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The Land and Its People Are Transformed

35 Let the wilderness and desert be happy;[a]
let the arid rift valley[b] rejoice and bloom like a lily!
Let it richly bloom;[c]
let it rejoice and shout with delight![d]
It is given the grandeur[e] of Lebanon,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the grandeur of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that have gone limp,
steady the knees that shake.[f]
Tell those who panic,[g]
“Be strong! Do not fear!
Look, your God comes to avenge;
with divine retribution he comes to deliver you.”[h]
Then blind eyes will open,
deaf ears will hear.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
the mute tongue will shout for joy;
for water will burst forth in the wilderness,
streams in the arid rift valley.[i]
The dry soil will become a pool of water,
the parched ground springs of water.
Where jackals once lived and sprawled out,
grass, reeds, and papyrus will grow.
A thoroughfare will be there—
it will be called the Way of Holiness.[j]
The unclean will not travel on it;
it is reserved for those authorized to use it[k]
fools[l] will not stray into it.
No lions will be there,
no ferocious wild animals will be on it[m]
they will not be found there.
Those delivered from bondage will travel on it,
10 those whom the Lord has ransomed will return that way.[n]
They will enter Zion with a happy shout.
Unending joy will crown them,[o]
happiness and joy will overwhelm[p] them;
grief and suffering will disappear.[q]

Sennacherib Invades Judah

36 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign,[r] King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. The king of Assyria sent his chief adviser[s] from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, along with a large army. The chief adviser[t] stood at the conduit of the upper pool that is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth.[u] Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet him.

The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence?[v] Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk.[w] In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? Look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him! Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar.’ Now make a deal with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you 2,000 horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen.[x] 10 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this land to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March up against this land and destroy it!’”’”[y]

11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic,[z] for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect[aa] in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the chief adviser said, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you.[ab] His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you!”[ac]

13 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect,[ad] “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 14 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you! 15 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 16 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me.[ae] Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you to a land just like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Hezekiah is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” Have any of the gods of the nations rescued their lands from the power of the king of Assyria?[af] 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim?[ag] Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria from my power?[ah] 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’”[ai] 21 They were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”

22 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn[aj] and reported to him what the chief adviser had said.

37 When King Hezekiah heard this,[ak] he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests,[al] clothed in sackcloth, sent this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: “This is what Hezekiah says:[am] ‘This is a day of distress, insults,[an] and humiliation,[ao] as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through.[ap] Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God.[aq] When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said.[ar] So pray for this remnant that remains.’”[as]

When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard—these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me.[at] Look, I will take control of his mind;[au] he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down[av] with a sword in his own land.”’”

When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning.[aw] The king[ax] heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia[ay] was marching out to fight him.[az] He again sent[ba] messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 10 “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands.[bb] Do you really think you will be rescued?[bc] 12 Were the nations whom my predecessors[bd] destroyed—the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar—rescued by their gods?[be] 13 Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad or the kings of Lair,[bf] Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’”

14 Hezekiah took the letter[bg] from the messengers and read it.[bh] Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: 16 “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, O God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubim![bi] You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky[bj] and the earth. 17 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to this entire message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God![bk] 18 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the nations[bl] and their lands. 19 They have burned the gods of the nations,[bm] for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them.[bn] 20 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”[bo]

21 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel has said: ‘As to what you have prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria,[bp] 22 this is what the Lord says about him:[bq]

“‘The virgin daughter Zion[br]
despises you—she makes fun of you;
daughter Jerusalem
shakes her head after you.[bs]
23 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted
and looked so arrogantly?[bt]
At the Holy One of Israel![bu]
24 Through your messengers you taunted the Lord,[bv]
“With my many chariots I climbed up
the high mountains,
the slopes of Lebanon.
I cut down its tall cedars
and its best evergreens.
I invaded its remotest regions,[bw]
its thickest woods.
25 I dug wells
and drank water.[bx]
With the soles of my feet I dried up
all the rivers of Egypt.”’
26 [by] Certainly you must have heard![bz]

Long ago I worked it out,
in ancient times I planned[ca] it,
and now I am bringing it to pass.
The plan is this:
Fortified cities will crash
into heaps of ruins.[cb]
27 Their residents are powerless;[cc]
they are terrified and ashamed.
They are as short-lived as plants in the field
or green vegetation.[cd]
They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops[ce]
when it is scorched by the east wind.[cf]
28 I know where you live
and everything you do
and how you rage against me.[cg]
29 Because you rage against me
and the uproar you create has reached my ears,[ch]
I will put my hook in your nose,[ci]
and my bit between your lips,
and I will lead you back
the way you came.’

30 [cj] “This will be your reminder that I have spoken the truth:[ck] This year you will eat what grows wild,[cl] and next year[cm] what grows on its own. But the year after that[cn] you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce.[co] 31 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit.[cp]

32 “For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;
survivors will come out of Mount Zion.
The zeal of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies[cq] will accomplish this.
33 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

“‘He will not enter this city,
nor will he shoot an arrow here.[cr]
He will not attack it with his shielded warriors,[cs]
nor will he build siege works against it.
34 He will go back the way he came—
he will not enter this city,’ says the Lord.
35 I will shield this city and rescue it
for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”[ct]

36 The angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 troops[cu] in the Assyrian camp. When they[cv] got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses![cw] 37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh.[cx] 38 One day,[cy] as he was worshiping[cz] in the temple of his god Nisroch,[da] his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword.[db] They ran away to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.

