Based upon Jewish Halakhah according to the Shemoneh Esrei also known as the Amidah, the belief in the coming redemption of God and in His Messiah is required to be rightly regarded as a Jew! The twelfth principle of Maimonides states that one must believe in the coming of the Messiah and we are to wait for Him each day. Anyone who rejects this belief is considered a heretic. The Messiah of God is the hope of God and His deliverance from the enemy. Here Isaiah proclaims the hope of God, how our true hope is in the Lord and in His deliverer. We note the unconditional love of God, how trusting in the things of this world (Egypt) cannot help, and how the Lord God will help us even though we have sinned in refusing to trust in Him. We have to wait upon the Lord for His timing, and this is the point and goal of our relationship with God, that we wait and discover what it means to trust in the truth of God. Yeshua explained what it meant to trust in the Lord God our Father in heaven saying the following:
17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (KJV 3 αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα* ⸀γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ⸁ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν* Χριστόν⸆.)
וְאֵלֶּה הֵם חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃ שֶׁיַכִּירוּ אוֹתְךָ, אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱמֶת לְבַדּוֹ, וְאֶת אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַחְתָּ אֶת יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ.
We see here in John 17:3 that knowing God, truly knowing God is life eternal, and this is coupled to knowing the salvation (יֵשׁוּעַ, Ἰησοῦν) of God and the Messiah (הַמָּשִׁיחַ, Χριστόν) of God. Knowing God in this way means that one truly understands who He is, His character, through the Messiah who revealed these things to us. Remember how Moshe revealed God our Father to us according to the Torah. Yeshua also reveals our Father in heaven to us in the NT text by living his life according to the Torah. We note that Isaiah provides the announcement of hope prior to the help of God coming. This is the nature of being a prophet of God. The interesting point is that it is the mercy of God which leads us to repent and turn from sin. The point is that we are attracted to the Lord due to His love and mercy and so our repentance is due to our wanting to draw near, and not simply by reason of avoidance of hell. Living life with its difficulties causes us to grow, mature, and be patient, all of which leads to our being made in the likeness of God through showing mercy and love towards others just as God had done for us. Paul describes these things saying the following according to Ephesians 4:20-24.
4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (KJV 20 Ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν, 21 εἴ γε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε,* καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ,* 22 ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν φθειρόμενον κατὰ ⸂τὰς ἐπιθυμίας⸃ τῆς ἀπάτης,* 23 ⸀ἀνανεοῦσθαι δὲ ⸆ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν* 24 καὶ ⸀ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι ⸂τῆς ἀληθείας⸃.*)
Notice how being instructed in the Messiah leads to turning from sin, turning from the corrupted ways of the past and deceitful lusts, and being renewed in the spirit and in our minds to walk in God’s righteousness and holiness. It is also important to note that there something being created in us that is new! These are important concepts. In the Tanakh, for example, in the book of Joshua we read how the people obeyed God while the generation of people who went through the wilderness were alive. Joshua warns the people saying the following just before his death:
ספר יהושע פרק כג
ו וַחֲזַקְתֶּם מְאֹד לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשֹוֹת אֵת כָּל-הַכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה לְבִלְתִּי סוּר מִמֶּנּוּ יָמִין וּשְֹמֹאול: ז לְבִלְתִּי-בוֹא בַּגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה הַנִּשְׁאָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אִתְּכֶם וּבְשֵׁם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם לֹא-תַזְכִּירוּ וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּיעוּ וְלֹא תַעַבְדוּם וְלֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לָהֶם:
23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: (KJV)
Joshua tells the people to be courageous (וַחֲזַקְתֶּם מְאֹד, be very strong) and gives us the concept of staying on the narrow path saying לְבִלְתִּי סוּר מִמֶּנּוּ יָמִין וּשְֹמֹאול (do not turn to right or the left). Joshua warns to not seek to walk in the way of the nations, and to not even mention the names of their gods, to swear by them, serve, or worship them. (Joshua is quoting Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:14) Yeshua spoke of these things in the following way according to Matthew 7:12-20.
7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (KJV *12 Πάντα °οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι,* οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς· οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται. *13 Εἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης·* ⸀ὅτι πλατεῖα ⸋ἡ πύλη⸌ καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν καὶ πολλοί °εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι διʼ αὐτῆς· 14 ⸀τί στενὴ ἡ πύλη καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωὴν καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν.* *15 Προσέχετε ⸆ ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν,* οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων, ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες.* 16 ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς.* μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν ⸀σταφυλὰς ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα; *17 Οὕτως πᾶν δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς ⸉καλοὺς ποιεῖ⸊,* τὸ δὲ σαπρὸν δένδρον καρποὺς πονηροὺς ποιεῖ. 18 οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ⸀ποιεῖν οὐδὲ δένδρον σαπρὸν καρποὺς καλοὺς ⸁ποιεῖν.* 19 πᾶν ⸆ δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.* 20 ἄρα γε ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς.*)
Yeshua speaks prior to this of good and bad deeds, that even the unrighteous nations know how to give good gifts to others. Yeshua then speaks of how to treat others, to do unto others as we would have done unto us. He then speaks of the wide and narrow gate. The idea here is that walking the path that leads to destruction is easy and the one that leads to life is difficult. False teachers and prophets will lead people down the path of destruction, and the analogy of the tree that bears good fruit where the one that does not bear fruit is cut and burned as firewood. These words are reminiscent of Joshua’s words לְבִלְתִּי-בוֹא בַּגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה הַנִּשְׁאָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אִתְּכֶם וּבְשֵׁם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם לֹא-תַזְכִּירוּ וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּיעוּ וְלֹא תַעַבְדוּם וְלֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לָהֶם Joshua 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: (KJV) Note how Joshua says לְבִלְתִּי-בוֹא בַּגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה הַנִּשְׁאָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אִתְּכֶם “do not come into the nations and remain in or among them.” This is very important to remember, since the ways of the nations are theft, immoral, unrighteousness, and we are told וּבְשֵׁם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם לֹא-תַזְכִּירוּ “not to remember the name of their gods” which leads to one forgetting the Lord God and His holy ways! The nations function exactly in this way and is what we see in the modern liberal ideologies, woke, gender confused LGBTQ that destroys lives and families today! We can easily see how the Scriptures, the Torah, the Neviim, Ketuvim, and NT text are all relevant for us today for teaching and instruction in truth. This is what Paul meant when he said 2 Timothy 3:16–17 saying 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (KJV) Paul writes that God’s Word produces something in our lives, good fruit, which are מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים “good works.” These things reveal to us the hope of God, that He has preserved His words for us so that we can know without a doubt what He wants in our lives. The Scriptures reveal how the Lord brings His deliverer over and over again throughout history, and how in the NT text all of these deliverers are types and shadows of HaMashiakh “The Messiah” Yeshua who come to save us from our sins and who showed us the way, how-to walk-in God’s holy ways and why it is so important for us to remember the Word of God and apply it to our lives! The purpose is for truth, justice, righteousness, and holiness, for a people who are called to be the people of God!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:5.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ה כְּצִפֳּרִים עָפוֹת כֵּן יָגֵן יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עַל-יְרוּשָׁלָם גָּנוֹן וְהִצִּיל פָּסוֹחַ וְהִמְלִיט:
Isaiah 31:5 states, “As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; Defending also he will deliver it; And passing over he will preserve it. (כְּצִפֳּרִים עָפוֹת כֵּן יָגֵן יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עַל-יְרוּשָׁלָם גָּנוֹן וְהִצִּיל פָּסוֹחַ וְהִמְלִיט)” This is an interesting verse, and it reminds me of something from my childhood. I grew up in Hartville Ohio and one of my chores was to cut the grass in a large yard (3.5 acres) and in the yard there were birds that are called “killdeer.” So, these birds would build their nest in our yard, and I had to cut the grass and so I avoided the nests while mowing the grass. What is interesting is that there were times when the birds remained on the next to protect their eggs while I went around them with the riding mower. There were other times when the bird would go off of the nest and pretend to be injured in the hopes that I would go after her rather than her eggs. These things demonstrate how the mother bird did the best she could to defend her young, to protect her babies when they were defenseless. This is the kind of imagery that we are getting here in Isaiah 31:5.
Isaiah 31:5 compares God to a mother bird which flies back and forth over her next to distract predators when a predator is near, or to distract the enemy and even as the killdeer pretended to be hurt offering herself as a victim for the sake of her babies. This is the idea of sacrificial love, and we know the NT parallel of what Yeshua has done on our behalf, laying down His life for ours for the forgiveness of sins! What we see is how Isaiah is presenting another side of who God is and the kind of relationship that He has and wants for His people. Our God is personally attached to us for our protection, He will defend us, He will take care of us, all we need to do is trust in Him! This idea of passing over the city, or over Judah, is analogous to the people being in the shadow of the Most High God meaning that they are under His protection!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:6-7.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ו שׁוּבוּ לַאֲשֶׁר הֶעְמִיקוּ סָרָה בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: ז כִּי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִמְאָסוּן אִישׁ אֱלִילֵי כַסְפּוֹ וֶאֱלִילֵי זְהָבוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ לָכֶם יְדֵיכֶם חֵטְא:
Isaiah 31:6 states, “Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. (שׁוּבוּ לַאֲשֶׁר הֶעְמִיקוּ סָרָה בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל)” Isaiah 31:7 “For in that day every man shall cast away His idols of silver, and his idols of gold, Which your own hands have made unto you for a sin. (כִּי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִמְאָסוּן אִישׁ אֱלִילֵי כַסְפּוֹ וֶאֱלִילֵי זְהָבוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ לָכֶם יְדֵיכֶם חֵטְא)” Isaiah lays out exactly what was going on, the children of Israel rebelled against God by turning to idols, something they have made with their own hands (אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ לָכֶם יְדֵיכֶם). We notice how these men who have trusted in idols have a revelation of God, they recognize what is happening to them is due to their sins, and so they renounce the sins and their idols which they have made. They recognize that their idols are not saving them, and so this calls into question the efficacy of worshiping wood and stone, silver and gold, as opposed to seeking the God who has such great love for us! This love of God causes us to turn back to the God of Israel and His Messiah and reject idolatry! The practical aspect also draws us back to the Lord because the Lord God Almighty He answers us as compared to the idols of wood, stone, and wealth. A text comparison reveals the following concerning these things:
The LXX translates saying the following, 6 ἐπιστράφητε, οἱ τὴν βαθεῖαν βουλὴν βουλευόμενοι καὶ ἄνομον. 7 ὅτι τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἀπαρνήσονται οἱ ἄνθρωποι τὰ χειροποίητα αὐτῶν τὰ ἀργυρᾶ καὶ τὰ χρυσᾶ, ἃ ἐποίησαν αἱ χεῖρες αὐτῶν. 6 Turn, you who are planning a deep and lawless plan, O sons of Israel, 7 because on that day, the people will disown their silver handiworks and golden artificial gods that their hands made. (LES) We note that lawlessness is the act of disobeying God’s commands, looking forward to sin just as the LXX writes “planning a deep and lawless plan.” The revelation of God should lead to turning from these things, and producing a deep sorrow due to sin. Sorrow leads to Teshuvah and turning to the Lord and His ways. The TgJ translates saying the following, תוּבוּ לְאֹורָיתָא אְרֵי אַסגִיתוּן לְמִחטֵי בְנֵי יִשרָאֵל׃ אְרֵי בְעִדָנָא הַהוּא יְרַחְקוּן גְבַר טָעְוָת כַספְהֹון וְטָעְוָת דַהבְהֹון דַעְבַדָא לְכֹון יְדֵיכֹון חֹובָא׃ 6 Return to the law; for you have multiplied sin, O sons of Israel! 7 At that time each man shall abhor the idols of their silver and the idols of their gold, which your hands have made for you for a god. (TgJ) The rabbis translate Isaiah’s words in the Targum saying that returning to the Torah is absolutely necessary since this is the place that causes us to understand what it means to sin (by definition) that leads to seeking the Mashiach of God! When one turns to the Torah of God, our sins then testify against us in our hearts to convict us of our sinful ways so that we will turn from them. This is how Isaiah describes sin in our lives according to Isaiah 59:12.
