Which is the Better Investment... (Portfolio, Anchor Bible, NICOT/NT)

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Posts 24
Chris Miller | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jan 9 2015 12:03 PM

Which of the above resources is the best investment for a pastor of a mid-size church? I already own L6 Platinum (standard), PNTC, BECNT, NIGTC, NAC, JPS, TOTC/ NT, NIVAC, EBC, and newer volumes from ICC. Quantitatively, an upgrade to Portfolio is the best “bang for the buck,” but I doubt that I would use many of the resources (e.g. classic commentaries, ancient non-biblical texts, and many of the collected works). The AB (85 vol.) is a great set, but is it more useful than NICOT/ NT? Consequently, what do you think is the better investment (most useful)? 

Posts 1586
John Kight | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 12:22 PM

Personally, I would invest in the NICOT/NICNT.

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

Posts 1080
William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 12:35 PM

John Kight:

Personally, I would invest in the NICOT/NICNT.

I second that, especially if you're a PNTC, BECNT, NIVAC kind of guy.

Posts 13417
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 12:46 PM

It really does depend on your theological outlook. NICOT/NT is a great set, and would give you a reasonably conservative technical commentary on the OT, which you don't really have yet. But if you don't want conservative theology, then Anchor will be a better bet.

Posts 880
Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 1:03 PM

Mark (and others) make a good point. I would add that Anchor is generally more technical. So it ends up depending on your objectives, your training, and how well you translate esoterica into pastoral concerns. Some of these volumes are seminal in ways that other series don't even attempt. As with any other set, the quality is uneven, but when they're good, they're very good.

With all this in mind, value is in the mind (and wallet) of the beholder.

Posts 808
Kevin Maples | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 1:16 PM

AYB is in the Collector's Edition. If you are thinking of purchasing Portfolio, that puts you that much closer to CE. You'll pay much less for it as a part of that package. 

I have resisted buying NICOT/NICNT, because in my short time with Logos (since L4) I have seen things come and go in the packages and I am really hoping that Logos 7 might have it in a package. So I guess the best answer I can give you is determine a strategy for how you want to use Logos and how much you are planning to spend long term. Then you can know what direction to go. Personally, I'm planning on incrementally investing for a long time. I truly hope Logos stays in business longer than I stay in ministry. ;)

Posts 824
GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 1:21 PM

I'm a pastor with L5 & 6 Platinum, and just couldn't convince myself a couple of years ago that it was worthwhile for me to move to Diamond or  Portfolio, so I've bought NICOT/NT, WBC, Pillar and the Anchor Bible Dictionary, as well as the NT NIVAC commentaries, and BDAG/HALOT (before they were in the BP). Most of them I bought in sales. I toyed with Diamond and Portfolio, but didn't think it worthwhile to go for them rather than targeted resources. I'll probably get some of the higher-rated BECNT volumes, but otherwise I buy fairly selectively now. I consider NICOT/NT one of the best purchases I've made, and it certainly serves me well, being used at least on a weekly, if not a daily, basis. I've also found ABD a useful purchase. 


Running Logos 6 Platinum and Logos Now on Surface Pro 4, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, i5

Posts 406
Danny Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 2:00 PM

As a pastor I find NICOT/NT one of my most used commentary sets. Many of the individual volumes rank high in various 'best' volume ratings. They generally are readable, yet deal in depth with the passages. I bought it pretty early and have supplemented it with other more pastoral and more critical works along the way. It makes a great foundation to build upon. I doubt it will ever make it into a bundle.

Posts 406
Danny Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 2:03 PM

I too own the sets you mention (top notch sets I might add). However, when limiting my research I almost always still reference NIC regardless of the other volumes I might use.

Posts 824
GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 2:14 PM

Danny Parker:

I too own the sets you mention (top notch sets I might add). However, when limiting my research I almost always still reference NIC regardless of the other volumes I might use.

I tend to do the same. 


Running Logos 6 Platinum and Logos Now on Surface Pro 4, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, i5

Posts 24
Chris Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 3:03 PM

Thank you for your quick replies! It sounds like NICOT/NT may be the better investment. Surprisingly, no one has recommended the Portfolio upgrade. Thanks again!

Posts 279
Greg Corbin | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 3:04 PM

As the pastor of a mid-size church who preaches every week, I would recommend the NICOT/NT set. I do not have it all, but I have selected volumes and have found them to be excellent and among my most valuable commentaries on those particular books.  One day, I am going to spring for the whole set.  I agree about the potential of the entire set appearing in the future in one of the highest packages. It happened with some resources in the new Logos 6.  However, personally I would doubt they would ever do that because it is one of the most desirable sets and people will be buying that set for years to come.

Posts 5317
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 3:40 PM

Personally I would say  None of the above. I believe the New Interpreter’s Bible (12 vols.) would be much more  useful. Let's look a a random (from todays BCP daily lectionary... This section is odd in that it has 2 anchor volumes.... I will say you  get fewer pages with NIB but it is complete, and I am more looking at over all quality but I will let you be the judge of it comparing NIB/Anchor/Anchor2/NICOT I am not saying the other two are not useful just that NIB may be more useful and cheaper.

