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Isaiah 13:1--14:32

Context
The Lord Will Judge Babylon

13:1 1 This is a message about Babylon that God revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz: 2 

13:2 3 On a bare hill raise a signal flag,

shout to them,

wave your hand,

so they might enter the gates of the princes!

13:3 I have given orders to my chosen soldiers; 4 

I have summoned the warriors through whom I will vent my anger, 5 

my boasting, arrogant ones. 6 

13:4 7 There is a loud noise on the mountains –

it sounds like a large army! 8 

There is great commotion among the kingdoms 9 

nations are being assembled!

The Lord who commands armies is mustering

forces for battle.

13:5 They come from a distant land,

from the horizon. 10 

It is the Lord with his instruments of judgment, 11 

coming to destroy the whole earth. 12 

13:6 Wail, for the Lord’s day of judgment 13  is near;

it comes with all the destructive power of the sovereign judge. 14 

13:7 For this reason all hands hang limp, 15 

every human heart loses its courage. 16 

13:8 They panic –

cramps and pain seize hold of them

like those of a woman who is straining to give birth.

They look at one another in astonishment;

their faces are flushed red. 17 

13:9 Look, the Lord’s day of judgment 18  is coming;

it is a day of cruelty and savage, raging anger, 19 

destroying 20  the earth 21 

and annihilating its sinners.

13:10 Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations

no longer give out their light; 22 

the sun is darkened as soon as it rises,

and the moon does not shine. 23 

13:11 24 I will punish the world for its evil, 25 

and wicked people for their sin.

I will put an end to the pride of the insolent,

I will bring down the arrogance of tyrants. 26 

13:12 I will make human beings more scarce than pure gold,

and people more scarce 27  than gold from Ophir.

13:13 So I will shake the heavens, 28 

and the earth will shake loose from its foundation, 29 

because of the fury of the Lord who commands armies,

in the day he vents his raging anger. 30 

13:14 Like a frightened gazelle 31 

or a sheep with no shepherd,

each will turn toward home, 32 

each will run to his homeland.

13:15 Everyone who is caught will be stabbed;

everyone who is seized 33  will die 34  by the sword.

13:16 Their children will be smashed to pieces before their very eyes;

their houses will be looted

and their wives raped.

13:17 Look, I am stirring up the Medes to attack them; 35 

they are not concerned about silver,

nor are they interested in gold. 36 

13:18 Their arrows will cut young men to ribbons; 37 

they have no compassion on a person’s offspring, 38 

they will not 39  look with pity on children.

13:19 Babylon, the most admired 40  of kingdoms,

the Chaldeans’ source of honor and pride, 41 

will be destroyed by God

just as Sodom and Gomorrah were. 42 

13:20 No one will live there again;

no one will ever reside there again. 43 

No bedouin 44  will camp 45  there,

no shepherds will rest their flocks 46  there.

13:21 Wild animals will rest there,

the ruined 47  houses will be full of hyenas. 48 

Ostriches will live there,

wild goats will skip among the ruins. 49 

13:22 Wild dogs will yip in her ruined fortresses,

jackals will yelp in the once-splendid palaces. 50 

Her time is almost up, 51 

her days will not be prolonged. 52 

14:1 The Lord will certainly have compassion on Jacob; 53  he will again choose Israel as his special people 54  and restore 55  them to their land. Resident foreigners will join them and unite with the family 56  of Jacob. 14:2 Nations will take them and bring them back to their own place. Then the family of Jacob will make foreigners their servants as they settle in the Lord’s land. 57  They will make their captors captives and rule over the ones who oppressed them. 14:3 When the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and anxiety, 58  and from the hard labor which you were made to perform, 14:4 you will taunt the king of Babylon with these words: 59 

“Look how the oppressor has met his end!

Hostility 60  has ceased!

14:5 The Lord has broken the club of the wicked,

the scepter of rulers.

14:6 It 61  furiously struck down nations

with unceasing blows. 62 

It angrily ruled over nations,

oppressing them without restraint. 63 

14:7 The whole earth rests and is quiet;

they break into song.

14:8 The evergreens also rejoice over your demise, 64 

as do the cedars of Lebanon, singing, 65 

‘Since you fell asleep, 66 

no woodsman comes up to chop us down!’ 67 

14:9 Sheol 68  below is stirred up about you,

ready to meet you when you arrive.

