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Isaiah 30:18-21

Context
The Lord Will Not Abandon His People

30:18 For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy;

he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. 1 

Indeed, the Lord is a just God;

all who wait for him in faith will be blessed. 2 

30:19 For people will live in Zion;

in Jerusalem 3  you will weep no more. 4 

When he hears your cry of despair, he will indeed show you mercy;

when he hears it, he will respond to you. 5 

30:20 The sovereign master 6  will give you distress to eat

and suffering to drink; 7 

but your teachers will no longer be hidden;

your eyes will see them. 8 

30:21 You 9  will hear a word spoken behind you, saying,

“This is the correct 10  way, walk in it,”

whether you are heading to the right or the left.

1 tn Heb “Therefore the Lord waits to show you mercy, and therefore he is exalted to have compassion on you.” The logical connection between this verse and what precedes is problematic. The point seems to be that Judah’s impending doom does not bring God joy. Rather the prospect of their suffering stirs within him a willingness to show mercy and compassion, if they are willing to seek him on his terms.

2 tn Heb “Blessed are all who wait for him.”

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn Heb “For people in Zion will live, in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.” The phrase “in Jerusalem” could be taken with what precedes. Some prefer to emend יֵשֵׁב (yeshev, “will live,” a Qal imperfect) to יֹשֵׁב (yoshev, a Qal active participle) and translate “For [you] people in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.”

5 tn Heb “he will indeed show you mercy at the sound of your crying out; when he hears, he will answer you.”

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

7 tn Heb “and the Master will give to you bread – distress, and water – oppression.”

8 tn Heb “but your teachers will no longer be hidden, your eyes will be seeing your teachers.” The translation assumes that the form מוֹרֶיךָ (morekha) is a plural participle, referring to spiritual leaders such as prophets and priests. Another possibility is that the form is actually singular (see GKC 273-74 §93.ss) or a plural of respect, referring to God as the master teacher. See HALOT 560-61 s.v. III מוֹרֶה. For discussion of the views, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:560.

9 tn Heb “your ears” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

10 tn The word “correct’ is supplied in the translation for clarification.



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