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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 12

 

 

Introduction

Chapter 12 A Hymn of Praise at The Consummation.

This hymn is seen as being sung once the purposes of God have come to fruition. It is a hymn of triumph at what He has done. In a sense we could see it as a praise review of chapter 6-11. For the first three lines could be Isaiah’s testimony after his experience of chapter 6, when he was first of all aware of his own utter sinfulness, and then received cleansing through the mercy of God. While it also speaks of the final position of the redeemed, for they too, returning from enmity and rebellion and uncleanness, have been reconciled to God. And note the stress on the fact that it is all of God. It is He Who is their deliverance.

Analysis.

a And in that day you will say, ‘I will give thanks to You, O Yahweh, for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me (Isaiah 12:1).

b Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and will not be afraid, for Yah Yahweh is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2).

c Therefore with joy will you draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).

c And in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name, declare His doings among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted’ (Isaiah 12:4).

b Sing to Yahweh, for He has done excellent things, let this be known in all the earth (Isaiah 12:5).

a Cry aloud, and shout, you inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of you (Isaiah 12:6)

In ‘a’ His people will speak out the greatness of His mercy, and in the parallel will cry aloud concerning His greatness a the Holy One of Israel. In ‘b’ because he is their salvation He is their song, and in the parallel they sing to Him because of what He has done. In ‘c’ they draw water from the wells of salvation, and in the parallel they declare His doings among the peoples.


Verse 1-2

‘And in that day you will say,

I will give thanks to you, O Yahweh,

For although you were angry with me,

Your anger is turned away,

And you comfort me.

Behold, God is my salvation,

I will trust and will not be afraid,

For Yah Yahweh is my strength and my song,

And he is become my salvation.’

The hymn is first of all a song of thanksgiving that Yahweh’s anger has been turned away from them, even though they recognise that they have deserved it. Thus instead of visiting them in anger and judgment as they deserved He has visited them in comfort and strengthening. That indeed is why they, those who are left, are now in a position to sing the hymn. But note that the hymn is in the singular. Each one is able to echo the sentiments behind the words. It is an individual experience for them all.

It then goes on to declare that their whole confidence is in God. The God Who should have been the source of their punishment has instead been the source of their deliverance. It is to Him that they owe everything. And because of this they know that they can rest on Him in total confidence, and not be afraid. Indeed ‘Yah Yahweh’ has been, and is, their strength and their song, even in the midst of trial. But now He has also become their deliverance.

These last phrases come from Exodus 15:2. Thus they are related to the Exodus deliverance, re-emphasising that Isaiah sees their future deliverance as being a new Exodus.

Yah Yahweh is a dual repetition of the Name Yahweh. Yah is the shortened form often found in names (compare also Hallel-u-Yah - ‘praise to Yahweh’), and is found in Exodus 15:2. Thus here there is especial stress on the covenant relationship and on the uniqueness of their God, coming from hearts full of praise and worship.


Verse 3

‘Therefore with joy will you draw water out of the wells of salvation.’

Isaiah adds his comment to the song, and speaks to all. ‘You’ is here in the plural. Because of their wonderful deliverance they can all come continually to draw water from the wells of salvation. The spring-fed well was the basis of life for the Israelites. It was alongside wells that they built their cities. From wells they irrigated their crops. And now their saving God has provided a continual spring, welling up abundantly, from which to finalise what He has begun, so that as they live day by day with God they can continue drinking from the abundance of that spring (compare John 4:13-14).


Verses 4-6

‘And in that day you will say,

Give thanks to Yahweh,

Call on his name,

Declare his doings among the peoples,

Make mention that his name is exalted.’

Sing to Yahweh, for he has done excellent things,

Let this be known in all the earth.

Cry aloud, and shout, you inhabitant of Zion,

For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of you.’

The first part of the song looked at themselves, now they look out so that the world might praise Him. They point to His activity, and all that He has done, and cry out that it should be publicised among the nations, so that His name might be exalted by all men.

‘Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name.’ This parallels ‘sing to Yahweh’. Thus it is a calling of gratitude, worship and praise, to be followed by a declaration of all that God has done so that the whole world might know of His doings.

And lastly he calls on Israel/Judah, the inhabitant of Zion, to fulfil their function, and like a town crier, shout out about their God, because of the greatness of the One Who is among them, ‘the Holy One of Israel.’

So Isaiah ends this section with ‘the Holy One of Israel’ resident among His made-holy people. All that chapters 6-11 have led up to is summarised in this. God’s triumph and purpose is complete.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 12:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/isaiah-12.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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