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Yesaya 40:18-23

Konteks

40:18 To whom can you compare God?

To what image can you liken him?

40:19 A craftsman casts 1  an idol;

a metalsmith overlays it with gold

and forges silver chains for it.

40:20 To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; 2 

he then seeks a skilled craftsman

to make 3  an idol that will not fall over.

40:21 Do you not know?

Do you not hear?

Has it not been told to you since the very beginning?

Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?

40:22 He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; 4 

its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 5 

He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 6 

and spreads it out 7  like a pitched tent. 8 

40:23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;

he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.

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[40:19]  1 tn Heb “pours out”; KJV “melteth.”

[40:20]  2 tn The first two words of the verse (הַמְסֻכָּן תְּרוּמָה, hamsukan tÿrumah) are problematic. Some take מְסֻכָּן as an otherwise unattested Pual participle from סָכַן (sakhan, “be poor”) and translate “the one who is impoverished.” תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah, “contribution”) can then be taken as an adverbial accusative, “with respect to a contribution,” and the entire line translated, “the one who is too impoverished for such a contribution [i.e., the metal idol of v. 19?] selects wood that will not rot.” However, מְסֻכָּן is probably the name of a tree used in idol manufacturing (cognate with Akkadian musukkanu, cf. H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 133). מְסֻכָּן may be a scribal interpretive addition attempting to specify עֵץ (’ets) or עֵץ may be a scribal attempt to categorize מְסֻכָּן. How an idol constitutes a תְּרוּמָה (“contribution”) is not entirely clear.

[40:20]  3 tn Or “set up” (ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NASB “to prepare.”

[40:22]  4 tn Heb “the circle of the earth” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

[40:22]  5 tn The words “before him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

[40:22]  6 tn The otherwise unattested noun דֹּק (doq), translated here “thin curtain,” is apparently derived from the verbal root דקק (“crush”) from which is derived the adjective דַּק (daq, “thin”; see HALOT 229 s.v. דקק). The nuance “curtain” is implied from the parallelism (see “tent” in the next line).

[40:22]  7 tn The meaning of the otherwise unattested verb מָתַח (matakh, “spread out”) is determined from the parallelism (note the corresponding verb “stretch out” in the previous line) and supported by later Hebrew and Aramaic cognates. See HALOT 654 s.v. *מתה.

[40:22]  8 tn Heb “like a tent [in which] to live”; NAB, NASB “like a tent to dwell (live NIV, NRSV) in.”



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