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Isaiah 40:12

Context
The Lord is Incomparable

40:12 Who has measured out the waters 1  in the hollow of his hand,

or carefully 2  measured the sky, 3 

or carefully weighed 4  the soil of the earth,

or weighed the mountains in a balance,

or the hills on scales? 5 

Isaiah 40:22

Context

40:22 He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; 6 

its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 7 

He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 8 

and spreads it out 9  like a pitched tent. 10 

1 tn The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has מי ים (“waters of the sea”), a reading followed by NAB.

2 tn Heb “with a span.” A “span” was the distance between the ends of the thumb and the little finger of the spread hand” (BDB 285 s.v. זֶרֶת).

3 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

4 tn Heb “or weighed by a third part [of a measure].”

5 sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions of v. 12 is “no one but the Lord. The Lord, and no other, created the world. Like a merchant weighing out silver or commodities on a scale, the Lord established the various components of the physical universe in precise proportions.

6 tn Heb “the circle of the earth” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

7 tn The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

8 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).

9 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.

10 tn Heb “like a tent [in which] to live”; NAB, NASB “like a tent to dwell (live NIV, NRSV) in.”



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