The Lord Hears Hezekiah’s Prayer

38 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness.[dc] The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Give instructions to your household, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you[dd] faithfully and with wholehearted devotion,[de] and how I have carried out your will.”[df] Then Hezekiah wept bitterly.[dg]

The Lord’s message came to Isaiah, “Go and tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor[dh] David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will also rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city.”’” Isaiah replied,[di] “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said: Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.”[dj] And then the shadow went back ten steps.[dk]

Hezekiah’s Song of Thanks

This is the prayer of King Hezekiah of Judah when he was sick and then recovered from his illness:

10 “I thought,[dl]
‘In the middle of my life[dm] I must walk through the gates of Sheol,
I am deprived[dn] of the rest of my years.’
11 “I thought,

‘I will no longer see the Lord[do] in the land of the living,
I will no longer look on humankind with the inhabitants of the world.[dp]
12 My dwelling place[dq] is removed and taken away[dr] from me
as a shepherd’s tent.
I rolled up my life like a weaver rolls cloth;[ds]
from the loom he cuts me off.[dt]
You turn day into night and end my life.[du]
13 I cry out[dv] until morning;
like a lion he shatters all my bones;
you turn day into night and end my life.[dw]
14 Like a swallow or a thrush I chirp,
I coo[dx] like a dove;
my eyes grow tired from looking up to the sky.[dy]
O Lord,[dz] I am oppressed;
help me![ea]
15 What can I say?
He has decreed and acted.[eb]
I will walk slowly all my years because I am overcome with grief.[ec]
16 O Lord, your decrees can give men life;
may years of life be restored to me.[ed]
Restore my health[ee] and preserve my life.’
17 “Look, the grief I experienced was for my benefit.[ef]

You delivered me[eg] from the Pit of oblivion.[eh]
For you removed all my sins from your sight.[ei]
18 Indeed[ej] Sheol does not give you thanks;
death does not[ek] praise you.
Those who descend into the Pit do not anticipate your faithfulness.
19 The living person, the living person, he gives you thanks,
as I do today.
A father tells his sons about your faithfulness.
20 The Lord is about to deliver me,[el]
and we will celebrate with music[em]
for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.”[en]
21 [eo] (Isaiah ordered, “Let them take a fig cake and apply it to the ulcerated sore and he will get well.” 22 Hezekiah said, “What is the confirming sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?”)

Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah

39 At that time Merodach Baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been ill and had recovered. Hezekiah welcomed[ep] them and showed them his storehouse with its silver, gold, spices, and high-quality olive oil, as well as his whole armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom.[eq] Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” Isaiah[er] asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything in my treasuries.” Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the message of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘Look, a time is coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors[es] have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father[et] will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s message that you have announced is appropriate.”[eu] Then he thought,[ev] “For[ew] there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”

The Lord Returns to Jerusalem

40 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your[ex] God.
“Speak kindly to[ey] Jerusalem and tell her
that her time of warfare is over,[ez]
that her punishment is completed.[fa]
For the Lord has made her pay double[fb] for all her sins.”
A voice cries out,
“In the wilderness clear a way for the Lord;
build a level road[fc] through the rift valley[fd] for our God.
Every valley must be elevated,
and every mountain and hill leveled.
The rough terrain will become a level plain,
the rugged landscape a wide valley.
The splendor[fe] of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people[ff] will see it at the same time.
For[fg] the Lord has decreed it.”[fh]
A voice says, “Cry out!”
Another asks,[fi] “What should I cry out?”
The first voice responds:[fj] “All people are like grass,[fk]
and all their promises[fl] are like the flowers in the field.
The grass dries up,
the flowers wither,
when the wind sent by the Lord[fm] blows on them.
Surely humanity[fn] is like grass.
The grass dries up,
the flowers wither,
but the decree of our God is forever reliable.”[fo]
Go up on a high mountain, O herald Zion.
Shout out loudly, O herald Jerusalem![fp]
Shout, don’t be afraid!
Say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 Look, the Sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior;[fq]
his military power establishes his rule.[fr]
Look, his reward is with him;
his prize goes before him.[fs]
11 Like a shepherd he tends his flock;
he gathers up the lambs with his arm;
he carries them close to his heart;[ft]
he leads the ewes along.

The Lord is Incomparable

12 Who has measured out the waters[fu] in the hollow of his hand,
or carefully[fv] measured the sky,[fw]
or carefully weighed[fx] the soil of the earth,
or weighed the mountains in a balance,
or the hills on scales?[fy]
13 Who comprehends[fz] the mind[ga] of the Lord,
or gives him instruction as his counselor?[gb]
14 From whom does he receive directions?[gc]
Who[gd] teaches him the correct way to do things,[ge]
or imparts knowledge to him,
or instructs him in skillful design?[gf]
15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales.
He lifts[gg] the coastlands[gh] as if they were dust.
16 Not even Lebanon could supply enough firewood for a sacrifice;[gi]
its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings.[gj]
17 All the nations are insignificant before him;
they are regarded as absolutely nothing.[gk]
18 To whom can you compare God?
To what image can you liken him?
19 A craftsman casts[gl] an idol;
a metalsmith overlays it with gold
and forges silver chains for it.
20 To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot;[gm]
he then seeks a skilled craftsman
to make[gn] an idol that will not fall over.
21 Do you not know?
Do you not hear?
Has it not been told to you since the very beginning?
Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?
22 He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon;[go]
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him.[gp]
He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain,[gq]
and spreads it out[gr] like a pitched tent.[gs]
23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;
he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.
24 Indeed, they are barely planted;
yes, they are barely sown;
yes, they barely take root in the earth,
and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up,
and the wind carries them away like straw.
25 “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?”
says the Holy One.[gt]
26 Look up at the sky![gu]
Who created all these heavenly lights?[gv]
He is the one who leads out their ranks;[gw]
he calls them all by name.
Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,
not one of them is missing.
27 Why do you say, Jacob,
Why do you say, Israel,
“The Lord is not aware of what is happening to me;[gx]
My God is not concerned with my vindication”?[gy]
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is an eternal God,
the Creator of the whole earth.[gz]
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom.[ha]
29 He gives strength to those who are tired;
to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
30 Even youths get tired and weary;
even strong young men clumsily stumble.[hb]
31 But those who wait for the Lord’s help[hc] find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,[hd]
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.


