Isaiah Chapter 6

1In the year of the death of King Uzziah, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and His lower extremity filled the Temple.   אבִּשְׁנַת־מוֹת֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ עֻזִּיָּ֔הוּ וָֽאֶרְאֶ֧ה אֶת־אֲדֹנָ֛י ישֵׁ֥ב עַל־כִּסֵּ֖א רָ֣ם וְנִשָּׂ֑א וְשׁוּלָ֖יו מְלֵאִ֥ים אֶת־הַהֵיכָֽל:
In the year of the death: i.e., when he was smitten with zaraath.  
and His lower extremity: Heb. וְשׁוּלָיו, comp. (Exodus 28:34) “On the hem (שׁוּלֵי) of the robe,” meaning its lower extremity. I saw Him sitting on His throne in heaven with His feet in the Temple, His footstool in the Sanctuary, to pass judgment on Uzziah, who came to usurp the crown of the priesthood.  
2Seraphim stood above for Him, six wings, six wings to each one; with two he would cover his face, and with two he would cover his feet, and with two he would fly.   בשְׂרָפִ֨ים עֹֽמְדִ֚ים מִמַּ֙עַל֙ ל֔וֹ שֵׁ֧שׁ כְּנָפַ֛יִם שֵׁ֥שׁ כְּנָפַ֖יִם לְאֶחָ֑ד בִּשְׁתַּ֣יִם | יְכַסֶּ֣ה פָנָ֗יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֛יִם יְכַסֶּ֥ה רַגְלָ֖יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֥יִם יְעוֹפֵֽף:
Seraphim stood above: in heaven.  
for Him: i.e., to serve him, and so does Jonathan render: Holy servants are on high before Him.  
with two he would cover his face: so as not to look toward the Shechinah.  
and with two he would cover his feet: for modesty, so as not to bare his entire body before his Creator. And in Tanhuma (Emor 8), I saw that the feet were covered because they are like the sole of the foot of a calf, in order not to remind Israel of the sin of the golden calf.  
and with two he would fly: And with two he would serve [from Targum Jonathan].  
3And one called to the other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory."   גוְקָרָא֨ זֶ֚ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ | קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ:
And one called to the other: They would take permission from one another so that one would not commence before [his fellows] and be guilty of [a sin punishable by] burning, unless they all commenced simultaneously. This is what was established in [the blessing commencing:] “… Who formed light”, “the declaration of holiness, they all respond as one…” This is a Midrash Aggadah of the account of the Merkavah. And so did Jonathan render this.  
Holy, holy, holy: Three times, as the Targum renders.  
4And the doorposts quaked from the voice of him who called, and the House became filled with smoke.   דוַיָּנֻ֙עוּ֙ אַמּ֣וֹת הַסִּפִּ֔ים מִקּ֖וֹל הַקּוֹרֵ֑א וְהַבַּ֖יִת יִמָּלֵ֥א עָשָֽׁן:
And the doorposts quaked: [Jonathan renders:] אֵילְוַתסִפֵּי, they are the doorposts of the entrance, which are measured with the measurements of cubits in the height and in the width, and they are the doorposts of the Temple.  
from the voice of him who called: [i.e.,] from the voice of the angels calling. This took place on the day of the earthquake, about which it is stated (Zechariah 14:5): “And you shall flee as you fled on the day of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah.” On the day that Uzziah stood, ready to burn incense in the Temple, the heavens quaked, [attempting] to burn him, as if to say that his punishment should be by burning, as it is said (Num. 16:35): “And it consumed the two hundred and fifty men.” For this reason, Scripture calls them seraphim, for they attempted to burn him. The earth quaked, attempting to swallow him up, thinking that his punishment should be that he be swallowed up like Korah, who contested the priesthood. Thereupon, a heavenly voice emanated and said (ibid. 17:5), “And there shall not be” another man contesting the priesthood “like Korah” to be swallowed up, “and like his assembly” to be burnt, but, “as the Lord spoke by the hand of Moses,” in the thornbush (Exodus 4:6), “Now bring your hand into your bosom,” and he took it out, stricken with zaraath like snow, here too, the zaraath shone on his forehead."  
and the House became filled with smoke: Was filled with smoke [i.e., even though the future tense is used, the past is meant].  
