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Isaiah 30

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Judah Warned Against Egyptian Alliance Futile Confidence in Egypt Concerning the Embassy Sent to Egypt A Useless Treaty with Egypt Against the Embassy to Egypt
30:1-5
(1-5)
30:1-5
(1-5)
30:1-7
(1-5)
30:1-5 30:1-5
(1-5)
        Another Prophecy Against An Embassy
30:6-17
(6-11)
30:6-7
(6-7)
(6-7) 30:6-7 30:6-7
  A Rebellious People Judah's Connivance with Egypt The Disobedient People Testament
  30:8-11
(8-11)
30:8-17
(8-14)
30:8-11 30:8-17
(8-11)
(12b-14) 30:12-17
(12b-14)
  30:12-14 (12-14)
(15b-17) (15b-17) (15-17) 30:15-18 (15-17)
God is Gracious and Just God Will Be Gracious Hope for the Afflicted   God Will Forgive
30:18
(18)
30:18-22
(18)
30:18
(18)
God Will Bless His People 30:18
(18)
30:19-22 (19-22) 30:19-22 30:19-26 30:19-26
(19-26)
30:23-33
(27-33)
30:23-26
(23-26)
30:23-26    
  Judgment on Assyria Oracle Against Assyria God Will Punish Assyria Against Assyria
  30:27-33
(27-28)
30:27-28
(27-28)
30:27-29 30:27-33
(27-33)
  (29-33) 30:29-33    
      30:30-33  

READING CYCLE THREE (see introduction)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This context refers to the many revolts against Assyria after the death of Sargon II in 705 b.c. These revolts by numerous vassal states were put down by the new King Sennacherib.

 

B. The Egypt that Hezekiah sought a political/military alliance with was the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. It was led by the Cushite/Nubian king, Shabaka, who aggressively tried to rally all the small nations, from the head waters of the Euphrates to Egypt's borders, against Assyria.

 

C. There are six woe oracles in this literary unit (i.e., chapters 28-33).

1. woe to the northern and southern tribes of Israel, chapter 28

2. woe to Jerusalem, 29:1-14

3. woe to those who seek help in political alliances and not in YHWH, 29:15-24

4. woe to those seeking help from Egypt, chapter 30

5. woe to those seeking help from Egypt, chapters 31-32

6. woe to Assyria, chapter 33

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:1-5
1"Woe to the rebellious children," declares the Lord,
"Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
2Who proceed down to Egypt
Without consulting Me,
To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame
And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.
4For their princes are at Zoan
And their ambassadors arrive at Hanes.
5Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them,
Who are not for help or profit, but for shame and also for reproach."

30:1 "Woe" See note at 18:1.

▣ "rebellious children" This title implies two truths.

1. they are "children" (i.e., descendants of Abraham, heir of the promises, cf Rom. 9:4-5)

2. they act "rebelliously" (BDB 710, KB 770, Qal active participle, cf. 1:23), where it is translated "rebels," also note 65:2. The basic meaning of the root is "stubborn" (cf. Hos. 4:16). In Ps. 78:8 this word and a synonym (BDB 598) are parallel (cf. Deut. 1:26,43; 9:7,23,24; 21:18,20; 31:27). This attitude has characterized God's people from ancient times. It is part of the curse of the Fall!

Notice that Isaiah makes very specific what they have done to be titled "rebellious children."

1. they have devised their own plan to protect themselves against Assyria (cf. 29:15)

2. they made a political alliance (see note below) with Egypt (cf. 20:5; 31:3; 36:9), but ignored YHWH's Spirit (His presence, promises, and protection, cf. 28:14-22; 29:15-16)

 

NASB, NRSV"make an alliance"
NASB margin"pour out a drink offering"
NKJV"devise plans"
TEV"sign treaties"
NJB"make alliances"
REB"weave schemes"
LXX"make agreement"
Peshitta"offer wine offerings"

This Hebrew root has several meanings.

1. נסך, verb, BDB 650 I in Qal stem

a. pour out, metaphorically, Isa. 29:10

b. pour out, literally, Isa. 30:1; Hos. 9:4

c. cast metal idols, Isa. 40:19; 44:10

2. נסך, verb, BDB 651 II means "weave," Isa. 25:7, REB

Although a libation (Deut. 32:38) was not part of known alliance procedures, it may have been because of the religious nature of ancient agreements (cf. Isa. 57:6).