-Dan

NIB

ISAIAH 63:1–6, GOD’S PROMISED VINDICATION


COMMENTARY

This is a fascinating text, in terms of its placement in the discourse, in terms of the larger book of Isaiah and its presentation, and in terms of its own content. The connections between 63:1–6 and the oracle concerning Edom in Isaiah 34 stand out. Both passages place the judgment over Edom within the larger context of God’s dealing with the nations (63:6; 34:2). Similar phrases are used, especially “day of vengeance” (34:8). Both presuppose that such “vengeance” (requital) involves Zion’s vindication; it is not an act of isolated judgment, for its own sake.
Connections within the present discourse are also clear. In 62:6, the prophet dispatched sentinels. Although the parties are unnamed, it is apparent that the scene drawn in 63:1–6 involves the exchange between a sentinel and God. It includes a divine speech, initiated by a query from a sentinel—a sort of “who goes there?” in v. 1a. The theme of vindication (63:1b) and the day/year motif (63:4) appeared in the previous section (61:2; 62:1–2).
It is one thing to detect these connections and another to explain just what the passage is about at this juncture in the discourse. Why a sudden and specific interest in Edom? This question has occupied scholars, regarding this passage and others, where Edom plays a singular, if not also somewhat representative role (Genesis 27; Num 20:14–21; Ps 137:7–9; Isaiah 34; Ezekiel 35).219 Historical theories, based upon these texts and other references in ancient literary finds, suggest that Edom played a particularly dastardly role in the fall of Jerusalem (Ps 137:7–9), exacerbated by the fact of the close, though not unconflicted (Genesis 27), relationship between these two “brothers.” Whether specific historical realities, contemporaneous with the discourse, have given rise to this text is an ongoing matter of speculation.220 An alternative would be to seek an explanation in more strictly literary terms, involving specifically the previous Isaiah text in chap. 34.221 The judgment of God over Edom, promised in Isaiah 34, has here transpired. Such a judgment was to vindicate Zion (34:8) and initiate a period of joy and redemption in Zion (35:1–10).
Those historically concerned ask whether such a military victory over Edom fits with the time frame and setting of the discourse of Trito-Isaiah. The text’s referential connection to events in history is a primary consideration for exegesis, as having given rise to the oracle itself. Was Edom not destroyed by Nabonidus in the mid-sixth century? If so, can the prophet speak about a present destruction as meaningful (assuming that he is of a later period historically)? Did Edom experience a resurgence that necessitated or encouraged the delivery of this oracle? Was it the case, for example, that “Edom remained to be fully punished and to be removed from Jewish territory,” according to the best reconstruction?222
Proper interpretation of the passage, like others, turns on allowing the right proportion of historical and literary concerns to come into play. The intertextual dimension is one force that has been at fairly constant work in the composition of this particular material. But such work does not go on in a complete vacuum. Certainly a level of historical referentiality exerts pressure on the proclamation that is delivered. The problem in the past has been that this dimension was judged the only factor about which the exegete should be concerned, and in the end it generated a rival industry of reconstructions in competion with each other—this labor all justified in the name of sharpening our exegetical eye. Particularly in the later period, we must contend with the existence of a literary legacy, known to the community and to those who address it. This legacy has helped the “prophet” or tradent (the one handing on the legacy) to see how God’s word of old might be coming to fruition in circumstances out beyond its own historical horizon. Almost all agree that at this point in Israel’s history, such a legacy is in place. The problem has been calibrating the legitimate concerns of form-critical and other historical inquiries with the intertextual dimension.
It is clear that Isaiah 34 stands close at hand to the text. Efforts to coordinate redactional levels across the larger book of Isaiah, and to determine which texts are earlier than others, need not be a preoccupation for us here. One needs to work under the assumption that the final editors left the material in the shape they did, mindful that they were bridging the last stages of growth and the first stages of reading and interpreting the material. Isaiah 34 had seen the defeat of Edom as a signal that Zion’s vindication was at hand, and also that God’s larger work of judgment against the nations was under way. Our text operates from a similar perspective.
We assume that, as a historical fact, the nation of Edom had been severly affected by Babylonian assaults on the region, and had suffered as had Judah and other neighboring states, though the degree to which some felt these incursions more sharply than others is a matter for ongoing research. Jeremiah 40:11–12 gives one a sense of commonality binding those under Babylonian hegemony, even as chaps. 39–42 report tensions among these various neighbor-states. It is not our purpose here to clarify why Edom is frequently singled out at this time for separate discussion. What we do know is that this perspective is at work in the larger book of Isaiah.
An oracle that is not usually discussed in this connection is Isa 21:11–12. The larger context of the chapter (21:1–10) involves the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Persians. This “stern vision” is vouchsafed by the prophet Isaiah (21:2); it makes him ill (21:3–4), in the same way Daniel is distraught by terrifying events outside his frame of reference (Dan 10:8). In that oracle in chap. 21, a watchman is also appointed for continual duty (as in 62:6), day and night. The watchman sees the fall of Babylon and reports this.
Now what is striking in this connection is the brief oracle that follows in 21:11–12, concerning Dumah. The town is considered to be located in Arabia, but it may be some sort of symbolic name for Edom. What is uncontroversial is the reference to Seir, an Edomite city (Gen 32:3), in v. 11. One is calling from Seir to a sentinel—the same term as is used here (62:6). The sentinel has no word to give, as yet. He says, “If you will inquire, inquire; come back again” (21:12). It appears that the voice calling from Seir wants to know from the sentinel what he has seen or will see—the appeal “what of the night?” is obscure.
One explanation for the content and position of the passage under discussion is the double influence of Isaiah 34 and 21:1–12. The sentinel reappears, as before (61:1). Now he poses a question, asking both “Who goes there?” and “Why?”: “Why do you look as you do?” The sentinel does know the answer, however, from where the figure has come: He comes from “Edom,” a word with associations in Hebrew to “red” (see Gen 25:25).
So it is reasonable to surmise that along with the pressure from Isaiah 34, with its depiction of the judgment over Edom initiating a much larger vindiction on behalf of Zion (34:2), the prophet was aware of the sentinel text regarding Seir and the Babylonian defeat from former Isaiah (21:1–12). What the posted sentinel learns is that God is already at work vindicating Zion; the day of vindication has arrived, and this means a year of redeeming work on behalf of Zion (63:4)—a clear modification of 34:8. The sentinel of 21:11–12 has no answer to give because there must be a later return for inquiry. Now that later time has arrived; now the sentinel himself witnesses a new judgment, over Seir/Edom. God has executed a plan of judgment that was deferred at 21:11–12, was spelled out in Isaiah 34, and is testified to here by God.
The salvation referred to at the end of v. 1 picks up on the same root (ישׁע yšʿ) used at the close of the preceding chapter (62:11). “Vindication” in v. 1 is from the root for righteousness (צדק ṣdq). The promised depiction of God’s defeat of adversaries within Zion (59:18) has its counterpart here in God’s vindication and victory over the nations, exemplified in Edom’s defeat.
The motif of lone vengeance (63:5) is likewise familiar from 59:16. Westermann is probably right when he conjectures that this motif goes back to mythic origins, and has nothing to do with the Cyrus theme of Deutero-Isaiah; it is an agentless victory in this case.223 The motif is most closely related to another Deutero-Isaiah conception: God’s sovereign incomparability (40:12–21), here extended into the martial sphere. The thrust of the passage is that God has already begun the process of vindication on behalf of Zion. The action is under way, proven by God’s own testimony to the prophet, via the sentinel.


