its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 2
He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 3
40:23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;
he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.
40:24 Indeed, they are barely planted;
yes, they are barely sown;
yes, they barely take root in the earth,
and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up,
and the wind carries them away like straw.
40:25 “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?”
says the Holy One. 6
Who created all these heavenly lights? 8
He is the one who leads out their ranks; 9
he calls them all by name.
Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,
not one of them is missing.
1 tn Heb “the circle of the earth” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
2 tn The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
3 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).
4 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.
5 tn Heb “like a tent [in which] to live”; NAB, NASB “like a tent to dwell (live NIV, NRSV) in.”
7 tn Heb “Lift on high your eyes and see.”
8 tn The words “heavenly lights” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the following lines.
9 tn Heb “the one who brings out by number their host.” The stars are here likened to a huge army that the Lord leads out. Perhaps the next line pictures God calling roll. If so, the final line may be indicating that none of them dares “go AWOL.” (“AWOL” is a military acronym for “absent without leave.”)