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Isaiah 43:8-13

Based on J A Motyer. The passage declares that the Jews are God’s proof of His existence and purpose. 

A. The court assembled
8  Bring forth the blind people that have eyes,
and the deaf that have ears.
9 Let all the nations be gathered together,
and let the people be assembled:

B.  The issue announced
who among them can declare this, and shew us former things?
let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified:
or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

C. YHWH’s witnesses
10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen:
that ye may know and believe me,
and understand that I am he:

C’. YHWH’s claim
before me there was no God formed,
neither shall there be after me.
11 I, even I, am the LORD;
and beside me there is no saviour.

B’. The issue settled
12  I have declared, and have saved,
and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you:
therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

A’. The verdict
13 Yea, before the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work, and who shall let it?

Gospel of Matthew

Note: there are many versions of the structure of the Gospel on the web and much disagreement amongst academic writers. But there are some key repetitions that suggest an inverted pattern around the central parables of ch 13.  This can be extended in very general outline as follows:- 

A. 1:1-2:23 The birth of the King.
Angel announces birth
the child Jesus escapes death

B. 3:1- 4:11 The “way” to Jerusalem is prepared
John the baptist prepares the way
baptism and three temptations in the wilderness

C. 4:12-9:34 The Light shines in Galilee
Sermon on the mount and ten miracles.

D. 9:35-11:1 Commission of the apostles
Twelve sent out to preach with warning.
Take up the cross – 10:38

E. 11:2-12:50 Jesus rejected by religious leaders
John Baptist in prison
Asking for a sin – Jonah – “an evil and adulterous generation”

F. 13:1-52 The parables of the kingdom.

E’. 13:53-16:13 Traditions rejected by Jesus
John Baptist in prison
Asking for a sign – Jonah – “a wicked and adulterous generation”

D’. 16:14-18:35  The foundation and functioning of the Ecclesia
Building the ecclesia (only time ‘ecclesia’ is used in the Gospels)
Take up the cross 16:24

C’. 19:1-25:46 From Galilee to Jerusalem
The King expounds the kingdom of God

B’. 26:1-27:66  Preparation, Trial and crucifixion of Jesus
Last supper
three prayers in Gethsemane
betrayal, trial and crucifixion

A’.  28:1-28:20 Resurrection and glory of the King
Angel announces resurrection

Isaiah 32

Note: The structure of Isaiah is particularly complex and difficult. This proposal  – as all on this site – is put up for improvement or correction.

 A describes the coming reign of the righteous King,
B is a warning to the woman used to luxury because
B’ the good times are over
A’ until  the righteous king comes. 

A. The Kingdom of  God – righteousness and judgment
32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness,
and princes shall rule in judgment.
2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest;
as rivers of water in a dry place,
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.3 And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim,
and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
4 The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge,
and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

a. 5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal,
nor the churl said to be bountiful.

b. 6 For the vile person will speak villany,
and his heart will work iniquity,
 to practise hypocrisy,
and to utter error against the LORD,

C.  to make empty the soul of the hungry,
and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

b’. 7 The instruments also of the churl are evil:
he deviseth wicked devices

c’. to destroy the poor with lying words,
even when the needy speaketh right.

a’. 8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things;
and by liberal things shall he stand.

B. warning to the women at ease
a. 9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease;
hear my voice,
ye careless daughters;
give ear unto my speech.

b. 10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled,
ye careless women:

b’. for the vintage shall fail,
the gathering shall not come.

a’. 11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease;
be troubled, ye careless ones:
strip you, and make you bare,
and gird sackcloth upon your loins.

B’, the women shall lament for the land 
12 They shall lament for the teats,
for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.
13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers;
yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:
14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken;
the multitude of the city shall be left;
the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever,
a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;

A’. Judgment and righteousness to come
15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness be a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace;
and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation,
and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest;
and the city shall be low in a low place.
20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters,
that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.

Isaiah 30:12-33

Note: The context is of Judah’s princes seeking a defence treaty with Egypt against Assyria, even though the LORD through Isaiah has told them to trust Him and not to deal with Egypt. The faithless will be caught out but the faithful remnant will be delivered.

A. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel,
Because ye despise this word,
and trust in oppression and perverseness,
and stay thereon:

B. 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall,
whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.
14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel
that is broken in pieces;  he shall not spare:
so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd
to take fire from the hearth,
or to take water withal out of the pit.

A’. 15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel;
In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:
and ye would not.
16 But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses;

B’. therefore shall ye flee:
and, We will ride upon the swift;
therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
17 One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one;
at the rebuke of five shall ye flee:
till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain,
and as an ensign on an hill.

A. Waiting for the LORD
18 And therefore will the LORD wait,
that he may be gracious unto you,
and therefore will he be exalted,
that he may have mercy upon you:
for the LORD is a God of judgment:
blessed are all they that wait for him.

B. Prayers for deliverance to be answered
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem:
thou shalt weep no more:
he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry;
when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
20 And though the LORD give you the bread of adversity,
and the water of affliction,
yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more,
but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee,
This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

C. true worship to be restored
22 Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver,
and the ornament of thy molten images of gold:
thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth;
thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

B’. blessings of abundance of bread and water
23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed,
that thou shalt sow the ground withal;
and bread of the increase of the earth,
and it shall be fat and plenteous:
in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.
24 The oxen likewise
and the young asses that ear the ground
shall eat clean provender,
which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.
25 And there shall be upon every high mountain,
and upon every high hill,
rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall.

A’.  the appearing of the LORD
26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun,
and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold,
as the light of seven days,
in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people,
and healeth the stroke of their wound.

