Isaiah 44:6-8

Isaiah 44:6-8
Ordinary A34


Thus says the Lord,A the King of Israel,B
    and his Redeemer,C the Lord of hosts:D

I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.E

Notes on verse 6

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
C “redeemer” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
D “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
E “god” = Elohim.

7 Who is like me? Let them proclaimF it,
    let them declareG and set it forthH before me.

Who has announced from of oldI the things to come?
    Let them tell us what is yet to be.

Notes on verse 7

F “proclaim” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
G “declare” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
H “set it forth” = arak. This is to arrange by setting in a row. It can also mean to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare.
I “old” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

Do not fear,J or be afraid;K
    have I not toldL you from of old and declared it?
    You are my witnesses!M

Notes on verse 8a

J “fear” = pachad. To dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe. This is properly feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm and so, more generally, to be afraid.
K “afraid” = rahah. 1x in OT. Perhaps from yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is to be afraid or fear.
L “told” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
M “witnesses” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince.

Is there any godN besides me?
    There is no other rock;O I knowP not one.

Notes on verse 8b

N “god” = eloah.
O “rock” = tsur. From tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress). This is rock, tone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
P “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

Image credit: “Stained glass windows in Or Torah Synagogue (Akko, Israel) depicting (right to left): Crossing of the Red Sea, Moses striking the rock, and Jerusalem.” link

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