Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 9
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Isaiah 40:1--42:25

Context
The Lord Returns to Jerusalem

40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people,”

says your 1  God.

40:2 “Speak kindly to 2  Jerusalem, 3  and tell her

that her time of warfare is over, 4 

that her punishment is completed. 5 

For the Lord has made her pay double 6  for all her sins.”

40:3 A voice cries out,

“In the wilderness clear a way for the Lord;

construct in the desert a road for our God.

40:4 Every valley must be elevated,

and every mountain and hill leveled.

The rough terrain will become a level plain,

the rugged landscape a wide valley.

40:5 The splendor 7  of the Lord will be revealed,

and all people 8  will see it at the same time.

For 9  the Lord has decreed it.” 10 

40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!”

Another asks, 11  “What should I cry out?”

The first voice responds: 12  “All people are like grass, 13 

and all their promises 14  are like the flowers in the field.

40:7 The grass dries up,

the flowers wither,

when the wind sent by the Lord 15  blows on them.

Surely humanity 16  is like grass.

40:8 The grass dries up,

the flowers wither,

but the decree of our God is forever reliable.” 17 

40:9 Go up on a high mountain, O herald Zion!

Shout out loudly, O herald Jerusalem! 18 

Shout, don’t be afraid!

Say to the towns of Judah,

“Here is your God!”

40:10 Look, the sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior; 19 

his military power establishes his rule. 20 

Look, his reward is with him;

his prize goes before him. 21 

40:11 Like a shepherd he tends his flock;

he gathers up the lambs with his arm;

he carries them close to his heart; 22 

he leads the ewes along.

The Lord is Incomparable

40:12 Who has measured out the waters 23  in the hollow of his hand,

or carefully 24  measured the sky, 25 

or carefully weighed 26  the soil of the earth,

or weighed the mountains in a balance,

or the hills on scales? 27 

40:13 Who comprehends 28  the mind 29  of the Lord,

or gives him instruction as his counselor? 30 

40:14 From whom does he receive directions? 31 

Who 32  teaches him the correct way to do things, 33 

or imparts knowledge to him,

or instructs him in skillful design? 34 

40:15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;

they are regarded as dust on the scales.

He lifts 35  the coastlands 36  as if they were dust.

40:16 Not even Lebanon could supply enough firewood for a sacrifice; 37 

its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings. 38 

40:17 All the nations are insignificant before him;

they are regarded as absolutely nothing. 39 

40:18 To whom can you compare God?

To what image can you liken him?

40:19 A craftsman casts 40  an idol;

a metalsmith overlays it with gold

and forges silver chains for it.

40:20 To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; 41 

he then seeks a skilled craftsman

to make 42  an idol that will not fall over.

40:21 Do you not know?

Do you not hear?

Has it not been told to you since the very beginning?

Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?

40:22 He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; 43 

its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 44 

He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 45 

and spreads it out 46  like a pitched tent. 47 

40:23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;

he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.

40:24 Indeed, they are barely planted;

yes, they are barely sown;

yes, they barely take root in the earth,

and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up,

and the wind carries them away like straw.

40:25 “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?”

says the Holy One. 48 

40:26 Look up at the sky! 49 

Who created all these heavenly lights? 50 

He is the one who leads out their ranks; 51 

he calls them all by name.

Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,

not one of them is missing.

40:27 Why do you say, Jacob,

Why do you say, Israel,

“The Lord is not aware of what is happening to me, 52 

My God is not concerned with my vindication”? 53 

40:28 Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is an eternal God,

the creator of the whole earth. 54 

He does not get tired or weary;

there is no limit to his wisdom. 55 

40:29 He gives strength to those who are tired;

to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.

40:30 Even youths get tired and weary;

even strong young men clumsily stumble. 56 

40:31 But those who wait for the Lord’s help 57  find renewed strength;

they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, 58 

they run without growing weary,

they walk without getting tired.

The Lord Challenges the Nations

41:1 “Listen to me in silence, you coastlands! 59 

Let the nations find renewed strength!

Let them approach and then speak;

let us come together for debate! 60 

41:2 Who stirs up this one from the east? 61 

Who 62  officially commissions him for service? 63 

He hands nations over to him, 64 

and enables him to subdue 65  kings.

