Isaiah 161 Send rams as tribute to the ruler of the land, ▼
▼ The Hebrew text reads literally, “Send [a plural imperatival form is used] a ram [to] the ruler of the land.” The term כַּר (kar, “ram”) should be emended to the plural כָּרִים (karim). The singular form in the text is probably the result of haplography; note that the next word begins with a mem (מ).
from Sela in the desert ▼
▼ The Hebrew text has “toward [across?] the desert.”
to the hill of Daughter Zion.
2 At the fords of the Arnon ▼
the Moabite women are like a bird
that flies about when forced from its nest. ▼
▼ Heb “like a bird fleeing, thrust away [from] a nest, the daughters of Moab are [at] the fords of Arnon.”
3 “Bring a plan, make a decision! ▼
▼ It is unclear who is being addressed in this verse. Perhaps the prophet, playing the role of a panic stricken Moabite refugee, requests the leaders of Judah (the imperatives are plural) to take pity on the fugitives.
Provide some shade in the middle of the day! ▼
▼ Heb “Make your shade like night in the midst of noonday.” “Shade” here symbolizes shelter, while the heat of noonday represents the intense suffering of the Moabites. By comparing the desired shade to night, the speaker visualizes a huge dark shadow cast by a large tree that would provide relief from the sun’s heat.
Hide the fugitives! Do not betray ▼
▼ Heb “disclose, uncover.”the one who tries to escape!
4 Please let the Moabite fugitives live ▼
▼ That is, “live as resident foreigners.”among you.
Hide them ▼
▼ Heb “Be a hiding place for them.”from the destroyer!”
Certainly ▼ the one who applies pressure will cease, ▼
▼ A perfect verbal form is used here and in the next two lines for rhetorical effect; the demise of the oppressor(s) is described as if it had already occurred.
the destroyer will come to an end,
those who trample will disappear ▼
▼ The Hebrew text has, “they will be finished, the one who tramples, from the earth.” The plural verb form תַּמּוּ, (tammu, “disappear”) could be emended to agree with the singular subject רֹמֵס (romes, “the one who tramples”) or the participle can be emended to a plural (רֹמֵסִם, romesim) to agree with the verb. The translation assumes the latter. Haplography of mem (ם) seems likely; note that the word after רֹמֵס begins with a mem.from the earth.
5 Then a trustworthy king will be established;
he will rule in a reliable manner,
this one from David’s family. ▼
▼ Heb “and a throne will be established in faithfulness, and he will sit on it in reliability, in the tent of David.”
He will be sure to make just decisions
and will be experienced in executing justice. ▼
6 We have heard about Moab’s pride,
their great arrogance,
their boasting, pride, and excess. ▼
▼ עֶבְרָה (’evrah) often means “anger, fury,” but here it appears to refer to boastful outbursts or excessive claims. See HALOT 782 s.v. עֶבְרָה.
But their boastful claims are empty! ▼
▼ Heb “not so his boasting.”
7 So Moab wails over its demise ▼
▼ Heb “So Moab wails for Moab.”–
they all wail!
Completely devastated, they moan
about what has happened to the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth. ▼
▼ The Hebrew text has, “for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth you [masculine plural] moan, surely destroyed.” The “raisin cakes” could have cultic significance (see Hos 3:1), but the next verse focuses on agricultural disaster, so here the raisin cakes are mentioned as an example of the fine foods that are no longer available (see 2 Sam 6:19; Song 2:5) because the vines have been destroyed by the invader (see v. 8). Some prefer to take אֲשִׁישֵׁי (’ashishe, “raisin cakes of”) as “men of” (see HALOT 95 s.v. *אָשִׁישׁ; cf. NIV). The verb form תֶהְגּוּ (tehgu, “you moan”) is probably the result of dittography (note that the preceding word ends in tav [ת]) and should be emended to הגו (a perfect, third plural form), “they moan.”
8 For the fields of Heshbon are dried up,
as well as the vines of Sibmah.
The rulers of the nations trample all over its vines,
which reach Jazer and spread to the desert;
their shoots spread out and cross the sea.
9 So I weep along with Jazer ▼
over the vines of Sibmah.
I will saturate you ▼
▼ The form אֲרַיָּוֶךְ (’arayyavekh) should be emended to אֲרַוָּיֶךְ (’aravvayekh; the vav [ו] and yod [י] have been accidentally transposed) from רָוָה (ravah, “be saturated”).with my tears, Heshbon and Elealeh,
for the conquering invaders shout triumphantly
over your fruit and crops. ▼
▼ Heb “for over your fruit and over your harvest shouting has fallen.” The translation assumes that the shouting is that of the conqueror (Jer 51:14). Another possibility is that the shouting is that of the harvesters (see v. 10b, as well as Jer 25:30), in which case one might translate, “for the joyful shouting over the fruit and crops has fallen silent.”
10 Joy and happiness disappear from the orchards,
and in the vineyards no one rejoices or shouts;
no one treads out juice in the wine vats ▼
▼ Heb “wine in the vats the treader does not tread.”–
I have brought the joyful shouts to an end. ▼
11 So my heart constantly sighs for Moab, like the strumming of a harp, ▼
▼ Heb “so my intestines sigh for Moab like a harp.” The word מֵעַי (me’ay, “intestines”) is used here of the seat of the emotions. English idiom requires the word “heart.” The point of the comparison to a harp is not entirely clear. Perhaps his sighs of mourning resemble a harp in sound, or his constant sighing is like the repetitive strumming of a harp.
my inner being sighs ▼
▼ The verb is supplied in the translation; “sighs” in the preceding line does double duty in the parallel structure.for Kir Hareseth. ▼
12 When the Moabites plead with all their might at their high places, ▼
and enter their temples to pray, their prayers will be ineffective! ▼
▼ Heb “when he appears, when he grows tired, Moab on the high places, and enters his temple to pray, he will not prevail.” It is possible that “when he grows tired” is an explanatory gloss for the preceding “when he appears.”
13 This is the message the Lord previously announced about Moab. 14 Now the Lord makes this announcement: “Within exactly three years ▼
▼ Heb “in three years, like the years of a hired worker.” The three years must be reckoned exactly, just as a hired worker would carefully keep track of the time he had agreed to work for an employer in exchange for a predetermined wage.Moab’s splendor will disappear, along with all her many people; there will be just a few, insignificant survivors left.” ▼
▼ Heb “and the splendor of Moab will be disgraced with all the great multitude, and a small little remnant will not be strong.”
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