TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. God’s Plans for Israel

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Chapter 20  Part II

God’s Plans for Israel

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Large portions of the writings of the OT prophets speak of a wonderful, future renewal of Israel by God. There are differences of opinion as to what degree these are literal and physical, as opposed to figurative or spiritual. If they are largely meant to be understood literally, then they speak of the actual Israel and Jerusalem (or Zion), most likely immediately preceding and during the thousand years or Millennium spoken of in Revelation 20:1-7 (cf. Prelude: The thousand years). As such the time of a renewed Israel would largely correspond with that of a physical universal rule of Jesus Christ and would precede the final judgment. If instead the prophecies are basically figurative and spiritual, then they are more likely to be referring to all believers – the “new” Israel (cf. Gentiles have been included in the true “Israel” . . .; . . . God’s people are now of the heavenly Jerusalem). As such they would be portraying God’s people and kingdom following Jesus Christ’s mission and/or quite possibly anticipating heaven or the new Jerusalem (cf. Note: The new Jerusalem is linked with the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT . . .; . . . This association is seen in the descriptions of the two cities).

In reading the following sections, bear in mind that some prophecies are understood to be progressively fulfilled throughout history, culminating in a final fulfillment at the end of the age. For example a number of the passages refer initially to the Jew’s return after the Babylonian exile, but also appear to have a future era in view. Many probably also have an application to the experience of God’s people in all periods. As such – and with the hope that they provide for the future – they are a great source of encouragement to all believers.

Note that while the subheadings speak of Israel, many of the verses refer to Jerusalem in particular.

Return to the Land

Some commentators see a fulfillment of some of the prophecies in this and the following subsection in the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

God will gather the remnant of exiled Israel from the nations and bring them home

See also:

Isa 27:12-13  In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem. ▤ 

Isa 43:5-7  Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. ▤ 

Jer 23:3, 7-8  Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. ▤ 7“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 8but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where hey had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.” ▤ 

y Septuagint; Hebrew I

Jer 29:14  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. ▤ 

Jer 31:8-11, 16-17  Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. 9With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 10“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’ 11For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. ▤ 16Thus says the Lord: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. 17There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country. ▤ 

The “pleas for mercy” (v. 9) appears to refer to the people “pouring out prayers [for the future]” (AMP) as God leads them back home.

Ezek 34:11-13, 16  For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. ▤ 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.z I will feed them in justice. ▤ 

z Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate I will watch over

Ezek 36:24  I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. ▤ 

Ezek 37:1, 5, 10-12, 14  The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley;a it was full of bones. ▤ 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breathb to enter you, and you shall live. ▤ 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. ▤ 14And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” ▤ 

a Or plain; also verse 2

b Or spirit; also verses 6, 9, 10

With the Israelites scattered throughout distant lands, as a nation Israel was like the dry bones, completely devoid of life and without any apparent future hope (v. 11). But just as the bones in this vision came back to life (v. 10), God would give Israel life, bringing the people back to the land of Israel (v. 12) – and putting his Spirit in them (v. 14). As well as referring to Israel’s restoration after the Babylonian exile, this also appears to have in view Israel’s restoration in the last days, particularly with the eschatological promises in the remainder of Ezekiel 37.

Ezek 39:28  Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. ▤ 

Mic 4:6-7  In that day, declares the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; 7and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. ▤ 

God will aid them on the journey home and the nations also will assist

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Mic 2:12-13  I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. 13He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head. ▤ 

The one “who opens the breach” – “who breaks open the way” (NIV®) – enabling the people to return, may well be the Messiah (cf. AMP).

Zec 10:8-12  “I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before. 9Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return. 10I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria, and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them. 11He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. 12I will make them strong in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name,” declares the Lord. ▤ 

Verses 11-12 appear to speak of God enabling them to return, by removing obstacles and opposition (v. 11) and strengthening them (v. 12).

Isa 11:11-12, 15-16  In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush,c from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. 12He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. ▤ 15And the Lord will utterly destroyd the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath,e and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals. 16And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt. ▤ 

c Probably Nubia

d Hebrew devote to destruction

e Or wind

The phrase “a second time” (v. 11) most likely has the Exodus from Egypt in view as the first time. The raising of “a signal for the nations” (v. 12) suggests a giving of a signal to inform the nations of what he is doing, possibly to ensure that they do not hinder the exiles’ return and perhaps even to indicate that they are to assist (cf. Isa 49:22 ). In v.15, “the tongue of the Sea of Egypt” is the gulf of the Red Sea.

Isa 14:1-2a  For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. ▤ 

Verse 2a appears to speak of the nations escorting the Israelites back to the land of Israel (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Isa 49:8-12, 18, 21-22  Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, 9saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; 10they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. 11And I will make all my mountains a road, and my highways shall be raised up. 12Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west,f and these from the land of Syene.” ▤  … [God, to Zion:] 18Lift up your eyes around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, declares the Lord, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does. ▤ 21Then you will say in your heart: ‘Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away, but who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; from where have these come?’” 22Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. ▤ 

f Hebrew from the sea

g Dead Sea Scroll; Masoretic Text Sinim

The reference to the messianic servant (v. 8) makes this passage more likely to be primarily looking forward to a still future return to Israel.

Isa 66:20  And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. ▤ 

This appears to be speaking of people of other nations bringing the exiled Israelites home.

Judah and Israel will be reunited in the land – and share in God’s blessings

The following passages are applicable to the unity of all God’s people – which may be partially in view in at least some.

Isa 11:12-14  He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. 14But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. ▤ 

Verse 14 depicts reunited Judah and Israel acting in unity, and illustrates their rising prominence.

Jer 3:18  In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage. ▤ 

Jer 23:5-6  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ ▤ 

The implication is that this King – the Messiah – will be king over both Judah and Israel (v. 6a), pointing to them being united as a single kingdom.

Ezek 37:16-22  Son of man, take a stickh and write on it, ‘For Judah, and the people of Israel associated with him’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17And join them one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18And when your people say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what you mean by these?’ 19say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph (that is in the hand of Ephraim) and the tribes of Israel associated with him. And I will join with it the stick of Judah,i and make them one stick, that they may be one in my hand. 20When the sticks on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, 21then say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. ▤ 

h Or one piece of wood; also verses 17, 19, 20

i Hebrew And I will place them on it, the stick of Judah

Hos 1:11  And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. ▤ 

Isa 65:9  I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there. ▤ 

Here “Jacob” is used to denote the northern kingdom of Israel. Note that this and the following references do not specifically speak of Judah and Israel being reunited. However, they do point to it by speaking of the two of them sharing together in God’s blessings.

Jer 31:27-28  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. ▤ 

Jer 33:7-8  I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. ▤ 

Zec 8:13  And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong. ▤ 

Note that in the following chapter of Zechariah, Judah and Ephraim are portrayed as being used together by God against enemies – “For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior’s sword.” (9:13)

Zec 10:6  I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. ▤ 

  • The new covenant with both Israel and Judah:

Jer 31:31-34  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” ▤ 

Initially both “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (v. 31) are referred to and then shortly afterwards only “the house of Israel” (v. 33) is used, quite possibly pointing to the unity or oneness that will be. Note that the NT teaches that this new covenant (cf. Heb 8:8-12) has come into being through Jesus Christ’s mission, with his death. It would appear that it will have a more complete fulfillment in the renewed Israel of the end times.

The people of Israel will possess the land – forever

See also:

Ps 69:35-36  For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it; 36the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it. ▤ 

Jer 30:3  For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it. ▤ 

Ezek 11:17  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. ▤ 

Obad 1:17, 19-21  But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. ▤ 19Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau, and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines; they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria, and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20The exiles of this host of the people of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath, and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the Negeb. 21Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. ▤ 

The people of Israel – including those who were exiles (v. 20) – will reclaim all of the land, to its full extent.

Isa 60:21  Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.j ▤ 

j Or that I might display my beauty

Ezek 36:8, 12  But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. ▤ 12I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. ▤ 

Ezek 37:25  They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. ▤ 

Joel 3:20  But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations. ▤ 

This speaks of the people of Israel – or God’s people – as the ones who will inhabit Judah and Jerusalem forever.

Amos 9:15  I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the Lord your God. ▤ 

Jer 32:41  I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. ▤ 

This has an air of finality (cf. GNT; v. 40), indicative of the assertion that the people of Israel will possess the land forever.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Physical Renewal

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Israel will be physically restored

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In speaking of Israel being physically restored, the prophecies in this subsection speak of such things as Israel being repopulated (also reflected in the preceding subsections) and its cities being rebuilt.

Isa 61:4  They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. ▤ 

Jer 24:6  I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not uproot them. ▤ 

The reference to planting them (cf. Jer 31:27-28 ; Ezek 36:36 ; Amos 9:15 ; Jer 32:41 ) appears to allude to the people’s regrowth in the land.

Jer 30:17-18, 20  For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ 18“Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be. ▤ 20Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all who oppress them. ▤ 

Jer 31:27-28, 38  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. ▤ 38“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. ▤ 

Jer 33:6-7  Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. ▤ 

Ezek 36:10, 35-36  And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. ▤ 35And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it. ▤ 

Joel 3:1  k “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, … ▤ 

k Ch 4:1 in Hebrew

Here God promises to “restore the prosperity” (GNT, NLT; cf. CEV) of Judah and Jerusalem.

Amos 9:11  In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, … ▤ 

The “booth of David” refers either to the kingdom of Israel as a whole – as during David’s rule – or to David’s royal line.

Mic 4:7  … and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. ▤ 

Zeph 3:20  At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord. ▤ 

Zec 8:4-5  Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. ▤ 

Isa 30:26  Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow. ▤ 

This and 35:5-6a below speak, perhaps figuratively, of the physical restoration of the people themselves (cf. Jer 33:6 ).

Isa 35:5-6  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; … ▤ 

These references to healing may have a spiritual connotation as well as a physical one.

The land will be blessed and fruitful

See also:

Isa 30:23-25  And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. ▤ 

Note that “the day of the great slaughter” (v. 25) presumably speaks of that of proud enemies of Israel, with the Assyrians probably initially in view.

Isa 32:14-15, 20  For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; 15until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. ▤ 20Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free. ▤ 

Verse 20 speaks of “plenty of water for the crops and safe pasture everywhere for the donkeys and cattle” (GNT).

Isa 35:6-7  … then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. ▤ 

A spiritual application is often made of verses such as these and others in this subsection.

Isa 41:18-20  I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, 20that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. ▤ 

This is often understood to initially at least refer to God’s provision for the Israelites returning from exile in Babylon (cf. 43:19-20). Some commentators, however, think it refers to conditions in the renewed Israel in the Millennium.

Isa 55:13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. ▤ 

Jer 31:5, 12, 14  Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. ▤ 12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. ▤ 14I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord. ▤ 

The clause “their life shall be like a watered garden” (v. 12) refers figuratively to the people themselves, in a manner reflective of the lush conditions of their land.

Ezek 34:14, 26-27, 29  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. ▤ 26And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. ▤ 29And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. ▤ 

In v. 26, “they shall be showers of blessing” suggests that the aforementioned showers of rain will produce much blessing.

Ezek 36:8-9, 34-35  But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. 9For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. ▤ 34And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. 35And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ ▤ 

Hos 2:21-22  And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, 22and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel,l ▤ 

l Jezreel means God will sow

God will provide the heavens with clouds/moisture, to provide rain on the earth, to provide growth for the plants, to provide food for the people. The final clause depicts Israel’s prosperity as that which “God will sow” (text note), with “the grain, the wine and the oil” responding to her, coming in answer to her people’s prayers (cf. AMP).

Joel 3:18  And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim. ▤ 

Amos 9:13-14  “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 14I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. ▤ 

The images in v. 13a indicate an amazing abundance of produce, so much so that there will not be enough time for various tasks to be completed before the next round of them needs to commence.

Zec 8:12  For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. ▤ 

Israel’s population will be markedly increased, taking up more area

Isa 9:3  You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. ▤ 

Isa 26:15  But you have increased the nation, O Lord, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. ▤ 

Isa 49:19-20  Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land— surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears: ‘The place is too narrow for me; make room for me to dwell in.’ ▤ 

Here God speaks to Zion, or Jerusalem.

Isa 54:1-3  “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. 2“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. 3For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. ▤ 

Jerusalem is depicted as a once barren or “desolate” woman (v. 1), now with more children than ever before.

Isa 60:22  The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it. ▤ 

Jer 23:3  Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. ▤ 

Jer 30:19  Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. ▤ 

Ezek 36:9-11a  For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. 11And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. ▤ 

Ezek 36:37-38  “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. 38Like the flock for sacrifices,m like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” ▤ 

m Hebrew flock of holy things

Hos 1:10a  n Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. ▤ 

n Ch 2:1 in Hebrew

Zec 2:4  … and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. ▤ 

Zec 10:10  I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria, and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them. ▤ 

Mic 7:11-12  A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. 12In that day theyo will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. ▤ 

o Hebrew he

The people referred to in v. 12 are either returning exiles – “your people” (NCV™, NIrV; cf. GNT) – or people from other nations.

  • Israel’s land will extend afar:

Isa 33:17  Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. ▤ 

Joy will accompany God’s renewal of Israel . . .

See also:

Ps 14:7  Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. ▤ 

As per the theme of this section, the psalmist may have a latter-day consummate salvation and restoration of Israel in view.

Isa 29:19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

Isa 35:10  And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ▤ 

Isa 51:3  For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. ▤ 

Isa 55:12  For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ▤ 

The mountains, hills and trees are figuratively portrayed as rejoicing, alluding to the joy of the people of Israel (cf. Isa 35:1-2).

Isa 60:4-5, 15  Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you [Zion]; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. 5Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult,p because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. ▤ 15Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. ▤ 

p Hebrew your heart shall tremble and grow wide

Verse 15b may be speaking of Israel being the everlasting joy of all nations, although her own joy may primarily be in view.

Isa 61:7  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. ▤ 

Isa 65:14, 18  … behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you [the unfaithful] shall cry out for pain of heart and shall wail for breaking of spirit. ▤ 18But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. ▤ 

Isa 66:10-11, 14  “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; 11that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.” ▤ 14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies. ▤ 

q Or breast

Jer 30:18-19  Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be. 19Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. ▤ 

Jer 31:4, 11-12  Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. ▤ 11For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. ▤ 

Jer 33:10-11  Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord: “‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 35:1-2  The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. ▤ 

This is either speaking of the desert and wilderness in Israel itself or other such areas that the returning Israelites pass through.

. . . Israel’s sorrow will be no more

See also:

Isa 51:11  And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ▤ 

Note that this repeats 35:10 (in the previous subsection) verbatim.

Isa 60:20  Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. ▤ 

The Lord being their “everlasting light” points to God being present with them in a deeper and more tangible way than previously, assuring their well-being and the absence of sorrow.

Jer 31:13  Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. ▤ 

Isa 30:19  For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. ▤ 

Isa 65:19  I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. ▤ 

Isa 25:8  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

Isa 61:1-3  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;r he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;s 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.t ▤ 

r Or afflicted

s Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint and recovery of sight to the blind

t Or that he may display his beauty

Here the work of the Messiah is primarily in view. Jesus applied vv. 1-2a to himself in Luke 4:19-20. A good proportion of commentators interpret Jesus concluding his quotation immediately prior to “the day of vengeance of our God” to indicate that he will fulfill the remainder of the prophecy on his second coming.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Deliverance and Everlasting Peace

God will save Israel

See also:

Isa 9:4  For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. ▤ 

Isa 12:1-2  Youu will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. 2“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord Godv is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” ▤ 

u The Hebrew for you is singular in verse 1

v Hebrew for Yah, the Lord

References to a future “day” – as in “that day” (v. 1; Isa 25:9 ; Zec 9:16 ) – are often understood to have an application to the end time.

