Isaiah – Chapter 42

"That Deaf, Dumb and Blind Nation..."

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d says: My servant Israel is not like the other nations. Israel is My chosen one, upon whom I have placed My spirit. They will serve as an example to the nations. They will neither weaken nor tire before establishing justice in the land.

This is the word of G-d, Who created Heaven and Earth and Who gave life to humanity. He called Isaiah and will strengthen him in his mission; G-d made him a light to the nations. (In this case, Rashi says the “nations” means the Tribes of Israel.) People have become spiritually “blind,” like prisoners sitting in the darkness of a prison. Isaiah will enlighten them.

G-d is the only One; His praise is not to be shared with idols. The promises He made to Abraham came true, now G-d shares more promises of the future exile and redemption.

Sing a new song to G-d from the ends of the Earth. The desert and cities will raise their voices to Him. Deserts now occupied by tents will become permanent settlements and the deceased, who are currently under the ground, will praise G-d (an allusion to the revival of the dead). G-d will go forth to redeem Israel like a mighty warrior, overpowering Babylonia. For a long time, G-d restrained Himself; no more. Now He will destroy all His foes as one. He will destroy mighty kings and rulers (compared to mountains and hills) and all their followers (compared to the grass that grows on these mountains and hills).

G-d will lead those who had been spiritually “blind” on a new path, making the darkness into light and straightening the crooked road. Those who worship idols will be ashamed. Those who were “deaf” to G-d’s word will listen and those who were “blind” will see. The people will claim that it is G-d’s prophet who is blind and deaf. There is much to see and hear, if people would only be receptive to it! G-d wants us to be receptive for the sake of His righteousness; He increases Torah and magnifies it. (This verse is the closing phrase of the prayer “U’va L’Tziyon.”)

The people have been robbed and plundered; they have been hiding in dungeons, with nobody coming to save them. Who will now hear the promise of future redemption? Who gave Israel over to their enemies? It was G-d, because we refused to listen to His Torah. He poured out His anger; it burned all around them, but they refused to listen.

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