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Holiness and Jusice in Isaiah 56-66

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2017, 23(1), pp.11-40
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2017.23.1.11
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : January 1, 2017
  • Accepted : February 6, 2017

Kim, Rae Yong 1

1협성대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article investigates several functions of ‘holiness’ and ‘justice’ in Isaiah 56-66. For this, I analysed the languages, structures, and contents of the texts related to these two concepts and three issues in the Third Isaiah period: the delay of salvation, the acceptance of foreigners, and idolatry. The issue of the delay of salvation concretely appears in Isaiah 59 and 63-64. In particular, Isaiah 63-64 describes the delay of salvation through the concept of holiness, and here the concept of holiness plays a role in indicating the people's unholy life (Isa 63:7-14) and emphasizing the perfect restoration of the unholy people and cities (Isa 62:1-9). On the other hand, Isaiah 59 emphasizes that the delay of salvation is due to the absence of justice, and this is repeated especially by the words of the Third Isaiah, people, and Yahweh. However, Isaiah 61 emphasizes that the people and cities will be ultimately restored through Yahweh's love of justice (vss. 4-11). The issue of the acceptance of foreigners occurs in Isaiah 56 and 66, the beginning and the end of the Third Isaiah respectively, and Isaiah 60, its middle. ‘Holiness’ is used to explain the qualification of foreigners as members of the Israel community (Isa 56:1-8), to emphasize that the foreigners realized the fact that God is one and only and that Zion belongs to God the Holy (Isa 60:1-14), and furthermore, to emphasize that the foreigners would be able to serve as priests and Levites because they get the qualification as members of the community (Isa 66:18-21). Here especially ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ are mentioned as a condition required for their salvation and blessing (Isa 56:1-2). The issue of idolatry appears in Isaiah 57, 65, and 66. ‘Holiness’ is used to indicate the wrong way of thinking of Israel who worship idols (Isa 57:3-13; 65:1-17), and to stress that they have not followed God wholly (Isa 65:8-16). In particular, the Hebrew term šāphaṭ, the verb of mišpāṭ, is used for the judgment against the idolaters who have been proud of their self-righteousness (Isa 66:15-18). Accordingly, ‘holiness’ and ‘justice’ are the two important concepts that are central issues of religion and society in the period of the Third Isaiah, and they serve as core components composing the messages of the Third Isaiah.

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