Isaiah 59:17
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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.

King James Bible
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

American Standard Version
And he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a mantle.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He put on justice as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head: he put on the garments of vengeance, and was clad with zeal as with a cloak.

English Revised Version
And he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he put on righteousness as a breast-plate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

Isaiah 59:17 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In the second strophe the prophet includes himself when speaking of the people. They now mourn over that state of exhaustion into which they have been brought through the perpetual straining and disappointment of expectation, and confess those sins on account of which the righteousness and salvation of Jehovah have been withheld. The prophet is speaking communicatively here; for even the better portion of the nation was involved in the guilt and consequences of the corruption which prevailed among the exiles, inasmuch as a nation forms an organized whole, and the delay of redemption really affected them. "Therefore right remains far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold darkness; for brightness - we walk in thick darkness. We grope along the wall like the blind, and like eyeless men we grope: we stumble in the light of noon-day as in the darkness, and among the living like the dead. We roar all like bears, and moan deeply like doves: we hope for right, and it cometh not; for salvation - it remaineth far off from us." At the end of this group of verses, again, the thought with which it sets out is palindromically repeated. The perfect רחקה denotes a state of things reaching from the past into the present; the future תשּׂיגנוּ a state of things continuing unchangeable in the present. By mishpât we understand a solution of existing inequalities or incongruities through the judicial interposition of God; by tsedâqâh the manifestation of justice, which bestows upon Israel grace as its right in accordance with the plan of salvation after the long continuance of punishment, and pours out merited punishment upon the instruments employed in punishing Israel. The prophet's standpoint, whether a real or an ideal one, is the last decade of the captivity. At that time, about the period of the Lydian war, when Cyrus was making one prosperous stroke after another, and yet waited so long before he turned his arms against Babylon, it may easily be supposed that hope and despondency alternated incessantly in the minds of the exiles. The dark future, which the prophet penetrated in the light of the Spirit, was indeed broken up by rays of hope, but it did not amount to light, i.e., to a perfect lighting up (negōhōth, an intensified plural of negōhâh, like nekhōchōth in Isaiah 26:10, pl. of nekhōchâh in Isaiah 59:14); on the contrary, darkness was still the prevailing state, and in the deep thick darkness ('ăphēlōth) the exiles pined away, without the promised release being effected for them by the oppressor of the nations. "We grope," they here complain, "like blind men by a wall, in which there is no opening, and like eyeless men we grope." גּשּׁשׁ (only used here) is a synonym of the older משּׁשׁ (Deuteronomy 28:29); נגשׁשׁה (with the elision of the reduplication, which it is hardly possible to render audible, and which comes up again in the pausal נגשּׁשׁה) has the âh of force, here of the impulse to self-preservation, which leads them to grope for an outlet in this ἀπορία; and עינים אין is not quite synonymous with עורים, for there is such a thing as blindness with apparently sound eyes (cf., Isaiah 43:8); and there is also a real absence of eyes, on account of either a natural malformation, or the actual loss of the eyes through either external injury or disease.

In the lamentation which follows, "we stumble in the light of noon-day (צהרים, meridies equals mesidies, the culminating point at which the eastern light is separated from the western) as if it were darkness, and בּאשׁמנּים, as if we were dead men," we may infer from the parallelism that since בּאשׁמנּים must express some antithesis to כּמּתים, it cannot mean either in caliginosis (Jer., Luther, etc.), or "in the graves" (Targ., D. Kimchi, etc.), or "in desolate places" (J. Kimchi). Moreover, there is no such word in Hebrew as אשׁם, to be dark, although the lexicographers give a Syriac word אוּתמנא, thick darkness (possibly related to Arab. ‛atamat, which does not mean the dark night, but late in the night); and the verb shâmēn, to be fat, is never applied to "fat, i.e., thick darkness," as Knobel assumes, whilst the form of the word with נ c. dagesh precludes the meaning a solitary place or desert (from אשׁם equals שׁמם). The form in question points rather to the verbal stem שׁמן, which yields a fitting antithesis to כמתים, whether we explain it as meaning "in luxuriant fields," or "among the fat ones, i.e., those who glory in their abundant health." We prefer the latter, since the word mishmannı̄m (Daniel 11:24; cf., Genesis 27:28) had already been coined to express the other idea; and as a rule, words formed with א prosth. point rather to an attributive than to a substantive idea. אשׁמן is a more emphatic form of שׁמן (Judges 3:29);

(Note: The name of the Phoenician god of health and prosperity, viz., Esmoun, which Alois Mller (Esmun, ein Beitrag zur Mythologie des orient. Alterthums. 1864) traces to חשׁמן (Psalm 68:32) from אשׁם equals חשׁם, "the splendid one (illustris)," probably means "the healthy one, or one of full health" (after the form אשׁחוּר, אשׁמוּרה), which agrees somewhat better with the account of Photios: ̓́Εσμουνον ὑπὸ Φοινίκων ὠνομασμένον ἐπὶ τῇ θέρμη τῆς ζωῆς.)

and אשׁמנּים indicates indirectly the very same thing which is directly expressed by משׁמנּים in Isaiah 10:16. Such explanations as "in opimis rebus" (Stier, etc.), or "in fatness of body, i.e., fulness of life" (Bttcher), are neither so suitable to the form of the word, nor do they answer to the circumstances referred to here, where all the people in exile are speaking. The true meaning therefore is, "we stumble (reel about) among fat ones, or those who lead a merry life," as if we were dead. "And what," as Doederlein observes, "can be imagined more gloomy and sad, than to be wandering about like shades, while others are fat and flourishing?" The growling and moaning in Isaiah 59:11 are expressions of impatience and pain produced by longing. The people now fall into a state of impatience, and roar like bears (hâmâh like fremere), as when, for example, a bear scents a flock, and prowls about it (vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile: Hor. Ephesians 16.51); and now again they give themselves up to melancholy, and moan in a low and mournful tone like the doves, quarum blanditias verbaque murmur habet (Ovid). הגה, like murmurare, expresses less depth of tone or raucitas than המה. All their looking for righteousness and salvation turns out again and again to be nothing but self-deception, when the time for their coming seems close at hand.

Isaiah 59:17 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

he put on righteousness

Isaiah 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old...

Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light...

2 Corinthians 6:7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

Ephesians 6:14,17 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness...

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True...

the garments

Deuteronomy 32:35-43 To me belongs vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand...

Psalm 94:1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs; O God, to whom vengeance belongs, show yourself.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

with zeal

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it...

Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of your holiness and of your glory: where is your zeal and your strength...

Psalm 69:9 For the zeal of your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen on me.

Zechariah 1:14 So the angel that communed with me said to me, Cry you, saying, Thus said the LORD of hosts...

John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of your house has eaten me up.

Cross References
Ephesians 6:14
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Ephesians 6:17
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Job 29:14
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.

Isaiah 9:7
Of 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.

Isaiah 26:11
O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

Isaiah 37:32
For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

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