It rouses 69  the spirits of the dead for you,

all the former leaders of the earth; 70 

it makes all the former kings of the nations

rise from their thrones. 71 

14:10 All of them respond to you, saying:

‘You too have become weak like us!

You have become just like us!

14:11 Your splendor 72  has been brought down to Sheol,

as well as the sound of your stringed instruments. 73 

You lie on a bed of maggots,

with a blanket of worms over you. 74 

14:12 Look how you have fallen from the sky,

O shining one, son of the dawn! 75 

You have been cut down to the ground,

O conqueror 76  of the nations! 77 

14:13 You said to yourself, 78 

“I will climb up to the sky.

Above the stars of El 79 

I will set up my throne.

I will rule on the mountain of assembly

on the remote slopes of Zaphon. 80 

14:14 I will climb up to the tops 81  of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High!” 82 

14:15 But you were brought down 83  to Sheol,

to the remote slopes of the pit. 84 

14:16 Those who see you stare at you,

they look at you carefully, thinking: 85 

“Is this the man who shook the earth,

the one who made kingdoms tremble?

14:17 Is this the one who made the world like a desert,

who ruined its 86  cities,

and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home?”’ 87 

14:18 88 As for all the kings of the nations,

all of them 89  lie down in splendor, 90 

each in his own tomb. 91 

14:19 But you have been thrown out of your grave

like a shoot that is thrown away. 92 

You lie among 93  the slain,

among those who have been slashed by the sword,

among those headed for 94  the stones of the pit, 95 

as if you were a mangled corpse. 96 

14:20 You will not be buried with them, 97 

because you destroyed your land

and killed your people.

The offspring of the wicked

will never be mentioned again.

14:21 Prepare to execute 98  his sons

for the sins their ancestors have committed. 99 

They must not rise up and take possession of the earth,

or fill the surface of the world with cities.” 100 

14:22 “I will rise up against them,”

says the Lord who commands armies.

“I will blot out all remembrance of Babylon and destroy all her people, 101 

including the offspring she produces,” 102 

says the Lord.

14:23 “I will turn her into a place that is overrun with wild animals 103 

and covered with pools of stagnant water.

I will get rid of her, just as one sweeps away dirt with a broom,” 104 

says the Lord who commands armies.

14:24 105 The Lord who commands armies makes this solemn vow:

“Be sure of this:

Just as I have intended, so it will be;

just as I have planned, it will happen.

14:25 I will break Assyria 106  in my land,

I will trample them 107  underfoot on my hills.

Their yoke will be removed from my people,

the burden will be lifted from their shoulders. 108 

14:26 This is the plan I have devised for the whole earth;

my hand is ready to strike all the nations.” 109 

14:27 Indeed, 110  the Lord who commands armies has a plan,

and who can possibly frustrate it?

His hand is ready to strike,

and who can possibly stop it? 111 

The Lord Will Judge the Philistines

14:28 In the year King Ahaz died, 112  this message was revealed: 113 

14:29 Don’t be so happy, all you Philistines,

just because the club that beat you has been broken! 114 

For a viper will grow out of the serpent’s root,

and its fruit will be a darting adder. 115 

14:30 The poor will graze in my pastures; 116 

the needy will rest securely.

But I will kill your root by famine;

it will put to death all your survivors. 117 

14:31 Wail, O city gate!

Cry out, O city!

Melt with fear, 118  all you Philistines!

For out of the north comes a cloud of smoke,

and there are no stragglers in its ranks. 119 

14:32 How will they respond to the messengers of this nation? 120 

Indeed, the Lord has made Zion secure;

the oppressed among his people will find safety in her.

1 sn Isa 13-23 contains a series of judgment oracles against various nations. It is likely that Israel, not the nations mentioned, actually heard these oracles. The oracles probably had a twofold purpose. For those leaders who insisted on getting embroiled in international politics, these oracles were a reminder that Judah need not fear foreign nations or seek international alliances for security reasons. For the righteous remnant within the nation, these oracles were a reminder that Israel’s God was indeed the sovereign ruler of the earth, worthy of his people’s trust.

2 tn Heb “The message [traditionally, “burden”] [about] Babylon which Isaiah son of Amoz saw.”

3 sn The Lord is speaking here (see v. 3).

4 tn Heb “my consecrated ones,” i.e., those who have been set apart by God for the special task of carrying out his judgment.

5 tn Heb “my warriors with respect to my anger.”

6 tn Heb “the boasting ones of my pride”; cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV “my proudly exulting ones.”

7 sn In vv. 4-10 the prophet appears to be speaking, since the Lord is referred to in the third person. However, since the Lord refers to himself in the third person later in this chapter (see v. 13), it is possible that he speaks throughout the chapter.

8 tn Heb “a sound, a roar [is] on the mountains, like many people.”

9 tn Heb “a sound, tumult of kingdoms.”

10 tn Heb “from the end of the sky.”

11 tn Or “anger”; cf. KJV, ASV “the weapons of his indignation.”

12 tn Or perhaps, “land” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NLT). Even though the heading and subsequent context (see v. 17) indicate Babylon’s judgment is in view, the chapter has a cosmic flavor that suggests that the coming judgment is universal in scope. Perhaps Babylon’s downfall occurs in conjunction with a wider judgment, or the cosmic style is poetic hyperbole used to emphasize the magnitude and importance of the coming event.

13 tn Heb “the day of the Lord” (so KJV, NAB).

14 tn Heb “like destruction from the sovereign judge it comes.” The comparative preposition (כְּ, kÿ) has here the rhetorical nuance, “in every way like.” The point is that the destruction unleashed will have all the earmarks of divine judgment. One could paraphrase, “it comes as only destructive divine judgment can.” On this use of the preposition in general, see GKC 376 §118.x.

sn The divine name used here is שַׁדַּי (shaddai, “Shaddai”). Shaddai (or El Shaddai) is the sovereign king/judge of the world who grants life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name is uncertain (see discussion below) its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. In Gen 17:1-8 he appears to Abram, introduces himself as El Shaddai, and announces his intention to make the patriarch fruitful. In the role of El Shaddai God repeats these words (now elevated to the status of a decree) to Jacob (35:11). Earlier Isaac had pronounced a blessing upon Jacob in which he asked El Shaddai to make Jacob fruitful (28:3). Jacob later prays that his sons will be treated with mercy when they return to Egypt with Benjamin (43:14). The fertility theme is not as apparent here, though one must remember that Jacob viewed Benjamin as the sole remaining son of the favored and once-barren Rachel (cf. 29:31; 30:22-24; 35:16-18). It is quite natural that he would appeal to El Shaddai to preserve Benjamin’s life, for it was El Shaddai’s miraculous power which made it possible for Rachel to give him sons in the first place. In 48:3 Jacob, prior to blessing Joseph’s sons, tells him how El Shaddai appeared to him at Bethel (cf. chapter 28) and promised to make him fruitful. When blessing Joseph on his deathbed Jacob refers to Shaddai (we should probably read “El Shaddai,” along with a few Hebrew mss, the Samaritan Pentateuch, LXX, and Syriac) as the one who provides abundant blessings, including “blessings of the breast and womb” (49:25). (The direct association of the name with שָׁדַיִם [shadayim, “breasts”] suggests the name might mean “the one of the breast” [i.e., the one who gives fertility], but the juxtaposition is probably better explained as wordplay. Note the wordplay involving the name and the root שָׁדַד [shadad, “destroy”] here in Isa 13:6 and in Joel 1:15.) Outside Genesis the name Shaddai (minus El, “God”) is normally used when God is viewed as the sovereign king who blesses/protects or curses/brings judgment. The name appears in the introduction to two of Balaam’s oracles (Num 24:4, 16) of blessing upon Israel. Naomi employs the name when accusing the Lord of treating her bitterly by taking the lives of her husband and sons (Ruth 1:20-21). In Ps 68:14; Isa 13:6; and Joel 1:15 Shaddai judges his enemies through warfare, while Ps 91:1 depicts him as the protector of his people. (In Ezek 1:24 and 10:5 the sound of the cherubs’ wings is compared to Shaddai’s powerful voice. The reference may be to the mighty divine warrior’s battle cry which accompanies his angry judgment.) Last but not least, the name occurs 31 times in the Book of Job. Job and his “friends” assume that Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world (11:7; 37:23a) who is the source of life (33:4b) and is responsible for maintaining justice (8:3; 34:10-12; 37:23b). He provides abundant blessings, including children (22:17-18; 29:4-6), but can also discipline, punish, and destroy (5:17; 6:4; 21:20; 23:16). It is not surprising to see the name so often in this book, where the theme of God’s justice is primary and even called into question (24:1; 27:2). The most likely proposal is that the name means “God, the one of the mountain” (an Akkadian cognate means “mountain,” to which Heb. שַׁד [shad, “breast”] is probably related). For a discussion of proposed derivations see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 70-71. The name may originally depict God as the sovereign judge who, in Canaanite style, rules from a sacred mountain. Isa 14:13 and Ezek 28:14, 16 associate such a mountain with God, while Ps 48:2 refers to Zion as “Zaphon,” the Canaanite Olympus from which the high god El ruled. (In Isa 14 the Canaanite god El may be in view. Note that Isaiah pictures pagan kings as taunting the king of Babylon, suggesting that pagan mythology may provide the background for the language and imagery.)

