The Meaning of Isaiah 6:5 Explained

Isaiah 6:5

KJV: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

YLT: And I say, 'Woe to me, for I have been silent, For a man -- unclean of lips am I, And in midst of a people unclean of lips I am dwelling, Because the King, Jehovah of Hosts, have my eyes seen.'

Darby: And I said, Woe unto me! for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.

ASV: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.

What does Isaiah 6:5 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Isaiah feared that he would be consumed since he was in the presence of the purest of all beings. He announced woe on himself; he was in deep trouble (cf. Isaiah 5:8; Isaiah 5:11; Isaiah 5:18; Isaiah 5:20-22). These are the first words that Isaiah himself spoke in this book, and they announce a prophetic woe on himself. He first had to become aware of his own sin and uncleanness before he could worship God as he should. Not only did he have unclean lips, but he dwelt among a people whose lips were very unclean and, therefore, unfit to praise or speak for God. King Uzziah died an unclean leper ( 2 Chronicles 26:16-21). Unclean lips evidence unclean hearts (cf. Matthew 12:34). Whereas God was holy, Isaiah and the Jews were unclean, not upright, impure in their ethical conduct. Isaiah sensed his danger because he saw the real King of Israel who was Yahweh of armies. It is in seeing God for who He is that we can see ourselves for who we are and can, therefore, accurately evaluate our condition (cf. Job 42:5-6; Daniel 10:14-17; Revelation 1:17).

Context Summary

Isaiah 6:1-13 - A Call To Heroic Service
Kings die; Jesus lives. See John 12:41. We are here reminded of Acts 22:17-18. How great the contrast between the worship of these seraphim in the Unseen-Holy and man's perfunctory rites! Six wings-two for meditation, two for humility, and two for service. Service should take only a third of our energy. One cried unto another-one inspired spirit will awaken others. The threefold repetition of the word holy, implies the Trinity. If door-posts tremble, much more should the hearts of sinful men! Isaiah, in the previous chapter, had uttered six woes against others, but his seventh and sorest woe is against himself. The sinner, like the leper, cries, Unclean! Leviticus 13:45. The seraph did not wait to be told; he knew that there was only one cure for such need as the prophet's, Isaiah 6:9-13. When men refuse God's offered grace, every refusal hardens. It is either "the savour of death unto death" or of "life unto life," 2 Corinthians 2:16. The life of the oak and the terebinth only seems to become extinct in winter; there is revival in the spring. Is it winter with you? Pray for the springtime! [source]

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 6

1  Isaiah, in a vision of the Lord in his glory
5  Being terrified, has apprehensions removed
8  He offers himself, and is sent to show the obstinacy of the people
13  A remnant shall be saved

What do the individual words in Isaiah 6:5 mean?

So I said Woe [is] me for I am undone because a man of unclean lips I [am] and in the midst of a people of unclean lips I dwell for - the King Yahweh of hosts have seen my eyes
וָאֹמַ֞ר אֽוֹי־ לִ֣י כִֽי־ נִדְמֵ֗יתִי כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ טְמֵֽא־ שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־ טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם אָנֹכִ֖י יוֹשֵׁ֑ב כִּ֗י אֶת־ הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת רָא֥וּ עֵינָֽי

וָאֹמַ֞ר  So  I  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, first person common singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
אֽוֹי־  Woe  [is] 
Parse: Interjection
Root: אֹוי  
Sense: woe! alas! oh!.
לִ֣י  me 
Parse: Preposition, first person common singular
נִדְמֵ֗יתִי  I  am  undone 
Parse: Verb, Nifal, Perfect, first person common singular
Root: דָּמָה 
Sense: to cease, cause to cease, cut off, destroy, perish.
כִּ֣י  because 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: כִּי 
Sense: that, for, because, when, as though, as, because that, but, then, certainly, except, surely, since.
אִ֤ישׁ  a  man 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אִישׁ 
Sense: man.
טְמֵֽא־  of  unclean 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular construct
Root: טָמֵא  
Sense: unclean, impure.
שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙  lips 
Parse: Noun, fd
Root: שָׂפָה  
Sense: lip, language, speech, shore, bank, brink, brim, side, edge, border, binding.
אָנֹ֔כִי  I  [am] 
Parse: Pronoun, first person common singular
Root: אָנׄכִי  
Sense: I (first pers.
וּבְתוֹךְ֙  and  in  the  midst 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: תָּוֶךְ  
Sense: midst, middle.
עַם־  of  a  people 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: עַם 
Sense: nation, people.
טְמֵ֣א  of  unclean 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular construct
Root: טָמֵא  
Sense: unclean, impure.
שְׂפָתַ֔יִם  lips 
Parse: Noun, fd
Root: שָׂפָה  
Sense: lip, language, speech, shore, bank, brink, brim, side, edge, border, binding.
יוֹשֵׁ֑ב  dwell 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: יָשַׁב 
Sense: to dwell, remain, sit, abide.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ  the  King 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: מֶלֶךְ 
Sense: king.
יְהוָ֥ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
צְבָא֖וֹת  of  hosts 
Parse: Noun, common plural
Root: צָבָא 
Sense: that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host.
רָא֥וּ  have  seen 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: רָאָה 
Sense: to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider.
עֵינָֽי  my  eyes 
Parse: Noun, cdc, first person common singular
Root: עֹונָה 
Sense: eye.