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Isaiah 46:1-2

Context
The Lord Carries His People

46:1 Bel 1  kneels down,

Nebo 2  bends low.

Their images weigh down animals and beasts. 3 

Your heavy images are burdensome to tired animals. 4 

46:2 Together they bend low and kneel down;

they are unable to rescue the images; 5 

they themselves 6  head off into captivity. 7 

Isaiah 46:6-8

Context

46:6 Those who empty out gold from a purse

and weigh out silver on the scale 8 

hire a metalsmith, who makes it into a god.

They then bow down and worship it.

46:7 They put it on their shoulder and carry it;

they put it in its place and it just stands there;

it does not 9  move from its place.

Even when someone cries out to it, it does not reply;

it does not deliver him from his distress.

46:8 Remember this, so you can be brave! 10 

Think about it, you rebels! 11 

1 sn Bel was the name of a Babylonian god. The name was originally associated with Enlil, but later was applied to Marduk. See HALOT 132 s.v. בֵּל.

2 sn Nebo is a variation of the name of the Babylonian god Nabu.

3 tn Heb “their images belong to animals and beasts”; NIV “their idols are borne by beasts of burden”; NLT “are being hauled away.”

4 tn Heb “your loads are carried [as] a burden by a weary [animal].”

5 tn Heb “[the] burden,” i.e., their images, the heavy burden carried by the animals.

6 tn נַפְשָׁם (nafsham, “their souls/lives”) is equivalent here to a third masculine plural suffix, but the third feminine singular verb הָלָכָה (halakhah, “they go”) agrees with the feminine noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul, life”).

7 sn The downfall of Babylon is depicted here. The idols are carried off by the victorious enemy; the gods are likened to defeated captives who cower before the enemy and are taken into exile.

8 tn Heb “the reed,” probably referring to the beam of a scales. See BDB 889 s.v. קָנֶה 4.c.

9 tn Or perhaps, “cannot,” here and in the following two lines. The imperfect forms can indicate capability.

10 tn The meaning of the verb אָשַׁשׁ (’ashash, which appears here in the Hitpolel stem) is uncertain. BDB 84 s.v. אשׁשׁ relates it to a root meaning “found, establish” in Arabic; HALOT 100 s.v. II אשׁשׁ gives the meaning “pluck up courage.” The imperative with vav (ו) may indicate purpose following the preceding imperative.

11 tn Heb “return [it], rebels, to heart”; NRSV “recall it to mind, you transgressors.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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