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Isaiah 3:8-15

Context

3:8 Jerusalem certainly stumbles,

Judah falls,

for their words and their actions offend the Lord; 1 

they rebel against his royal authority. 2 

3:9 The look on their faces 3  testifies to their guilt; 4 

like the people of Sodom they openly boast of their sin. 5 

Too bad for them! 6 

For they bring disaster on themselves.

3:10 Tell the innocent 7  it will go well with them, 8 

for they will be rewarded for what they have done. 9 

3:11 Too bad for the wicked sinners!

For they will get exactly what they deserve. 10 

3:12 Oppressors treat my 11  people cruelly;

creditors rule over them. 12 

My people’s leaders mislead them;

they give you confusing directions. 13 

3:13 The Lord takes his position to judge;

he stands up to pass sentence on his people. 14 

3:14 The Lord comes to pronounce judgment

on the leaders of his people and their officials.

He says, 15  “It is you 16  who have ruined 17  the vineyard! 18 

You have stashed in your houses what you have stolen from the poor. 19 

3:15 Why do you crush my people

and grind the faces of the poor?” 20 

The sovereign Lord who commands armies 21  has spoken.

1 tn Heb “for their tongue and their deeds [are] to the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “to rebel [against] the eyes of his majesty.” The word כָּבוֹד (kavod) frequently refers to the Lord’s royal splendor that is an outward manifestation of his authority as king.

3 sn This refers to their proud, arrogant demeanor.

4 tn Heb “answers against them”; NRSV “bears witness against them.”

5 tn Heb “their sin, like Sodom, they declare, they do not conceal [it].”

6 tn Heb “woe to their soul.”

7 tn Or “the righteous” (KJV, NASB, NIV, TEV); NLT “those who are godly.”

8 tn Heb “that it is good.”

9 tn Heb “for the fruit of their deeds they will eat.”

10 tn Heb “for the work of his hands will be done to him.”

11 sn This may refer to the prophet or to the Lord.

12 tc The Hebrew text appears to read literally, “My people, his oppressors, he deals severely, and women rule over them.” The correct text and precise meaning of the verse are debated. The translation above assumes (1) an emendation of נֹגְשָׂיו (nogÿsayv, “his oppressors”) to נֹגְשִׂים (nogÿshim, “oppressors”) by moving the mem (ם) on the following form to the end of the word and dropping the vav (ו) as virtually dittographic; (2) an emendation of מְעוֹלֵל (mÿolel, a singular participle that does not agree with the preceding plural subject) to עֹלְלוּ (’olÿlu), a third plural Poel perfect from עָלַל (’alal, “deal severely”; note that the following form begins with a vav [ו]; the text may be haplographic or misdivided); and (3) an emendation (with support from the LXX) of נָשִׁים (nashim, “women”) to נֹשִׁים (noshim, “creditors”; a participle from נָשַׁא, nasa’). Another option is to emend מְעוֹלֵל to עוֹלְלִים (’olÿlim, “children”) and read, “My people’s oppressors are children; women rule over them.” In this case the point is the same as in v. 4; the leadership void left by the judgment will be filled by those incompetent to lead the community – children and women. (The text reflects the ancient Israelite patriarchal mindset.)

13 tn Heb “and the way of your paths they confuse.” The verb בָּלַע (bala’, “confuse”; HALOT 135 s.v. I בלע) is a homonym of the more common בָּלַע (“swallow”; see HALOT 134 s.v. בלע).

14 tc The Hebrew text has “nations,” but the preceding and following contexts make it clear that the Lord is judging his covenant people. עָמִים (’amim) should be changed (with support from the LXX) to עמו. The final mem (ם) on the form in the Hebrew is either dittographic or enclitic. When the mem was added or read as a plural ending, the vav (ו) was then misread as a yod (י).

15 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

16 tn The pronominal element is masculine plural; the leaders are addressed.

17 tn The verb בָּעַר (baar, “graze, ruin”; HALOT 146 s.v. II בער) is a homonym of the more common בָּעַר (baar, “burn”; see HALOT 145 s.v. I בער).

18 sn The vineyard is a metaphor for the nation here. See 5:1-7.

19 tn Heb “the plunder of the poor [is] in your houses” (so NASB).

20 sn The rhetorical question expresses the Lord’s outrage at what the leaders have done to the poor. He finds it almost unbelievable that they would have the audacity to treat his people in this manner.

21 tn Heb “the master, the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].” On the title “the Lord who commands armies,” see the note at 1:9.

sn The use of this title, which also appears in v. 1, forms an inclusio around vv. 1-15. The speech begins and ends with a reference to “the master, the Lord who commands armies.”



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