The Future Glory of Tziyon ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 54:1-8

In my last post, I  recapped both the Characteristics and the Accomplishments of the Suffering Servant in Yesha’yahu53. In this post, we move forward to learn about The Future Glory of Tziyon ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 54:1-8. Don’t -worry; this is only a two-part series. I’m trying to keep the posts on a single page.

After the sorrow of chapter 53 comes the singing of chapter 54.

1 “Sing, barren woman who has never had a child! Burst into song, shout for joy, you who have never been in labor! For the deserted wife will have more children than the woman who is living with her husband,” says Adonai.

A barren woman was often scorned in the ancient Near East and sometimes replaced by a secondary wife. With no sons to care for her in her old age, she was particularly vulnerable. Thus, barrenness is a frequent image of loneliness and helplessness. In this verse, Yerushalayim is depicted as a barren woman who will have a child (like Sarah, Rachel, or Hannah). Indeed, she will have many children. Thus, her sadness will turn to joy (see Psalm 113:9).

2 Enlarge the space for your tent, extend the curtains of your dwelling; do not hold back, lengthen your cords, make your tent pegs firm.

Tziyon is seen here with the patriarchal image of the tent. As a mother who has been blessed with many children, Tziyon will need a spacious tent. The tents were made of hand-woven, three-feet-wide strips of dark goats’ hair. When more family members needed to be accommodated, additional pieces could be sewn on. The cords that stretched from center poles to corner poles would have to be longer and tent pegs made of stronger, thicker wood to hold the weight.

3 For you will spread out to the right and the left, your descendants will possess the nations and inhabit the desolated cities.4 Don’t be afraid, for you won’t be ashamed; don’t be discouraged, for you won’t be disgraced. You will forget the shame of your youth, no longer remember the dishonor of being widowed.

The metaphor here in verse 4 is clarified in verse 6. A woman who was unable to bear children was believed to be under the punishment of a deity, incapable of serving the function for which she was married and therefore liable to be rejected and abandoned by her husband. The word translated youth here refers to one who has not borne a child. Her shame is her barrenness. She is a widow because her husband has abandoned her (as most marriage contracts allowed) and therefore is the object of reproach with little hope of remarrying. She is thus stripped of short-term support by a husband and the support in her old age that could be expected from children. [1]

5 For your husband is your Maker, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His name. The Holy One of Isra’el is your Redeemer. He will be called the God of all the earth. 

The prophecy tells the widow Isra’el not to be afraid because Adonai-Tzva’ot has married her. She has gone from nothing to everything, as the list of divine names makes clear.

6 For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken; “A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,” says your God. 7 “Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion, I am taking you back. 8 I was angry for a moment and hid My face from you, but with everlasting grace, I will have compassion on you,” says Adonai your Redeemer.

The metaphor changes in these verses. Isra’el is no longer a widow; she is a divorcee. Adonai, her husband, has abandoned her, but now He will take her back. The relationship between Adonai and Isra’el as described here is like the relationship between Hosea and Gomer (see Hosea 1; 3) that typifies Isra’el’s relationship with Adonai. He rejected Isra’el because of her sin (in a surge of anger), but now He takes her back with everlasting covenant love.

So, from the eternal perspective, the distance between Adonai and Isra’el was short-lived. The I am taking you back is also addressed by Kefa and James.

Moreover, dear friends, do not ignore this: with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day ~ 2 Peter 3:8 (CJB)

What we’re going through presently is just for a little moment in light of eternity. Maybe you had a bad day today or a bad life so far. But really, it’s just for a small moment because James says you don’t even know if you will be alive tomorrow! For all you are is a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears. ~ James 4:14 (CJB) For a small moment you’re experiencing difficulties, but Adonai’s kindness will last through eternity.

In my next post, we complete our journey to learn about The Future Glory of Tziyon ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 54:9-17.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

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