You Are the Potter and I am the Clay, O LORD!
16 For you are our father, though Abraham does not know
us and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our father;
our Redeemer from of old is your name. 17 Why, O LORD, do you
make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we
do not fear you? Turn back for the sake of your servants, for
the sake of the tribes that are your heritage. 18 Your holy people
took possession for a little while; but now our adversaries have
trampled down your sanctuary. 19 We have long been like those
whom you do not rule, like those not called by your name. 64:1
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that
the mountains would quake at your presence-- 2 as when fire kindles
brushwood and the fire causes water to boil-- to make your name
known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at
your presence! 3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4 From ages
past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any
God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 5 You meet
those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we
transgressed. 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and
all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like
a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There
is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of
you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered
us into the hand of our iniquity. 8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of
The oracle continues with a frustrated plea from the Israelites.
Things are so tough that they argue that Abraham and Israel (Jacob)
have abandoned them. They call upon God as father (63.16 and 64:8)
(one of the few places that God is referred to as father in the
Old Testament) with a direct, yet personal, plea for help. While
they seem to be acknowledging their sins, they suggest it is because
God hardened their hearts (as God did to Pharaoh) and remained
hidden from them (as though they had been trying to find God).
This passage ends on a Psalm-like, up-beat, appeal to God as "our
Father" and a request for direction - "you are our potter;
we are the work of your hand."
Note: Second Isaiah's staunch monotheism is echoed in third
Isaiah only in 64:4 (which is possibly paraphrased later by Paul
in 1st Corinthians 2:9).
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