Psalms and Prophets, part 4

Since it has been awhile since I’ve posted  a Leithart article, I will direct people to read the first three articles on this section of his article here, here, and here. In this post, we will look at Leithart’s treatment of Isaiah 54:11-17. The argument here is fairly simple (though the conclusion is unstated). The passage states that opening of the womb, restoration (marital imagery), and rebirth/glorification of the city is summarized by the term vetzidqatam (וְצִדְקָתָם) used in verse 17. In other words, their justification consists of the opening of the womb, restoration, and rebirth.

Now, I found his exegesis of the passage to be by and large convincing, except for one thing. I would translate the term “vindication.” I think that the opening of the womb, the restoration of the covenant, and the rebirth of the city are the evidentiary tokens of God’s restoration of the people. In other words, this is the same kind of evidentiary justification that James is talking about. At least, this is analogical. There are points of discontinuity, since Isaiah is speaking corporately (rather obviously), and James is not. These acts of God’s grace are God telling the world that He and His people were in the right. In other words, we do not have to reformulate our definition of justification by faith because of this use of the term by Isaiah. The unspoken conclusion of Leithart is that this broad range of use of the term tzedeq should drive us to expand our definition of justification to include definitive sanctification (and, it appears, something more. At least it is more when you look at his coined words forenstorational, militorensic, and forensurrection. Leithart wants to include adoption in justification, if restoration to fellowship with God is included in justification proper). The conclusion is not justified.

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