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Isaiah 44:1-8

Context
The Lord Will Renew Israel

44:1 “Now, listen, Jacob my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen!”

44:2 This is what the Lord, the one who made you, says –

the one who formed you in the womb and helps you:

“Don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob,

Jeshurun, 1  whom I have chosen!

44:3 For I will pour water on the parched ground 2 

and cause streams to flow 3  on the dry land.

I will pour my spirit on your offspring

and my blessing on your children.

44:4 They will sprout up like a tree in the grass, 4 

like poplars beside channels of water.

44:5 One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’

and another will use 5  the name ‘Jacob.’

One will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’

and use the name ‘Israel.’” 6 

The Absurdity of Idolatry

44:6 This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says,

their protector, 7  the Lord who commands armies:

“I am the first and I am the last,

there is no God but me.

44:7 Who is like me? Let him make his claim! 8 

Let him announce it and explain it to me –

since I established an ancient people – 9 

let them announce future events! 10 

44:8 Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid! 11 

Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it?

You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me?

There is no other sheltering rock; 12  I know of none.

1 sn Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel; it occurs here and in Deut 32:15; 33:5, 26.

2 tn Heb “the thirsty.” Parallelism suggests that dry ground is in view (see “dry land” in the next line.)

3 tn Heb “and streams”; KJV “floods.” The verb “cause…to flow” is supplied in the second line for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

4 tn The Hebrew term בֵין (ven) is usually taken as a preposition, in which case one might translate, “among the grass.” But בֵין is probably the name of a tree (cf. C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 133). If one alters the preposition bet (בְּ) to kaf (כְּ), one can then read, “like a binu-tree.” (The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa supports this reading.) This forms a nice parallel to “like poplars” in the next line. חָצִיר (khatsir) is functioning as an adverbial accusative of location.

5 tn The Hebrew text has a Qal verb form, “and another will call by the name of Jacob.” With support from Symmachus (an ancient Greek textual witness), some read the Niphal, “and another will be called by the name of Jacob.”

6 tn Heb “and by the name of Israel he will title.” Some, with support from several ancient versions, prefer to change the Piel (active) verb form to a Pual (passive), “and he will be titled by the name of Israel.”

7 tn Heb “his kinsman redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

8 tn Heb “let him call” or “let him proclaim” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “Let him stand up and speak.”

9 tc The Hebrew text reads, “from (the time) I established an ancient people, and the coming things.” Various emendations have been proposed. One of the options assumes the reading מַשְׁמִיעִים מֵעוֹלָם אוֹתִיּוֹת (mashmiim meolamotiyyot); This literally reads “the ones causing to hear from antiquity coming things,” but more idiomatically would read “as for those who predict from antiquity what will happen” (cf. NAB, NEB, REB). The emendation directs the attention of the reader to those who claim to be able to predict the future, challenging them to actually do what they claim they can do. The MT presents Yahweh as an example to whom these alleged “predictors of the future” can compare themselves. Since the ancient versions are unanimous in their support of the MT, the emendations should be set aside.

10 tn Heb and those things which are coming let them declare for themselves.”

11 tn BDB 923 s.v. רָהָה derives this verb from an otherwise unattested root, while HALOT 403 s.v. יָרָה defines it as “be stupefied” on the basis of an Arabic cognate. The form is likely a corruption of תיראו, the reading attested in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.

12 tn Heb “rock” or “rocky cliff,” a title that depicts God as a protective refuge in his role as sovereign king; thus the translation “sheltering rock.”



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