the withering flower, its beautiful splendor, 2
situated 3 at the head of a rich valley,
the crown of those overcome with wine. 4
40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
Another asks, 5 “What should I cry out?”
and all their promises 8 are like the flowers in the field.
1 tn Heb “Woe [to] the crown [or “wreath”] of the splendor [or “pride”] of the drunkards of Ephraim.” The “crown” is Samaria, the capital city of the northern kingdom (Ephraim). Priests and prophets are included among these drunkards in v. 7.
2 tn Heb “the beauty of his splendor.” In the translation the masculine pronoun (“his”) has been replaced by “its” because the referent (the “crown”) is the city of Samaria.
3 tn Heb “which [is].”
4 tn Heb “ones overcome with wine.” The words “the crown of” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The syntactical relationship of the final phrase to what precedes is uncertain. הֲלוּמֵי יָיִן (halume yayin, “ones overcome with wine”) seems to correspond to שִׁכֹּרֵי אֶפְרַיִם (shikkore ’efrayim, “drunkards of Ephraim”) in line 1. The translation assumes that the phrase “the splendid crown” is to be understood in the final line as well.
5 tn Heb “and he says.” Apparently a second “voice” responds to the command of the first “voice.”
6 tn The words “the first voice responds” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first voice tells the second one what to declare.
8 tn Heb “and all his loyalty.” The antecedent of the third masculine suffix is בָּשָׂר (basar, “flesh”), which refers collectively to mankind. The LXX, apparently understanding the antecedent as “grass,” reads “glory,” but חֶסֶד (khesed) rarely, if ever, has this nuance. The normal meaning of חֶסֶד (“faithfulness, loyalty, devotion”) fits very well in the argument. Human beings and their faithfulness (verbal expressions of faithfulness are specifically in view; cf. NRSV “constancy”) are short-lived and unreliable, in stark contrast to the decrees and promises of the eternal God.