Isaiah 44

 

וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב עַבְדִּי וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בָּחַרְתִּי בֹו׃   44:1

Isai. 44:1   “And now hear:

                              Jacob, My servant, and Israel, I have joined with him.”

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה עֹשֶׂךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבֶּטֶן יַעְזְרֶךָּ אַל־תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב וִישֻׁרוּן בָּחַרְתִּי בֹו׃   44:2

Isai. 44:2   Thus says the Lord:

                              “Your Maker, and your Molder from the womb,

                    will save you.

                              Do not be afraid!

                    My servant, Jacob, and Jeshurun,

                               I have joined with him.”

כִּי אֶצָּק־מַיִם עַל־צָמֵא וְנֹזְלִים עַל־יַבָּשָׁה אֶצֹּק רוּחִי עַל־זַרְעֶךָ וּבִרְכָתִי עַל־צֶאֱצָאֶיךָ׃   44:3

Isai. 44:3   “For I will pour water upon the thirsty land

                              and streams upon the dry ground.

                     I will pour My spirit upon your seed

                              and My blessings upon your offspring,

וְצָמְחוּ בְּבֵין חָצִיר כַּעֲרָבִים עַל־יִבְלֵי־מָיִם׃   44:4

Isai. 44:4   and they shall spring up between the grasses

                              like willows by the streams of water.”

זֶה יֹאמַר לַיהוָה אָנִי וְזֶה יִקְרָא בְשֵׁם־יַעֲקֹב וְזֶה יִכְתֹּב יָדֹו לַיהוָה וּבְשֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל יְכַנֶּה׃   44:5

Isai. 44:5   “One shall say, ‘The Lord's am I.’

                              and another shall call in the name of Jacob,

                    and another shall prescribe his hand to the Lord

                              and shall rename himself by the name of Israel.”

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגֹאֲלֹו יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֲנִי רִאשֹׁון וַאֲנִי אַחֲרֹון וּמִבַּלְעָדַי אֵין אֱלֹהִים׃   44:6

Isai. 44:6   Thus says the Lord, King of Israel

                              and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

                    “I am First and I am Last,

                              and besides Me there is no God.”

וּמִי־כָמֹונִי יִקְרָא וְיַגִּידֶהָ וְיַעְרְכֶהָ לִי מִשּׂוּמִי עַם־עֹולָם וְאֹתִיֹּות וַאֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאנָה יַגִּידוּ לָמֹו׃   44:7

Isai. 44:7   “And who can proclaim like I?

                              Then let him reveal it and ordain it,

                    from My setting up of the everlasting people,

                              and things coming, and that will come.

                    Let him reveal them!”

Israel, the seed of Abraham, is the everlasting people that the Lord has set up.

אַל־תִּפְחֲדוּ וְאַל־תִּרְהוּ הֲלֹא מֵאָז הִשְׁמַעְתִּיךָ וְהִגַּדְתִּי וְאַתֶּם עֵדָי הֲיֵשׁ אֱלֹוהַּ מִבַּלְעָדַי וְאֵין צוּר   44:8 בַּל־יָדָעְתִּי׃

Isai. 44:8   “Do not shiver and do not be afraid!

                              Have I not told you from the beginning

                    and revealed that you are My witnesses?

                               Is there a God other than Me?

                    And there is no Rock.  None I know.”

יֹצְרֵי־פֶסֶל כֻּלָּם תֹּהוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶם בַּל־יֹועִילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶם הֵמָּה בַּל־יִרְאוּ וּבַל־יֵדְעוּ לְמַעַן יֵבֹשׁוּ׃   44:9

Isai. 44:9   Fashioners of idols, all of them vanity!

                              And their precious things can do no good.

                    As their witnesses they cannot see and cannot know

                              because they would be confounded.

I believe Isaiah reverts to his own voice at this point, and continues to do so for the next 11 verses.

מִי־יָצַר אֵל וּפֶסֶל נָסָךְ לְבִלְתִּי הֹועִיל׃   44:10

Isai. 44:10   Who fashions a melted god or image of no avail?

הֵן כָּל־חֲבֵרָיו יֵבֹשׁוּ וְחָרָשִׁים הֵמָּה מֵאָדָם יִתְקַבְּצוּ כֻלָּם יַעֲמֹדוּ יִפְחֲדוּ יֵבֹשׁוּ יָחַד׃   44:11

Isai. 44:11   Behold, all his associates shall be ashamed.

                                 And the craftsmen, they are of man,

                      will be gathered together all of them,

                                 they will stand up.

                      They will be afraid,

                                 they will be all together ashamed.

חָרַשׁ בַּרְזֶל מַעֲצָד וּפָעַל בַּפֶּחָם וּבַמַּקָּבֹות יִצְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפְעָלֵהוּ בִּזְרֹועַ כֹּחֹו גַּם־רָעֵב וְאֵין כֹּחַ לֹא־שָׁתָה   44:12 מַיִם וַיִּיעָף׃

Isai. 44:12   The worker of iron, that works an ax in the coals,

                                 that fashions it with hammers,

                      and works it with the power of his might,

                                even he is hungry and there is no might.

                      He does not drink water and he is faint.

חָרַשׁ עֵצִים נָטָה קָו יְתָאֲרֵהוּ בַשֶּׂרֶד יַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַּמַּקְצֻעֹות וּבַמְּחוּגָה יְתָאֳרֵהוּ וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּתַבְנִית אִישׁ   44:13 כְּתִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם לָשֶׁבֶת בָּיִת׃

Isai. 44:13   The worker of wood stretches out a line,

                                 he may mark it with an awl,

                      he may work it with planes and draw it with a compass,

                                 so he fashions it like a figure of a person,

                       like the looks of man to dwell in a house,

לִכְרָת־לֹו אֲרָזִים וַיִּקַּח תִּרְזָה וְאַלֹּון וַיְאַמֶּץ־לֹו בַּעֲצֵי־יָעַר נָטַע אֹרֶן וְגֶשֶׁם יְגַדֵּל׃   44:14

Isai. 44:14   cutting down for himself cedar trees,

                                and takes the cypress and the oak,

                      and fortifies himself with the trees of the forest.

                                He plants an ash tree that the rain may nourish,

וְהָיָה לְאָדָם לְבָעֵר וַיִּקַּח מֵהֶם וַיָּחָם אַף־יַשִּׂיק וְאָפָה לָחֶם אַף־יִפְעַל־אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל   44:15 וַיִּסְגָּד־לָמֹו׃

Isai. 44:15   and it may be for a man for fuel

                                that he takes from them and is warm.

                      Also he may kindle and bake bread.

                               As well he may make a god and worship it;

                      He makes of it a graven image

                               and he falls down to it.

חֶצְיֹו שָׂרַף בְּמֹו־אֵשׁ עַל־חֶצְיֹו בָּשָׂר יֹאכֵל יִצְלֶה צָלִי וְיִשְׂבָּע אַף־יָחֹם וְיֹאמַר הֶאָח חַמֹּותִי רָאִיתִי   44:16 אוּר׃

Isai. 44:16   Half of it he burns with fire,

                                he may eat the flesh over half of it;

                      he may roast a roast and be satisfied.

                                Yes, he may be warm and say,

                       “Ah, I am warm, I provide a fire.”

וּשְׁאֵרִיתֹו לְאֵל עָשָׂה לְפִסְלֹו יִסְגֹּוד־לֹו וְיִשְׁתַּחוּ וְיִתְפַּלֵּל אֵלָיו וְיֹאמַר הַצִּילֵנִי כִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה׃   44:17

Isai. 44:17   And the rest of it he makes for a god,

                                for his graven image.

                      He may fall down to it

                                that he worships it and prays to it and says,

                       “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאֹות עֵינֵיהֶם מֵהַשְׂכִּיל לִבֹּתָם׃   44:18

Isai. 44:18   They cannot know and they cannot understand,

                                 for their eyes are prevented from seeing,

                       their hearts from wisdom.

וְלֹא־יָשִׁיב אֶל־לִבֹּו וְלֹא דַעַת וְלֹא־תְבוּנָה לֵאמֹר חֶצְיֹו שָׂרַפְתִּי בְמֹו־אֵשׁ וְאַף אָפִיתִי עַל־גֶּחָלָיו   44:19

  לֶחֶם אֶצְלֶה בָשָׂר וְאֹכֵל וְיִתְרֹו לְתֹועֵבָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לְבוּל עֵץ אֶסְגֹּוד׃

Isai. 44:19   And one cannot turn back to his heart,

                                 so he has no knowledge

                      and he has no understanding to say,

                                “Half of it I have burned with fire,

                      and also I have baked bread over its embers.

                                 I may roast flesh and eat.

                      Then I may make the rest of it for an abomination,

                                 fall down to a stock of wood,

רֹעֶה אֵפֶר לֵב הוּתַל הִטָּהוּ וְלֹא־יַצִּיל אֶת־נַפְשֹׁו וְלֹא יֹאמַר הֲלֹוא שֶׁקֶר בִּימִינִי׃   44:20

Isai. 44:20   tending ashes.”

                                A deceitful heart perverts him,

                      so he cannot rescue his soul,

                                and he cannot say,

                     “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

זְכָר־אֵלֶּה יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי עַבְדִּי־אָתָּה יְצַרְתִּיךָ עֶבֶד־לִי אַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא תִנָּשֵׁנִי׃   44:21

Isai. 44:21   “Remember these things, Jacob, and Israel!

                                 For you are My servants!

                       I fashioned you.

                                 You are My servant.

                       Israel, you must not forget Me!”

מָחִיתִי כָעָב פְּשָׁעֶיךָ וְכֶעָןָן חַטֹּאותֶיךָ שׁוּבָה אֵלַי כִּי גְאַלְתִּיךָ׃   44:22

Isai. 44:22   “I have wiped away your transgressions like a cloud,

                                 and like a cloud, your sins.

                      Turn back to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

רָנּוּ שָׁמַיִם כִּי־עָשָׂה יְהוָה הָרִיעוּ תַּחְתִּיֹּות אָרֶץ פִּצְחוּ הָרִים רִנָּה יַעַר וְכָל־עֵץ בֹּו כִּי־גָאַל יְהוָה   44:23 יַעֲקֹב וּבְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִתְפָּאָר׃

Isai. 44:23   Rejoice, O heavens, for the Lord is done!

                               Shout, lowest parts of the earth!

                      Break forth singing, mountains,

                               forest and every tree in it!

                      For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,

                               and in Israel He will be glorified.                              [Return to Isai. 49:3]

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה גֹּאֲלֶךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבָּטֶן אָנֹכִי יְהוָה עֹשֶׂה כֹּל נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם לְבַדִּי רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ מִי׃   44:24

Isai. 44:24   Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer

                                and your Fashioner from the womb:

                      “I, the Lord, am Maker of all,

                                alone spreading forth the heavens,

                       stretching abroad the earth by Myself,

There’s an interesting -- in fact intriguing, even startling -- variation in the Hebrew of this verse.  The last word, ymi, can be translated in two ways.  One, it can be considered to be a variation of the term water, which makes no sense, and would constitute an error (which all exegetes acknowledge).  Two, it can be considered to be a contraction of the two words from (or out of) and me.  This makes more sense, but it says something rather profound, maybe too profound for me to accept at face value.  The last three lines of the verse would become “I, the Lord, am Maker of all, alone spreading forth the heavens, stretching abroad the earth out of Myself.”  Many people may accept this idea that all was made from God, because of the belief that there was nothing before Creation but God (which is stated in fact in these chapters of Isaiah), so all the universe came from Him.  I have trouble with that concept, mainly for the reason that it limits God and Creation.  Actually, I believe it’s the imagination of self-assured humans that is limited.  So as a result of my “bias,” I used a variation of the translation of this word meaning from, substituting by.  After all, can anyone rightly say with assurance that the Lord cannot make something out of nothing?  I don’t believe so.

מֵפֵר אֹתֹות בַּדִּים וְקֹסְמִים יְהֹולֵל מֵשִׁיב חֲכָמִים אָחֹור וְדַעְתָּם יְשַׂכֵּל׃   44:25

Isai. 44:25   Frustrater of the tokens of impostors,

                              and He can make diviners mad,

                      turning the wise backward

                               that He can turn their cunning to foolishness,

מֵקִים דְּבַר עַבְדֹּו וַעֲצַת מַלְאָכָיו יַשְׁלִים הָאֹמֵר לִירוּשָׁלִַם תּוּשָׁב וּלְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה תִּבָּנֶינָה וְחָרְבֹותֶיהָ   44:26 אֲקֹוםֵם׃

Isai. 44:26   Confirmer of the word of His servant

                               that He can make good the counsel of His messengers,

                      Who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’

                               and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’

                       and of its destroyed places, ‘I shall raise them up,’

הָאֹמֵר לַצּוּלָה חֳרָבִי וְנַהֲרֹתַיִךְ אֹובִישׁ׃   44:27

Isai. 44:27   Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry!,’

                               and I can dry up your rivers,

הָאֹמֵר לְכֹורֶשׁ רֹעִי וְכָל־חֶפְצִי יַשְׁלִם וְלֵאמֹר לִירוּשָׁלִַם תִּבָּנֶה וְהֵיכָל תִּוָּסֵד׃   44:28

Isai. 44:28   Who says to Cyrus, ‘My shepherd,’

                               that he shall fulfill My every purpose,

                       and saying of Jerusalem, ‘You shall build it,’

                               and of the Temple, ‘You shall lay the foundation.’”

 

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