the one beyond the rivers of Cush,
18:2 that sends messengers by sea,
who glide over the water’s surface in boats made of papyrus.
Go, you swift messengers,
to a nation of tall, smooth-skinned people, 4
to a people that are feared far and wide, 5
to a nation strong and victorious, 6
whose land rivers divide. 7
18:3 All you who live in the world,
who reside on the earth,
you will see a signal flag raised on the mountains;
you will hear a trumpet being blown.
18:4 For this is what the Lord has told me:
“I will wait 8 and watch from my place,
like scorching heat produced by the sunlight, 9
18:5 For before the harvest, when the bud has sprouted,
and the ripening fruit appears, 13
he will cut off the unproductive shoots 14 with pruning knives;
he will prune the tendrils. 15
and the wild animals; 17
the birds will eat them during the summer,
and all the wild animals will eat them during the winter.
18:7 At that time
tribute will be brought to the Lord who commands armies,
by a people that are tall and smooth-skinned,
a people that are feared far and wide,
a nation strong and victorious,
whose land rivers divide. 18
20:1 The Lord revealed the following message during the year in which King Sargon of Assyria sent his commanding general to Ashdod, and he fought against it and captured it. 21 20:2 At that time the Lord announced through 22 Isaiah son of Amoz: “Go, remove the sackcloth from your waist and take your sandals off your feet.” He did as instructed and walked around in undergarments 23 and barefoot. 20:3 Later the Lord explained, “In the same way that my servant Isaiah has walked around in undergarments and barefoot for the past three years, as an object lesson and omen pertaining to Egypt and Cush, 20:4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, both young and old. They will be in undergarments and barefoot, with the buttocks exposed; the Egyptians will be publicly humiliated. 24 20:5 Those who put their hope in Cush and took pride in Egypt will be afraid and embarrassed. 25 20:6 At that time 26 those who live on this coast 27 will say, ‘Look what has happened to our source of hope to whom we fled for help, expecting to be rescued from the king of Assyria! How can we escape now?’”
you who have not been destroyed!
The deceitful one is as good as dead, 29
the one whom others have not deceived!
When you are through destroying, you will be destroyed;
when you finish 30 deceiving, others will deceive you!
33:2 Lord, be merciful to us! We wait for you.
Give us strength each morning! 31
Deliver us when distress comes. 32
the nations scatter when you spring into action! 34
they swarm over it like locusts! 37
he fills Zion with justice and fairness.
he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; 42
he gives all this to those who fear him. 43
messengers sent to make peace 45 weep bitterly.
there are no travelers. 47
Treaties are broken, 48
witnesses are despised, 49
human life is treated with disrespect. 50
the forest of Lebanon shrivels up 53 and decays.
33:10 “Now I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“Now I will exalt myself;
now I will magnify myself. 58
you give birth to chaff;
your breath is a fire that destroys you. 60
like thorn bushes that have been cut down, they will be set on fire.
33:13 You who are far away, listen to what I have done!
You who are close by, recognize my strength!”
33:14 Sinners are afraid in Zion;
They say, 64 ‘Who among us can coexist with destructive fire?
Who among us can coexist with unquenchable 65 fire?’
and speaks honestly;
the one who refuses to profit from oppressive measures
and rejects a bribe; 68
the one who does not plot violent crimes 69
and does not seek to harm others 70 –
he will find safety in the rocky, mountain strongholds; 72
he will have food
and a constant supply of water.
you will see a wide land. 74
and you will ask yourselves, 76 “Where is the scribe?
Where is the one who weighs the money?
Where is the one who counts the towers?” 77
whose language you do not comprehend, 79
whose derisive speech you do not understand. 80
33:20 Look at Zion, the city where we hold religious festivals!
a peaceful settlement,
a tent that stays put; 83
its stakes will never be pulled up;
none of its ropes will snap in two.
Rivers and wide streams will flow through it; 85
no war galley will enter; 86
no large ships will sail through. 87
33:22 For the Lord, our ruler,
the Lord, our commander,
the Lord, our king –
he will deliver us.
the mast is not secured, 89
and the sail 90 is not unfurled,
at that time you will divide up a great quantity of loot; 91
even the lame will drag off plunder. 92
the people who live there will have their sin forgiven.
1 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
sn The significance of the qualifying phrase “buzzing wings” is uncertain. Some suggest that the designation points to Cush as a land with many insects. Another possibility is that it refers to the swiftness with which this land’s messengers travel (v. 2a); they move over the sea as swiftly as an insect flies through the air. For a discussion of the options, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:359-60.
