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Reset Button Jesus via Isaiah is referencing Leviticus 25’s description of the Year of Jubilee.

This is commanded to take place every fiftieth year. During this amazing year, justice and equanimity is supposed to reign. All debts are forgiven; the captives go free; the prisoners are released; and nobody does any work. The Year of Jubilee was designed to be a sort of social reset button. It is a control against the amassing of wealth and power—an acknowledgement of and correction to our tendencies toward corruption. When too much is controlled by too few, it usually turns out very bad for the many. The scope of the promises of Isa 61 is markedly broadened, however, from that of Isa 40. The message is no longer limited to the exiles. The proclamation is addressed both to the people of Israel and through them to the nations. The transformations announced by Isa 61 mark a universal reversal and a manifestation of justice and comfort to all the world. The Good News is directed to the afflicted, to the poor (61:1b). All suffering is reversed; the brokenhearted are bound up; the captives are liberated (61:1c). Time itself is redefined. The year of Jubilee is proclaimed, and the theophanic day of judgment, so life-threatening in Isa 64, now brings comfort to those who mourn (61:2). Even the songs of lament, like the one which ushered in Advent, are now to be clothed in “the mantle of praise.” The people of Israel shall receive a new name, “Oaks of Righteousness, the planting of the LORD.” Here, for the first time, the implication is that the Davidic tree has been cut down. But it grew from mere Jesse in the first place, so there is no reason why it should not do so again. The idea of going behind David to his roots in Jesse to fulfill the promise even points to the possibility of a critique of David himself, whose weaknesses are exposed in Samuel-Kings. It turns out that this development in imagery is a transitional one. While the implications of this promise could have been worked out in terms of the image of the fruitfulness of a tree, verses 2—3a describe the promise according to a different framework, centering on the image of spirit. When Yahweh’s spirit rests on the branch, it bears fruit in the form of capacities to which human beings (including monarchs) generally only pretend. That was true of Assyria’s wisdom and understanding (10:13). It was true earlier of the nations’ counsel (8:10) and of Judah’s power (see 3:25, the word lies behind the reference to “warriors” there). The words counsel and power also evoke the attributes of the Counselor and Mighty God of 9:6. It was true of Judah’s lack of knowledge (5:13) and its misdirected fear (7:4; 8:12—13; 10:24). All these attributes have been referred to as belonging to God and/or as misclaimed by human beings. 11:10— 11:10—16 Another reference to the Root of Jesse facilitates a further transition to a different agenda, namely the restoring of the remnant of Yahweh’s people to its land. As Yahweh raised a banner to summon the nations to punish (5:26), so now the Davidic shoot draws the remnant back, standing as a banner to summon the nations to help their victims go home. They will rally to him or “seek” him. The promise is ironic, for seeking was Judah’s problem on the way to its being reduced to a remnant (8:19; 9:13). They will be drawn to the branch as they will be drawn to Zion (2:2—4), and he will have glory for the nations to recognize (cf. 4:2). Kings are anointed, not prophets (it is not an office in the Heb. Scriptures) 61:1— 61:1—9 The first of the five responses, then, is preaching. Once again the prophet takes up forms of speech as well as actual words from chapters 40—55. The first-person testimony corresponds to 48:16, 49:1—6, and 50:4—9, where it is also “the Lord Yahweh” who speaks (48:16; 50:4,5,7,9). The claim that “the Lord

