their Holy One 5 will become a flame;
it will burn and consume the Assyrian king’s 6 briers
and his thorns in one day.
10:18 The splendor of his forest and his orchard
will be completely destroyed, 7
as when a sick man’s life ebbs away. 8
10:19 There will be so few trees left in his forest,
a child will be able to count them. 9
10:33 Look, the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies,
is ready to cut off the branches with terrifying power. 10
The tallest trees 11 will be cut down,
the loftiest ones will be brought low.
10:34 The thickets of the forest will be chopped down with an ax,
and mighty Lebanon will fall. 12
2 tn Heb “will send leanness against his healthy ones”; NASB, NIV “will send a wasting disease.”
3 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 kiqod ’esh) 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.”
4 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 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.
8 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”).
9 tn Heb “and the rest of the trees of his forest will be counted, and a child will record them.”
10 tc The Hebrew text reads “with terrifying power,” or “with a crash.” מַעֲרָצָה (ma’aratsah, “terrifying power” or “crash”) occurs only here. Several have suggested an emendation to מַעֲצָד (ma’atsad, “ax”) parallel to “ax” in v. 34; see HALOT 615 s.v. מַעֲצָד and H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:448.
11 tn Heb “the exalted of the height.” This could refer to the highest branches (cf. TEV) or the tallest trees (cf. NIV, NRSV).
12 tn The Hebrew text has, “and Lebanon, by/as [?] a mighty one, will fall.” The translation above takes the preposition בְּ (bet) prefixed to “mighty one” as indicating identity, “Lebanon, as a mighty one, will fall.” In this case “mighty one” describes Lebanon. (In Ezek 17:23 and Zech 11:2 the adjective is used of Lebanon’s cedars.) Another option is to take the preposition as indicating agency and interpret “mighty one” as a divine title (see Isa 33:21). One could then translate, “and Lebanon will fall by [the agency of] the Mighty One.”