ספר ישעיה פרק נט
יב כִּי-רַבּוּ פְשָׁעֵינוּ נֶגְדֶּךָ וְחַטֹּאותֵינוּ עָנְתָה בָּנוּ כִּי-פְשָׁעֵינוּ אִתָּנוּ וַעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ יְדַעֲנוּם:
59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, And our sins testify against us: For our transgressions are with us; And as for our iniquities, we know them; (KJV 1900)
This is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to cause a great sorrow in our hearts, this is what it means that the spirit convicts and the presence of God in our lives convinces us to return to His ways and lead us to Teshuvah (Repentance) and seeking His Mashiach. Paul spoke of these things in Galatians 3:23-24 when he said, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified by faith.” The correct assessment here in Galatians is that the Torah leads one to God’s Messiah Yeshua. This occurs through what Isaiah is saying here, when we study God’s word our sins are pointed out and so our sins testify inside of us of our having disobeyed God. This again leads to Teshuvah. The revelation of God’s Word what the Torah is pointing out for us is that we trust in God in heaven for the eternal redemption that He provides through His Son Yeshua which is what is meant by Paul saying in Romans that the outcome of the Torah is the Messiah. (Romans 10:4) The classical interpretation of Galatians 3:23-24 is that one kept the Torah up until the arrival of the Messiah, and that the Torah was only temporary and that we only need faith in the Messiah. What this theology does is create a people of lawlessness, and a people who are never told about the consequences / judgment of sin that is pronounced upon sinners like what we read in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28. The Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings (תנ’’ך) lays out God’s standard of holiness, righteousness, moral living, and proper conduct. The point is that the Torah does not pass away, and Paul is not saying that it has passed away upon the arrival of the Messiah. We note that the work of Yeshua the Messiah here provides freedom and forgiveness, victory and overcoming, and those who believe in Him have forgiveness, the indwelling presence of God, and the power to overcome sin in this world. Those who do not recognize and believe in Yeshua, then His redemptive work is ineffectual for them and such people remain in their sin and under the judgments that are laid out in the Torah. This is why Paul phrases these things in Galatians as being either “under law” or “not under law” from the sense of being judged guilty according to the Torah because of the unrepentant life and failing to believe upon the redemption that God has provided! The phrases “under law” or “not under law” can become quite confusing for those who do not study these things very closely! The point is the symbolic imagery that Paul is using saying that being “under sin” and “under the law” when coupled together means that when one is living in sin one is under the law or being made subject to the Torah penalties which are listed in Devarim / Deuteronomy. This means that the law (Torah) has not passed away but continues to function as a standard for righteousness, holiness, moral living, and the conduct of life that God wants for each of us. Modern theologies confuse these things, and the reason confusion enters is because largely those who developed these theologies are a non-Jewish population! What these things speak to is how faith in Yeshua the Messiah should drastically transform us and our behavior. Isaiah speaks of those who are God’s people deepening their rebellion to turn away, to walk in a different direction, in their own ways, to intentionally turn aside from following God, walking with God, and doing so causing the judgment of the Torah to fall upon them. We note that intentional and unrepentant sin leads to these things, and the NT text also speaks to these things, all one has to do is simply read the epistles of John and Paul’s letters while keeping these things in mind. The Torah leads to our understanding of the helplessness of our own ways, and how idols are useless, and how God’s grace and mercy is the only alternative, the only option for true peace and life! One of the most significant aspects of our lives is that we continue in the Torah for the purpose of recognizing the idols that we have in our lives, and to turn from them, and to walk in God’s ways to bear His testimonies to bring glory to His name! This came by the mercy of God according to the prophecy of Isaiah here in Isaiah 31. Today it is that same mercy and grace of God that causes us to turn from our sins and seek the God of Israel and His Messiah for the redemption and salvation that has been promised according to the Scriptures. Note that this is all about trusting in God and living our lives in hope, trust, and faith, and remaining faithful.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:8-9.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ח וְנָפַל אַשּׁוּר בְּחֶרֶב לֹא-אִישׁ וְחֶרֶב לֹא-אָדָם תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ וְנָס לוֹ מִפְּנֵי-חֶרֶב וּבַחוּרָיו לָמַס יִהְיוּ: ט וְסַלְעוֹ מִמָּגוֹר יַעֲבוֹר וְחַתּוּ מִנֵּס שָֹרָיו נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-אוּר לוֹ בְּצִיּוֹן וְתַנּוּר לוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלָם:
