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Isaiah 10:24-27

Context

10:24 So 1  here is what the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, says: “My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria, even though they beat you with a club and lift their cudgel against you as Egypt did. 2  10:25 For very soon my fury 3  will subside, and my anger will be directed toward their destruction.” 10:26 The Lord who commands armies is about to beat them 4  with a whip, similar to the way he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb. 5  He will use his staff against the sea, lifting it up as he did in Egypt. 6 

10:27 At that time 7 

the Lord will remove their burden from your shoulders, 8 

and their yoke from your neck;

the yoke will be taken off because your neck will be too large. 9 

1 tn Heb “therefore.” The message that follows is one of encouragement, for it focuses on the eventual destruction of the Assyrians. Consequently “therefore” relates back to vv. 5-21, not to vv. 22-23, which must be viewed as a brief parenthesis in an otherwise positive speech.

2 tn Heb “in the way [or “manner”] of Egypt.”

3 tc The Hebrew text has simply “fury,” but the pronominal element can be assumed on the basis of what immediately follows (see “my anger” in the clause). It is possible that the suffixed yod (י) has been accidentally dropped by virtual haplography. Note that a vav (ו) is prefixed to the form that immediately follows; yod and vav are very similar in later script phases.

4 tn Heb “him” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); the singular refers to the leader or king who stands for the entire nation. This is specified by NCV, CEV as “the Assyrians.”

5 sn According to Judg 7:25, the Ephraimites executed the Midianite general Oreb at a rock which was subsequently named after the executed enemy.

6 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and his staff [will be] against the sea, and he will lift it in the way [or “manner”] of Egypt.” If the text is retained, “the sea” symbolizes Assyria’s hostility, the metaphor being introduced because of the reference to Egypt. The translation above assumes an emendation of עַל הַיָּם (’al hayyam, “against the sea”) to עַלֵיהֶם (’alehem, “against them”). The proposed shift from the third singular pronoun (note “beat him” earlier in the verse) to the plural is not problematic, for the singular is collective. Note that a third plural pronoun is used at the end of v. 25 (“their destruction”). The final phrase, “in the way/manner of Egypt,” probably refers to the way in which God used the staff of Moses to bring judgment down on Egypt.

7 tn Or “in that day” (KJV). The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

8 tn Heb “he [i.e., the Lord] will remove his [i.e, Assyria’s] burden from upon your shoulder.”

9 tc The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Hebrew text reads literally, “and the yoke will be destroyed (or perhaps, “pulled down”) because of fatness.” Perhaps this is a bizarre picture of an ox growing so fat that it breaks the yoke around its neck or can no longer fit into its yoke. Fatness would symbolize the Lord’s restored blessings; the removal of the yoke would symbolize the cessation of Assyrian oppression. Because of the difficulty of the metaphor, many prefer to emend the text at this point. Some emend וְחֻבַּל (vÿkhubbal, “and it will be destroyed,” a perfect with prefixed vav), to יִחְבֹּל (yikhbol, “[it] will be destroyed,” an imperfect), and take the verb with what precedes, “and their yoke will be destroyed from your neck.” Proponents of this view (cf. NAB, NRSV) then emend עֹל (’ol, “yoke”) to עָלָה (’alah, “he came up”) and understand this verb as introducing the following description of the Assyrian invasion (vv. 28-32). מִפְּנֵי־שָׁמֶן (mippÿney-shamen, “because of fatness”) is then emended to read “from before Rimmon” (NAB, NRSV), “from before Samaria,” or “from before Jeshimon.” Although this line may present difficulties, it appears best to regard the line as a graphic depiction of God’s abundant blessings on his servant nation.



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