Isaiah 43:1-7

Isaiah 43:1-7
Baptism of the Lord C7


But now thus says the Lord,A
    he who createdB you, O Jacob,C
    he who formedD you, O Israel:E

Notes on verse 1a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “created” = bara. This is to create, shape, choose, or select. It is the word used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth.
C “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
D “formed” = yatsar. Perhaps related to yatsar (to be narrow, distressed, or vexed); perhaps related to tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is to fashion or form, perhaps by squeezing something into a shape or form. Particularly, it is to create as a potter does. Figuratively, it is to determine.
E “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

Do not fear,F for I have redeemedG you;
    I have calledH you by name,I you are mine.

Notes on verse 1b

F “fear” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
G “redeemed” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
H “called” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
I “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

When you passJ through the waters,K I will be with you;
    and through the rivers,L they shall not overwhelmM you;

Notes on verse 2a

J “pass” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
K “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
L “rivers” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.
M “overwhelm” = shataph. This is to overflow, rinse, overwhelm, run, drown, rush, flood, cleanse, gallop, conquer.

when you walkN through fireO you shall not be burned,P
    and the flameQ shall not consumeR you.

Notes on verse 2b

N “walk” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
O “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.
P “be burned” = kavah. 2x in OT. This is to prick, blister, burn, scorch.
Q “flame” = lehabah. 19x in OT. From lahab (flame, flashing, bright; figuratively, a blade or the point of a spear). This is a flame, blazing, head of a spear.
R “consume” = ba’ar. This is to burn, consume, heat, remove. It can also be to consume by a fire or through eating, being brutish or wasting.

3 For I am the LordS your God,T
    the Holy OneU of Israel, your Savior.V

Notes on verse 3a

S “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note A above. It has the same meaning, but a different vowel pointing.
T “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israel” in v1. See note E above.
U “Holy One” = qadosh. From qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is sacred or holy in a ritual or moral sense. As a noun, it refers to a holy one (like a saint or angel), a holy place (the sanctuary), or God (the Holy One).
V “Savior” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.

I giveW EgyptX as your ransom,Y
    EthiopiaZ and SebaAA in exchange for you.

Notes on verse 3b

W “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
X “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.
Y “ransom” = kopher. 17x in OT– including covering Noah’s ark with pitch in Genesis 6. From kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel, cleanse, pardon). This is ransom, bribe, price of a life. Properly, it means something that covers something else. So, it can be a village, bitumen as a coating, a henna plant that dyes, or a ransom price.
Z “Ethiopia” = Kush. Perhaps from Egyptia k’sh (Cush). This is Cush or his descendants. Also, Ethiopia – a place south of the Nile Valley. See
AA “Seba” = Seba. 4x in OT. From saba (to drink, become drunk, be a drunk, to drink one’s fill) OR of foreign origin. This is Seba, perhaps meaning “drunkard.” It is the person, their descendants, and their territory.

Because you are preciousBB in my sight,CC
    and honored,DD and I loveEE you,
I give peopleFF in return for you,
    nationsGG in exchange for your life.HH

Notes on verse 4

BB “are precious” = yaqar. 11x in OT. This is to be precious, costly, rare, valued; properly, to be heavy; figuratively, valuable or inhibit.
CC “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
DD “honored” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.
EE “love” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
FF “people” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
GG “nations” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.
HH “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.

5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bringII your offspringJJ from the east,KK
    and from the westLL I will gatherMM you;

Notes on verse 5

II “bring” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
JJ “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
KK “east” = mizrach. From zarach (to rise, shine, or dawn; can also describe symptoms of leprosy). This is the east as the place where the sun rises. It can also refer to the sunrise itself.
LL “west” = maarab. 14x in OT. From the same as ereb (evening, night, twilight); perhaps from arab (to become dark or become evening). This is the west as the place where the sun sets. It can also refer to the setting itself.
MM “gather” = qabats. This is to collect, assemble, heap, grasp, or gather.

6 I will say to the north,NN “Give them up,”
    and to the south,OO “Do not withhold;PP

Notes on verse 6a

NN “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
OO “south” = teman. From the same as yamin (right hand or side; that which is stronger or more agile; the south); {perhaps yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm)}. This is south, towards the south, wind from the south.
PP “withhold” = kala. 18x in OT. This is to stop in the sense of holding back or restraining. It could be keep, refuse, forbid, or to prohibit by word.

bring my sonsQQ from far awayRR
    and my daughtersSS from the endTT of the earthUU
everyoneVV who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,WW
    whom I formed and made.”XX

Notes on verses 6b-7

QQ “sons” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
RR “far away” = rachoq. From rachaq (to widen, become distant, cast, or remove in a literal or figurative sense). This is distant or far, whether of space or of time.
SS “daughters” = bat. Related to “sons” in v6. From ben (see note QQ above). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
TT “end” = qatseh. From qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is end, brink, border, edge, frontier. It can refer to that which is within set boundaries.
UU “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
VV “everyone” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
WW “glory” = kabod. Related to “honored” in v4. From kabad (see note DD above). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
XX “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.

Image credit: “Waves at Louisbourgh – image of Peggy walking in the wave” by dchrisoh, 2013.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply