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Isaiah 43:22-28

Context
The Lord Rebukes His People

43:22 “But you did not call for me, O Jacob;

you did not long 1  for me, O Israel.

43:23 You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings;

you did not honor me with your sacrifices.

I did not burden you with offerings;

I did not make you weary by demanding 2  incense.

43:24 You did not buy me aromatic reeds; 3 

you did not present to me 4  the fat of your sacrifices.

Yet you burdened me with your sins;

you made me weary with your evil deeds. 5 

43:25 I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake;

your sins I do not remember.

43:26 Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate!

You, prove to me that you are right! 6 

43:27 The father of your nation 7  sinned;

your spokesmen 8  rebelled against me.

43:28 So I defiled your holy princes,

and handed Jacob over to destruction,

and subjected 9  Israel to humiliating abuse.”

1 tn Or “strive”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “been weary of me.”

2 tn Heb “with.” The words “by demanding” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

3 tn That is, “calamus” (so NIV); NCV, TEV, NLT “incense”; CEV “spices.”

4 tn Heb “you did not saturate me”; NASB “Neither have you filled Me.”

5 sn In vv. 22-24 the Lord appears to be condemning his people for failure to bring the proper sacrifices. However, this is problematic. If this refers to the nation’s behavior while in exile, such cultic service was impossible and could hardly be expected by the Lord. If this refers to the nation’s conduct before the exile, it contradicts other passages that depict Israel as bringing excessive sacrifices (see, e.g., Isa 1:11-14; Jer 6:20; Amos 4:4-5, 5:21-23). Rather than being a condemnation of Israel’s failure to bring sacrifices, these verses are better taken as a highly rhetorical comment on the worthlessness of Israel’s religious ritual. They may have brought sacrifices, but not to the Lord, for he did not accept them or even want them. See C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 127, and R. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66 (NCBC), 91.

6 tn Heb “you, tell in order that you may be right”; NAB “prove your innocence.”

7 tn Heb “your first father.” This could refer to Abraham (see 51:2), but elsewhere in Isaiah he does not appear in a negative light (see 29:22; 41:8; 63:16). A more likely candidate is Jacob/Israel, also referred to as the nation’s “father” elsewhere (see 58:14; 63:16).

8 tn On the meaning of the term לִיץ (lits), see HALOT 590 s.v. מֵלִיץ. This may refer to the nation’s prophets, priests, and/or kings.

9 tn The word “subjected” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.



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