Isaiah 16:1-5

Isaiah 16:1-5
A Women’s Lectionary 10


SendA lambsB
    to the rulerC of the land,D

Notes on verse 1a

A “send” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
B “lambs” = kar. 16x in OT. From karar (to dance, whirl). This is a ram, battering ram, lamb, pasture for sheep, camel’s saddle.
C “ruler” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
D “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

from Sela,E by way of the desert,F
    to the mountG of daughterH Zion.I

Notes on verse 1b

E “Sela” = Sela. 3x in OT. From the same as sela (root may mean being lofty; a rock, cliff, crag, mountain; figuratively, obstinance or God as a refuge; fortress or stronghold). This is Sela, an Edomite city. Its name means “rock” or “cliff.” See
F “desert” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
G “mount” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
H “daughter” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
I “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.

JLike flutteringK birds,L
    like scatteredM nestlings,N

Notes on verse 2a

J {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
K “fluttering” = nadad. This is to wave back and forth. Figuratively, it is to flee, stray, flutter chase away, shake, or shrink. It can also refer to a fugitive.
L “birds” = oph. From uph (to fly, flee, shine, be weary, be faint). This is a flying creature.
M “scattered” = shalach. Same as “send” in v1. See note A above.
N “nestlings” = qen. 13x in OT. Perhaps from qanan (to nestle, make or inhabit a nest). This is a nest or nestling. It can also refer to a room or other dwelling.

so are the daughters of MoabO
    at the fordsP of the Arnon.Q

Notes on verse 2b

O “Moab” = Moab. May be from ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Moab or Moabite. Name could mean “from her father” in reference to the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. The name could also mean, more pleasantly, “seed of a father” or “desirable land.” See
P “fords” = ma’abar. 11x in OT. From abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is a ford or place to cross, whether a river or mountain pass. It can also be transit.
Q “Arnon” = Arnon. From the same as Aran (Aran, a name that may mean “stridulous”); {perhaps from ranan (a cry of joy or a joyful song; properly, emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy)} OR from aran (to be agile, to inspire cheerfulness). This is Arnon, a wadi and stream in Moab whose nae means “a roaring stream” or “a brawling stream” or “murmuring” or “roaring” or “cheering” or “agile.” See

“GiveR counsel,S
    grantT justice;U

Notes on verse 3a

R “give” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
S “counsel” = etsah. From yaats (to counsel, advise, determine). This is advice, purpose, plan, prudence, or counselor.
T “grant” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
U “justice” = pelilah. 1x in OT. From palil (a judge); from palal (to judge for oneself or in an official capacity; to pray or make supplication, to entreat). This is judge, decision, or justice.

makeV your shadeW like nightX
    at the heightY of noon;Z

Notes on verse 3b

V “make” = shith. This is to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look.
W “shade” = tsel. From tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque). This is shade in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense.
X “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
Y “height” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.
Z “noon” = tsohar. From tsahar (pressing oil, glistening); from yitshar (fresh oil, anointed; oil as that which is burned to make light; used figuratively to talk about anointing). This is a light, window, or midday.

hideAA the outcasts,BB
    do not betrayCC the fugitive;DD

Notes on verse 3c

AA “hide” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
BB “outcasts” = nadach. This is scatter, seduce, banish, draw away, drive away, outcast, scatter. It means to push off in a literal or figurative sense so it could also be mislead, inflict, or withdraw.
CC “betray” = galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover.
DD “fugitive” = nadad. Same as “fluttering” in v2. See note K above.

let the outcasts of Moab
    settleEE among you;
beFF a refugeGG to them
    fromHH the destroyer.”II

Notes on verse 4a

EE “settle” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
FF “be” = hava. 6x in OT. This is to breathe, to exist.
GG “refuge” = sether. Related to “hide” in v3. From sathar (see note AA above). This is covering, shelter, protection, hiding place. It can be hidden by a mountain, by clouds, in the womb, in a matter of secrecy, through slander, or of nations.
HH “from” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
II “destroyer” = shadad. This is to ruin, assault, devastate, oppress, destroy completely. Properly, it is being burly. Figuratively it is something that is powerful.

When the oppressorJJ is no more,KK
    and destructionLL has ceased,MM
and maraudersNN have vanishedOO from the land,

Notes on verse 4b

JJ “oppressor” = muts. 1x in OT. Perhaps related to mots (chaff as something that was pressed or threshed loose;  extortioner). This is to squeeze. Figuratively, it is to oppress or one who does extortion.
KK “is no more” = aphes. 5x in OT. This is to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear.
LL “destruction” = shod. Related to “destroyer” in v4. From shadad (see note II above). This is violence, devastation, ruin, or oppression.
MM “ceased” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.
NN “marauders” = ramas. 19x in OT. This is to trample or tread down. It could be to work as a potter, to walk, or to be abusive.
OO “vanished” = tamam. This is to finish or accomplish. It is to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright, consume or cease. It is to complete in a literal or figurative sense, positive or negative.

then a thronePP shall be establishedQQ in steadfast loveRR

Notes on verse 5a

PP “throne” = kisse. From the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy. Thus, it is a seat that conveys authority.
QQ “established” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
RR “steadfast love” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.

    in the tentSS of David,TT
    and on it shall sitUU in faithfulnessVV

Notes on verse 5b

SS “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
TT “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
UU “sit” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
VV “faithfulness” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.

a ruler whoWW seeksXX justiceYY
    and is swiftZZ to do what is right.AAA

Notes on verse 5c

WW {untranslated} = shaphat. This is to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, or govern. It can refer to God judging or to human judges. This is pronouncing a verdict in favor or against so it implies consequences or punishment. It can also mean to litigate or govern as one with authority.
XX “seeks” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
YY “justice” = mishpat. Related to {untranslated} in v5. From shaphat (see note WW above). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
ZZ “is swift” = mahir. 4x in OT. From mahar (being liquid, which implies flowing; so, hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense). This is quick, ready, diligent, skillful.
AAA “right” = tsedeq. This is rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity.

Image credit: “A Sheep Eats Plants in the Ella Valley” by Yoav Rosenberg, Jerusalem, 2005.

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