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Isaiah 29:1--32:20

Ariel is Besieged

29:1 Ariel is as good as dead 1 

Ariel, the town David besieged! 2 

Keep observing your annual rituals,

celebrate your festivals on schedule. 3 

29:2 I will threaten Ariel,

and she will mourn intensely

and become like an altar hearth 4  before me.

29:3 I will lay siege to you on all sides; 5 

I will besiege you with troops; 6 

I will raise siege works against you.

29:4 You will fall;

while lying on the ground 7  you will speak;

from the dust where you lie, your words will be heard. 8 

Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld; 9 

from the dust you will chirp as if muttering an incantation. 10 

29:5 But the horde of invaders will be like fine dust,

the horde of tyrants 11  like chaff that is blown away.

It will happen suddenly, in a flash.

29:6 Judgment will come from the Lord who commands armies, 12 

accompanied by thunder, earthquake, and a loud noise,

by a strong gale, a windstorm, and a consuming flame of fire.

29:7 It will be like a dream, a night vision.

There will be a horde from all the nations that fight against Ariel,

those who attack her and her stronghold and besiege her.

29:8 It will be like a hungry man dreaming that he is eating,

only to awaken and find that his stomach is empty. 13 

It will be like a thirsty man dreaming that he is drinking,

only to awaken and find that he is still weak and his thirst unquenched. 14 

So it will be for the horde from all the nations

that fight against Mount Zion.

God’s People are Spiritually Insensitive

29:9 You will be shocked and amazed! 15 

You are totally blind! 16 

They are drunk, 17  but not because of wine;

they stagger, 18  but not because of beer.

29:10 For the Lord has poured out on you

a strong urge to sleep deeply. 19 

He has shut your eyes (the prophets),

and covered your heads (the seers).

29:11 To you this entire prophetic revelation 20  is like words in a sealed scroll. When they hand it to one who can read 21  and say, “Read this,” he responds, “I can’t, because it is sealed.” 29:12 Or when they hand the scroll to one who can’t read 22  and say, “Read this,” he says, “I can’t read.” 23 

29:13 The sovereign master 24  says,

“These people say they are loyal to me; 25 

they say wonderful things about me, 26 

but they are not really loyal to me. 27 

Their worship consists of

nothing but man-made ritual. 28 

29:14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people –

an absolutely extraordinary deed. 29 

Wise men will have nothing to say,

the sages will have no explanations.” 30 

29:15 Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are as good as dead, 31 

who do their work in secret and boast, 32 

“Who sees us? Who knows what we’re doing?” 33 

29:16 Your thinking is perverse! 34 

Should the potter be regarded as clay? 35 

Should the thing made say 36  about its maker, “He didn’t make me”?

Or should the pottery say about the potter, “He doesn’t understand”?

Changes are Coming

29:17 In just a very short time 37 

Lebanon will turn into an orchard,

and the orchard will be considered a forest. 38 

29:18 At that time 39  the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll,

and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness. 40 

29:19 The downtrodden will again rejoice in the Lord;

the poor among humankind will take delight 41  in the Holy One of Israel. 42 

29:20 For tyrants will disappear,

those who taunt will vanish,

and all those who love to do wrong will be eliminated 43 

29:21 those who bear false testimony against a person, 44 

who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate 45 

and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges. 46 

29:22 So this is what the Lord, the one who delivered Abraham, says to the family of Jacob: 47 

“Jacob will no longer be ashamed;

their faces will no longer show their embarrassment. 48 

29:23 For when they see their children,

whom I will produce among them, 49 

they will honor 50  my name.

They will honor the Holy One of Jacob; 51 

they will respect 52  the God of Israel.

29:24 Those who stray morally will gain understanding; 53 

those who complain will acquire insight. 54 

Egypt Will Prove Unreliable

30:1 “The rebellious 55  children are as good as dead,” 56  says the Lord,

“those who make plans without consulting me, 57 

who form alliances without consulting my Spirit, 58 

and thereby compound their sin. 59 

30:2 They travel down to Egypt

without seeking my will, 60 

seeking Pharaoh’s protection,

and looking for safety in Egypt’s protective shade. 61 

30:3 But Pharaoh’s protection will bring you nothing but shame,

and the safety of Egypt’s protective shade nothing but humiliation.

30:4 Though his 62  officials are in Zoan

and his messengers arrive at Hanes, 63 

30:5 all will be put to shame 64 

because of a nation that cannot help them,

who cannot give them aid or help,

but only shame and disgrace.”

30:6 This is a message 65  about the animals in the Negev:

Through a land of distress and danger,

inhabited by lionesses and roaring lions, 66 

by snakes and darting adders, 67 

they transport 68  their wealth on the backs of donkeys,

their riches on the humps of camels,

to a nation that cannot help them. 69 

30:7 Egypt is totally incapable of helping. 70 

For this reason I call her

‘Proud one 71  who is silenced.’” 72 

30:8 Now go, write it 73  down on a tablet in their presence, 74 

inscribe it on a scroll,

so that it might be preserved for a future time

as an enduring witness. 75 

30:9 For these are rebellious people –

they are lying children,

children unwilling to obey the Lord’s law. 76 

30:10 They 77  say to the visionaries, “See no more visions!”

and to the seers, “Don’t relate messages to us about what is right! 78 

Tell us nice things,

relate deceptive messages. 79 

30:11 Turn aside from the way,

stray off the path. 80 

Remove from our presence the Holy One of Israel.” 81 

30:12 For this reason this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“You have rejected this message; 82 

you trust instead in your ability to oppress and trick, 83 

and rely on that kind of behavior. 84 

30:13 So this sin will become your downfall.

You will be like a high wall

that bulges and cracks and is ready to collapse;

it crumbles suddenly, in a flash. 85 

30:14 It shatters in pieces like a clay jar,

so shattered to bits that none of it can be salvaged. 86 

Among its fragments one cannot find a shard large enough 87 

to scoop a hot coal from a fire 88 

or to skim off water from a cistern.” 89 

30:15 For this is what the master, the Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:

“If you repented and patiently waited for me, you would be delivered; 90 

if you calmly trusted in me you would find strength, 91 

but you are unwilling.

30:16 You say, ‘No, we will flee on horses,’

so you will indeed flee.

You say, ‘We will ride on fast horses,’

so your pursuers will be fast.

30:17 One thousand will scurry at the battle cry of one enemy soldier; 92 

at the battle cry of five enemy soldiers you will all run away, 93 

until the remaining few are as isolated 94 

as a flagpole on a mountaintop

or a signal flag on a hill.”

The Lord Will Not Abandon His People

30:18 For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy;

he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. 95 

Indeed, the Lord is a just God;

all who wait for him in faith will be blessed. 96 

30:19 For people will live in Zion;

in Jerusalem 97  you will weep no more. 98 

When he hears your cry of despair, he will indeed show you mercy;

when he hears it, he will respond to you. 99 

30:20 The sovereign master 100  will give you distress to eat

and suffering to drink; 101 

but your teachers will no longer be hidden;

your eyes will see them. 102 

30:21 You 103  will hear a word spoken behind you, saying,

“This is the correct 104  way, walk in it,”

whether you are heading to the right or the left.

30:22 You will desecrate your silver-plated idols 105 

and your gold-plated images. 106 

You will throw them away as if they were a menstrual rag,

saying to them, “Get out!”

30:23 He will water the seed you plant in the ground,

and the ground will produce crops in abundance. 107 

At that time 108  your cattle will graze in wide pastures.

30:24 The oxen and donkeys used in plowing 109 

will eat seasoned feed winnowed with a shovel and pitchfork. 110 

30:25 On every high mountain

and every high hill

there will be streams flowing with water,

at the time of 111  great slaughter when the fortified towers collapse.

30:26 The light of the full moon will be like the sun’s glare

and the sun’s glare will be seven times brighter,

like the light of seven days, 112 

when the Lord binds up his people’s fractured bones 113 

and heals their severe wound. 114 

30:27 Look, the name 115  of the Lord comes from a distant place

in raging anger and awesome splendor. 116 

He speaks angrily

and his word is like destructive fire. 117 

30:28 His battle cry overwhelms like a flooding river 118 

that reaches one’s neck.

He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; 119 

he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction. 120 

30:29 You will sing

as you do in the evening when you are celebrating a festival.

You will be happy like one who plays a flute

as he goes to the mountain of the Lord, the Rock who shelters Israel. 121 

30:30 The Lord will give a mighty shout 122 

and intervene in power, 123 

with furious anger and flaming, destructive fire, 124 

with a driving rainstorm and hailstones.

30:31 Indeed, the Lord’s shout will shatter Assyria; 125 

he will beat them with a club.

30:32 Every blow from his punishing cudgel, 126 

with which the Lord will beat them, 127 

will be accompanied by music from the 128  tambourine and harp,

and he will attack them with his weapons. 129 

30:33 For 130  the burial place is already prepared; 131 

it has been made deep and wide for the king. 132 

The firewood is piled high on it. 133 

The Lord’s breath, like a stream flowing with brimstone,

will ignite it.

Egypt Will Disappoint

31:1 Those who go down to Egypt for help are as good as dead, 134 

those who rely on war horses,

and trust in Egypt’s many chariots 135 

and in their many, many horsemen. 136 

But they do not rely on the Holy One of Israel 137 

and do not seek help from the Lord.

31:2 Yet he too is wise 138  and he will bring disaster;

he does not retract his decree. 139 

He will attack the wicked nation, 140 

and the nation that helps 141  those who commit sin. 142 

31:3 The Egyptians are mere humans, not God;

their horses are made of flesh, not spirit.

The Lord will strike with 143  his hand;

the one who helps will stumble

and the one being helped will fall.

Together they will perish. 144 

The Lord Will Defend Zion

31:4 Indeed, this is what the Lord says to me:

“The Lord will be like a growling lion,

like a young lion growling over its prey. 145 

Though a whole group of shepherds gathers against it,

it is not afraid of their shouts

or intimidated by their yelling. 146 

In this same way the Lord who commands armies will descend

to do battle on Mount Zion and on its hill. 147 

31:5 Just as birds hover over a nest, 148 

so the Lord who commands armies will protect Jerusalem. 149 

He will protect and deliver it;

as he passes over 150  he will rescue it.

