Isaiah 48

 

שִׁמְעוּ־זֹאת בֵּית־יַעֲקֹב הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִמֵּי יְהוּדָה יָצָאוּ הַנִּשְׁבָּעִים בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה וּבֵאלֹהֵי   48:1 יִשְׂרָאֵל יַזְכִּירוּ לֹא בֶאֱמֶת וְלֹא בִצְדָקָה׃

Isai. 48:1   Hear this, house of Jacob,

                            who are called by the name of Israel,

                    and have come forth from the semen of Judah,

                            who swear by the name of the Lord,

                    but would be not mindful of the God of Israel

                             in truth or righteousness,

Here is an example of an apparent contradiction to my theory that singular first-person pronouns are specific to whole entities (see Exod. 16:12).  The word house in house of Jacob is singular, but the subsequent verbs relating to it are plural.  But I suspect that this does not really contradict my concept.  I believe Isaiah is calling not to the house of Jacob itself, but to the individuals of that house, those who are guilty of these transgressions.

כִּי־מֵעִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ נִקְרָאוּ וְעַל־אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נִסְמָכוּ יְהוָה צְבָאֹות שְׁמֹו׃   48:2

Isai. 48:2   when from the holy city they themselves call,

                             and set themselves upon the God of Israel,

                     the Lord of hosts His name!

הָרִאשֹׁנֹות מֵאָז הִגַּדְתִּי וּמִפִּי יָצְאוּ וְאַשְׁמִיעֵם פִּתְאֹם עָשִׂיתִי וַתָּבֹאנָה׃   48:3

Isai. 48:3   “I have declared the former things from of old,

                               that came forth from My mouth;

                    as I announce them.

                               Immediately I provide,

                    and they come to pass.”

מִדַּעְתִּי כִּי קָשֶׁה אָתָּה וְגִיד בַּרְזֶל עָרְפֶּךָ וּמִצְחֲךָ נְחוּשָׁה׃   48:4

Isai. 48:4   “Since I understand that you are obstinate

                              and your neck is a sinew of iron

                    and your brow brass,

וָאַגִּיד לְךָ מֵאָז בְּטֶרֶם תָּבֹוא הִשְׁמַעְתִּיךָ פֶּן־תֹּאמַר עָצְבִּי עָשָׂם וּפִסְלִי וְנִסְכִּי צִוָּם׃   48:5

Isai. 48:5   so I have told you from of old,

                              before it came to pass

                     I announced to you,

                               lest you should say,

                     ‘My idol has done them,

                               and my graven image

                     and my molten image commanded them.’”

שָׁמַעְתָּ חֲזֵה כֻּלָּהּ וְאַתֶּם הֲלֹוא תַגִּידוּ הִשְׁמַעְתִּיךָ חֲדָשֹׁות מֵעַתָּה וּנְצֻרֹות וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּם׃   48:6

Isai. 48:6   “You have heard the prophecy of all of it;

                               then you, should you not declare?

                     I have proclaimed to you new things from this time,

                               and hidden things,

                     and you did not know them.”

עַתָּה נִבְרְאוּ וְלֹא מֵאָז וְלִפְנֵי־יֹום וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתָּם פֶּן־תֹּאמַר הִנֵּה יְדַעְתִּין׃   48:7

Isai. 48:7   “They were created now,

                               and not at the beginning or before today,

                    and you did not hear of them,

                                lest you would say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’”

גַּם לֹא־שָׁמַעְתָּ גַּם לֹא יָדַעְתָּ גַּם מֵאָז לֹא־פִתְּחָה אָזְנֶךָ כִּי יָדַעְתִּי בָּגֹוד תִּבְגֹּוד וּפֹשֵׁעַ מִבֶּטֶן קֹרָא   48:8

 לָךְ׃

Isai. 48:8   “Both you did not hear them,

                                you did not know them.

                    So from of old your ear was not opened.

                                For I know you would be very deceitful,

                    as the name for you is Transgressor from the Womb.”

Oh no!  Is this an exaggeration of Isaiah’s?  Transgressor from the Womb?  Surely a day-old infant is not a transgressor.  Moreover, and more important, these words, attributed to God by Isaiah, contradict His previous words.  See Deut. 1:39.  So I imagine this is typical hyperbole of the kind used throughout the bible.  What Isaiah might have said, but could not know about, is that we are prone to obstinacy and blindness through our genes.

לְמַעַן שְׁמִי אַאֲרִיךְ אַפִּי וּתְהִלָּתִי אֶחֱטָם־לָךְ לְבִלְתִּי הַכְרִיתֶךָ׃   48:9

Isai. 48:9   “For the sake of My name I will defer My ‘anger’

                               -- but restrain My praise for you

                    -- to not cut you off.”

הִנֵּה צְרַפְתִּיךָ וְלֹא בְכָסֶף בְּחַרְתִּיךָ בְּכוּר עֹנִי׃   48:10

Isai. 48:10   “Behold, I have cast you, but not with silver;

                                I perfect you in the furnace of affliction.”

לְמַעֲנִי לְמַעֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה כִּי אֵיךְ יֵחָל וּכְבֹודִי לְאַחֵר לֹא־אֶתֵּן׃   48:11

Isai. 48:11   “For My purpose, for My sake, must I do it,

                                 for how could it be profaned?

