Notes for Isa 44:2LEB

Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel; it occurs here and in Deut 32:15LEB; Deut 33:5LEB.


Notes for Isa 44:3LEB

"the thirsty." Parallelism suggests that dry ground is in view (see "dry land" in the next line.)


"and streams"; KJV "floods." The verb "cause…to flow" is supplied in the second line for clarity and for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Isa 44:4LEB

The Hebrew term בֵין (ven) is usually taken as a preposition, in which case one might translate, "among the grass." But בֵין is probably the name of a tree (cf. C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 133). If one alters the preposition bet (בְּ) to kaf (ךְּ), one can then read, "like a binu-tree." (The Qumran scroll 1QIsa supports this reading.) This forms a nice parallel to "like poplars" in the next line. חָצִיר (khatsir) is functioning as an adverbial accusative of location.


Notes for Isa 44:5LEB

The Hebrew text has a Qal verb form, "and another will call by the name of Jacob." With support from Symmachus (an ancient Greek textual witness), some read the Niphal, "and another will be called by the name of Jacob."


"and by the name of Israel he will title." Some, with support from several ancient versions, prefer to change the Piel (active) verb form to a Pual (passive), "and he will be titled by the name of Israel."


Notes for Isa 44:6LEB

"his kinsman redeemer." See the note at Isa 41:14LEB.


Notes for Isa 44:7LEB

"let him call" or "let him proclaim" (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB "Let him stand up and speak."


The Hebrew text reads, "from (the time) I established an ancient people, and the coming things." Various emendations have been proposed. One of the options assumes the reading מַשְׁמִיעִים מֵעוֹלָם אוֹתִיּוֹת (mashmiim meolam otiyyot); This literally reads "the ones causing to hear from antiquity coming things," but more idiomatically would read "as for those who predict from antiquity what will happen" (cf. NAB, NEB, REB). The emendation directs the attention of the reader to those who claim to be able to predict the future, challenging them to actually do what they claim they can do. The MT presents Yahweh as an example to whom these alleged "predictors of the future" can compare themselves. Since the ancient versions are unanimous in their support of the MT, the emendations should be set aside.


and those things which are coming let them declare for themselves."


Notes for Isa 44:8LEB

BDB 923 s.v. רָהָה derives this verb from an otherwise unattested root, while HALOT 403 s.v. יָרָה defines it as "be stupefied" on the basis of an Arabic cognate. The form is likely a corruption of תיראו, the reading attested in the Qumran scroll 1QIsa.


"rock" or "rocky cliff," a title that depicts Yahweh as a protective refuge in his role as sovereign king; thus the translation "sheltering rock."


Notes for Isa 44:10LEB

The rhetorical question is sarcastic. The sense is, "Who is foolish enough…?"


Notes for Isa 44:11LEB

The pronoun "his" probably refers to the one who forms/casts an idol (v. 10), in which case it refers to the craftsman’s associates in the idol-manufacturing guild.


The point seems to be this: If the idols are the mere products of human hands, then those who trust in them will be disappointed, for man-made gods are incapable of helping their "creators."


Notes for Isa 44:12LEB

The noun מַעֲצָד (maatsad), which refers to some type of tool used for cutting, occurs only here and in Jer 10:3LEB. See HALOT 615 s.v. מַעֲצָד.


Some English versions take the pronoun "it" to refer to an idol being fashioned by the blacksmith (cf. NIV, NCV, CEV). NLT understands the referent to be "a sharp tool," which is then used by the carpenter in the following verse to carve an idol from wood.


"and there is no strength"; NASB "his strength fails."


Notes for Isa 44:13LEB

"stretches out a line" (ASV similar); NIV "measures with a line."


"he makes an outline with the [?]." The noun שֶׂרֶד (shered) occurs only here; it apparently refers to some type of tool or marker. Cf. KJV "with a line"; ASV "with a pencil"; NAB, NRSV "with a stylus"; NASB "with red chalk"; NIV "with a marker."


"works" (so NASB) or "fashions" (so NRSV); NIV "he roughs it out."


"he makes it like the pattern of a man"; NAB "like a man in appearance."


"like the glory of man to sit [in] a house"; NIV "that it may dwell in a shrine."


Notes for Isa 44:14LEB

It is not certain what type of tree this otherwise unattested noun refers to. Cf. ASV "a holm-tree" (NRSV similar).


"strengthens for himself," i.e., "secures for himself" (see BDB 55 s.v. אָמֵץ Pi.2).


Some prefer to emend אֹרֶן (’oren) to אֶרֶז (’erez, "cedar"), but the otherwise unattested noun appears to have an Akkadian cognate, meaning "cedar." See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 44–45. HALOT 90 s.v. I אֹרֶן offers the meaning "laurel."


Notes for Isa 44:15LEB

"and it becomes burning [i.e., firewood] for a man"; NAB "to serve man for fuel."


