Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
TERBLANCHE, Marius D.. The theme of the Babylonian exile as imprisonment in Isaiah 42:22 and other texts in Isaiah 40-55. Old testam. essays [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.2, pp. 482-497. ISSN 2312-3621.
Although some scholars argue that Isaiah 42:22 has the people remaining in Judah rather than the exiles in mind, this paper asserts that the description of the exile as imprisonment is an exaggeration. Some Judean exiles were in all likelihood forced to work on royal building projects. Their imprisonment would at most be temporary. By depicting the exile as imprisonment 42:22 accentuates Yahweh's announcement in 42:14-44:23 that he would restore his relationship with Israel. The end of the punishment was in sight despite the fact that Israel's precarious situation could be interpreted as an indication that Yahweh's relationship with them has ended. In the present form of the text of Isaiah 40-55, 42:22 reveals that the one who would deliver the prisoners (42:7), himself needed deliverance. 42:22 thus sets the stage for the re-commissioning of the servant in 49:1-6. Although 49:24-26 does not give the servant a role in the return of Zion's sons, the statement in verse 25 that Yahweh himself would take up the prisoners' cause forms a strong contrast to the reproach reflected in 42:22.