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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 42

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 42

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 42

1. Behold My servant, I will support him, My chosen one, whom My soul desires; I have placed My spirit upon him, he shall promulgate justice to the nations.   א. הֵן עַבְדִּי אֶתְמָךְ בּוֹ בְּחִירִי רָצְתָה נַפְשִׁי נָתַתִּי רוּחִי עָלָיו מִשְׁפָּט לַגּוֹיִם יוֹצִיא:
Behold My servant, I will support him: Behold My servant Jacob is not like you, for I will support him.  
My chosen one: Israel is called ‘My chosen one’ ([mss.:] His chosen one) (Ps. 135:4) “For the Eternal chose Jacob for Himself.” Scripture states also (infra 45:4): “For the sake of My servant Jacob and Israel My chosen one.”  
whom My soul desires; I have placed My spirit upon him: to let his prophets know My secret, and his end will be that ‘he shall promulgate justice to the nations,’ as it is stated (supra 2:3): “And let Him teach us of His ways etc.”  
2. He shall neither cry nor shall he raise [his voice]; and he shall not make his voice heard outside.   ב. לֹא יִצְעַק וְלֹא יִשָּׂא וְלֹא יַשְׁמִיעַ בַּחוּץ קוֹלוֹ:
nor shall he raise [his voice]: He shall not raise his voice. It will not be necessary to admonish and to prophesy to the nations, for they will come by themselves to learn from them [i.e., from Israel], as the matter is stated (Zech. 8: 23): “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”  
3. A breaking reed he shall not break; and a flickering flaxen wick he shall not quench; with truth shall he execute justice.   ג. קָנֶה רָצוּץ לֹא יִשְׁבּוֹר וּפִשְׁתָּה כֵהָה לֹא יְכַבֶּנָּה לֶאֱמֶת יוֹצִיא מִשְׁפָּט:
A breaking reed he shall not break: Jonathan paraphrases: The meek, who are like a breaking reed, shall not break, and the poor, who are like a flickering candle, shall not be quenched.  
and a flickering flaxen wick: A wet flaxen wick, that is nearly extinguished. Their king will not rob the poor and will not break the poor and the weak.  
4. Neither shall he weaken nor shall he be broken, until he establishes justice in the land, and for his instruction, islands shall long.   ד. לֹא יִכְהֶה וְלֹא יָרוּץ עַד יָשִׂים בָּאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּט וּלְתוֹרָתוֹ אִיִּים יְיַחֵלוּ:
Neither shall he weaken nor shall he be broken: Heb. וְלֹא יָרוּץ, like לֹא יֵרָצֵץ, he shall not be broken, “for the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as water covers the seabed” (supra 11:9). And they shall obey them, as the matter is stated (Zeph. 3:9): “For then I will make the nations pure of speech etc.” That is what follows: And for his instruction islands shall long. They shall all obey his instruction.  
5. So said God the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the One Who stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what springs forth from it, Who gave a soul to the people upon it and a spirit to those who walk thereon.   ה. כֹּה אָמַר הָאֵל | יְהֹוָה בּוֹרֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנוֹטֵיהֶם רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ וְצֶאֱצָאֶיהָ נֹתֵן נְשָׁמָה לָעָם עָלֶיהָ וְרוּחַ לַהֹלְכִים בָּהּ:
God the Lord: The Master of justice and the Master of clemency.  
the Creator of the heavens: First like a sort of ball of warp thread, and afterward He stretched it out as it is stated in Tractate Hagigah (12a).  
and what springs forth from it: And He creates what springs forth from it.  
Who gave a soul: A soul of life.  
to the people upon it: To all of them equally.  
and a spirit: of sanctity.  
to those who walk thereon: To those who walk before Him.  
6. I am the Lord; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people's covenant, for a light to nations.   ו. אֲנִי יְהֹוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ וְאֶצָּרְךָ וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם:
I called you: To Isaiah He says.  
and I formed you: Heb. וְאֶצָּרְ. When I formed you (כְּשֶׁיְצַרְתִּי) , this was My thought, that you return My people to My covenant and to enlighten them.  
for a light to nations: Every tribe is called a nation by itself, as the matter is stated (Gen. 35:11): “A nation and a congregation of nations.”  
