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Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 7
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Isaiah 34:1--36:22

Context
The Lord Will Judge Edom

34:1 Come near, you nations, and listen!

Pay attention, you people!

The earth and everything it contains must listen,

the world and everything that lives in it. 1 

34:2 For the Lord is angry at all the nations

and furious with all their armies.

He will annihilate them and slaughter them.

34:3 Their slain will be left unburied, 2 

their corpses will stink; 3 

the hills will soak up their blood. 4 

34:4 All the stars in the sky will fade away, 5 

the sky will roll up like a scroll;

all its stars will wither,

like a leaf withers and falls from a vine

or a fig withers and falls from a tree. 6 

34:5 He says, 7  “Indeed, my sword has slaughtered heavenly powers. 8 

Look, it now descends on Edom, 9 

on the people I will annihilate in judgment.”

34:6 The Lord’s sword is dripping with blood,

it is covered 10  with fat;

it drips 11  with the blood of young rams and goats

and is covered 12  with the fat of rams’ kidneys.

For the Lord is holding a sacrifice 13  in Bozrah, 14 

a bloody 15  slaughter in the land of Edom.

34:7 Wild oxen will be slaughtered 16  along with them,

as well as strong bulls. 17 

Their land is drenched with blood,

their soil is covered with fat.

34:8 For the Lord has planned a day of revenge, 18 

a time when he will repay Edom for her hostility toward Zion. 19 

34:9 Edom’s 20  streams will be turned into pitch

and her soil into brimstone;

her land will become burning pitch.

34:10 Night and day it will burn; 21 

its smoke will ascend continually.

Generation after generation it will be a wasteland

and no one will ever pass through it again.

34:11 Owls and wild animals 22  will live there, 23 

all kinds of wild birds 24  will settle in it.

The Lord 25  will stretch out over her

the measuring line of ruin

and the plumb line 26  of destruction. 27 

34:12 Her nobles will have nothing left to call a kingdom

and all her officials will disappear. 28 

34:13 Her fortresses will be overgrown with thorns;

thickets and weeds will grow 29  in her fortified cities.

Jackals will settle there;

ostriches will live there. 30 

34:14 Wild animals and wild dogs will congregate there; 31 

wild goats will bleat to one another. 32 

Yes, nocturnal animals 33  will rest there

and make for themselves a nest. 34 

34:15 Owls 35  will make nests and lay eggs 36  there;

they will hatch them and protect them. 37 

Yes, hawks 38  will gather there,

each with its mate.

34:16 Carefully read the scroll of the Lord! 39 

Not one of these creatures will be missing, 40 

none will lack a mate. 41 

For the Lord has issued the decree, 42 

and his own spirit gathers them. 43 

34:17 He assigns them their allotment; 44 

he measures out their assigned place. 45 

They will live there 46  permanently;

they will settle in it through successive generations.

The Land and Its People Are Transformed

35:1 Let the desert and dry region be happy; 47 

let the wilderness 48  rejoice and bloom like a lily!

35:2 Let it richly bloom; 49 

let it rejoice and shout with delight! 50 

It is given the grandeur 51  of Lebanon,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.

They will see the grandeur of the Lord,

the splendor of our God.

35:3 Strengthen the hands that have gone limp,

steady the knees that shake! 52 

35:4 Tell those who panic, 53 

“Be strong! Do not fear!

Look, your God comes to avenge!

With divine retribution he comes to deliver you.” 54 

35:5 Then blind eyes will open,

deaf ears will hear.

35:6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,

the mute tongue will shout for joy;

for water will flow 55  in the desert,

streams in the wilderness. 56 

35:7 The dry soil will become a pool of water,

the parched ground springs of water.

Where jackals once lived and sprawled out,

grass, reeds, and papyrus will grow.

35:8 A thoroughfare will be there –

it will be called the Way of Holiness. 57 

The unclean will not travel on it;

it is reserved for those authorized to use it 58 

fools 59  will not stray into it.

35:9 No lions will be there,

no ferocious wild animals will be on it 60 

they will not be found there.

