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Isaiah 6:4-9

Context
6:4 The sound of their voices shook the door frames, 1  and the temple was filled with smoke.

6:5 I said, “Too bad for me! I am destroyed, 2  for my lips are contaminated by sin, 3  and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. 4  My eyes have seen the king, the Lord who commands armies.” 5  6:6 But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.” 6  6:8 I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?” 7  I answered, “Here I am, send me!” 6:9 He said, “Go and tell these people:

‘Listen continually, but don’t understand!

Look continually, but don’t perceive!’

1 tn On the phrase אַמּוֹת הַסִּפִּים (’ammot hassippim, “pivots of the frames”) see HALOT 763 s.v. סַף.

2 tn Isaiah uses the suffixed (perfect) form of the verb for rhetorical purposes. In this way his destruction is described as occurring or as already completed. Rather than understanding the verb as derived from דָּמַה (damah, “be destroyed”), some take it from a proposed homonymic root דמה, which would mean “be silent.” In this case, one might translate, “I must be silent.”

3 tn Heb “a man unclean of lips am I.” Isaiah is not qualified to praise the king. His lips (the instruments of praise) are “unclean” because he has been contaminated by sin.

4 tn Heb “and among a nation unclean of lips I live.”

5 tn Perhaps in this context, the title has a less militaristic connotation and pictures the Lord as the ruler of the heavenly assembly. See the note at 1:9.

6 tn Or “ritually cleansed,” or “atoned for” (NIV).

7 tn Heb “for us.” The plural pronoun refers to the Lord, the seraphs, and the rest of the heavenly assembly.



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