The Meaning of Isaiah 54:1 Explained

Isaiah 54:1

KJV: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

YLT: Sing, O barren, she hath not borne! Break forth with singing, and cry aloud, She hath not brought forth! For more are the sons of the desolate, Than the sons of the married one, said Jehovah.

Darby: Exult, thou barren, that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and shout for joy, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.

ASV: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.

What does Isaiah 54:1 Mean?

Study Notes

travail
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Now
The "word of the Lord that came to Micah" Micah 4:1 having described the future kingdom Micah 4:1-8 and glanced at the Babylonian captivities Micah 4:9-10 goes forward into the last days to refer to the great battle (see "Armageddon,") Revelation 16:14 , (See Scofield " Revelation 19:17 ") which immediately precedes the setting up of the Messianic kingdom (see "Kingdom (O.T.)," Genesis 1:26 See Scofield " Zechariah 12:8 " also, "Kingdom (N.T.),; Luke 1:31-33 ; 1 Corinthians 15:28 .
Micah 5:1 ; Micah 5:2 forms a parenthesis in which the "word of the Lord" goes back from the time of the great battle (yet future) to the birth and rejection of the King, Messiah-Christ Matthew 27:24 ; Matthew 27:25 ; Matthew 27:37 . This is followed by the statement that He will "give them up until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" ( Micah 5:3 ). There is a twofold "travail" of Israel:
(1) that which brings forth the "man child" (Christ) Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 12:2 and
(2) that which, in the last days, brings forth a believing "remnant" out of the still dispersed and unbelieving nation Micah 5:3 ; Jeremiah 30:6-14 ; Micah 4:10 . Both aspects are combined in Isaiah 66. In Micah 5:7 we have the "man-child" (Christ) of Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 12:2 in Micah 5:8-15 the remnant, established in kingdom blessing. The meaning of Micah 5:3 is that, from the rejection of Christ at His first coming Jehovah will give Israel up till the believing remnant appears; then He stands and feeds in His proper strength as Jehovah ( Micah 5:4 ); He is the defence of His people as in Micah 4:3 ; Micah 4:11-13 and afterward the remnant go as missionaries to Israel and to all the world.; Micah 5:7 ; Micah 5:8 ; Zechariah 8:23 .

Verse Meaning

The theme of the barrenness of human strength and the bounty that the Lord can provide supernaturally is common in both Testaments (e.g, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, et al.). Here we have another instance of rejoicing because God would miraculously bless those who, because of unbelief, were formerly spiritually barren and unproductive (cf. Isaiah 51:1-3; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Galatians 4:27). They would become more fruitful than those who enjoy blessings apart from a relationship with God. It would be cruel to ask a barren woman to sing for joy unless you gave her what would make her happy. But that is precisely what Isaiah did because of what the Lord would do.
"Just as God could make a barren Sarah more fruitful than a fertile Hagar, so he can take those who are "dead in trespasses and sins" ( Ephesians 2:1, AV) and use them to bring abundant blessings to the entire world." [1]

Context Summary

Isaiah 54:1-17 - The Wondrous Love Of God
We have heard the exiles summoned to leave Babylon, and have beheld the Savior becoming the sin-bearer. Here our attention is recalled to the still desolate condition of Jerusalem. See Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3; Nehemiah 2:13-17. Jehovah says, Sing, but Israel replies that she cannot sing so long as she lies desolate. In reply God declares His inalienable love: He is their husband still and has sworn that the waters of death and destruction shall never be able to separate them from Himself. The kindness of His mercy is everlasting, and His covenant of peace shall outlast the mountains and hills.
In the closing paragraph, Isaiah 54:11-17, we behold the chosen city emerging from her heap of ruins. Watched by the eye of the great Architect, wrought by unseen hands, tested by the line and plummet of righteousness, she arises to fulfill her mission to the world. To inspired hearts it seems as though her common stones are jewels. Her children are taught of the Lord. Every accusing voice is hushed. All weapons of destruction are impotent. The New Jerusalem seems to have come down from heaven. [source]

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 54

1  The prophet, to comfort the Gentiles, prophesies the amplitude of their church
4  Their safety
6  Their certain deliverance out of affliction
11  Their fair edification
15  And their sure preservation

What do the individual words in Isaiah 54:1 mean?

Sing barren not You [who] have borne Break forth into singing and cry aloud not You [who] have labored with child for more [are] the sons of the desolate Than the sons of the married woman says Yahweh
רָנִּ֥י עֲקָרָ֖ה לֹ֣א יָלָ֑דָה פִּצְחִ֨י רִנָּ֤ה וְצַהֲלִי֙ לֹא־ חָ֔לָה כִּֽי־ רַבִּ֧ים בְּֽנֵי־ שׁוֹמֵמָ֛ה מִבְּנֵ֥י בְעוּלָ֖ה אָמַ֥ר יְהוָֽה

רָנִּ֥י  Sing 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, feminine singular
Root: רוּן 
Sense: to overcome.
עֲקָרָ֖ה  barren 
Parse: Adjective, feminine singular
Root: עָקָר  
Sense: barren, sterile.
יָלָ֑דָה  You  [who]  have  borne 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person feminine singular
Root: יָלַד 
Sense: to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail.
פִּצְחִ֨י  Break  forth 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, feminine singular
Root: פָּצַח 
Sense: to cause to break or burst forth, break forth with, break out.
רִנָּ֤ה  into  singing 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: רִנָּה  
Sense: ringing cry.
וְצַהֲלִי֙  and  cry  aloud 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Imperative, feminine singular
Root: צָהַל 
Sense: to neigh, cry shrilly.
חָ֔לָה  You  [who]  have  labored  with  child 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person feminine singular
Root: חוּל 
Sense: to twist, whirl, dance, writhe, fear, tremble, travail, be in anguish, be pained.
רַבִּ֧ים  more 
Parse: Adjective, masculine plural
Root: רַב 
Sense: much, many, great.
בְּֽנֵי־  [are]  the  sons 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
שׁוֹמֵמָ֛ה  of  the  desolate 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, feminine singular
Root: שָׁמֵם  
Sense: to be desolate, be appalled, stun, stupefy.
מִבְּנֵ֥י  Than  the  sons 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
בְעוּלָ֖ה  of  the  married  woman 
Parse: Verb, Qal, QalPassParticiple, feminine singular
Root: בְּעוּלָה 
Sense: to marry, rule over, possess, own.
אָמַ֥ר  says 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
יְהוָֽה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.