4 tn The precise meaning of the qualifying terms is uncertain. מְמֻשָּׁךְ (mÿmushakh) appears to be a Pual participle from the verb מָשַׁךְ (mashakh, “to draw, extend”). Lexicographers theorize that it here refers to people who “stretch out,” as it were, or are tall. See BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ, and HALOT 645-46 s.v. משׁךְ. מוֹרָט (morat) is taken as a Pual participle from מָרַט (marat), which can mean “to pull out [hair],” in the Qal, “become bald” in the Niphal, and “be wiped clean” in the Pual. Lexicographers theorize that the word here refers to people with bare, or smooth, skin. See BDB 598-99 s.v. מָרַט, and HALOT 634-35 s.v. מרט. These proposed meanings, which are based on etymological speculation, must be regarded as tentative.
5 tn Heb “from it and onwards.” HALOT 245 s.v. הָלְאָה suggests the translation “far and wide.”
6 tn Once more the precise meaning of the qualifying terms is uncertain. The expression קַו־קָו (qav-qav) is sometimes related to a proposed Arabic cognate and taken to mean “strength” (see BDB 876 II קַו). Others, on the basis of Isa 28:10, 13, understand the form as gibberish (literally, “kav, kav”) and take it to be a reference to this nation’s strange, unknown language. The form מְבוּסָה (mÿvusah) appears to be derived from בּוּס (bus, “to trample”), so lexicographers suggest the meaning “trampling” or “subjugation,” i.e., a nation that subdues others. See BDB 101 s.v. בּוּס and HALOT 541 s.v. מְבוּסָה. These proposals, which are based on etymological speculation, must be regarded as tentative.
7 tn The precise meaning of the verb בָּזָא (baza’), which occurs only in this oracle (see also v. 7) in the OT, is uncertain. BDB 102 s.v. suggests “divide” on the basis of alleged Aramaic and Arabic cognates; HALOT 117 s.v., citing an alleged Arabic cognate, suggests “wash away.”
8 tn Or “be quiet, inactive”; NIV “will remain quiet.”
9 tn Heb “like the glowing heat because of light.” The precise meaning of the line is uncertain.
10 tn Heb “a cloud of dew,” or “a cloud of light rain.”
11 tc Some medieval Hebrew
12 sn It is unclear how the comparisons in v. 4b relate to the preceding statement. How is waiting and watching similar to heat or a cloud? For a discussion of interpretive options, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:362.
13 tn Heb “and the unripe, ripening fruit is maturing.”
14 tn On the meaning of זַלְזַל (zalzal, “shoot [of the vine] without fruit buds”) see HALOT 272 s.v. *זַלְזַל.
15 tn Heb “the tendrils he will remove, he will cut off.”
16 tn Heb “they will be left together” (so NASB).
17 tn Heb “the beasts of the earth” (so KJV, NASB).
19 tn The words “the tribute” are repeated here in the translation for clarity.
20 tn Heb “to the place of the name of the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], Mount Zion.”
21 tn Heb “In the year the commanding general came to Ashdod, when Sargon king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and captured it.”
sn This probably refers to the Assyrian campaign against Philistia in 712 or 711
22 tn Heb “spoke by the hand of.”
23 tn The word used here (עָרוֹם, ’arom) sometimes means “naked,” but here it appears to mean simply “lightly dressed,” i.e., stripped to one’s undergarments. See HALOT 883 s.v. עָרוֹם. The term also occurs in vv. 3, 4.
24 tn Heb “lightly dressed and barefoot, and bare with respect to the buttocks, the nakedness of Egypt.”
25 tn Heb “and they will be afraid and embarrassed because of Cush their hope and Egypt their beauty.”
26 tn Heb “in that day” (so KJV).
27 sn This probably refers to the coastal region of Philistia (cf. TEV).
28 tn Heb “Woe [to] the destroyer.”
sn In this context “the destroyer” appears to refer collectively to the hostile nations (vv. 3-4). Assyria would probably have been primary in the minds of the prophet and his audience.
29 tn Heb “and the deceitful one”; NAB, NIV “O traitor”; NRSV “you treacherous one.” In the parallel structure הוֹי (hoy, “woe [to]”) does double duty.
30 tc The form in the Hebrew text appears to derive from an otherwise unattested verb נָלָה (nalah). The translation follows the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa in reading ככלתך, a Piel infinitival form from the verbal root כָּלָה (kalah), meaning “finish.”
31 tn Heb “Be their arm each morning.” “Arm” is a symbol for strength. The mem suffixed to the noun has been traditionally understood as a third person suffix, but this is contrary to the context, where the people speak of themselves in the first person. The mem (מ) is probably enclitic with ellipsis of the pronoun, which can be supplied from the context. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:589, n. 1.
32 tn Heb “[Be] also our deliverance in the time of distress.”
33 tn Heb “at the sound of tumult the nations run away.”
34 tn Heb “because of your exaltation the nations scatter.”
35 tn The pronoun is plural; the statement is addressed to the nations who have stockpiled plunder from their conquests of others.
