7:8 For Syria’s leader is Damascus,
and the leader of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation. 1
7:9 Ephraim’s leader is Samaria,
and Samaria’s leader is the son of Remaliah.
If your faith does not remain firm,
then you will not remain secure.” 2
1 tn Heb “Ephraim will be too shattered to be a nation”; NIV “to be a people.”
sn This statement is problematic for several reasons. It seems to intrude stylistically, interrupting the symmetry of the immediately preceding and following lines. Furthermore, such a long range prophecy lacks punch in the midst of the immediate crisis. After all, even if Israel were destroyed sometime within the next 65 years, a lot could still happen during that time, including the conquest of Judah and the demise of the Davidic family. Finally the significance of the time frame is uncertain. Israel became an Assyrian province within the next 15 years and ceased to exist as a nation. For these reasons many regard the statement as a later insertion, but why a later editor would include the reference to “65 years” remains a mystery. Some try to relate the prophecy to the events alluded to in Ezra 4:2, 10, which refers to how the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal settled foreigners in former Israelite territory, perhaps around 670
2 tn Heb “if you do not believe, you will not endure.” The verb forms are second plural; the Lord here addresses the entire Davidic family and court. (Verse 4 was addressed to the king.) There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text, designed to draw attention to the alternatives set before the king (cf. 1:20). “Believe” (תַאֳמִינוּ, ta’aminu) is a Hiphil form of the verb אָמָן (’aman); “endure” (תֵאָמֵנוּ, te’amenu) is a Niphal form of this same verb.