Isa 25:9  It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” ▤ 

Isa 41:11-13  Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. 12You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. 13For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ▤ 

Isa 45:17  But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. ▤ 

Isa 51:6, 8  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;w but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. ▤ 8For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations. ▤ 

w Or will die like gnats

Note that, as is the case here, God’s righteousness is often associated with his salvation (cf. Isa 59:16 ). For in bringing salvation God is doing what is right; his salvation is a product of his righteousness.

Isa 52:2-3, 7-10  Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” ▤ 7How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

Salvation from exile in Babylon is initially in view here, as may well be the case in other passages in this subsection.

Isa 59:15b-16, 20  The Lord saw it, and it displeased himx that there was no justice. 16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. ▤ 20“And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. ▤ 

x Hebrew and it was evil in his eyes

Verse 20 is in effect a promise to save all of those in Jacob who repent.

Isa 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. ▤ 

Isa 62:1, 11-12  For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. ▤ 11Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” 12And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. ▤ 

Zec 9:16  On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. ▤ 

God will take vengeance on those who persecute Israel

See also:

Isa 34:5, 8  For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction. ▤ 8For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. ▤ 

Here “Edom” (v. 5; cf. Isa 63:1-6 ) may well be symbolic of all the enemies of God’s people.

Isa 35:4  Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” ▤ 

Isa 59:17-19  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream,y which the wind of the Lord drives. ▤ 

y Hebrew a narrow river

Note that “coastlands” (v. 18) denotes God’s enemies of other lands (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT) – quite possibly ones along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea are in view in particular.

Isa 61:1-2  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;z he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;a 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; … ▤ 

z Or afflicted

a Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint and recovery of sight to the blind

For comment, see the comment on Isa 61:1-3 – under . . . Israel’s sorrow will be no more.

Isa 63:1-6  Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? 3“I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifebloodb spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemptionc had come. 5I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. 6I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” ▤ 

b Or their juice; also verse 6

c Or the year of my redeemed

Jer 30:16  Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall be plundered, and all who prey on you I will make a prey. ▤ 

Ezek 38:18, 21-23  But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. ▤ 21I will summon a sword against Gogd on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. ▤ 

d Hebrew against him

Commentators are often hesitant to identify this Gog with the Gog of Revelation 20:8 and this event with the final battle (cf. Rev 20:7-10 ), but many do see the passage as referring to an event of the end times.

Joel 3:21  I will avenge their blood, blood I have not avenged,e for the Lord dwells in Zion. ▤ 

e Or I will acquit their bloodguilt that I have not acquitted

Zeph 3:19  Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. ▤ 

Zec 2:8-9  For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent mef to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: 9“Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me. ▤ 

f Or he sent me after glory

The agent of God’s vengeance is most likely either the Messiah or (figuratively) the prophet with his message.

Siege, suffering and deliverance of Jerusalem – followed by judgment on its attackers

See also:

Rev 20:7-10  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaveng and consumed them, 10and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. ▤ 

g Some manuscripts from God, out of heaven, or out of heaven from God

Two of the most prominent interpretations of “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (v. 9) are: a spiritually renewed Jerusalem; and God’s people in general.

Isa 29:1-8  Ah, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts run their round. 2Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel.h 3And I will encamp against you all around, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siegeworks against you. 4And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper. 5But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, 6you will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. 7And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8As when a hungry man dreams he is eating and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion. ▤ 

h Ariel could mean lion of God, or hero (2 Samuel 23:20), or altar hearth (Ezekiel 43:15-16)

“Ariel” refers to Jerusalem. Verse 2 speaks of it suffering intently. The siege of Jerusalem and the sudden destruction of Assyria’s army in 701 B.C. may be primarily in view, but a number of commentators see an eschatological application in the passage.

Zec 12:2-9  Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’ 6“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. 7“And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. 8On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them. 9And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. ▤ 

Chapters 12-14 of Zechariah (cf. Zec 14:1-14 ) form an oracle which revolves largely around a final siege of Jerusalem and the Messiah’s return to deliver it.

Zec 14:1-14  Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.i 7And there shall be a uniquej day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. 8On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern seak and half of them to the western sea.l It shall continue in summer as in winter. 9And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. 10The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. 11And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction.m Jerusalem shall dwell in security. 12And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. 14Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. ▤ 

i Compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

j Hebrew one

k That is, the Dead Sea

l That is, the Mediterranean Sea

m The Hebrew term rendered decree of utter destruction refers to things devoted (or set apart) to the Lord (or by the Lord) for destruction

In vv. 4-5 the Lord is portrayed as providing a way of escape for the besieged people in Jerusalem. The living waters in v. 8 replenish the land. Verse 10 speaks of the land around Jerusalem being leveled to become a plain, in contrast to Jerusalem, which is raised up – asserting Jerusalem’s prominence. Verse 14 appears to speak of other people of Judah defending Jerusalem (cf. GNT).

Jer 30:7-8  Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. 8“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.n ▤ 

n Or serve him

This is not speaking of a siege of Jerusalem, nor Jerusalem in particular; it concerns both Israel and Judah (cf. v. 4). However it further illustrates the intense suffering of Israel and God’s subsequent deliverance in the end times, with an eschatological setting appearing to be ultimately in view.

  • Jesus’ prophecy of siege, suffering and destruction of Jerusalem:

Luke 21:20-24  But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. ▤ 

While this appears to prophecy of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Romans, many understand it to also refer to the events of the end times. Bear in mind that the parallel passages in the other synoptic gospels associate the desecration of the temple with this event (cf. Matt 24:15-16). The parallel passages also dwell more on the “great distress” mentioned in v. 23 (cf. Matt 24:21-22). Note that here in v. 24, “the times of the Gentiles” may be referring to the period of Gentile domination of Jerusalem or to the time of their prominence in God’s plan of salvation (cf. Rom 1:11-27).

Israel will defeat its enemies

See also:

Isa 11:14  But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. ▤ 

Isa 41:15-16  Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; 16you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. ▤ 

The “mountains” and the “hills” (v. 15b) represent enemy nations.

Obad 1:18  The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

The earlier reference to “the day of the Lord” (cf. v. 15) suggests that the subsequent verses, including this one, have an eschatological meaning or application.

Mic 4:13  Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; and shall devoteo their gain to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth. ▤ 

o Hebrew devote to destruction

Mic 5:5-9  And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; 6they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border. 7Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. 8And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. 9Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off. ▤ 

The “Assyrian” (vv. 5-6) may symbolize Israel’s enemies in general. The “seven shepherds and eight princes of men” (vv. 5-6) indicate an ample number of leaders. The phrase “he shall deliver us” (v. 6b) probably refers to the Messiah (cf. vv. 4-5a). Verses 7-9 appear to depict the remnant’s dominance amongst the nations, bringing blessings to the nations (v. 7) and crushing its enemies (vv. 8-9).

Zec 9:13-15  For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior’s sword. 14Then the Lord will appear over them, and his arrow will go forth like lightning; the Lord God will sound the trumpet and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. 15The Lord of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones, and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar. ▤ 

As suggested by v. 13, this appears to have the Jewish Maccabees’ defeat of the Seleucids in view. But a number of commentators consider it to also have a final fulfillment in the end times.

Mal 4:3  And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Israel will greatly rejoice in God’s salvation

See also:

Isa 9:3-4  You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. ▤ 

Isa 12:3  With joy youp will draw water from the wells of salvation. ▤ 

p The Hebrew for you is plural in verses 3, 4

Isa 25:9  It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” ▤ 

Isa 30:28-29  … his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray. 29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. ▤ 

God’s punishment of the nations (v. 28b) involves Israel’s enemies – and so is a key part of Israel’s salvation, bringing her joy (v. 29).

