Isaiah 64:6
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

King James Bible
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

American Standard Version
For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

English Revised Version
For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Webster's Bible Translation
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:6 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

But the existing condition of Israel looks like a withdrawal of this grace; and it is impossible that these contrasts should cease, unless Jehovah comes down from heaven as the deliverer of His people. Isaiah 63:8, Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1). "For a little time Thy holy people was in possession. Our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary. We have become such as He who is from everlasting has not ruled over, upon whom Thy name was not called. O that Thou wouldst rend the heaven, come down, the mountains would shake before thy countenance." It is very natural to try whether yâreshū may not have tsârēnū for its subject (cf., Jeremiah 49:2); but all the attempts made to explain the words on this supposition, show that lammits‛âr is at variance with the idea that yâreshū refers to the foes. Compare, for example, Jerome's rendering "quasi nihilum (i.e., ad nihil et absque allo labore) possederunt populum sanctum tuum;" that of Cocceius, "propemodum ad haereditatem;" and that of Stier, "for a little they possess entirely Thy holy nation." Mits‛âr is the harsher form for miz‛âr, which the prophet uses in Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 29:17 for a contemptibly small space of time; and as ל is commonly used to denote the time to which, towards which, within which, and through which, anything occurs (cf., 2 Chronicles 11:17; 2 Chronicles 29:17; Ewald, 217, d), lammits‛âr may signify for a (lit. the well-known) short time (per breve tempus; like εἰς ἐπ ̓κατ ̓ ἐνιαυτόν, a year long). If miqdâsh could mean the holy land, as Hitzig and others suppose, miqdâshekhâ might be the common object of both sentences (Ewald, 351, p. 838). But miqdash Jehovah (the sanctuary of Jehovah) is the place of His abode and worship; and "taking possession of the temple" is hardly an admissible expression. On the other hand, yârash hâ'ârets, to take possession of the (holy) land, is so common a phrase (e.g., Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 65:9; Psalm 44:4), that with the words "Thy holy people possessed for a little (time)" we naturally supply the holy land as the object. The order of the words in the two clauses is chiastic. The two strikingly different subjects touch one another as the two inner members. Of the perfects, the first expresses the more remote past, the second the nearer past, as in Isaiah 60:10. The two clauses of the v. rhyme - the holiest thing in the possession of the people, which was holy according to the choice and calling of Jehovah, being brought into the greatest prominence; bōsēs equals πατεῖν, Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2. Hahn's objection, that the time between the conquest of the land and the Chaldean catastrophe could not be called mits‛âr (a little while), may be answered, from the fact that a time which is long in itself shrinks up when looked back upon or recalled, and that as an actual fact from the time of David and Solomon, when Israel really rejoiced in the possession of the land, the coming catastrophe began to be foreboded by many significant preludes.

The lamentation in Isaiah 63:19 proceeds from the same feeling which caused the better portion of the past to vanish before the long continuance of the mournful present. Hitzig renders היינוּ "we were;" Hahn, "we shall be;" but here, where the speaker is not looking back, as in Isaiah 26:17, at a state of things which has come to an end, but rather at one which is still going on, it signifies "we have become." The passage is rendered correctly in S.: ἐγενήθημεν (or better, γεγόναμεν) ὡς ἀπ ̓αἰῶνος ὧν οὐκ ἐξουσίασας οὐδὲ ἐπικλήθη τὸ ὄνομά σου αὐτοῖς. The virtual predicate to hâyı̄nū commences with mē‛ōlâm: "we have become such (or like such persons) as," etc.; which would be fully expressed by אשׁר כּעם, or merely כּעשׁר, or without אשׁר, and simply by transposing the words, וגו משׁלתּ כּלא (cf., Obadiah 1:16): compare the virtual subject אהבו יהוה in Isaiah 48:14, and the virtual object בשׁמי יקרא in Isaiah 41:25 (Ewald, 333, b). Every form of "as if" is intentionally omitted. The relation in which Jehovah placed Himself to Israel, viz., as its King, and as to His own people called by His name, appears not only as though it had been dissolved, but as though it had never existed at all. The existing state of Israel is a complete practical denial of any such relation. Deeper tones than these no lamentation could possibly utter, and hence the immediate utterance of the sigh which goes up to heaven: "O that Thou wouldst rend heaven!" It is extremely awkward to begin a fresh chapter with כּקדח ("as when the melting fire burneth"); at the same time, the Masoretic division of the vv. is unassailable.