7. To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison.   ז. לִפְקֹחַ עֵינַיִם עִוְרוֹת לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּסְגֵּר אַסִּיר מִבֵּית כֶּלֶא ישְׁבֵי חֹשֶׁךְ:
To open blind eyes: who do not see My might, to take heart to return to Me.  
to bring prisoners out of a dungeon: And because their eyes will be opened, the prisoners will come out of the dungeon. Another explanation: To inform them of the exile destined to befall them, out of which they will eventually come.  
8. I am the Lord, that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to the graven images.   ח. אֲנִי יְהֹוָה הוּא שְׁמִי וּכְבוֹדִי לְאַחֵר לֹא אֶתֵּן וּתְהִלָּתִי לַפְּסִילִים:
that is My Name: This is explained as an expression of Lordship and power. I must show that I am the Master. Therefore, My glory I will not give to another, that the heathens shall rule over My people forever and say that the hand of their God is powerful.  
9. The former things, behold they have come to pass, and the new things I tell; before they sprout I will let you hear.   ט. הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת הִנֵּה בָאוּ וַחֲדָשׁוֹת אֲנִי מַגִּיד בְּטֶרֶם תִּצְמַחְנָה אַשְׁמִיע אֶתְכֶם:
The former things: that I promised Abraham concerning the exile of Egypt (Gen. 15:14), “And also the nation etc.”  
behold they have come to pass: I kept My promise, and now new things I tell My people, to promise them concerning a second exile.  
10. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, those who go down to the sea and those therein, the islands and their inhabitants.   י. שִׁירוּ לַיהֹוָה שִׁיר חָדָשׁ תְּהִלָּתוֹ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ יוֹרְדֵי הַיָּם וּמְלֹאוֹ אִיִּים וְיֹשְׁבֵיהֶם:
His praise from the end of the earth: Perforce, when they see My mighty deeds for Israel, all the heathens (nations [Parshandatha, K’li Paz]) will admit that I am God.  
those who go down to the sea: Those who embark in ships.  
and those therein: Those whose permanent residence is in the sea and not in the islands, but in the midst of the water, they spill earth, each one of them, enough for a house, and go from house to house by boat, like the city of Venice. [As in Warsaw ed. and Parshandatha.]  
11. The desert and its cities shall raise [their voice]; Kedar shall be inhabited with villages; the rock dwellers shall exult, from the mountain peaks they shall shout.   יא. יִשְׂאוּ מִדְבָּר וְעָרָיו חֲצֵרִים תֵּשֵׁב קֵדָר יָרֹנּוּ ישְׁבֵי סֶלַע מֵרֹאשׁ הָרִים יִצְוָחוּ:
The desert and its cities shall raise [their voice]: their voice in song.  
Kedar shall be inhabited with villages: (Connected to “The desert… shall raise.” The desert of Kedar, where they now dwell in tents, shall raise their voice and sing. It is like: And the villages with which Kedar is settled.) The desert of Kedar, where they now dwell in tents, will be permanent cities and villages.  
rock dwellers: The dead who will be resurrected. So did Jonathan render this.  
from the mountain peaks they shall shout: From the mountain peaks they shall raise their voices [from Jonathan].  
