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Isaiah 30:28

Context

30:28 His battle cry overwhelms like a flooding river 1 

that reaches one’s neck.

He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; 2 

he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction. 3 

Isaiah 37:29

Context

37:29 Because you rage against me

and the uproar you create has reached my ears, 4 

I will put my hook in your nose, 5 

and my bridle between your lips,

and I will lead you back

the way you came.”

1 tn Heb “his breath is like a flooding river.” This might picture the Lord breathing heavily as he runs down his enemy, but in light of the preceding verse, which mentions his lips and tongue, “breath” probably stands metonymically for the word or battle cry that he expels from his mouth as he shouts. In Isa 34:16 and Ps 33:6 the Lord’s “breath” is associated with his command.

2 tn Heb “shaking nations in a sieve of worthlessness.” It is not certain exactly how שָׁוְא (shavÿ’, “emptiness, worthlessness”) modifies “sieve.” A sieve is used to separate grain from chaff and isolate what is worthless so that it might be discarded. Perhaps the nations are likened to such chaff; God’s judgment will sift them out for destruction.

3 tn Heb “and a bit that leads astray [is] in the jaws of the peoples.” Here the nations are likened to horse that can be controlled by a bit placed in its mouth. In this case the Lord uses his sovereign control over the “horse” to lead it to its demise.

4 tc Heb “and your complacency comes up into my ears.” The parallelism is improved if שַׁאֲנַנְךָ (shaanankha, “your complacency”) is emended to שְׁאוֹנְךָ (shÿonÿkha, “your uproar”). See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 237-38. However, the LXX seems to support the MT and Sennacherib’s cavalier dismissal of Yahweh depicts an arrogant complacency (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:658, n. 10).

5 sn The word-picture has a parallel in Assyrian sculpture. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 238.



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