Isaiah 31:8 states, “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; And the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: But he shall flee from the sword, And his young men shall be discomfited. (וְנָפַל אַשּׁוּר בְּחֶרֶב לֹא-אִישׁ וְחֶרֶב לֹא-אָדָם תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ וְנָס לוֹ מִפְּנֵי-חֶרֶב וּבַחוּרָיו לָמַס יִהְיוּ)” Isaiah 31:9 “And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, And his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, Saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, And his furnace in Jerusalem. (וְסַלְעוֹ מִמָּגוֹר יַעֲבוֹר וְחַתּוּ מִנֵּס שָֹרָיו נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-אוּר לוֹ בְּצִיּוֹן וְתַנּוּר לוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלָם)” Isaiah brings up the Assyrian, how Assyria will be devastated not by the hand of man but by the hand of God. This is what is meant by בְּחֶרֶב לֹא-אִישׁ וְחֶרֶב לֹא-אָדָם תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ “by the sword not of man, and the sword not of man will consume them.” There is a biblical proof for this happening, when God struck Sennacherib’s army where there were so many dead in the camp the next morning that the Assyrian army withdrew from Jerusalem. The point is to trust in the Lord because He is more powerful to overcome any army or enemy that comes against us. A text comparison in the LXX and TgJ reveals the following:
The LXX translates saying, 8 καὶ πεσεῖται Ασσουρ, οὐ μάχαιρα ἀνδρὸς οὐδὲ μάχαιρα ἀνθρώπου καταφάγεται αὐτόν, καὶ φεύξεται οὐκ ἀπὸ προσώπου μαχαίρας, οἱ δὲ νεανίσκοι ἔσονται εἰς ἥττημα, 9 πέτρᾳ γὰρ περιλημφθήσονται ὡς χάρακι καὶ ἡττηθήσονται, ὁ δὲ φεύγων ἁλώσεται. Τάδε λέγει κύριος Μακάριος ὃς ἔχει ἐν Σιων σπέρμα καὶ οἰκείους ἐν Ιερουσαλημ. 8 And Assyria will fall; no man’s sword or person’s sword will devour him, and he will not flee from the face of a sword, but the young men will be a loss. 9 For they will be encompassed by a rock, as if by an entrenched camp, and they will be defeated, and the one who flees will be captured. This is what the Lord says: “Blessed is he who has seed in Zion and relatives in Jerusalem.” (LES) The idea here is of the Rock, the foundation stone upon which we stand, this is the Lord. This rock will encompass the enemy, and none will escape. The TgJ translates saying the following, וְיִפֹול אַתוּרָאָה בַחְרַב לָא אְנָש וַחְרַב לָא אְנָש תְשֵיצֵינֵיה וְיִערֹוק לֵיה מִן קֳדָם דְקָטְלִין בְחַרבָא וְגִיבָרֵיהֹון לִתבַר יְהֹון׃ וְשִלטֹונֹוהִי מִן קֳדָם דַחלָא יִעדֹון וְיִתַברוּן מִן קֳדָם נִיסָא רַברְבֹוהִי אְמַר יוי דְזֵיהֹור לֵיה בְצִיֹון לְעָבְדֵי אֹורָיתֵיה וְתַנוּר בָעַר לֵיה דְאִישָא בִירוּשלַם לְדַעְבַרוּ עַל מֵימְרֵיה׃ 8 Then shall the Assyrian fall by a sword not of man; and the sword not of a man shall destroy him: and he shall betake himself to flight as from before those who slay with the sword, and his heroes shall be for destruction. 9 And his princes shall flee through fear, they shall move away; and his princes shall be broken on account of the miracle, saith the Lord, whose splendour is in Zion to them who obey the law, and whose burning furnace of fire is in Jerusalem for them who transgress His word. (TgJ) We note how the TgJ speaks plainly what is taking place, the princes and the men of war flee the destruction that comes because they have transgressed the Word of God. This is very interesting since transgression is sin, and sin leads to the judgment that is pronounced in the Torah. When one lives in sin, is unrepentant, and does not seek God and His Messiah Yeshua, this judgment remains. The basic concept here is that when Judah turns from sin and destroys her idols, then the enemy will flee the hand of God’s wrath. What would happen if we turned from sin and destroy our idols and turn to God and His holy ways today? The enemy will flee the hand of God’s wrath! Isaiah’s statement בְּחֶרֶב לֹא-אִישׁ וְחֶרֶב לֹא-אָדָם תֹּאכְלֶנּוּ “by the sword not of man, and the sword not of man will consume them” speaks to this concept of God delivering one to destruction due to their sins. This is divine in nature; God knows our hearts and our motivations. We also note how when we take this method of interpreting the Scriptures, we get all of the Scriptures as applicable for our lives today, not just the NT only as many claim. When people believe they can save themselves, they dethrone God in their lives and doom themselves (Philippians 3:7), this is the entire argument against suicide since it is the action of dethroning God, not trusting in Him, and taking actions in our own hands, the outcome of those who do these things are what Isaiah is speaking about and demonstrates that heaven is not the reward for suicide. This is a pretty heavy conclusion, but it is consistent with the message that Isaiah is giving us here regarding these things. Isaiah says נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-אוּר לוֹ בְּצִיּוֹן וְתַנּוּר לוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלָם “Saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, And his furnace in Jerusalem.” This speaks of the place where God’s light shines forth, the light of God (אוּר) translated as “fire” or “flame” is descriptive of what happens when we receive His presence in our lives, we are set on fire for Him and for truth! The point of this is how God empowers us to be overcomers, such that it does not matter what comes against us, we will remain true to the faith. Even if all the powers of this world come against us, the Lord will give us the ability to stand and remain faithful and have confidence that the Lord He is sovereign and in control. This light and flame denote God’s holiness, sacredness, and His destructive power. Isaiah says that the Lord God is over Jerusalem having special concern for this place and its people. This is in fact true! In addition, He has great concern for all of His children, all of those who place their faith in Yeshua and seek to walk in God’s holy ways. We are told in the NT commentary that God has invested special interest in us, we are special and significant to Him on an individual basis as holy, sanctified, dwelling places of God’s presence. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore it is a valuable resource for our continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לא:ה-ט