Isa 52:8-9  The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. ▤ 

Isa 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. ▤ 

Jer 31:11-12  For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. ▤ 

Zeph 3:14-15  Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. ▤ 

Zec 10:6-7  I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. 7Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord. ▤ 

  • The prospect of God’s renewed presence in Jerusalem should make her glad:

Zec 2:10  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. ▤ 

God will protect and care for Israel

Isa 4:5-6  Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain. ▤ 

The “cloud”, “smoke” and “flaming fire” (v. 5) signify God’s presence and protection – the latter further signified by the “canopy” (v. 5).

Isa 26:1  In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. ▤ 

God’s protection is implicit here (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV).

Isa 27:2-3  In that day, “A pleasant vineyard,q sing of it! 3I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day; … ▤ 

q Many Hebrew manuscripts A vineyard of wine

The “vineyard” (v. 2) is “the redeemed nation of Israel” (AMP).

Zec 2:5  And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst. ▤ 

Zec 9:8  Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that none shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again march over them, for now I see with my own eyes. ▤ 

The last clause suggests that not only did God see the affliction of his people, he would now acknowledge it and act accordingly.

Zeph 2:7b  For the Lord their God will be mindful of them and restore their fortunes. ▤ 

Isa 30:19  For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. ▤ 

Isa 65:24  Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. ▤ 

Isa 28:5-6  In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,r and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, 6and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. ▤ 

r The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike

Verse 6a speaks of God leading judges to make decisions justly (cf. GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT).

Isa 33:21-22  But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass. 22For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us. ▤ 

The “broad rivers and streams” (v. 21) are quite possibly being spoken of here primarily as forms of protection for Jerusalem, upon which no threatening ships will sail.

Isa 54:15-17  If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindications from me, declares the Lord. ▤ 

s Or righteousness

Verse 16 points to how all the enemies of God’s people are under his control.

The Davidic Messiah will reign over Israel

See also:

The references in this and the following subsection to “David” as a king or ruler are speaking of the promised Christ or Messiah from the line of David. The context of the other verses speaking of a future king, point to them as also being messianic.

Jer 30:9, 21  But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. ▤ 21Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the Lord. ▤ 

The Davidic Messiah-king was possibly not initially in view in v. 21, but some commentators see him as the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy, as is clearly the case in v. 9.

Ezek 34:23-24  And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. ▤ 

Ezek 37:24  My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. ▤ 

Hos 3:5  Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days. ▤ 

Isa 33:17  Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. ▤ 

The first clause appears to speak of the people seeing the Messiah “in all his splendor” (NLT; cf. GNT). The verse suggests that he will rule over all the land.

The Messiah will rule forever over Israel, in righteousness and peace

See also:

Luke 1:32-33  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. ▤ 

Ps 72:1-7  Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5May they fear yout while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! ▤ 

t Septuagint He shall endure

Psalm 72 is understood to be messianic, to be fulfilled ultimately in the Messiah’s rule. Note that vv. 3, 6, 7 speak of the abundant prosperity that will also accompany the messianic king’s reign. The final clause of v. 7 alludes to his reign being everlasting.

Isa 9:5-7  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponu his shoulder, and his name shall be calledv Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ▤ 

u Or is upon

v Or is called

Isa 32:1  Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. ▤ 

The “king” (v. 1) is understood to be the Messiah. Here other just rulers, subservient to the Messiah, are associated with his righteous reign.

Jer 23:5-6  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ ▤ 

Ezek 37:25  They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. ▤ 

Mic 5:2-6  w But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 3Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. 4And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. 5And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; 6they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border. ▤ 

w Ch 5:1 in Hebrew

Aspects of this prophecy were fulfilled in Christ’s first advent, but much of it is usually understood to be ultimately fulfilled in his second coming and reign. With his second coming in view, “she who is in labor” (v. 3) would likely refer to Zion. As noted earlier, the reference to the Assyrians (vv. 5-6) appears to symbolize Israel’s enemies in general.

Israel will have peace – and no fear – forever . . .

See also:

Isa 32:17-18  And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trustx forever. 18My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. ▤ 

x Or security

Isa 54:10, 13  For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. ▤ 13All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. ▤ 

Isa 55:12  For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ▤ 

Isa 57:18-19  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, 19creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. ▤ 

Those who are “far” away may be exiled Jews who will return to the land – or possibly Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:17).

Isa 60:17b  I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. ▤ 

Isa 65:25  The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 66:12  For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. ▤ 

Jer 30:10b  Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. ▤ 

Jer 33:6  Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. ▤ 

Ezek 34:25, 27-28  I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. ▤ 27And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. ▤ 

Ezek 37:26  I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their landy and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. ▤ 

y Hebrew lacks in their land

Hos 2:18  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishz the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. ▤ 

z Hebrew break

The first statement speaks of God ensuring that the animals will no longer be a threat to his people.

Zeph 3:12b-15, 17  They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, 13those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” 14Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. ▤ 17The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ▤ 

The absence of fear amongst the people is reflected in the fact that God will quiet or calm them (cf. NLT, NIrV) with his love (v. 17).

Hag 2:9  The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Zec 3:10  In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree. ▤ 

This portrays the peace and fulfillment that will characterize Israel.

. . . Never again will Israel be invaded or destroyed

See also:

Isa 33:20-21  Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken. 21But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass. ▤ 

Isa 52:1  Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. ▤ 

Isa 54:9, 14  This is like the days of Noaha to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. ▤ 14In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. ▤ 

a Some manuscripts For this is as the waters of Noah

In v. 9b “rebuke” has the sense of “punish” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV). God will never again punish Israel (cf. Isa 51:22 ), as he often did previously with enemy invaders.

Isa 60:18  Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. ▤ 

Rather than being needed to thwart invasion and devastation, Jerusalem’s walls and gates will be reflective of God’s everlasting salvation and the praise of him that this evokes.

Isa 62:8  The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; … ▤ 

The things mentioned were consequences of being invaded.

Jer 30:8  And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.b ▤ 

b Or serve him

God’s people will “never again” (NCV™; cf. AMP, NIrV) be made slaves.

Jer 31:40b  It [Jerusalem] shall not be uprooted or overthrown anymore forever. ▤ 

Joel 3:17, 20  So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. ▤ 20But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations. ▤ 

Foreigners will never again invade Jerusalem (v. 17b), nor will the people be exiled (v. 20) by conquering enemies.

Zec 9:8  Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that none shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again march over them, for now I see with my own eyes. ▤ 

Zec 14:11  And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction.c Jerusalem shall dwell in security. ▤ 

c The Hebrew term rendered decree of utter destruction refers to things devoted (or set apart) to the Lord (or by the Lord) for destruction

Isa 45:17  But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. ▤ 

Reflective of the fact that Israel will never again be invaded or destroyed, will be the reality of God’s everlasting salvation (cf. Isa 60:18 ; Isa 51:6, 8 ).

Isa 51:6, 8, 22  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;d but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. ▤ 8For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.” ▤ 22Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; … ▤ 

d Or will die like gnats

  • Israel will endure forever:

Isa 66:22  For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Spiritual Renewal

God will cleanse Israel of all impurities and sin . . .

See also:

Isa 4:4  … when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.e ▤ 

e Or purging

The second part of the verse is indicative of Israel’s cleansing involving judgment (presumably prior to the everlasting salvation and peace spoken of in the previous sections). Similarly Zechariah 13:8-9a and Malachi 3:2-4 below suggest that Israel’s purification will involve discipline and suffering.

Ezek 36:25, 29, 33  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. ▤ 29And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. ▤ 33“Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. ▤ 

Ezek 37:23  They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidingsf in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. ▤ 

f Many Hebrew manuscripts; other Hebrew manuscripts dwellings

Mic 5:10-14  And in that day, declares the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; 13and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. ▤ 

In cleansing Israel God will destroy that in which it relied upon for its power and protection (vv. 10-11), and all that was evil within it (vv. 12-14). Zephaniah 3:11 below indicates that the latter includes removal of the proud.

