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Isaiah 40:2

Context

40:2 “Speak kindly to 1  Jerusalem, 2  and tell her

that her time of warfare is over, 3 

that her punishment is completed. 4 

For the Lord has made her pay double 5  for all her sins.”

Isaiah 40:6

Context

40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!”

Another asks, 6  “What should I cry out?”

The first voice responds: 7  “All people are like grass, 8 

and all their promises 9  are like the flowers in the field.

1 tn Heb “speak to the heart of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is personified as a woman.

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 tn Heb “that she is filled [with] her warfare.” Some understand צָבָא (tsavah, “warfare”) as meaning “hard service” or “compulsory labor” in this context.

4 tn Heb “that her punishment is accepted [as satisfactory].”

5 tn Heb “for she has received from the hand of the Lord double.” The principle of the double portion in punishment is also seen in Jer 16:18; 17:18 and Rev 18:6. For examples of the double portion in Israelite law, see Exod 22:4, 7, 9 (double restitution by a thief) and Deut 21:17 (double inheritance portion for the firstborn).

6 tn Heb “and he says.” Apparently a second “voice” responds to the command of the first “voice.”

7 tn The words “the first voice responds” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first voice tells the second one what to declare.

8 tn Heb “all flesh is grass.” The point of the metaphor is explained in v. 7.

9 tn Heb “and all his loyalty.” The antecedent of the third masculine suffix is בָּשָׂר (basar, “flesh”), which refers collectively to mankind. The LXX, apparently understanding the antecedent as “grass,” reads “glory,” but חֶסֶד (khesed) rarely, if ever, has this nuance. The normal meaning of חֶסֶד (“faithfulness, loyalty, devotion”) fits very well in the argument. Human beings and their faithfulness (verbal expressions of faithfulness are specifically in view; cf. NRSV “constancy”) are short-lived and unreliable, in stark contrast to the decrees and promises of the eternal God.



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