REFLECTIONS

1. Twice in this Isaiah discourse we hear of God’s word’s accomplishing something, not according to what the prophet himself thinks, or what an author might be reconstructed as having thought, but according to what God has in mind: God’s word will not return empty, we are told (45:23; 55:11). The subjectivity of the authorial mind, and its intentions, is used by God, of course, but in ways that remain under divine disposition. One might rightly say that the vocation of Isaiah is to speak as God tells him, and to remain in service to a word he, Isaiah, must watch unfold in its claim on hearers or its lack thereof, or to attend to its preservation for another day.
So many successful projects—as God means that adjective—demand a period of sheer obscurity and rejection for their proper incubation. God remains sovereign over visions the deity grants. If Isaiah’s words shut ears or become so much gibberish in his day, the challenge for the prophet is not to alter the words, or to try harder, or to seek a receptive audience somewhere else. That would be to kill off the “accomplishing potential” and would be the greatest act of disobedience, greater even than flight or silence. The challenge is to “bind up the teaching” and to remain obedient when no one listens, and this can be the hardest challenge of all. Who can be sure that rejection or failure to be heard is not a sign of poor preaching or false vocation? Why could one comfort oneself with the belief that, in a later day, one’s words would at last be listened to? Why would such a hope not be a sign of vanity or self-delusion?
What is required is what God supplies, in the former and latter dispensations covered by Isaiah. What is required is a word from God, as sure as the preached word God demands be spoken, even though the word is not for us or our generation, and we must rightly receive rebuke and endure our own season of confusion, because God has something else in mind. Is it not enough to rest on the assurance that the word is of divine origin, and that its non-reception makes the word no less divine and us no less God’s servants? If we stumble on this truth, is it because God has not set us apart for this sort of task? No one from the former day of Isaiah could know exactly what use God would make of the word that went forth but was not received. God was strong to make assurance, and less clear about satisfying the need to know what the accomplishment would look like when it happened. The thing that kept Isaiah strong in resolve was not cleverness or adaptability, but God’s word assuring him that his question “How long?” was meaningful and capable of an answer—even an answer that portended anguish for him and his people. God was sovereign over divine promises and over divine words, and the reward for the prophet was resolution and resolve about that.
Now, then, when we see the word opened up afresh, in a latter day, and see it bearing fruit—in judgment, in promise, in rebuke, in direction, in demand even for further patience—are we not to rejoice in the sheer providence of God, who makes sure that the words given to us to speak remain open for fulfillment even long after their delivery by us? This makes us marvel at the obedience of servants God chooses and at God’s wisdom in choosing them according to the needs God knows must be met, for them and for the recepients of what they have to say. That includes us in the latter days of Isaiah’s vision, who are privileged to oversee the ages joined, even after generations have passed and much darkness has remained, by nothing but God’s word in its going forth and its accomplishing.

2. God speaks here of vindication of the Divine. Whatever else may be true of scenes of vindication in Scripture (see esp. the book of Revelation), they are chiefly to do with God’s justice and righteousness, as worthy unto themselves, and only secondarily related to our quid pro quo needs or hopes.
This must be one of the hardest lessons Scripture teaches, because it defies our sense of compassion and mercy in the name of confounding our limited and always unjust systems of justice. We would rank mercy above justice, because we cannot understand holy righteousness, never having seen it in ourselves or in others. Should we not be honest and say that mercy cannot be greater than justice, except to the degree that we have yet to experience true and lasting and unrequited and bone-jarring injustice of the sort that still exists in this world? And even then, should we ever know such injustice, we would long for justice as a distillate of a mercy we also strain to comprehend.
We count on God alone to show us mercy and justice and to teach us how both are gifts consistent with God’s character as God, but unavailable on any other terms than that—that is, as glimpses for a second into God’s character as God: holy, just, and loving all at once. God is the God of pure and holy vengeance, who is accompanied by no other (63:5), so that we might believe that justice and mercy are in God one and the same thing, and cannot exist as separate attributes except in our world of sin. Without the grace of a transcendent God come down in Jesus Christ, mercy is sentimentalism and vengeance lacks any connection to God’s holiness.


Christopher R. Seitz, “The Book of Isaiah 40–66,” in New Interpreter’s Bible, ed. Leander E. Keck, vol. 6 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994–2004), 518–522.

ANCHOR

A BLOODBATH IN EDOM (63:1–6)

(Bartlett 1989; Blenkinsopp 2000a, 447–54; Cresson 1972, 125–48; Gordon and Young 1951, 54; Gosse 1990a, 105–10; Grelot 1963, 371–80; Harding 1914, 213–17; Holmgren 1974, 133–48; Koehler 1921, 316; Koenen 1990, 76–87; Lau 1994, 279–86; Lipiński 1999, 1–9; de Moor 1997, 325–46; Myers 1971, 377–92; Olley 1983, 446–53; Pauritsch 1971, 138–44; Peels 1995; Ringgren 1963, 107–13; Rubinstein 1963, 52–55; Sekine 1989, 140–47; P. A. Smith 1995, 38–49; Steck 1986b, 323–38 = 1991a, 106–18; Webster 1990, 89–102; Zimmerli 1970, 321–32)


TRANSLATION

63 1 Who is this that comes from Edom,
with glisteninga garments from Bosrah,b
this person splendidly attired,
stridingc in the fullness of his power?

It is I who speak what is right,
who contend in order to save.d

2 Why is your clothing all red,e
your garments like those of the one
who treads grapes in the winepress?

3 I have trod the wine vatf alone,
no one from all the peoplesg was with me;
I treadh them down in my anger,
I trample them in my fury.
Their lifebloodi spatters my garments,
I have stainedj all my clothing.
4 A day for vengeance is on my mind,
my year of redemption has arrived;
5 I look for a helper, but there is none,k
I am aggrieved that there is no one to sustain me;
so my own arm won me the victory,
my fury it was that sustained me.
6 I trample peoples in my anger,
I make them drunkl with my fury,
I pour out their lifeblood on the ground.