                      And My glory I will not give to another.”

I feel reasonably certain that the pronoun it in the second line of the translation refers to God’s purpose.  God’s purpose cannot be profaned, i.e., thwarted.  Moreover, He alone has to fulfill His purpose; He can leave it to no other.

שְׁמַע אֵלַי יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל מְקֹרָאִי אֲנִי־הוּא אֲנִי רִאשֹׁון אַף אֲנִי אַחֲרֹון׃   48:12

Isai. 48:12   “Listen to Me, Jacob,

                                 and Israel, My named!

                       I am He.  I am the First; I am also the Last.”

אַף־יָדִי יָסְדָה אֶרֶץ וִימִינִי טִפְּחָה שָׁמָיִם קֹרֵא אֲנִי אֲלֵיהֶם יַעַמְדוּ יַחְדָּו׃   48:13

Isai. 48:13   “Moreover, My ‘hands’ established the earth,

                                 and My right ‘hand’ extended the heavens.

                      Call I to them, they would rise up together.”

הִקָּבְצוּ כֻלְּכֶם וּשֲׁמָעוּ מִי בָהֶם הִגִּיד אֶת־אֵלֶּה יְהוָה אֲהֵבֹו יַעֲשֶׂה חֶפְצֹו בְּבָבֶל וּזְרֹעֹו כַּשְׂדִּים׃   48:14

Isai. 48:14   “Assemble yourselves, all of you, and hear!

                                Who among them professes these things?

                      The Lord is his friend.

                                He accomplishes His purpose with Babylon,

                       and His ‘arm’ is the Chaldeans.”

אֲנִי אֲנִי דִּבַּרְתִּי אַף־קְרָאתִיו הֲבִיאֹתִיו וְהִצְלִיחַ דַּרְכֹּו׃   48:15

Isai. 48:15   “I, I speak, and I call him.

                                  I have brought him,

                      and his way will be profitable.”

קִרְבוּ אֵלַי שִׁמְעוּ־זֹאת לֹא מֵרֹאשׁ בַּסֵּתֶר דִּבַּרְתִּי מֵעֵת הֱיֹותָהּ שָׁם אָנִי וְעַתָּה אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה שְׁלָחַנִי   48:16 וְרוּחֹו׃

Isai. 48:16   Come near to me, hear this!

                                  From the beginning in secret

                       have I not spoken.

                                  From the time that it was,

                       there I have been.

                                  And now my Master, the Lord,

                      has sent me, with His spirit.

It is the Lord’s Spirit that gives Isaiah the ability to prophesy.

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה גֹּאַלְךָ קְדֹושׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְלַמֶּדְךָ לְהֹועִיל מַדְרִיךֲךָ בְּדֶרֶךְ תֵּלֵךְ׃   48:17

Isai. 48:17   Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,

                                 the Holy One of Israel:

                      “I am the Lord, your God,

                                Who teaches you to do good,

                      Who guides you in the way you should go.”

The second-person pronouns in this verse and the next two are all singular, meaning (according to me) that Israel is being addressed as a whole people.  Again according to me, this means that not every individual need (or can) be taught or guided, or attend to the commandments (next verse).  Only a significant number of individuals need do them, and the grand prophecies expressed in the remaining verses and throughout the bible would be fulfilled.

לוּא הִקְשַׁבְתָּ לְמִצְוֹתָי וַיְהִי כַנָּהָר שְׁלֹומֶךָ וְצִדְקָתְךָ כְּגַלֵּי הַיָּם׃   48:18

Isai. 48:18   “Would that you attended to My commandments!

                                 Then your peace would be like a river,

                      and your prosperity like waves of the sea.”

וַיְהִי כַחֹול זַרְעֶךָ וְצֶאֱצָאֵי מֵעֶיךָ כִּמְעֹתָיו לֹא־יִכָּרֵת וְלֹא־יִשָּׁמֵד שְׁמֹו מִלְּפָנָי׃   48:19

Isai. 48:19   “And your seed would be as the sand,

                                 and the produce of your sex organs as its grains.

                      His name would not be cut off

                                 and he would not perish from before Me.”

צְאוּ מִבָּבֶל בִּרְחוּ מִכַּשְׂדִּים בְּקֹול רִנָּה הַגִּידוּ הַשְׁמִיעוּ זֹאת הֹוצִיאוּהָ עַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ אִמְרוּ גָּאַל   48:20 יְהוָה עַבְדֹּו יַעֲקֹב׃

Isai. 48:20   Go forth from Babylon!

                                 Flee from the Chaldeans!

                      With a triumphant cry, declare!

                                 Announce this!

                      Carry it out as far as the ends of the earth!

                                 Say, “The Lord redeemed His servant, Jacob,

וְלֹא צָמְאוּ בָּחֳרָבֹות הֹולִיכָם מַיִם מִצּוּר הִזִּיל לָמֹו וַיִּבְקַע־צוּר וַיָּזֻבוּ מָיִם׃   48:21

Isai. 48:21   that they did not thirst

                                  in the waste places where He led them;

                     He caused water to flow from a rock for them.

                                 When He divided the rock, then water gushed out.

אֵין שָׁלֹום אָמַר יְהוָה לָרְשָׁעִים׃   48:22

Isai. 48:22   There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.

 

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