2
The Future Glory of Jerusalem
1 Here is the message about Judah and Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. that was revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz.#tn Heb “the word which Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.”
2 In the future#tn Heb “in the end of the days.” This phrase may refer generally to the future, or more technically to the final period of history. See BDB 31 s.v. ַאחֲרִית. The verse begins with a verb that functions as a “discourse particle” and is not translated. In numerous places throughout the OT, the “to be” verb with a prefixed conjunction (וְהָיָה [vÿhayah] and וַיְהִי [vayÿhi]) occurs in this fashion to introduce a circumstantial clause and does not require translation.
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will endure#tn Or “be established” (KJV, NIV, NRSV).
as the most important of mountains,
and will be the most prominent of hills.#tn Heb “as the chief of the mountains, and will be lifted up above the hills.” The image of Mount Zion being elevated above other mountains and hills pictures the prominence it will attain in the future.
All the nations will stream to it,
3 many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the temple of the God of Jacob,
so#tn The prefixed verb form with simple vav (ו) introduces a purpose/result clause after the preceding prefixed verb form (probably to be taken as a cohortative; see IBHS 650 §39.2.2a). he can teach us his requirements,#tn Heb “his ways.” In this context God’s “ways” are the standards of moral conduct he decrees that people should live by.
and#tn The cohortative with vav (ו) after the prefixed verb form indicates the ultimate purpose/goal of their action. we can follow his standards.”#tn Heb “walk in his ways.”
For Zion will be the center for moral instruction;#tn Heb “for out of Zion will go instruction.”
the Lord will issue edicts from Jerusalem.#tn Heb “the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
4 He will judge disputes between nations;
he will settle cases for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares,#sn Instead of referring to the large plow as a whole, the plowshare is simply the metal tip which actually breaks the earth and cuts the furrow.
and their spears into pruning hooks.#sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:93; M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle. Breaking weapons and fashioning agricultural implements indicates a transition from fear and stress to peace and security.
Nations will not take up the sword against other nations,
and they will no longer train for war.
5 O descendants#tn Heb “house,” referring to the family line or descendants (likewise in v. 6). of Jacob,
come, let us walk in the Lord’s guiding light.#tn Heb “let’s walk in the light of the Lord.” In this context, which speaks of the Lord’s instruction and commands, the “light of the Lord” refers to his moral standards by which he seeks to guide his people. One could paraphrase, “let’s obey the Lord’s commands.”
The Lord’s Day of Judgment
6 Indeed, O Lord,#tn The words “O Lord” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Isaiah addresses the Lord in prayer. you have abandoned your people,
the descendants of Jacob.
For diviners from the east are everywhere;#tc Heb “they are full from the east.” Various scholars retain the BHS reading and suggest that the prophet makes a general statement concerning Israel’s reliance on foreign customs (J. Watts, Isaiah [WBC], 1:32; J. de Waard, Isaiah, 12-13). Nevertheless, it appears that a word is missing. Based on the parallelism (note “omen readers” in 5:6c), many suggest that קֹסְמִים (qosÿmim, “diviners”) or מִקְסָם (miqsam, “divination”) has been accidentally omitted. Homoioteleuton could account for the omission of an original קֹסְמִים (note how this word and the following מִקֶּדֶם [miqqedem, “from the east”] both end in mem); an original מִקְסָם could have fallen out by homoioarcton (note how this word and the following מִקֶּדֶם both begin with mem).
they consult omen readers like the Philistines do.#tn Heb “and omen readers like the Philistines.” Through this line and the preceding, the prophet contends that Israel has heavily borrowed the pagan practices of the east and west (in violation of Lev 19:26; Deut 18:9-14).
Plenty of foreigners are around.#tn Heb “and with the children of foreigners they [?].” The precise meaning of the final word is uncertain. Some take this verb (I שָׂפַק, safaq) to mean “slap,” supply the object “hands,” and translate, “they slap [hands] with foreigners”; HALOT 1349 s.v. I שׂפק. This could be a reference to foreign alliances. This translation has two disadvantages: It requires the conjectural insertion of “hands” and the use of this verb with its object prefixed with a בְּ (bet) preposition with this meaning does not occur elsewhere. The other uses of this verb refer to clapping at someone, an indication of hostility. The translation above assumes the verb is derived from II שׂפק (“to suffice,” attested in the Qal in 1 Kgs 20:10; HALOT 1349 s.v. II שׂפק). In this case the point is that a sufficient number of foreigners (in this case, too many!) live in the land. The disadvantage of this option is that the preposition prefixed to “the children of foreigners” does not occur with this verb elsewhere. The chosen translation is preferred since it continues the idea of abundant foreign influence and does not require a conjectural insertion or emendation.
7 Their land is full of gold and silver;
there is no end to their wealth.#tn Or “treasuries”; KJV “treasures.”
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.#sn Judah’s royal bureaucracy had accumulated great wealth and military might, in violation of Deut 17:16-17.
8 Their land is full of worthless idols;
they worship#tn Or “bow down to” (NIV, NRSV). the product of their own hands,
what their own fingers have fashioned.
9 Men bow down to them in homage,
they lie flat on the ground in worship.#tn Heb “men bow down, men are low.” Since the verbs שָׁחָח (shakhakh) and שָׁפַל (shafal) are used later in this discourse to describe how God will humiliate proud men (see vv. 11, 17), some understand v. 9a as a prediction of judgment, “men will be brought down, men will be humiliated.” However, these prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) consecutive appear to carry on the description that precedes and are better taken with the accusation. They draw attention to the fact that human beings actually bow down and worship before the lifeless products of their own hands.
