Isaiah 49:2 is arranged in a neat ABAB pattern:

A. He has made My mouth like a sharp sword (weapon)

B. In the shadow of His hand He has concealed ( chava’ ) Me (hiding);

A’. And He has also made Me a select arrow (weapon),

B’. He has hidden ( satar ) Me in His quiver (hiding).

Two comments: First, the connection of B and B’ suggests a double parallel. The shadow of the Lord’s hand that hides is like a quiver hiding arrows, and the Servant who is speaking is clearly an arrow in that quiver. This gives a different meaning to the notion that God “holds us in His hand.” It’s a place of protection and safety, for sure, but we’re in His hand so He can fit us to the bow and launch us. Second, though there is little verbal overlap, the description of the Servant’s place of concealment is reminiscent of Moses encountering the glory on Sinai. As the Lord passes by Moses, He covers ( sakak ) the prophet with His hand (Exodus 33:22). Like the Servant, Moses’ mouth was equipped with a sharp tongue-sword and like the Servant He was covered with the hand of Yahweh as an arrow in the quiver. Coming down from the mountain, Moses was like a lightning arrow in the hand of Yahweh, destroying the golden calf and scattering the Lord’s enemies.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

Loading...