5And I said, "Woe is me for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and amidst a people of unclean lips I dwell, for the King, the Lord of Hosts have my eyes seen.   הוָֽאֹמַ֞ר אֽוֹי־לִ֣י כִֽי־נִדְמֵ֗יתִי כִּ֣י אִ֚ישׁ טְמֵֽא־שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם אָנֹכִ֖י יֹשֵׁ֑ב כִּ֗י אֶת־הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת רָא֥וּ עֵינָֽי:
for I am lost: I will die, for I was not worthy of seeing the Countenance of the Shechinah. We find a similar statement made by Manoah (Judges 13:22): “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”  
I am lost: Heb. נִדְמֵיתִי, comp. (Zephaniah 1:11): “The entire people of Canaan is broken (נִדְמֶה).”  
people of unclean lips: that are defiled with sins [from Jonathan].  
6And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal; with tongs he had taken it from upon the altar.   ווַיָּ֣עָף אֵלַ֗י אֶחָד֙ מִן־הַשְּׂרָפִ֔ים וּבְיָד֖וֹ רִצְפָּ֑ה בְּמֶ֨לְקָחַ֔יִם לָקַ֖ח מֵעַ֥ל הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
a glowing coal: Heb. רִצְפָּה, a coal, and similarly, (I Kings 19:6) “a cake baked on hot coals (עֻגַּתרְצָפִים),” like עֻגַּתרְשָׁפִים. In regards to Isaiah and Elijah, however, it is written with a ‘zadi,’ רִצְפָּה, because they spoke ill of Israel. This one [Isaiah] called them a people of unclean lips, and this one [Elijah] said, (ibid. 10) “For… have forsaken Your covenant.” Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to the angel, “Break the mouth (רְצוֹץפֶּה) that spoke ill of My children.”  
with tongs: Heb. (בְּמֶלְקֳחַיִם) with tongs.  
he had taken it from upon the altar: that was in the forecourt.  
7And he caused it to touch my mouth, and he said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity shall be removed, and your sin shall be atoned for."   זוַיַּגַּ֣ע עַל־פִּ֔י וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה נָגַ֥ע זֶ֖ה עַל־שְׂפָתֶ֑יךָ וְסָ֣ר עֲו‍ֹנֶ֔ךָ וְחַטָּֽאתְךָ֖ תְּכֻפָּֽר:
And he caused it to touch my mouth… “… and your iniquity shall be removed”: This is to cause pain, to atone for your iniquity that you degraded Israel. And his strength was great, for the angel was afraid to take it without tongs, yet he caused it to touch the prophet’s lip, and he [the prophet] was not injured. [This is found] in Tanhuma (ibid.) This is [the meaning] of what Scripture states (Joel 2:11): “For His camp is very great,” these are the angels; “and stronger” than they “are those who fulfill His word” these are the prophets (Tanhuma ibid.). Jonathan renders: “And in his hand was a glowing coal,” to mean, “And in his mouth was speech.” The expression רִצְפָּה : [means a thing refined in the mouth and with the tongue] (רָצוּף בְּפֶּה).“From upon the altar,” he received the speech from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be he, from His throne in Heaven, which was directed opposite the altar that was in the Temple.  
8And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am; send me."   חוָֽאֶשְׁמַ֞ע אֶת־ק֚וֹל אֲדֹנָי֙ אֹמֵ֔ר אֶת־מִֽי־אֶשְׁלַ֖ח וּמִ֣י יֵֽלֶךְ־לָ֑נוּ וָֽאֹמַ֖ר הִֽנְנִ֥י שְׁלָחֵֽנִי:
Whom shall I send: to admonish Israel? I sent Amos, and they called him, ‘Pesilus,’ because he was tongue tied, [’Pesilus’ being the Greek word for tongue-tied.] He prophesied two years before the earthquake, and the Israelites would say, The Holy One, blessed be He, left over the whole world and caused His Shechinah to rest on this tongue-tied one, as is stated in Pesikta.  
