Old Testament Lesson 38: Isaiah 40-49

1 Approach

These represent the notes I made during my reading of the scriptural text for this lesson. It is not a lesson outline or a lesson plan but really notes about issues and questions that struck me as interesting during my reading. Consequently, the notes do not have a conclusion and very little mention of application. I like to let those things arise while I teach.

2 Introduction

1. We have now shifted to a world where Babylon is the superpower.

2. Jerusalem is destroyed (describing post 587 BCE world).

3. Many Jews have been scattered through Egypt and Mesopotamia.

4. The rise of Persia and Cyrus and the return of the Jews is either in sight or beginning to happen.

3 The Lord Is Returning to Jerusalem (40:1-11)

3.1 Comfort My People

Read Isaiah 40:1-2

1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.

* How would you summarize or explain the message of these first two verses? What is the Lord’s message?

* What does the phrase, “speak ye comfortably”, mean in the first part of verse 2? The NRSV translates this as, “speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” What does it mean to “speak tenderly” to Jerusalem given the city of Jerusalem is destroyed? How might someone “speak tenderly” in this context? Who is supposed to “speak tenderly” to her?

* Who do you think was the intended original audience for this message? How would they have viewed this message?

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