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Isaiah 37:22-32

Context
37:22 this is what the Lord says about him: 1 

“The virgin daughter Zion 2 

despises you – she makes fun of you;

daughter Jerusalem

shakes her head after you. 3 

37:23 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted

and looked so arrogantly? 4 

At the Holy One of Israel! 5 

37:24 Through your messengers you taunted the sovereign master, 6 

‘With my many chariots I climbed up

the high mountains,

the slopes of Lebanon.

I cut down its tall cedars

and its best evergreens.

I invaded its most remote regions, 7 

its thickest woods.

37:25 I dug wells

and drank water. 8 

With the soles of my feet I dried up

all the rivers of Egypt.’

37:26 9 Certainly you must have heard! 10 

Long ago I worked it out,

in ancient times I planned 11  it,

and now I am bringing it to pass.

The plan is this:

Fortified cities will crash

into heaps of ruins. 12 

37:27 Their residents are powerless; 13 

they are terrified and ashamed.

They are as short-lived as plants in the field

or green vegetation. 14 

They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 15 

when it is scorched by the east wind. 16 

37:28 I know where you live

and everything you do

and how you rage against me. 17 

37:29 Because you rage against me

and the uproar you create has reached my ears, 18 

I will put my hook in your nose, 19 

and my bridle between your lips,

and I will lead you back

the way you came.”

37:30 20 “This will be your reminder that I have spoken the truth: 21  This year you will eat what grows wild, 22  and next year 23  what grows on its own. But the year after that 24  you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 25  37:31 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 26 

37:32 “For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;

survivors will come out of Mount Zion.

The intense devotion of the Lord who commands armies 27  will accomplish this.

1 tn Heb “this is the word which the Lord has spoken about him.”

2 sn Zion (Jerusalem) is pictured here as a young, vulnerable daughter whose purity is being threatened by the would-be Assyrian rapist. The personification hints at the reality which the young girls of the city would face if the Assyrians conquer it.

3 sn Shaking the head was a mocking gesture of derision.

4 tn Heb “and lifted your eyes on high?” Cf. NIV “lifted your eyes in pride”; NRSV “haughtily lifted your eyes.”

5 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

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

7 tn Heb “the height of its extremity”; ASV “its farthest height.”

8 tc The Hebrew text has simply, “I dug and drank water.” But the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:24 has “foreign waters.” זָרִים (zarim, “foreign”) may have accidentally dropped out of the Isaianic text by homoioteleuton (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT). Note that the preceding word, מַיִם (mayim, “water) also ends in mem (ם). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has “foreign waters” for this line. However, in several other passages the 1QIsaa scroll harmonizes with 2 Kgs 19 against the MT (Isa 36:5; 37:9, 20). Since the addition of “foreign” to this text in Isaiah by a later scribe would be more likely than its deletion, the MT reading should be accepted.

9 tn Having quoted the Assyrian king’s arrogant words in vv. 23-24, the Lord now speaks to the king.

10 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The rhetorical question expresses the Lord’s amazement that anyone might be ignorant of what he is about to say.

11 tn Heb “formed” (so KJV, ASV).

12 tn Heb “and it is to cause to crash into heaps of ruins fortified cities.” The subject of the third feminine singular verb תְהִי (tÿhi) is the implied plan, referred to in the preceding lines with third feminine singular pronominal suffixes.

13 tn Heb “short of hand”; KJV, ASV “of small power”; NASB “short of strength.”

14 tn Heb “they are plants in the field and green vegetation.” The metaphor emphasizes how short-lived these seemingly powerful cities really were. See Ps 90:5-6; Isa 40:6-8, 24.

15 tn Heb “[they are] grass on the rooftops.” See the preceding note.

16 tc The Hebrew text has “scorched before the standing grain” (perhaps meaning “before it reaches maturity”), but it is preferable to emend קָמָה (qamah, “standing grain”) to קָדִים (qadim, “east wind”) with the support of 1Q Isaa; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:657, n. 8.

17 tc Heb “your going out and your coming in and how you have raged against me.” Several scholars have suggested that this line is probably dittographic (note the beginning of the next line). However, most English translations include the statement in question at the end of v. 28 and the beginning of v. 29. Interestingly, the LXX does not have this clause at the end of v. 28 and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not have it at the beginning of v. 29. In light of this ambiguous manuscript evidence, it appears best to retain the clause in both verses.

18 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).

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

20 tn At this point the word concerning the king of Assyria (vv. 22-29) ends and the Lord again addresses Hezekiah and the people directly (see v. 21).

21 tn Heb “and this is your sign.” In this case the אוֹת (’ot, “sign”) is a future reminder of God’s intervention designated before the actual intervention takes place. For similar “signs” see Exod 3:12 and Isa 7:14-25.

22 sn This refers to crops that grew up on their own (that is, without cultivation) from the seed planted in past years.

23 tn Heb “and in the second year” (so ASV).

24 tn Heb “in the third year” (so KJV, NAB).

25 tn The four plural imperatival verb forms in v. 30b are used rhetorically. The Lord commands the people to plant, harvest, etc. to emphasize the certainty of restored peace and prosperity.

26 tn Heb “The remnant of the house of Judah that is left will add roots below and produce fruit above.”

27 tn Heb “the zeal of the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].” In this context the Lord’s “zeal” refers to his intense devotion to and love for his people which prompts him to protect and restore them.



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