15 tn Heb “drop”; KJV “be faint”; ASV “be feeble”; NAB “fall helpless.”

16 tn Heb “melts” (so NAB).

17 tn Heb “their faces are faces of flames.” Their faces are flushed with fear and embarrassment.

18 tn Heb “the day of the Lord.”

19 tn Heb “[with] cruelty, and fury, and rage of anger.” Three synonyms for “anger” are piled up at the end of the line to emphasize the extraordinary degree of divine anger that will be exhibited in this judgment.

20 tn Heb “making desolate.”

21 tn Or “land” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT).

22 tn Heb “do not flash forth their light.”

23 tn Heb “does not shed forth its light.”

24 sn The Lord is definitely speaking (again?) at this point. See the note at v. 4.

25 tn Or “I will bring disaster on the world.” Hebrew רָעָה (raah) could refer to the judgment (i.e., disaster, calamity) or to the evil that prompts it. The structure of the parallel line favors the latter interpretation.

26 tn Or perhaps, “the violent”; cf. NASB, NIV “the ruthless.”

27 tn The verb is supplied in the translation from the first line. The verb in the first line (“I will make scarce”) does double duty in the parallel structure of the verse.

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

29 tn Heb “from its place” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV).

30 tn Heb “and in the day of the raging of his anger.”

31 tn Or “like a gazelle being chased.” The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

32 tn Heb “his people” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “his nation” (cf. TEV “their own countries”).

33 tn Heb “carried off,” i.e., grabbed from the fleeing crowd. See HALOT 764 s.v. ספה.

34 tn Heb “will fall” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV); NLT “will be run through with a sword.”

35 tn Heb “against them”; NLT “against Babylon.”

36 sn They cannot be bought off, for they have a lust for bloodshed.

37 tn Heb “and bows cut to bits young men.” “Bows” stands by metonymy for arrows.

38 tn Heb “the fruit of the womb.”

39 tn Heb “their eye does not.” Here “eye” is a metonymy for the whole person.

40 tn Or “most beautiful” (NCV, TEV).

41 tn Heb “the beauty of the pride of the Chaldeans.”

sn The Chaldeans were a group of tribes who lived in southern Mesopotamia. The established the so-called neo-Babylonian empire in the late seventh century b.c. Their most famous king, Nebuchadnezzar, conquered Judah in 605 b.c. and destroyed Jerusalem in 586 b.c.

42 tn Heb “and Babylon…will be like the overthrow by God of Sodom and Gomorrah.” On מַהְפֵּכַת (mahpekhat, “overthrow”) see the note on the word “destruction” in 1:7.

43 tn Heb “she will not be inhabited forever, and she will not be dwelt in to generation and generation (i.e., forever).” The Lord declares that Babylon, personified as a woman, will not be inhabited. In other words, her people will be destroyed and the Chaldean empire will come to a permanent end.

44 tn Or “Arab” (NAB, NASB, NIV); cf. CEV, NLT “nomads.”

45 tn יַהֵל (yahel) is probably a corrupted form of יֶאֱהַל (yeehal). See GKC 186 §68.k.