NOTES

a The probable meaning of the adjective ḥāmûṣ, which is hapax.
b Lagarde’s 1878 emendation of mēʾĕdôm, “from Edom,” to mēʾōddām, “rot gefärbt (red colored),” and from mibboṣrâ, “from Bosrah,” to mibbōṣēr, “mehr als ein Winzer (more than that of a grape gatherer),” taken up by Duhm (1922, 464) and several of the older commentaries, is ingenious and attractive, especially since Isa 56–66 does not mention specific nations elsewhere, and we hear nothing more of Edom in this poem; however, it is unsupported by the ancient versions, and a bōṣēr (“grape harvester”) is not the same as a dōrēk bĕgat (“one who treads the grapes in the wine vat”); see further on this point Sekine 1989, 146.
c MT ṣōʿeh, “bending,” “bowing down,” “cowering,” elsewhere Isa 51:14 and Jer 48:12 (the latter with the meaning of tipping or decanting a bottle), is supported by 1QIsaa and 1QIsab but does not make good sense in the context; the BHS emendation to ṣōʿēd, “marching,” “striding” (cf. Judg 5:4 with reference to YHVH), traceable to Bishop Lowth, is supported by Symm. (bainōn) and Vulg. (gradiens); see also Barthélemy 1986, 429–30.
d This meaning of ṣĕdāqâ with beth instrumentalis (cf. Jer 4:2, vĕnišbaʿtâ … biṣĕdāqâ, “If you swear an oath righteously, i.e., in the proper manner”) seems preferable to the alternative, “vindication” cf. 56:1; for MT rab, “great,” e.g., NRSV “mighty to save,” repunctate rāb → rîb, “contend in law” cf. Vulg. propugnator.
e lilĕbûšekā need not be emended to lĕbûšekā (BHS after LXX, Syr., Vulg.), since the first lamed is possessive and ʾādom can be a substantive as well as an adjective (Gen 25:30); in this way the point is made that red is not the color of the clothes.
f The precise meaning of pûrâ here and in Hag 2:16 is uncertain but presumably more or less synonymous with gat (Judg 6:11; Lam 1:15; Joel 4:13; Neh 13:15).
g 1QIsaiaha has ʿmy (ʿammî), “my people,” probably an intentional alteration due to the difficulty of accepting that YHVH would look to Gentiles for assistance.
h Beginning with vĕʾedrĕkēm, “I tread,” MT has all the remaining verbs except vattôšaʿ, “won [me] victory,” in the Imperfect (i.e., present or future time), probably for more vivid narrative style; v 5 remains in past time because it is a variant of 59:16.
i nēṣaḥ here and in v 6 = “juice,” i.e., “blood” → either nṣḥ I = “to be bright, splendid” or nṣḥ II = “sprinkle.”
j MT ʾgʾāltî is anomalous, having both an Imperfect 1st-person preformative and a Perfect 1st-person ending; rather than a genuine ancient mixed form (Gordon and Young 1951, 54), it is either an Aramaizing form of Hiphil or rare Aphel Causative form (Dahood 1957, 70) or is simply a scribal error (GKC §53p).
k 1QIsaiaha has ʾên ʾîš for MT ʾên ʿōzēr.
l An impressive number of Hebrew MSS have vāʾăšabbĕrēm, “and I shattered them,” for MT vāʾăšakkĕrēm (see de Rossi 1786, 3:58), but MT is supported by 1QIsaa and Vulg. (inebriavi) and fits the context of treading out the grapes; LXX omits.


COMMENTS

There follows a carefully constructed poem, exceptionally regular in meter, with eight of the twelve verses set out in tricola. Beginning with Duhm (1922, 463), several commentators have suspected that at least a half-verse is missing at the end (v 6b), but the short final verse is stylistically right and not at all uncommon. The structure is quite simple. A first question and answer (1ab, 1c) is followed by a second (2, 3–6), the latter including an explanation about the state of the speaker’s clothing (4–6). Nowhere is there any clear indication of glosses or additions.
The question-and-answer format is not antiphonal in the manner of Ps 24 (question v 3, answer v 4; question and answer v 8), and it is not comparable to the dialogue in the Canticle (Cant 3:6; 6:10; 8:5), which is more reminiscent of the chorus in Greek drama. A closer parallel is the brief and enigmatic dialogue between the watchman (šōmēr) and a passerby in Isa 21:11–12, the more intriguing since this one too involves Edom (Duma, Seir):

Someone is calling me from Seir,
“Sentinel, how much of the night is left?
Sentinel, how much of the night is left?”
The sentinel replied,
“The morning is coming, though it is still nighttime;
if you wish to ask you may do so,
come back once again.”

Westermann (1969, 381) passes on Herder’s genial comparison of the above questions with the questions that the warrior in the border ballads was plied with on his return—such as, for example, “Why is your sword so red with blood, Edward, Edward?” But such questions did not really call for a reply (e.g., “I have been killing a few more Scots”) any more than did the questions asked by Sisera’s mother and her ladies-in-waiting after the battle by the Wadi Kishon (Judg 5:28–30).
Challenge and questioning by a lookout or sentry is a realistic enough model since, in that by the time the second question is asked, the one approaching is close enough for the condition of his clothing to be noted and commented on. On the other hand, as Duhm wryly observed, if the sentry knew where he was coming from, he should have known who he was.
The poem has also been described as an apocalyptic vision. In this respect, comparison with Isa 21:6–9, in which the fall of Babylon is revealed, comes to mind. But in this latter case we are told explicitly that the visual experience of the lookout (mĕṣappeh, v 6), that is, the seer, was indeed a vision (ḥazût, v 2), and in other cases indications to this effect are generally provided. Since such indications are lacking in 63:1–6, we should be content with considering it a literary work composed with a view to its place in the larger Isaianic scheme of things and in Isa 56–66 in particular.
What, then, is the place of 63:1–6 in this larger context? It is clearly discontinuous with and from a different source than chs. 60–62 (pace P. A. Smith). The thematic links of this poem with 59:15b–20 were noted earlier: principally, YHVH’s advent as Redeemer in the guise of warrior (59:17, 20), the coupling of redemption and vengeance on enemies (59:16), and the absence of human agency (59:16). Similarity does not, however, imply a unity or continuity at some point broken by the insertion of chs. 60–62. These three chapters, the core of the last section of the book, were already in place at the center. The persistent attempt to demonstrate that the rest of the material was arranged in a chiasm around these chapters, for example, by Bonnard (1972, 318) and Polan (1986, 14–16), has helped to emphasize certain structural parallels (especially 56:1–8 with 66:18–24 and 59:15b–20 with 63:1–6) but lacks enough linguistic and structural specificity to persuade, a common problem with chiasms, the more so as one moves away from the central panel in chs. 60–62.
The two brief poems about redemption and vengeance, but especially vengeance, in 59:15b–20 and 63:1–6 were deliberately placed on either side of 60–62 as a redactional framework for these chapters (with Koenen 1990, 84), and we may suppose that the purpose was to fill out the apocalyptic scenario in which Jerusalem was to play a central role.
The deliberate location of 60–62 at the center of chs. 56–66 rather than at their conclusion also allowed for the juxtaposition of the empirical with the ideal Israel of the future and for the introduction of important qualifications to this idealized vision of an elect people and city set out in glowing colors in chs. 60–62. An ethical criterion for participation in the eschatological drama and survival of judgment, entirely absent from 60–62, introduced the possibility of failure and rendered inevitable a division within the community, a situation most clearly in evidence in the final two chapters of the book. In some respects, it also blurred the distinction between those inside and those outside. In 59:20 redemption is restricted to those in the household of Jacob who turn away from transgression, while in 63:1–6 YHVH looks in vain for support from the peoples, not just from his own people.
The location of 59:15b–20 and 63:1–6, the one immediately before, the other immediately after 60–62, is therefore part of a deliberate and meaningful arrangement of the material in 56–66. The one theme uniting these two passages with 60–62 is vengeance (nāqām), or the day of vengeance (yôm nāqām, 59:17b; 61:2; 63:4), a kind of mirror image of the old prophetic idea of the “day of YHVH” (yôm YHVH, Amos 5:18–20). The same theme is central to the horrific description of the systematic, total destruction of Edom in 34:1–17 (yôm nāqām, 34:8). It would be natural to think of some structural linkage between this passage and 63:1–6, especially if one accepts Steck’s view that 63:1–6, together with 56–59 as a whole, was added in the early Hellenistic period to a “Greater Isaiah” book already in place (Steck 1991a, 30–34 and often elsewhere). But it has proved difficult to establish what the relationship between these two passages might be, and it cannot simply be assumed that 63:1–6 was composed with 34:1–17 in mind, or even that 34:1–17 was the earlier composition of the two.
In Isa 34:1–4, the destruction of Edom takes place in the context of international and even cosmic disintegration and ruin, and likewise the bloodbath in Edom described in 63:1–16 is not restricted to the inhabitants of that country. In fact, Edom is introduced not as the victim of the violence described, not exclusively at any rate, but as the scene of the apocalyptic scenario, the final, annihilating judgment. At the same time, 63:1–6 has nothing of the blow by blow description in 34:1–17, which is in language and detail closer to 66:15–16, 22–24: YHVH’s sword (34:5–6; 66:16), abandoned and rotting corpses (34:3; 66:24), judgment by unquenchable fire (34:5, 10; 66:15–16, 24), and convulsions in the heavens (34:4; 66:22).
We have seen that the one who asks the two questions—in effect: Who are you? Why are you covered in blood? (vv 1–2)—is the city guard (šōmēr cf. 21:11–12; 62:6) or lookout (mĕṣappeh, 21:6–9). As noted earlier, it is not presented as a vision report (Whybray 1975, 252), though we do begin to note a degree of interactivity in vision reports in the exilic and postexilic periods (Ezek 8:1–11:22; Zech 1:7–6:8). The questioner is not Megabyzus, satrap of the province Across-the-River under Xerxes and Artaxerxes I, who as far as we know never campaigned in Edom and could never have said what is recorded here (Watts 1987, 317–19). We infer from the questions and answers not that Edom has just been devastated, as in 34:1–17, but that Edom was the site of a final, annihilating action against hostile nations. The choice of Edom is dictated by the paradigmatic status of Edom as neighbor, related by kinship, yet unremittingly hostile, and also by the fact that traditionally, in heroic poetry, Edom is where YHVH first came from:

