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Isaiah 42:8-17

Context
The Lord Intervenes

42:8 I am the Lord! That is my name!

I will not share my glory with anyone else,

or the praise due me with idols.

42:9 Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; 1 

now I announce new events.

Before they begin to occur,

I reveal them to you.” 2 

42:10 Sing to the Lord a brand new song!

Praise him 3  from the horizon of the earth,

you who go down to the sea, and everything that lives in it, 4 

you coastlands 5  and those who live there!

42:11 Let the desert and its cities shout out,

the towns where the nomads of Kedar live!

Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully;

let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.

42:12 Let them give the Lord the honor he deserves; 6 

let them praise his deeds in the coastlands. 7 

42:13 The Lord emerges like a hero,

like a warrior he inspires himself for battle; 8 

he shouts, yes, he yells,

he shows his enemies his power. 9 

42:14 “I have been inactive 10  for a long time;

I kept quiet and held back.

Like a woman in labor I groan;

I pant and gasp. 11 

42:15 I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up; 12 

I will dry up all their vegetation.

I will turn streams into islands, 13 

and dry up pools of water. 14 

42:16 I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; 15 

I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. 16 

I will turn the darkness in front of them into light,

and level out the rough ground. 17 

This is what I will do for them.

I will not abandon them.

42:17 Those who trust in idols

will turn back and be utterly humiliated, 18 

those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’”

1 tn Heb “the former things, look, they have come.”

2 tn Heb “before they sprout up, I cause you to hear.” The pronoun “you” is plural, referring to the people of Israel. In this verse “the former things” are the Lord’s earlier predictive oracles which have come to pass, while “the new things” are predicted events that have not yet begun to take place. “The former things” are earlier events in Israel’s history which God announced beforehand, such as the Exodus (see 43:16-18). “The new things” are the predictions about the servant (42:1-7). and may also include Cyrus’ conquests (41:25-27).

3 tn Heb “his praise.” The phrase stands parallel to “new song” in the previous line.

4 tn Heb “and its fullness”; NASB, NIV “and all that is in it.”

5 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV); NLT “distant coastlands.”

6 tn Heb “Let them ascribe to the Lord glory.”

7 tn Heb “and his praise in the coastlands [or “islands”] let them declare.”

8 tn Heb “like a man of war he stirs up zeal” (NIV similar).

9 tn Or perhaps, “he triumphs over his enemies” (cf. NIV); NLT “will crush all his enemies.”

10 tn Heb “silent” (so NASB, NIV, TEV, NLT); CEV “have held my temper.”

11 sn The imagery depicts the Lord as a warrior who is eager to fight and can no longer hold himself back from the attack.

12 tn Heb “I will dry up the mountains and hills.” The “mountains and hills” stand by synecdoche for the trees that grow on them. Some prefer to derive the verb from a homonymic root and translate, “I will lay waste.”

13 tc The Hebrew text reads, “I will turn streams into coastlands [or “islands”].” Scholars who believe that this reading makes little sense have proposed an emendation of אִיִּים (’iyyim, “islands”) to צִיּוֹת (tsiyyot, “dry places”; cf. NCV, NLT, TEV). However, since all the versions support the MT reading, there is insufficient grounds for an emendation here. Although the imagery of changing rivers into islands is somewhat strange, J. N. Oswalt describes this imagery against the backdrop of rivers of the Near East. The receding of these rivers at times occasioned the appearance of previously submerged islands (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:126).

14 sn The imagery of this verse, which depicts the Lord bringing a curse of infertility to the earth, metaphorically describes how the Lord will destroy his enemies.

15 tn Heb “a way they do not know” (so NASB); NRSV “a road they do not know.”

16 tn Heb “in paths they do not know I will make them walk.”

17 tn Heb “and the rough ground into a level place.”

18 tn Heb “be ashamed with shame”; ASV, NASB “be utterly put to shame.”



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