By Christina M Wilson. Published simultaneously at Repentance and Blessing: Isaiah Devotional Journal 65 – justonesmallvoice.com.
Isaiah 30 Septuagint Modernized NETS
Repentance and Blessing
The first section of this chapter (verses 1-18) left off with the northern kingdom of Israel rejecting the Lord, but here, introducing the second section (verses 19-26), Isaiah presents Judah in a posture of submissive prayer. The Lord gives blessing when his children show repentance.
Because a holy people shall dwell in Sion, and Ierousalem wept with weeping, “Have mercy on me,” he will have mercy on you for the voice of your cry; when he saw, he listened to you. (Isaiah 30:19 NETS New English Translation of the Septuagint)
The contrast is stark between the repentance and blessing of verse 19 and the apostasy and its consequences of the prior section.
Isaiah 30:15 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: When you turn back and groan, then you shall be saved and realize where you were; when you placed your trust in vain things, your strength became vain. And you were not willing to hear 16 but said, “We will flee upon horses”—therefore you shall flee! (NETS)
Time Frame of Section Two
What is the time frame of the second section of Isaiah 30, beginning with verse 19? Isaiah transitions from the first section to the second in verse 18. The time frame of the first section appears to be specifically just before the Assyrians took Israel the northern kingdom into the captivity from which they never returned (Isaiah 30 Septuagint-Two Kingdoms: Journal 64 – justonesmallvoice.com). But the time frame of the second section of chapter 30, verses 19 through 26, is looser.
First, Isaiah writes completely in an unspecified future tense, unlike in the first section. There, he addressers a present condition which finds rapid fulfillment (the northern kingdom fell to Assyria). Second, in the Septuagint, the prophet uses the phrase, “in that day,” two times (verses 23 and 25). This phrase in Isaiah often signals a future day of Messiah’s reign (see, for example, Isaiah 4:2-6, Isaiah: A Personal Devotional Journal–13 – justonesmallvoice.com). Finally, Isaiah uses metaphors that can signal a spiritual application. For example, he writes, “Your ears shall hear words behind you… “(verse 21), as though he were speaking to a concrete individual. The agricultural metaphors seem extraordinarily idealistic (verses 23-24). Also, the metaphors concerning the light of the sun and moon lend themselves readily to an eschatological (end times), spiritual application (verse 26). Finally, verse 25 seems very much eschatological. In light of the New Testament, verse 25 is also messianic.
The failure of the people of Israel as a whole (representing all people) and the victory of Messiah, who is God himself, is Isaiah’s overall theme.
Isaiah 1:18 And come, let us reason together, says the Lord; and though your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool. (CAB, LXE)
Time Frame of Section Three
In review, the first section of Isaiah (verses 1-17) speaks to the people of Israel the northern kingdom just before their overthrow by the Assyrians. It is a local chapter in an immediate time frame. The time frame of section two (verses 19-26) is an unspecified time in Jerusalem’s future, an eschatological period of Messiah’s reign. Verse 18 stands as a bridge between these two sections. Verse 18 foretells how God will show compassion and mercy when “He will be exalted.” This foretells the New Testament event of God’s Son being “lifted up,” or “exalted,” on the cross (Isaiah Devotional Journal 64. See also John 3:14; 8:28; and 12:34.) What then is the time frame of section three, verses 27-33?
1. A LOCAL SETTING AND TIME
Because the text names the “Assyrians” in verse 31, the third section of chapter 30 speaks to the kingdom of Judah’s near future. In good King Hezekiah’s sixth year, Israel the northern kingdom fell completely to Assyria, as Isaiah foretold (2 Kings 18:10). Some eight years later (2 Kings 18:13-17), Assyria stood outside the walls of Jerusalem. The remainder of 2 Kings chapter 18 and all of chapter 19 tell how Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and the Lord himself delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrians. Isaiah 30:27-33 poetically describes this historical event. In addition to the detailed record in 2 Kings, Isaiah 36-37 records the details of how God delivered Jerusalem and Judah.
2. AN ESCHATOLOGICAL TIME FRAME
But the third section of Isaiah 30 can carry eschatological prophesy, as well. Consider how verse 27 follows from verse 26 in the Septuagint.
26 And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold in the day when the Lord shall heal the breach of His people, and shall heal the pain of your wound.
27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes after a long time, burning wrath; the word of His lips is with glory, a word full of anger, and the anger of His wrath shall devour like fire. (CAB, LXE)
Verse 26 finds its fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus Christ. He in turn sends the Holy Spirit to continue what he begins. Then, “after a long time (1), burning wrath” and “the anger of His wrath shall devour like fire.” The remainder of section three describes God’s wrath with a poetic vehemence that could be applied to an end of time scenario. We find God’s wrath poured out during the end times depicted in the latter chapters of Revelation.
To summarize, first comes God’s salvation through Messiah, described in verses 18-26. Then, “after a long time” comes his end times wrath. Verse 27 combines the “glory” proceeding from the lips of Christ, with the “wrath” which will “devour like fire” in the last judgment. Additionally, Isaiah writes a specifically local application in verse 31, dealing with Sennacherib and Hezekiah. So, this section, as is so often the case in prophecy, describes an already/not yet time frame.
1 The Septuagint differs from the Masoretic in this verse. The Septuagint states, “The name of the Lord comes after a long time,” while the Masoretic writes, “The name of the Lord comes from afar.”