He makes them like dust with his sword,

like windblown straw with his bow. 66 

41:3 He pursues them and passes by unharmed; 67 

he advances with great speed. 68 

41:4 Who acts and carries out decrees? 69 

Who 70  summons the successive generations from the beginning?

I, the Lord, am present at the very beginning,

and at the very end – I am the one. 71 

41:5 The coastlands 72  see and are afraid;

the whole earth 73  trembles;

they approach and come.

41:6 They help one another; 74 

one says to the other, ‘Be strong!’

41:7 The craftsman encourages the metalsmith,

the one who wields the hammer encourages 75  the one who pounds on the anvil.

He approves the quality of the welding, 76 

and nails it down so it won’t fall over.”

The Lord Encourages His People

41:8 “You, my servant Israel,

Jacob whom I have chosen,

offspring of Abraham my friend, 77 

41:9 you whom I am bringing back 78  from the earth’s extremities,

and have summoned from the remote regions –

I told you, “You are my servant.”

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!

Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! 79 

I strengthen you –

yes, I help you –

yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! 80 

41:11 Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated;

your adversaries 81  will be reduced to nothing 82  and perish.

41:12 When you will look for your opponents, 83  you will not find them;

your enemies 84  will be reduced to absolutely nothing.

41:13 For I am the Lord your God,

the one who takes hold of your right hand,

who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’

41:14 Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob, 85 

men of 86  Israel.

I am helping you,” says the Lord,

your protector, 87  the Holy One of Israel. 88 

41:15 “Look, I am making you like 89  a sharp threshing sledge,

new and double-edged. 90 

You will thresh the mountains and crush them;

you will make the hills like straw. 91 

41:16 You will winnow them and the wind will blow them away;

the wind will scatter them.

You will rejoice in the Lord;

you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.

41:17 The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none;

their tongues are parched from thirst.

I, the Lord, will respond to their prayers; 92 

I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

41:18 I will make streams flow down the slopes

and produce springs in the middle of the valleys.

I will turn the desert into a pool of water

and the arid land into springs.

41:19 I will make cedars, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees grow in the wilderness;

I will make evergreens, firs, and cypresses grow together in the desert.

41:20 I will do this so 93  people 94  will observe and recognize,

so they will pay attention and understand

that the Lord’s power 95  has accomplished this,

and that the Holy One of Israel has brought it into being.” 96 

The Lord Challenges the Pagan Gods

41:21 “Present your argument,” says the Lord.

“Produce your evidence,” 97  says Jacob’s king. 98 

41:22 “Let them produce evidence! Let them tell us what will happen!

Tell us about your earlier predictive oracles, 99 

so we may examine them 100  and see how they were fulfilled. 101 

Or decree for us some future events!

41:23 Predict how future events will turn out, 102 

so we might know you are gods.

Yes, do something good or bad,

so we might be frightened and in awe. 103 

41:24 Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent;

the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting. 104 

41:25 I have stirred up one out of the north 105  and he advances,

one from the eastern horizon who prays in my name. 106 

He steps on 107  rulers as if they were clay,

like a potter treading the clay.

41:26 Who decreed this from the beginning, so we could know?

Who announced it 108  ahead of time, so we could say, ‘He’s correct’?

Indeed, none of them decreed it!

Indeed, none of them announced it!

Indeed, no one heard you say anything!

41:27 I first decreed to Zion, ‘Look, here’s what will happen!’ 109 

I sent a herald to Jerusalem. 110 

41:28 I look, but there is no one,

among them there is no one who serves as an adviser,

that I might ask questions and receive answers.

41:29 Look, all of them are nothing, 111 

their accomplishments are nonexistent;

their metal images lack any real substance. 112 

The Lord Commissions His Special Servant

42:1 113 “Here is my servant whom I support,

my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.

I have placed my spirit on him;

he will make just decrees 114  for the nations. 115 

42:2 He will not cry out or shout;

he will not publicize himself in the streets. 116 

42:3 A crushed reed he will not break,

a dim wick he will not extinguish; 117 

he will faithfully make just decrees. 118 

42:4 He will not grow dim or be crushed 119 

before establishing justice on the earth;

the coastlands 120  will wait in anticipation for his decrees.” 121 

42:5 This is what the true God, 122  the Lord, says –

the one who created the sky and stretched it out,

the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, 123 

the one who gives breath to the people on it,

and life to those who live on it: 124 

42:6 “I, the Lord, officially commission you; 125 

I take hold of your hand.