Those delivered from bondage will travel on it,

35:10 those whom the Lord has ransomed will return that way. 61 

They will enter Zion with a happy shout.

Unending joy will crown them, 62 

happiness and joy will overwhelm 63  them;

grief and suffering will disappear. 64 

Sennacherib Invades Judah

36:1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, 65  King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 36:2 The king of Assyria sent his chief adviser 66  from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 67  along with a large army. The chief adviser 68  stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 69  36:3 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet him.

36:4 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 70  36:5 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 71  In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? 36:6 Look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him! 36:7 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar.’ 36:8 Now make a deal with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 36:9 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 72  36:10 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this land to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March up against this land and destroy it!’”’” 73 

36:11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 74  for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 75  in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 36:12 But the chief adviser said, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 76  His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you!” 77 

36:13 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 78  “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 36:14 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you! 36:15 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 36:16 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 79  Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 36:17 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 36:18 Hezekiah is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” Has any of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 80  36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? 81  Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 82  from my power? 83  36:20 Who among all the gods of these lands have rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’” 84  36:21 They were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”

36:22 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn in grief 85  and reported to him what the chief adviser had said.

1 tn Heb “the world and its offspring”; NASB “the world and all that springs from it.”

2 tn Heb “will be cast aside”; NASB, NIV “thrown out.”

3 tn Heb “[as for] their corpses, their stench will arise.”

4 tn Heb “hills will dissolve from their blood.”

5 tc Heb “and all the host of heaven will rot.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa inserts “and the valleys will be split open,” but this reading may be influenced by Mic 1:4. On the other hand, the statement, if original, could have been omitted by homoioarcton, a scribe’s eye jumping from the conjunction prefixed to “the valleys” to the conjunction prefixed to the verb “rot.”

6 tn Heb “like the withering of a leaf from a vine, and like the withering from a fig tree.”

7 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Lord speaks at this point.

8 tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] my sword is drenched in the heavens.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has תראה (“[my sword] appeared [in the heavens]”), but this is apparently an attempt to make sense out of a difficult metaphor. Cf. NIV “My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens.”

sn In v. 4 the “host of the heaven” refers to the heavenly luminaries (stars and planets, see, among others, Deut 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kgs 17:16; 21:3, 5; 23:4-5; 2 Chr 33:3, 5) that populate the divine/heavenly assembly in mythological and prescientific Israelite thought (see Job 38:7; Isa 14:13). As in 24:21, they are viewed here as opposing God and being defeated in battle.

9 sn Edom is mentioned here as epitomizing the hostile nations that oppose God.

10 tn The verb is a rare Hotpaal passive form. See GKC 150 §54.h.

11 tn The words “it drips” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

12 tn The words “and is covered” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

13 tn Heb “for there is a sacrifice to the Lord.”

14 sn The Lord’s judgment of Edom is compared to a bloody sacrificial scene.

15 tn Heb “great” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

16 tn Heb “will go down”; NAB “shall be struck down.”

17 tn Heb “and bulls along with strong ones.” Perhaps this refers to the leaders.

18 tn Heb “for a day of vengeance [is] for the Lord.”

19 tn Heb “a year of repayment for the strife of Zion.” The translation assumes that רִיב (riv) refers to Edom’s hostility toward Zion. Another option is to understand רִיב (riv) as referring to the Lord’s taking up Zion’s cause. In this case one might translate, “a time when he will repay Edom and vindicate Zion.”

20 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Edom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Heb “it will not be extinguished.”

22 tn קָאַת (qaat) refers to some type of bird (cf. Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (see Zeph 2:14). קִפּוֹד (qippod) may also refer to a type of bird (NAB “hoot owl”; NIV “screech owl”; TEV “ravens”), but some have suggested a rodent may be in view (cf. NCV “small animals”; ASV “porcupine”; NASB, NRSV “hedgehog”).

23 tn Heb “will possess it” (so NIV).

