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Isaiah 17:1-5

Context
The Lord Will Judge Damascus

17:1 Here is a message about Damascus:

“Look, Damascus is no longer a city,

it is a heap of ruins!

17:2 The cities of Aroer are abandoned. 1 

They will be used for herds,

which will lie down there in peace. 2 

17:3 Fortified cities will disappear from Ephraim,

and Damascus will lose its kingdom. 3 

The survivors in Syria

will end up like the splendor of the Israelites,”

says the Lord who commands armies.

17:4 “At that time 4 

Jacob’s splendor will be greatly diminished, 5 

and he will become skin and bones. 6 

17:5 It will be as when one gathers the grain harvest,

and his hand gleans the ear of grain.

It will be like one gathering the ears of grain

in the Valley of Rephaim.

1 tn Three cities are known by this name in the OT: (1) an Aroer located near the Arnon, (2) an Aroer in Ammon, and (3) an Aroer of Judah. (See BDB 792-93 s.v. עֲרֹעֵר, and HALOT 883 s.v. II עֲרוֹעֵר.) There is no mention of an Aroer in Syrian territory. For this reason some want to emend the text here to עֲזֻבוֹת עָרַיהָ עֲדֵי עַד (’azuvotarayhaadeyad, “her cities are permanently abandoned”). However, Aroer near the Arnon was taken by Israel and later conquered by the Syrians. (See Josh 12:2; 13:9, 16; Judg 11:26; 2 Kgs 10:33). This oracle pertains to Israel as well as Syria (note v. 3), so it is possible that this is a reference to Israelite and/or Syrian losses in Transjordan.

2 tn Heb “and they lie down and there is no one scaring [them].”

3 tn Heb “and kingship from Damascus”; cf. NASB “And sovereignty from Damascus.”

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

5 tn Heb “will be tiny.”

6 tn Heb “and the fatness of his flesh will be made lean.”



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