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Isaiah 8:7-8

Context
8:7 So look, the sovereign master 1  is bringing up against them the turbulent and mighty waters of the Euphrates River 2  – the king of Assyria and all his majestic power. It will reach flood stage and overflow its banks. 3  8:8 It will spill into Judah, flooding and engulfing, as it reaches to the necks of its victims. He will spread his wings out over your entire land, 4  O Immanuel.” 5 

Isaiah 30:27-28

Context

30:27 Look, the name 6  of the Lord comes from a distant place

in raging anger and awesome splendor. 7 

He speaks angrily

and his word is like destructive fire. 8 

30:28 His battle cry overwhelms like a flooding river 9 

that reaches one’s neck.

He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; 10 

he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction. 11 

1 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

2 tn Heb “the mighty and abundant waters of the river.” The referent of “the river” here, the Euphrates River, has been specified in the translation for clarity. As the immediately following words indicate, these waters symbolize the Assyrian king and his armies which will, as it were, inundate the land.

3 tn Heb “it will go up over all its stream beds and go over all its banks.”

4 tn Heb “and the spreading out of his wings [will be over] the fullness of the breadth of your land.” The metaphor changes here from raging flood to predatory bird.

5 sn The appearance of the name Immanuel (“God is with us”) is ironic at this point, for God is present with his people in judgment. Immanuel is addressed here as if he has already been born and will see the judgment occur. This makes excellent sense if his birth has just been recorded. There are several reasons for considering Immanuel and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz one and the same. 8:3 is a birth account which could easily be understood as recording the fulfillment of the birth prophecy of 7:14. The presence of a formal record/witnesses (8:1-2) suggests a sign function for the child (cf. 7:14). As in 7:14-16, the removal of Judah’s enemies would take place before the child reached a specified age (cf. 8:4). Both 7:17-25 and 8:7-8 speak of an Assyrian invasion of Judah which would follow the defeat of Israel/Syria. The major objection to this view is the fact that different names appear, but such a phenomenon is not without parallel in the OT (cf. Gen 35:18). The name Immanuel may emphasize the basic fact of God’s presence, while the name Maher focuses on the specific nature of God’s involvement. In 7:14 the mother is viewed as naming the child, while in 8:3 Isaiah is instructed to give the child’s name, but one might again point to Gen 35:18 for a precedent. The sign child’s age appears to be different in 8:4 than in 7:15-16, but 7:15-16 pertains to the judgment on Judah, as well as the defeat of Israel/Syria (cf. vv. 17-25), while 8:4 deals only with the downfall of Israel/Syria. Some argue that the suffixed form “your land” in 8:8 points to a royal referent (a child of Ahaz or the Messiah), but usage elsewhere shows that the phrase does not need to be so restricted. While the suffix can refer to the king of a land (cf. Num 20:17; 21:22; Deut 2:27; Judg 11:17, 19; 2 Sam 24:13; 1 Kgs 11:22; Isa 14:20), it can also refer to one who is a native of a particular land (cf. Gen 12:1; 32:9; Jonah 1:8). (See also the use of “his land” in Isa 13:14 [where the suffix refers to a native of a land] and 37:7 [where it refers to a king].)

6 sn The “name” of the Lord sometimes stands by metonymy for the Lord himself, see Exod 23:21; Lev 24:11; Pss 54:1 (54:3 HT); 124:8. In Isa 30:27 the point is that he reveals that aspect of his character which his name suggests – he comes as Yahweh (“he is present”), the ever present helper of his people who annihilates their enemies and delivers them. The name “Yahweh” originated in a context where God assured a fearful Moses that he would be with him as he confronted Pharaoh and delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. See Exod 3.

7 tn Heb “his anger burns, and heaviness of elevation.” The meaning of the phrase “heaviness of elevation” is unclear, for מַשָּׂאָה (masaah, “elevation”) occurs only here. Some understand the term as referring to a cloud (elevated above the earth’s surface), in which case one might translate, “and in heavy clouds” (cf. NAB “with lowering clouds”). Others relate the noun to מָשָׂא (masa’, “burden”) and interpret it as a reference to judgment. In this case one might translate, “and with severe judgment.” The present translation assumes that the noun refers to his glory and that “heaviness” emphasizes its degree.

8 tn Heb “his lips are full of anger, and his tongue is like consuming fire.” The Lord’s lips and tongue are used metonymically for his word (or perhaps his battle cry; see v. 31).

9 tn Heb “his breath is like a flooding river.” This might picture the Lord breathing heavily as he runs down his enemy, but in light of the preceding verse, which mentions his lips and tongue, “breath” probably stands metonymically for the word or battle cry that he expels from his mouth as he shouts. In Isa 34:16 and Ps 33:6 the Lord’s “breath” is associated with his command.

10 tn Heb “shaking nations in a sieve of worthlessness.” It is not certain exactly how שָׁוְא (shavÿ’, “emptiness, worthlessness”) modifies “sieve.” A sieve is used to separate grain from chaff and isolate what is worthless so that it might be discarded. Perhaps the nations are likened to such chaff; God’s judgment will sift them out for destruction.

11 tn Heb “and a bit that leads astray [is] in the jaws of the peoples.” Here the nations are likened to horse that can be controlled by a bit placed in its mouth. In this case the Lord uses his sovereign control over the “horse” to lead it to its demise.



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