I protect you 126  and make you a covenant mediator for people, 127 

and a light 128  to the nations, 129 

42:7 to open blind eyes, 130 

to release prisoners 131  from dungeons,

those who live in darkness from prisons.

The Lord Intervenes

42:8 I am the Lord! That is my name!

I will not share my glory with anyone else,

or the praise due me with idols.

42:9 Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; 132 

now I announce new events.

Before they begin to occur,

I reveal them to you.” 133 

42:10 Sing to the Lord a brand new song!

Praise him 134  from the horizon of the earth,

you who go down to the sea, and everything that lives in it, 135 

you coastlands 136  and those who live there!

42:11 Let the desert and its cities shout out,

the towns where the nomads of Kedar live!

Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully;

let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.

42:12 Let them give the Lord the honor he deserves; 137 

let them praise his deeds in the coastlands. 138 

42:13 The Lord emerges like a hero,

like a warrior he inspires himself for battle; 139 

he shouts, yes, he yells,

he shows his enemies his power. 140 

42:14 “I have been inactive 141  for a long time;

I kept quiet and held back.

Like a woman in labor I groan;

I pant and gasp. 142 

42:15 I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up; 143 

I will dry up all their vegetation.

I will turn streams into islands, 144 

and dry up pools of water. 145 

42:16 I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; 146 

I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. 147 

I will turn the darkness in front of them into light,

and level out the rough ground. 148 

This is what I will do for them.

I will not abandon them.

42:17 Those who trust in idols

will turn back and be utterly humiliated, 149 

those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’”

The Lord Reasons with His People

42:18 “Listen, you deaf ones!

Take notice, 150  you blind ones!

42:19 My servant is truly blind,

my messenger is truly deaf.

My covenant partner, 151  the servant of the Lord, is truly blind. 152 

42:20 You see 153  many things, but don’t comprehend; 154 

their ears are open, but do not hear.”

42:21 The Lord wanted to exhibit his justice

by magnifying his law and displaying it. 155 

42:22 But these people are looted and plundered;

all of them are trapped in pits 156 

and held captive 157  in prisons.

They were carried away as loot with no one to rescue them;

they were carried away as plunder, and no one says, “Bring that back!” 158 

42:23 Who among you will pay attention to this?

Who will listen attentively in the future? 159 

42:24 Who handed Jacob over to the robber?

Who handed Israel over to the looters? 160 

Was it not the Lord, against whom we sinned?

They refused to follow his commands;

they disobeyed his law. 161 

42:25 So he poured out his fierce anger on them,

along with the devastation 162  of war.

Its flames encircled them, but they did not realize it; 163 

it burned against them, but they did notice. 164 

1 tn The pronominal suffix is second masculine plural. The identity of the addressee is uncertain: (1) God’s people may be addressed, or (2) the unidentified heralds commanded to comfort Jerusalem.

2 tn Heb “speak to the heart of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is personified as a woman.

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

4 tn Heb “that she is filled [with] her warfare.” Some understand צָבָא (tsavah, “warfare”) as meaning “hard service” or “compulsory labor” in this context.

5 tn Heb “that her punishment is accepted [as satisfactory].”

6 tn Heb “for she has received from the hand of the Lord double.” The principle of the double portion in punishment is also seen in Jer 16:18; 17:18 and Rev 18:6. For examples of the double portion in Israelite law, see Exod 22:4, 7, 9 (double restitution by a thief) and Deut 21:17 (double inheritance portion for the firstborn).

7 tn Or “glory.” The Lord’s “glory” is his theophanic radiance and royal splendor (see Isa 6:3; 24:23; 35:2; 60:1; 66:18-19).

8 tn Heb “flesh” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); NAB, NIV “mankind”; TEV “the whole human race.”

9 tn Or “indeed.”

10 tn Heb “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

11 tn Heb “and he says.” Apparently a second “voice” responds to the command of the first “voice.”

12 tn The words “the first voice responds” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first voice tells the second one what to declare.

13 tn Heb “all flesh is grass.” The point of the metaphor is explained in v. 7.

