What does it mean that God is the God of Jeshurun?Question: "What does it mean that God is the God of Jeshurun?"
Answer: In Isaiah 44:1–2, God comforts His people with these words:
“But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.”
The name Jeshurun means “upright one” or “blessed one.” In the parallelism of Isaiah’s poetry, Jeshurun is a synonym for Jacob in the previous line. So we see that Jeshurun is a poetic reference to the nation of Israel. It is a term of endearment; the Greek Septuagint translates Jeshurun as “beloved one,” using a form of the word agape. The name Jeshurun is used four times in the books of Deuteronomy and Isaiah. In each case the name occurs in a poetic setting and refers to Israel, God’s beloved people.
In Deuteronomy 32, Moses rehearses the history of Israel to that point, including a time when the Israelites were unfaithful to God in the wilderness:
“Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, they became heavy and sleek.
They abandoned the God who made them
and rejected the Rock their Savior” (Deuteronomy 32:15).
As Moses begins his final blessings on the tribes of Israel, he says,
“[The Lord] was king over Jeshurun
when the leaders of the people assembled,
along with the tribes of Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:5).
Then, as Moses ends the same series of blessings, he says,
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides across the heavens to help you
and on the clouds in his majesty.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:26–27).
Israel could be called “Jeshurun” because of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Isaiah starts out his book with a condemnation of Israel’s sin, calling the people a “sinful nation . . . whose guilt is great” and a “brood of evildoers . . . given to corruption” (Isaiah 1:4). Yet God still tenderly calls them “Jeshurun,” the “upright one.” The children of Israel forsook the Lord: “They have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him” (verse 4). Yet God still lovingly calls them “Jeshurun,” the “beloved one.” Jeshurun is God’s grace on display.
“He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:9–12).
Recommended Resource: Faith of Israel, 2d ed.: A Theological Survey of the Old Testament by William Dumbrell
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What does it mean that God is the God of Jeshurun?