Notes for Isa 46:1LEB

Bel was the name of a Babylonian god. The name was originally associated with Enlil, but later was applied to Marduk. See HALOT 132 s.v. בֵּל.


Nebo is a variation of the name of the Babylonian god Nabu.


"their images belong to animals and beasts"; NIV "their idols are borne by beasts of burden"; NLT "are being hauled away."


"your loads are carried [as] a burden by a weary [animal]."


Notes for Isa 46:2LEB

"[the] burden," i.e., their images, the heavy burden carried by the animals.



נַפְשָׁם (nafsham, "their souls/lives") is equivalent here to a third masculine plural suffix, but the third feminine singular verb הָלָכָה (halakhah, "they go") agrees with the feminine noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, "soul, life").


The downfall of Babylon is depicted here. The idols are carried off by the victorious enemy; the gods are likened to defeated captives who cower before the enemy and are taken into exile.


Notes for Isa 46:3LEB

"house of Jacob"; TEV "descendants of Jacob."


"and all the remnant of the house of Israel."


"from the womb" (so NRSV); KJV "from the belly"; NAB "from your infancy."


"who have been lifted up from the womb."


Notes for Isa 46:4LEB

"until old age, I am he" (NRSV similar); NLT "I will be your Yahweh throughout your lifetime."


Unlike the weary idol gods, whose images must be carried by animals, Yahweh carries his weary people.


Notes for Isa 46:6LEB

"the reed," probably referring to the beam of a scales. See BDB 889 s.v. קָנֶה 4.c.


Notes for Isa 46:7LEB

Or perhaps, "cannot," here and in the following two lines. The imperfect forms can indicate capability.


Notes for Isa 46:8LEB

The meaning of the verb אָשַׁשׁ (’ashash, which appears here in the Hitpolel stem) is uncertain. BDB 84 s.v. אשׁשׁ relates it to a root meaning "found, establish" in Arabic; HALOT 100 s.v. II אשׁשׁ gives the meaning "pluck up courage." The imperative with vav (ו) may indicate purpose following the preceding imperative.


"return [it], rebels, to heart"; NRSV "recall it to mind, you transgressors."


Notes for Isa 46:9LEB

"remember the former things, from antiquity"; KJV, ASV "the former things of old."


"and there is no other" (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).


Notes for Isa 46:10LEB

Or "from long ago"; KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV "from ancient times."


Notes for Isa 46:11LEB

Or, more generally, "a bird of prey" (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV; see 18:6).


"spoken"; KJV "I have spoken it."


Notes for Isa 46:12LEB

"strong of heart [or, mind]"; KJV "stouthearted"; NAB "fainthearted"; NIV "stubborn-hearted."


"who are far from righteousness [or perhaps, "deliverance"]."


Notes for Isa 46:13LEB

"my salvation." The verb "I am bringing near" is understood by ellipsis (note the previous line).


"I will place in Zion salvation"; NASB "I will grant salvation in Zion."

"to Israel my splendor"; KJV, ASV "for Israel my glory."