As I have mentioned (here) I am participating in “Greek Isaiah in a Year” reading group. I’ve fallen a bit behind these last couple weeks, and this week was particularly busy, so my notes are few. These are my notes from this week (14:1-5).

14:1—YHWH will (imperfect, ירחם) show compassion upon “Jacob” and he has chosen (present, ובחר) Israel, again. (The LXX uses future for both: ἐλεήσει and ἐκλέξεται.) It is interesting how a future action is predicated on a present reality, even prior to judgment coming. The land (אדמתם/τῆς γῆς) will be given rest. This is interesting to observe as part of the coming judgment: the land has been overworked. Sojourners (הגר/ὁ γιώρας) will be joined (Nifil: ונלוה and ונספחו ) to “the house of Jacob.” The LXX anticipates the mood of the next v. using a word for “handed over” (προστεθήσεται) to translate both parts of this sentence.

14:2—Israel’s oppressors become the oppressed in this v. The peoples/nations (עמים֮/ἔθνη) bring Israel to their place (אל־מקומם/εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῶν). Israel makes male slaves and woman slaves of their oppressors (לעבדים ולשׁפחות/εἰς δούλους καὶ δούλας), ruling over them (בנגשׂיהם). The MT states that these nations will be taken as an inheritance (והתנחלום). Both the LXX and MT speak of the people becoming slaves in the land, but the LXX contains a unique clause which states that “and they will be increased upon the land/earth” (καὶ πληθυνθήσονται ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς). While the MT does speak of the captors being taken captive (והיו שׁבים לשׁביהם) the LXX adds to this, saying that those who lorded will be lorded over (αἰχμάλωτοι οἱ αἰχμαλωτεύσαντες αὐτούς, καὶ κυριευθήσονται οἱ κυριεύσαντες αὐτῶν).

14:3—YHWH will give rest (Hifil: הניח) after his people have suffered “pain and agitation” (מעצבך ומרגזך). The slavery of the people was harsh (appositional adjective: העבדה הקשׁה), but that slavery to them will be ending. The LXX maintains the “in that day” theme (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ) following the MT’s: והיה ביום. The Divine Name is “the God” (ὁ θεὸς) here. The harshness of the slavery is emphasized in the LXX as well with the appositional τῆς σκληρᾶς modifying τῆς δουλείας.

14:4—The people are commanded to take a “proverb” (המשׁל/θρῆνον) to the King of Babel (מלך בבל/βασιλέα Βαβυλῶνος). It begins “How the oppressor has ceased!” The word for cease being: שׁבת. The second part is difficult to translate: “Madhevah has ceased!” What is מדהבה? Apparently it is a word unattested elsewhere. Some suggest that the dalet was confused for a resh, so the word should be marhevah, “onslaught” (see NET fn.), which explains the NET’s “hostility.” Other translations include: “fury” (NASB),  “insolent fury” (ESV), “insolence” (NRSV), “raging” (HCSB), and even “golden city” (KJV)! The French is not helpful: «Comment ! L’oppresseur n’est plus là. La dictature a pris fin !» I don’t know German yet. The LXX includes the statement “in that day” (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ), an important theme. The first part of the proverb appears as such in the LXX: Πῶς ἀναπέπαυται ὁ ἀπαιτῶν καὶ ἀναπέπαυται ὁ ἐπισπουδαστής; “How the one asking has ceased an how the one being a taskmaster has ceased! The LEH LXX Lexicon suggest that this translation presumed that the דהב in madhevah is the Aramaic word for “gold,” so this word would be a neologism for one who is forced to extract gold? It’s hard to tell, but that would explain the KJV translation. Also, it would mean that the LXX translator(s) interpreted this extraction of gold as being forced labor or being driven by a taskmaster.

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