14 tn Heb “and all his loyalty.” The antecedent of the third masculine suffix is בָּשָׂר (basar, “flesh”), which refers collectively to mankind. The LXX, apparently understanding the antecedent as “grass,” reads “glory,” but חֶסֶד (khesed) rarely, if ever, has this nuance. The normal meaning of חֶסֶד (“faithfulness, loyalty, devotion”) fits very well in the argument. Human beings and their faithfulness (verbal expressions of faithfulness are specifically in view; cf. NRSV “constancy”) are short-lived and unreliable, in stark contrast to the decrees and promises of the eternal God.

15 tn The Hebrew text has רוּחַ יְהוָה (ruakh yehvah), which in this context probably does not refer to the Lord’s personal Spirit. The phrase is better translated “the breath of the Lord,” or “the wind of [i.e., sent by] the Lord.” The Lord’s sovereign control over nature, including the hot desert winds that dry up vegetation, is in view here (cf. Ps 147:18; Isa 59:19).

16 tn Heb “the people” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

17 tn Heb “but the word of our God stands forever.” In this context the divine “word” specifically refers to his decreed promise assuring Jerusalem that her suffering is over and his glorious return imminent (vv. 1-5).

18 tn The second feminine singular imperatives are addressed to personified Zion/Jerusalem, who is here told to ascend a high hill and proclaim the good news of the Lord’s return to the other towns of Judah. Isa 41:27 and 52:7 speak of a herald sent to Zion, but the masculine singular form מְבַשֵּׂר (mÿvaser) is used in these verses, in contrast to the feminine singular form מְבַשֶּׂרֶת (mÿvaseret) employed in 40:9, where Zion is addressed as a herald.

19 tn Heb “comes as a strong one”; ASV “will come as a mighty one.” The preposition בְּ (bet) here carries the nuance “in the capacity of.” It indicates that the Lord possesses the quality expressed by the noun. See GKC 379 §119.i and HALOT 104 s.v. בְּ.

20 tn Heb “his arm rules for him” (so NIV, NRSV). The Lord’s “arm” symbolizes his military power (see Isa 51:9-10; 63:5).

21 tn As the Lord returns to Jerusalem as a victorious warrior, he brings with him the spoils of victory, called here his “reward” and “prize.” These terms might also be translated “wages” and “recompense.” Verse 11 indicates that his rescued people, likened to a flock of sheep, are his reward.

22 tn Heb “in his bosom” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV), an expression which reflects closeness and protective care.

23 tn The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has מי ים (“waters of the sea”), a reading followed by NAB.

24 tn Heb “with a span.” A “span” was the distance between the ends of the thumb and the little finger of the spread hand” (BDB 285 s.v. זֶרֶת).

25 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

26 tn Heb “or weighed by a third part [of a measure].”

27 sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions of v. 12 is “no one but the Lord. The Lord, and no other, created the world. Like a merchant weighing out silver or commodities on a scale, the Lord established the various components of the physical universe in precise proportions.

28 tn Perhaps the verb is used metonymically here in the sense of “advises” (note the following line).

29 tn In this context רוּחַ (ruakh) likely refers to the Lord’s “mind,” or mental faculties, rather than his personal Spirit (see BDB 925 s.v.).

30 tn Heb “or [as] the man of his counsel causes him to know?”

31 tn Heb “With whom did he consult, so that he gave discernment to him?”

32 tn Heb “and taught him.” The vav (ו) consecutive with prefixed verbal form continues the previous line. The translation employs an interrogative pronoun for stylistic reasons.

33 tn The phrase אֹרַח מִשְׁפָּט (’orakh mishpat) could be translated “path of justice” (so NASB, NRSV), but in this context, where creative ability and skill is in view, the phrase is better understood in the sense of “the way that is proper or fitting” (see BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 6); cf. NIV, NCV “the right way.”

34 tn Heb “or the way of understanding causes him to know?”

sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions in vv. 13-14 is, “No one.” In contrast to Marduk, the creator-god of Mesopotamian myths who receives help from the god of wisdom, the Lord neither needs nor receives any such advice or help. See R. Whybray, Heavenly Counsellor (SOTSMS), 64-77.

35 tn Or “weighs” (NIV); NLT “picks up.”

36 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV, NLT).

