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Isaiah 41:10-14

Context

41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!

Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! 1 

I strengthen you –

yes, I help you –

yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! 2 

41:11 Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated;

your adversaries 3  will be reduced to nothing 4  and perish.

41:12 When you will look for your opponents, 5  you will not find them;

your enemies 6  will be reduced to absolutely nothing.

41:13 For I am the Lord your God,

the one who takes hold of your right hand,

who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’

41:14 Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob, 7 

men of 8  Israel.

I am helping you,” says the Lord,

your protector, 9  the Holy One of Israel. 10 

1 tn According to BDB (1043 s.v. שָׁעָה), the verb תִּשְׁתָּע (tishta’) in the second line of the poetic couplet is a Hitpael form from the root שָׁעָה (shaah, “gaze,” with metathesis of the stem prefix and the first root letter). Taking the Hitpael as iterative, one may then translate “do not anxiously look about.” However, the alleged Hitpael form of שָׁעָה (shaah) only occurs here and in verse 23. HALOT 1671 s.v. שׁתע proposes that the verb is instead a Qal form from the root שׁתע (“fear”) which is attested in cognate Semitic languages, including Ugaritic (discovered after the publishing of BDB), suggests the existence of this root. The poetic structure of v. 10 also supports the proposal, for the form in question is in synonymous parallelism to יָרֵא (yare’, “fear”).

2 tn The “right hand” is a symbol of the Lord’s power to deliver (Exod 15:6, 12) and protect (Ps 63:9 HT [63:8 ET]). Here צֶדֶק (tsedeq) has its well-attested nuance of “vindicated righteousness,” i.e., “victory, deliverance” (see 45:8; 51:5, and BDB 841-42 s.v.).

3 tn Heb “the men of your strife”; NASB “those who contend with you.”

4 tn Heb “like nothing”; NAB “come to nought.”

5 tn Heb “the men of your struggle”; NASB “those who quarrel with you.”

6 tn Heb “the men of your battle”; NAB “who do battle with you.”

7 tn Heb “O worm Jacob” (NAB, NIV). The worm metaphor suggests that Jacob is insignificant and despised.

8 tn On the basis of the parallelism (note “worm”) and an alleged Akkadian cognate, some read “louse” or “weevil.” Cf. NAB “O maggot Israel”; NRSV “you insect Israel.”

9 tn Heb “your kinsman redeemer.” A גָּאַל (gaal, “kinsman redeemer”) was a protector of the extended family’s interests.

10 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.



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