YHVH came from Sinai,
he shone forth from Seir upon us. (Deut 33:2)

YHVH, when you went out from Seir,
when you strode forth from the land of Edom.… (Judg 5:4)

God comes from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran. (Hab 3:2)

(Seir is another name for Edom; Teman also stands for Edom or a part of that country [cf. Amos 1:12, where Teman is parallel with Bozrah]; Paran is in the direction of Edom.)

The image presented is of the return of the warrior from battle, not necessarily from single combat (Westermann 1969, 382), bringing news of victory or defeat. At first sighting, within hailing distance, the lookout makes out something puzzling about the warrior’s attire which, as he comes closer, turns out to be blood. “Blood” (dām) is the dominant motif in this poem. The language is given resonance by means of the punning allusion to Edom, ʾĕdôm, meaning “Red Land,” a lusus verborum which (literally) adds color to the story of the two brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:25, 30), and to the campaign of the three kings in Edom (2 Kgs 3:8, 23: “This is blood!”). The fact that Edom, like its northern neighbor Moab, was well known as a center of viniculture (cf. Isa 16:8–10) may also have contributed to the rather ghastly metaphor of treading people like grapes into pulp in the wine press.
What is emphasized in the reply to the second question (v 3) is that in executing judgment YHVH acted alone. The same point is made, in practically the same language, in the matching passage, 59:15b–19. This statement, repeated before and after the panorama of Jerusalem’s future laid out in chs. 60–62, marks an important juncture. We can understand why the 1QIsaa scribe altered the text from ʿammîm (“the peoples”) to ʿammî (“my people”; see Notes), but the emendation misses the point, which is that the author has definitively abandoned the expectations placed on Cyrus in Isa 40–48. The statement therefore marks a turning away from the historical arena and international affairs in the search for intimations of a change in fortune for Israel and therefore comes a step closer to embracing an apocalyptic world view.
The second half of the poem (vv 4–6) can be read as an explanation of the second answer. It also contains much repetition, but we should resist the temptation to speak of additions and expansions (6a cf. 3b; 6b cf. 3c; 5a cf. 3a; and, in addition, 5 as a variant of 59:16). It seems to be saying that the day of vengeance and the year of redemption predicted by the “Zionist” prophet of 61:1–4 are now at hand. The idea of vengeance looms large in Isaianic compositions of the post-destruction period (34:8; 35:4; 47:3; 59:17; 61:2), and here and elsewhere it is accompanied by such violent and lurid images as to repel the reader of even mildly liberal instincts. We recall that reading or rereading Isaiah 63:1–6 was the point at which Friedrich Delitzsch, in his Zweiter Vortrag über Babel und Bibel (1903), gave up on the Old Testament.
There is an important issue here to which we shall return, but in the meantime we can at least try to reduce the cultural distance between what the word “vengeance” connotes to us today and what the full semantic range of the word nāqām (here “vengeance”) was in that place and at that time. To execute vengeance was a way of obtaining redress, of righting a lost balance and restoring the damaged integrity of the kinship group. It can therefore be seen as an application of the lex talionis. As a prescription governing the moral life, the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” formula does not have much appeal today, but in societies without effective means of detecting and bringing to justice the criminal, it was a way of applying the principle of equity in situations of damaged social relations. We might try rephrasing it as: “Only an eye for an eye, only a tooth for a tooth.”
Viewed in this social context, the execution of vengeance, blood vengeance (niqmat dam, Ps 79:10), was not optional. It was a contractual obligation, as the most effective means for protecting people who could not act on their own behalf in claiming the rights that custom and law assigned to them. This is the point at which the intimate link between vengeance and redemption comes into sight, because the redeemer (gōʾēl) was the person among one’s kin (bĕnê ʿammĕkā, Lev 19:18) who assumed the role of protector and vindicator by executing vengeance.
The “year of redemption” (šĕnat gĕʾûlay, taking the plural as an abstract term, rather than “my redeemed ones”), continues the same association of ideas and is also dependent on 61:1–4, where the year of redemption is “the year of YHVH’s good pleasure” (šĕnat-rāṣôn laYHVH, 61:2a). Behind these ideas is the institution of the Jubilee Year, setting aside the undecided question about whether Lev 25 is describing real stipulations of customary law or setting out a Utopian program that was never implemented. Fundamental to the ideology of the Jubilee are the associated ideas of freedom (dĕrôr, Lev 25:10 cf. Isa 61:1c) and return to one’s ancestral land (Lev 25:8–12). The freedom in question is release from the burden of debt-slavery during the Jubilee (Lev 25:39–46; cf. the manumission of slaves during the sabbatical year, Exod 21:1–7; Deut 15:12–18), but it would have been easy to make the transition to political freedom, freedom from subjection to a foreign power.
Likewise, the law of return held out the prospect of recovering patrimonial domain, but for the contemporaries of these Isaianic authors the idea of return to the ancestral land from the diaspora would not have been far away. If we reread this entire section of the book (chs. 40–66) with these ideas in mind, we see that the prophetic pronouncement of 61:1–4 states explicitly what is there from the beginning but only occasionally comes to the surface. I note only the assurance at the beginning of this major section that Jerusalem’s indentured service is over and her debt has been amortized (40:2), the insistence on the release of individuals imprisoned or in servitude (42:7; 49:9), repossession of land (49:8; 54:3), and, not least, the numerous references to the redemption of Israel and Israel’s God as Redeemer.


Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56–66: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 19B, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 245–251.

Anchor 2

42. THE DESTRUCTION OF EDOM
(63:1–6)


63 1 Who is this who comes from Edom, from Bozrah in red garments,
Splendidly appareled, marchinga in his mighty strength?
“I who speak righteousness, I who am powerful to save.”
2 Why is your clothing red, and your garments like those of one who treads in the wine press?
3 “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and there was not a man of my peopleb with me;
I trodc them in my anger, I trampledc them in my fury;
And their gushing blood sprinkledc my garments; I have stainedc all my clothing.
4 For I have decided on a day of retribution; my year of vengeance has arrived.
5 I looked,c but there was no helper; I was appalledc that there was no one to sustain;
So my own arm delivered me, and my fury sustained me.
6 I trodc down peoples in my anger, I shattered themd in my fury;
I made their blood run upon the earth.”


NOTES

63:1. Edom and Bozrah. See 34, §1.
2–3. The figure of treading the grapes for the judgment of Yahweh appears also in Joel 4:13. The grapes were placed in a large box and were trodden down by men who walked back and forth barefoot. As in 34:2–7, the figures used are lurid.
5. Echoes 59:16.


COMMENT

For the background of this poem, see 34 (SEC. 1) with NOTES and COMMENT. We have noticed that the theme of judgment is more explicitly joined to the theme of salvation in Third Isaiah. The poem is couched in dialogue. This is the theophany of Yahweh the warrior judge. The judgment is not merely a judgment on Edom. It is on Edom, which had plundered the defenseless territory of Judah, that the judgment begins. The catastrophe is merely suggested, not described; the imagery of Yahweh marching in blood-stained garments is somewhat appalling, but by a literary touch not common in Third Isaiah, one is left to imagine the scene from which Yahweh has come. As in 59:16–20 Yahweh acts alone. The poem makes Yahweh’s coming to Zion as judge more concrete. In this poem we are on the verge of apocalyptic literature, which sees the nations of the world as a gigantic power which can be overthrown by no one but Yahweh; and the overthrow is a world cataclysm.


John L. McKenzie, Second Isaiah: Introduction, Translation, and Notes, vol. 20, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 186–187.