31:6 You Israelites! Return to the one against whom you have so blatantly rebelled! 151  31:7 For at that time 152  everyone will get rid of 153  the silver and gold idols your hands sinfully made. 154 

31:8 Assyria will fall by a sword, but not one human-made; 155 

a sword not made by humankind will destroy them. 156 

They will run away from this sword 157 

and their young men will be forced to do hard labor.

31:9 They will surrender their stronghold 158  because of fear; 159 

their officers will be afraid of the Lord’s battle flag.” 160 

This is what the Lord says –

the one whose fire is in Zion,

whose firepot is in Jerusalem. 161 

Justice and Wisdom Will Prevail

32:1 Look, a king will promote fairness; 162 

officials will promote justice. 163 

32:2 Each of them 164  will be like a shelter from the wind

and a refuge from a rainstorm;

like streams of water in a dry region

and like the shade of a large cliff in a parched land.

32:3 Eyes 165  will no longer be blind 166 

and ears 167  will be attentive.

32:4 The mind that acts rashly will possess discernment 168 

and the tongue that stutters will speak with ease and clarity.

32:5 A fool will no longer be called honorable;

a deceiver will no longer be called principled.

32:6 For a fool speaks disgraceful things; 169 

his mind plans out sinful deeds. 170 

He commits godless deeds 171 

and says misleading things about the Lord;

he gives the hungry nothing to satisfy their appetite 172 

and gives the thirsty nothing to drink. 173 

32:7 A deceiver’s methods are evil; 174 

he dreams up evil plans 175 

to ruin the poor with lies,

even when the needy are in the right. 176 

32:8 An honorable man makes honorable plans;

his honorable character gives him security. 177 

The Lord Will Give True Security

32:9 You complacent 178  women,

get up and listen to me!

You carefree 179  daughters,

pay attention to what I say!

32:10 In a year’s time 180 

you carefree ones will shake with fear,

for the grape 181  harvest will fail,

and the fruit harvest will not arrive.

32:11 Tremble, you complacent ones!

Shake with fear, you carefree ones!

Strip off your clothes and expose yourselves –

put sackcloth on your waist! 182 

32:12 Mourn over the field, 183 

over the delightful fields

and the fruitful vine!

32:13 Mourn 184  over the land of my people,

which is overgrown with thorns and briers,

and over all the once-happy houses 185 

in the city filled with revelry. 186 

32:14 For the fortress is neglected;

the once-crowded 187  city is abandoned.

Hill 188  and watchtower

are permanently uninhabited. 189 

Wild donkeys love to go there,

and flocks graze there. 190 

32:15 This desolation will continue until new life is poured out on us from heaven. 191 

Then the desert will become an orchard

and the orchard will be considered a forest. 192 

32:16 Justice will settle down in the desert

and fairness will live in the orchard. 193 

32:17 Fairness will produce peace 194 

and result in lasting security. 195 

32:18 My people will live in peaceful settlements,

in secure homes,

and in safe, quiet places. 196 

32:19 Even if the forest is destroyed 197 

and the city is annihilated, 198 

32:20 you will be blessed,

you who plant seed by all the banks of the streams, 199 

you who let your ox and donkey graze. 200 

1 tn Heb “Woe [to] Ariel.” The meaning of the name “Ariel” is uncertain. The name may mean “altar hearth” (see v. 2) or, if compound, “lion of God.” The name is used here as a title for Mount Zion/Jerusalem (see v. 8).

2 tn Heb “the town where David camped.” The verb חָנָה (khanah, “camp”) probably has the nuance “lay siege to” here. See v. 3. Another option is to take the verb in the sense of “lived, settled.”

3 tn Heb “Add year to year, let your festivals occur in cycles.” This is probably a sarcastic exhortation to the people to keep up their religious rituals, which will not prevent the coming judgment. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:527.

4 tn The term אֲרִיאֵל (’ariel, “Ariel”) is the word translated “altar hearth” here. The point of the simile is not entirely clear. Perhaps the image likens Jerusalem’s coming crisis to a sacrificial fire.

5 tc The Hebrew text has כַדּוּר (khadur, “like a circle”), i.e., “like an encircling wall.” Some emend this phrase to כְּדָוִד (kÿdavid, “like David”), which is supported by the LXX (see v. 1). However, the rendering in the LXX could have arisen from a confusion of the dalet (ד) and resh (ר).

6 tn The meaning of מֻצָּב (mutsav) is not certain. Because of the parallelism (note “siege works”), some translate “towers.” The noun is derived from נָצַב (natsav, “take one’s stand”) and may refer to the troops stationed outside the city to prevent entrance or departure.

7 tn Heb “from the ground” (so NIV, NCV).

8 tn Heb “and from the dust your word will be low.”

9 tn Heb “and your voice will be like a ritual pit from the earth.” The Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, “ritual pit”) refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. See the note on “incantations” in 8:19. Here the word is used metonymically for the voice that emerges from such a pit.

10 tn Heb “and from the dust your word will chirp.” The words “as if muttering an incantation” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the parallelism and 8:19.

11 tn Or “violent men”; cf. NASB “the ruthless ones.”

12 tn Heb “from the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts] there will be visitation.” The third feminine singular passive verb form תִּפָּקֵד (tippaqed, “she/it will be visited”) is used here in an impersonal sense. See GKC 459 §144.b.

