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Isaiah 9:14-17

Context

9:14 So the Lord cut off Israel’s head and tail,

both the shoots and stalk 1  in one day.

9:15 The leaders and the highly respected people 2  are the head,

the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

9:16 The leaders of this nation were misleading people,

and the people being led were destroyed. 3 

9:17 So the sovereign master was not pleased 4  with their young men,

he took no pity 5  on their orphans and widows;

for the whole nation was godless 6  and did wicked things, 7 

every mouth was speaking disgraceful words. 8 

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again. 9 

1 sn The metaphor in this line is that of a reed being cut down.

2 tn Heb “the elder and the one lifted up with respect to the face.” For another example of the Hebrew idiom, see 2 Kgs 5:1.

3 tn Heb “and the ones being led were swallowed up.” Instead of taking מְבֻלָּעִים (mÿbullaim) from בָּלַע (bala’, “to swallow”), HALOT 134 s.v. בלע proposes a rare homonymic root בלע (“confuse”) here.

4 tn The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has לא יחמול (“he did not spare”) which is an obvious attempt to tighten the parallelism (note “he took no pity” in the next line). Instead of taking שָׂמַח (samakh) in one of its well attested senses (“rejoice over, be pleased with”), some propose, with support from Arabic, a rare homonymic root meaning “be merciful.”

5 tn The translation understands the prefixed verbs יִשְׂמַח (yismakh) and יְרַחֵם (yÿrakhem) as preterites without vav (ו) consecutive. (See v. 11 and the note on “he stirred up.”)

6 tn Or “defiled”; cf. ASV “profane”; NAB “profaned”; NIV “ungodly.”

7 tn מֵרַע (mera’) is a Hiphil participle from רָעַע (raa’, “be evil”). The intransitive Hiphil has an exhibitive force here, indicating that they exhibited outwardly the evidence of an inward condition by committing evil deeds.

8 tn Or “foolishness” (NASB), here in a moral-ethical sense.

9 tn Heb “in all this his anger is not turned, and still his hand is outstretched.”

sn See the note at 9:12.



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