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Isaiah 8:1-4

Context
A Sign-Child is Born

8:1 The Lord told me, “Take a large tablet 1  and inscribe these words 2  on it with an ordinary stylus: 3  ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.’ 4  8:2 Then I will summon 5  as my reliable witnesses Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah.” 8:3 I then had sexual relations with the prophetess; she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord told me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, 8:4 for before the child knows how to cry out, ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria 6  will be carried off by the king of Assyria.” 7 

1 sn Probably made of metal, wood, or leather. See HALOT 193 s.v. גִּלָּיוֹן.

2 tn Heb “write” (so KJV, ASV, NIV, NRSV).

3 tn Heb “with the stylus of a man.” The significance of the qualifying genitive “a man” is uncertain. For various interpretations see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:219, n. 1.

4 tn Heb “quickly, [the] plunder; it hurries, [the] loot.” The first word (מַהֵר, maher) is either a Piel imperative (“hurry [to]”) or infinitive (“hurrying,” or “quickly”). The third word (חָשׁ, khash) is either a third masculine singular perfect or a masculine singular participle, in either case from the root חוּשׁ (khush, “hurry”). Perhaps it is best to translate, “One hastens to the plunder, one hurries to the loot.” In this case מַהֵר is understood as an infinitive functioning as a verb, the subject of חוּשׁ is taken as indefinite, and the two nouns are understood as adverbial accusatives. As we discover in v. 3, this is the name of the son to be born to Isaiah through the prophetess.

5 tn The form in the text is a cohortative with prefixed vav (ו), suggesting that the Lord is announcing what he will do. Some prefer to change the verb to an imperative, “and summon as witnesses,” a reading that finds support from the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. Another option is to point the prefixed conjunction as a vav consecutive and translate, “So I summoned as witnesses.” In this case Isaiah is recalling his response to the Lord’s commission. In any case, the reference to witnesses suggests that the name and the child who bears it will function as signs.

6 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

7 sn The child’s name foreshadows what will happen to Judah’s enemies; when their defeat takes place, the child will be a reminder that God predicted the event and brought it to pass. As such the child will be a reminder of God’s protective presence with his people.



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