ה כְעֹופָא דְטָאֵיס כֵין תִתגְלֵי גְבוּרְתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות עַל יְרוּשלַם יַגֵין וִישֵיזֵיב יַצִיל וְיַעדֵי׃ ו תוּבוּ לְאֹורָיתָא אְרֵי אַסגִיתוּן לְמִחטֵי בְנֵי יִשרָאֵל׃ ז אְרֵי בְעִדָנָא הַהוּא יְרַחְקוּן גְבַר טָעְוָת כַספְהֹון וְטָעְוָת דַהבְהֹון דַעְבַדָא לְכֹון יְדֵיכֹון חֹובָא׃ ח וְיִפֹול אַתוּרָאָה בַחְרַב לָא אְנָש וַחְרַב לָא אְנָש תְשֵיצֵינֵיה וְיִערֹוק לֵיה מִן קֳדָם דְקָטְלִין בְחַרבָא וְגִיבָרֵיהֹון לִתבַר יְהֹון׃ ט וְשִלטֹונֹוהִי מִן קֳדָם דַחלָא יִעדֹון וְיִתַברוּן מִן קֳדָם נִיסָא רַברְבֹוהִי אְמַר יוי דְזֵיהֹור לֵיה בְצִיֹון לְעָבְדֵי אֹורָיתֵיה וְתַנוּר בָעַר לֵיה דְאִישָא בִירוּשלַם לְדַעְבַרוּ עַל מֵימְרֵיה׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 31:5-9
31:5 As a bird by flying, so the power of the Lord of hosts shall be revealed; He shall protect, He shall deliver, He shall save, and He shall make to pass away. 31:6 Return to the law; for you have multiplied sin, O sons of Israel! 31:7 At that time each man shall abhor the idols of their silver and the idols of their gold, which your hands have made for you for a god. 31:8 Then shall the Assyrian fall by a sword not of man; and the sword not of a man shall destroy him: and he shall betake himself to flight as from before those who slay with the sword, and his heroes shall be for destruction. 31:9 And his princes shall flee through fear, they shall move away; and his princes shall be broken on account of the miracle, saith the Lord, whose splendor is in Zion to them who obey the law, and whose burning furnace of fire is in Jerusalem for them who transgress His word. (TgJ)
The Targum Jonathan states, ה כְעֹופָא דְטָאֵיס כֵין תִתגְלֵי גְבוּרְתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות עַל יְרוּשלַם יַגֵין וִישֵיזֵיב יַצִיל וְיַעדֵי׃ 31:5 As a bird by flying, so the power of the Lord of hosts shall be revealed; He shall protect, He shall deliver, He shall save, and He shall make to pass away. (TgJ) The TgJ draws on the concept of a bird passing over to draw in this idea of the mother bird protecting its young. Rashi draws in the concept of passing over פָּסוֹחַ as an expression of sparing the people which has its parallel in the Passover (פסח) from a Torah context.
Rashi on Isaiah 31,5 Part 1-2
פסוח. דילוג ויש עוד לפותרו לשון חיים: passing over (פָּסוֹחַ) passing over. Alternatively, it may be interpreted as an expression of sparing.
והמליט. יוציא את ישראל מן הצרה ל’ המלטה אישקמוציי”ר בלע”ז: and rescuing He will extricate Israel from the strait. This is an expression of rescue (esmoucer in O. F.).
Rashi states that what Isaiah is saying here is an expression of sparing Jerusalem and Judah. He also states that this is how God will rescue His people. The Torah context to the Passover is quite interesting when we look at Shemot / Exodus 12:23 in regard to the Passover.
ספר שמות פרק יב
כג וְעָבַר יְהוָֹה לִנְגֹּף אֶת-מִצְרַיִם וְרָאָה אֶת-הַדָּם עַל-הַמַּשְׁקוֹף וְעַל שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת וּפָסַח יְהוָֹה עַל-הַפֶּתַח וְלֹא יִתֵּן הַמַּשְׁחִית לָבֹא אֶל-בָּתֵּיכֶם לִנְגֹּף:
Shemot / Exodus 12:23
12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (KJV)
Here the Hebrew text writes using the Qal perfect third person masculine singular verb עָבַר meaning “to pass through” the houses of Egypt and strike them who do not belong to the Lord. (וְעָבַר יְהוָֹה לִנְגֹּף אֶת-מִצְרַיִם) This verse states that the deciding factor is about having faith and being faithful to live for the Lord, to walk in God’s commands, and to have the blood of the lamb protecting us. Moshe writes that the blood of the lamb will cause the Lord to וּפָסַח יְהוָֹה עַל-הַפֶּתַח “pass over the entrance” which suggest that if there is no covenant relationship, the destroyer will come right through the front door of one’s house. We note that being in a covenant relationship with God is very important, because this also protects us from evil spirits. In modern Hebrew the word עוּבָר is used to refer to passing of moving from somewhere. Here עָבַר is used to indicate that the Lord God will move past to strike Egypt, the first born. This same word עָבַר means to cross or transgress. In each of these cases, the passing over of the Lord God from the sense of Isaiah’s context, is for the Lord God protecting His people from the destroyer. When one has the blood of the lamb there is protection, salvation, and redemption. All of these concepts are integrated into the NT text to describe the purpose of God’s Messiah to save, redeem, and deliver! Note again that we do not just receive forgiveness of sins in the Messiah, He also gives us authority over evil spirits to command them to leave and be set free. (Many NT references for this)
Isaiah goes on saying the following in Isaiah 31:6 according to the TgJ, ו תוּבוּ לְאֹורָיתָא אְרֵי אַסגִיתוּן לְמִחטֵי בְנֵי יִשרָאֵל׃ 31:6 Return to the law; for you have multiplied sin, O sons of Israel! (TgJ) The TgJ is straightforward here in directing us what Isaiah is referring to when he says in Isaiah 31:6, “Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. (שׁוּבוּ לַאֲשֶׁר הֶעְמִיקוּ סָרָה בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל)” What does it mean to turn back to Torah? The point the TgJ is making is when one turns to towards the Torah, he or she is returning to the God of Israel. This is synonymous to returning to God’s ways, to turn from sin, and to walk in righteousness and truth. This turning is coupled to recognizing the error of one’s ways, turning from idolatry, and performing Teshuva (Repentance). These things demonstrate the evidence for our faith. So, when one does these things, he or she is demonstrating faithfulness to the covenant relationship that he has in the God of Israel by faith in Yeshua the Messiah! The Jewish commentary Shaarei Teshuvah provides an explanation on repentance and its principles.
