Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary


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Isaiah 4

Chapter 4

v. 2: If the “branch of the LORD” and the “fruit of the land” refer to the Messiah, then this prophecy seems to be rather free with reference to a timeline of events.  I believe that the branch and fruit here do, in fact, refer to the Messiah, given that the book of Isaiah is so full of Messianic allusions[1] (even allusions using the specific metaphor of a branch in places like 53:2,8).  And I still believe the calamity here is the Babylonian Captivity.  Following this interpretation, I would explain the free reference to a timeline of events by arguing that the prophecy includes two groups in its idea of a remnant that escapes destruction.  One is made of the survivors of the Babylonian Captivity.  The other is Christianity proper.  I believe the prophecy is declaring that those who survive the Captivity will (with their spiritual heirs later on, the Christians) experience the peace of the Messiah: the immediate survivors may experience that peace to a lesser degree than those who actually live in the Messianic Age, but they will experience it nevertheless.

Also, while on the subject of time, the phrase “in that day” is a little confusing.  It makes it seem like the day of calamity (v. 1) and the day of glory for the remnant are the same.  But perhaps there is some way of explaining it poetically rather than as a strictly literal reference to time.  Jesus seems to do something like this in parables.  For instance, when he says, “there was a certain man,” he rarely means he has a certain man in mind.  In fact, usually it means just the opposite, that he does not have a specific man in mind, but rather that the parable is meant to apply to anybody in similar circumstances.  Perhaps the phrase, “in that day” is a similarly poetic way of saying “in that age.”  For example, since the twentieth century can be considered an age[2], then one might be able to say, poetically, “In that day, America suffered the Great Depression,” and also, “In that day, America became a superpower.”  Both events occurred “in that day” but were literally decades apart.

[1] There has already been a substantial one in 2:2-4.

[2] I consider an age to be a block of time with some degree of unifying characteristics.


2 Responses to “Isaiah 4”

  1. […] could mean “after these events.”  (For a discussion of the phrase “at that time,” see notes on 4:2.)  I also believe that this verse predicts the conversion to Judaism of a substantial portion of […]

  2. […] could mean “after these events.”  (For a discussion of the phrase “at that time,” see notes on 4:2.)  I also believe that this verse predicts the conversion to Judaism of a substantial portion of […]

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