NICOT

“Who is this who comes from Edom,
his garments bright- colored from Bozrah,
this one splendid in apparel,
swaggering in the abundance of his might?”
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”
“Why is your apparel reddened.
and your garments like a treader in a wine vat?”
“The wine trough I trod alone,
and from the peoples not a man was with me;
I tread them in my anger,
and I trample them in my wrath;
their lifeblood spatters my garments,
and all my apparel I have stained.
For a day of vengeance is in my heart,
and the year of my redemption has come.
I look around and there is no helper;
I am amazed that there is none to assist;
so my arm saved for me,
and my wrath assisted me.
I trample peoples in my anger,
and I make them drunk with my wrath,
and I pour out their lifeblood on the ground.”
The final subdivision of this fifth division (chs. 56–66) of the book is 63:1–66:24. It returns to many of the themes of chs. 56–59. Indeed, as noted in the excursus following the commentary on 56:1–8, there is a closer similarity between the two sections than merely a repetition of themes; there is a reversed chiastic relationship. Whereas chs. 56–59 begin with a discussion of the foreign converts (56:1–8) and end with a description of the Divine Warrior who battles alone for his people (59:15b–21), this final subdivision (63:1–6) begins with the description of the Divine Warrior (using some of the same language as a previous one), and ends with a treatment of foreign converts (66:18–24). But beyond that, in each case the central section deals with the inability of the people to produce the ethical righteousness called for (56:8–59:15a; 63:7–66:17). This is not to suggest the intricate kinds of patternistic parallels that some proponents of chiastic structuring advocate. In particular, the middle sections, beyond having the basic theme in common, tend to be structured in very different ways (see the excursus following 56:1–8 and also the introductory remarks at 56:1). But the overall structure of the two subdivisions is clear.
The question then is, What is the significance of this structure? In particular, what is the significance of the reverse ordering of this third subdivision? As said above, chs. 60–62 have apparently been placed where they have, and not at the end of the book, in order to do at least two things. Because these chapters are not at the end of the book, but are succeeded by the reiteration of the call for ethical righteousness, the eschatological vision with its glowing promises is not allowed to obscure the call to live according to the ethical demands of God in the present. Furthermore, Israel’s mission of being witnesses of God’s glory to the world is allowed to have the pride of place that it deserves in view of the emphasis of the book as whole.
But what about the reverse ordering of 63:1–66:24 as compared with 56:1–59:21? This reversal relates to the changed emphasis in the later section. In chs. 56–59 the major emphasis is on the human inability to live according to God’s righteousness. A minor emphasis is on the power of God to make possible what God demands, and the section ends on that note. Then came chs. 60–62 with their promises of God’s triumph in history and his ability to do all that he has promised. Now in this final section we return to the hard facts of everyday life and God’s expectation that his servants will manifest his character. But now, as one might expect in the light of chs. 60–62, the emphasis is changed; it rests not on human inability but on divine ability. God is able indeed to make his servants a “Holy People” (62:12). This is made evident at the outset, with the placement of the Divine Warrior at the beginning. There is no enemy, including human sin, that can defeat God. This is followed by a long community lament (63:7–64:11 [Eng. 12]) and God’s response (65:1–16). Here again the emphasis is on the inability of the people to do righteousness. But the clear recognition is that righteous behavior would be possible through the gracious power of God (cf. 63:15–17). God’s response is that he is ready. What he has done in the past (63:7–14), he will do again for those who show that they are his servants through their choices (65:1–16).
The emphases of the entire division are then caught up in the final section (65:17–66:24). As in chs. 1–5, an element of interchange seems present. The section begins with a reiteration of the promise of the new Jerusalem in the context of the Messiah’s peaceable kingdom (65:17–25). This is followed by a reiteration of the call for obedience, not sacrifice (66:1–6). Then there is a return to the vision of new Jerusalem as a mother nursing her many children (66:7–14). Finally, there is a further statement of God’s enmity against mere ritual religion and his intent to use Israel to draw from all the world those who will obey him and not rebel against him (66:15–24).
In this setting 63:1–6 functions to underline God’s incomparable power on his people’s behalf. Its more vivid style as compared with 59:15b–21 is what one might expect on the other side of chs. 60–62, with their vivid and colorful imagery. In view of the eschatological vision there, it is not suprising that the announcement of God’s conquest of sin and evil should be couched in the most powerful images. Along with the imagery, the piece derives its force from its directness. Little is allowed to intervene between the reader and the experience being conveyed. No words are wasted identifying the questioner of vv. 1 and 2, nor are any used to identify the respondent in vv. 1 and 3–6. We are simply immediately present to both the thrill and the horror of what has taken place for us.
Noting the repeated words in the poem, F. Holmgren has argued that a chiastic structure of ABA′:ABA′ is present. While one may question this analysis (e. g., it does not seem to pay enough attention to the parallelism of questions and answers), his more important point that this passage is not expressing a thought foreign to what may be found in chs. 60–62 is well taken. If foreigners are worshiping in the new Jerusalem, it is only those who have chosen to do so. Those who have refused this gracious choice will experience another side of the power of God, the side depicted here.
Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, and other church fathers boldly applied this passage to Christ, asserting that the blood that spattered his garments was his own and that the winepress he trod was on Golgotha. Reacting against anything that might smack of allegorization, Calvin spoke out strongly against this interpretation, and virtually all commentators since have followed him. But if one must resist allegorization, so must one resist an interpretation that does not pay adequate attention to the context in which the passage appears. Here, as in 59:15b–21, a major emphasis is on the aloneness of the Warrior, of his doing what no one else could do. Furthermore, both passages stress that it is the arm of God by which salvation appears, and it is apparent from chs. 49–53 that the arm of God is his Servant. Finally, it is evident in this section that the enemies of “the Holy People” are not so much external as internal. It is not the physical “Edoms” of the world that are keeping Israel from knowing the blessing of God but their own chronic rebelliousness (cf. 63:17; 64:5–7). To be sure, the enemies of God must be destroyed if the people of God are to know his blessing. But unless the enemy of sin that lodges in every heart is defeated, no amount of physical blessing will ever suffice, even if it be a return to the promised land from Babylon. How has the Mighty Warrior defeated sin and evil? By first taking it into himself and defeating it there. If it is true that he will indeed destroy all those who stubbornly remain at enmity with him in the last day (Rev. 19:13–15), it is because he first submitted himself “to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).
What does this mean for our understanding of the passage and its function here? First, the blood that spatters the robes of the Warrior is unquestionably that of his enemies. Sin and evil will be converted or destroyed. Second, this is not an allegorical presentation of the crucifixion. What the Warrior has done here may include the crucifixion, but it is not limited to, or primarily about, that event. But neither is the passage limited to the destruction of external enemies alone. It is about the destruction of all that prevents the “Holy People” from realizing all that God has promised them. In this sense, the passage is about the work of the Messiah that makes it possible for the people of God to be and to do what God commands them to do.
1 A watchman (see Isa. 62:6) sees a figure striding up from the direction of Edom in the south, from Bozrah, its capital. Edom was the perennial enemy of Judah, so much so that it came to represent all its enemies (cf. 34:5ff.; Ps. 137:7; Ezek. 35:10–15; Amos 1:6, 11; Obad. 10–16). Moreover, this person is obviously someone to be reckoned with:he is splendidly garbed in bright- colored garments, and there is nothing furtive about his movements. He walks with the swagger of a mighty man. Such a person must clearly be challenged. “Who is it who comes from Edom?” the watchman calls. The answer leaves no question. “I am the one who speaks in righteousness, strong in order to save.” The 1st person independent pronoun followed by a participle is the language of divine self- predication whereby God identifies himself (cf., e. g., 43:25). What is the identifying characteristic that he chooses? It is that he speaks! From Gen. 1:3 to Rev. 21:5 the main characteristic of the God of the Bible is that he speaks, revealing his character, his ways, and his will to his creatures (see esp. Isa. 48). Thus it is no accident that the Messiah as Isaiah portrays him is frequently associated with speaking (11:4; 49:9; 50:4, 10; 61:1–2).