  1. Isaiah 35:1 tn The final mem (ם) on the verb יְשֻׂשׂוּם (yesusum) is dittographic (note the initial mem on the following noun מִדְבָּר [midbar]). The ambiguous verbal form is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel). The jussive is used rhetorically here, not as a literal command or prayer.
  2. Isaiah 35:1 tn This verse employs three terms for desolate paces: מִדְבָּר (midbar, “wilderness”), צִיָּה (tsiyyah, “dry place, desert”), and עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah, “rift valley”). A midbar is an area that receives less than twelve inches of rain per year. It may have some pasturage (if receiving six to twelve inches of rain), but often has desert-like qualities. A tsiyyah is not a sandy desert per se, but of the three terms most clearly indicates a dry, desert region. The rift valley includes the Jordan Valley, but it still has a reputation as a dry, desolate place from its conditions near the Dead Sea and southward.
  3. Isaiah 35:2 tn The ambiguous verb form תִּפְרַח (tifrakh) is translated as a jussive because it is parallel to the jussive form תָגֵל (tagel).
  4. Isaiah 35:2 tn Heb “and let it rejoice, yes [with] rejoicing and shouting.” גִּילַת (gilat) may be an archaic feminine nominal form (see GKC 421 §130.b).
  5. Isaiah 35:2 tn Or “glory” (KJV, NIV, NRSV); also a second time later in this verse.
  6. Isaiah 35:3 tn Heb “staggering knees”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “feeble knees”; NIV “knees that give way.”
  7. Isaiah 35:4 tn Heb “Say to the hasty of heart,” i.e., those whose hearts beat quickly from fear.
  8. Isaiah 35:4 tn The jussive form וְיֹשַׁעֲכֶם (veyoshaʿakhem), which is subordinated to the preceding imperfect with vav conjunctive, indicates purpose.
  9. Isaiah 35:6 tn The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿaravah) extends from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba. Near the Dead Sea and southward its conditions are very dry and desolate. Other translations render it as “desert” (KJV, NIV, NRSV), “wastelands” (NLT), or by its Hebrew name, “the Arabah” (NASB).
  10. Isaiah 35:8 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “and there will be there a road and a way, and the Way of Holiness it will be called.” וְדֶרֶךְ (vederekh, “and a/the way”) is accidentally duplicated; the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not reflect the repetition of the phrase.
  11. Isaiah 35:8 tn The precise meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads literally “and it is for them, the one who walks [on the] way.” In this context those authorized to use the Way of Holiness would be morally upright people who are the recipients of God’s deliverance, in contrast to the morally impure and foolish who are excluded from the new covenant community.
  12. Isaiah 35:8 tn In this context “fools” are those who are morally corrupt, not those with limited intellectual capacity.
  13. Isaiah 35:9 tn Heb “will go up on it”; TEV “will pass that way.”
  14. Isaiah 35:10 tn Heb “and the redeemed will walk, the ransomed of the Lord will return.”
  15. Isaiah 35:10 tn Heb “[will be] on their head[s].” “Joy” may be likened here to a crown (cf. 2 Sam 1:10). The statement may also be an ironic twist on the idiom “earth/dust on the head” (cf. 2 Sam 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), referring to a mourning practice.
  16. Isaiah 35:10 tn Heb “will overtake” (NIV); NLT “they will be overcome with.”
  17. Isaiah 35:10 tn Heb “grief and groaning will flee”; KJV “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
  18. Isaiah 36:1 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.
  19. Isaiah 36:2 sn For a discussion of this title see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 229-30.
  20. Isaiah 36:2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the chief adviser) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  21. Isaiah 36:2 tn Heb “the field of the washer”; traditionally “the fuller’s field” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
  22. Isaiah 36:4 tn Heb “What is this object of trust in which you are trusting?”
  23. Isaiah 36:5 tn Heb “you say only a word of lips, counsel and might for battle.” Sennacherib’s message appears to be in broken Hebrew at this point. The phrase “word of lips” refers to mere or empty talk in Prov 14:23.
  24. Isaiah 36:9 tn Heb “How can you turn back the face of an official [from among] the least of my master’s servants and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?” In vv. 8-9 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 6. His reasoning seems to be as follows: “In your weakened condition you obviously need military strength. Agree to the king’s terms, and I will personally give you more horses than you are capable of outfitting. If I, a mere minor official, am capable of giving you such military might, just think what power the king has. There is no way the Egyptians can match our strength. It makes much better sense to deal with us.”
  25. Isaiah 36:10 sn In v. 10 the chief adviser develops further the argument begun in v. 7. He claims that Hezekiah has offended the Lord and that the Lord has commissioned Assyria as his instrument of discipline and judgment.
  26. Isaiah 36:11 sn Aramaic was the diplomatic language of the Assyrian empire.
  27. Isaiah 36:11 tn Or “in Hebrew” (NIV, NCV, NLT); NAB, NASB “in Judean.”
  28. Isaiah 36:12 tn Heb “To your master and to you did my master send me to speak these words?” The rhetorical question expects a negative answer.
  29. Isaiah 36:12 tn Heb “[Is it] not [also] to the men…?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Yes, it is.”sn The chief adviser alludes to the horrible reality of siege warfare, when the starving people in the besieged city would resort to eating and drinking anything to stay alive.
  30. Isaiah 36:13 tn The Hebrew text includes “and he said.”
