground, even to the dust.

Isaiah 25:6 “The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain” Here Mount Zion is the scene of the end-time activity of God (cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Exodus 24:11; Matthew 8:11; Luke 14:15; Luke 22:16; Revelation 19:9). This Messianic banquet is for all peoples (cf. Isaiah 27:13; Isaiah 66:20). God will provide the best food (cf. Isaiah 55:0)! See Special Topic: Lord of Hosts.

“on this mountain” This refers to a renewed Mt. Zion (i.e., Jerusalem) or Mt. Moriah (i.e., the temple) in Judah (cf. Isaiah 24:23). Jerusalem, in these eschatological contexts, could refer

1. literally to a city in Judah

2. symbolically to a new earth (cf. Revelation 21:1-2)

“wine” Notice the different kinds.

1. aged wine, BDB 1038 II, this refers to wine left to settle

2. refined wine, BDB 279, KB 279, Pual PARTICIPLE, this refers to strained or filtered wine after it has settled for a long time, which made it a premiere quality

See Special Topic: Biblical Attitudes Toward Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Isaiah 25:7 “And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,

Even the veil which is stretched over all nations” This is extremely significant. Notice again that God is going to remove something (lit. “faces” [BDB 815], “covering” [BDB 532, KB 523, Qal ACTIVE PARTICIPLE], “which covers” [BDB 532, KB 523, Qal ACTIVE PARTICIPLE]; the parallel phrase is literally “the veil” [BDB 697], “that is spread” [BDB 651 II, KB 703, Qal PASSIVE PARTICIPLE], or “weaved” [BDB 651 II, NASB marginal note, NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 253]) from the Gentiles (“over all people” parallel with “over all nations,” these are inclusive, universal phrases) that they might come to Him. There have been several theories about this “covering.”

1. death itself (cf. Isaiah 25:8, repeats the VERB of Isaiah 25:7)

2. a sign of mourning for the dead (cf. 2 Samuel 15:30)

3. a sign of shame (cf. 2 Samuel 19:5; Jeremiah 14:3)

4. spiritual blindness (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:15-16; Ephesians 4:18)

5. the Hebrew root לוט (BDB 532) occurs only here. It is related to טל (BDB 532), which means “secret” (cf. Ruth 3:7; 1 Samuel 18:22; 1 Samuel 24:4 and often refers to idolatry, cf. Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7, Exodus 8:18).

The “covering” may refer to false religions that have blinded the eyes of fallen humanity (cf. Romans 1:21-32).

Isaiah 25:8 “He will swallow up death for all time” What a marvelous statement! The original status of Eden is restored (cf. Isaiah 65:19-20). Sinful, rebellious humans can be redeemed permanently! Resurrection is specifically mentioned in Isaiah 26:19 (cf. Job 14:14; Job 19:25-27; Ezekiel 37:12-14; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:0).

Death reigned from Adam to Christ (cf. Romans 5:12-21), but with Jesus' resurrection, death has been defeated (cf. Hosea 13:14 quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

In the OT the soul that sins will die (cf. Ezekiel 18:4, Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23). The Mosaic covenant was a performance-based covenant (cf. Leviticus 18:5; Galatians 3:12), but because of the Fall (cf. Genesis 3:0) and human weakness it became a death sentence, a curse (cf. Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5). Jesus, the Messiah, will deliver us from the death sentence (cf. Colossians 2:14).

“the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces” Notice it is the covenant God of Israel (lit. Adon YHWH) who does the wiping (BDB 562, KB 567, Qal PERFECT, cf. Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Psalms 51:1, Psalms 51:9). Also note it is “all faces” (BDB 481 and BDB 815)!

This theme of sorrow, remorse (judgment), and joy (salvation) restored is recurrent in Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 65:19; also note its usage in the NT, Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4).

“He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth” This has two possible meanings.

1. it relates to the new covenant in Ezekiel 36:22-38 which repairs the image of Israel among the nations

2. it relates “His people” to all people (cf. Romans 2:28-29; Romans 9:6; and Romans 11:26; also note Galatians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). Reproach is the result of sin. Its removal is an act of forgiveness and restoration. This is a divine plan of universal redemption (Isaiah 25:1)!

“For the LORD has spoken” Here again is the certainty of events because God has said it (cf. Isaiah 24:3; 30-31; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 55:10-11).

