As I have mentioned (here) I am participating in “Greek Isaiah in a Year” reading group. These are my notes from this week (10:1-29).

10:1—“Woe! to those inscribing evil inscriptions and writing troublesome writings”
(הוי החקקים חקקי־און ומכתבים עמל כתבו) in the MT becomes “Woe! To those writing evil, for writing evil writings” (οὐαὶ τοῖς γράφουσιν πονηρίαν, γράφοντες γὰρ πονηρίαν γράφουσιν) in the LXX. The parallelism of the MT seems impossible to retain in translation.

10:2—There seems to be a slight difference between πτωχῶν and πενήτων in the LXX (both could be translated something like “the poor”). Louw-Nida 57.50 places πενήτων as someone who is needy, but not as impoverished as πτωχῶν. In the MT we have דל and עני. The first seem to be the weak/exploited, while the second seem to be impoverished, but I may be over-generalizing. Obviously, the meanings are close enough for the parallelism to work.

10:4—The phrases “his anger has not turned away” (οὐκ ἀπεστράφη ὁ θυμός) “the hand is uplifted still” (ἔτι ἡ χεὶρ ὑψηλή) echoes 9:20. This exists in the MT as well
(בכל־זאת֙ לֹא־שׁב אפו ועוד ידו נטוי).

10:5—“Woe to the Assyrians!” is a heavy warning against the nation YHWH claims as an agent of his wrath.

10:6—The “heathen” nation (בגוי חנף֙) in the MT is the “lawless” nation (εἰς ἔθνος ἄνομον) in the LXX. The sound of the MT in v. 6a is fun: לשׁלל שׁלל֙ ולבז בז. The clay in the streets outside being trampled in the MT (מרמס כחמר חוצות) is a city trampled to dust in the LXX (τὰς πόλεις καὶ θεῖναι αὐτὰς εἰς κονιορτόν).

10:8—The MT sentence, “Because he will say, ‘Are not my princes all kings?’”

(כי יאמר הלֹא שׂרי יחדו מלכים) is a different message from the LXX, “If they say to him, ‘You are ruler alone.’” (καὶ ἐὰν εἴπωσιν αὐτῷ Σὺ μόνος εἶ ἄρχων).

10:9—The MT is quite different from the LXX:


       הלֹא ככרכמישׁ כלנו אם־לֹא כארפד חמת אם־לֹא כדמשׂק שׁמרון׃

“Is not Calno like Carchemish, or Hamath like Arpad, or Samaria like Damascus?”


καὶ ἐρεῖ Οὐκ ἔλαβον τὴν χώραν τὴν ἐπάνω Βαβυλῶνος καὶ Χαλαννη, οὗ ὁ πύργος ᾠκοδομήθη; καὶ ἔλαβον Ἀραβίαν καὶ Δαμασκὸν καὶ Σαμάρειαν

“And he said, ‘Did not they take the upper region of Babylone and Chalanne, where the tower was built?’ And they received Arabia and Damascus and Samaria.”

10:10—The MT is different from the LXX here as well:


       כאשׁר מצאה ידי לממלכת האליל ופסיליהם מירושׁלם ומשׁמרון׃

“Just as my hand found the kingdom of idols and the idols from Jerusalem and Samaria.”


“That this way I took in my hand, and all the rulers I will take. Wail, you graven images in Jerusalem and in Samaria.”

10:12—The LXX calls the ruler of Assyria “the great mind” (τὸν νοῦν τὸν μέγαν). In the MT YWHH will visit “the great fruit of the heart of the king of Assyria

(על־פרי־גדל לבב מלך־אשׁור). The second idiomatic expression about visiting the height of the glory of his eyes, or the glory of the height of his eyes, is more literal. This makes me wonder whether the idiomatic expression carried better into Greek than the first one.

10:16—Rhythmic ending to the verse: יקד יקד כיקוד אשׁ (“a kindler kindling like the kindle of a fire”). The LXX interprets the plump becoming lean (במשׁמניו רזון) as the honored being dishonored (τιμὴν ἀτιμίαν).

10:17—The MT’s “in one day” (ביום אחד) is given an eschatological feel with the LXX’s “in that day” (τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ).

10:18—MT and LXX have different endings. MT speaks of a sick man melting
(יכלה והיה כמסס נסס). LXX speaks of a man fleeing a burning flame (ὁ φεύγων ἀπὸ φλογὸς καιομένης).

10:20—Both the MT (ביום ההוא) and LXX (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ) have eschatological sounding statements “in that day”. Of course, this doesn’t mean it has to have an eschatological message, as in the end of the world, but rather end of an epic, end of the era being mentioned. Interestingly, the “household of Jacob” (בית־יעקב) becomes the “saved of Jacob” (οἱ σωθέντες τοῦ Ιακωβ). YHWH (יהוה) =  Theos (τὸν θεὸν). “The Holy One of Israel” is a title found in v. 17 and v. 20 (seems thematic).

10:22—The Abrahamic Covenant is echoed here as Israel is said to be as populated as the sand on the seashore (כחול הים), yet all that will return is a remnant. Some soteriological language found here that is used in the NT: σωθήσεται, δικαιοσύνῃ.

10:23—The title “Lord YHWH Sabaoth” (אדני יהוה צבאות) is minimalized into “God” (ὁ θεὸς). The “land” (הארץ) is though of as a place of dwelling (οἰκουμένῃ).

10:24—Exodus echoes here. God’s people, those who dwell in Zion, do not need to fear Assyria who lifts their rod and staff like Egypt did. This time אדני יהוה צבאות is translated κύριος σαβαωθ. The mood changes in the LXX. YHWH says not to fear Assyria, but he says he will bring a stroke upon them (πληγὴν γὰρ ἐγὼ ἐπάγω ἐπὶ σὲ) so that they can “behold the way of Egypt” (τοῦ ἰδεῖν ὁδὸν Αἰγύπτου).

10:25—YHWH plans on shifting his anger toward Assyria in MT. The LXX follows this message (with YHWH striking their “council”, τὴν βουλὴν, ala Ps. 1:1?).

10:26—Again, the title  יהוה צבאות appears. The LXX does what it did in v.23, ὁ θεὸς. Interestingly, YHWH’s victory is compared to the slaughter of Midian and the rocks/cliff of Oreb and when YHWH lifted his rod over the sea against Egypt, yet Moses is the one who does this (see my post “Moses and YHWH at the Red Sea”). The LXX departs from this, speaking of the wrath of God being on the way toward Egypt (εἰς τὴν ὁδὸν τὴν κατʼ Αἴγυπτον).

10:27—Again, “in that day” language appears (ביום ההוא/ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ).


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