30:2 "refuge. . .shelter in the shadow of" These reflect two terms (BDB 731, KB 797 and BDB 340, KB 337, both Qal infinitive constructs) usually used of YHWH, but here they are used to describe Egypt.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SHADOW AS METAPHOR FOR PROTECTION AND CARE

▣ "Without consulting Me" These Judeans apparently consulted the occult (cf. 8:19), but not YHWH's prophet (lit. "without asking my mouth," cf. Exod. 4:16; Josh. 9:14).

30:3 There is no hope in Egypt (cf. vv. 3,5,7; 20:5-6; 36:6). Amazingly Judah left her covenant God for the protection of a previous task master! Judah will do it again in Jeremiah's day (cf. Jer. 2:13; 42:18-22)!

30:4 "their princes" The MT has "his," which is followed by most English translations. NASB may assert that these "princes" refer to Pharaoh's leaders (cf. 19:11), but in context it refers to Hezekiah's representatives seeking a political/military alliance with Egypt.

▣ "Zoan. . .Hanes" These were two cities that were recently freed by the Twenty-fifty Dynasty. They were used to show the power of the Egyptian army.

The two cities mentioned are connected to the delta region of the Nile.

1. Zoan is also known as Tanis or Avaris (cf. Num. 13:22; Ps. 78:12,43; Isa. 19:11).

2. Hanes is unknown (LXX omits), but possibly connected to Tahpanhes (cf. Jer. 2:16; 43:7,8,9; 44:1; 46:14), a nearby fortress. Some scholars relate this name to Heracleopolis Magna because it was a regional capital during the Nubian Dynasty.

 

30:5

NASB, NKJV"ashamed"
NRSV"shame"
TEV"regret"
NJB"disappointed"

All of these English translations chose the Qere option (i.e., marginal reading) of the Masoretic scholars (שיבה, BDB 101, KB 116, Hiphil perfect, the noun [BDB 102] is used later in this verse). The MT text (Kethib) has "cause to stink" (שיאבה, BDB 92, KB 107, Hiphil perfect; the verb is used in 50:2 and the noun in 34:3).

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:6-17
6The oracle concerning the beasts of the Negev.
Through a land of distress and anguish,
From where come lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent,
They carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys
And their treasures on camels' humps,
To a people who cannot profit them;
7Even Egypt, whose help is vain and empty.
Therefore, I have called her
"Rahab who has been exterminated."
8Now go, write it on a tablet before them
And inscribe it on a scroll,
That it may serve in the time to come
As a witness forever.
9For this is a rebellious people, false sons,
Sons who refuse to listen
To the instruction of the Lord;
10Who say to the seers, "You must not see visions";
And to the prophets, "You must not prophesy to us what is right,
Speak to us pleasant words,
Prophesy illusions.
11Get out of the way, turn aside from the path,
Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."
12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
"Since you have rejected this word
And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them,
13Therefore this iniquity will be to you
Like a breach about to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,
14Whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter's jar,
So ruthlessly shattered
That a sherd will not be found among its pieces
To take fire from a hearth
Or to scoop water from a cistern."
15For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
"In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength."
But you were not willing,
16And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses,"
Therefore you shall flee!
"And we will ride on swift horses,"
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.
17One thousand will flee at the threat of one man;
You will flee at the threat of five,
Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top
And as a signal on a hill.

30:6-7 This describes the Judean caravans that were sent through the dangerous Judean and Egyptian deserts (i.e., v. 6b,c), bearing gifts (v. 6d,e) in an attempt to try to form a political alliance with Egypt (i.e., Rahab, BDB 923, see note at 27:1).

The NASB Study Bible makes the comment that the caravan might have had to take the back roads to Egypt because of the Assyrian army's control of the main caravan routes (p. 997, also IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 621).

The NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 87, makes the comment that this might represent a reverse Exodus. But I think in context option #one (i.e., political alliance) fits best. I listed some of the interpretive options to illustrate.

1. how ambiguous Hebrew poetry can be

2. how different allusions can be seen behind different words and phrases

3. to emphasize again the importance of finding the main point of the strophe and its relationship to the larger context and not basing one's main theological points on the details of Hebrew poetry

 

30:6 Notice the "beasts" (BDB 96) of the Negev (BDB 616) listed.

1. lioness, BDB 522

2. lion, BDB 539 I

3. viper, BDB 821

4. flying serpent, BDB 977 I with the Polel participle "flying" (BDB 733, KB 800), see note at 14:29

5. donkeys, BDB 747

6. camels, BDB 168

Numbers 1-4 speak of the danger of the trip, while 5-6 speak of the beasts of burden that carried the financial incentive.