13 tn Or “that he [or “his appetite”] is unsatisfied.”

14 tn Or “that he is faint and that he [or “his appetite”] longs [for water].”

15 tn The form הִתְמַהְמְהוּ (hitmahmÿhu) is a Hitpalpel imperative from מָהַהּ (mahah, “hesitate”). If it is retained, one might translate “halt and be amazed.” The translation assumes an emendation to הִתַּמְּהוּ (hittammÿhu), a Hitpael imperative from תָּמַה (tamah, “be amazed”). In this case, the text, like Hab 1:5, combines the Hitpael and Qal imperatival forms of תָּמַה (tamah). A literal translation might be “Shock yourselves and be shocked!” The repetition of sound draws attention to the statement. The imperatives here have the force of an emphatic assertion. On this use of the imperative in Hebrew, see GKC 324 §110.c and IBHS 572 §34.4c.

16 tn Heb “Blind yourselves and be blind!” The Hitpalpel and Qal imperatival forms of שָׁעַע (shaa’, “be blind”) are combined to draw attention to the statement. The imperatives have the force of an emphatic assertion.

17 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.

18 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.

19 tn Heb “a disposition [or “spirit”] of deep sleep.” Through this mixed metaphor (sleep is likened to a liquid which one pours and in turn symbolizes spiritual dullness) the prophet emphasizes that God himself has given the people over to their spiritual insensitivity as a form of judgment.

20 tn Heb “vision” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

21 tn Heb “one who knows a/the scroll.”

22 tn Heb “and if the scroll is handed to one who does not know a scroll.”

23 tn Heb “I do not know a scroll.”

24 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

25 tn Heb “Because these people draw near to me with their mouth.”

26 tn Heb “and with their lips they honor me.”

27 tn Heb “but their heart is far from me.” The heart is viewed here as the seat of the will, from which genuine loyalty derives.

28 tn Heb “their fear of me is a commandment of men that has been taught.”

29 tn Heb “Therefore I will again do something amazing with these people, an amazing deed, an amazing thing.” This probably refers to the amazing transformation predicted in vv. 17-24, which will follow the purifying judgment implied in vv. 15-16.

30 tn Heb “the wisdom of their wise ones will perish, the discernment of their discerning ones will keep hidden.”

31 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who deeply hide counsel from the Lord.” This probably alludes to political alliances made without seeking the Lord’s guidance. See 30:1-2 and 31:1.

32 tn Heb “and their works are in darkness and they say.”

33 tn The rhetorical questions suggest the answer, “no one.” They are confident that their deeds are hidden from others, including God.

34 tn Heb “your overturning.” The predicate is suppressed in this exclamation. The idea is, “O your perversity! How great it is!” See GKC 470 §147.c. The people “overturn” all logic by thinking their authority supersedes God’s.

35 tn The expected answer to this rhetorical question is “of course not.” On the interrogative use of אִם (’im), see BDB 50 s.v.

36 tn Heb “that the thing made should say.”

37 tn The Hebrew text phrases this as a rhetorical question, “Is it not yet a little, a short [time]?”

38 sn The meaning of this verse is debated, but it seems to depict a reversal in fortunes. The mighty forest of Lebanon (symbolic of the proud and powerful, see 2:13; 10:34) will be changed into a common orchard, while the common orchard (symbolic of the oppressed and lowly) will grow into a great forest. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:538.

39 tn Or “In that day” (KJV).

40 tn Heb “and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.”

sn Perhaps this depicts the spiritual transformation of the once spiritually insensitive nation (see vv. 10-12, cf. also 6:9-10).

41 tn Or “will rejoice” (NIV, NCV, NLT).

42 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

43 tn Heb “and all the watchers of wrong will be cut off.”

44 tn Heb “the ones who make a man a sinner with a word.” The Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) here has a delocutive sense: “declare a man sinful/guilty.”

45 sn Legal disputes were resolved at the city gate, where the town elders met. See Amos 5:10.

46 tn Heb “and deprive by emptiness the innocent.”

47 tn Heb “So this is what the Lord says to the house of Jacob, the one who ransomed Abraham.” The relative pronoun must refer back to “the Lord,” not to the immediately preceding “Jacob.” It is uncertain to what event in Abraham’s experience this refers. Perhaps the name “Abraham” stands here by metonymy for his descendants through Jacob. If so, the Exodus is in view.

48 tn Heb “and his face will no longer be pale.”

49 tn Heb “for when he sees his children, the work of my hands in his midst.”

50 tn Or “treat as holy” (also in the following line); NASB, NRSV “will sanctify.”

51 sn Holy One of Jacob is similar to the phrase “Holy One of Israel” common throughout Isaiah; see the sn at Isa 1:4.

52 tn Or “fear,” in the sense of “stand in awe of.”

53 tn Heb “and the ones who stray in spirit will know understanding.”

54 tn Heb “will learn instruction”; cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “will accept instruction.”

55 tn Or “stubborn” (NCV); cf. NIV “obstinate.”

56 tn Heb “Woe [to] rebellious children.”

57 tn Heb “making a plan, but not from me.”

