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The watchman metaphor in Isaiah lvi-lxvi

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The theme of the watchman is a Leitmotiv throughout Is. lvi 9-lix 21. It is first introduced in Is. lvi 10-11 and continues in lvii 14 and lviii 1. In these verses, the prophet calls the leaders to reassume their role as watchman and to lead their people in justice and righteousness. In contrast, the following Is. lix 4, 15-16 describe the leaders' failure to fulfil their very duty, leading up to God's decision to intervene Himself. In this way, these verses stress the responsibility and the subsequent failure of the Judahite leadership. The idea of the watchman is closely connected with that of an intercessor. In this way, the author of Is. lvi 9-lix 21 is indebted to the earlier Is. lxii 6, where "guards" are commanded to intercede daily for the fate of Jerusalem, and to Is. lxii 1, where divine or prophetic intercession is alluded to.


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