So despite their reconstitution in Jerusalem. 106:46). brokenhearted. While chapters 56—59 presupposed divisions within the community and the leadership doing well at the expense of ordinary people. and it now illuminates chapter 61 as well (see also 11:1—9). The king’s task was to take action in making decisions that would favor the afflicted and needy. then. the task it implies is indeed the king’s task. 34:18. Anointing suggests commissioning. In Israel and elsewhere. to judge from the verses that follow. and are still shamed by the well-deserved humiliation that had come from Yahweh (v. the people remain poor (see on 29:19).” but these two were not normally associated with each other in the OT. and authorizing. 12. Only in connection with David do the two ideas of anointing and Yahweh’s spirit come closely together (see 1 Sam. the two expressions in verse la have become one and we regularly think of “anointing with the Holy Spirit. crushed in mind and spirit (cf. this prophet reckons to be the very embodiment of that servant vision in 42:1—9. In effect. Anointing is a striking metaphor here. Further. cf. 16. Once again preach good news takes up from chapters 40—55 and suggests that the prophet also reckons to be the fulfillment of the commission and vision of heralds bringing good news to Jerusalem (see 40:9. 3. 2 Sam. Whether we think of the prophet as claiming David’s mantle. 2. The spirit suggests endowing with supernatural power. 57:17—19) and who are metaphorically smeared with the ashes of mourning (y. consecrating. Psalm 72 assumes that the king’s calling involves a particular commitment to the afflicted and the needy (vv. 3:16). chapters 60—62 look on the community as a whole as oppressed and sorrowful. capitalizing “Spirit” risks giving a misleading Like the Poet in 49:1—6 and 50:4—9. 12:7). 49:9). 51:17). 41:27. 58:5. Prophets were not anointed (being a prophet was not an office). captives in their own land (cf. 1 Sam. demoralized. Here the anointed Preacher takes up that commitment. Lam. prisoners (cf. They still live in a devastated city (y. people who grieve the continuing suffering of their city (cf. The Preacher is sent to announce a transformation of all that and thus to bind up the people who are crushed in mind. see on 32:1—8). 60:20. 10:1.g. Ps. this prophet claims to be a David-like figure for the community. in the manner of chapters 40—55. 7).Yahweh’s spirit is on me” recalls the earlier servant passage 42:1 (and as there. 23). This prophet also has a distinctive way of understanding that commission: the LORD has anointed me. This gives us a clue to the sort of ministry the prophet exercises. 4. 4). That is to come about by bringing good news and announcing the coming of freedom (the word is otherwise used only of the freeing of slaves at the sabbath or jubilee year) and release for these people who . anointed (metaphorically) like David and endowed like David. 2 Sam. except in I Kings 19:16. We have noted how Psalm 72 illumines chapter 60. the word poor designates the community as a whole.. people daubed priests and kings with olive oil as part of their consecration to holy office. Ps. The Preacher’s task is to make an announcement to them. 52:7). In Christian thinking. and such daubing became a figure for Yahweh’s commissioning (e.

in Luke 21 Jesus is reversing the significance of the promise. The prophet’s inspiration in v.” or “That is the wrong question. They .are still subject to foreign control(v. There would thus seem to be some arrogance about Jesus’ applying the words to himself (Luke 4:14—29). The parallelism signals the fact that these are two sides of one idea. In other contexts. This is the moment of Yahweh’s favor on one hand and vengeance on the other.. verses 1—3 aroused particular interest among the Qumran community (who applied them to Melchizedek. 61:10— 61:10—11 / The prophet’s second response to the promises of chapter 60 is to praise. runs parallel with vv. God himself says: watch for the fulfillment of the promise! Without cease. We may pray for the sake of God’s name. he has wrapped me in a cloak of saving justice. for he has clothed me in garments of salvation. Jesus’ days of vengeance are ones exacted on his own people.” but “It is not for you to know”(Acts 1:6-7). He is merely one of the ‘watchmen’ on Zion’s walls who look forward to the great Dawn. my soul rejoices in my God.. 62:1— 62:1—5 / The prophet’s third response is a commitment to prayer. Amos did the same thing when he turned the Day of Yahweh from good news to bad news (see Amos 5:18—20). His audience is less pleased with this. 1-3: Jerusalem . Jesus answered not “Never. They are to offer this response before the event actually happens. 10 I exult for joy in Yahweh. like a bride adorned in her jewels. never be silent . but we also pray for Zion/Jerusalem’s sake. the Preacher thus models a response to which the whole people is called. Here it denotes speaking out to Yahweh about the fulfillment of her destiny. for the sake of the people on whose behalf we long to motivate God to act.” but takes up such talk of “days of vengeance” in 21:22 (NIV “time of punishment”). though he combines this commitment with a commitment to outsiders (vv. like a bridegroom wearing his garland. proclaim hope! And while God says this to Jerusalem.. refusing to keep silence out of a concern for Jerusalem-Zion’s righteousness might suggest speaking out to her of her wrongdoing. The next stanza. until. which means her salvation. 1). v 6f. Paradoxically. her “vindication”. I is now found to be a directly appointed divine task. day and night. 11 For as the earth sends up its shoots and a garden makes seeds sprout. 62:6— 62:6—9 / The prophet’s fourth response is to be a watchman. about her tsedaqah. More radically than was the case in Luke 4. as it were. Like 40:3—5. the prophet interrupts Him. to call to these ‘watchmen’. so Lord Yahweh makes saving justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations. 24—27) that corresponds to that in passages such as Isaiah 56:1—8.” Jesus says that even the promise of God’s day of vengeance must be fulfilled. These must come “in fulfillment of all that has been written. In Luke 4 he stops short of the phrase about the “day of vengeance. in accordance with the summons that chapters 40—55 often made to their audience. There would also be good news in Jesus’ declaration that their moment had come. Yahweh will put down the oppressors and punish them.. But when asked when Israel would get its freedom. Jesus commits himself to proclaiming the liberation of the Jewish people from foreign oppressors. In line with the intended relationship between prophet and people. In taking the side of the victims and acting on their behalf. understood as a member of the heavenly cabinet) as well as among other Jews (who usually assumed they were the words of the prophet himself).