  31. Isaiah 36:16 tn Heb “make with me a blessing and come out to me.”
  32. Isaiah 36:18 tn Heb “Have the gods of the nations rescued, each his land, from the hand of the king of Assyria?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not!”
  33. Isaiah 36:19 tn The rhetorical questions suggest the answer, “Nowhere. They seem to have disappeared in the face of Assyria’s might.”
  34. Isaiah 36:19 tn Heb “that they rescued Samaria from my hand?” But this gives the impression that the gods of Sepharvaim were responsible for protecting Samaria, which is obviously not the case. The implied subject of the plural verb “rescued” must be the generic “gods of the nations/lands” (vv. 18, 20).
  35. Isaiah 36:20 tn Heb “that the Lord might rescue Jerusalem from my hand?” The logic runs as follows: Since no god has ever been able to withstand the Assyrian onslaught, how can the people of Jerusalem possibly think the Lord will rescue them?
  36. Isaiah 36:22 sn As a sign of grief and mourning.
  37. Isaiah 37:1 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.
  38. Isaiah 37:2 tn Heb “elders of the priests” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); NCV “the older priests”; NRSV, TEV, CEV “the senior priests.”
  39. Isaiah 37:3 tn In the Hebrew text this verse begins with “they said to him” (cf. NRSV).
  40. Isaiah 37:3 tn Or “rebuke” (KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “correction.”
  41. Isaiah 37:3 tn Or “contempt”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “disgrace.”
  42. Isaiah 37:3 tn Heb “when sons come to the cervical opening and there is no strength to give birth.”
  43. Isaiah 37:4 tn Heb “all the words of the chief adviser whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to taunt the living God.”
  44. Isaiah 37:4 tn Heb “and rebuke the words which the Lord your God hears.”
  45. Isaiah 37:4 tn Heb “and lift up a prayer on behalf of the remnant that is found.”
  46. Isaiah 37:6 tn Heb “by which the servants of the king of Assyria have insulted me.”
  47. Isaiah 37:7 tn Heb “I will put in him a spirit.” The precise sense of רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) is uncertain in this context. It may refer to a spiritual being who will take control of his mind (see 1 Kgs 22:19), or it could refer to a disposition of concern and fear. In either case the Lord’s sovereignty over the king is apparent.
  48. Isaiah 37:7 tn Heb “cause him to fall” (so KJV, ASV, NAB), that is, “kill him.”
  49. Isaiah 37:8 tn Heb “and the chief adviser returned and he found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.”
  50. Isaiah 37:9 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  51. Isaiah 37:9 tn Heb “Cush” (so NASB); NIV, NCV “the Cushite king of Egypt.”
  52. Isaiah 37:9 tn Heb “heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, ‘He has come out to fight with you.’”
  53. Isaiah 37:9 tn The Hebrew text has, “and he heard and he sent,” but the parallel in 2 Kgs 19:9 has וַיָּשָׁב וַיִּשְׁלַח (vayyashav vayyishlakh, “and he returned and he sent”), i.e., “he again sent.”
  54. Isaiah 37:11 tn Heb “Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, annihilating them.”
  55. Isaiah 37:11 tn Heb “and will you be rescued?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No, of course not!”
  56. Isaiah 37:12 tn Heb “fathers” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); NIV “forefathers”; NCV “ancestors.”
  57. Isaiah 37:12 tn Heb “Did the gods of the nations whom my fathers destroyed rescue them—Gozan and Haran, and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who are in Telassar?”
  58. Isaiah 37:13 sn Lair was a city located in northeastern Babylon. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 235.
  59. Isaiah 37:14 tc The Hebrew text has the plural, “letters.” The final mem (ם) may be dittographic (note the initial mem on the form that immediately follows). Some Greek and Aramaic witnesses have the singular. If so, one still has to deal with the yod that is part of the plural ending. J. N. Oswalt refers to various commentators who have suggested ways to understand the plural form (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:652).
  60. Isaiah 37:14 tn In the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:14 the verb has the plural suffix, “them,” but this may reflect a later harmonization to the preceding textual reading of “letters.”
  61. Isaiah 37:16 sn The cherubim (singular “cherub”) refer to the images of winged angelic creatures that were above the ark of the covenant.
  62. Isaiah 37:16 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
  63. Isaiah 37:17 tn Heb “Hear all the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God.”
  64. Isaiah 37:18 tn The Hebrew text here has “all the lands,” but the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:17 has “the nations.”
  65. Isaiah 37:19 tn Heb “and they put their gods in the fire.”
  66. Isaiah 37:19 tn Heb “so they destroyed them” (NASB similar).
  67. Isaiah 37:20 tn The parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:19 reads, “that you, Lord, are the only God.”
  68. Isaiah 37:21 tn The parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:20 includes a verb, “What you have prayed … I have heard.”
  69. Isaiah 37:22 tn Heb “this is the word which the Lord has spoken about him.”
  70. Isaiah 37:22 sn Zion (Jerusalem) is pictured here as a young, vulnerable daughter whose purity is being threatened by the would-be Assyrian rapist. The personification hints at the reality which the young girls of the city would face if the Assyrians conquered it.
  71. Isaiah 37:22 sn Shaking the head was a mocking gesture of derision.
  72. Isaiah 37:23 tn Heb “and lifted your eyes on high?” Cf. NIV “lifted your eyes in pride”; NRSV “haughtily lifted your eyes.”
  73. Isaiah 37:23 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.
  74. Isaiah 37:24 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  75. Isaiah 37:24 tn Heb “the height of its extremity”; ASV “its farthest height.”
