Isaiah 53 is prophetic scripture about the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

I might be overthinking and/or asking the obvious. However, Is Isaiah 54 referring to the Messiah, Jesus Christ Or the Israelite nation? Or Is there multiple layers of meaning where Isaiah 54 refers to both?

Isaiah 54

New American Standard Bible 1995

54 “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord.

........more scripture..................

4 ......more scripture......... And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God.

7 “[c]For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. 8 “In an [d]outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

9 “For [e]this is like the days of Noah to Me, When I swore that the waters of Noah Would not [f]flood the earth again; So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you Nor will I rebuke you. ...........more scripture.................. .................... 15 “If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you.

.........more scripture................ 17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that [l]accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

The Only evidence that shows me that Isaiah 54 for the most part is referring to the Israelite nation involves resorting to the “scripture interprets scripture” tool. To elaborate, Jeremiah 31:31-32 scripture gives evidence that God is viewed as a husband to the Israelite nation(to be more specific collectively Israel & Judah).

Isaiah 54:4-6 refers to a marital relationship between God and whoever/whatever Isaiah references.

Jeremiah 31:31-32

New American Standard Bible 1995

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.

Is Isaiah 54 referring to the Messiah, Jesus Christ Or the Israelite nation? Or Is there multiple layers of meaning where Isaiah 54 refers to both?


2 Answers 2


I think the OP has answered the question. The metaphor of marriage is common is Scripture in both the OT and NT and the idea of a woman representing God's people or God's enemies.

More generally, the Old Testament uses this image of a woman to represent either faithful (Isa 54:5, 62:5, Jer 2:1, 2) or unfaithful (Isa 47:1-3, Jer 2:32, Eze 16, Nah 3:4, 5) groups of people. See also Gal 4:21-31 which used Sarah and Hagar as metaphors.

In the book of Revelation, we have two women: Jezebel or the harlot as a symbol of Babylon (Rev 2:20, 17:1-18:24), vs, the pure woman as a symbol of God’s faithful people the bride of the Lamb (Rev 12:1-17, 19:7, 21:9).

Jesus used this symbol of a woman (the church) being married to Him in several places such as, Matt 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:35, John 3:29, 14:1-3; 2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:27; the parable of the wedding banquet, Matt 22:1-14, Luke 14:15-24; the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt 25:1-13; the new Jerusalem in Rev 19:7, 21:2, 9, 22:17.

Therefore, I agree that Isa 54 is a prophecy about Israel and their covenant/marriage relationship with Jehovah-God and the metaphorical husband.

  • It’s an expression of polygamy, Commented Jun 25 at 12:41

Isaiah 54 takes up the theme introduced in chapter 52, where Jerusalem (the barren one of 54:1) is comforted because God's servant Israel/Jacob is soon to be restored:

Isaiah 52:8-11

New American Bible (Revised Edition)

8 Listen! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, For they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord’s return to Zion. 9 Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted his people, has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; All the ends of the earth can see the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there, touch nothing unclean! Out from there![a] Purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord.

Here, the prophet encourages God's people to leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem with the vessels and other Temple treasure. This invitation is renewed in chapter 54. The interlude, which is mostly found in chapter 53, actually begins immediately after the above except:

Isaiah 52:12

New American Bible (Revised Edition)

12 But not in hurried flight will you go out, nor leave in headlong haste, For the Lord goes before you, and your rear guard is the God of Israel.

Jews understand the Servant to be the nation Israel, based on the fact that phrases such as "my servant Israel/Jacob" appear at least a dozen times in the Servant songs of chapters 41-49. Some understand the Servant to be a historical person, such as Hezekiah (in whom the historical Isaiah had much hope) or Zerubbabel (in whom the hypothetical 2nd Isaiah trusted, as did the prophets Haggai and Zechariah). Christians understand the Servant of Isaiah 53 to be Jesus, based on the the description of his suffering. But in any case it is clear that the formerly deserted "woman" of Isaiah 54 is Jerusalem and the nation of which she is the capital city.

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