This scripture uses two word pictures that we
sometimes miss. I know that there is more than one
way to interpret verses, but I thought this was an
interesting cultural perspective.
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your
God. Speak ye comfortably to
her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her
iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the
LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
breathe again.” The picture is that of a person who
has been sobbing so hard that they have trouble
catching their breath.
had been great and she was out of breath, spiritually
speaking. The Prophet’s task was to say, like a loving
Mother, “There, there, it’s over now. Everything is
going to be all right.”
But what kind of comfort would double for sins be? A
modern scholar tells us that there was something else
going on here. In the East, when a man went bankrupt,
a notice of all his debts was posted by the city gate.
Everyone would see what he owed, and he would be
publicly humiliated. But, someone could come by and
decide to pay his debts for him. If that happened, the
notice was then folded in half—doubled over.
The debts were paid and no one could see them anymore,
so the shame was removed – just like the doubling of
We can remember his tenderness and his empathy
for our embarrassments when all of our failings seem
posted on the city gate for everyone to see.
For He promised that he would not leave us comfortless.