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Isaiah 42:11-17

Context

42:11 Let the desert and its cities shout out,

the towns where the nomads of Kedar live!

Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully;

let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.

42:12 Let them give the Lord the honor he deserves; 1 

let them praise his deeds in the coastlands. 2 

42:13 The Lord emerges like a hero,

like a warrior he inspires himself for battle; 3 

he shouts, yes, he yells,

he shows his enemies his power. 4 

42:14 “I have been inactive 5  for a long time;

I kept quiet and held back.

Like a woman in labor I groan;

I pant and gasp. 6 

42:15 I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up; 7 

I will dry up all their vegetation.

I will turn streams into islands, 8 

and dry up pools of water. 9 

42:16 I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; 10 

I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. 11 

I will turn the darkness in front of them into light,

and level out the rough ground. 12 

This is what I will do for them.

I will not abandon them.

42:17 Those who trust in idols

will turn back and be utterly humiliated, 13 

those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’”

1 tn Heb “Let them ascribe to the Lord glory.”

2 tn Heb “and his praise in the coastlands [or “islands”] let them declare.”

3 tn Heb “like a man of war he stirs up zeal” (NIV similar).

4 tn Or perhaps, “he triumphs over his enemies” (cf. NIV); NLT “will crush all his enemies.”

5 tn Heb “silent” (so NASB, NIV, TEV, NLT); CEV “have held my temper.”

6 sn The imagery depicts the Lord as a warrior who is eager to fight and can no longer hold himself back from the attack.

7 tn Heb “I will dry up the mountains and hills.” The “mountains and hills” stand by synecdoche for the trees that grow on them. Some prefer to derive the verb from a homonymic root and translate, “I will lay waste.”

8 tc The Hebrew text reads, “I will turn streams into coastlands [or “islands”].” Scholars who believe that this reading makes little sense have proposed an emendation of אִיִּים (’iyyim, “islands”) to צִיּוֹת (tsiyyot, “dry places”; cf. NCV, NLT, TEV). However, since all the versions support the MT reading, there is insufficient grounds for an emendation here. Although the imagery of changing rivers into islands is somewhat strange, J. N. Oswalt describes this imagery against the backdrop of rivers of the Near East. The receding of these rivers at times occasioned the appearance of previously submerged islands (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:126).

9 sn The imagery of this verse, which depicts the Lord bringing a curse of infertility to the earth, metaphorically describes how the Lord will destroy his enemies.

10 tn Heb “a way they do not know” (so NASB); NRSV “a road they do not know.”

11 tn Heb “in paths they do not know I will make them walk.”

12 tn Heb “and the rough ground into a level place.”

13 tn Heb “be ashamed with shame”; ASV, NASB “be utterly put to shame.”



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