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Isaiah 40:19-20

Context

40:19 A craftsman casts 1  an idol;

a metalsmith overlays it with gold

and forges silver chains for it.

40:20 To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; 2 

he then seeks a skilled craftsman

to make 3  an idol that will not fall over.

1 tn Heb “pours out”; KJV “melteth.”

2 tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamsukan tÿrumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (’ets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.

3 tn Or “set up” (ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NASB “to prepare.”



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