37 tn The words “for a sacrifice” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

38 sn The point is that not even the Lebanon forest could supply enough wood and animals for an adequate sacrifice to the Lord.

39 tn Heb “[as derived] from nothing and unformed.”

40 tn Heb “pours out”; KJV “melteth.”

41 tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamsukan tÿrumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (’ets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.

42 tn Or “set up” (ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NASB “to prepare.”

43 tn Heb “the circle of the earth” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

44 tn The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

45 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).

46 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.

47 tn Heb “like a tent [in which] to live”; NAB, NASB “like a tent to dwell (live NIV, NRSV) in.”

48 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

49 tn Heb “Lift on high your eyes and see.”

50 tn The words “heavenly lights” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the following lines.

51 tn Heb “the one who brings out by number their host.” The stars are here likened to a huge army that the Lord leads out. Perhaps the next line pictures God calling roll. If so, the final line may be indicating that none of them dares “go AWOL.” (“AWOL” is a military acronym for “absent without leave.”)

52 tn Heb “my way is hidden from the Lord” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

53 tn Heb “and from my God my justice passes away”; NRSV “my right is disregarded by my God.”

54 tn Heb “the ends of the earth,” but this is a merism, where the earth’s extremities stand for its entirety, i.e., the extremities and everything in between them.

55 sn Exiled Israel’s complaint (v. 27) implies that God might be limited in some way. Perhaps he, like so many of the pagan gods, has died. Or perhaps his jurisdiction is limited to Judah and does not include Babylon. Maybe he is unable to devise an adequate plan to rescue his people, or is unable to execute it. But v. 28 affirms that he is not limited temporally or spatially nor is his power and wisdom restricted in any way. He can and will deliver his people, if they respond in hopeful faith (v. 31a).

56 tn Heb “stumbling they stumble.” The verbal idea is emphasized by the infinitive absolute.

57 tn The words “for the Lord’s help” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

58 tn Heb “they rise up [on] wings like eagles” (TEV similar).

59 tn Or “islands” (KJV, NIV, CEV); TEV “distant lands”; NLT “lands beyond the sea.”

60 tn The Hebrew term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) could be translated “judgment,” but here it seems to refer to the dispute or debate between the Lord and the nations.

61 sn The expression this one from the east refers to the Persian conqueror Cyrus, as later texts indicate (see 44:28-45:6; 46:11; 48:14-16).

62 tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis.

63 tn Heb “[in] righteousness called him to his foot.”

64 tn Heb “he [the Lord] places before him [Cyrus] nations.”

65 tn The verb יַרְדְּ (yardÿ) is an otherwise unattested Hiphil form from רָדָה (radah, “rule”). But the Hiphil makes no sense with “kings” as object; one must understand an ellipsis and supply “him” (Cyrus) as the object. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has יוֹרִד (yorid), which appears to be a Hiphil form from יָרַד (yarad, “go down”). Others suggest reading יָרֹד (yarod), a Qal form from רָדַד (radad, “beat down”).

66 sn The point is that they are powerless before Cyrus’ military power and scatter before him.

67 tn Heb “[in] peace”; KJV, ASV “safely”; NASB “in safety”; NIV “unscathed.”

68 tn Heb “a way with his feet he does not come [or “enter”].” One could translate, “by a way he was not [previously] entering with his feet.” This would mean that he is advancing into new territory and expanding his conquests. The present translation assumes this is a hyperbolic description to his speedy advance. He moves so quickly he does not enter the way with his feet, i.e., his feet don’t even touch the ground. See C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 94.

69 tn Heb “Who acts and accomplishes?”; NASB “Who has performed and accomplished it.”

70 tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

71 tn Heb “I, the Lord, [am with] the first, and with the last ones I [am] he.”

72 tn Or “islands” (NIV, CEV); NCV “faraway places”; NLT “lands beyond the sea.”

73 tn Heb “the ends of the earth,” but this is a merism, where the earth’s extremities stand for its entirety, i.e., the extremities and everything in between them.

74 tn Heb “each his neighbor helps”; NCV “The workers help each other.”

75 tn The verb “encourages” is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

76 tn Heb “saying of the welding, ‘It is good.’”

77 tn Or perhaps, “covenantal partner” (see 1 Kgs 5:15 HT [5:1 ET]; 2 Chr 20:7).

78 tn Heb “whom I have taken hold of [i.e., to lead back].”

