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Isaiah 40:13-14

Context

40:13 Who comprehends 1  the mind 2  of the Lord,

or gives him instruction as his counselor? 3 

40:14 From whom does he receive directions? 4 

Who 5  teaches him the correct way to do things, 6 

or imparts knowledge to him,

or instructs him in skillful design? 7 

1 tn Perhaps the verb is used metonymically here in the sense of “advises” (note the following line).

2 tn In this context רוּחַ (ruakh) likely refers to the Lord’s “mind,” or mental faculties, rather than his personal Spirit (see BDB 925 s.v.).

3 tn Heb “or [as] the man of his counsel causes him to know?”

4 tn Heb “With whom did he consult, so that he gave discernment to him?”

5 tn Heb “and taught him.” The vav (ו) consecutive with prefixed verbal form continues the previous line. The translation employs an interrogative pronoun for stylistic reasons.

6 tn The phrase אֹרַח מִשְׁפָּט (’orakh mishpat) could be translated “path of justice” (so NASB, NRSV), but in this context, where creative ability and skill is in view, the phrase is better understood in the sense of “the way that is proper or fitting” (see BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 6); cf. NIV, NCV “the right way.”

7 tn Heb “or the way of understanding causes him to know?”

sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions in vv. 13-14 is, “No one.” In contrast to Marduk, the creator-god of Mesopotamian myths who receives help from the god of wisdom, the Lord neither needs nor receives any such advice or help. See R. Whybray, Heavenly Counsellor (SOTSMS), 64-77.



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