(Note: In the Hebrew Bibles, Isaiah 64:1-12 commences at the second v. of our version; and the first v. is attached to Isaiah 63:19 of the previous chapter. - Tr.)

For Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 64:1) could not be attached to Isaiah 64:1-2, since this v. would be immensely overladen; moreover, this sigh really belongs to Isaiah 63:19 (Isaiah 63:19), and ascends out of the depth of the lamentation uttered there. On utinam discideris equals discinderes, see at Isaiah 48:18. The wish presupposes that the gracious presence of God had been withdrawn from Israel, and that Israel felt itself to be separated from the world beyond by a thick party-wall, resembling an impenetrable black cloud. The closing member of the optative clause is generally rendered (utinam) a facie tua montes diffluerent (e.g., Rosenmller after the lxx τακήσονται), or more correctly, defluerent (Jerome), as nâzal means to flow down, not to melt. The meaning therefore would be, "O that they might flow down, as it were to the ground melting in the fire" (Hitzig). The form nâzollu cannot be directly derived from nâzal, if taken in this sense; for it is a pure fancy that nâzōllū may be a modification of the pausal נזלוּ with ō for ā, and the so-called dagesh affectuosum). Stier invents a verb med. o. נזל. The more probable supposition is, that it is a niphal formed from zâlāl equals nâzal (Ewald, 193, c). But zâlal signifies to hang down slack, to sway to and fro (hence zōlēl, lightly esteemed, and zalzallı̄m, Isaiah 18:5, pliable branches), like zūl in Isaiah 46:6, to shake, to pour down;

(Note: Just as the Greek has in addition to σαλ-εὐειν the much simpler and more root-like σεἰ-ειν; so the Semitic has, besides זל, the roots זא, זע: compare the Arabic סלסל, זאזע, זעזע, all three denoting restless motion.)

and nâzōllu, if derived from this, yields the appropriate sense concuterentur (compare the Arabic zalzala, which is commonly applied to an earthquake). The nearest niphal form would be נזלּוּ (or resolved, נזלוּ, Judges 5:5); but instead of the a of the second syllable, the niphal of the verbs ע has sometimes o, like the verb ע ו (e.g., נגלּוּ, Isaiah 34:4; Ges. 67, Anm. 5).

Isaiah 64:6 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

are all

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips...

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

Job 15:14-16 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous...

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Job 40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand on my mouth.

Job 42:5,6 I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you...

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 7:18,24 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me...

Ephesians 2:1,2 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins...

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy...

all our

Isaiah 57:12 I will declare your righteousness, and your works; for they shall not profit you.

Zechariah 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ...

Revelation 3:17,18 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable...

Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and from where came they?

we all

Isaiah 40:6-8 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field...

Psalm 90:5,6 You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which grows up...

James 1:10,11 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away...

1 Peter 1:24,25 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away...

our iniquities

Isaiah 57:13 When you cry, let your companies deliver you; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them...

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Jeremiah 4:11,12 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem...

Hosea 4:19 The wind has bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Zechariah 5:8-11 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the middle of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead on the mouth thereof...

Cross References
Psalm 90:5
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:

Psalm 90:6
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

Isaiah 1:30
For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water.

Isaiah 6:5
And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

Isaiah 46:12
"Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness:

Isaiah 48:1
Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.

Isaiah 50:1
Thus says the LORD: "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce, with which I sent her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

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