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Isaiah 5:25-30

Context

5:25 So the Lord is furious 1  with his people;

he lifts 2  his hand and strikes them.

The mountains shake,

and corpses lie like manure 3  in the middle of the streets.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again. 4 

5:26 He lifts a signal flag for a distant nation, 5 

he whistles for it to come from the far regions of the earth.

Look, they 6  come quickly and swiftly.

5:27 None tire or stumble,

they don’t stop to nap or sleep.

They don’t loosen their belts,

or unstrap their sandals to rest. 7 

5:28 Their arrows are sharpened,

and all their bows are prepared. 8 

The hooves of their horses are hard as flint, 9 

and their chariot wheels are like a windstorm. 10 

5:29 Their roar is like a lion’s;

they roar like young lions.

They growl and seize their prey;

they drag it away and no one can come to the rescue.

5:30 At that time 11  they will growl over their prey, 12 

it will sound like sea waves crashing against rocks. 13 

One will look out over the land and see the darkness of disaster,

clouds will turn the light into darkness. 14 

1 tn Heb “the anger of the Lord rages.”

2 tn Or “extends”; KJV, ASV “he hath stretched forth.”

3 tn Or “garbage” (NCV, CEV, NLT); NAB, NASB, NIV “refuse.”

4 tn Heb “in all this his anger is not turned, and still his hand is outstretched.”

5 tc The Hebrew text has literally, “for nations from a distance.” The following verses use singular forms to describe this nation, so the final mem (ם) on לְגּוֹיִם (lÿgoyim) may be enclitic or dittographic. In the latter case one could read לְגוֹי מֵרָחוֹק (lÿgoy merakhoq, “for a nation from a distance”; see Deut 28:49; Joel 3:8). Another possibility is to emend the text from לַגּוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק (laggoyim merakhoq) to לְגוֹי מִמֶּרְחָק (lÿgoy mimmerkhaq, “for a nation from a distant place”) a phrase which occurs in Jer 5:15. In this case an error of misdivision has occurred in MT, the mem of the prefixed preposition being accidentally taken as a plural ending on the preceding word.

6 tn Heb “he.” Singular forms are used throughout vv. 26-30 to describe this nation, but for stylistic reasons the translation uses the plural for these collective singulars.

7 tn Heb “and the belt on his waist is not opened, and the thong of his sandals is not torn in two.”

8 tn Heb “bent” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “are strung.”

9 tn Heb “regarded like flint.”

10 sn They are like a windstorm in their swift movement and in the way they kick up dust.

11 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

12 tn Heb “over it”; the referent (the prey) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Heb “like the growling of the sea.”

14 tn Heb “and one will gaze toward the land, and look, darkness of distress, and light will grow dark by its [the land’s?] clouds.”

sn The motif of light turning to darkness is ironic when compared to v. 20. There the sinners turn light (= moral/ethical good) to darkness (= moral/ethical evil). Now ironically the Lord will turn light (= the sinners’ sphere of existence and life) into darkness (= the judgment and death).



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