Isaiah 25:9 “in that day” This refers to the day of God's visitation. To some it will be a day of judgment; to some it will be a day of salvation (cf. Isaiah 12:1-4; Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 27:1-2). See note at Isaiah 2:11.

“this is our God” This could refer to (1) the God of Israel (i.e., Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 12:15, Genesis 12:17) or (2) the God of creation who promised deliverance to all humans made in His image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27) in Genesis 3:15.

“we have waited” This VERB (BDB 875, KB 1082, Piel PERFECT) appears twice (cf. Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 26:8; Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 51:5; Isaiah 60:9). It has the connotation of “longing for,” “trusting in,” “waiting eagerly for”! It is used most often in the Psalms and Isaiah.

“that He might save us” Usually in the OT this VERB (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil IMPERFECT) means “to deliver” (i.e., physical deliverance, Genesis 12:12; Exodus 1:17-22; Exodus 14:30; James 5:20), but in this context its meaning is more in line with the NT usage of “saved” (i.e., Matthew 1:21; Matthew 18:11; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:9). These people (Jew and Gentile) will be saved from sin and death. See Special Topic at Isaiah 33:2.

“Let us rejoice and be glad” These are both COHORTATIVES.

1. BDB 162, KB 189, Qal COHORTATIVE

2. BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal COHORTATIVE

His salvation brings the restoration of joy and gladness to His creation (cf. Isaiah 35:1-2, Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 65:18; Isaiah 66:10).

Isaiah 25:10-11 There is a series of doubled words for emphasis.

1. trodden down, Isaiah 25:10, BDB 190, KB 218

a. Niphal PERFECT


2. spread out his hands, Isaiah 25:11, BDB 831, KB 975



3. to swim, Isaiah 25:11, BDB 965, KB 1314



Moab will try to swim in the cesspool (Isaiah 25:10, this is the only occurrence of the term [ןמד, BDB 199]). The LXX and Peshitta do not follow this reading, but have “as they tread the floor with wagons.” The JPSOA emendates it to a place name “Madmenah,” close to Jerusalem, cf. Isaiah 10:31.

Isaiah 25:10-12 This seems to return to the theme of judgment on the surrounding nations and in particular on Moab (JPSOA suggests emendation to “Assyria”). Moab has been previously judged in Isaiah 15-16. Here, Moab (the only specific nation mentioned in Isaiah 24-27) seems to be a symbol of all rebellious human beings, prideful of their own situation. Moab, located physically on a high plateau and very wealthy because of her commerce trade, is symbolic of all of human achievement apart from God. This seems to be the background of (1) “the city of chaos” in Isaiah 24:10 or (2) “the unassailable city” mentioned in Isaiah 26:5.

Isaiah 25:11 “But the LORD will lay low his pride” The VERB (BDB 1050, KB 1631, Hiphil PERFECT, cf. Isaiah 25:10) is also used twice in Isaiah 26:5 to refer to YHWH bringing down “the city” (cf. Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 25:2-3). It is a recurrent VERB in Isaiah connected to YHWH judging the proud and arrogant (cf. Isaiah 2:9, Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 2:12, Isaiah 2:17; Isaiah 5:15 [twice]; Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 13:11; Isaiah 25:11; Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 40:4; note 2 Samuel 22:28; Job 40:11; Psalms 18:27; Proverbs 29:23).

Moab's excessive pride was mentioned earlier in Isaiah 16:6 and her ruin in Isaiah 16:14.

NASB, NKJV“the trickery of his hands” NRSV“the struggle of their hands” TEV“their hands will sink helplessly” NJB“what his hands may attempt” JB“he stretches out his hands” PESHITTA“the spoils of their hands”

The JPSOA suggests an emendation “along with the emblems of their power,” which may link to “the unassailable fortifications,” cf. Isaiah 25:12.

The problem is the term “trickery,” ארבות (BDB 70), which is found only here in the OT, but a close form, מארב (BDB 70) means “ambush” or ארב (BDB 70) means “lie in wait” or “ambush,” but this does not fit the context.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the difference between “that day” in Isaiah 25:9 and Isaiah 24:21?

2. Why is Moab singled out in Isaiah 25:10-12?

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Isaiah 25". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". 2021.