Zeph 3:11  On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. ▤ 

Zec 3:3-5, 8-9  Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. ▤ 8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes,g I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. ▤ 

g Or facets

The high priest Joshua is representative of either or both the priests and the nation of Israel. The “stone” (v. 9) may refer to the Messiah, but this is debatable. Its “seven eyes” most likely symbolizes omniscience, of either the Messiah or God. The promise to “remove the sin of this land in a single day” (v. 9) may well refer to the day of Jesus Christ’s return, but Good Friday could instead be primarily in view.

Zec 13:1-2, 8-9a  “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. 2“And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. ▤ 8In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. 9And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. ▤ 

Particularly in v. 1, Christ’s death may be partially in view as such cleansing is only possible through his death and reference is made to it in v. 7 and in the previous chapter (12:10). The prophets (v. 2b) were false prophets.

Mal 3:2-3  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.h ▤ 

h Or and they will belong to the Lord, bringers of an offering in righteousness

This is generally understood as referring to the Messiah’s coming and God’s judgment through him.

Rom 11:25-27  Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers:i a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27“and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” ▤ 

i Or brothers and sisters

The most common interpretations of the term “all Israel” are: the bulk of the Jews of the end times; all believing Jews of every generation; and all believers (cf. NSB). In using the phrase “all Israel will be saved” Paul possibly has in mind Isaiah 45:25 – “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”

. . . and God will forgive the people’s sins

Jer 31:34  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ▤ 

Jer 33:8  I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. ▤ 

Isa 33:24  And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity. ▤ 

Jer 50:20  In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant. ▤ 

Mic 7:18  Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. ▤ 

Israel will be holy

See also:

Isa 4:3  And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, … ▤ 

Isa 62:12  And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. ▤ 

Jer 31:40  The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be uprooted or overthrown anymore forever. ▤ 

Ezek 37:28  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore. ▤ 

Israel will be shown to be holy when God’s presence is among them forever (cf. Joel 3:17 ).

Joel 3:17  So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. ▤ 

Obad 1:17  But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. ▤ 

Zec 8:3  Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. ▤ 

Zec 14:20-21  And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a traderj in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day. ▤ 

j Or Canaanite

Verses 20-21a depict holiness characterizing all aspects of life in Jerusalem, even all things in the city.

Isa 35:8  And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.k ▤ 

k Or if they are fools, they shall not wander in it

The “highway” is that which leads to Zion. This suggests that only those who are holy, spiritually clean, will be able to enter and reside in Jerusalem.

Israel will be righteous

Isa 1:26  And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city. ▤ 

The first statement refers to Jerusalem having “good judges and wise counselors” (NLT; cf. Isa 32:1 ), a factor in it being righteous.

Isa 26:2  Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. ▤ 

The “righteous nation” probably refers primarily to the righteous remnant of Israel.

Isa 32:1, 16-17  Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. ▤ 16Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 17And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trustl forever. ▤ 

l Or security

Isa 33:5  The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, … ▤ 

Isa 45:25  In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory. ▤ 

Isa 54:14  In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. ▤ 

The “righteousness” is that of Jerusalem – “rightness, in conformity with God’s will and order” (AMP).

Isa 60:17b, 21  I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. ▤ 21Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.m ▤ 

m Or that I might display my beauty

“I will make … your taskmasters righteousness” (v. 17b) quite possibly means that the people will live their lives in accordance with righteousness (v. 21b), although it could instead refer to righteous authorities governing them.

Isa 61:3  … to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.n … ▤ 

n Or that he may display his beauty

Isa 61:10-11  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. ▤ 

Some commentators understand “righteousness and praise” (v. 11) to be referring to Israel’s righteousness (v. 10) and its praise of God – very pertinent to the theme of this subsection. The other possibility is that it is referring to the righteousness and praise of all nations (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Isa 62:1-2  For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. 2The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. ▤ 

Zeph 3:13  … those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. ▤ 

The people of Israel will be given God’s Spirit

Isa 59:21  “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.” ▤ 

Ezek 36:26-27  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.o ▤ 

o Or my just decrees

Being given a new heart (cf. Jer 24:7 ), in association with a new spirit (v. 26) – along with God’s spirit – further points to Israel’s spiritual renewal.

Ezek 37:14  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord. ▤ 

In being given God’s Spirit, the decimated nation of Israel would be given life.

Ezek 39:29  And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Joel 2:28-29  p “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. ▤ 

p Ch 3:1 in Hebrew

Even with the reference to “all flesh” (v. 28) – and the NT’s broader application of these verses – the renewed Israel would appear to be the primary focus of the promise as originally given here. A similar comment could be made of the above references, which likewise have a clear application under the present new covenant.

The people of Israel will be given spiritual understanding

See also:

The references in this subsection to eyes being opened and ears hearing, may allude to God previously having judicially blinded and deafened his rebellious people spiritually (cf. Isa 6:9-10; Matt 13:13-15; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26-27; Rom 1:8). As such they signify the everlasting reversal of this judgment. Note that these references are understood by some commentators as having a physical connotation as well as a spiritual one.

Isa 29:18, 24  In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. ▤ 24And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction. ▤ 

In v. 18, “a book” could refer to God’s word, but the meaning may be more general.

Isa 32:3-5  Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. 4The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly. 5The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honorable. ▤ 

The stammering tongue being able to “speak distinctly” (v. 4) may well also be reflective of spiritual healing and understanding. Verse 5 indicates that, with the renewed spiritual understanding, any fools or wicked people will be recognized for what they are.

Isa 35:5  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; … ▤ 

Isa 54:13  All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. ▤ 

Being “taught by the Lord” implies receiving spiritual understanding.

Jer 24:7  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. ▤ 

Jer 31:33-34  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ▤ 

Verse 33 suggests a far more complete understanding and compliance with God’s law. As reflective of spiritual understanding, the people will know God (v. 34a; Jer 24:7a ).

Ezek 39:7  And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. ▤ 

  • God’s steadfast guidance of his people:

Isa 30:21  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

A Renewed Relationship with God

See also:

Israel will turn to God

Isa 10:21  A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. ▤ 

Jer 24:7  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. ▤ 

Hos 3:5  Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days. ▤ 

Jer 31:6  For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’ ▤ 

Jer 50:4  In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God. ▤ 

  • Israel’s mourning for “the one they have pierced”:

Zec 12:10  And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. ▤ 

This is commonly understood to depict Israel’s eventual turning to Jesus Christ in deep remorse over their crucifixion of him.

Israel will worship God – and trust in him

Isa 27:13  And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem. ▤ 

Zeph 3:10  From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. ▤ 

Isa 12:1-6  Youq will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. 2“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord Godr is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” 3With joy yous will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. 5“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made knownt in all the earth. 6Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in youru midst is the Holy One of Israel.” ▤ 

q The Hebrew for you is singular in verse 1

r Hebrew for Yah, the Lord

s The Hebrew for you is plural in verses 3, 4

t Or this is made known

u The Hebrew for your in verse 6 is singular, referring to the inhabitant of Zion

Isa 25:8-9  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” ▤ 

As is the case with the adjacent passages, this is indicative of praise and worship of God as well as trust in him.

Isa 26:1, 4-5  In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. ▤ 4Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. 5For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. ▤ 

The song of praise to God that “will be sung in the land of Judah” (v. 1) extends to at least v. 6 and possibly as far as v. 19.

Isa 10:20  In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. ▤ 

The phrase “him who struck them” had the king of Assyria in view. Unlike other aspects of the verse, it may not have an eschatological application.

Zeph 3:12  But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, … ▤ 

Seeking refuge in God is equivalent to trusting in him.

  • They will acknowledge God’s holiness and be in awe of God:

Isa 29:23  For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. ▤ 

Israel will be devoted to God

The following verses show various aspects of the people of Israel’s devotion to God, including: service (Ezek 20:40a; Isa 6:19, 21); obedience (Ezek 37:24; Jer 31:33); and everlasting faithfulness (Jer 32:39-40; Ezek 43:7b). All of these are reflected in the first verse listed (Jer 50:5).

