Those who pull evil along using cords of emptiness are as good as dead, 1 who pull sin as with cart ropes. 2
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, And sin as if with cart ropes;
Destruction is certain for those who drag their sins behind them, tied with cords of falsehood.
Doom to you who use lies to sell evil, who haul sin to market by the truckload,
Cursed are those who make use of ox-cords for pulling the evil thing, and the bands of a young ox for their sin!
Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood, who drag sin along as with cart ropes,
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope;
unto them that draw
as it were with a cart
|NET © [draft] ITL|
along using cords
are as good as dead, who pull sin
as with cart
|NET © Notes||
1 sn See the note at v. 8.
2 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “Woe to those who pull evil with the ropes of emptiness, and, as [with] ropes of a cart, sin.” Though several textual details are unclear, the basic idea is apparent. The sinners are so attached to their sinful ways (compared here to a heavy load) that they strain to drag them along behind them. If שָׁוְא (shavÿ’, “emptiness”) is retained, it makes a further comment on their lifestyle, denouncing it as one that is devoid of what is right and destined to lead to nothing but destruction. Because “emptiness” does not form a very tight parallel with “cart” in the next line, some emend שָׁוְא to שֶׂה (she, “sheep”) and עֲגָלָה (’agalah, “cart”) to עֵגֶל (’egel, “calf”): “Those who pull evil along with a sheep halter are as good as dead who pull sin with a calf rope” (following the lead of the LXX and improving the internal parallelism of the verse). In this case, the verse pictures the sinners pulling sin along behind them as one pulls an animal with a halter. For a discussion of this view, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:163, n. 1. Nevertheless, this emendation is unnecessary. The above translation emphasizes the folly of the Israelites who hold on to their sin (and its punishment) even while they hope for divine intervention.