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Isaiah 32:13-15

Context

32:13 Mourn 1  over the land of my people,

which is overgrown with thorns and briers,

and over all the once-happy houses 2 

in the city filled with revelry. 3 

32:14 For the fortress is neglected;

the once-crowded 4  city is abandoned.

Hill 5  and watchtower

are permanently uninhabited. 6 

Wild donkeys love to go there,

and flocks graze there. 7 

32:15 This desolation will continue until new life is poured out on us from heaven. 8 

Then the desert will become an orchard

and the orchard will be considered a forest. 9 

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

2 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.

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

4 tn Or “noisy” (NAB, NIV, NCV).

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

6 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.

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

8 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.

9 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.



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