Note: the structure of this prophecy of the time of Christ is challenging, but the use of “Woe” in verse 15 supports the idea that it begins a new section. “Work” and “understanding” in v 16 are repeated in v 24. In v 18 reference to the blind links with the condition of the rulers in v 15. They were scorners (v20) and there is an allusion to this verse in Luke 20:20. This leaves “Lebanon” – a Gentile area – in parallel with the restoration of the house of Jacob. In the time of restoration faithful Jew and Gentile – (the meek of v 19) – will be blessed as the seed of Abraham.
A. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?
B. 17 Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?
C. 18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book,
and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
D. 19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD,
and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
C’. 20 For the terrible one is brought to nought,
and the scorner is consumed,
and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
21 That make a man an offender for a word,
and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate,
and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
B’. 22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob,
Jacob shall not now be ashamed,
neither shall his face now wax pale.
A’. 23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. 24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
2 thoughts on “Isaiah 29:15-24”
This alleged chiasm seems to be quite a stretch compared to other good chiasms on this website. Two words from verse 16 are indeed repeated in verses 23f. (though not in the opposite order as might be expected, and in verses 23f. the two words are separated much more than they are in verse 16).
The other pairings, however, all seem doubtful. “Lebanon” in context appears to refer to geography (although it could arguably be symbolic of people) whereas “the house of Jacob” clearly denotes people.
It is claimed that “the blind” in verse 18 (part of C) connects to something in verse 15 (which is part of A), but how does the deaf hearing and the blind seeing (in C) legitimately parallel the scorner being consumed (in C’)? The word “also” in verse 19 is a clue that what happens in verse 18 should be understood as positive, unlike what happens in verse 20. And in the case, verse 18 (positive event) does not connect well with verse 15 either (negative description).
The only indisputable match of terms in this pericope is the repetition of two words from verse 16 in verses 23f., and that strikes me as a pretty shaky framework on which to erect a claim of chiasm for this whole passage.
(It also concerns me that C’ is a lot longer than C. Perhaps D ought to be collapsed into C, since they both present positive events, unlike C’. But even so, the alleged chiasm would have minimal support.)
That’s how I see it, anyway. Sorry if I’m sounding critical, and I remain open to persuasion.
Glad to have your comments Richard.