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Isaiah 55:8-11

Context

55:8 “Indeed, 1  my plans 2  are not like 3  your plans,

and my deeds 4  are not like 5  your deeds,

55:9 for just as the sky 6  is higher than the earth,

so my deeds 7  are superior to 8  your deeds

and my plans 9  superior to your plans.

55:10 10 The rain and snow fall from the sky

and do not return,

but instead water the earth

and make it produce and yield crops,

and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat.

55:11 In the same way, the promise that I make

does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. 11 

No, it is realized as I desire

and is fulfilled as I intend.” 12 

1 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV).

2 tn Or “thoughts” (so many English versions).

3 tn Heb “are not.” “Like” is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.

4 tn Heb “ways” (so many English versions).

5 tn Heb “are not.” “Like” is interpretive, but v. 9 indicates that a comparison is in view.

6 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

7 tn Heb “ways” (so many English versions).

8 tn Heb “are higher than.”

9 tn Or “thoughts” (so many English versions).

10 tn This verse begins in the Hebrew text with כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר (ki kaasher, “for, just as”), which is completed by כֵּן (ken, “so, in the same way”) at the beginning of v. 11. For stylistic reasons, this lengthy sentence is divided up into separate sentences in the translation.

11 tn Heb “so is the word which goes out from my mouth, it does not return to empty.” “Word” refers here to divine promises, like the ones made just prior to and after this (see vv. 7b, 12-13).

12 tn Heb “but it accomplishes what I desire, and succeeds [on the mission] which I send it.”

sn Verses 8-11 focus on the reliability of the divine word and support the promises before (vv. 3-5, 7b) and after (vv. 12-13) this. Israel can be certain that repentance will bring forgiveness and a new covenantal relationship because God’s promises are reliable. In contrast to human plans (or “thoughts”), which are destined to fail (Ps 94:11) apart from divine approval (Prov 19:21), and human deeds (or “ways”), which are evil and lead to destruction (Prov 1:15-19; 3:31-33; 4:19), God’s plans are realized and his deeds accomplish something positive.



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