79 tn According to BDB (1043 s.v. שָׁעָה), the verb תִּשְׁתָּע (tishta’) in the second line of the poetic couplet is a Hitpael form from the root שָׁעָה (shaah, “gaze,” with metathesis of the stem prefix and the first root letter). Taking the Hitpael as iterative, one may then translate “do not anxiously look about.” However, the alleged Hitpael form of שָׁעָה (shaah) only occurs here and in verse 23. HALOT 1671 s.v. שׁתע proposes that the verb is instead a Qal form from the root שׁתע (“fear”) which is attested in cognate Semitic languages, including Ugaritic (discovered after the publishing of BDB), suggests the existence of this root. The poetic structure of v. 10 also supports the proposal, for the form in question is in synonymous parallelism to יָרֵא (yare’, “fear”).

80 tn The “right hand” is a symbol of the Lord’s power to deliver (Exod 15:6, 12) and protect (Ps 63:9 HT [63:8 ET]). Here צֶדֶק (tsedeq) has its well-attested nuance of “vindicated righteousness,” i.e., “victory, deliverance” (see 45:8; 51:5, and BDB 841-42 s.v.).

81 tn Heb “the men of your strife”; NASB “those who contend with you.”

82 tn Heb “like nothing”; NAB “come to nought.”

83 tn Heb “the men of your struggle”; NASB “those who quarrel with you.”

84 tn Heb “the men of your battle”; NAB “who do battle with you.”

85 tn Heb “O worm Jacob” (NAB, NIV). The worm metaphor suggests that Jacob is insignificant and despised.

86 tn On the basis of the parallelism (note “worm”) and an alleged Akkadian cognate, some read “louse” or “weevil.” Cf. NAB “O maggot Israel”; NRSV “you insect Israel.”

87 tn Heb “your kinsman redeemer.” A גָּאַל (gaal, “kinsman redeemer”) was a protector of the extended family’s interests.

88 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

89 tn Heb “into” (so NIV); ASV “have made thee to be.”

90 tn Heb “owner of two-mouths,” i.e., double-edged.

91 sn The mountains and hills symbolize hostile nations that are obstacles to Israel’s restoration.

92 tn Heb “will answer them” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

93 tn The words “I will do this” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text has here simply, “in order that.”

94 tn Heb “they”; NAB, NRSV “that all may see”; CEV, NLT “Everyone will see.”

95 tn Heb “hand” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

96 tn Or “created it” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “has made it happen.”

97 tn Heb “strong [words],” see HALOT 870 s.v. *עֲצֻמוֹת.

98 sn Apparently this challenge is addressed to the pagan idol gods, see vv. 23-24.

99 tn Heb “As for the former things, tell us what they are!”

100 tn Heb “so we might set [them to] our heart.”

101 tn Heb “and might know their outcome.”

102 tn Heb “Declare the coming things, with respect to the end.”

103 tc The translation assumes the Qere (וְנִרְאֶה [vÿnireh], from יָרֵא [yare’], “be afraid”).

tn Heb “so we might be frightened and afraid together.” On the meaning of the verb שָׁתָע (shata’), see the note at v. 10.

104 tn Heb “an object of disgust [is he who] chooses you.”

105 sn That is, Cyrus the Persian. See the note at v. 2.

106 tn Heb “[one] from the rising of the sun [who] calls in my name.”

107 tn The Hebrew text has וְיָבֹא (vÿyavo’, “and he comes”), but this is likely a corruption of an original וַיָּבָס (vayyavas), from בּוּס (bus, “step on”).

108 tn The words “who announced it” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The interrogative particle and verb are understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line).

109 tn The Hebrew text reads simply, “First to Zion, ‘Look here they are!’” The words “I decreed” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

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

111 tc The Hebrew text has אָוֶן (’aven, “deception,” i.e., “false”), but the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has אין (“nothing”), which forms a better parallel with אֶפֶס (’efes, “nothing”) in the next line. See also 40:17 and 41:12.

112 tn Heb “their statues are wind and nothing”; NASB “wind and emptiness”; NIV “wind and confusion.”

113 sn Verses 1-7 contain the first of Isaiah’s “servant songs,” which describe the ministry of a special, ideal servant who accomplishes God’s purposes for Israel and the nations. This song depicts the servant as a just king who brings justice to the earth and relief for the oppressed. The other songs appear in 49:1-13; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12.

