in raging anger and awesome splendor. 2
He speaks angrily
and his word is like destructive fire. 3
that reaches one’s neck.
He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; 5
he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction. 6
it has been made deep and wide for the king. 9
The firewood is piled high on it. 10
The Lord’s breath, like a stream flowing with brimstone,
will ignite it.
1 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.
2 tn Heb “his anger burns, and heaviness of elevation.” The meaning of the phrase “heaviness of elevation” is unclear, for מַשָּׂאָה (masa’ah, “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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 tn Or “indeed.”
8 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).
9 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!”
10 tn Heb “its pile of wood, fire and wood one makes abundant.”
sn Apparently this alludes to some type of funeral rite.