  76. Isaiah 37:25 tc The Hebrew text has simply, “I dug and drank water.” But the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:24 has “foreign waters.” זָרִים (zarim, “foreign”) may have accidentally dropped out of the Isaianic text by homoioteleuton (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT). Note that the preceding word, מַיִם (mayim, “water) also ends in mem (ם). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has “foreign waters” for this line. However, in several other passages the 1QIsaa scroll harmonizes with 2 Kgs 19 against the MT (Isa 36:5; 37:9, 20). Since the addition of “foreign” to this text in Isaiah by a later scribe would be more likely than its deletion, the MT reading should be accepted.
  77. Isaiah 37:26 tn Having quoted the Assyrian king’s arrogant words in vv. 23-24, the Lord now speaks to the king.
  78. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The rhetorical question expresses the Lord’s amazement that anyone might be ignorant of what he is about to say.
  79. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “formed” (so KJV, ASV).
  80. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “and it is to cause to crash into heaps of ruins fortified cities.” The subject of the third feminine singular verb תְהִי (tehi) is the implied plan, referred to in the preceding lines with third feminine singular pronominal suffixes.
  81. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “short of hand”; KJV, ASV “of small power”; NASB “short of strength.”
  82. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “they are plants in the field and green vegetation.” The metaphor emphasizes how short-lived these seemingly powerful cities really were. See Ps 90:5-6; Isa 40:6-8, 24.
  83. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “[they are] grass on the rooftops.” See the preceding note.
  84. Isaiah 37:27 tc The Hebrew text has “scorched before the standing grain” (perhaps meaning “before it reaches maturity”), but it is preferable to emend קָמָה (qamah, “standing grain”) to קָדִים (qadim, “east wind”) with the support of 1Q Isaa; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:657, n. 8.
  85. Isaiah 37:28 tc Heb “your going out and your coming in and how you have raged against me.” Several scholars have suggested that this line is probably dittographic (note the beginning of the next line). However, most English translations include the statement in question at the end of v. 28 and the beginning of v. 29. Interestingly, the LXX does not have this clause at the end of v. 28 and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not have it at the beginning of v. 29. In light of this ambiguous manuscript evidence, it appears best to retain the clause in both verses.
  86. Isaiah 37:29 tc Heb “and your complacency comes up into my ears.” The parallelism is improved if שַׁאֲנַנְךָ (shaʾananekha, “your complacency”) is emended to שְׁאוֹנְךָ (sheʾonekha, “your uproar”). See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 237-38. However, the LXX seems to support the MT, and Sennacherib’s cavalier dismissal of Yahweh depicts an arrogant complacency (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:658, n. 10).
  87. Isaiah 37:29 sn The word-picture has a parallel in Assyrian sculpture. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 238.
  88. Isaiah 37:30 tn At this point the word concerning the king of Assyria (vv. 22-29) ends, and the Lord again addresses Hezekiah and the people directly (see v. 21).
  89. Isaiah 37:30 tn Heb “and this is your sign.” In this case the אוֹת (ʾot, “sign”) is a future reminder of God’s intervention designated before the actual intervention takes place. For similar “signs” see Exod 3:12 and Isa 7:14-25.
  90. Isaiah 37:30 sn This refers to crops that grew up on their own (that is, without cultivation) from the seed planted in past years.
  91. Isaiah 37:30 tn Heb “and in the second year” (so ASV).
  92. Isaiah 37:30 tn Heb “in the third year” (so KJV, NAB).
  93. Isaiah 37:30 tn The four plural imperatival verb forms in v. 30b are used rhetorically. The Lord commands the people to plant, harvest, etc. to emphasize the certainty of restored peace and prosperity.
  94. Isaiah 37:31 tn Heb “The remnant of the house of Judah that is left will add roots below and produce fruit above.”
  95. Isaiah 37:32 tn Traditionally, “the Lord of hosts.” In this context the Lord’s “zeal” refers to his intense devotion to and love for his people that prompts him to protect and restore them.
  96. Isaiah 37:33 tn Heb “there” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). In terms of English style “here” is expected in collocation with “this” in the previous line.
  97. Isaiah 37:33 tn Heb “[with] a shield” (so ASV, NASB, NRSV).
  98. Isaiah 37:35 tn Heb “for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.”
  99. Isaiah 37:36 tn The word “troops” is supplied in the translation for smoothness and clarity.
  100. Isaiah 37:36 tn This refers to the Israelites and/or the rest of the Assyrian army.
  101. Isaiah 37:36 tn Heb “look, all of them were dead bodies”; NLT “they found corpses everywhere.”
  102. Isaiah 37:37 tn Heb “and Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went and returned and lived in Nineveh.”
  103. Isaiah 37:38 sn The assassination of King Sennacherib probably took place in 681 b.c.
  104. Isaiah 37:38 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.
  105. Isaiah 37:38 sn No such Mesopotamian god is presently known. Perhaps the name Nisroch is a textual variation of Nusku, the Mesopotamian god of light and fire. Other proposals have tried to relate the name to Ashur, the chief god of the Assyria, or to Ninurta, the Assyrian god of war.
  106. Isaiah 37:38 sn Extra-biblical sources also mention the assassination of Sennacherib, though they refer to only one assassin. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 239-40.
