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Isaiah 30:1-7

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 

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.



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