"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Word Accomplishes God's Purpose
Isaiah 55:1-13 Commentary
by Christopher B. Hays
Isaiah 55 appears at the end of the so-called “Book of Comfort” (Isaiah 40-55), which is believed to be addressed to the exiles who were returning from Babylon.
It appears that Isaiah 40-48 is addressed to them in Babylon, whereas chapters 49-55 may have been composed back in Jerusalem, against the background of the early Restoration period.
The opening verses, with their appeal to those who do not have money to buy bread and the basic needs of life, would probably have been quite relevant to those who returned to the land of Judah after 536 BCE. Despite the allowance of Cyrus and the Persian Empire for them to return, it was not a prosperous time. The city had not been rebuilt since its destruction by the Babylonians fifty years earlier, social and economic structures were weak, and there were struggles for the most desirable land between the returnees and those who had been in the land in the meantime. Later, in the fifth century, Nehemiah would report that common farming families were having to borrow money and grain to pay their taxes, and even selling their children into debt slavery (Nehemiah 5:1-12). If this in some way reflects sixth-century ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL295: Word Accomplishes God's Purpose
December 17, 2017
This is the podcast for Isaiah 55:1-13, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Dec. 17, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.