Exaltation of the Afflicted
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,(A)
To proclaim [a]the favorable year of the Lord,
[b]And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,(B)
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [c]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up and restore the former desolations;
And they will renew the ruined cities,
The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.
Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
But you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
People will speak of you as the ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And you will boast of their riches.(C)
Instead of your [former] shame you will have a [d]double portion;
And instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery with [e]a burnt offering.
And I will faithfully reward them,
And make an everlasting covenant with them.
Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge them
That they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has covered me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom puts on a [f]turban,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will [most certainly] cause righteousness and justice and praise
To spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word].
- Isaiah 61:2 The same as a day of salvation (49:8), and the year of my redeemed (63:4).
- Isaiah 61:2 See note Ezek 34:28.
- Isaiah 61:3 In the Hebrew there is a kind of wordplay here as “turban” (Heb pe’er) and dust (epher) have the same consonants and similar vowels.
- Isaiah 61:7 I.e. abundant reward.
- Isaiah 61:8 Another reading is wrongdoing or malice, but by itself either would hardly be an improvement. Some prefer to read with as “and,” which requires the assumption of a scribal error that is possible though not found in existing manuscripts. It would also raise the question of why robbery is singled out among other kinds of wrongdoing. In the Talmud the verse is taken to refer literally to the theft of an animal which the thief intends to offer as a sacrifice. The point is that the offering is unacceptable even though everything actually belongs to God and the thief arguably is only returning to God what is His.
- Isaiah 61:10 Or head wrap.