Shaarei Teshuvah 1,1 – In explanation of repentance and its principles
Among the good things which God, may He be blessed, has bestowed upon His creations is the path which He prepared for them to ascend from the baseness of their actions, to escape the trap of their inequities, to hold their souls back from destruction and to remove His anger from upon them. Because of His goodness and uprightness, He has taught them and warned them to return to Him when they sin against Him – for He understands their nature, as it is stated (Psalms 25:8), “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He shows sinners the way.” [Even] if they greatly sin and rebel and act like treacherous betrayers – He does not close the doors of repentance to them, as it is stated (Isaiah 31:6), “Return, to Him to whom they have been so shamefully false.” It is [also] stated (Jeremiah 3:22), “Turn back, O rebellious children, I will heal your afflictions.” We are warned about repentance in several places in the Torah. It is explained that repentance is accepted even when the sinner repents because of his many troubles – how much more so [will it be accepted] if he returns because of fear or love of God – as it is stated (Deuteronomy 4:30), “When you are in distress because all these things have befallen you and, in the end, return to the Lord your God and obey Him.” It is explained in the Torah that God will help those who repent beyond what their natural ability would allow; and that He renews a pure spirit within them, to reach great heights in His love – as it is stated (Deuteronomy 30:2), “And you return to the Lord your God, and you and your children heed His command with all your heart and soul, just as I enjoin upon you this day.” Further, it is stated about the body of the matter (Deuteronomy 30:6), “Then the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your offspring,” to acquire love for Him. And the Prophets and Writings constantly speak on the subject of repentance, such that the principles of repentance are all explained in their words, as will be explained.
This commentary speaks to the great mercy of God in His preparing a way to receive forgiveness of sins. Here we read that God prepared a way to ascend from the baseness of one’s actions and escape the trap of iniquity. This concept of the base actions is a reference to behaving as animals. As God’s children we do not behave as animals. This means that we are not acting as if we have no idea what we are doing. (i.e. analogy of the master and his dog.) this is what Peter wrote in His epistle (2 Peter 2:9–19) saying the following:
2 Peter 2:9–19
2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (KJV 9 οἶδεν κύριος εὐσεβεῖς ἐκ ⸀πειρασμοῦ ⸁ῥύεσθαι,* ἀδίκους δὲ εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως κολαζομένους τηρεῖν,* 10 μάλιστα δὲ τοὺς ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἐν ⸂ἐπιθυμίᾳ μιασμοῦ⸃ πορευομένους καὶ κυριότητος καταφρονοῦντας.* τολμηταὶ αὐθάδεις δόξας οὐ τρέμουσιν βλασφημοῦντες, 11 ὅπου ἄγγελοι ⸂ἰσχύϊ καὶ δυνάμει⸃ μείζονες ὄντες οὐ φέρουσιν κατʼ αὐτῶν ♦⸄παρὰ κυρίῳ⸅ βλάσφημον κρίσιν.* 12 Οὗτοι δὲ ὡς ἄλογα ζῷα ⸂γεγεννημένα φυσικὰ⸃ εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθορὰν ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν ⸄καὶ φθαρήσονται⸅* 13 ⸀ἀδικούμενοι μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν,* σπίλοι καὶ μῶμοι ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ⸂ἀπάταις αὐτῶν⸃* συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν,* 14 ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες °μεστοὺς ⸀μοιχαλίδος καὶ ⸁ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας,* δελεάζοντες ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους, καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην πλεονεξίας ἔχοντες, κατάρας τέκνα.* 15 ⸀καταλιπόντες εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν ἐπλανήθησαν ἐξακολουθήσαντες τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ τοῦ ⸁Βοσὸρ ⸂ὃς μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἠγάπησεν⸃,* 16 ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας· ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον ⸂ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ⸃ φθεγξάμενον ἐκώλυσεν τὴν τοῦ προφήτου ⸀παραφρονίαν.* 17 οὗτοί εἰσιν πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι ⸂καὶ ὁμίχλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι⸃ οἷς* °ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους ⸆ τετήρηται.* 18 ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι δελεάζουσιν ἐν* ⸀ἐπιθυμίαις σαρκὸς ⸁ἀσελγείαις τοὺς ⸀1ὄντως ⸀2ἀποφεύγοντας τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους,* 19 ἐλευθερίαν αὐτοῖς ἐπαγγελλόμενοι αὐτοὶ δοῦλοι ⸀ὑπάρχοντες τῆς φθορᾶς· ᾧ γάρ τις ἥττηται,* τούτῳ ⸆ δεδούλωται.*)
Peter describes the “base actions” saying 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; (KJV) Peter states that these people are at the point of no return, and reserved now for destruction. The Torah warns us in multiple places to repent. Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:6 states that the Lord God will circumcise our hearts and the hearts of our children to acquire love for Him. This is an important point since we need the Lord to give us faith, to help us to remain faithful, and to help us to overcome sin, the very thing that draws us back to these base actions, which are synonymous to living like an animal. Repentance is offered to us regardless of where we are and regardless of how much evil we have committed! Do you know that I have seen people on Facebook who make fun of people who believe these things? That we need the Lord God to help us remain faithful, to have love, to do good deeds, etc.? The Torah actually points these facts out in Devarim / Deuteronomy! Maybe one should study the Torah a little bit more as opposed to being so critical? It is important to note what the Torah says to us concerning these things. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:30 we read, “When you are in distress because all these things have befallen you and, in the end, return to the Lord your God and obey Him.” This draws us back to Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1-13 and 28:14-63. This idea of “when these things happen to us” the point of Devarim / Deuteronomy 28 is that we are given physical phenomenon that will help us to know our spiritual state, whether we are living as God wants us to live, or whether there is something He is wanting us to turn from. In addition, Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:1-3 speaks to the Lord God helping us to repent (recognizing the error of our ways) and helping us to turn from sin which is beyond what our natural ability would allow. In addition, the Lord God would renew a pure spirit within us. (see Tehillim / Psalms 51:10) All of these things again demonstrate the love of God. We also see that Rashi agrees with this interpretation saying the following:
Rashi on Isaiah 31,6 Part 1
שובו. למי שהעמקתם מחשבות היאך לסור ממנו וסרתם מעליו עתה שובו אליו: Return To the One about Whom you have thought deeply how to turn away from Him, now return to Him.