114 tn Heb “he will bring out justice” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV).

115 sn Like the ideal king portrayed in Isa 11:1-9, the servant is energized by the divine spirit and establishes justice on the earth.

116 tn Heb “he will not cause his voice to be heard in the street.”

117 sn The “crushed reed” and “dim wick” symbolize the weak and oppressed who are on the verge of extinction.

118 tn Heb “faithfully he will bring out justice” (cf. NASB, NRSV).

119 tn For rhetorical effect the terms used to describe the “crushed (רָצַץ, ratsats) reed” and “dim (כָּהָה, kahah) wick” in v. 3 are repeated here.

120 tn Or “islands” (NIV); NLT “distant lands beyond the sea.”

121 tn Or “his law” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV) or “his instruction” (NLT).

122 tn Heb “the God.” The definite article here indicates distinctiveness or uniqueness.

123 tn Heb “and its offspring” (so NASB); NIV “all that comes out of it.”

124 tn Heb “and spirit [i.e., “breath”] to the ones walking in it” (NAB, NASB, and NRSV all similar).

125 tn Heb “call you in righteousness.” The pronoun “you” is masculine singular, referring to the servant. See the note at 41:2.

126 tn The translation assumes the verb is derived from the root נָצַר (natsar, “protect”). Some prefer to derive it from the root יָצַר (yatsar, “form”).

127 tn Heb “a covenant of people.” A person cannot literally be a covenant; בְּרִית (bÿrit) is probably metonymic here, indicating a covenant mediator. The precise identity of עָם (’am, “people”) is uncertain. In v. 5 עָם refers to mankind, and the following reference to “nations” also favors this. But in 49:8, where the phrase בְּרִית עָם occurs again, Israel seems to be in view.

128 sn Light here symbolizes deliverance from bondage and oppression; note the parallelism in 49:6b and in 51:4-6.

129 tn Or “the Gentiles” (so KJV, ASV, NIV); the same Hebrew word can be translated “nations” or “Gentiles” depending on the context.

130 sn This does not refer to literal physical healing of the blind. As the next two lines suggest, this refers metonymically to freeing captives from their dark prisons where their eyes have grown unaccustomed to light.

131 sn This does not refer to hardened, dangerous criminals, who would have been executed for their crimes in ancient Near Eastern society. This verse refers to political prisoners or victims of social injustice.

132 tn Heb “the former things, look, they have come.”

133 tn Heb “before they sprout up, I cause you to hear.” The pronoun “you” is plural, referring to the people of Israel. In this verse “the former things” are the Lord’s earlier predictive oracles which have come to pass, while “the new things” are predicted events that have not yet begun to take place. “The former things” are earlier events in Israel’s history which God announced beforehand, such as the Exodus (see 43:16-18). “The new things” are the predictions about the servant (42:1-7). and may also include Cyrus’ conquests (41:25-27).

134 tn Heb “his praise.” The phrase stands parallel to “new song” in the previous line.

135 tn Heb “and its fullness”; NASB, NIV “and all that is in it.”

136 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV); NLT “distant coastlands.”

137 tn Heb “Let them ascribe to the Lord glory.”

138 tn Heb “and his praise in the coastlands [or “islands”] let them declare.”

139 tn Heb “like a man of war he stirs up zeal” (NIV similar).

140 tn Or perhaps, “he triumphs over his enemies” (cf. NIV); NLT “will crush all his enemies.”

141 tn Heb “silent” (so NASB, NIV, TEV, NLT); CEV “have held my temper.”

142 sn The imagery depicts the Lord as a warrior who is eager to fight and can no longer hold himself back from the attack.

143 tn Heb “I will dry up the mountains and hills.” The “mountains and hills” stand by synecdoche for the trees that grow on them. Some prefer to derive the verb from a homonymic root and translate, “I will lay waste.”

144 tc The Hebrew text reads, “I will turn streams into coastlands [or “islands”].” Scholars who believe that this reading makes little sense have proposed an emendation of אִיִּים (’iyyim, “islands”) to צִיּוֹת (tsiyyot, “dry places”; cf. NCV, NLT, TEV). However, since all the versions support the MT reading, there is insufficient grounds for an emendation here. Although the imagery of changing rivers into islands is somewhat strange, J. N. Oswalt describes this imagery against the backdrop of rivers of the Near East. The receding of these rivers at times occasioned the appearance of previously submerged islands (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:126).