46 tn The words “their flocks” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text does not supply the object here, but see Jer 33:12.

47 tn The word “ruined” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

48 tn The precise referent of this word in uncertain. See HALOT 29 s.v. *אֹחַ. Various English versions translate as “owls” (e.g., NAB, NASB), “wild dogs” (NCV); “jackals” (NIV); “howling creatures” (NRSV, NLT).

49 tn Heb “will skip there.”

50 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “wild dogs will yip among his widows, and jackals in the palaces of pleasure.” The verb “yip” is supplied in the second line; it does double duty in the parallel structure. “His widows” makes little sense in this context; many emend the form (אַלְמנוֹתָיו, ’almnotayv) to the graphically similar אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ (’armÿnoteha, “her fortresses”), a reading that is assumed in the present translation. The use of “widows” may represent an intentional wordplay on “fortresses,” indicating that the fortresses are like dejected widows (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:308, n. 1).

51 tn Heb “near to come is her time.”

52 sn When was the prophecy of Babylon’s fall fulfilled? Some argue that the prophecy was fulfilled in 689 b.c. when the Assyrians under Sennacherib sacked and desecrated the city (this event is alluded to in 23:13). This may have been an initial phase in the fulfillment of the prophecy, but the reference to the involvement of the Medes (v. 17) and the suggestion that Babylon’s demise will bring about the restoration of Israel (14:1-2) indicate that the fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians in 538 b.c. is the primary focus of the prophecy. (After all, the Lord did reveal to Isaiah that the Chaldeans [not the Assyrians] would someday conquer Jerusalem and take the people into exile [see 39:5-7].) However, the vivid picture of destruction in vv. 15-22 raises a problem. The Medes and Persians did not destroy the city; in fact Cyrus’ takeover of Babylon, though preceded by a military campaign, was relatively peaceful and even welcomed by some Babylonian religious officials. How then does one explain the prophecy’s description of the city’s violent fall? As noted above, the events of 689 b.c. and 538 b.c. may have been merged in the prophecy. However, it is more likely that the language is stylized and exaggerated for rhetorical effect. See Isa 34:11-15; Jer 50:39-40 (describing Babylon’s fall in 538 b.c.); 51:36-37 (describing Babylon’s fall in 538 b.c.); Zeph 2:13-15; the extra-biblical Sefire treaty curses; and Ashurbanipal’s description of the destruction of Elam in his royal annals. In other words, the events of 538 b.c. essentially, though not necessarily literally, fulfill the prophecy.

53 tn The sentence begins with כִּי (ki), which is understood as asseverative (“certainly”) in the translation. Another option is to translate, “For the Lord will have compassion.” In this case one of the reasons for Babylon’s coming demise (13:22b) is the Lord’s desire to restore his people.

54 tn The words “as his special people” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

55 tn Or “settle” (NASB, NIV, NCV, NLT).

56 tn Heb “house.”

57 tn Heb “and the house of Jacob will take possession of them [i.e., the nations], on the land of the Lord, as male servants and female servants.”

58 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

59 tn Heb “you will lift up this taunt over the king of Babylon, saying.”

60 tc The word in the Hebrew text (מַדְהֵבָה, madhevah) is unattested elsewhere and of uncertain meaning. Many (following the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa) assume a dalet-resh (ד-ר) confusion and emend the form to מַרְהֵבָה (marhevah, “onslaught”). See HALOT 548 s.v. II *מִדָּה and HALOT 633 s.v. *מַרְהֵבָה.

61 tn Or perhaps, “he” (cf. KJV; NCV “the king of Babylon”). The present translation understands the referent of the pronoun (“it”) to be the “club/scepter” of the preceding line.

62 tn Heb “it was striking down nations in fury [with] a blow without ceasing.” The participle (“striking down”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.

63 tn Heb “it was ruling in anger nations [with] oppression without restraint.” The participle (“ruling”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.

64 tn Heb “concerning you.”

65 tn The word “singing” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Note that the personified trees speak in the second half of the verse.

66 tn Heb “lay down” (in death); cf. NAB “laid to rest.”

67 tn Heb “the [wood]cutter does not come up against us.”

68 sn Sheol is the proper name of the subterranean world which was regarded as the land of the dead.

