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Isaiah 8:11-18

Context
The Lord Encourages Isaiah

8:11 Indeed this is what the Lord told me. He took hold of me firmly and warned me not to act like these people: 1 

8:12 “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. 2 

Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.

8:13 You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. 3 

He is the one you must respect;

he is the one you must fear. 4 

8:14 He will become a sanctuary, 5 

but a stone that makes a person trip,

and a rock that makes one stumble –

to the two houses of Israel. 6 

He will become 7  a trap and a snare

to the residents of Jerusalem. 8 

8:15 Many will stumble over the stone and the rock, 9 

and will fall and be seriously injured,

and will be ensnared and captured.”

8:16 Tie up the scroll as legal evidence, 10 

seal the official record of God’s instructions and give it to my followers. 11 

8:17 I will wait patiently for the Lord,

who has rejected the family of Jacob; 12 

I will wait for him.

8:18 Look, I and the sons whom the Lord has given me 13  are reminders and object lessons 14  in Israel, sent from the Lord who commands armies, who lives on Mount Zion.

1 tc Heb “with strength of hand and he warned me from walking in the way of these people, saying.” Some want to change the pointing of the suffix and thereby emend the Qal imperfect יִסְּרֵנִי (yissÿreni, “he was warning me”) to the more common Piel perfect יִסְּרַנִי (yissÿrani, “he warned me”). Others follow the lead of the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and read יְסִירֵנִי (yÿsireni, “he was turning me aside,” a Hiphil imperfect from סוּר, sur).

2 tn Heb “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ with respect to all which these people say, ‘Conspiracy.’” The verb translated “do not say” is second masculine plural, indicating that this exhortation is directed to Isaiah and other followers of the Lord (see v. 16).

sn The background of this command is uncertain. Perhaps the “conspiracy” in view is the alliance between Israel and Syria. Some of the people may even have thought that individuals in Judah were plotting with Israel and Syria to overthrow the king.

3 tn Heb “the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], him you must set apart.” The word order is emphatic, with the object being placed first.

4 tn Heb “he is your [object of] fear, he is your [object of] terror.” The roots יָרֵא (yare’) and עָרַץ (’arats) are repeated from v. 12b.

5 tn Because the metaphor of protection (“sanctuary”) does not fit the negative mood that follows in vv. 14b-15, some contend that מִקְדָּשׁ (miqdash, “sanctuary”) is probably a corruption of an original מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “snare”), a word that appears in the next line (cf. NAB and H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:355-56). If the MT reading is retained (as in the above translation), the fact that Yahweh is a sanctuary wraps up the point of v. 13 and stands in contrast to God’s treatment of those who rebel against him (the rest of v. 14).

6 sn The two “houses” of Israel (= the patriarch Jacob) are the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

7 tn These words are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. וְהָיָה (vÿhayah, “and he will be”) does double duty in the parallel structure of the verse.

8 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

9 tn Heb “over them” (so NASB); NCV “over this rock.”

10 tn Heb “tie up [the] testimony.” The “testimony” probably refers to the prophetic messages God has given him. When the prophecies are fulfilled, he will be able to produce this official, written record to confirm the authenticity of his ministry and to prove to the people that God is sovereign over events.

11 tn Heb “seal [the] instruction among my followers.” The “instruction” probably refers to the prophet’s exhortations and warnings. When the people are judged for the sins, the prophet can produce these earlier messages and essentially say, “I told you so.” In this way he can authenticate his ministry and impress upon the people the reality of God’s authority over them.

12 tn Heb “who hides his face from the house of Jacob.”

13 sn This refers to Shear-jashub (7:3) and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:1, 3).

14 tn Or “signs and portents” (NAB, NRSV). The names of all three individuals has symbolic value. Isaiah’s name (which meant “the Lord delivers”) was a reminder that the Lord was the nation’s only source of protection; Shear-jashub’s name was meant, at least originally, to encourage Ahaz (see the note at 7:3), and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’s name was a guarantee that God would defeat Israel and Syria (see the note at 8:4). The word מוֹפֶת (mofet, “portent”) can often refer to some miraculous event, but in 20:3 it is used, along with its synonym אוֹת (’ot, “sign”) of Isaiah’s walking around half-naked as an object lesson of what would soon happen to the Egyptians.



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