58 tn Heb “and pouring out a libation, but not [from] my spirit.” This translation assumes that the verb נָסַךְ (nasakh) means “pour out,” and that the cognate noun מַסֵּכָה (massekhah) means “libation.” In this case “pouring out a libation” alludes to a ceremony that formally ratifies an alliance. Another option is to understand the verb נָסַךְ as a homonym meaning “weave,” and the cognate noun מַסֵּכָה as a homonym meaning “covering.” In this case forming an alliance is likened to weaving a garment.

59 tn Heb “consequently adding sin to sin.”

60 tn Heb “those who go to descend to Egypt, but [of] my mouth they do not inquire.”

61 tn Heb “to seek protection in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek refuge in the shade of Egypt.”

62 sn This probably refers to Judah’s officials and messengers.

63 sn Zoan was located in the Egyptian delta in the north; Hanes was located somewhere in southern region of lower Egypt, south of Memphis; the exact location is debated.

64 tn The present translation follows the marginal (Qere) reading of the Hebrew text; the consonantal text (Kethib) has “made to stink, decay.”

65 tn Traditionally, “burden” (so KJV, ASV); NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “oracle.”

66 tc Heb “[a land of] a lioness and a lion, from them.” Some emend מֵהֶם (mehem, “from them”) to מֵהֵם (mehem), an otherwise unattested Hiphil participle from הָמַם (hamam, “move noisily”). Perhaps it would be better to take the initial mem (מ) as enclitic and emend the form to הֹמֶה (homeh), a Qal active participle from הָמָה (hamah, “to make a noise”); cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:542, n. 9.

67 tn Heb “flying fiery one.” See the note at 14:29.

68 tn Or “carry” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

69 sn This verse describes messengers from Judah transporting wealth to Egypt in order to buy Pharaoh’s protection through a treaty.

70 tn Heb “As for Egypt, with vanity and emptiness they help.”

71 tn Heb “Rahab” (רַהַב, rahav), which also appears as a name for Egypt in Ps 87:4. The epithet is also used in the OT for a mythical sea monster symbolic of chaos. See the note at 51:9. A number of English versions use the name “Rahab” (e.g., ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV) while others attempt some sort of translation (cf. CEV “a helpless monster”; TEV, NLT “the Harmless Dragon”).

72 tn The MT reads “Rahab, they, sitting.” The translation above assumes an emendation of הֵם שָׁבֶת (hem shavet) to הַמָּשְׁבָּת (hammashbat), a Hophal participle with prefixed definite article, meaning “the one who is made to cease,” i.e., “destroyed,” or “silenced.” See HALOT 444-45 s.v. ישׁב.

73 tn The referent of the third feminine singular pronominal suffix is uncertain. Perhaps it refers to the preceding message, which accuses the people of rejecting the Lord’s help in favor of an alliance with Egypt.

74 tn Heb “with them.” On the use of the preposition here, see BDB 86 s.v. II אֵת.

75 sn Recording the message will enable the prophet to use it in the future as evidence that God warned his people of impending judgment and clearly spelled out the nation’s guilt. An official record of the message will also serve as proof of the prophet’s authority as God’s spokesman.

76 tn Or perhaps, “instruction” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); NCV, TEV “teachings.”

77 tn Heb “who” (so NASB, NRSV). A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

78 tn Heb “Do not see for us right things.”

79 tn Heb “Tell us smooth things, see deceptive things.”

80 sn The imagery refers to the way or path of truth, as revealed by God to the prophet.

81 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

82 tn The sentence actually begins with the word “because.” In the Hebrew text vv. 12-13 are one long sentence.

83 tn Heb “and you trust in oppression and cunning.”

84 tn Heb “and you lean on it”; NAB “and depend on it.”

85 tn The verse reads literally, “So this sin will become for you like a breach ready to fall, bulging on a high wall, the breaking of which comes suddenly, in a flash.” Their sin produces guilt and will result in judgment. Like a wall that collapses their fall will be swift and sudden.

86 tn Heb “Its shattering is like the shattering of a jug of [i.e., “made by”] potters, [so] shattered one cannot save [any of it].”

87 tn The words “large enough” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

88 tn Heb “to remove fire from the place of kindling.”

89 tn On the meaning of גֶבֶא (geveh, “cistern”) see HALOT 170 s.v.

90 tn Heb “in returning and in quietness you will be delivered.” Many English versions render the last phrase “shall be saved” or something similar (e.g., NAB, NASB, NRSV).

91 tn Heb “in quietness and in trust is your strength” (NASB and NRSV both similar).

92 tn Heb “One thousand from before [or “because of”] one battle cry.” גְּעָרָה (gÿarah) is often defined as “threat,” but in war contexts it likely refers to a shout or battle cry. See Ps 76:6.

93 tn Heb “from before [or “because of”] the battle cry of five you will flee.

94 tn Heb “until you are left” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV).

95 tn Heb “Therefore the Lord waits to show you mercy, and therefore he is exalted to have compassion on you.” The logical connection between this verse and what precedes is problematic. The point seems to be that Judah’s impending doom does not bring God joy. Rather the prospect of their suffering stirs within him a willingness to show mercy and compassion, if they are willing to seek him on his terms.

96 tn Heb “Blessed are all who wait for him.”

97 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

98 tn Heb “For people in Zion will live, in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.” The phrase “in Jerusalem” could be taken with what precedes. Some prefer to emend יֵשֵׁב (yeshev, “will live,” a Qal imperfect) to יֹשֵׁב (yoshev, a Qal active participle) and translate “For [you] people in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.”