Jer 50:5  They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’ ▤ 

This reflects Israel’s devotion to God in showing the people’s unwavering commitment to live in accordance with his will.

Ezek 20:40a  “For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. ▤ 

Isa 66:19, 21  … and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. ▤ 21And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord. ▤ 

In v. 19 “survivors” may refer to a remnant of faithful Israelites who had survived God’s judgment; alternatively it may be people from the Gentile nations that are in view (cf. v. 18). Similarly it is debatable as to whether “some of them” (v. 21) refers to such Israelites or to Gentiles. If Israelites are in view, then this is illustrative of their service (cf. Ezek 20:40a ) and hence devotion to God in the end times. Note that similar to v. 21, 61:6a also speaks of God’s people in the end times being his priests – “… but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God …”

Ezek 37:24  My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. ▤ 

Jer 31:33  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ▤ 

As noted earlier, this suggests a far more complete understanding and compliance with God’s law.

Jer 32:39-40  I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. ▤ 

Ezek 43:7b  And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodiesv of their kings at their high places,w … ▤ 

v Or the monuments; also verse 9

w Or at their deaths

God will be as a husband to Israel, renewing his relationship with her

See also:

Isa 54:5-8  For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. 6For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. 7For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. 8In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. ▤ 

“For a brief moment I deserted you” (v. 7) probably refers initially at least to the Babylonian exile. For what was a relatively brief time, God cast off his unfaithful people – in accordance with the warnings stated in his covenant with them.

Isa 62:4-5, 12  You shall no more be termed Forsaken,x and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,y but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,z and your land Married;a for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. ▤ 12And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. ▤ 

x Hebrew Azubah

y Hebrew Shemamah

z Hebrew Hephzibah

a Hebrew Beulah

The Hebrew terms translated as “Forsaken” and “Desolate” (v. 4) allude to a deserted and “Childless” (CEV) wife, as reflected by the contrasting names in the subsequent statement and in v. 12, where “Sought Out” refers to God seeking after Jerusalem. Note that God’s rejoicing over his people (v. 5b) and delighting in them (v. 4b) – as a bridegroom – is similarly spoken of in 65:19a – “I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people …”

Hos 2:14-16, 19-20, 23  “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achorb a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ ▤ 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. ▤ 23and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy,c and I will say to Not My People,d ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” ▤ 

b Achor means trouble; compare Joshua 7:26

c Hebrew Lo-ruhama

d Hebrew Lo-ammi

God is speaking of Israel in vv. 14-15, 23 and directly to her in vv. 16, 19-20. In saying that Israel will no longer call him “My Baal” (v. 16), God may be referring either to: the people turning from worship of false gods (cf. v. 17); and/or that ‘his people will have a deep personal relationship with him (like a devoted wife and husband) rather than merely a legal tie (like a wife and her “master”)’ (CEV text note), for in Hebrew the term “Baal” is the same as one used for “husband” which is “master” (CEV, NIV, NKJV, NLT).

Ezek 20:41  As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. ▤ 

Although not using marriage terminology, this and the following verses (Zec 2:12; Ezek 39:29) also point to God renewing his relationship with his people.

Zec 2:12  And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. ▤ 

Ezek 39:29  And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Though not as specific as the previous passages, this also is indicative of God renewing his relationship with Israel.

  • God’s new covenant relationship with Israel:

Jer 31:31-34  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” ▤ 

For comment, see the comment on Jer 31:31-34 – under Judah and Israel will be reunited in the land – and share in God’s blessings.

The people of Israel will be God’s people and he will be their God

See also:

The theme of this subsection denotes the consummate fulfillment of a key aspect of the first covenant that God made with Israel – that they would be his people and he would be their God (cf. . . . If the Israelites obeyed God, then they would be his people and he would be their God). Note that the following subsection reflects a further key aspect of the first covenant.

Jer 24:7  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. ▤ 

Jer 30:22  And you shall be my people, and I will be your God. ▤ 

Jer 31:1, 6  “At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” ▤ 6For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’” ▤ 

Ezek 37:23b  But I will save them from all the backslidingse in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. ▤ 

e Many Hebrew manuscripts; other Hebrew manuscripts dwellings

Hos 1:10  f Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Childreng of the living God.” ▤ 

f Ch 2:1 in Hebrew

g Or Sons

Although applied in the NT to God’s acceptance of the Gentiles (cf. Rom 9:25-26; 1Pet 2:10), this and 2:23b below ultimately have God’s reconciliation with the Israelites in view.

Hos 2:1, 23b  h Say to your brothers, “You are my people,”i and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.” ▤ 23… And I will have mercy on No Mercy,k and I will say to Not My People,l ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” ▤ 

h Ch 2:3 in Hebrew

i Hebrew ammi, which means my people

j Hebrew ruhama, which means she has received mercy

k Hebrew Lo-ruhama

l Hebrew Lo-ammi

Mic 4:5  For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. ▤ 

Zec 8:8b  And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. ▤ 

Zec 13:9b  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ▤ 

  • The people of Israel will acknowledge the Lord as their judge, lawgiver and king:

Isa 33:22  For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us. ▤ 

Such acknowledgment of the Lord is reflective of the people’s willing submission to him as their God.

God will dwell in Jerusalem, living among his people forever

See also:

Isa 52:8  The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. ▤ 

Jer 3:16-17  And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. ▤ 

The ark of the covenant of the Lord – which signified God’s presence amongst his people under the first covenant – will not be missed (v. 16), for God himself will dwell in Jerusalem (v. 17).

Ezek 34:30  And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Ezek 37:26b-28  And I will set them in their landm and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore. ▤ 

m Hebrew lacks in their land

Ezek 48:35  The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There. ▤ 

Joel 3:16-17, 21  The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. 17“So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. ▤ 21I will avenge their blood, blood I have not avenged,n for the Lord dwells in Zion.” ▤ 

n Or I will acquit their bloodguilt that I have not acquitted

Mic 4:7  … and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. ▤ 

Zeph 3:15, 17  The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. ▤ 17The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ▤ 

Zec 1:16-17  Therefore, thus says the Lord, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the Lord of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem. ▤ 

These verses with the reference to the rebuilding of God’s temple (v. 16a) had a fulfillment in the return of the exiles from Babylon and the subsequent rebuilding of the temple. The prophecy also appears applicable to the renewed Israel and Jerusalem of the end times. Note that “measuring line” (v. 16) seems to refer to the work involved in reconstruction, alluding to the restoration of Jerusalem and possibly also of the temple.

Zec 2:10-11  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. 11And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. ▤ 

Note that in the last clause Zechariah appears to refer to himself, whereas God appears to be the subject of the preceding clause – “And I will dwell in your midst …” (cf. CEV, GNT, NIrV).

Zec 8:3  Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. ▤ 

  • In the afterlife, God will live with his people as their God:

Rev 21:3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placeo of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,p and God himself will be with them as their God.q ▤ 

o Or tabernacle

p Some manuscripts peoples

q Some manuscripts omit as their God

Note: References to a temple of God in Jerusalem in the future

See also:

Some commentators understand at least a number of the following verses to be speaking of a new future temple of God in Jerusalem. (See the comment below under the first Ezekiel passage.)

Isa 2:3  … and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law,r and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. ▤ 

r Or teaching

Isa 56:4-7  For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” ▤ 

Jer 33:11a  … the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord: “‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ ▤ 

Ezek 40:2, 48  In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. ▤ 48Then he brought me to the vestibule of the temple and measured the jambs of the vestibule, five cubits on either side. And the breadth of the gate was fourteen cubits, and the sidewalls of the gates were three cubits on either side. ▤ 

s Septuagint; Hebrew lacks was fourteen cubits, and the sidewalls of the gate

Ezekiel 40-47 contains a vision/s of a temple (cf. Ezek 41:4-5, 13 ; Ezek 43:4-7a ). One interpretation is that it speaks of a Millennium temple, during a messianic kingdom on earth. Another view is that the temple and its practices are symbolic of the afterlife.

