35:1-10 This chapter is a mirror image of chap. 34 where God announced that he would turn the nations into a wilderness. In chap. 35, he proclaimed that he would transform the people of God from a wilderness into a garden. The principle of both chapters is that God’s people should trust him, not the nations.
35:3-4 God will save his people from the godless nations that oppress them. God’s retribution refers to the punishment due the wicked and the reward due the righteous. For this reason, the latter can be strong and not fearful.
35:5-7 God’s work transforms those who are blind . . . deaf . . . lame, and mute. Elsewhere in Isaiah these physical disabilities are metaphors for spiritual shortcomings (29:18; 42:18-19; 43:8). They have been physically dead to godliness, but in the future they will come alive. Not only will the lame walk, but they will leap like a deer. Not only will the mute speak, but they will sing for joy. A similar transformation is described with the language of nature. The parched ground will flow with water. Land that was only suitable for wilderness animals like jackals will be verdant.
35:8 Israel, with its deep wadis and mountainous terrain, was a hard land to cross, but Isaiah foresaw a road. This road will be the Holy Way, a name indicating that it would provide access to God. While the unclean would not travel on it since it led to the presence of a holy God, even the fools would not get lost if they sought to walk this path.