24 tn The Hebrew text has יַנְשׁוֹף וְעֹרֵב (yanshof vÿorev). Both the יַנְשׁוֹף (“owl”; see Lev 11:17; Deut 14:16) and עֹרֵב (“raven”; Lev 11:15; Deut 14:14) were types of wild birds.

25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 tn Heb “stones,” i.e., the stones used in a plumb bob.

27 sn The metaphor in v. 11b emphasizes that God has carefully planned Edom’s demise.

28 tn Heb “will be nothing”; NCV, TEV, NLT “will all be gone.”

29 tn The words “will grow” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

30 tc Heb “and she will be a settlement for wild dogs, a dwelling place for ostriches.” The translation assumes an emendation of חָצִיר (khatsir, “grass”) to חָצֵר (khatser, “settlement”). One of the Qumran scrolls of Isaiah (1QIsaa) supports this emendation (cf. HALOT 344 s.v. II חָצִיר)

31 tn Heb “will meet” (so NIV); NLT “will mingle there.”

32 tn Heb “and a goat will call to its neighbor.”

33 tn The precise meaning of לִּילִית (lilit) is unclear, though in this context the word certainly refers to some type of wild animal or bird. The word appears to be related to לַיְלָה (laylah, “night”). Some interpret it as the name of a female night demon, on the basis of an apparent Akkadian cognate used as the name of a demon. Later Jewish legends also identified Lilith as a demon. Cf. NRSV “Lilith.”

34 tn Heb “and will find for themselves a resting place.”

35 tn Hebrew קִפּוֹז (qippoz) occurs only here; the precise meaning of the word is uncertain.

36 tn For this proposed meaning for Hebrew מָלַט (malat), see HALOT 589 s.v. I מלט.

37 tn Heb “and brood [over them] in her shadow.”

38 tn The precise meaning of דַּיָּה (dayyah) is uncertain, though the term appears to refer to some type of bird of prey, perhaps a vulture.

39 tn Heb “Seek from upon the scroll of the Lord and read.”

sn It is uncertain what particular scroll is referred to here. Perhaps the phrase simply refers to this prophecy and is an admonition to pay close attention to the details of the message.

40 tn Heb “one from these will not be missing.” הֵנָּה (hennah, “these”) is feminine plural in the Hebrew text. It may refer only to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or may include all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).

41 tn Heb “each its mate they will not lack.”

42 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “for a mouth, it has commanded.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and a few medieval mss have פִּיהוּ (pihu, “his mouth [has commanded]”), while a few other medieval mss read פִּי יְהוָה (pi yÿhvah, “the mouth of the Lord [has commanded]”).

43 tn Heb “and his spirit, he gathers them.” The pronominal suffix (“them”) is feminine plural, referring to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or to all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).

44 tn Heb “and he causes the lot to fall for them.” Once again the pronominal suffix (“them”) is feminine plural, referring to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or to all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).

45 tn Heb “and his hand divides for them with a measuring line.” The pronominal suffix (“them”) now switches to masculine plural, referring to all the animals and birds mentioned in vv. 11-15, some of which were identified with masculine nouns. This signals closure for this portion of the speech, which began in v. 11. The following couplet (v. 17b) forms an inclusio with v. 11a through verbal repetition.

46 tn Heb “will possess it” (so NIV); NCV “they will own that land forever.”

47 tn The final mem (ם) on the verb יְשֻׂשׂוּם (yÿsusum) is dittographic (note the initial mem on the following noun מִדְבָּר [midbar]). The ambiguous verbal form is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel). The jussive is used rhetorically here, not as a literal command or prayer.

48 tn Or “Arabah” (NASB); NAB, NIV, TEV “desert.”

49 tn The ambiguous verb form תִּפְרַח (tifrakh) is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel).

50 tn Heb “and let it rejoice, yes [with] rejoicing and shouting.” גִּילַת (gilat) may be an archaic feminine nominal form (see GKC 421 §130.b).

51 tn Or “glory” (KJV, NIV, NRSV); also a second time later in this verse.

52 tn Heb “staggering knees”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “feeble knees”; NIV “knees that give way.”