12. They shall give glory to the Lord, and they shall recite His praise on the islands.   יב. יָשִׂימוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּבוֹד וּתְהִלָּתוֹ בָּאִיִּים יַגִּידוּ:
13. The Lord shall go out like a hero; like a warrior shall He arouse zeal; He shall shout, He shall even cry, He shall overpower His foes.   יג. יְהֹוָה כַּגִּבּוֹר יֵצֵא כְּאִישׁ מִלְחָמוֹת יָעִיר קִנְאָה יָרִיעַ אַף יַצְרִיחַ עַל אֹיְבָיו יִתְגַּבָּר:
14. I was silent from time immemorial; I am still, I restrain Myself. Like a travailing woman will I cry; I will be terrified and destroy them together.   יד. הֶחֱשֵׁיתִי מֵעוֹלָם אַחֲרִישׁ אֶתְאַפָּק כַּיּוֹלֵדָה אֶפְעֶה אֶשֹּׁם וְאֶשְׁאַף יָחַד:
I was silent from time immemorial: Already for a long time I have been silent about the destruction of My Temple, and always…  
I am still; I restrain Myself: This is present tense. Until now My spirit has constrained Me, and from now, like a travailing woman will I cry.  
I will be terrified: Heb. אֶשֹּׁם, I will be terrified.  
and destroy [them] together: And I will long to destroy everyone together, all My adversaries.  
15. I will destroy mountains and hills, and all their grass I will dry out, and I will make rivers into islands and I will dry up the pools.   טו. אַחֲרִיב הָרִים וּגְבָעוֹת וְכָל עֶשְׂבָּם אוֹבִישׁ וְשַׂמְתִּי נְהָרוֹת לָאִיִּים וַאֲגַמִּים אוֹבִישׁ:
I will destroy mountains and hills: I will slay kings and rulers.  
and all their grass: All their followers.  
I will dry out: Heb. אוֹבִישׁ. This is an expression of drying, used in reference to wet things, e.g., grass and rivers.  
16. And I will lead the blind on a road they did not know; in paths they did not know I will lead them; I will make darkness into light before them, and crooked paths into straight ones. These things, I will do them and I will not forsake them.   טז. וְהוֹלַכְתִּי עִוְרִים בְּדֶרֶךְ לֹא יָדָעוּ בִּנְתִיבוֹת לֹא יָדְעוּ אַדְרִיכֵם אָשִׂים מַחְשָׁךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם לָאוֹר וּמַעֲקַשִּׁים לְמִישׁוֹר אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים עֲשִׂיתִם וְלֹא עֲזַבְתִּים:
And I will lead the blind: Israel, who were heretofore blind from looking to Me, I will lead in the good way, upon which they did not know to walk.  
I will do them: Heb. עֲשִׂיתִם [lit. I did them], I will do. So is the language of prophecy, to speak of the future as if it was already done.  
17. They shall turn back greatly ashamed, those who trust in the graven image, who say to the molten idols, "You are our gods."   יז. נָסֹגוּ אָחוֹר יֵבֹשׁוּ בֹשֶׁת הַבֹּטְחִים בַּפָּסֶל הָאֹמְרִים לְמַסֵּכָה אַתֶּם אֱלֹהֵינוּ:
18. You deaf ones, listen, and you blind ones, look to see.   יח. הַחֵרְשִׁים שְׁמָעוּ וְהַעִוְרִים הַבִּיטוּ לִרְאוֹת:
You deaf ones… and you blind ones: He is referring to Israel.  
19. Who is blind but My servant, and deaf as My messenger whom I will send? He who was blind is as the one who received his payment, and he who was blind is as the servant of the Lord.   יט. מִי עִוֵּר כִּי אִם עַבְדִּי וְחֵרֵשׁ כְּמַלְאָכִי אֶשְׁלָח מִי עִוֵּר כִּמְשֻׁלָּם וְעִוֵּר כְּעֶבֶד יְהֹוָה:
Who is blind: among you? There is no one but My servant; he is the most blind of all of you. And the most deaf among you is like My messenger whom I send to prophesy prophecies.  
He who was blind is as the one who received his payment: He who was blind among you has already received his chastisements, and he is as one who was paid all payments due him and has emerged cleansed.  
20. There is much to see but you do not observe, to open the ears but no one listens.   כ. רָאוֹת רַבּוֹת וְלֹא תִשְׁמֹר פָּקוֹחַ אָזְנַיִם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָע:
There is much to see: There are many sights before you, and you do not observe to look at My deeds and to return to Me.  
to open the ears: I am busy opening your ears through My prophets, but none of you listens to My words. This is a present tense.  