Don’t spare them!#tn Heb “don’t lift them up.” The idiom “lift up” (נָשָׂא with לְ, nasa’ with preposition lamed) can mean “spare, forgive” (see Gen 18:24, 26). Here the idiom plays on the preceding verbs. The idolaters are bowed low as they worship their false gods; the prophet asks God not to “lift them up.”
10 Go up into the rocky cliffs,
hide in the ground.
Get away from the dreadful judgment of the Lord,#tn Heb “from the dread of the Lord,” that is, from the dread that he produces in the objects of his judgment.” The words “get away” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
from his royal splendor!
11 Proud men will be brought low,
arrogant men will be humiliated;#tn Heb “and the eyes of the pride of men will be brought low, and the arrogance of men will be brought down.” The repetition of the verbs שָׁפַל (shafal) and שָׁחָח (shakhakh) from v. 9 draws attention to the appropriate nature of the judgment. Those proud men who “bow low” before idols will be forced to “bow low” before God when he judges their sin.
the Lord alone will be exalted#tn Or “elevated”; CEV “honored.”
in that day.
12 Indeed, the Lord who commands armies has planned a day of judgment,#tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts] has a day.”
for#tn Or “against” (NAB, NASB, NRSV). all the high and mighty,
for all who are proud – they will be humiliated;
13 for all the cedars of Lebanon,
that are so high and mighty,
for all the oaks of Bashan;#sn The cedars of Lebanon and oaks of Bashan were well-known for their size and prominence. They make apt symbols here for powerful men who think of themselves as prominent and secure.
14 for all the tall mountains,
for all the high hills,#sn The high mountains and hills symbolize the apparent security of proud men, as do the high tower and fortified wall of v. 15.
15 for every high tower,
for every fortified wall,
16 for all the large ships,#tn Heb “the ships of Tarshish.” This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish.
for all the impressive#tn Heb “desirable”; NAB, NIV “stately”; NRSV “beautiful.” ships.#tn On the meaning of this word, which appears only here in the Hebrew Bible, see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 41-42.sn The ships mentioned in this verse were the best of their class, and therefore an apt metaphor for the proud men being denounced in this speech.
17 Proud men will be humiliated,
arrogant men will be brought low;#tn Heb “and the pride of men will be brought down, and the arrogance of men will be brought low.” As in v. 11, the repetition of the verbs שָׁפַל (shafal) and שָׁחָח (shakhakh) from v. 9 draws attention to the appropriate nature of the judgment. Those proud men who “bow low” before idols will be forced to “bow low” before God when he judges their sin.
the Lord alone will be exalted#tn Or “elevated”; NCV “praised”; CEV “honored.”
in that day.
18 The worthless idols will be completely eliminated.#tc The verb “pass away” is singular in the Hebrew text, despite the plural subject (“worthless idols”) that precedes. The verb should be emended to a plural; the final vav (ו) has been accidentally omitted by haplography (note the vav at the beginning of the immediately following form).tn Heb “will completely pass away”; ASV “shall utterly pass away.”
19 They#tn The identity of the grammatical subject is unclear. The “idols” could be the subject; they will “go” into the caves and holes when the idolaters throw them there in their haste to escape God’s judgment (see vv. 20-21). The picture of the idols, which represent the foreign deities worshiped by the people, fleeing from the Lord would be highly polemical and fit the overall mood of the chapter. However it seems more likely that the idolaters themselves are the subject, for v. 10 uses similar language in sarcastically urging them to run from judgment. will go into caves in the rocky cliffs
and into holes in the ground,#tn Heb “dust”; ASV “into the holes of the earth.”
trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the Lord#tn Heb “from the dread of the Lord,” that is, from the dread that he produces in the objects of his judgment.” The words “trying to escape” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
and his royal splendor,
when he rises up to terrify the earth.#tn Or “land.” It is not certain if these verses are describing the judgment of Judah (see vv. 6-9) or a more universal judgment on all proud men.
20 At that time#tn Or “in that day” (KJV). men will throw
their silver and gold idols,
which they made for themselves to worship,#tn Or “bow down to.”
into the caves where rodents and bats live,#tn Heb “to the shrews and to the bats.” On the meaning of חֲפַרְפָּרָה (khafarparah, “shrew”), see HALOT 341 s.v. חֲפַרְפָּרָה. The BHS text as it stands (לַחְפֹּר פֵּרוֹת, perot lakhpor), makes no sense. Based on Theodotion’s transliteration and a similar reading in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa, most scholars suggest that the MT mistakenly divided a noun (a hapax legomenon) that should be translated “moles,” “shrews,” or “rodents.”
21 so they themselves can go into the crevices of the rocky cliffs
and the openings under the rocky overhangs,#sn The precise point of vv. 20-21 is not entirely clear. Are they taking the idols into their hiding places with them, because they are so attached to their man-made images? Or are they discarding the idols along the way as they retreat into the darkest places they can find? In either case it is obvious that the gods are incapable of helping them.
trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the Lord#tn Heb “from the dread of the Lord,” that is, from the dread that he produces in the objects of his judgment.” The words “trying to escape” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
and his royal splendor,
when he rises up to terrify the earth.#tn Or “land.” It is not certain if these verses are describing the judgment of Judah (see vv. 6-9) or a more universal judgment on all proud men. Almost all English versions translate “earth,” taking this to refer to universal judgment.
22 Stop trusting in human beings,
whose life’s breath is in their nostrils.
For why should they be given special consideration?
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