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Isaiah 29:13-16

Context

29:13 The sovereign master 1  says,

“These people say they are loyal to me; 2 

they say wonderful things about me, 3 

but they are not really loyal to me. 4 

Their worship consists of

nothing but man-made ritual. 5 

29:14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people –

an absolutely extraordinary deed. 6 

Wise men will have nothing to say,

the sages will have no explanations.” 7 

29:15 Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are as good as dead, 8 

who do their work in secret and boast, 9 

“Who sees us? Who knows what we’re doing?” 10 

29:16 Your thinking is perverse! 11 

Should the potter be regarded as clay? 12 

Should the thing made say 13  about its maker, “He didn’t make me”?

Or should the pottery say about the potter, “He doesn’t understand”?

1 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

2 tn Heb “Because these people draw near to me with their mouth.”

3 tn Heb “and with their lips they honor me.”

4 tn Heb “but their heart is far from me.” The heart is viewed here as the seat of the will, from which genuine loyalty derives.

5 tn Heb “their fear of me is a commandment of men that has been taught.”

6 tn Heb “Therefore I will again do something amazing with these people, an amazing deed, an amazing thing.” This probably refers to the amazing transformation predicted in vv. 17-24, which will follow the purifying judgment implied in vv. 15-16.

7 tn Heb “the wisdom of their wise ones will perish, the discernment of their discerning ones will keep hidden.”

8 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who deeply hide counsel from the Lord.” This probably alludes to political alliances made without seeking the Lord’s guidance. See 30:1-2 and 31:1.

9 tn Heb “and their works are in darkness and they say.”

10 tn The rhetorical questions suggest the answer, “no one.” They are confident that their deeds are hidden from others, including God.

11 tn Heb “your overturning.” The predicate is suppressed in this exclamation. The idea is, “O your perversity! How great it is!” See GKC 470 §147.c. The people “overturn” all logic by thinking their authority supersedes God’s.

12 tn The expected answer to this rhetorical question is “of course not.” On the interrogative use of אִם (’im), see BDB 50 s.v.

13 tn Heb “that the thing made should say.”



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