21. The Lord desires [this] for His righteousness' sake; He magnifies the Torah and strengthens it.   כא. יְהֹוָה חָפֵץ לְמַעַן צִדְקוֹ יַגְדִּיל תּוֹרָה וְיַאְדִּיר:
The Lord desires: to show you and to open your ears for His righteousness’ sake; therefore, he magnifies and strengthens the Torah for you.  
22. And it is a robbed and pillaged people; all their youths are grieved, and they are hidden in dungeons; they are subject to plunderers, and none rescues [them], to pillagers, and no one says, "Return."   כב. וְהוּא עַם בָּזוּז וְשָׁסוּי הָפֵחַ בַּחוּרִים כֻּלָּם וּבְבָתֵּי כְלָאִים הָחְבָּאוּ הָיוּ לָבַז וְאֵין מַצִּיל מְשִׁסָּה וְאֵין אֹמֵר הָשַׁב:
And it: This people is despised and pillaged, and the end of the section is (infra v. 25) “And they laid not to heart” all of this to say, “Why did this befall me?” (v. 24) “Who subjected Jacob to plunder?”  
all their youths are grieved: Heb. הָפֵח ַבַּחוּרִים, all their youths are grieved. [Addendum: Another explanation of הָפֵח בַּחוּרִים כֻּלָם They will put themselves into snares (פַּחֵי) of the earth and into pits. [The clause,] “And they are hidden in dungeons,” proves that this is so.]  
and no one says, “Return.”: Heb. הָשַׁב, like הָשֵׁב [the imperative]. Therefore, it is not punctuated with a dagesh, but (Gen. 43:17) “That returned (הַשָּׁב) in our sacks,” is punctuated with a ‘dagesh.’  
23. Who among you will hearken to this, will listen and hear for the future?   כג. מִי בָכֶם יַאֲזִין זֹאת יַקְשִׁב וְיִשְׁמַע לְאָחוֹר:
will hearken: to pay attention to this, “Who subjected Jacob to plunder?”  
for the future: Who will hearken and hear something that will stand him in good stead at the end? Jonathan, too, renders: לְסוֹפָא, at the end, and likewise, every לְאָחוֹר in Scripture refers to something that is destined to be.  
24. Who subjected Jacob to plunder and Israel to spoilers? Was it not the Lord? This, that we sinned against Him, and they did not want to go in His way and did not hearken to His Torah.   כד. מִי נָתַן לִמְשִׁיסָּה יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֹזְזִים הֲלוֹא יְהֹוָה זוּ חָטָאנוּ לוֹ וְלֹא אָבוּ בִדְרָכָיו הָלוֹךְ וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ בְּתוֹרָתוֹ:
This, that we sinned against Him: This is what caused the plunder and the spoiling, what we sinned against Him.  
and they did not want: Our forefathers did not want to go in His ways.  
25. And He poured out upon them the fury of His anger and the strength of battle, and it blazed upon them all around and they did not know, and it burned among them and they did not take heed.   כה. וַיִּשְׁפֹּךְ עָלָיו חֵמָה אַפּוֹ וֶעֱזוּז מִלְחָמָה וַתְּלַהֲטֵהוּ מִסָּבִיב וְלֹא יָדָע וַתִּבְעַר בּוֹ וְלֹא יָשִׂים עַל לֵב:
and it blazed upon them all around: I brought retribution upon the heathens ([Ms.] nations) all around so that they see and learn their lesson, like the matter stated (Zeph. 3:6f.): “I cut off nations, their towers were desolate… I said, You shall but fear Me, you shall learn a lesson…” ([This appears in certain manuscripts and in printed editions. In Nach Lublin, the reading is:] So that Israel see and learn a lesson.)  
and they did not know: They actually did know, but they trod with their heels. They did not care to understand this and to repent of their wickedness.  
and it burned among them: After the retribution of the heathens ([ms.] nations) around, it burned upon them themselves.  
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