Friday, May 10, 2013

Motherhood, Untimely Born

A curious command and promise opens Isaiah 54:
1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
2 For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities....
While Isaiah is speaking directly of the little post-exilic community in Judea, he is also speaking more broadly of the future glory of True Israel.  We just saw the anguished victory of the Suffering Servant in the passage before; now the Servant’s task is seen as fulfilled, and the prophet breaks into a hymn and shouts of praise from the "barren, childless woman," welcoming the dawn of the New Age.

Hold up… did we read that right?  What reason could a childless woman possibly have to rejoice?