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Isaiah 41:2-3


41:2 Who stirs up this one from the east? 1 

Who 2  officially commissions him for service? 3 

He hands nations over to him, 4 

and enables him to subdue 5  kings.

He makes them like dust with his sword,

like windblown straw with his bow. 6 

41:3 He pursues them and passes by unharmed; 7 

he advances with great speed. 8 

1 sn The expression this one from the east refers to the Persian conqueror Cyrus, as later texts indicate (see 44:28-45:6; 46:11; 48:14-16).

2 tn The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis.

3 tn Heb “[in] righteousness called him to his foot.”

4 tn Heb “he [the Lord] places before him [Cyrus] nations.”

5 tn The verb יַרְדְּ (yardÿ) is an otherwise unattested Hiphil form from רָדָה (radah, “rule”). But the Hiphil makes no sense with “kings” as object; one must understand an ellipsis and supply “him” (Cyrus) as the object. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has יוֹרִד (yorid), which appears to be a Hiphil form from יָרַד (yarad, “go down”). Others suggest reading יָרֹד (yarod), a Qal form from רָדַד (radad, “beat down”).

6 sn The point is that they are powerless before Cyrus’ military power and scatter before him.

7 tn Heb “[in] peace”; KJV, ASV “safely”; NASB “in safety”; NIV “unscathed.”

8 tn Heb “a way with his feet he does not come [or “enter”].” One could translate, “by a way he was not [previously] entering with his feet.” This would mean that he is advancing into new territory and expanding his conquests. The present translation assumes this is a hyperbolic description to his speedy advance. He moves so quickly he does not enter the way with his feet, i.e., his feet don’t even touch the ground. See C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 94.

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