Isaiah 52:11

Hebrew Bible

9 In unison give a joyful shout, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord consoles his people; he protects Jerusalem. 10 The Lord reveals his royal power in the sight of all the nations; the entire earth sees our God deliver. 11 Leave! Leave! Get out of there! Don’t touch anything unclean! Get out of it! Stay pure, you who carry the Lord’s holy items. 12 Yet do not depart quickly or leave in a panic. For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard. 13 Look, my servant will act wisely!20 He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted—

Lamentations 4:15

Hebrew Bible

13 מ (Mem) But it happened due to the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who poured out in her midst the blood of the righteous. 14 נ (Nun) They wander blindly through the streets, defiled by the blood they shed, while no one dares to touch their garments. 15 ס (Samek) People cry to them, “Turn away! You are unclean! Turn away! Turn away! Don’t touch us!” So they have fled and wander about; but the nations say, “They may not stay here any longer.” 16 פ (Pe) The Lord himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them. They did not honor the priests; they did not show favor to the elders. 17 ע (Ayin) Our eyes continually failed usas we looked in vain for help. From our watchtowers we watched for a nation that could not rescue us.

 Notes and References

"... Willey uses a philological method to determine conclusively that Isaiah 52:11 is an allusion to Lamentations 4:13. She notes that the imperatives (depart!) and (do not touch!) are relatively rare in the Hebrew Bible and notes that the word (unclean) appears infrequently outside of the book of Leviticus. Isaiah 52:11 and Lamentations 4:13 are the only verses in which all three terms appear together. Consequently, it is unlikely that the correspondences between the two verses are coincidental ... Second Isaiah’s verse represents a sophisticated reversal of the Lamentations verse. In Lamentations, the exiles are figured as ritually unclean creatures who are forced to leave Jerusalem because of their impurity. In Second Isaiah, the exiles are now the ritually pure addressees who are commanded to leave the unclean city of their exile. The allusion asserts that the exile from Judea would be reversed by the exodus from Babylon. The exodus from Babylon also marks a return to normal conditions of purity and uncleanness ..."

Stern, Elsie From Rebuke to Consolation: Exegesis and Theology in the Liturgical Anthology of the Ninth Av Season (pp. 17-77) Brown Judaic Studies, 2020

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