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22 this is what the Lord says about him:[a]

“‘The virgin daughter Zion[b]
despises you—she makes fun of you;
daughter Jerusalem
shakes her head after you.[c]
23 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted
and looked so arrogantly?[d]
At the Holy One of Israel![e]
24 Through your messengers you taunted the Lord,[f]
“With my many chariots I climbed up
the high mountains,
the slopes of Lebanon.
I cut down its tall cedars
and its best evergreens.
I invaded its remotest regions,[g]
its thickest woods.
25 I dug wells
and drank water.[h]
With the soles of my feet I dried up
all the rivers of Egypt.”’
26 [i] Certainly you must have heard![j]

Long ago I worked it out,
in ancient times I planned[k] it,
and now I am bringing it to pass.
The plan is this:
Fortified cities will crash
into heaps of ruins.[l]
27 Their residents are powerless;[m]
they are terrified and ashamed.
They are as short-lived as plants in the field
or green vegetation.[n]
They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops[o]
when it is scorched by the east wind.[p]
28 I know where you live
and everything you do
and how you rage against me.[q]
29 Because you rage against me
and the uproar you create has reached my ears,[r]
I will put my hook in your nose,[s]
and my bit between your lips,
and I will lead you back
the way you came.’

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  1. Isaiah 37:22 tn Heb “this is the word which the Lord has spoken about him.”
  2. Isaiah 37:22 sn Zion (Jerusalem) is pictured here as a young, vulnerable daughter whose purity is being threatened by the would-be Assyrian rapist. The personification hints at the reality which the young girls of the city would face if the Assyrians conquered it.
  3. Isaiah 37:22 sn Shaking the head was a mocking gesture of derision.
  4. Isaiah 37:23 tn Heb “and lifted your eyes on high?” Cf. NIV “lifted your eyes in pride”; NRSV “haughtily lifted your eyes.”
  5. Isaiah 37:23 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.
  6. Isaiah 37:24 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  7. Isaiah 37:24 tn Heb “the height of its extremity”; ASV “its farthest height.”
  8. Isaiah 37:25 tc The Hebrew text has simply, “I dug and drank water.” But the parallel text in 2 Kgs 19:24 has “foreign waters.” זָרִים (zarim, “foreign”) may have accidentally dropped out of the Isaianic text by homoioteleuton (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT). Note that the preceding word, מַיִם (mayim, “water) also ends in mem (ם). The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has “foreign waters” for this line. However, in several other passages the 1QIsaa scroll harmonizes with 2 Kgs 19 against the MT (Isa 36:5; 37:9, 20). Since the addition of “foreign” to this text in Isaiah by a later scribe would be more likely than its deletion, the MT reading should be accepted.
  9. Isaiah 37:26 tn Having quoted the Assyrian king’s arrogant words in vv. 23-24, the Lord now speaks to the king.
  10. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The rhetorical question expresses the Lord’s amazement that anyone might be ignorant of what he is about to say.
  11. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “formed” (so KJV, ASV).
  12. Isaiah 37:26 tn Heb “and it is to cause to crash into heaps of ruins fortified cities.” The subject of the third feminine singular verb תְהִי (tehi) is the implied plan, referred to in the preceding lines with third feminine singular pronominal suffixes.
  13. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “short of hand”; KJV, ASV “of small power”; NASB “short of strength.”
  14. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “they are plants in the field and green vegetation.” The metaphor emphasizes how short-lived these seemingly powerful cities really were. See Ps 90:5-6; Isa 40:6-8, 24.
  15. Isaiah 37:27 tn Heb “[they are] grass on the rooftops.” See the preceding note.
  16. Isaiah 37:27 tc The Hebrew text has “scorched before the standing grain” (perhaps meaning “before it reaches maturity”), but it is preferable to emend קָמָה (qamah, “standing grain”) to קָדִים (qadim, “east wind”) with the support of 1Q Isaa; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:657, n. 8.
  17. Isaiah 37:28 tc Heb “your going out and your coming in and how you have raged against me.” Several scholars have suggested that this line is probably dittographic (note the beginning of the next line). However, most English translations include the statement in question at the end of v. 28 and the beginning of v. 29. Interestingly, the LXX does not have this clause at the end of v. 28 and the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa does not have it at the beginning of v. 29. In light of this ambiguous manuscript evidence, it appears best to retain the clause in both verses.
  18. Isaiah 37:29 tc Heb “and your complacency comes up into my ears.” The parallelism is improved if שַׁאֲנַנְךָ (shaʾananekha, “your complacency”) is emended to שְׁאוֹנְךָ (sheʾonekha, “your uproar”). See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 237-38. However, the LXX seems to support the MT, and Sennacherib’s cavalier dismissal of Yahweh depicts an arrogant complacency (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:658, n. 10).
  19. Isaiah 37:29 sn The word-picture has a parallel in Assyrian sculpture. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 238.

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