in righteousness. One should not overlook the preposition b on ṣ dāqâ. It makes plain that righteousness is not what God speaks, but the manner in which he speaks. Who is this person? The one who constantly and characteristically speaks what is right. The idols cannot do this (43:9), for they do not know either the past or the future. But God can, and thus he can say with absolute assurance that all the Edoms of all time have been defeated. He can say that not only because he speaks what is right but also because he is strong enough to save. Again, this is an important point. This passage is not ultimately about judgment and destruction—it is about salvation. God, who speaks the truth, says that because the enemy is destroyed his people are delivered. This is the same setting as 52:7–12. What did the watchmen there see? They saw this mighty Warrior, the arm of the Lord, coming with the word of salvation, the word that he had destroyed the enemy.
2 But now the Warrior has approached near enough for the watchman to see that his garments are not themselves red, but have become reddened in some way, and that prompts another question. The figure of speech used reflects both biblical imagery of battle (Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:13; etc.), and also the region from which the Warrior was coming, one famous for its viticulture. Has this person been working in a wine press, stamping around on the newly harvested grapes to squeeze the juice out of them, and in the process getting the juice on his clothes?
3 The Warrior’s answer to this second question begins in this verse and continues through v. 6. The answer stresses four things:the imagery of the wine press (vv. 3, 6), the motive of anger (vv. 3, 6), the fact that the work was done without assistance (vv. 3, 5), and the purpose of redemption (v. 4). Holmgren’s observation of an ABA′ structure fits this segment well, with A being v. 3, B v. 4, and A′ vv. 5–6. As noted above, after the initial verb, the rest, with one exception (or perhaps two), are in the imperfect, giving the account a chilling immediacy.
The Warrior confirms that treading the wine trough is exactly what he has been doing. Although he does not explain the imagery here (he does in v. 6), no explanation is needed. He has attacked the enemies of his people and trodden them under foot like grapes, so that their lifeblood has spurted out and spattered his garments. Why has he done this? Because of his anger. God is not the cool judge impartially handing down verdicts on persons in whom he has no personal interest. God is a Father whose children have been abused and mutilated. He is a King whose subjects have revolted and tried to usurp the throne. He is the Creator whose creations have perverted themselves into the very opposite of the things for which they were created. Aristotle’s passionless Unmoved Mover is the farthest thing from the God of the Bible, whose love is more enduring than the mountains and whose fury is more white- hot than molten steel. Here, as the prophet has said again and again, God’s rage is directed against those who would destroy and oppress his people. He is furious against all that would deprive them of the blessings he wishes to give them. The imagery is gruesome in its vividness; it says to us that we should do everything in our power to become part of his people and not be among his enemies.
But the leading thought in the verse is that there was no one to help the Warrior in his awful task. There is a mixed metaphor here with the image of Edom. Who destroyed Edom? Was it Assyria, or Babylonia, or Persia, or another nation? No, the prophet says, none of these peoples has accomplished God’s great historical purposes (represented here by the destruction of Edom; see also 34:5–8, and the comments there) for him. They may have been the tools, but God alone accomplished the task (cf. 10:5–19). The mixed metaphor occurs when we recognize that the peoples could not have helped him—they were the grapes in the vat!
A more significant point is revealed by reference to the key thought of this division:the helplessness of human beings to accomplish the salvation of the world because of our impotence before evil, most especially that which resides in our own breasts. The seeds of Communism’s collapse were sown in its conception when Marx and Engels convinced themselves that avarice and oppression were the result of faulty economics:force a system of pure economics on people and they would eventually act in the interests of the common good. These two thinkers should have read the Bible more closely. Its optimism is higher than theirs because it is a great deal less naive than they. The hope of the world lies in no system, whether Jewish or Christian or whatever. It lies solely in the hand of the one who “speaks in righteousness.” Until he defeats our enemies, both within and without, there is no hope for us. But when he does, then the hope of the world is born anew. The importance of this thought for this section is seen in its being repeated here and in the parallel passage in 59:15b–21. How is it possible for the new Jerusalem of chs. 60–62 to exist? Only because the lone Warrior has made it possible.
4 But does not all this carnage simply suggest a heavenly tyrant gone berserk? Has not blood lust seized him in a fit of destruction? No, as this verse makes plain, the reason for what has taken place is not blood lust. But, the reader may reply, what about that word vengeance? Does that not convey a mean spirit of revenge and bitterness? It might if it were by itself, but the parallelism here shows that is not the case. What is the vengeance about? God’s hurt pride? No, it is about redemption, about breaking the power of sin and evil so that those who are held in its grasp may go free. This is precisely the point that the Servant/Messiah made in 61:2 in similar words (and one more reason to recognize that all of the work of that person, both salvific and judgmental, is included here). God’s purpose in destroying evil is never merely an end in itself. It is always in aid of a larger one, the deliverance of the faithful. in my heart. This expression means “in my plans and wishes”; thus this destruction is not the result of a sudden, uncontrollable outburst of fury.
5 This verse closely parallels 59:16 and, as has already been said, its recurrence here strongly emphasizes the idea that the Servant/Messiah is the only one who can accomplish what God has promised. The recurrence of arm is also significant in this regard. What can accomplish God’s work in the world? Only the mighty arm of his wrath. This is the way in which the arm of the Lord was most frequently thought of in the Israelite mind:his mighty power to deliver us from our enemies and confirm our election. But as 53:1ff. showed conclusively, if that picture is correct, it is only partially so. We must not leave out another side to the picture. One of the ways in which the Servant/Messiah has crushed the power of evil in the world is to have taken it into himself and forever destroyed its hold over us. He has done that alone already, as one day he alone will crush all the rebels of earth with the power of his fist. That this latter focus is a key here is shown in the way wrath is substituted for “righteousness” in the same phrase in 59:16. God will achieve the redemption of his people, and we may experience his arm as the “righteousness” of God on our behalf, or we may experience it as his wrath. The choice is ours.
6 The theme of judgment is brought to a powerful climax in this verse, both through the development of the “wine vat” theme and also through the introduction of the related image of the wine cup full of God’s wrath. The verb bûs, trample, seems to be another rare word introduced for poetic variation (see above on “wine trough”). It is most commonly used in warfare contexts (14:19, 25; 22:5; 63:18; Ps. 44:6 [Eng. 5]; 60:14 [Eng. 12]; Zech. 10:5). Alexander calls “extravagant and revolting” Vitringa’s suggestion that I make them drunk means that the blood in the vat will be so deep the oppressors will drown in it. But much the same point seems to be made in 49:26, which states that the oppressors will be drunk on their own blood. If it is true that the Servant/Messiah will one day tread the wine press of earth and pour out the lifeblood of earth’s rebels on the ground (cf. Rev. 14:17–20), we must never forget that before that, he is the same one who “poured out his soul unto death” (Isa. 53:12) for their sakes. Their death is only the result of refusing to avail themselves of his death.

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 4:08 PM

Chris Miller:
It sounds like NICOT/NT may be the better investment.

I sold my NICOT/NT to buy other resources. It was a mistake. I hope to purchase it again someday.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 2710
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 4:17 PM

NICOT/NT is kind of a no-brainer for an evangelical pastor. There are some volumes of AB that are worth having. I did bite for Portfolio when I was a bit more flush and they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Worthwhile if you like to dig deep.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 1962
mike | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 8:07 PM

Super.Tramp:

I sold my NICOT/NT to buy other resources. It was a mistake. I hope to purchase it again someday.

*cough cough*

Posts 180
Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 9 2015 8:25 PM

Super.Tramp:
I sold my NICOT/NT to buy other resources. It was a mistake. I hope to purchase it again someday.
It's great that Faithlife has such a liberal resale policy.

Posts 172
LogosEmployee
Jonathan J Watson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 4:12 PM

I'll echo the sentiment: Once you have the commentary sets you list, NICOT/NT is the next best purchase. There are some other exciting series, such as the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series published by Lexham, or the Understanding the Bible Commentary series. But on the whole, NICOT/NT is comprehensive and respected. 

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