Isaiah’s prophecy in his 60th chapter is a practice of hope; one meant to address a community in utter despair. One of the unique aspects of this hope is found in 60:17. Isaiah offers Israel hope in the form of slavery to a new overseer and a new taskmaster. “I will make shalom your overseer and righteousness your taskmaster.” This slavery and oppression will result in the “sounds of violence no longer being heard in your land, or the sounds of destruction within your borders” (60:18). The city where shalom and righteousness dwell as overseer and taskmaster will call its walls “Salvation” and its gates “Praise” (60:18). Isaiah dares Israel to practice hope. Hope for a time when their current oppressors will be displaced by gracious and kind overseers. Hope for a time dominated by YHWH’s creational shalom and Torah righteousness.
During the season of Advent, we remember the time when shalom and righteousness burst upon the stage of human history in form of the baby Jesus. He came to save his people bringing them shalom (wholeness, peace, wellbeing) and making them righteous. We, also, long for the time of his return when he will fully establish his kingdom on this earth, a time when we will gladly submit to the bondage of his shalom and righteousness.