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Isaiah 66:2-4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

My hand made them;[a]
that is how they came to be,”[b] says the Lord.
“I show special favor[c] to the humble and contrite,

who respect what I have to say.[d]
The one who slaughters a bull also strikes down a man;[e]
the one who sacrifices a lamb also breaks a dog’s neck;[f]
the one who presents an offering includes pig’s blood with it;[g]
the one who offers incense also praises an idol.[h]
They have decided to behave this way;[i]
they enjoy these disgusting practices.[j]
So I will choose severe punishment[k] for them;
I will bring on them what they dread,
because I called, and no one responded.
I spoke and they did not listen.
They did evil before me;[l]
they chose to do what displeases me.”


  1. Isaiah 66:2 tn Heb “all these.” The phrase refers to the heavens and earth, mentioned in the previous verse.
  2. Isaiah 66:2 tn Heb “and all these were.” Some prefer to emend וַיִּהְיוּ (vayyihyu, “and they were”) to וְלִי הָיוּ (veli hayu, “and to me they were”), i.e., “and they belong to me.”
  3. Isaiah 66:2 tn Heb “and to this one I look” (KJV and NASB both similar).
  4. Isaiah 66:2 tn Heb “to the humble and the lowly in spirit and the one who trembles at my words.”
  5. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “one who slaughters a bull, one who strikes down a man.” Some understand a comparison here and in the following lines. In God’s sight the one who sacrifices is like (i.e., regarded as) a murderer or one whose worship is ritually defiled or idolatrous. The translation above assumes that the language is not metaphorical, but descriptive of the sinners’ hypocritical behavior. (Note the last two lines of the verse, which suggest they are guilty of abominable practices.) On the one hand, they act pious and offer sacrifices, but at the same time they commit violent crimes against men, defile their sacrifices, and worship other gods.
  6. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “one who sacrifices a lamb, one who breaks a dog’s neck.” Some understand a comparison, but see the previous note.sn The significance of breaking a dog’s neck is uncertain, though the structure of the statement when compared to the preceding and following lines suggests the action is viewed in a negative light. According to Exod 13:13 and 34:20, one was to “redeem” a firstborn donkey by offering a lamb; if one did not “redeem” the firstborn donkey in this way, then its neck must be broken. According to Deut 21:1-9 a heifer’s neck was to be broken as part of the atonement ritual to purify the land from the guilt of bloodshed. It is not certain if these passages relate in any way to the action described in Isa 66:3.
  7. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “one who offers an offering, pig’s blood.” Some understand a comparison, but see the note at the end of the first line.
  8. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “one who offers incense as a memorial offering, one who blesses something false.” Some understand a comparison, but see the note at the end of the first line. אָוֶן (ʾaven), which has a wide variety of attested nuances, here refers metonymically to an idol. See HALOT 22 s.v. and BDB 20 s.v. 2.
  9. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “also they have chosen their ways.”
  10. Isaiah 66:3 tn Heb “their being [or “soul”] takes delight in their disgusting [things].”
  11. Isaiah 66:4 tn The precise meaning of the noun is uncertain. It occurs only here and in 3:4 (but see the note there). It appears to be derived from the verbal root עָלַל (ʿalal), which can carry the nuance “deal severely.”
  12. Isaiah 66:4 tn Heb “that which is evil in my eyes.”
New English Translation (NET)

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