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Isaiah 40:12 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Lord is Incomparable

12 Who has measured out the waters[a] in the hollow of his hand,
or carefully[b] measured the sky,[c]
or carefully weighed[d] the soil of the earth,
or weighed the mountains in a balance,
or the hills on scales?[e]


  1. Isaiah 40:12 tn The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has מי ים (“waters of the sea”), a reading followed by NAB.
  2. Isaiah 40:12 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. Isaiah 40:12 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
  4. Isaiah 40:12 tn Heb “or weighed by a third part [of a measure].”
  5. Isaiah 40:12 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.
New English Translation (NET)

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