Isaiah 12
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
forms the lyrical epilogue to the first great division of the book (ch. 1–12). It consists of two short hymns of praise (Isaiah 12:1-2 and Isaiah 12:3-6) which are put into the mouth of the ransomed people. As Israel sang songs of triumph after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15), so the restored exiles shall celebrate the great salvation with such psalms of thanksgiving and joy as these. There is thus an obvious link of connexion with Isaiah 11:10-16, where the anticipations of the Messianic salvation are throughout largely coloured by reminiscences of the exodus from Egypt. Nevertheless, the secondary and imitative character of the chapter is so apparent as almost to exclude the supposition that it was written by Isaiah. Its literary affinities are with the Song of Moses, with certain parts of the Psalter, and with lyrical passages interspersed in the later prophecy of ch. 24–27 (see the Notes below). With the exception of the expression “Holy One of Israel” in Isaiah 12:6 it presents none of the phrases distinctive of Isaiah’s style; and in no other instance does that prophet close an oracle with a liturgical passage like this. Hence the opinion expressed by Ewald in 1840, that the chapter is a late addition to the book of Isaiah, has slowly won a wide acceptance among scholars.

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
1. The introductory formula (here and in Isaiah 12:4) resembles those in Isaiah 25:9, Isaiah 26:1, Isaiah 27:2 thou wast angry] a word never used by any prophet, but found in Psalm 2:12; Psalm 60:1; Psalm 79:5; Psalm 85:5.

is turned away] The form is that of the jussive; but it is probably the contracted form of the consec. impf. which sometimes occurs in the Pss.

1, 2. The first song, the singer being the individualised community, as frequently in the Pss.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
2. Behold, God is my salvation] Better: Behold the God of my salvation (Psalm 88:1).

The second half of the verse is repeated almost verbally from Exodus 15:2 my song] the personal suff. is omitted in Hebr., probably through defective writing.

the Lord JEHOVAH] Hebr. Yah Yahveh, a combination only recurring in ch. Isaiah 26:4. Since LXX. and other versions have only one Divine name here it is possible that the second was added in explanation of the rarer contracted form “Jah.”

my salvation] The word here used (yěshû‘âh) is not found in genuine prophecies of Isaiah (unless ch. Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 33:6 be exceptions).

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
3. A promise connecting the first song with the second (Isaiah 12:4-6).

wells of salvation] (cf. Psalm 87:7). The language is figurative, denoting the inexhaustible fulness of the Divine blessings prepared for the people of God.

And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
4. The first part exactly as Psalm 105:1; the last clause resembles Psalm 148:13, &c.

call upon his name] lit. “call by (means of) His name,” i.e. use His name (Jehovah) in solemn invocation. See 1 Kings 18:24. That the expression means merely “utter” or “make known” the name, is hardly probable. The word for “exalted” occurs in ch. Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17.

4–6. The members of the redeemed community exhort each other to publish the praises of Jehovah to the world.

Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
5. excellent things] “Excellence,” ch. Isaiah 26:10; cf. Exodus 15:1.

this is known] Better as R.V. let this be known.

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
6. Cry out] the same word as in ch. Isaiah 10:30, but in a very different sense. Cf. ch. Isaiah 24:14, Isaiah 54:1.

inhabitant of Zion] Lit. “inhabitress,” Jerusalem being personified as a woman, Micah 1:11-15; Jeremiah 46:19, &c.

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