30:7

NASB"Rahab who has been exterminated"
NKJV"Rahab-Hem-Shebeth" ("Rahab sits idle," footnote)
NRSV"Rahab who sits still"
TEV"So I have nicknamed Egypt, 'The Harmless Dragon'"
NJB"and so I call her 'Rahab-the-collapsed'"

The MT has "Rahab who sits still." Rahab refers to Egypt. (See full note at 51:9). The UBS Hebrew Text Project gives the MT "they (are) cessation" a "B" rating (some doubt). The whole point is Egypt cannot stop or even help against the Assyrian invasion of Palestine. The serpent (Rahab, BDB 923, KB 1193) is toothless!

30:8 There are two reasons for having a written record (1) God wants a written evidence of His people's rebellion so when He brings them to court, the evidence is obvious (cf. 8:1; Hab. 2:2) and (2) to show His control of history, thereby confirming Himself and His prophet so that future generations may trust in His word.

There are several commands in this verse.

1. go, BDB 97, KB 112, Qal imperative

2. write, BDB 507, KB 503, Qal imperative

3. inscribe, BDB 349, KB 347, Qal imperative

4. let it be a witness forever, BDB 224, KB 243, Qal jussive

The MT has "a witness" (BDB 723 I), "forever" (BDB 761, cf. NKJV, NJB, LXX, Peshitta), but the root, דע, normally means "perpetuity" (i.e., "a segment of time," similar to 'olam). Often English translations do not fully reflect the possible semantic range of Hebrew terms. That is why comparing English translations is helpful.

30:9 "For this is a rebellious people, false sons,

Sons who refuse to listen

To the instruction of the Lord" See v. 1; 1:2-3; 6:9-10; 29:9-12.

The verbal "to listen" (BDB 1033, KB 1570, Qal infinitive construct) denotes "hearing so as to do" (i.e., Deut. 4:1; 6:4). This concept of a lifestyle response to divine revelation is the heart of OT faith (cf. Deut. 29:4). As this verse clearly shows, obedience is a recurrent problem for fallen humanity. The weakness of the OT is not its revelation, but the human covenant partners (cf. Galatians 3). Herein is the need for a "new covenant" (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-38). The new one, like the first one, is designed to promote fellowship between God and mankind and to reveal God's characteristics to a fallen world. Obedience is crucial in both (cf. Matt. 11:29; Luke 6:46).

30:10-11 The godless Judeans not only do not want to follow YHWH, they do not want to hear from His messengers!

1. to the seers, see not

a. seers, BDB 906, KB 1157, Qal active participle

b. see not, BDB 906, KB 1157, negated Qal imperfect

2. to the prophets, prophesy not

a. prophets, BDB 302

b. prophesy not, BDB 302, KB 301, negated Qal imperfect

3. speak to us pleasant words, BDB 180, KB 210, Piel imperative

4. prophesy illusions, BDB 302, KB 301, Qal imperative. "Illusions" (BDB 1122) is found only here. They wanted any message but YHWH's message!

5. get out of the way (lit. "turn aside from the way"), BDB 693, KB 747, Qal imperative

6. turn aside from the path, BDB 639, KB 692, Hiphil imperative

7. let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel (lit. "remove from before us"), BDB 991, KB 1407, Hiphil imperative

These are shocking statements. Isaiah is using diatribe to forcibly make his point. These people are YHWHists in name only!

30:10 "seers" This term (BDB 909) is obviously related to the common verb "to see" (BDB 906).

SPECIAL TOPIC: PROPHET (THE DIFFERENT HEBREW TERMS)

30:12 "And have put your trust in" This verb (BDB 105, KB 120, Qal imperfect) is used often in Isaiah.

1. trust in God, cf. 12:2; 26:3,4; 36:7,15; 37:10; 50:10 (in the name of the Lord)

2. trust in things

a. 30:12, oppression and guile

b. 31:1, Egyptian military

c. 36:6,9, Egypt

d. 42:17, idols

e. 47:10, wickedness

f. 59:4, confusion

3. trust in persons, 36:5,6,9

 

▣ "relied" This verb (BDB 1043, KB 1612, Niphal imperfect) is parallel to "trust" (cf. II Chr. 13:18; 14:11; 16:7,8). It is found only in the Niphal stem and is used several times in Isaiah (cf. 10:20 [twice]; 31:1; 50:10). It literally means "to lean on" or "support oneself" (cf. Gen. 18:4).

