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Isaiah 25

Chapter Twenty-five

v. 2: Apparently, opinions differ about which city “the city” here refers to.  If it is a specific city, then Dibon, the capital of Moab seems like a good guess to me.  I agree with Barnes[1] that Moab is used in verses 10-12 as a kind of general symbol of all wicked nations (403), so it may be that the writer had Dibon in mind when he wrote about “the city” in this verse.  In any case, whether it refers to a specific city or not, I believe its primary function, like Moab’s in verses 10-12, is to serve as a general symbol of all wicked cities.  The reason that I believe Moab and “the city” represent wicked nations and cities in general is that the scope of the prophecy is so universal and general (death shall be abolished and all peoples will feast with God and cry no more) that it makes more sense to interpret them in that way.

v. 7: Barnes believes these coverings or veils represent the moral wickedness which covers the earth (402), but I believe they represent death, especially given the fact that the next verse says God will swallow up death forever.  The NRSV translates the words as “shroud” and “sheet,” which definitely have associations with the burial of the dead.

v. 8: This must refer to the flowering of the Messianic Age, when “all peoples” (v.6) will feast with God, not just the Jews.[2]

Vs. 10-12: See also chapters 15 and 16 were Moab is the main subject.


[1] Incidentally, Barnes believes “the city” probably refers to Babylon (399).

[2] I believe “all peoples” refers to all of humanity because it says in the very next verse that “the shroud” (i.e. death) is cast over “all peoples,” a fate which all of humanity shares, not just the Jews.  I do not believe the phrase would refer to Jews at one moment and to all of humanity at the next.

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