50:38 A drought will come upon her land;
her rivers and canals will be dried up. 1
All of this will happen because her land is filled with idols. 2
51:36 Therefore the Lord says,
“I will stand up for your cause.
I will pay the Babylonians back for what they have done to you. 5
I will dry up their sea.
I will make their springs run dry. 6
I will set out a banquet for them.
I will make them drunk
so that they will pass out, 8
they will fall asleep forever,
they will never wake up,” 9
says the Lord. 10
51:57 “I will make her officials and wise men drunk,
along with her governors, leaders, 11 and warriors.
They will fall asleep forever and never wake up,” 12
says the King whose name is the Lord who rules over all. 13
1 tc Heb “a drought against her waters and they will dry up.” Several of the commentaries and modern English versions accept the emendation proposed by BHS and read here “sword” (חֶרֶב [kherev] in place of חֹרֶב [khorev], the change of only one vowel) in keeping with the rest of the context. According to BHS this reading is supported by the Lucianic and Hexaplaric recensions of the LXX (the Greek version) and the Syriac version. In this case the drying up of the waters (of the canals) is attributed to neglect brought about by war conditions. However, it is just as likely that these versions are influenced by the repetition of the word “sword” as the Hebrew and the other versions are influenced by the concept of “drying up” of the waters to read “drought.” Hence the present translation, along with the majority of modern English versions, retains the Hebrew “drought.”
2 tn Heb “for it is a land of idols.” The “for,” however, goes back to the whole context not just to the preceding prediction (cf. BDB 473-74 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare usage in Isa 21:6 listed there).
3 tc Or “Her people boast in.” This translation is based on the reading of the majority of Hebrew
4 tn Heb “by the terrors.” However, as HALOT 40 s.v. אֵימָה indicates these are “images that cause terror” (a substitution of the effect for the cause). The translation of this line follows the interpretation of the majority of modern English versions and all the commentaries consulted. NIV, NCV, and God’s Word reflect a different syntax, understanding the subject to be the idols just mentioned rather than “her people” which is supplied here for the sake of clarity (the Hebrew text merely says “they.”) Following that lead, one could render “but those idols will go mad with terror.” This makes excellent sense in the context which often refers to effects (vv. 36b, d, 37c, 38b) of the war that is coming. However, that interpretation does not fit as well with the following “therefore/so,” which basically introduces a judgment or consequence after an accusation of sin.
5 tn Heb “I will avenge your vengeance [= I will take vengeance for you; the phrase involves a verb and a cognate accusative].” The meaning of the phrase has been spelled out in more readily understandable terms.
6 tn Heb “I will dry up her [Babylon’s] sea and make her fountain dry.” “Their” has been substituted for “her” because “Babylonians” has been inserted in the previous clause and is easier to understand than the personification of Babylon = “her.”
sn The reference to their sea is not clear. Most interpreters understand it to be a figurative reference to the rivers and canals surrounding Babylon. But some feel it refers to the reservoir that the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, Queen Nictoris, had made.
7 tn Heb “When they are hot.”
8 tc The translation follows the suggestion of KBL 707 s.v. עָלַז and a number of modern commentaries (e.g., Bright, J. A. Thompson, and W. L. Holladay) in reading יְעֻלְּפוּ (ye’ullÿfu) for יַעֲלֹזוּ (ya’alozu) in the sense of “swoon away” or “grow faint” (see KBL 710 s.v. עָלַף Pual). That appears to be the verb that the LXX (the Greek version) was reading when they translated καρωθῶσιν (karwqwsin, “they will be stupefied”). For parallel usage KBL cites Isa 51:20. This fits the context much better than “they will exult” in the Hebrew text.
9 sn The central figure here is the figure of the cup of the
10 tn Heb “Oracle of the