30:13-14 These are two metaphors used for the destruction to come: (1) the imminent collapse of a wall and (2) the complete shattering of a clay pot.

30:15 Notice the names for Judah's God.

1. Adon YHWH (Lord God)

2. the Holy One of Israel, cf. vv. 11,12

These are covenant titles! (See Special Topic at 1:1.) These should have been covenant people!

▣ "In repentance and rest you will be saved" Verses 15-17 describe two reactions to God's promises. Verse 15 describes true faith (cf. Ps. 118:6-9), while vv. 16-17 describe false faith.

Salvation (BDB 446, KB 448, Niphal imperfect) is described with two nouns.

1. repentance (lit. "turning back"), BDB 1000, KB 1435; this is a rare term found only here. Some scholars suggest a connection with Micah 2:8, but this is not certain. The basic root, שׁוב, means "to turn back" and fits the context.

2. rest, BDB 629 I, KB 692 II, means "calm," "patience," "peace"

a. Job 17:16; Eccl. 6:5, rest in death

b. Pro. 29:9, no rest for the fool

c. Isa. 30:15, possibly rest from war, based on the parallel with Micah 2:8, #1 above

The evangelical in me wants to turn these key words, "saved," "repentance," and "rest," into a gospel message, but this is not the NT! This is a strophe about Judea seeking a military alliance with Egypt. She has turned away from her God and is not resting in Him (cf. 15d).

▣ "In quietness and trust is your strength" This line is parallel to the above line, so there are four terms used in YHWH's address to them.

1. repentance, see above

2. rest, see above

3. quietness, BDB 1052, KB 1641, Hiphil infinitive absolute, cf. 7:4; 32:17

4. trust, BDB 105, cf. 32:17

Remember this is a theological parallel to Isaiah's call for Ahaz to "take care, and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted" in 7:4. Now YHWH is addressing Hezekiah with the same message! Trust Me!

30:16 "those who will pursue you will be swift" Judah was trusting in military might which she planned on getting from Egypt (cf. 2:6-7; 31:1). However, as she trusted in the swiftness of her mercenary cavalry, God asserts the swiftness of His surrogate Assyrian army.

30:17 "One thousand will flee at the threat of one man" This is Holy War terminology (cf. Lev. 26:8; Deut. 32:30; Josh. 23:10). It is taken from the Exodus and Conquest of Palestine. However, the tables are now turned as God is on Assyria's side.

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:18
18Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

30:18 "the Lord longs to be gracious to you" What a wonderful verse (and a shocking reversal) that reveals the character of YHWH.

1. longs to be gracious

a. longs (lit. "waits"), BDB 314, KB 313, Piel imperfect

b. gracious, BDB 335, KB 334, Qal infinitive construct

2. waits on high to have compassion

a. waits (lit. "is on high"), BDB 926, KB 1202, Qal imperfect

b. compassion, BDB 933, KB 1216, Piel infinitive construct

Humans must trust in the character of God. He wants to bless (BDB 80) all those who long (lit. "wait," same verb as #1 above, but here a Qal active participle, cf. 25:9; 26:8; 33:2; Ps. 33:20) for Him. This "waiting" expresses a trusting, patient world-view of YHWH's presence, promises, and purposes (cf. 48:9-11; Hos. 11:8-11), even in times of crises and uncertainty.

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:19-22
19O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. 22And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, "Be gone!"

30:19-22 Notice what YHWH will do in the future for a repentant, faithful Judah.

1. they will weep no longer - this is emphatic. The Qal infinitive absolute and the Qal imperfect verb of the same root (BDB 113, KB 129). This new day is also alluded to in 25:8; 60:20; 61:1-3.

2. He will surely be gracious - this is made emphatic by using the Qal infinitive absolute and Qal imperfect verb of the same root (BDB 335, KB 334; see note at v. 18).

3. He hears the sound of their cry - BDB 1033, KB 1570, Qal infinitive construct.

4. He will answer - BDB 772, KB 851, Qal perfect, cf. 58:9; 65:24 (i.e., the covenant is active and strong)

5. He will no longer hide Himself - BDB 489, KB 486, Niphal imperfect. This is a rare term found only here. It literally means "to thrust into a corner" (NKJV). The NASB gets "hide" from an Arabic root, "to enclose" or "to guard."

6. your eyes will behold your Teacher - BDB 906, KB 1157, Qal active participle.

