ISAIAH

Finger-pointing


Finger-pointing (58:9) was a very serious gesture that had several potentially negative meanings. It could be taken as an official accusation against someone or could mean that the person was the subject of gossip (Prov. 6:12–13).

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Keeping the Sabbath


Keeping the Sabbath was an important expression of faith for Israelites (56:2). All of life was organized around the weekly Sabbath. It also set them apart from the surrounding nations, none of whom kept the seventh day of the week as a holy day.

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Enlarging the tent


Enlarging the tent. Tents were assembled from strips of goat hair about a yard wide. As the family grew, more strips of goat hair would be sewn onto the tent to make more room. Like an expanding tent, Israel would go from desolate exile to becoming increasingly great among the nations of the earth (54:2).

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The feet of him who brings good news


In Isaiah’s time, the feet of him who brings good news referred to a messenger announcing a great deed, usually a military victory. Paul quotes 52:7 in Rom. 10:15, as he urges believers to spread the good news of salvation in Christ, freely available for all peoples around the globe. The word “gospel” means “good […]

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Head of the street


The head of the street (51:20) referred to prominent corners or intersections within a city. Few cities were laid out according to a specific plan. Most had buildings scattered randomly, with narrow streets and dead-end alleys.16

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A mouth like a sharp sword


A mouth like a sharp sword. The Bible often describes either the mouth or words coming from the mouth as a sword (49:2). One Hebrew word for mouth actually means “edge,” as in “edge of a sword.” It is certainly an accurate picture of the power of words, for good or ill (James 3:1–12).

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Pass through the rivers


To pass through the rivers (47:2) would have been humiliating for most people of Isaiah’s day. Since there were few bridges, people had to find shallow places, called fords, when crossing a river. It was the duty of slaves to carry their masters across.

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