69 tn Heb “arousing.” The form is probably a Polel infinitive absolute, rather than a third masculine singular perfect, for Sheol is grammatically feminine (note “stirred up”). See GKC 466 §145.t.

70 tn Heb “all the rams of the earth.” The animal epithet is used metaphorically here for leaders. See HALOT 903 s.v. *עַתּוּד.

71 tn Heb “lifting from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” הֵקִים (heqim, a Hiphil perfect third masculine singular) should be emended to an infinitive absolute (הָקֵים, haqem). See the note on “rouses” earlier in the verse.

72 tn Or “pride” (NCV, CEV); KJV, NIV, NRSV “pomp.”

73 tn Or “harps” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).

74 tn Heb “under you maggots are spread out, and worms are your cover.”

75 tn The Hebrew text has הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר (helel ben-shakhar, “Helel son of Shachar”), which is probably a name for the morning star (Venus) or the crescent moon. See HALOT 245 s.v. הֵילֵל.

sn What is the background for the imagery in vv. 12-15? This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon, who is clearly depicted as a human ruler. Other kings of the earth address him in vv. 9ff., he is called “the man” in v. 16, and, according to vv. 19-20, he possesses a physical body. Nevertheless the language of vv. 12-15 has led some to see a dual referent in the taunt song. These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High. Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur. Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted (see J. Martin, “Isaiah,” BKCOT, 1061).

76 tn Some understand the verb to from חָלַשׁ (khalash, “to weaken”), but HALOT 324 s.v. II חלשׁ proposes a homonym here, meaning “to defeat.”

77 sn In this line the taunting kings hint at the literal identity of the king, after likening him to the god Helel and a tree. The verb גָדַע (gada’, “cut down”) is used of chopping down trees in 9:10 and 10:33.

78 tn Heb “you, you said in your heart.”

79 sn In Canaanite mythology the stars of El were astral deities under the authority of the high god El.

80 sn Zaphon, the Canaanite version of Olympus, was the “mountain of assembly” where the gods met.

81 tn Heb “the high places.” This word often refers to the high places where pagan worship was conducted, but here it probably refers to the “backs” or tops of the clouds. See HALOT 136 s.v. בָּמָה.

82 sn Normally in the OT the title “Most High” belongs to the God of Israel, but in this context, where the mythological overtones are so strong, it probably refers to the Canaanite high god El.

83 tn The prefixed verb form is taken as a preterite. Note the use of perfects in v. 12 to describe the king’s downfall.

84 tn The Hebrew term בּוּר (bor, “cistern”) is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the place of the dead or the entrance to the underworld.

85 tn The word “thinking” is supplied in the translation in order to make it clear that the next line records their thoughts as they gaze at him.

86 tc The pronominal suffix is masculine, even though its antecedent appears to be the grammatically feminine noun “world.” Some have suggested that the form עָרָיו (’arayv, plural noun with third masculine singular suffix) should be emended to עָרֶיהָ (’areha, plural noun with third feminine singular suffix). This emendation may be unnecessary in light of other examples of lack of agreement a suffix and its antecedent noun.

87 tn Heb “and his prisoners did not let loose to [their] homes.” This really means, “he did not let loose his prisoners and send them back to their homes.’ On the elliptical style, see GKC 366 §117.o.

88 sn It is unclear where the quotation of the kings, begun in v. 10b, ends. However, the reference to the “kings of the nations” in v. 18 (see also v. 9) seems to indicate that the quotation has ended at this point and that Israel’s direct taunt (cf. vv. 4b-10a) has resumed. In fact the references to the “kings of the nations” may form a stylistic inclusio or frame around the quotation.

89 tc The phrase “all of them” does not appear in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.

90 sn This refers to the typically extravagant burial of kings.

91 tn Heb “house” (so KJV, ASV), but in this context a tomb is in view. Note the verb “lie down” in the preceding line and the reference to a “grave” in the next line.

92 tn Heb “like a shoot that is abhorred.” The simile seems a bit odd; apparently it refers to a small shoot that is trimmed from a plant and tossed away. Some prefer to emend נֵצֶר (netser, “shoot”); some propose נֵפֶל (nefel, “miscarriage”). In this case one might paraphrase: “like a horrible-looking fetus that is delivered when a woman miscarries.”