7. your ears will hear a word behind you - BDB 1033, KB 1570, Qal imperfect. This is the reversal of 6:9-10 and the reinstatement of Deut. 29:4. The "word" (BDB 182) which they will hear is the rest of the verse, which are metaphors of lifestyle faith.

a. the way, BDB 202 (i.e., covenant living, cf. 35:8-9; 42:16; Ps. 25:8-9)

b. walk in it, BDB 229, KB 246, Qal imperative (cf. Lev. 26:3; Deut. 8:6; 10:12; 11:22; 28:9; I Kgs. 6:12; 8:36,61; II Chr. 6:16,27; Neh. 10:29; Isa. 2:3; Jer. 6:16; 44:10,23; Ezek. 5:6-7; 11:20; 18:17; 20:13,16,19,21; 33:15; 37:24; Dan. 9:10; Micah 4:2)

c. turn to the right or to the left (another idiom related to staying in the way)

8. you will turn from your idols

a. defile them, BDB 379, KB 375, Piel perfect

b. scatter them, BDB 279, KB 280, Qal imperfect

c. say to them "Be gone," BDB 422, KB 425, Qal imperative

Isaiah is unique in its assertion that Jerusalem will never fall, but Jeremiah asserts that it will. Both assert it will be restored if and when it turns back to YHWH!

30:20 In this verse there are several persons mentioned.

1. "the Lord" - Adon

2. "your Teacher" (twice)

3. "you" (i.e., Judeans, plural)

The "teacher" could refer to

1. YHWH (plural of majesty, TEV, cf. 45:15, "You are a God who hides Himself," but different verb)

2. Messiah (YHWH representative)

3. prophets/priests (i.e., restoration of true revelation, cf. Ps. 74:9)

The term "teacher" (מוריך, BDB 435) can be understood as

1. singular, John J. Owens, Analytical Key to the OT, vol. 4, p. 90, see NASB, JPSOA, NRSV, ASV

2. plural, Benjamin Davidson, Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p. 475, see NKJV, REB

The form could reflect either one (NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 538).

30:22

NASB"an impure thing"
NKJV"an unclean thing"
NRSV"like filthy rags"
NJB"like the polluted things"
Peshitta"like unclean water of a menstrous woman"

This is the term (BDB 188) which denotes the rags used during a woman's menstrual period (cf. Lev. 15:33; 20:18). This would have been a strong cultural idiom of a ceremonially unclean thing which must be set apart (cf. 64:6).

The LXX (REB) takes the next word "be gone" (BDB 422, KB 425) as a similar term, "feces," which would be another cultural idiom of ceremonial defilement.

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:23-26
23Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. 24Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.

30:23-26 This describes the agricultural and pastoral blessing promised to Abraham's seed if they walk in YHWH's covenant (cf. Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-28).

1. rain at the proper time, vv. 23,25, cf. 35:6,7; 41:18; 43:19,20

2. good crops, v. 23

a. rich (BDB 206)

b. plenteous (BDB 1032)

3. green pastures for the livestock, v. 23, cf. 32:20

4. a special food for the working livestock, v. 24 (term BDB 330 is found only here)

5. enemies defeated, v. 25 ("on every high hill." This same idiom was used for Ba'al worship in Hosea)

6. plenty of light for health and growth, v. 26, cf. 60:20-21 (seven being symbolic of the perfect amount and light being symbolic of God's presence, i.e., His name, v. 27)

 

30:26 These blessings of restoration (cf. 11:6-9; Rom. 8:18-22) are after

1. the day of great slaughter when the towers fall, v. 25

2. the day of the Lord binds up the fracture of His people, v. 26

3. the day the Lord heals the bruise He has inflicted, v. 26

 

▣ "heals the bruise He has inflicted" This phrase and others like it (i.e., Deut. 32:39; I Samuel 2:6; II Kgs. 5:7; Job 5:18; Isa. 45:7; Jer. 1:10; 24:6; 31:28; Hos. 6:1; Amos 3:6) have caused moderns to question the merciful character of God. These are all idiomatic ways of asserting monotheism (i.e., one and only one causality). Modern western people assume that there are many causalities in their experiences and their histories. The Bible asserts the sovereignty of God in all areas of reality. He is present and active!

