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Isaiah 10:14-19

Context

10:14 My hand discovered the wealth of the nations, as if it were in a nest,

as one gathers up abandoned eggs,

I gathered up the whole earth.

There was no wing flapping,

or open mouth chirping.” 1 

10:15 Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it,

or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it? 2 

As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it,

or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!

10:16 For this reason 3  the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, will make his healthy ones emaciated. 4  His majestic glory will go up in smoke. 5 

10:17 The light of Israel 6  will become a fire,

their Holy One 7  will become a flame;

it will burn and consume the Assyrian king’s 8  briers

and his thorns in one day.

10:18 The splendor of his forest and his orchard

will be completely destroyed, 9 

as when a sick man’s life ebbs away. 10 

10:19 There will be so few trees left in his forest,

a child will be able to count them. 11 

1 sn The Assyrians’ conquests were relatively unopposed, like robbing a bird’s nest of its eggs when the mother bird is absent.

2 tn Heb “the one who pushes it back and forth”; KJV “him that shaketh it”; ASV “him that wieldeth it.”

3 sn The irrational arrogance of the Assyrians (v. 15) will prompt the judgment about to be described.

4 tn Heb “will send leanness against his healthy ones”; NASB, NIV “will send a wasting disease.”

5 tc Heb “and in the place of his glory burning will burn, like the burning of fire.” The highly repetitive text (יֵקַד יְקֹד כִּיקוֹד אֵשׁ, yeqad yiqod kiqodesh) may be dittographic; if the second consonantal sequence יקד is omitted, the text would read “and in the place of his glory, it will burn like the burning of fire.”

6 tn In this context the “Light of Israel” is a divine title (note the parallel title “his holy one”). The title points to God’s royal splendor, which overshadows and, when transformed into fire, destroys the “majestic glory” of the king of Assyria (v. 16b).

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

8 tn Heb “his.” In vv. 17-19 the Assyrian king and his empire is compared to a great forest and orchard that are destroyed by fire (symbolic of the Lord).

9 tn Heb “from breath to flesh it will destroy.” The expression “from breath to flesh” refers to the two basic components of a person, the immaterial (life’s breath) and the material (flesh). Here the phrase is used idiomatically to indicate totality.

10 tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. מָסַס (masas), which is used elsewhere of substances dissolving or melting, may here mean “waste away” or “despair.” נָסַס (nasas), which appears only here, may mean “be sick” or “stagger, despair.” See BDB 651 s.v. I נָסַס and HALOT 703 s.v. I נסס. One might translate the line literally, “like the wasting away of one who is sick” (cf. NRSV “as when an invalid wastes away”).

11 tn Heb “and the rest of the trees of his forest will be counted, and a child will record them.”



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