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Isaiah 52:11-12 – The New Exodus


Israel is summoned to depart from Babylon and embark on a new exodus journey of liberation.


The return from Babylon is certain, and now the call comes to depart. Again, the exodus theme is obvious. This new exodus is like and unlike the old. This time there is no need for haste, for there is no Egyptian army in pursuit (contrary to Exodus 12:33-39). The Lord walks both in front and behind, protecting the people as in the first exodus (Exodus 14:19-20). As in days of old, Israel is called to purify itself for the journey (Genesis 35:2); the absence of things unclean reflects the highway described in Isaiah 35:8. The concern for purity and cleanness makes clear that this is a liturgical procession, a sacred journey, not merely a geographical one.

Isaiah 52:11-12

11 Depart, depart, go out from there!
   Touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves,
   you who carry the vessels of the Lord.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
   and you shall not go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
   and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.

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