99 tn Heb “he will indeed show you mercy at the sound of your crying out; when he hears, he will answer you.”

100 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

101 tn Heb “and the Master will give to you bread – distress, and water – oppression.”

102 tn Heb “but your teachers will no longer be hidden, your eyes will be seeing your teachers.” The translation assumes that the form מוֹרֶיךָ (morekha) is a plural participle, referring to spiritual leaders such as prophets and priests. Another possibility is that the form is actually singular (see GKC 273-74 § or a plural of respect, referring to God as the master teacher. See HALOT 560-61 s.v. III מוֹרֶה. For discussion of the views, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:560.

103 tn Heb “your ears” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

104 tn The word “correct’ is supplied in the translation for clarification.

105 tn Heb “the platings of your silver idols.”

106 tn Heb “the covering of your gold image.”

107 tn Heb “and he will give rain for your seed which you plant in the ground, and food [will be] the produce of the ground, and it will be rich and abundant.”

108 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

109 tn Heb “the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground.”

110 sn Crops will be so abundant that even the work animals will eat well.

111 tn Or “in the day of” (KJV).

112 sn Light here symbolizes restoration of divine blessing and prosperity. The number “seven” is used symbolically to indicate intensity. The exact meaning of the phrase “the light of seven days” is uncertain; it probably means “seven times brighter” (see the parallel line).

113 tn Heb “the fracture of his people” (so NASB).

sn The Lord is here compared to a physician setting a broken bone in a bandage or cast.

114 tn Heb “the injury of his wound.” The joining of synonyms emphasizes the severity of the wound. Another option is to translate, “the wound of his blow.” In this case the pronominal suffix might refer to the Lord, not the people, yielding the translation, “the wound which he inflicted.”

115 sn The “name” of the Lord sometimes stands by metonymy for the Lord himself, see Exod 23:21; Lev 24:11; Pss 54:1 (54:3 HT); 124:8. In Isa 30:27 the point is that he reveals that aspect of his character which his name suggests – he comes as Yahweh (“he is present”), the ever present helper of his people who annihilates their enemies and delivers them. The name “Yahweh” originated in a context where God assured a fearful Moses that he would be with him as he confronted Pharaoh and delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. See Exod 3.

116 tn Heb “his anger burns, and heaviness of elevation.” The meaning of the phrase “heaviness of elevation” is unclear, for מַשָּׂאָה (masaah, “elevation”) occurs only here. Some understand the term as referring to a cloud (elevated above the earth’s surface), in which case one might translate, “and in heavy clouds” (cf. NAB “with lowering clouds”). Others relate the noun to מָשָׂא (masa’, “burden”) and interpret it as a reference to judgment. In this case one might translate, “and with severe judgment.” The present translation assumes that the noun refers to his glory and that “heaviness” emphasizes its degree.

117 tn Heb “his lips are full of anger, and his tongue is like consuming fire.” The Lord’s lips and tongue are used metonymically for his word (or perhaps his battle cry; see v. 31).

118 tn Heb “his breath is like a flooding river.” This might picture the Lord breathing heavily as he runs down his enemy, but in light of the preceding verse, which mentions his lips and tongue, “breath” probably stands metonymically for the word or battle cry that he expels from his mouth as he shouts. In Isa 34:16 and Ps 33:6 the Lord’s “breath” is associated with his command.

119 tn Heb “shaking nations in a sieve of worthlessness.” It is not certain exactly how שָׁוְא (shavÿ’, “emptiness, worthlessness”) modifies “sieve.” A sieve is used to separate grain from chaff and isolate what is worthless so that it might be discarded. Perhaps the nations are likened to such chaff; God’s judgment will sift them out for destruction.

120 tn Heb “and a bit that leads astray [is] in the jaws of the peoples.” Here the nations are likened to horse that can be controlled by a bit placed in its mouth. In this case the Lord uses his sovereign control over the “horse” to lead it to its demise.

121 tn Heb “[you will have] joy of heart, like the one going with a flute to enter the mountain of the Lord to the Rock of Israel.” The image here is not a foundational rock, but a rocky cliff where people could hide for protection (for example, the fortress of Masada).

122 tn Heb “the Lord will cause the splendor of his voice to be heard.”

123 tn Heb “and reveal the lowering of his arm.”

124 tn Heb “and a flame of consuming fire.”

125 tn Heb “Indeed by the voice of the Lord Assyria will be shattered.”

126 tc The Hebrew text has “every blow from a founded [i.e., “appointed”?] cudgel.” The translation above, with support from a few medieval Hebrew mss, assumes an emendation of מוּסָדָה (musadah, “founded”) to מוּסָרֹה (musaroh, “his discipline”).

127 tn Heb “which the Lord lays on him.”

128 tn Heb “will be with” (KJV similar).

129 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “and with battles of brandishing [weapons?] he will fight against him.” Some prefer to emend וּבְמִלְחֲמוֹת (uvÿmilkhamot, “and with battles of”) to וּבִמְחֹלוֹת (uvimkholot, “and with dancing”). Note the immediately preceding references to musical instruments.

130 tn Or “indeed.”