  107. Isaiah 38:1 tn Heb “was sick to the point of dying”; NRSV “became sick and was at the point of death.”
  108. Isaiah 38:3 tn Heb “walked before you.” For a helpful discussion of the background and meaning of this Hebrew idiom, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 254.
  109. Isaiah 38:3 tn Heb “and with a complete heart”; KJV, ASV “with a perfect heart.”
  110. Isaiah 38:3 tn Heb “and that which is good in your eyes I have done.”
  111. Isaiah 38:3 tn Heb “wept with great weeping”; NCV “cried loudly”; TEV “began to cry bitterly.”
  112. Isaiah 38:5 tn Heb “father” (so KJV, NAB, NIV).
  113. Isaiah 38:7 tn The words “Isaiah replied” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the present form of the Hebrew text v. 7 is joined directly to v. 6, but vv. 21-22, if original to Isaiah 38, must be inserted here. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8.
  114. Isaiah 38:8 tn Heb “the shadow on the steps which it [the sun] had gone down, on the steps of Ahaz, with the sun, back ten steps.”sn These steps probably functioned as a type of sundial. See HALOT 614 s.v. מַעֲלָה and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 256.
  115. Isaiah 38:8 tn Heb “and the sun returned ten steps on the steps which it had gone down.”
  116. Isaiah 38:10 tn Or “I said” (KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  117. Isaiah 38:10 tn The precise meaning of the phrase בִּדְמִי יָמַי (bidmi yamay, “in the [?] of my days”) is uncertain. According to HALOT 226 s.v. דְּמִי this word is a hapax legomenon meaning “half.” Others derive the form from דַּמִי (dami, “quiet, rest, peacefulness”).
  118. Isaiah 38:10 tn The precise meaning of the verb is uncertain. The Pual of of פָּקַד (paqad) occurs only here and in Exod 38:21, where it appears to mean “passed in review” or “mustered.” Perhaps the idea is, “I have been called away for the remainder of my years.” To bring out the sense more clearly, one can translate, “I am deprived of the rest of my years.”
  119. Isaiah 38:11 tn The Hebrew text has יָהּ יָהּ (yah yah, the abbreviated form of יְהוָה [yehvah] repeated), but this probably should be emended to יְהוָה.
  120. Isaiah 38:11 tc The Hebrew text has חָדֶל (khadel), which appears to be derived from a verbal root meaning “to cease, refrain.” But the form has probably suffered an error of transmission; the original form (attested in a few medieval Hebrew mss) was likely חֶלֶד (kheled, “world”).
  121. Isaiah 38:12 tn According to HALOT 217 s.v. דּוֹר this noun is a hapax legomenon meaning “dwelling place,” derived from a verbal root meaning “live” (see Ps 84:10). For an interpretation that understands the form as the well-attested noun meaning “generation,” see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:679, n. 4.
  122. Isaiah 38:12 tn The verb form appears to be a Niphal from גָּלָה (galah), which normally means “uncovered, revealed” in the Niphal. Because of the following reference to a shepherd’s tent, some prefer to emend the form to וְנָגַל, a Niphal from גָלָל (galal, “roll”) and translate “is rolled [or “folded”] up.”
  123. Isaiah 38:12 tn Heb “I rolled up, like a weaver, my life” (so ASV).
  124. Isaiah 38:12 sn For a discussion of the imagery employed here, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:684.
  125. Isaiah 38:12 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”
  126. Isaiah 38:13 tn The verb form in the Hebrew text is a Piel from שָׁוַה (shavah). There are two homonyms שָׁוַה, one meaning in the Piel “level, smooth out,” the other “set, place.” Neither fits in v. 13. It is likely that the original reading was שִׁוַּעְתִּי (shivvaʿti, “I cry out”) from the verbal root שָׁוַע (shavaʿ), which occurs exclusively in the Piel.
  127. Isaiah 38:13 tn Heb “from day to night you bring me to an end.”
  128. Isaiah 38:14 tn Or “moan” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); KJV, CEV “mourn.”
  129. Isaiah 38:14 tn Heb “my eyes become weak, toward the height.”
  130. Isaiah 38:14 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in v. 16 is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  131. Isaiah 38:14 tn Heb “stand surety for me.” Hezekiah seems to be picturing himself as a debtor who is being exploited; he asks that the Lord might relieve his debt and deliver him from the oppressive creditor.
  132. Isaiah 38:15 tn Heb “and he has spoken and he has acted.”
  133. Isaiah 38:15 tn Heb “because of the bitterness of my soul.”
  134. Isaiah 38:16 tn The translation offered here is purely speculative. The text as it stands is difficult and obscure. It reads literally, “O Lord, on account of them [the suffix is masculine plural], they live, and to all in them [the suffix is feminine plural], life of my spirit.”
  135. Isaiah 38:16 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as indicative, “you restore my health,” but the following imperatival form suggests it be understood as an imperfect of request.
  136. Isaiah 38:17 tn Heb “Look, for peace bitterness was to me bitter”; NAB “thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.”
  137. Isaiah 38:17 tc The Hebrew text reads, “you loved my soul,” but this does not fit syntactically with the following prepositional phrase. חָשַׁקְתָּ (khashaqta, “you loved”), may reflect an aural error; most emend the form to חָשַׂכְת, (khasakht, “you held back”).
  138. Isaiah 38:17 tn בְּלִי (beli) most often appears as a negation, meaning “without,” suggesting the meaning “nothingness, oblivion,” here. Some translate “decay” or “destruction.”
  139. Isaiah 38:17 tn Heb “for you threw behind your back all my sins.”
  140. Isaiah 38:18 tn Or “For” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  141. Isaiah 38:18 tn The negative particle is understood by ellipsis in this line. See GKC 483 §152.z.
  142. Isaiah 38:20 tn The infinitive construct is used here to indicate that an action is imminent. See GKC 348-49 §114.i, and IBHS 610 §36.2.3g.