36 tn Heb “and your plunder is gathered, the gathering of the locust.”
37 tn Heb “like a swarm of locusts swarming on it.”
38 tn Or “elevated”; NCV, NLT “is very great.”
39 tn Or “for” (KJV, NASB, NIV).
40 tn Heb “on high” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “in the heavens.”
41 tn Heb “and he is the stability of your times.”
42 tn Heb “a rich store of deliverance, wisdom, and knowledge.”
43 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord, it is his treasure.”
44 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown. Proposals include “heroes” (cf. KJV, ASV “valiant ones”; NASB, NIV “brave men”); “priests,” “residents [of Jerusalem].” The present translation assumes that the term is synonymous with “messengers of peace,” with which it corresponds in the parallel structure of the verse.
46 tn Or “desolate” (NAB, NASB); NIV, NRSV, NLT “deserted.”
47 tn Heb “the one passing by on the road ceases.”
48 tn Heb “one breaks a treaty”; NAB “Covenants are broken.”
49 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “he despises cities.” The term עָרִים (’arim, “cities”) is probably a corruption of an original עֵדִים (’edim, “[legal] witnesses”), a reading that is preserved in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. Confusion of dalet (ד) and resh (ר) is a well-attested scribal error.
50 tn Heb “he does not regard human beings.”
51 tn Or “earth” (KJV); NAB “the country.”
53 tn Heb “Lebanon is ashamed.” The Hiphil is exhibitive, expressing the idea, “exhibits shame.” In this context the statement alludes to the withering of vegetation.
57 tn Heb “shake off [their leaves]” (so ASV, NRSV); NAB “are stripped bare.”
58 tn Or “lift myself up” (KJV); NLT “show my power and might.”
59 tn The second person verb and pronominal forms in this verse are plural. The hostile nations are the addressed, as the next verse makes clear.
60 sn The hostile nations’ plans to destroy God’s people will come to nothing; their hostility will end up being self-destructive.
62 tn Or “trembling” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “shake with fear.”
63 tn Or “the defiled”; TEV “The sinful people of Zion”; NLT “The sinners in Jerusalem.”
64 tn The words “they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
65 tn Or “perpetual”; or “everlasting” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).
66 tn Heb “walks” (so NASB, NIV).
67 tn Or, possibly, “justly”; NAB “who practices virtue.”
68 tn Heb “[who] shakes off his hands from grabbing hold of a bribe.”
69 tn Heb “[who] shuts his ear from listening to bloodshed.”
70 tn Heb “[who] closes his eyes from seeing evil.”
71 tn Heb “he [in the] exalted places will live.”
72 tn Heb “mountain strongholds, cliffs [will be] his elevated place.”
73 tn Heb “your eyes will see a king in his beauty”; NIV, NRSV “the king.”
74 tn Heb “a land of distances,” i.e., an extensive land.
75 tn Heb “your heart will meditate on terror.”
76 tn The words “and you will ask yourselves” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic reasons.
77 sn The people refer to various Assyrian officials who were responsible for determining the amount of taxation or tribute Judah must pay to the Assyrian king.
78 tn The Hebrew form נוֹעָז (no’az) is a Niphal participle derived from יָעַז (ya’az, an otherwise unattested verb) or from עָזָז (’azaz, “be strong,” unattested elsewhere in the Niphal). Some prefer to emend the form to לוֹעֵז (lo’ez) which occurs in Ps 114:1 with the meaning “speak a foreign language.” See HALOT 809 s.v. עזז, 533 s.v. לעז. In this case, one might translate “people who speak a foreign language.”
79 tn Heb “a people too deep of lip to hear.” The phrase “deep of lip” must be an idiom meaning “lips that speak words that are unfathomable [i.e., incomprehensible].”
81 tn Heb “your eyes” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
83 tn Or “that does not travel”; NASB “which shall not be folded.”
84 tn Heb “But there [as] a mighty one [will be] the Lord for us.”
85 tn Heb “a place of rivers, streams wide of hands [i.e., on both sides].”
86 tn Heb “a ship of rowing will not go into it.”
87 tn Heb “and a mighty ship will not pass through it.”
88 tn The words “though at this time” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first half of the verse is addressed to Judah and contrasts the nation’s present weakness with its future prosperity. Judah is compared to a ship that is incapable of sailing.
89 tn Heb “they do not fasten the base of their mast.” On כֵּן (ken, “base”) see BDB 487 s.v. III כֵּן and HALOT 483 s.v. III כֵּן.
90 tn Or perhaps, “flag.”
91 tn Heb “then there will be divided up loot of plunder [in] abundance.”
92 sn Judah’s victory over its enemies will be so thorough there will be more than enough plunder for everyone, even slow-moving lame men who would normally get left out in the rush to gather the loot.
93 tn The words “of Zion” are supplied in the translation for clarification.