53 tn Heb “Say to the hasty of heart,” i.e., those whose hearts beat quickly from fear.

54 tn The jussive form וְיֹשַׁעֲכֶם (vÿyoshaakhem), which is subordinated to the preceding imperfect with vav conjunctive, indicates purpose.

55 tn Heb “burst forth” (so NAB); KJV “break out.”

56 tn Or “Arabah” (NASB); KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT “desert.”

57 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and there will be there a road and a way, and the Way of Holiness it will be called.” וְדֶרֶךְ (vÿderekh, “and a/the way”) is accidentally duplicated; the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not reflect the repetition of the phrase.

58 tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads literally “and it is for them, the one who walks [on the] way.” In this context those authorized to use the Way of Holiness would be morally upright people who are the recipients of God’s deliverance, in contrast to the morally impure and foolish who are excluded from the new covenant community.

59 tn In this context “fools” are those who are morally corrupt, not those with limited intellectual capacity.

60 tn Heb “will go up on it”; TEV “will pass that way.”

61 tn Heb “and the redeemed will walk, the ransomed of the Lord will return.”

62 tn Heb “[will be] on their head[s].” “Joy” may be likened here to a crown (cf. 2 Sam 1:10). The statement may also be an ironic twist on the idiom “earth/dust on the head” (cf. 2 Sam 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), referring to a mourning practice.

63 tn Heb “will overtake” (NIV); NLT “they will be overcome with.”

64 tn Heb “grief and groaning will flee”; KJV “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

65 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

66 sn For a discussion of this title see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 229-30.

67 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

68 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the chief adviser) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

69 tn Heb “the field of the washer”; traditionally “the fuller’s field” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

70 tn Heb “What is this object of trust in which you are trusting?”

71 tn Heb “you say only a word of lips, counsel and might for battle.” Sennacherib’s message appears to be in broken Hebrew at this point. The phrase “word of lips” refers to mere or empty talk in Prov 14:23.

72 tn Heb “How can you turn back the face of an official [from among] the least of my master’s servants and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?” In vv. 8-9 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 6. His reasoning seems to be as follows: “In your weakened condition you obviously need military strength. Agree to the king’s terms and I will personally give you more horses than you are capable of outfitting. If I, a mere minor official, am capable of giving you such military might, just think what power the king has. There is no way the Egyptians can match our strength. It makes much better sense to deal with us.”

73 sn In v. 10 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 7. He claims that Hezekiah has offended the Lord and that the Lord has commissioned Assyria as his instrument of discipline and judgment.

74 sn Aramaic was the diplomatic language of the Assyrian empire.

75 tn Or “in Hebrew” (NIV, NCV, NLT); NAB, NASB “in Judean.”

76 tn Heb “To your master and to you did my master send me to speak these words?” The rhetorical question expects a negative answer.

77 tn Heb “[Is it] not [also] to the men…?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Yes, it is.”

sn The chief adviser alludes to the horrible reality of siege warfare, when the starving people in the besieged city would resort to eating and drinking anything to stay alive.

78 tn The Hebrew text includes “and he said.”

79 tn Heb “make with me a blessing and come out to me.”

80 tn Heb “Have the gods of the nations rescued, each his land, from the hand of the king of Assyria?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not!”

81 tn The rhetorical questions in v. 34a suggest the answer, “Nowhere, they seem to have disappeared in the face of Assyria’s might.”

82 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

83 tn Heb “that they rescued Samaria from my hand?” But this gives the impression that the gods of Sepharvaim were responsible for protecting Samaria, which is obviously not the case. The implied subject of the plural verb “rescued” must be the generic “gods of the nations/lands” (vv. 18, 20).

84 tn Heb “that the Lord might rescue Jerusalem from my hand?” The logic runs as follows: Since no god has ever been able to withstand the Assyrian onslaught, how can the people of Jerusalem possibly think the Lord will rescue them?

85 tn Heb “with their clothes torn”; the words “in grief” have been supplied in the translation to indicate that this was done as a sign of grief and mourning.



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