9And He said, "Go and say to this people, 'Indeed you hear, but you do not understand; indeed you see, but you do not know.'   טוַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֵ֥ךְ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֖ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה שִׁמְע֚וּ שָׁמ֙וֹעַ֙ וְאַל־תָּבִ֔ינוּ וּרְא֥וּ רָא֖וֹ וְאַל־תֵּדָֽעוּ:
Indeed you hear: I say to you, Indeed you hear, but you do not strive to understand, and indeed you see miracles that I have performed for you, yet you do not strive to know Me.  
10This people's heart is becoming fat, and his ears are becoming heavy, and his eyes are becoming sealed, lest he see with his eyes, and hear with his ears, and his heart understand, and he repent and be healed."   יהַשְׁמֵן֙ לֵֽב־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְאָזְנָ֥יו הַכְבֵּ֖ד וְעֵינָ֣יו הָשַׁ֑ע פֶּן־יִרְאֶ֨ה בְעֵינָ֜יו וּבְאָזְנָ֣יו יִשְׁמָ֗ע וּלְבָב֥וֹ יָבִ֛ין וָשָׁ֖ב וְרָ֥פָא לֽוֹ:
This people’s heart is becoming fat: [This structure] הַשְׁמֵן resembles (Exodus 8:11), “And making his heart heavy (הַכְבֵּד) ,” an expression of a continuous action. Their heart continuously becomes fatter, angrajjsant in O.F., and his ears are becoming heavier and heavier, [i.e., harder and harder] of hearing.  
and his eyes are becoming sealed: Plastered, comp. (infra 44:18) “For their eyes are plastered from seeing.” הִטּוֹחַ (Leviticus 14:43) is translated into Aramaic as דְאִתְשַׁע. We, thereby, equate the two words הָשַׁע and טָח.  
lest he see with his eyes: They intended not to hearken to the words of the prophets, for they fear lest His words please them, and they will understand with their heart, and return to Me, and this will be their cure.  
11And I said, "Until when, O Lord?" And He said, "Until cities be desolate without inhabitant and houses without people, and the ground lies waste and desolate.   יאוָֽאֹמַ֕ר עַד־מָתַ֖י אֲדֹנָ֑י וַיֹּ֡אמֶר עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁר֩ אִם־שָׁא֨וּ עָרִ֜ים מֵאֵ֣ין יוֹשֵׁ֗ב וּבָתִּים֙ מֵאֵ֣ין אָדָ֔ם וְהָֽאֲדָמָ֖ה תִּשָּׁאֶ֥ה שְׁמָמָֽה:
Until when: will they make their heart heavy and not listen?  
And He said: I know that they will not repent until retribution comes upon them and they go into exile, and the cities will be desolate without inhabitants.  
lies waste and desolate: an expression of solitude, without an inhabitant.  
12And the Lord removes the people far away, and the deserted places be many in the midst of the land.   יבוְרִחַ֥ק יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וְרַבָּ֥ה הָֽעֲזוּבָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ:
and the deserted places be many: For the land will be abandoned by them, and this is the explanation of the language: Deserted places will increase in the midst of the land.  
13And when there is yet a tenth of it, it will again be purged, like the terebinth and like the oak, which in the fall have but a trunk, the holy seed is its trunk."   יגוְע֥וֹד בָּהּ֙ עֲשִׂ֣ירִיָּ֔ה וְשָׁ֖בָה וְהָֽיְתָ֣ה לְבָעֵ֑ר כָּֽאֵלָ֣ה וְכָֽאַלּ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֚ר בְּשַׁלֶּ֙כֶת֙ מַצֶּ֣בֶת בָּ֔ם זֶ֥רַע קֹ֖דֶשׁ מַצַּבְתָּֽהּ:
And when there is yet a tenth: And when they are diminished to one out of ten (Rashi ms.)] even upon this remnant will I return My hand as a purge after a purge, and it will be purged until only completely righteous men will remain, who will repent wholeheartedly.  
like the terebinth and like the oak: which, at the time of their casting, when they cast off their leaves during the fall, one casting after another casting, until nothing is left in it except the trunk, they too, the holy seed found in its midst, adhering to their holiness, they will be to Me as the trunk; another explanation of מַצַּבְתָּהּ is: its planting. Therefore, I will not destroy them, for I planted them as holy seed. Some explain that there was a Shallecheth Gate in Jerusalem, as it is stated in Ezra (I Chron. 26: 16, written by Ezra), and there, terebinths and oaks were planted.