131 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “for arranged from before [or “yesterday”] is [?].” The meaning of תָּפְתֶּה (tafÿteh), which occurs only here, is unknown. The translation above (as with most English versions) assumes an emendation to תֹּפֶת (tofet, “Topheth”; cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) and places the final hey (ה) on the beginning of the next word as an interrogative particle. Topheth was a place near Jerusalem used as a burial ground (see Jer 7:32; 19:11).

132 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Also it is made ready for the king, one makes it deep and wide.” If one takes the final hey (ה) on תָּפְתֶּה (tafÿteh) and prefixes it to גָּם (gam) as an interrogative particle (see the preceding note), one can translate, “Is it also made ready for the king?” In this case the question is rhetorical and expects an emphatic affirmative answer, “Of course it is!”

133 tn Heb “its pile of wood, fire and wood one makes abundant.”

sn Apparently this alludes to some type of funeral rite.

134 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who go down to Egypt for help.”

135 tn Heb “and trust in chariots for they are many.”

136 tn Heb “and in horsemen for they are very strong [or “numerous”].”

137 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

138 sn This statement appears to have a sarcastic tone. The royal advisers who are advocating an alliance with Egypt think they are wise, but the Lord possesses wisdom as well and will thwart their efforts.

139 tn Heb “and he does not turn aside [i.e., “retract”] his words”; NIV “does not take back his words.”

140 tn Heb “and he will arise against the house of the wicked.”

141 sn That is, Egypt.

142 tn Heb “and against the help of the doers of sin.”

143 tn Heb “will extend”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV “stretch out.”

144 tn Heb “together all of them will come to an end.”

145 tn Heb “As a lion growls, a young lion over its prey.” In the Hebrew text the opening comparison is completed later in the verse (“so the Lord will come down…”), after a parenthesis describing how fearless the lion is. The present translation divides the verse into three sentences for English stylistic reasons.

146 tn Heb “Though there is summoned against it fullness of shepherds, by their voice it is not terrified, and to their noise it does not respond.”

147 tn Some prefer to translate the phrase לִצְבֹּא עַל (litsbo’ ’al) as “fight against,” but the following context pictures the Lord defending, not attacking, Zion.

148 tn Heb “just as birds fly.” The words “over a nest” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

149 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

150 tn The only other occurrence of this verb is in Exod 12:13, 23, 27, where the Lord “passes over” (i.e., “spares”) the Israelite households as he comes to judge their Egyptian oppressors. The noun פֶּסַח (pesakh, “Passover”) is derived from the verb. The use of the verb in Isa 31:5 is probably an intentional echo of the Exodus event. As in the days of Moses the Lord will spare his people as he comes to judge their enemies.

151 tn Heb “Return to the one [against] whom the sons of Israel made deep rebellion.” The syntax is awkward here. A preposition is omitted by ellipsis after the verb (see GKC 446 §138.f, n. 2), and there is a shift from direct address (note the second plural imperative “return”) to the third person (note “they made deep”). For other examples of abrupt shifts in person in poetic style, see GKC 462 §144.p.

152 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

153 tn Heb “reject” (so NIV); NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT “throw away.”

154 tn Heb “the idols of their idols of silver and their idols of gold which your hands made for yourselves [in] sin.” חָטָא (khata’, “sin”) is understood as an adverbial accusative of manner. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:573, n. 4.

155 tn Heb “Assyria will fall by a sword, not of a man.”

156 tn Heb “and a sword not of humankind will devour him.”

157 tn Heb “he will flee for himself from before a sword.”

158 tn Heb “rocky cliff” (cf. ASV, NASB “rock”), viewed metaphorically as a place of defense and security.

159 tn Heb “His rocky cliff, because of fear, will pass away [i.e., “perish”].”

160 tn Heb “and they will be afraid of the flag, his officers.”

161 sn The “fire” and “firepot” here symbolize divine judgment, which is heating up like a fire in Jerusalem, waiting to be used against the Assyrians when they attack the city.

162 tn Heb “will reign according to fairness.”

163 tn Heb “will rule according to justice.”

164 tn Heb “a man,” but אִישׁ (’ish) probably refers here to “each” of the officials mentioned in the previous verse.

165 tn Heb “Eyes that see.”

166 tn The Hebrew text as vocalized reads literally “will not gaze,” but this is contradictory to the context. The verb form should be revocalized as תְּשֹׁעֶינָה (tÿshoenah) from שָׁעַע (shaa’, “be blinded”); see Isa 6:10; 29:9.

167 tn Heb “ears that hear.”

168 tn Heb “the heart of rashness will understand knowledge”; cf. NAB “The flighty will become wise and capable.”

169 tn Or “foolishness,” in a moral-ethical sense. See 9:17.

170 tn Heb “and his heart commits sin”; KJV, ASV “his heart will work iniquity”; NASB “inclines toward wickedness.”

171 tn Heb “in order to do [or “so that he does”] what is godless [or “defiled”].”

172 tn Heb “so that he leaves empty the appetite [or “desire”] of the hungry.”

173 tn Heb “and the drink of the thirsty he causes to fail.”

174 tn Heb “as for a deceiver, his implements [or “weapons”] are evil.”

175 tn Or “he plans evil things”; NIV “he makes up evil schemes.”

