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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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2.1 : A second superscription.

This may introduce either ch 2, or chs 2–4 or chs 2–12 . Both here and at 1.1 the Hebrew word translated saw means, literally, “saw in vision.”

2–5 :

This passage occurs also in Mic 4.1–5 with some slight variations, esp. in the last verse. Together with 4.2–6 it brackets the pronouncement of judgment with the prospect of a purified and triumphant Jerusalem.

2 :

The mountain of the Lord, to the house. Throughout the ancient Near East, temples were described as the houses in which gods dwelt. In common with an ancient motif, Jerusalem is often represented as the cosmic mountain ( 10.12,32; 11.9; 16.1; 25.6; 29.8; 30.29; 40.9; 57.13; 65.26; Ps 48.1–2; Ezek 20.40; 40.2 ). It will be the goal of pilgrimage for peoples of all lands (see 45.14–23; 60.1–18 ) who will come there for instruction (Heb “torah”) (perhaps an allusion to proselytes). Disputes between nations will be arbitrated and settled there, and there will be universal disarmament and the end of warfare ( 9.5; 11.6–9; 60.18; 65.25 ).

5 :

House of Jacob, a common designation for the entire nation of Israel; see Gen 32.28; Ex 19.3; Ps 114.1; Isa 46.3 .

2.6–22 : Indictment of Israel.

Beneath the many editorial additions to this textually difficult poem we can detect the outline of a typical prophetic judgment speech: indictment (vv. 6–8 ) followed by verdict (vv. 12–16 ).

6 :

Diviners and soothsayers were proscribed (Deut 18.9–14 ), but such practices were part of popular religion in Israel at all times (1 Sam 28.8–15; Ezek 13.9 ). Clasp hands with foreigners, in commercial transactions.

7 :

The sequence is from silver and gold to horses and chariots—extremely expensive items (see 1 Kings 10.29 )—and climactically to idols. The mention of idolatry has triggered a number of prose additions to the poem (vv. 18,20 ).

9b :

Do not forgive them! Together with the final verse 22 , this exclamation reflects the apocalyptic mindset and worldview. It is absent from the Qumran Isaiah scroll (1QIsaa) and from the parallel 5.15.

10 :

The exhortation to take cover from the coming judgment (also at vv. 19,21; cf. 26.20–21 ) is also characteristic of apocalyptic writers (e.g., Zech 14.5 ).

12 :

The verdict is couched in terms of the traditional theme of the “Day of the LORD” (cf. Am 5.18–20; Ob 15; Joel 1.15 ).

13 :

Lebanon, the mountainous area north of Israel famous for its cedars; Bashan, the high plateau in northern Transjordan known for its timber (Ezek 27.6 ).

16 :

Ships of Tarshish, Tarshish is a location somewhere in the western Mediterranean region or in Turkey (later Tarsus) (Jer 10.9; Ezek 27.12; 38.13; Jon 1.3; 4.2 ), but it also stands for a type of vessel designed to carry ore (1 Kings 10.22 ).

20 :

The idols will be polluted by association with ritually unclean animals.

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