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Isaiah 38:14-19

Context

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

I coo 1  like a dove;

my eyes grow tired from looking up to the sky. 2 

O sovereign master, 3  I am oppressed;

help me! 4 

38:15 What can I say?

He has decreed and acted. 5 

I will walk slowly all my years because I am overcome with grief. 6 

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

may years of life be restored to me. 7 

Restore my health 8  and preserve my life.’

38:17 “Look, the grief I experienced was for my benefit. 9 

You delivered me 10  from the pit of oblivion. 11 

For you removed all my sins from your sight. 12 

38:18 Indeed 13  Sheol does not give you thanks;

death does not 14  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.

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

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

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

4 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.

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

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

7 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.”

8 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.

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

10 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”).

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

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

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

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



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