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Isaiah 47:9-14


47:9 Both of these will come upon you

suddenly, in one day!

You will lose your children and be widowed. 1 

You will be overwhelmed by these tragedies, 2 

despite 3  your many incantations

and your numerous amulets. 4 

47:10 You were complacent in your evil deeds; 5 

you thought, 6  ‘No one sees me.’

Your self-professed 7  wisdom and knowledge lead you astray,

when you say, ‘I am unique! No one can compare to me!’ 8 

47:11 Disaster will overtake you;

you will not know how to charm it away. 9 

Destruction will fall on you;

you will not be able to appease it.

Calamity will strike you suddenly,

before you recognize it. 10 

47:12 Persist 11  in trusting 12  your amulets

and your many incantations,

which you have faithfully recited 13  since your youth!

Maybe you will be successful 14 

maybe you will scare away disaster. 15 

47:13 You are tired out from listening to so much advice. 16 

Let them take their stand –

the ones who see omens in the sky,

who gaze at the stars,

who make monthly predictions –

let them rescue you from the disaster that is about to overtake you! 17 

47:14 Look, they are like straw,

which the fire burns up;

they cannot rescue themselves

from the heat 18  of the flames.

There are no coals to warm them,

no firelight to enjoy. 19 

1 tn Heb “loss of children and widowhood.” In the Hebrew text the phrase is in apposition to “both of these” in line 1.

2 tn Heb “according to their fullness, they will come upon you.”

3 tn For other examples of the preposition bet (בְּ) having the sense of “although, despite,” see BDB 90 s.v. III.7.

4 sn Reference is made to incantations and amulets, both of which were important in Mesopotamian religion. They were used to ward off danger and demons.

5 tn Heb “you trusted in your evil”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “wickedness.”

6 tn Or “said”; NAB “said to yourself”’ NASB “said in your heart.”

7 tn The words “self-professed” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

8 tn See the note at v. 8.

9 tc The Hebrew text has שַׁחְרָהּ (shakhrah), which is either a suffixed noun (“its dawning,” i.e., origin) or infinitive (“to look early for it”). Some have suggested an emendation to שַׁחֲדָהּ (shakhadah), a suffixed infinitive from שָׁחַד (shakhad, “[how] to buy it off”; see BDB 1005 s.v. שָׁחַד). This forms a nice parallel with the following couplet. The above translation is based on a different etymology of the verb in question. HALOT 1466 s.v. III שׁחר references a verbal root with these letters (שׁחד) that refers to magical activity.

10 tn Heb “you will not know”; NIV “you cannot foresee.”

11 tn Heb “stand” (so KJV, ASV); NASB, NRSV “Stand fast.”

12 tn The word “trusting” is supplied in the translation for clarification. See v. 9.

13 tn Heb “in that which you have toiled.”

14 tn Heb “maybe you will be able to profit.”

15 tn Heb “maybe you will cause to tremble.” The object “disaster” is supplied in the translation for clarification. See the note at v. 9.

16 tn Heb “you are tired because of the abundance of your advice.”

17 tn Heb “let them stand and rescue you – the ones who see omens in the sky, who gaze at the stars, who make known by months – from those things which are coming upon you.”

18 tn Heb “hand,” here a metaphor for the strength or power of the flames.

19 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “there is no coal [for?] their food, light to sit before it.” Some emend לַחְמָם (lakhmam, “their food”) to לְחֻמָּם (lÿkhummam, “to warm them”; see HALOT 328 s.v. חמם). This statement may allude to Isa 44:16, where idolaters are depicted warming themselves over a fire made from wood, part of which was used to form idols. The fire of divine judgment will be no such campfire; its flames will devour and destroy.

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