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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 

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.



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