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Isaiah 33:7-9


33:7 Look, ambassadors 1  cry out in the streets;

messengers sent to make peace 2  weep bitterly.

33:8 Highways are empty, 3 

there are no travelers. 4 

Treaties are broken, 5 

witnesses are despised, 6 

human life is treated with disrespect. 7 

33:9 The land 8  dries up 9  and withers away;

the forest of Lebanon shrivels up 10  and decays.

Sharon 11  is like the desert; 12 

Bashan and Carmel 13  are parched. 14 

1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown. Proposals include “heroes” (cf. KJV, ASV “valiant ones”; NASB, NIV “brave men”); “priests,” “residents [of Jerusalem].” The present translation assumes that the term is synonymous with “messengers of peace,” with which it corresponds in the parallel structure of the verse.

2 tn Heb “messengers of peace,” apparently those responsible for negotiating the agreements that have been broken (see v. 8).

3 tn Or “desolate” (NAB, NASB); NIV, NRSV, NLT “deserted.”

4 tn Heb “the one passing by on the road ceases.”

5 tn Heb “one breaks a treaty”; NAB “Covenants are broken.”

6 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “he despises cities.” The term עָרִים (’arim, “cities”) is probably a corruption of an original עֵדִים (’edim, “[legal] witnesses”), a reading that is preserved in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. Confusion of dalet (ד) and resh (ר) is a well-attested scribal error.

7 tn Heb “he does not regard human beings.”

8 tn Or “earth” (KJV); NAB “the country.”

9 tn Or “mourns” (BDB 5 s.v. I אָבַל). HALOT 6-7 lists homonyms I אבל (“mourn”) and II אבל (“dry up”). They propose the second here on the basis of parallelism. See 24:4.

10 tn Heb “Lebanon is ashamed.” The Hiphil is exhibitive, expressing the idea, “exhibits shame.” In this context the statement alludes to the withering of vegetation.

11 sn Sharon was a fertile plain along the Mediterranean coast. See 35:2.

12 tn Or “the Arabah” (NIV). See 35:1.

13 sn Both of these areas were known for their trees and vegetation. See 2:13; 35:2.

14 tn Heb “shake off [their leaves]” (so ASV, NRSV); NAB “are stripped bare.”

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