Ezek 41:3-5, 13  Then he went into the inner room and measured the jambs of the entrance, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits; and the sidewalls on either sidet of the entrance, seven cubits. 4And he measured the length of the room, twenty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, across the nave. And he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.” 5Then he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits thick, and the breadth of the side chambers, four cubits, all around the temple. ▤ 13Then he measured the temple, a hundred cubits long; and the yard and the building with its walls, a hundred cubits long; … ▤ 

t Septuagint; Hebrew and the breadth

Note that “the nave” (v. 4) is likely the main room of the temple (cf. CEV), the outer sanctuary adjoining the Most Holy Place.

Ezek 43:4-7a  As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, 5the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 6While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, 7and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. ▤ 

Hag 2:6-9  For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

This refers initially to the second temple that the Jews built after the Babylonian exile. In saying that its glory would prove to be greater than that of the first temple, “the former” (v. 9a), Haggai’s words may refer to the spiritual temple that is the NT church and/or a new temple of the renewed Jerusalem.

Mal 3:1-3  Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.u ▤ 

u Or and they will belong to the Lord, bringers of an offering in righteousness

The reference in v. 3 to the Levites bringing offerings has worship in the temple in view.

Zec 6:11-13  Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. 13It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ ▤ 

This crowning of the high priest (v. 11) is understood to be symbolic, portraying the messianic King-Priest who would build the temple of God (v. 12).

  • In the new Jerusalem, God’s presence amongst his people will be such that there will be no temple:

Rev 21:3, 22  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placev of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,w and God himself will be with them as their God. ▤ 22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. ▤ 

v Or tabernacle

w Some manuscripts peoples

x Some manuscripts omit as their God

Pray for persecuted Christians

Exaltation and Glorification

Israel will be exalted among the nations because of what God will do for her. In fact God will glorify Israel.

Israel will be dominant among the nations, who will serve it

See also:

Mic 4:1, 8  It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, ▤ 8And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem. ▤ 

The “mountain of the house of the Lord” (v. 1) is Mount Zion. Verse 1 speaks of Jerusalem’s rule over and exaltation above the nations. Likewise v. 8 seems to refer to her dominion over the nations.

Mic 5:6-8  … they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border. 7Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. 8And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. ▤ 

Often references to renowned enemies of Israel – such as Assyria (v. 6) and those in Isaiah 11:14 below – signify Israel’s enemies in general. For further comment on this passage see Israel will defeat its enemies.

Isa 11:14  But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. ▤ 

Isa 14:2  And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them. ▤ 

Isa 27:6  In days to comey Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. ▤ 

y Hebrew In those to come

Israel’s prominence throughout the world may be foremost in view here. Alternatively, though not unconnected, the clause “fill the whole world with fruit” may be speaking of the blessings that will come through Israel to the world, possibly alluding to the spread of the gospel and God’s kingdom.

Isa 45:14  Thus says the Lord: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.’” ▤ 

Isa 49:23  Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame. ▤ 

Isa 60:10-12  Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you. 11Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. 12For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. ▤ 

The final clause of v. 11 speaks further of the subservience of the kings of the nations, quite possibly even of them being led as captives in a victory procession (cf. NIV, NLT).

Isa 61:5  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; … ▤ 

Amos 9:11-12  “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, 12that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,”z declares the Lord who does this. ▤ 

z Hebrew; Septuagint (compare Acts 15:17) that the remnant of mankind and all the nations who are called by my name may seek the Lord

This speaks of Israel possessing nations, but note the alternative rendering in the text note (cf. Acts 15:17).

  • Israel will possess nations:

Isa 54:3  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. ▤ 

Amos 9:12 also speaks of Israel possessing other nations – “… that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.” Obadiah 1:19-20 similarly speaks of Israel possessing nations surrounding her.

The nations will know and acknowledge God’s presence in and care of Israel

See also:

The nations’ acknowledgement of God’s presence in Israel is also implied by the following three subsections.

Ezek 39:7  And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. ▤ 

Zec 8:23  Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ▤ 

Ezek 37:26-28  I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their landa and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore. ▤ 

a Hebrew lacks in their land

Isa 60:14  The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

This indicates that the nations will acknowledge God’s presence in Jerusalem and also that she belongs to God.

Isa 49:26  I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. ▤ 

Note that this and the following verses speak of the nations knowing or acknowledging God’s care of Israel.

Isa 52:9-10  Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

The nations will witness “the salvation of our God” (v. 10) when he redeems Jerusalem (v. 9; cf. Isa 49:26 ).

Isa 61:9  Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. ▤ 

Jer 33:9  And this cityb shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

b Hebrew And it

  • All the peoples will praise and honor Jerusalem:

Zeph 3:19-20  Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord. ▤ 

Similarly Isaiah 62 implies that God will make Jerusalem “a praise in the earth” (v. 7; cf. Deut 26:19) – pointing out that: “The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory …” (v. 2).

The nations will come to Jerusalem to worship God . . .

Ps 102:21-22  … that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, 22when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 56:6-8  “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” ▤ 

Verse 8 appears to primarily speak of God bringing people of other nations to join the gathered exiles of Israel in worship of him. The phrasing also points to these peoples being joined to Israel as God’s people, the theme of the following subsection.

Jer 3:17  At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. ▤ 

Zec 14:16  Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. ▤ 

Isa 2:2-3  It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law,c and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. ▤ 

c Or teaching

In conjunction with coming to Jerusalem to worship God, the nations will submit to God’s law and word.

Isa 25:6  On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. ▤ 

Celebrating feasts (cf. Zec 14:16 ) – for which the people gathered in Jerusalem – was an important part of Israelite worship of God. Such worship of God in Jerusalem, by “all peoples”, appears to be in view here.

Zec 6:15  “And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.” ▤ 

This appears to refer to the temple of the future renewed Jerusalem. The readiness of people from “far away” –probably Gentiles rather than exiled Jews – to help to build the temple, reflects their desire to worship God, in Jerusalem.

Zec 8:22  Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. ▤ 

. . . and nations will be established with Israel as God’s people

See also:

Ps 87:4-6  Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cushd— “This one was born there,” they say. 5And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. 6The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah ▤ 

d Probably Nubia

This speaks of God recording people of formerly wicked nations as being born in Zion, the city of God – implying that they will be established amongst God’s people.

Isa 19:24-25  In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” ▤ 

Jer 12:16  And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. ▤ 

This is speaking of nations who had been wicked neighbors of Israel (cf. v. 14).

Zec 2:11  And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. ▤ 

Isa 14:1  For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. ▤ 

This speaks of individuals from other nations joining Israel.

  • In contrast, the earth will become desolate:

Mic 7:12-13  In that day theye will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. 13But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds. ▤ 

e Hebrew he

People will come to Jerusalem (v. 12) for the rest of the earth will be basically a wasteland (v. 13).

The nations will bring their wealth to Jerusalem, as the city of God

Ps 68:29  Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings shall bear gifts to you. ▤ 

Isa 18:7  At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Isa 45:14  Thus says the Lord: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.’” ▤ 

The latter part of the verse indicates that God’s presence with Israel was the reason why the nations brought products and merchandise to them.

Isa 60:5-9, 11, 13, 16-17  Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult,f because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord. 7All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house. 8Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? 9For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. ▤ 11Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. ▤ 13The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. ▤ 16You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. ▤ 

f Hebrew your heart shall tremble and grow wide

Verse 7 appears to speak of sheep being brought by nations as offerings. The “milk of nations” (v. 16) speaks of the cream of their goods, that will be for the use of the people of Jerusalem (cf. NCV, NLT; Isa 61:6 ).

Isa 61:6  … but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. ▤ 

Here and in Isaiah 66:12 immediately below, the “glory” of the nations is a reference to their wealth.