Or perhaps, "them."


Notes for Isa 44:16LEB

"eats" (so NASB); NAB, NRSV "roasts."


Notes for Isa 44:18LEB

"for their eyes are smeared over so they cannot see, so their heart cannot be wise."


Notes for Isa 44:19LEB

There is no formal interrogative sign here, but the context seems to indicate these are rhetorical questions. See GKC 473 §150.a.


Notes for Isa 44:20LEB

Or perhaps, "he eats on an ash heap."


"Is it not a lie in my right hand?"


Notes for Isa 44:21LEB

The verb in the Hebrew text is a Niphal imperfect with a pronominal suffix. Although the Niphal ordinarily has the passive sense, it can have a reflexive nuance as well (see above translation). Some have suggested an emendation to a Qal form: "Do not forget me" (all the ancient versions, NEB, REB; see GKC 369 §117.x). "Do not forget me" would make a good parallel with "remember these things" in the first line. Since the MT is the harder reading and fits with Israel’s complaint that Yahweh had forgotten her (Isa 40:27LEB), the MT reading should be retained (NASB, NKJV, NRSV, ESV). The passive has been rendered as an active in the translation in keeping with contemporary English style (so also NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).


Notes for Isa 44:22LEB

"I blot out like a cloud your rebellious deeds, and like a cloud your sins." "Rebellious deeds" and "sins" stand by metonymy for the guilt they produce. Both עָב (’av) and עָנָן (’anan) refer to the clouds in the sky. It is tempting for stylistic purposes to translate the second with "fog" or "mist" (cf. NAB, NRSV "cloud…mist"; NIV "cloud…morning mist"; NLT "morning mists…clouds"), but this distinction between the synonyms is unwarranted here. The point of the simile seems to be this: The Lord forgives their sins, causing them to vanish just as clouds disappear from the sky (see Job 7:9LEB; Job 30:15LEB).


"redeem." See the note at Isa 41:14LEB.


Notes for Isa 44:23LEB

"acts"; NASB, NRSV "has done it"; NLT "has done this wondrous thing."


"lower regions." This refers to Sheol and forms a merism with "sky" in the previous line. See Ps 63:9LEB; Ps 71:20LEB.


"O forest and all the trees in it"; NASB, NRSV "and every tree in it."


"redeems." See the note at Isa 41:14LEB.


That is, by delivering Israel. Cf. NCV "showed his glory when he saved Israel"; TEV "has shown his greatness by saving his people Israel."


Notes for Isa 44:24LEB

"your redeemer." See the note at Isa 41:14LEB.


The consonantal text (Kethib) has "Who [was] with me?" The marginal reading (Qere) is "from with me," i.e., "by myself." See BDB 87 s.v. II אֵת 4.c.


Notes for Isa 44:25LEB

The Hebrew text has בַּדִּים (baddim), perhaps meaning "empty talkers" (BDB 95 s.v. III בַּד). In the four other occurrences of this word (Job 11:3LEB; Isa 16:6LEB; Jer 48:30LEB; Jer 50:36LEB) the context does not make the meaning of the term very clear. Its primary point appears to be that the words spoken are meaningless or false. In light of its parallelism with "omen readers," some have proposed an emendation to בָּרִים (barim, "seers"). The Mesopotamian baru-priests were divination specialists who played an important role in court life. See R. Wilson, Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel, 93–98. Rather than supporting an emendation, J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:189, n. 79) suggests that Isaiah used בַּדִּים purposively as a derisive wordplay on the Akkadian word baru (in light of the close similarity of the d and r consonants).


Or "makes fools of" (NIV, NRSV); NAB and NASB both similar.


"who turns back the wise" (so NRSV); NIV "overthrows the learning of the wise"; TEV "The words of the wise I refute."


"their knowledge" (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).


Notes for Isa 44:26LEB

"the word of his servant." The following context indicates that Yahweh’s prophets are in view.


"counsel." The Hebrew term עֵצָה (’etsah) probably refers here to the divine plan as announced by the prophets. See HALOT 867 s.v. I עֵצָה.


Notes for Isa 44:28LEB

"says to." It is possible that the sentence is not completed, as the description of Cyrus and his Yahweh-given role is developed in the rest of the verse. Isa 45:1LEB picks up where Isa 44:28LEB leaves off with Yahweh’s actual words to Cyrus finally being quoted in Isa 45:2LEB.


"my shepherd." The shepherd motif is sometimes applied, as here, to a royal figure who is responsible for the well-being of the people whom he rules.


"that he might bring to completion all my desire."


"and [concerning the] temple, you will be founded." The preposition - לְ () is understood by ellipsis at the beginning of the second line. The verb תִּוָּסֵד (tivvased, "you will be founded") is second masculine singular and is probably addressed to the personified temple (הֵיכָל [hekhal, "temple"] is masculine).