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Isaiah 44:6-8

Context
The Absurdity of Idolatry

44:6 This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says,

their protector, 1  the Lord who commands armies:

“I am the first and I am the last,

there is no God but me.

44:7 Who is like me? Let him make his claim! 2 

Let him announce it and explain it to me –

since I established an ancient people – 3 

let them announce future events! 4 

44:8 Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid! 5 

Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it?

You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me?

There is no other sheltering rock; 6  I know of none.

1 tn Heb “his kinsman redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

2 tn Heb “let him call” or “let him proclaim” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “Let him stand up and speak.”

3 tc The Hebrew text reads, “from (the time) I established an ancient people, and the coming things.” Various emendations have been proposed. One of the options assumes the reading מַשְׁמִיעִים מֵעוֹלָם אוֹתִיּוֹת (mashmiim meolamotiyyot); This literally reads “the ones causing to hear from antiquity coming things,” but more idiomatically would read “as for those who predict from antiquity what will happen” (cf. NAB, NEB, REB). The emendation directs the attention of the reader to those who claim to be able to predict the future, challenging them to actually do what they claim they can do. The MT presents Yahweh as an example to whom these alleged “predictors of the future” can compare themselves. Since the ancient versions are unanimous in their support of the MT, the emendations should be set aside.

4 tn Heb and those things which are coming let them declare for themselves.”

5 tn BDB 923 s.v. רָהָה derives this verb from an otherwise unattested root, while HALOT 403 s.v. יָרָה defines it as “be stupefied” on the basis of an Arabic cognate. The form is likely a corruption of תיראו, the reading attested in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.

6 tn Heb “rock” or “rocky cliff,” a title that depicts God as a protective refuge in his role as sovereign king; thus the translation “sheltering rock.”



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