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Isaiah 44:14-20

Context

44:14 He cuts down cedars

and acquires a cypress 1  or an oak.

He gets 2  trees from the forest;

he plants a cedar 3  and the rain makes it grow.

44:15 A man uses it to make a fire; 4 

he takes some of it and warms himself.

Yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.

Then he makes a god and worships it;

he makes an idol and bows down to it. 5 

44:16 Half of it he burns in the fire –

over that half he cooks 6  meat;

he roasts a meal and fills himself.

Yes, he warms himself and says,

‘Ah! I am warm as I look at the fire.’

44:17 With the rest of it he makes a god, his idol;

he bows down to it and worships it.

He prays to it, saying,

‘Rescue me, for you are my god!’

44:18 They do not comprehend or understand,

for their eyes are blind and cannot see;

their minds do not discern. 7 

44:19 No one thinks to himself,

nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves:

‘I burned half of it in the fire –

yes, I baked bread over the coals;

I roasted meat and ate it.

With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol?

Should I bow down to dry wood?’ 8 

44:20 He feeds on ashes; 9 

his deceived mind misleads him.

He cannot rescue himself,

nor does he say, ‘Is this not a false god I hold in my right hand?’ 10 

1 tn It is not certain what type of tree this otherwise unattested noun refers to. Cf. ASV “a holm-tree” (NRSV similar).

2 tn Heb “strengthens for himself,” i.e., “secures for himself” (see BDB 55 s.v. אָמֵץ Pi.2).

3 tn Some prefer to emend אֹרֶן (’oren) to אֶרֶז (’erez, “cedar”), but the otherwise unattested noun appears to have an Akkadian cognate, meaning “cedar.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 44-45. HALOT 90 s.v. I אֹרֶן offers the meaning “laurel.”

4 tn Heb “and it becomes burning [i.e., firewood] for a man”; NAB “to serve man for fuel.”

5 tn Or perhaps, “them.”

6 tn Heb “eats” (so NASB); NAB, NRSV “roasts.”

7 tn Heb “for their eyes are smeared over so they cannot see, so their heart cannot be wise.”

8 tn There is no formal interrogative sign here, but the context seems to indicate these are rhetorical questions. See GKC 473 §150.a.

9 tn Or perhaps, “he eats on an ash heap.”

10 tn Heb “Is it not a lie in my right hand?”



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