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Isaiah 10:33-34

Context

10:33 Look, the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies,

is ready to cut off the branches with terrifying power. 1 

The tallest trees 2  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. 3 

1 tc The Hebrew text reads “with terrifying power,” or “with a crash.” מַעֲרָצָה (maaratsah, “terrifying power” or “crash”) occurs only here. Several have suggested an emendation to מַעֲצָד (maatsad, “ax”) parallel to “ax” in v. 34; see HALOT 615 s.v. מַעֲצָד and H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:448.

sn As in vv. 12 (see the note there) and 18, the Assyrians are compared to a tree/forest in vv. 33-34.

2 tn Heb “the exalted of the height.” This could refer to the highest branches (cf. TEV) or the tallest trees (cf. NIV, NRSV).

3 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.”



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