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Isaiah 27:8

Context

27:8 When you summon her for divorce, you prosecute her; 1 

he drives her away 2  with his strong wind in the day of the east wind. 3 

Isaiah 27:10-11

Context

27:10 For the fortified city 4  is left alone;

it is a deserted settlement

and abandoned like the desert.

Calves 5  graze there;

they lie down there

and eat its branches bare. 6 

27:11 When its branches get brittle, 7  they break;

women come and use them for kindling. 8 

For these people lack understanding, 9 

therefore the one who made them has no compassion on them;

the one who formed them has no mercy on them.

1 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “in [?], in sending her away, you oppose her.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The form בְּסַאסְּאָה (bÿsassÿah) is taken as an infinitive from סַאסְּאָה (sassÿah) with a prepositional prefix and a third feminine singular suffix. (The MT does not have a mappiq in the final he [ה], however). According to HALOT 738 s.v. סַאסְּאָה the verb is a Palpel form from an otherwise unattested root cognate with an Arabic verb meaning “to gather beasts with a call.” Perhaps it means “to call, summon” here, but this is a very tentative proposal. בְּשַׁלְחָהּ (bÿshalkhah, “in sending her away”) appears to be a Piel infinitive with a prepositional prefix and a third feminine singular suffix. Since the Piel of שָׁלָח (shalakh) can sometimes mean “divorce” (HALOT 1514-15 s.v.) and the following verb רִיב (riv, “oppose”) can be used in legal contexts, it is possible that divorce proceedings are alluded to here. This may explain why Israel is referred to as feminine in this verse, in contrast to the masculine forms used in vv. 6-7 and 9.

2 tn The Hebrew text has no object expressed, but one can understand a third feminine singular pronominal object and place a mappiq in the final he (ה) of the form to indicate the suffix.

3 sn The “east wind” here symbolizes violent divine judgment.

4 sn The identity of this city is uncertain. The context suggests that an Israelite city, perhaps Samaria or Jerusalem, is in view. For discussions of interpretive options see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:496-97, and Paul L. Redditt, “Once Again, the City in Isaiah 24-27,” HAR 10 (1986), 332.

5 tn The singular form in the text is probably collective.

6 tn Heb “and destroy her branches.” The city is the antecedent of the third feminine singular pronominal suffix. Apparently the city is here compared to a tree. See also v. 11.

7 tn Heb “are dry” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

8 tn Heb “women come [and] light it.” The city is likened to a dead tree with dried up branches that is only good for firewood.

9 tn Heb “for not a people of understanding [is] he.”



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