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Isaiah 38:10-20

Context

38:10 “I thought, 1 

‘In the middle of my life 2  I must walk through the gates of Sheol,

I am deprived 3  of the rest of my years.’

38:11 “I thought,

‘I will no longer see the Lord 4  in the land of the living,

I will no longer look on humankind with the inhabitants of the world. 5 

38:12 My dwelling place 6  is removed and taken away 7  from me

like a shepherd’s tent.

I rolled up my life like a weaver rolls cloth; 8 

from the loom he cuts me off. 9 

You turn day into night and end my life. 10 

38:13 I cry out 11  until morning;

like a lion he shatters all my bones;

you turn day into night and end my life. 12 

38:14 Like a swallow or a thrush I chirp,

I coo 13  like a dove;

my eyes grow tired from looking up to the sky. 14 

O sovereign master, 15  I am oppressed;

help me! 16 

38:15 What can I say?

He has decreed and acted. 17 

I will walk slowly all my years because I am overcome with grief. 18 

38:16 O sovereign master, your decrees can give men life;

may years of life be restored to me. 19 

Restore my health 20  and preserve my life.’

38:17 “Look, the grief I experienced was for my benefit. 21 

You delivered me 22  from the pit of oblivion. 23 

For you removed all my sins from your sight. 24 

38:18 Indeed 25  Sheol does not give you thanks;

death does not 26  praise you.

Those who descend into the pit do not anticipate your faithfulness.

38:19 The living person, the living person, he gives you thanks,

as I do today.

A father tells his sons about your faithfulness.

38:20 The Lord is about to deliver me, 27 

and we will celebrate with music 28 

for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” 29 

1 tn Or “I said” (KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

2 tn The precise meaning of the phrase בִּדְמִי יָמַי (bidmi yamay, “in the [?] of my days”) is uncertain. According to HALOT 226 s.v. דְּמִי this word is a hapax legomenon meaning “half.” Others derive the form from דַּמִי (dami, “quiet, rest, peacefulness”).

3 tn The precise meaning of the verb is uncertain. The Pual of of פָּקַד (paqad) occurs only here and in Exod 38:21, where it appears to mean “passed in review” or “mustered.” Perhaps the idea is, “I have been called away for the remainder of my years.” To bring out the sense more clearly, one can translate, “I am deprived of the rest of my years.”

4 tn The Hebrew text has יָהּ יָהּ (yah yah, the abbreviated form of יְהוָה [yÿhvah] repeated), but this is probably a corruption of יְהוָה.

5 tc The Hebrew text has חָדֶל (khadel), which appears to be derived from a verbal root meaning “to cease, refrain.” But the form has probably suffered an error of transmission; the original form (attested in a few medieval Hebrew mss) was likely חֶלֶד (kheled, “world”).

6 tn According to HALOT 217 s.v. דּוֹר this noun is a hapax legomenon meaning “dwelling place,” derived from a verbal root meaning “live” (see Ps 84:10). For an interpretation that understands the form as the well-attested noun meaning “generation,” see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:679, n. 4.

7 tn The verb form appears to be a Niphal from גָּלָה (galah), which normally means “uncovered, revealed” in the Niphal. Because of the following reference to a shepherd’s tent, some prefer to emend the form to וְנָגַל, a Niphal from גָלָל (galal, “roll”) and translate “is rolled [or “folded”] up.”

8 tn Heb “I rolled up, like a weaver, my life” (so ASV).

9 sn For a discussion of the imagery employed here, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:684.

10 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”

11 tn The verb form in the Hebrew text is a Piel from שָׁוַה (shavah). There are two homonyms שָׁוַה, one meaning in the Piel “level, smooth out,” the other “set, place.” Neither fits in v. 13. It is likely that the original reading was שִׁוַּעְתִּי (shivvati, “I cry out”) from the verbal root שָׁוַע (shava’), which occurs exclusively in the Piel.

12 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”

13 tn Or “moan” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); KJV, CEV “mourn.”

14 tn Heb “my eyes become weak, toward the height.”

15 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here and in v. 16 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

16 tn Heb “stand surety for me.” Hezekiah seems to be picturing himself as a debtor who is being exploited; he asks that the Lord might relieve his debt and deliver him from the oppressive creditor.

17 tn Heb “and he has spoken and he has acted.”

18 tn Heb “because of the bitterness of my soul.”

19 tn The translation offered here is purely speculative. The text as it stands is meaningless and probably corrupt. It reads literally, “O lord, on account of them [the suffix is masculine plural], they live, and to all in them [the suffix is feminine plural], life of my spirit.”

20 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as indicative, “you restore my health,” but the following imperatival form suggests it be understood as an imperfect of request.

21 tn Heb “Look, for peace bitterness was to me bitter”; NAB “thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.”

22 tc The Hebrew text reads, “you loved my soul,” but this does not fit syntactically with the following prepositional phrase. חָשַׁקְתָּ (khashaqta, “you loved”), may reflect an aural error; most emend the form to חָשַׂכְת, (khasakht, “you held back”).

23 tn בְּלִי (bÿli) most often appears as a negation, meaning “without,” suggesting the meaning “nothingness, oblivion,” here. Some translate “decay” or “destruction.”

24 tn Heb “for you threw behind your back all my sins.”

25 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

26 tn The negative particle is understood by ellipsis in this line. See GKC 483 §152.z.

27 tn The infinitive construct is used here to indicate that an action is imminent. See GKC 348-49 §114.i, and IBHS 610 §36.2.3g.

28 tn Heb “and music [or perhaps, “stringed instruments”] we will play.”

29 tn Heb “all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.”

sn Note that vv. 21-22 have been placed between vv. 6-7, where they logically belong. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8.



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