This idea of thinking deeply to turn from the Lord and then turning away from this and returning to the Lord, this speaks of a different and renewed spirit that is given only by God from above. The psalmist in Tehillim / Psalms 25:8 states, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He shows sinners the way.” This is the love of God and His faithfulness on our behalf, that the greatness of our sins the Lord still desires for us to return. He does not close the doors of repentance to them, as it is stated in Isaiah 31:6. There are many NT parallels to these things, for example Paul wrote saying in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (CEV) David wrote in Tehillim / Psalms 51 saying “Create me a clean heart, O God; And renew a stedfast spirit within me.” This speaks to what the Rabbis are saying concerning the Lord working in our lives to give us a right spirit within. This again is the mercy of God and demonstrates how consistent the NT text is with the rabbinic commentaries on these topics! When someone states that the rabbinic commentaries and Judaism is contrary to the NT text, he or she is simply expressing their unlearned opinions which have led them to reject Yeshua as the Messiah of God. When we actually take a look at the rabbinic literature and compare it to the NT text, we see so many parallels, and we have many proofs that the disciples, Yeshua, and Paul were not teaching something different. They were simply putting the Torah within its proper context. The proper context is that we utterly trust in the mercy of God to forgive us of our sins. Obeying the commands of God is the outcome of our faith in a covenant relationship, it is our duty to turn from sin and to walk in God’s ways bringing glory to His name, because we love Him both God our Father in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua. The Torah is the context for living our lives, and what we are studying here in Isaiah and elsewhere, always speaks to our trusting in the Lord wholly and completely, and our trust in the Lord should be demonstrated through how we live our lives, not that we trust in our works of righteousness, but that our works of righteousness demonstrate this renewed spirit that God has given us, like the Devarim / Deuteronomy 28 context, the evidence for our faith, the proof that we are trusting in Him, and not in ourselves! These are very important concepts, and the one who turns away from Yeshua to reject Him as the Messiah of God, he is trusting in Himself, as opposed to trusting in the Lord God Almighty who sent His Son to be a ransom for our souls!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:7-8, ז אְרֵי בְעִדָנָא הַהוּא יְרַחְקוּן גְבַר טָעְוָת כַספְהֹון וְטָעְוָת דַהבְהֹון דַעְבַדָא לְכֹון יְדֵיכֹון חֹובָא׃ 31:7 At that time each man shall abhor the idols of their silver and the idols of their gold, which your hands have made for you for a god. ח וְיִפֹול אַתוּרָאָה בַחְרַב לָא אְנָש וַחְרַב לָא אְנָש תְשֵיצֵינֵיה וְיִערֹוק לֵיה מִן קֳדָם דְקָטְלִין בְחַרבָא וְגִיבָרֵיהֹון לִתבַר יְהֹון׃31:8 Then shall the Assyrian fall by a sword not of man; and the sword not of a man shall destroy him: and he shall betake himself to flight as from before those who slay with the sword, and his heroes shall be for destruction. (TgJ) The Lord God reveals Himself through the Scriptures, and that revelation can come only by hearing the Word of God. This is why Paul quotes Isaiah and said what he did according to Romans 10:16–17 saying, 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV 16 Ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ*. Ἠσαΐας γὰρ λέγει· κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; 17 ἄρα ἡ πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ διὰ ῥήματος ⸀Χριστοῦ*.) We note what the Greek text states here, πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ διὰ ῥήματος ⸀Χριστοῦ “faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of the Messiah.” (Isaiah 53:1) When we hear the Word of God we are able to believe, have faith, and then put it into action and be faithful. Paul quotes again from Isaiah saying in Romans 10:20–21 which states, 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (KJV Ἠσαΐας δὲ ἀποτολμᾷ καὶ λέγει· εὑρέθην [ἐν] τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ζητοῦσιν, ἐμφανὴς ἐγενόμην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτῶσιν. πρὸς δὲ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ λέγει· ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἐξεπέτασα τὰς χεῖράς μου πρὸς λαὸν ἀπειθοῦντα καὶ ἀντιλέγοντα.) This concept of “stretching out the hands” is indicative of a loving parent towards His children calling them to listen and hear his voice, to return and to find peace.
Ibn Ezra writes the following concerning these verses.
