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Isaiah 30:1-17

Context
Egypt Will Prove Unreliable

30:1 “The rebellious 1  children are as good as dead,” 2  says the Lord,

“those who make plans without consulting me, 3 

who form alliances without consulting my Spirit, 4 

and thereby compound their sin. 5 

30:2 They travel down to Egypt

without seeking my will, 6 

seeking Pharaoh’s protection,

and looking for safety in Egypt’s protective shade. 7 

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 8  officials are in Zoan

and his messengers arrive at Hanes, 9 

30:5 all will be put to shame 10 

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 11  about the animals in the Negev:

Through a land of distress and danger,

inhabited by lionesses and roaring lions, 12 

by snakes and darting adders, 13 

they transport 14  their wealth on the backs of donkeys,

their riches on the humps of camels,

to a nation that cannot help them. 15 

30:7 Egypt is totally incapable of helping. 16 

For this reason I call her

‘Proud one 17  who is silenced.’” 18 

30:8 Now go, write it 19  down on a tablet in their presence, 20 

inscribe it on a scroll,

so that it might be preserved for a future time

as an enduring witness. 21 

30:9 For these are rebellious people –

they are lying children,

children unwilling to obey the Lord’s law. 22 

30:10 They 23  say to the visionaries, “See no more visions!”

and to the seers, “Don’t relate messages to us about what is right! 24 

Tell us nice things,

relate deceptive messages. 25 

30:11 Turn aside from the way,

stray off the path. 26 

Remove from our presence the Holy One of Israel.” 27 

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

“You have rejected this message; 28 

you trust instead in your ability to oppress and trick, 29 

and rely on that kind of behavior. 30 

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. 31 

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

so shattered to bits that none of it can be salvaged. 32 

Among its fragments one cannot find a shard large enough 33 

to scoop a hot coal from a fire 34 

or to skim off water from a cistern.” 35 

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; 36 

if you calmly trusted in me you would find strength, 37 

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; 38 

at the battle cry of five enemy soldiers you will all run away, 39 

until the remaining few are as isolated 40 

as a flagpole on a mountaintop

or a signal flag on a hill.”

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

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

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

4 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.

5 tn Heb “consequently adding sin to sin.”

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

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

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

9 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.

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

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

12 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.

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

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

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

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

17 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”).

18 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.

19 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.

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

21 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 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.

32 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].”

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

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

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

36 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).

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

38 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.

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

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



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