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I am sent to announce a new season[a] of Yahweh’s grace[b]
    and a time of God’s recompense on his enemies,[c]
    to comfort all who are in sorrow,
to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet[d] in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss[e] instead of tears,[f]
    and the mantle of joyous praise[g]
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.[h]
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks[i] of Righteousness,
    planted[j] by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.
They will restore ruins from long ago
    and rebuild what was long devastated.[k]
    They will renew ruined cities
    and desolations of past generations.

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Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 61:2 Or “year”—not a literal year but a season of time.
  2. Isaiah 61:2 Or “favor, good pleasure, acceptance.”
  3. Isaiah 61:2 Through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, a time of recompense has come (Col. 2:15) to conquer sin, sickness, Satan, death, demonic power, and injustice—not just vengeance on humanity but on evil wherever it is found.
  4. Isaiah 61:3 Or “beauty for ashes” or “a garland (of flowers) or headdress.” There is an interesting wordplay in the Hebrew text. The word for “beauty” is phe’er, and the word for “ashes” is epher—simply the moving of one letter. God has the power to change and move things around in our lives to make them into something beautiful. See Rom. 8:28.
  5. Isaiah 61:3 Or “joy, gladness.” See Heb.1:9.
  6. Isaiah 61:3 Or “(robes of) mourning.”
  7. Isaiah 61:3 Or “a splendor-garment.”
  8. Isaiah 61:3 Or “the spirit of failure.” The Hebrew word for “heaviness” (keheh) comes from a root word for “dark, dim, obscure, colorless, gloom.”
  9. Isaiah 61:3 The oak, a hardwood tree, was used to make yokes for oxen and symbolizes strength, might (or mighty men), stability, conviction, uprightness, resoluteness. This could be the Quer-cus calliprinos, also known as the Palestine oak. There is a Palestine oak not far from Hebron that has been estimated to be 850 years old. “Oaks of Righteousness” points to a godly, spiritually mature people who will know the righteousness of God and walk in it. Jesus, the Tree of Life, multiplies himself in us so we become trees of righteousness. A Tree became a forest. See Ps. 1:3.
  10. Isaiah 61:3 See Ps. 92:13; 1 Cor. 3:9.
  11. Isaiah 61:4 These desolate places can also point to areas of our lives that are broken and to spiritual truths that have been lost and forgotten for generations, which are now being recovered. See Acts 3:21.

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