93 tn Heb “are clothed with.”

94 tn Heb “those going down to.”

95 tn בּוֹר (bor) literally means “cistern”; cisterns were constructed from stones. On the metaphorical use of “cistern” for the underworld, see the note at v. 15.

96 tn Heb “like a trampled corpse.” Some take this line with what follows.

97 tn Heb “you will not be united with them in burial” (so NASB).

98 tn Or “the place of slaughter for.”

99 tn Heb “for the sin of their fathers.”

100 sn J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:320, n. 10) suggests that the garrison cities of the mighty empire are in view here.

101 tn Heb “I will cut off from Babylon name and remnant” (ASV, NAB, and NRSV all similar).

102 tn Heb “descendant and child.”

103 tn Heb “I will make her into a possession of wild animals.” It is uncertain what type of animal קִפֹּד (qippod) refers to. Some suggest a rodent (cf. NASB, NRSV “hedgehog”), others an owl (cf, NAB, NIV, TEV).

104 tn Heb “I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction.”

105 sn Having announced the downfall of the Chaldean empire, the Lord appends to this prophecy a solemn reminder that the Assyrians, the major Mesopotamian power of Isaiah’s day, would be annihilated, foreshadowing what would subsequently happen to Babylon and the other hostile nations.

106 tn Heb “to break Assyria.”

107 tn Heb “him.” This is a collective singular referring to the nation, or a reference to the king of Assyria who by metonymy stands for the entire nation.

108 tn Heb “and his [i.e., Assyria’s] yoke will be removed from them [the people?], and his [Assyria’s] burden from his [the nation’s?] shoulder will be removed.” There are no antecedents in this oracle for the suffixes in the phrases “from them” and “from his shoulder.” Since the Lord’s land and hills are referred to in the preceding line and the statement seems to echo 10:27, it is likely that God’s people are the referents of the suffixes; the translation uses “my people” to indicate this.

109 tn Heb “and this is the hand that is outstretched over all the nations.”

110 tn Or “For” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

111 tn Heb “His hand is outstretched and who will turn it back?”

112 sn Perhaps 715 b.c., but the precise date is uncertain.

113 tn Heb “this oracle came.”

114 sn The identity of this “club” (also referred to as a “serpent” in the next line) is uncertain. It may refer to an Assyrian king, or to Ahaz. For discussion see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:331-32. The viper/adder referred to in the second half of the verse is his successor.

115 tn Heb “flying burning one.” The designation “burning one” may allude to the serpent’s appearance or the effect of its poisonous bite. (See the note at 6:2.) The qualifier “flying” probably refers to the serpent’s quick, darting movements, though one might propose a homonym here, meaning “biting.” (See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:332, n. 18.) Some might think in terms of a mythological flying, fire breathing dragon (cf. NAB “a flying saraph”; CEV “a flying fiery dragon”), but this proposal does not make good sense in 30:6, where the phrase “flying burning one” appears again in a list of desert animals.

116 tc The Hebrew text has, “the firstborn of the poor will graze.” “Firstborn” may be used here in an idiomatic sense to indicate the very poorest of the poor. See BDB 114 s.v. בְּכוֹר. The translation above assumes an emendation of בְּכוֹרֵי (bÿkhorey, “firstborn of”) to בְּכָרַי (bekharay, “in my pastures”).

117 tn Heb “your remnant” (so NAB, NRSV).

118 tn Or “despair” (see HALOT 555 s.v. מוג). The form נָמוֹג (namog) should be taken here as an infinitive absolute functioning as an imperative. See GKC 199-200 §72.v.

119 tn Heb “and there is no one going alone in his appointed places.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. בּוֹדֵד (boded) appears to be a participle from בָּדַד (badad, “be separate”; see BDB 94 s.v. בָּדַד). מוֹעָד (moad) may mean “assembly” or, by extension, “multitude” (see HALOT 558 s.v. *מוֹעָד), but the referent of the third masculine pronominal suffix attached to the noun is unclear. It probably refers to the “nation” mentioned in the next line.

120 sn The question forces the Philistines to consider the dilemma they will face – surrender and oppression, or battle and death.



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