NETBible KJV GRK-HEB XRef Arts Hymns
  Discovery Box

Isaiah 5:20-21

Context

5:20 Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead, 1 

who turn darkness into light and light into darkness,

who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter. 2 

5:21 Those who think they are wise are as good as dead, 3 

those who think they possess understanding. 4 

1 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who call.” See the note at v. 8.

2 sn In this verse the prophet denounces the perversion of moral standards. Darkness and bitterness are metaphors for evil; light and sweetness symbolize uprightness.

3 tn Heb “Woe [to] the wise in their own eyes.” See the note at v. 8.

4 tn Heb “[who] before their faces are understanding.”

sn Verses 18-21 contain three “woe-sayings” that are purely accusatory and have no formal announcement of judgment attached (as in the “woe-sayings” recorded in vv. 8-17). While this lack of symmetry is odd, it has a clear rhetorical purpose. Having established a pattern in vv. 8-17, the prophet deviates from it in vv. 18-21 to grab his audience’s attention. By placing the “woes” in rapid succession and heaping up the accusatory elements, he highlights the people’s guilt and introduces an element of tension and anticipation. One is reasonably certain that judgment will come, and when it does, it will be devastating. This anticipated devastation is described in frightening detail after the sixth and final woe (see vv. 22-30).



TIP #07: Use the Discovery Box to further explore word(s) and verse(s). [ALL]
created in 0.03 seconds
powered by bible.org