NASB (UPDATED)TEXT: 30:27-33
27Behold, the name of the Lord comes from a remote place;
Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke;
His lips are filled with indignation
And His tongue is like a consuming fire;
28His breath is like an overflowing torrent,
Which reaches to the neck,
To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve,
And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin.
29You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival,
And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute,
To go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.
30And the Lord will cause His voice of authority to be heard,
And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger,
And in the flame of a consuming fire
In cloudburst, downpour and hailstones.
31For at the voice of the Lord Assyria will be terrified,
When He strikes with the rod.
32And every blow of the rod of punishment,
Which the Lord will lay on him,
Will be with the music of tambourines and lyres;
And in battles, brandishing weapons, He will fight them.
33For Topheth has long been ready,
Indeed, it has been prepared for the king.
He has made it deep and large,
A pyre of fire with plenty of wood;
The breath of the Lord, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it afire.

30:27-33 This strophe reflects God's judgment on Assyria in the idiom of a theophany as an approaching storm (cf. Exod. 19:16ff; Jdgs. 5:4-5; Ps. 18:7ff; 50:3-5; Hab. 3:3-4).

1. elements of theophany - vv. 27, 30a-c, 33e

2. elements of storm - vv. 28, 30d

3. elements of restoration - v. 29

4. elements of judgment - Assyria, vv. 31-33

 

30:27

NASB"dense is His smoke"
NKJV"His burden is heavy"
NRSV"in thick rising smoke"
NJB"heavy his threat"

The MT has כבד, BDB 457, KB 451, construct BDB 673, "rising smoke." The first word can mean

1. be heavy

2. weighty

3. burdensome

4. honored

The second term (משאה, BDB 673, KB 640) is found only here in the OT. BDB says it means "the uplifted" (cloud). KB says it means "lifting up, exaltation," but it also lists Jdgs. 20:38-40 as a parallel where משאת, v. 38, denotes rising smoke from a burning city. The context of 30:27 is one of theophany and judgment, so both fit.

1. exaltation, denoting a cloud (i.e., Shekinah)

2. heavy smoke

 

30:28 "Which reaches to the neck" This same idiom was used of the Assyrian invasion in 8:8. Here the idiom is reversed and YHWH fights on Judah's side against Assyria.

30:29 "the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel" These are idioms for the temple in Jerusalem because of parallelism. Often "the rock" refers to YHWH Himself (cf. 17:10; Deut. 32:4,18,30; I Sam. 2:2; Ps. 18:2,31,46; 28:1; 31:3; 42:9).

30:30 "His voice" Literally, "the majesty (BDB 217) of His voice." God's will is accomplished through speaking (i.e., creation, Genesis 1). His voice is effective (cf. Isa. 45:23; 55:11; Matt. 24:35). The imagery of Jesus with a two-edged sword (cf. Heb. 4:12) coming out of His mouth (cf. Isa. 49:2; Rev. 1:16; 2:12,16; 19:15) is theologically parallel, as is "the rod of His mouth" in Isa. 11:4.

▣ "hailstones" God used them in Josh. 10:11 as a way to defeat the Canaanites and give victory to Israel (cf. Josh. 10:14,42; 23:3,10).

30:31

NASB, TEV,
NJB"will be terrified"
NKJV"will be beaten down"
NRSV"will be terror-stricken"
JB"will be battered"
LXX, Peshitta"will be defeated"

The verb (BDB 369, KB 365, Qal imperfect) literally means "be shattered," denoting a complete defeat in battle which is preceded by a numbing, paralyzing fear of the upcoming defeat (cf. 7:8; 8:9 [thrice]; 9:4; 20:5; 30:31; 31:4,9; 37:27; 51:6,7). YHWH is fighting on His people's side against Assyria. The fear and panic and loss experienced by Israel and Judah is now being felt by Assyria (the rod of YHWH's anger, cf. 10:5).

▣ "He strikes with a rod" In Isaiah 10:5, Assyria is called the "rod of God's anger," but here the roles are reversed and God is back on His people's side. The rod now feels the rod!

30:32 The judgment of the Lord is expressed by the idiom of a beating with a rod. It is possible that the next two lines (v. 32c,d) depict

1. strokes being given at the musical beat of rejoicing

2. that Judah's rejoicing follows Assyria's defeat by YHWH (cf. v. 32d).

 

30:33 "Topheth" This is the Hebrew word for "place of burning" (BDB 1075). It is often used in connection with the worship of the god Molech. Here the context could imply

1. a place of sacrifice to YHWH prepared by the king of His restored people

2. the funeral pyre for Assyria's king prepared by YHWH Himself (cf. 31:9)

3. "the King" which refers to Molech, the Phoenician fire god (cf. Lev. 18:21)

In context #2 fits best.