A. The name of YHWH comes
27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far,
burning with his anger,
and the burden thereof is heavy:
his lips are full of indignation,
and his tongue as a devouring fire:
28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream,
shall reach to the midst of the neck,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity:
and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people,
causing them to err.

B. singing
29 Ye shall have a song,
as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept;
and gladness of heart,
as when one goeth with a pipe
to come into the mountain of the LORD,
to the mighty One of Israel.

C. The voice of YHWH
a. 30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard,
and shall shew the lighting down of his arm,
with the indignation of his anger,
and with the flame of a devouring fire,
with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.

a’. 31 For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.

B’. music
32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass,
which the LORD shall lay upon him,
it shall be with tabrets and harps:
and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.

A’. The breath of YHWH
33 For Tophet is ordained of old;
yea, for the king it is prepared;
he hath made it deep and large:
the pile thereof is fire and much wood;
the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

Isaiah 29:15-24

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.

“Arch/trajectory structure” in Isaiah

Note: I have just came across this  interesting way of thinking about chiasmus in J A Motyer’s commentary on “The Prophecy of Isaiah”, IVP, 1993,. He proposes that chiastic structures are a key to the prophecy, but he doesn’t use the word,. Instead he refers to “the arch/trajectory structure” and says that it very often undercuts “allegations of intrusive material and adding literary dynamic to interpretation”.  He gives as his source for this idea the work of JWD Watts, 1985.

Watts on the Arch structure

Isaiah 27

Note: this is a very difficult passage to follow and there are many different ways in which commentators divide the chapter. The theme is the redemption and restoration of Israel, but the centre of the chapter seems to be the chastening of Israel through their survival in exile.

A. 1 In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

B. 2 In that day,
“A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
3 I, the LORD, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day;

C. 4 I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
I would march against them,
I would burn them up together.

D. 5 Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”
6 In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
and fill the whole world with fruit.

E. 7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them?
Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?
8 Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them;
he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.

D’. 9 Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,
and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
when he makes all the stones of the altars
like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.

C’. 10 For the fortified city is solitary,
a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
there the calf grazes;
there it lies down and strips its branches.
11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
women come and make a fire of them.
For this is a people without discernment;
therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them;
he who formed them will show them no favor.

B’. 12 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.

A’. 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.

Isaiah 26*

Derived from Alex Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, Intervarsity Press, 1998.

A. The secure city
26:1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah;
a. We have a strong city;
salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open ye the gates,
that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (shalom, shalom),
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever:
for in the LORD Jehovah (YAH YAHWEH)  is everlasting strength:

B. Down to the dust
5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high;
the lofty city, he layeth it low;
he layeth it low, even to the ground;
he bringeth it even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down,
even the feet of the poor,
and the steps of the needy.

C. The righteous waiting for the Kingdom of God
 7 The way of the just is uprightness:
thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee;
the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night;
yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:
for when thy judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

D. The wicked blind to God but they will eventually have to acknowledge Him
10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked,
yet will he not learn righteousness:
in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly,
and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see:
but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people;
yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

C’. The Kingdom comes
12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us:
for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us:
but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14 They are dead (mut), they shall not live;
they are deceased (rapha), they shall not rise:
therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them,
and made all their memory to perish.
15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD,
thou hast increased the nation:
thou art glorified:
thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.

B’. Out of the dust -deliverance and the resurrection
16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee,
they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child,
that draweth near the time of her delivery,
is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs;
so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child,
we have been in pain,
we have as it were brought forth wind;
we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth;
neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Thy dead men (mut) shall live,
together with my dead body shall they arise.
Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:
for thy dew is as the dew of herbs,
and the earth shall cast out the dead (Rapha].
[And the land of Rephaim thou causest to fall – YLT]

A’. The safe house
 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers,
and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:
 the earth also shall disclose her blood,
and shall no more cover her slain.

Isaiah 24-27

Note: Isaiah 24-27 is a definite unit of thought. There are strong indications of inverted symmetry. Broadly – ch 24 speaks  of the loss of the vineyard and the wine, but ch 27 speaks of the restored spiritual vine of Israel filling the world with fruit.  Ch 25 sees the city  of  “Babylon” destroyed for ever but  ch 26 sees the City of new Jerusalem elevated.  The centre is the celebration of the Kingdom of God (best wine) and the fulfilment of the promise of the resurrection which is quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:54 and in 2 Corinthians 5:4. 

A.  24:1-20 Desolation of the land

a. 1-13 The land emptied and the vineyard destroyed
7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth …

b. 24:14-16 The emerging voice of singing
16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs,
even glory to the righteous.

c.  24:17-20 the population of the land flee the earthquake judgment
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,

B. 24:21-23 The Kingdom of God
23 …
when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion,
and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

C. 25:1-5 The City of the kingdom of men destroyed
2 For thou hast made of a city an heap;
of a defenced city a ruin:

D. 25:6-12  the Kingdom of God –  death destroyed
8 He will swallow up death in victory

C’.  26:1-6 The City of God elevated
1 … We have a strong city;
salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

B’. 26:7-21 Resurrection of the saints
19 Thy dead men shall live,
together with my dead body shall they arise.

A’. 27:1-13 The land restored 

c’. Judgment on “the Beast” system
1 … he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

b’.  27:2-6 The song of the vineyard
2 In that day sing ye unto her,
A vineyard of red wine.

a’. 7:7-13 Israel forgiven and bringing forth spiritual  fruit
9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged;
and this is all the fruit to take away his sin