  143. Isaiah 38:20 tn Heb “and music [or perhaps, “stringed instruments”] we will play.”
  144. Isaiah 38:20 tn Heb “all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord.”sn Note that vv. 21-22 have been placed between vv. 6-7, where they logically belong. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8.
  145. Isaiah 38:21 tc If original to Isaiah 38, vv. 21-22 have obviously been misplaced in the course of the text’s transmission, and would most naturally be placed here, between Isa 38:6 and 38:7. See 2 Kgs 20:7-8, where these verses are placed at this point in the narrative, not at the end. Another possibility is that these verses were not in the original account, and a scribe, familiar with the 2 Kgs version of the story, appended vv. 21-22 to the end of the account in Isaiah 38.
  146. Isaiah 39:2 tn Heb “was happy with”; NAB, NASB “was pleased”; NIV “received the envoys gladly.”
  147. Isaiah 39:2 tn Heb “there was nothing which Hezekiah did not show them in his house and in all his kingdom.”
  148. Isaiah 39:4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  149. Isaiah 39:6 tn Heb “fathers” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV).
  150. Isaiah 39:7 tn Heb “Some of your sons, who go out from you, whom you father.”
  151. Isaiah 39:8 tn Heb “good” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “favorable.”
  152. Isaiah 39:8 tn Heb “and he said.” The verb אָמַר (ʾamar, “say”) is sometimes used of what one thinks (that is, says to oneself).
  153. Isaiah 39:8 tn Or “surely”; cf. CEV “At least.”
  154. Isaiah 40:1 tn The pronominal suffix is second masculine plural. The identity of the addressee is uncertain: (1) God’s people may be addressed, or (2) the unidentified heralds commanded to comfort Jerusalem.
  155. Isaiah 40:2 tn Heb “speak to the heart of Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is personified as a woman.
  156. Isaiah 40:2 tn Heb “that she is filled [with] her warfare.” Some understand צָבָא (tsavah, “warfare”) as meaning “hard service” or “compulsory labor” in this context.
  157. Isaiah 40:2 tn Heb “that her punishment is accepted [as satisfactory].”
  158. Isaiah 40:2 tn Heb “for she has received from the hand of the Lord double.” The principle of the double portion in punishment is also seen in Jer 16:18; 17:18 and Rev 18:6. For examples of the double portion in Israelite law, see Exod 22:4, 7, 9 (double restitution by a thief) and Deut 21:17 (double inheritance portion for the firstborn).
  159. Isaiah 40:3 tn Heb “make level a built road.” The verb יָשַׁר (yashar) in the Piel means “to make smooth, or straight.” The noun מְסִלָּה (mesillah) typically refers to a main road, possibly paved with stones or made level with fill (see HALOT 606 s.v. and The Concise DCH 230 s.v.).
  160. Isaiah 40:3 sn Most translations render this as “desert” (KJV, NASB, ESV, NRSV, NIV 2011, Holman), “wilderness” (NIV 1984), or “wasteland” (NLV). The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿaravah), which extends from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba, is quite arid and desert-like in the areas near the Dead Sea and southward (see the note at Num 22:1). But the point here has more to do with preparation for a royal visit. To come to Jerusalem from the east requires coming through the rift valley (or Jordan Valley). Thematically, God is typically portrayed as coming to Israel from the east. Similarly in the Gospel accounts Jesus approaches Jerusalem from the east.
  161. Isaiah 40:5 tn Or “glory.” The Lord’s “glory” is his theophanic radiance and royal splendor (see Isa 6:3; 24:23; 35:2; 60:1; 66:18-19).
  162. Isaiah 40:5 tn Heb “flesh” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); NAB, NIV “mankind”; TEV “the whole human race.”
  163. Isaiah 40:5 tn Or “indeed.”
  164. Isaiah 40:5 tn Heb “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  165. Isaiah 40:6 tn Heb “and he says.” Apparently a second “voice” responds to the command of the first “voice.”
  166. Isaiah 40:6 tn The words “the first voice responds” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first voice tells the second one what to declare.
  167. Isaiah 40:6 tn Heb “all flesh is grass.” The point of the metaphor is explained in v. 7.
  168. Isaiah 40:6 tn Heb “and all his loyalty.” The antecedent of the third masculine suffix is בָּשָׂר (basar, “flesh”), which refers collectively to mankind. The LXX, apparently understanding the antecedent as “grass,” reads “glory,” but חֶסֶד (khesed) rarely, if ever, has this nuance. The normal meaning of חֶסֶד (“faithfulness, loyalty, devotion”) fits very well in the argument. Human beings and their faithfulness (verbal expressions of faithfulness are specifically in view; cf. NRSV “constancy”) are short-lived and unreliable, in stark contrast to the decrees and promises of the eternal God.
  169. Isaiah 40:7 tn The Hebrew text has רוּחַ יְהוָה (ruakh yehvah), which in this context probably does not refer to the Lord’s personal Spirit. The phrase is better translated “the breath of the Lord,” or “the wind of [i.e., sent by] the Lord.” The Lord’s sovereign control over nature, including the hot desert winds that dry up vegetation, is in view here (cf. Ps 147:18; Isa 59:19).
  170. Isaiah 40:7 tn Heb “the people” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  171. Isaiah 40:8 tn Heb “but the word of our God stands forever.” In this context the divine “word” specifically refers to his decreed promise assuring Jerusalem that her suffering is over and his glorious return imminent (vv. 1-5).
  172. Isaiah 40:9 tn The second feminine singular imperatives are addressed to personified Zion/Jerusalem, who is here told to ascend a high hill and proclaim the good news of the Lord’s return to the other towns of Judah. Isa 41:27 and 52:7 speak of a herald sent to Zion, but the masculine singular form מְבַשֵּׂר (mevasser) is used in these verses, in contrast to the feminine singular form מְבַשֶּׂרֶת (mevasseret) employed in 40:9, where Zion is addressed as a herald.
