Isaiah 49:16, New American Standard Bible (NASB):

16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me."

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    I'd suspect you'd gain more traction and acceptance with this question if it was rephrased as a word/comparative literature study on this word/metaphor. – swasheck Nov 13 '13 at 17:40

Contextually, Isaiah 49 is describing the return of Jacob/Israel from exile. Verse 49.5:

'And now YHWH says ... to bring Jacob back to him, that Israel might be gathered to him'

This includes the rebuilding of the city Jerusalem/Zion. Beginning in verse 14:

But Zion said, 'YHWH has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.'

[YHWH's response] 'Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she shouldn't have compassion on the child of her womb? They may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, your walls are continually before me. Your builders shall make haste, your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.'

The 'walls' are actual walls, which surround the rebuilt Jerusalem/Zion.


The correct intention the Lord has in using the word 'walls' thru Isaiah I believe is this; In ancient times walls were the THE safety feature of any strong city; as in Proverb 'a man without rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, and without walls." Clearly, I think, He is talking in the Spirit, about a time far off in the future; it is unknown when He will send His Son to return and rescue "the remnant", but already we no longer build actual walls to protect our cities. Without question I believe He is declaring I AM your walls; I AM your protection. He repeatedly declares the future safety of 'his people' throughout the history of the OT prophets. In this very poignant, emotionally intense personal declaration and plea from the Lord to His people; anyone who believes in His prescribed restoration to himself the new covenant of Faith in His Savior; He declares that a nation disseized and ruined with their walls, at that time torn down, will be rebuilt not with stone and mortar but, as He proclaims thru Zechariah, thru His own Spirit. In our case and at this point, as we wait and trust in our faith he has given us, it is in the unending sacrifice of the blood body and new intercessory life of Jesus Christ WHO has become our safety, or protection from invaders; our "walls". We can see the language before and after speaking of leveling out "my" landscape and the safety of his people and especially their little ones; something the Lord reveals He knows His people are doubting and cannot see. Absolutely a common denominator to ALL who attempt to live by faith alone in hard times and trials. Certainly 1 of the most heartfelt overture and appeals contained the Scriptures, and a must remember passage for anyone serious about any commitment of living by and therefore clinging to said faith in a world such as this and with a disobedient irreconcilable flesh such as we have, if we are honest with ourselves in the mirror. Wow! what a passionate plea from a Holy God to sinful otherwise hopeless mankind!

  • Welcome to BH. It helps your reader if you split up text like this (sometimes called a 'wall' of text) into paragraphs such that each paragraph covers a separate part of your argument. – Nigel J Dec 4 '18 at 14:37

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