28:15 For you say,
“We have made a treaty with death,
with Sheol 1 we have made an agreement. 2
When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by 3
it will not reach us.
For we have made a lie our refuge,
we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word.” 4
28:20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
and the blanket is too narrow to wrap around oneself. 5
1 sn Sheol is the underworld, land of the dead, according to the OT world view.
2 tn Elsewhere the noun חֹזֶה (khozeh) refers to a prophet who sees visions. In v. 18 the related term חָזוּת (khazut, “vision”) is used. The parallelism in both verses (note “treaty”) seems to demand a meaning “agreement” for both nouns. Perhaps חֹזֶה and חזוּת are used in a metonymic sense in vv. 15 and 18. Another option is to propose a homonymic root. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:514, and HALOT 301 s.v. II חֹזֶה.
3 tn Heb “the overwhelming scourge, when it passes by” (NRSV similar).
4 sn “Lie” and “deceitful word” would not be the terms used by the people. They would likely use the words “promise” and “reliable word,” but the prophet substitutes “lie” and “deceitful word” to emphasize that this treaty with death will really prove to be disappointing.
5 sn The bed and blanket probably symbolize their false sense of security. A bed that is too short and a blanket that is too narrow may promise rest and protection from the cold, but in the end they are useless and disappointing. In the same way, their supposed treaty with death will prove useless and disappointing.