” like sentries on the city wall. The command to pass through the gates recalls 48:20 and 52:11. 1. Again. though typically the meaning of the words has changed. In chapters 40—48 and 49—55 the focus was first on the freeing of the deportees and then on the city ‘s being able to receive them: verses 11—12 sum up both aspects of Yahweh’s act of restoration. At the end of his appeal he wrote this: It is very apparent from the Word of God that he often tries the faith and patience of his people. by withholding the mercy sought for a season. The repeated commands recall the very beginning of those chapters and the repetitions in 51:9—52:12. which is then greatly developed in v. 18:1ff. Upon the walls of Jerusalem he has appointed watchmen who will also not be silent day or night. for this summons takes 49:22 into account. as well as the fact that these verses refer to Yahweh in the third person.themselves must never rest. The words that follow suggest that here the command is part of the commission to unnamed construction workers such as were commissioned earlier in 40:3—5. 6 the prophet expands his task by adding helpers to aid him in his avowed mission. And so He must be badgered. Luke 11:5ff. at last prospers those who continue urgently in prayer with all perseverance and “will not let him go except he blesses. They must give God no rest. suggests that the prophet speaks for one last time—on this occasion not in testimony but in command. Their task. We encourage one another about these momentous events. with language I wouldn’t have dared to use. like the prophet’s.” (NB Jacob image) There is another important addition already sounded in v. The style and word choice of verses 10—12 recall chapters 40—55 in an especially systematic way. and not only so. with shameless boldness. . But the fact that the prophet’s voice has been so prominent. We also speak to God. In fact. In v. Indeed.1 the prophet emerges in great agitation to announce that he will neither rest nor keep silent until God’s promises of Zion’s vindication arid salvation have become a reality. And yet he. is continually to remind God of Israel’s plight. This is a road explicitly for the people. without fail. Admittedly verses 11—12 return (among other passages) to 40:10—11 and depict Yahweh as the people’s Savior bringing them home to Zion. 62:10— 62:10—12 / The prophet’s fifth response is to commission workers. Then in v. out of context one might take these verses as Yahweh’s words. in verse 10 they are brought along not by Yahweh but by the nations. Further. our prayers are to give God no rest until a revived church astonishes the world. when they are crying to him for some great and important mercy. The purpose of the road has also changed. That was a road for Yahweh (though Yahweh would bring the people along). We are the “watchmen. Jonathan Edwards wrote a famous appeal to the Christians of his day to unite in prayer for revival. For He cannot accept that his promise has not yet been realized. and to call for divine intervention. they will give God no peace until he has established Jerusalem according to his promises. keeping our eyes peeled for what God is doing in the world today. 6. but at first he may cause an increase of dark appearances.

or the servant who watches for the master. His calling includes both watching out for the dangers of sin (Hos 9:8) and watching for signs of divine deliverance (Mic 7:7). Like God himself. or the virgins who watch for the bridegroom. The diligent urgency of life in Christ in the present age is thus captured in the single command Jesus gives his disciples: “Watch!” (Mk 13:32–37. Hab 2 1 I will stand at my post. Like the homeowner who watches for the thief. 'Have you seen my true love? ' I asked them. The literal role of a watchman warning the city of impending attack is first presented as the background for the prophet’s metaphorical role to warn Israel of divine punishment. suggesting that they are in perpetual prayer for God’s people.Watchman The prophet is “a watchman for the house of Israel” (Ezek 3:17. and station myself on the rampart. Acts 20:28). And I will keep watch to see what he will say to me. the followers of Christ must be ready perpetually for the unpredictable return of the Son of Man (Mt 24:42–25:13). Watching takes on eschatological overtones in the NT. . as they made their rounds of the city. Mk 14:32–42). Cant 3 3 The watchmen came upon me. and what he will answer concerning my complaint. cf. those who watch over Israel are to give themselves no rest (Is 62:6).