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Isaiah 38:16-20

Context

38:16 O sovereign master, your decrees can give men life;

may years of life be restored to me. 1 

Restore my health 2  and preserve my life.’

38:17 “Look, the grief I experienced was for my benefit. 3 

You delivered me 4  from the pit of oblivion. 5 

For you removed all my sins from your sight. 6 

38:18 Indeed 7  Sheol does not give you thanks;

death does not 8  praise you.

Those who descend into the pit do not anticipate your faithfulness.

38:19 The living person, the living person, he gives you thanks,

as I do today.

A father tells his sons about your faithfulness.

38:20 The Lord is about to deliver me, 9 

and we will celebrate with music 10 

for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” 11 

1 tn The translation offered here is purely speculative. The text as it stands is meaningless and probably corrupt. It reads literally, “O lord, on account of them [the suffix is masculine plural], they live, and to all in them [the suffix is feminine plural], life of my spirit.”

2 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as indicative, “you restore my health,” but the following imperatival form suggests it be understood as an imperfect of request.

3 tn Heb “Look, for peace bitterness was to me bitter”; NAB “thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.”

4 tc The Hebrew text reads, “you loved my soul,” but this does not fit syntactically with the following prepositional phrase. חָשַׁקְתָּ (khashaqta, “you loved”), may reflect an aural error; most emend the form to חָשַׂכְת, (khasakht, “you held back”).

5 tn בְּלִי (bÿli) most often appears as a negation, meaning “without,” suggesting the meaning “nothingness, oblivion,” here. Some translate “decay” or “destruction.”

6 tn Heb “for you threw behind your back all my sins.”

7 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

8 tn The negative particle is understood by ellipsis in this line. See GKC 483 §152.z.

9 tn The infinitive construct is used here to indicate that an action is imminent. See GKC 348-49 §114.i, and IBHS 610 §36.2.3g.

10 tn Heb “and music [or perhaps, “stringed instruments”] we will play.”

11 tn Heb “all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.”

sn Note that vv. 21-22 have been placed between vv. 6-7, where they logically belong. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8.



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