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 31:8 Part 1-2
ונפל. בחרב לא איש רק ביד המלאך וחרבו השלופה, ואם הוא כדרך משל להבין השומעים: With a sword, not of a mighty man, but with the drawn sword of an angel. The sword is a figurative expression.
ובחוריו. הנמלטים ילקחו בדרך: And his young men that will have escaped shall be discomfited, shall be overtaken on the ways in which they try to flee.
The idea here is of the sword of an angel and of divine judgment and so when judgment comes one can try to flee but it will be no use. Sin follows one wherever one goes, and the outcome is that it is not possible to run from the problems in our lives. The problems need to be solved with the help of the God of Israel. Isaiah seems to compare the differences between those who listen and those who refuse to listen and would rather just run away when He continues saying, ט וְשִלטֹונֹוהִי מִן קֳדָם דַחלָא יִעדֹון וְיִתַברוּן מִן קֳדָם נִיסָא רַברְבֹוהִי אְמַר יוי דְזֵיהֹור לֵיה בְצִיֹון לְעָבְדֵי אֹורָיתֵיה וְתַנוּר בָעַר לֵיה דְאִישָא בִירוּשלַם לְדַעְבַרוּ עַל מֵימְרֵיה׃ 31:9 And his princes shall flee through fear, they shall move away; and his princes shall be broken on account of the miracle, saith the Lord, whose splendor is in Zion to them who obey the law, and whose burning furnace of fire is in Jerusalem for them who transgress His word. (TgJ) The whole idea here of what Paul writes saying πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ διὰ ῥήματος ⸀Χριστοῦ “faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of the Messiah,” is to listen to the voice of God who speaking through his prophet. Those who are willing to listen, they hear the Lord, take to heart their faults, perform Teshuvah, and return to the ways of God. Here Isaiah says according to the TgJ that the splendor of Zion is to those who listen, and the fires of hell are for those who do not! Ein Yaakov goes on saying the following in his commentary.
Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Eiruvin 2:3
(Fol. 19a) R. Jeremiah b. Elazar said further: “Gehenna has three entrances: one in the desert, one in the sea, and one in Jerusalem. In the desert, as it is written, (Num. 16, 33) And they went down, they, and all that appertained to them, alive into the pit. In the sea, as it is written (Jonah 2, 3.) Out of the depth of the grave have I cried, and Thou hast heard my voice. In Jerusalem, as it is written (Is. 31, 9.) Who hath a fire in Zion, and a furnace in Jerusalem.” In the academy of Ishmael it was taught that a fire in Zion refers to Gehenna. And are there no more entrances to Gehenna? Has not R. Muryun, in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi, said, and according to others, Rabba b. Muryun taught, in the school of R. Jochanan b. Zakai: “There are two palm-trees in the valley of Ben Hinnom from which a smoke arises; and this was meant when we are taught that ‘The palm-trees of Mt. Barzel aro properly used [for the Lulab on the Tabernacle festival], and at this place is the gate of Gehenna.’ [Hence there is another gate besides the three previously mentioned.] “It must be the same one that was mentioned as the gate of Jerusalem.”
Ein Yaakov writes about the fires of Hell (Gehenna) and how there are three entrances, and lists one in the desert, one in the sea and one in Jerusalem. Notice how these locations are consistent with one who flees. Suppose that one lives in Jerusalem, and he flees from Jerusalem to the desert or across the sea. It does not matter where one goes, he or she will always be confronted with these truths concerning God’s Word, hearing, listening, and obeying, having faith, turning in teshuvah, and seeking the God of Israel through His deliverer Yeshua the Messiah. It may be possible to go through one’s entire life without considering these things, but when one dies, one will be confronted face to face with the reality of these biblical truths. Both the Talmud Bavli Eruvin 19a and Iben Ezra speak of these fires as being used figuratively which signify the approaching divine punishment. The flame of consuming fire is what happens to the unrepentant sinner who stands before the righteousness of God. The imagery here draws on the idea of one bursting into flames in the presence of God, those who refuse to repent and receive forgiveness of sins. When we consider the words of Paul in this context, coupled with Isaiah, we realize how the Messiah of God is intimately connected to our hearing the truth of God. Again, Romans 10:16–17 says, 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV 16 Ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ*. Ἠσαΐας γὰρ λέγει· κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; 17 ἄρα ἡ πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ διὰ ῥήματος ⸀Χριστοῦ*.) When we consider the Textus Receptus and NA28 of the Greek text we see the following:
|16 αλλ ου παντες υπηκουσαν τω ευαγγελιω ησαιας γαρ λεγει κυριε τις επιστευσεν τη ακοη ημων 17 αρα η πιστις εξ ακοης η δε ακοη δια ρηματος θεου |
Stephen’s 1550 Textus Receptus: With Morphology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002), Romans 10:16–17.
|16 Ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ*. Ἠσαΐας γὰρ λέγει· κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; 17 ἄρα ἡ πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ διὰ ῥήματος ⸀Χριστοῦ*. |
Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), Romans 10:16–17.
What is interesting is comparing and considering why there is a slight change here in the different Greek texts. Note that the NA28 is the most accurate and earliest Greek text while the Textus Receptus is a much later text by ~500 years. We see how the editors and/or copiers changed the text from Χριστοῦ to θεου and so the reason may be how the Messiah is the bearer of God’s Word! So, the point is that we should listen to what Yeshua the Messiah says about the Scriptures and about our Father God in heaven. These things being coupled to the Isaiah text draw in the importance of listening to the Messiah of God, where the fires of Hell are for those who do not listen. These things draw us back to the concepts of what Yeshua did for us on our behalf, cleansing us in heaven, his blood made atonement for our sins, and becoming the children of God through faith. These things lead to our sanctifying our lives here on earth by keeping God’s word, bearing His testimonies to the world, obeying His commandments! It is by the grace and mercy of God that draws us and the presence of God in our lives that empowers us!