Everlasting Salvation for Zion, 1-16Isa 51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
Isa 51:2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.
Isa 51:3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isa 51:4 “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.
Isa 51:5 My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.
Isa 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last for ever, my righteousness will never fail.
Isa 51:7 “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.
Isa 51:8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last for ever, my salvation through all generations.”
Isa 51:9 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through?
As the next verse will make clear, the exodus is being spoken of here.
Awake, as in days gone by – ‘Here is praying indeed, in which God’s great deeds in the past are made the basis of prayerful confidence in his power to act again for his people.’ (EBC)
Rahab was a mythical sea-monster, but here demythologised (Knight). Used here as a nickname for Egypt (as in Isa 30:7).
‘Although not mentioned in any known text outside the Bible, Rahab is comparable to the chaos monster Leviathan, which also takes the form of a twisting serpent (Job 26:12–13; see the comment on 27:1).’ (IVP Background Commentary)
Isa 51:10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?
Isa 51:11 The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isa 51:12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass,
Isa 51:13 that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
Isa 51:14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.
Isa 51:15 For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is his name.
Isa 51:16 I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand—I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath, 17-23Isa 51:17 Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger.
Isa 51:18 Of all the sons she bore there was none to guide her; of all the sons she brought up there was none to take her by the hand.
Isa 51:19 These double calamities have come upon you—who can comfort you?—ruin and destruction, famine and sword—who can console you?
Isa 51:20 Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street, like antelope caught in a net. They are filled with the wrath of the LORD and the rebuke of your God.
Isa 51:21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one, made drunk, but not with wine.
Isa 51:22 This is what your Sovereign LORD says, your God, who defends his people: “See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again.
Isa 51:23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, ‘Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.’ And you made your back like the ground, like a street to be walked over.”