Isa 66:12  For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. ▤ 

Hag 2:7-9  And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

These verses appear to have eschatological significance. This is supported by the context, with the preceding verse (v. 6) being quoted in Hebrews 12:26-27 in reference to Jesus Christ’s return.

Zec 14:14  Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. ▤ 

Note that this is actually speaking of the wealth of the surrounding nations being captured, rather than these nations voluntarily bringing it to Jerusalem.

  • Nations will be drawn to the glory of Zion:

Isa 55:5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. ▤ 

Similarly Isaiah 60:3 speaks of nations being drawn to the light of God’s glory in Zion – “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

God himself will exceedingly bless Israel

See also:

Isa 44:3-4  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. ▤ 

This is an example of a passage with a number of applications or stages of fulfillment. It quite likely initially referred to the exiles returning to the land of Israel from Babylon. Particularly with the reference to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, it pertains to the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and to believers in general. It is often understood to also look ahead to the renewed Israel for its final fulfillment.

Isa 61:7-9  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. 8For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong;g I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. ▤ 

g Or robbery with a burnt offering

A “double portion” (v. 7; cf. Zec 9:12 ) probably alludes to the double share given to a firstborn son (cf. Deut 21:17) and may have in view Israel as being God’s firstborn son (cf. Ex 4:22; Jer 31:9). As such Israel will be blessed more than any other nation. Note that the “everlasting covenant” (v. 8; cf. Jer 32:40 ) is usually understood to be a reference to the new covenant.

Jer 32:40-42  I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. 42“‘For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. ▤ 

Jer 33:9  And this cityh shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

h Hebrew And it

Ezek 34:26  And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. ▤ 

The term “my hill” refers to Mount Zion.

Ezek 36:11b  And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ▤ 

The land of Israel is being spoken of here, reflective of the blessed state of Israel’s people.

Zec 9:12, 16-17  Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. ▤ 16On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. 17For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women. ▤ 

The reference to “his beauty” may well be to that manifested in his people or land (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT).

Isa 65:18, 20, 22-23  But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. ▤ 20No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. ▤ 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoyi the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity,j for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them. ▤ 

i Hebrew shall wear out

j Or for sudden terror

This shows some particular ways in which God will greatly bless Jerusalem. Note that in a similar vein 33:24a says, ‘And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”…’

God will glorify Israel

See also:

Isa 4:2  In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. ▤ 

A number of commentators consider “the branch of the Lord” to refer to the righteous remnant of Israel (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT), although traditionally it has been taken to refer to the Messiah (cf. NIrV). Particularly if the latter is the case, the “fruit of the land” may well have a spiritual meaning, perhaps speaking of spiritual fruit arising from “the branch”.

Isa 35:1-2  The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. ▤ 

Verses 1-2a demonstrate the glory (v. 2b) that will be given to Israel and its land. Note that the crocus (v. 1b) is a small plant which has bright yellow, purple or white flowers.

Isa 54:11-12  O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.k 12I will make your pinnacles of agate,l your gates of carbuncles,m and all your wall of precious stones. ▤ 

k Or lapis lazuli

l Or jasper, or ruby

m Or crystal

This illustrates God’s glorification of Jerusalem.

Isa 55:5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. ▤ 

Isa 60:9, 13, 15  For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. ▤ 13The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. ▤ 15Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. ▤ 

Isa 62:2-3, 6-7  The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. 3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. ▤ 6On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, 7and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. ▤ 

Note that the “new name” (v. 2) appears to refer to one or more of the new names Zion is called later in vv. 4, 12 – which speak of God’s new relationship with her in terms alluding to marriage.

Jer 30:19  Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. ▤ 

Zeph 3:19-20  Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord. ▤ 

  • Glorious things are spoken of Jerusalem:

Ps 87:1-3  On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 2the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. 3Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah ▤ 

Israel’s glory will primarily be God, with the glory of his presence

See also:

Isa 28:5  In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,n and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, … ▤ 

n The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike

God would or will become the pride and glory of his people.

Isa 60:1-3, 19-20  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ▤ 19The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light;o but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.p 20Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. ▤ 

o Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Targum add by night

p Or your beauty

Jerusalem’s “light” (vv. 1, 3) is largely due to the presence of God’s glory over her, as her “everlasting light” (vv. 19, 20).

Zec 2:5  And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst. ▤ 

Ps 102:15-16  Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. 16For the Lord builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; … ▤ 

Isa 24:23  Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders. ▤ 

Note that the above passages speak of Israel’s glory primarily being due to God’s glory or glorious presence being in her, in Jerusalem in particular. This and the following passage speak further of the glory of God’s presence being in her, pointing to Israel’s glory rather than explicitly speaking of it.

Isa 66:18-20  For I knowq their works and their thoughts, and the time is comingr to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. ▤ 

q Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew lacks know

r Hebrew and it is coming

The references to the nations coming to see God’s glory (v. 18b) and to them bringing Israelites to God’s “holy mountain Jerusalem” (v. 20a), imply that the passage has the glory of God’s presence in Jerusalem in view when it speaks of God’s glory in vv. 18-19.

  • The temple being filled with glory:

Hag 2:6-9  For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

As noted earlier, at least some commentators think that this will have an ultimate fulfillment in a temple in the renewed Jerusalem. In v. 7, “I will fill this house with glory” may well speak of the glory of God’s presence (cf. CEV), though material splendor may instead be in view.

Israel’s renewal will bring God glory

See also:

Isa 26:15  But you have increased the nation, O Lord, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. ▤ 

Despite its past tense, this appears to be prophetic – or at least to have a future application.

Isa 44:23  Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorifieds in Israel. ▤ 

s Or will display his beauty

God will be glorified in redeeming Israel (cf. Isa 46:13 ).

Isa 60:21  Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.t ▤ 

t Or that I might display my beauty

Isa 61:3  … to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.u ▤ 

u Or that he may display his beauty

The term “oaks of righteousness” depicts the people of Jerusalem as being “lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God” (AMP).

Isa 43:5-7  Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. ▤ 

Quite likely v. 7 is saying that God created his people so as to bring himself glory, presumably at least partly through his restoration of them (vv. 5-6).

Isa 55:12-13  “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” ▤ 

The restored Israel would in effect be a “memorial to the Lord” (NASB; cf. NRSV), “a lasting witness to the glory of the Lord” (CEV). As such it will bring God great fame and honor (cf. AMP, NIrV, NLT).

Isa 46:13  I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory. ▤ 

Jer 33:9  And this cityv shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

v Hebrew And it

  • God’s glory will be seen in the renewed Israel:

Isa 35:1-2  The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. ▤ 

The last statement is quite possibly speaking of God’s glory and majesty being evident in Israel’s wonderful and glorious restoration. Alternatively, it may be referring to the glory of God’s presence coming to Israel, as per the previous subsection.

Note: Israel will have no more shame

Isa 29:22  Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale. ▤ 

The phrase “grow pale” may be speaking of being “pale with shame” (GNT; cf. CEV, NCV), but being “pale with fear” (NLT; cf. AMP) is a possibility.

Isa 45:17  But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. ▤ 

Isa 54:4  Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. ▤ 

The “shame of your youth” most likely refers to Israel’s enslavement in Egypt and the “reproach of your widowhood” to the Babylonian exile (cf. NIrV). The latter alludes to the nation’s loss of their close relationship with God, who had been and would again be like a husband to them (cf. v. 5).

Isa 61:7  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. ▤ 

Joel 2:26-27  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. ▤ 

This ends a section on the promise of restoration after a severe locust plague. But in speaking of God’s people “never again” being shamed and with earlier passages (cf. 1:2-2:11) speaking of “the day of the Lord”, these verses may well have an eschatological application.

Zeph 3:11, 19  On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. ▤ 19Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. ▤ 

Isa 25:8  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

God will take away that which brings his people shame and disgrace – basically the consequences stemming from her sin.

Pray for persecuted Christians