  173. Isaiah 40:10 tn Heb “comes as a strong one”; ASV “will come as a mighty one.” The preposition בְּ (bet) here carries the nuance “in the capacity of.” It indicates that the Lord possesses the quality expressed by the noun. See GKC 379 §119.i and HALOT 104 s.v. בְּ.
  174. Isaiah 40:10 tn Heb “his arm rules for him” (so NIV, NRSV). The Lord’s “arm” symbolizes his military power (see Isa 51:9-10; 63:5).
  175. Isaiah 40:10 tn As the Lord returns to Jerusalem as a victorious warrior, he brings with him the spoils of victory, called here his “reward” and “prize.” These terms might also be translated “wages” and “recompense.” Verse 11 indicates that his rescued people, likened to a flock of sheep, are his reward.
  176. Isaiah 40:11 tn Heb “in his bosom” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV), an expression which reflects closeness and protective care.
  177. Isaiah 40:12 tn The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has מי ים (“waters of the sea”), a reading followed by NAB.
  178. 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).
  179. Isaiah 40:12 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
  180. Isaiah 40:12 tn Heb “or weighed by a third part [of a measure].”
  181. 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.
  182. Isaiah 40:13 tn Perhaps the verb is used metonymically here in the sense of “advises” (note the following line).
  183. Isaiah 40:13 tn In this context רוּחַ (ruakh) likely refers to the Lord’s “mind,” or mental faculties, rather than his personal Spirit (see BDB 925 s.v. 6).
  184. Isaiah 40:13 tn Heb “or [as] the man of his counsel causes him to know?”
  185. Isaiah 40:14 tn Heb “With whom did he consult, so that he gave discernment to him?”
  186. Isaiah 40:14 tn Heb “and taught him.” The vav (ו) consecutive with prefixed verbal form continues the previous line. The translation employs an interrogative pronoun for stylistic reasons.
  187. Isaiah 40:14 tn The phrase אֹרַח מִשְׁפָּט (ʾorakh mishpat) could be translated “path of justice” (so NASB, NRSV), but in this context, where creative ability and skill is in view, the phrase is better understood in the sense of “the way that is proper or fitting” (see BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 6); cf. NIV, NCV “the right way.”
  188. Isaiah 40:14 tn Heb “or the way of understanding causes him to know?”sn The implied answer to the rhetorical questions in vv. 13-14 is, “No one.” In contrast to Marduk, the creator-god of Mesopotamian myths who receives help from the god of wisdom, the Lord neither needs nor receives any such advice or help. See R. Whybray, Heavenly Counsellor (SOTSMS), 64-77.
  189. Isaiah 40:15 tn Or “weighs” (NIV); NLT “picks up.”
  190. Isaiah 40:15 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV, NLT).
  191. Isaiah 40:16 tn The words “for a sacrifice” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  192. Isaiah 40:16 sn The point is that not even the Lebanon forest could supply enough wood and animals for an adequate sacrifice to the Lord.
  193. Isaiah 40:17 tn Heb “[as derived] from nothing and unformed.”
  194. Isaiah 40:19 tn Heb “pours out”; KJV “melteth.”
  195. Isaiah 40:20 tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamesukkan terumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (terumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (ʿets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.
  196. Isaiah 40:20 tn Or “set up” (ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NASB “to prepare.”
  197. Isaiah 40:22 tn Heb “the circle of the earth” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  198. Isaiah 40:22 tn The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  199. Isaiah 40:22 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).
  200. Isaiah 40:22 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.
  201. Isaiah 40:22 tn Heb “like a tent [in which] to live”; NAB, NASB “like a tent to dwell (live NIV, NRSV) in.”
  202. Isaiah 40:25 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.
  203. Isaiah 40:26 tn Heb “Lift on high your eyes and see.”
  204. Isaiah 40:26 tn The words “heavenly lights” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the following lines.
  205. Isaiah 40:26 tn Heb “the one who brings out by number their host.” The stars are here likened to a huge army that the Lord leads out. Perhaps the next line pictures God calling roll. If so, the final line may be indicating that none of them dares “go AWOL.” (“AWOL” is a military acronym for “absent without leave.”)
  206. Isaiah 40:27 tn Heb “my way is hidden from the Lord” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  207. Isaiah 40:27 tn Heb “and from my God my justice passes away”; NRSV “my right is disregarded by my God.”
  208. Isaiah 40:28 tn Heb “the ends of the earth,” but this is a merism, where the earth’s extremities stand for its entirety, i.e., the extremities and everything in between them.
  209. Isaiah 40:28 sn Exiled Israel’s complaint (v. 27) implies that God might be limited in some way. Perhaps he, like so many of the pagan gods, has died. Or perhaps his jurisdiction is limited to Judah and does not include Babylon. Maybe he is unable to devise an adequate plan to rescue his people, or is unable to execute it. But v. 28 affirms that he is not limited temporally or spatially nor are his power and wisdom restricted in any way. He can and will deliver his people, if they respond in hopeful faith (v. 31a).
  210. Isaiah 40:30 tn Heb “stumbling they stumble.” The verbal idea is emphasized by the infinitive absolute.
  211. Isaiah 40:31 tn The word “help” in the phrase “for the Lord’s help” is supplied in the translation for clarification, as is the possessive on “Lord.”
  212. Isaiah 40:31 tn Heb “they rise up [on] wings like eagles” (TEV similar).