145 sn The imagery of this verse, which depicts the Lord bringing a curse of infertility to the earth, metaphorically describes how the Lord will destroy his enemies.

146 tn Heb “a way they do not know” (so NASB); NRSV “a road they do not know.”

147 tn Heb “in paths they do not know I will make them walk.”

148 tn Heb “and the rough ground into a level place.”

149 tn Heb “be ashamed with shame”; ASV, NASB “be utterly put to shame.”

150 tn Heb “look to see”; NAB, NCV “look and see”; NRSV “look up and see.”

151 tc The precise meaning of מְשֻׁלָּם (mÿshullam) in this context is uncertain. In later biblical Hebrew the form (which appears to be a Pual participle from the root שָׁלַם, shalam) occurs as a proper name, Meshullam. The Pual of שָׁלַם (“be complete”) is attested with the meaning “repaid, requited,” but that makes little sense here. BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלַם relates the form to the denominative verb שָׁלַם (“be at peace”) and paraphrases “one in a covenant of peace” (J. N. Oswalt suggests “the covenanted one”; Isaiah [NICOT], 2:128, n. 59) Some emend the form to מֹשְׁלָם (moshÿlam, “their ruler”) or to מְשֻׁלָּחִי (mÿshullakhi, “my sent [or “commissioned”] one”), which fits nicely in the parallelism (note “my messenger” in the previous line). The translation above assumes an emendation to כְּמוֹ שֹׁלְמִי (kÿmo sholÿmi, “like my ally”). Isaiah uses כְּמוֹ in 30:22 and perhaps 51:5; for שֹׁלְמי (“my ally”) see Ps 7:5 HT (7:4 ET).

152 tn Heb “Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like my messenger I send? Who is blind like my commissioned one, blind like the servant of the Lord?” The point of the rhetorical questions is that no one is as blind/deaf as this servant. In this context the Lord’s “servant” is exiled Israel (cf. 41:8-9), which is spiritually blind and deaf and has failed to fulfill God’s purpose for it. This servant stands in contrast to the ideal “Israel” of the servant songs.

153 tn The consonantal text (Kethib) has a perfect, 2nd person masculine singular; the marginal reading (Qere) has an infinitive absolute, which functions here as a finite verb.

154 tn Heb “but you do not guard [i.e., retain in your memory]”; NIV “but have paid no attention.”

155 tn Heb “The Lord was pleased for the sake of his righteousness [or “justice”], he was magnifying [the] law and was making [it] glorious.” The Lord contrasts his good intentions for the people with their present crisis (v. 22). To demonstrate his just character and attract the nations, the Lord wanted to showcase his law among and through Israel (Deut 4:5-8). But Israel disobeyed (v. 24) and failed to carry out their commission.

156 tc The Hebrew text has בַּחוּרִים (bakhurim, “young men”), but the text should be emended to בְּהוֹרִים (bÿhorim, “in holes”).

157 tn Heb “and made to be hidden”; NAB, NASB, NIV, TEV “hidden away in prisons.”

158 tn Heb “they became loot and there was no one rescuing, plunder and there was no one saying, ‘Bring back’.”

159 tn The interrogative particle is understood in the second line by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

160 tn Heb “Who gave to the robber Jacob, and Israel to the looters?” In the first line the consonantal text (Kethib) has מְשׁוֹסֶה (mÿshoseh), a Polel participle from שָׁסָה (shasah, “plunder”). The marginal reading (Qere) is מְשִׁיסָּה (mÿshissah), a noun meaning “plunder.” In this case one could translate “Who handed Jacob over as plunder?”

161 tn Heb “they were not willing in his ways to walk, and they did not listen to his law.”

162 tn Heb “strength” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “fury”; NASB “fierceness”; NIV “violence.”

163 tn Heb “and it blazed against him all around, but he did not know.” The subject of the third feminine singular verb “blazed” is the divine חֵמָה (khemah, “anger”) mentioned in the previous line.

164 tn Heb “and it burned against him, but he did not set [it] upon [the] heart.”



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