176 tn Heb “to ruin the poor with words of falsehood, even when the needy speak what is just.”

177 tn Heb “and he upon honorable things stands.”

178 tn Or “self-assured”; NASB, NRSV “who are at ease.”

179 tn Or “self-confident”; NAB “overconfident.”

180 tn Heb “days upon a year.”

181 tn Or perhaps, “olive.” See 24:13.

182 tn The imperatival forms in v. 11 are problematic. The first (חִרְדוּ, khirdu, “tremble”) is masculine plural in form, though spoken to a feminine plural addressee (שַׁאֲנַנּוֹת, shaanannot, “complacent ones”). The four imperatival forms that follow (רְגָזָה, rÿgazah, “shake with fear”; פְּשֹׁטָה, pÿshotah, “strip off your clothes”; עֹרָה, ’orah, “expose yourselves”; and חֲגוֹרָה, khagorah, “put on”) all appear to be lengthened (so-called “emphatic”) masculine singular forms, even though they too appear to be spoken to a feminine plural addressee. GKC 131-32 §48.i suggests emending חִרְדוּ (khirdu) to חֲרָדָה (kharadah) and understanding all five imperatives as feminine plural “aramaized” forms.

183 tc The Hebrew text has “over mourning breasts.” The reference to “breasts” would make sense in light of v. 11, which refers to the practice of women baring their breasts as a sign of sorrow (see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:585). However, one expects the preposition עַל (’al) to introduce the source or reason for mourning (see vv. 12b-13a) and the participle סֹפְדִים (sofedim, “mourning”) seems odd modifying “breasts.” The translation above assumes a twofold emendation: (1) שָׁדַיִם (shadayim, “breasts”) is emended to [ם]שָׂדַי (saday[m], “field,” a term that also appears in Isa 56:9). The final mem (ם) would be enclitic in this case, not a plural indicator. (The Hebrew noun שָׂדֶה (sadeh, “field”) forms its plural with an וֹת- [-ot] ending). (2) The plural participle סֹפְדִים is emended to סְפֹדָה (sÿfodah), a lengthened imperatival form, meaning “mourn.” For an overview of various suggestions that have been made for this difficult line, see Oswalt, 586, n. 12).

184 tn “Mourn” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 12-13 are one long sentence.

185 tn Heb “indeed, over all the houses of joy.” It is not certain if this refers to individual homes or to places where parties and celebrations were held.

186 sn This same phrase is used in 22:2.

187 tn Or “noisy” (NAB, NIV, NCV).

188 tn Hebrew עֹפֶל (’ofel), probably refers here to a specific area within the city of Jerusalem. See HALOT 861 s.v. II עֹפֶל.

189 tn The Hebrew text has בְעַד מְעָרוֹת (vÿad mÿarot). The force of בְעַד, which usually means “behind, through, round about,” or “for the benefit of,” is uncertain here. HALOT 616 s.v. *מְעָרָה takes מְעָרוֹת (mÿarot) as a homonym of “cave” and define it here as “cleared field.” Despite these lexical problems, the general point of the statement seems clear – the city will be uninhabited.

190 tn Heb “the joy of wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks.”

191 tn Heb “until a spirit is emptied out on us from on high.” The words “this desolation will continue” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic purposes. The verb עָרָה (’arah), used here in the Niphal, normally means “lay bare, expose.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) is often understood here as a reference to the divine spirit (cf. 44:3 and NASB, NIV, CEV, NLT), but it appears here without an article (cf. NRSV “a spirit”), pronominal suffix, or a genitive (such as “of the Lord”). The translation assumes that it carries an impersonal nuance “vivacity, vigor” in this context.

192 sn The same statement appears in 29:17b, where, in conjunction with the preceding line, it appears to picture a reversal. Here it seems to depict supernatural growth. The desert will blossom into an orchard, and the trees of the orchard will multiply and grow tall, becoming a forest.

193 sn This new era of divine blessing will also include a moral/ethical transformation, as justice and fairness fill the land and replace the social injustice so prevalent in Isaiah’s time.

194 tn Heb “and the product of fairness will be peace.”

195 tn Heb “and the work of fairness [will be] calmness and security forever.”

196 tn Or “in safe resting places”; NAB, NRSV “quiet resting places.”

197 tn Heb “and [?] when the forest descends.” The form וּבָרַד (uvarad) is often understood as an otherwise unattested denominative verb meaning “to hail” (HALOT 154 s.v. I ברד). In this case one might translate, “and it hails when the forest is destroyed” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV). Perhaps the text alludes to a powerful wind and hail storm that knocks down limbs and trees. Some prefer to emend the form to וְיָרַד (vÿyarad), “and it descends,” which provides better, though not perfect, symmetry with the parallel line (cf. NAB). Perhaps וּבָרַד should be dismissed as dittographic. In this case the statement (“when the forest descends”) lacks a finite verb and seems incomplete, but perhaps it is subordinate to v. 20.

198 tn Heb “and in humiliation the city is laid low.”

199 tn Heb “by all the waters.”

200 tn Heb “who set free the foot of the ox and donkey”; NIV “letting your cattle and donkeys range free.”

sn This verse seems to anticipate a time when fertile land is available to cultivate and crops are so abundant that the farm animals can be allowed to graze freely.

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