Isaiah 40:12-17 Hebrew, English, and Commentary


This is creation language like the Wisdom literature (Psalm 8; Job 38; etc.) more so than the Torah (Genesis 1-3). References to creation in the wisdom literature are generally architectural (setting up pillars, measuring, sinking bases, etc.). So in Isaiah 40:12 there are four verbs of measurement (מדד, תכן, כל, שׁקל) looking at creation in terms of a divine building project. Commentators note that myths of Marduk measuring the waters lie behind this hymn to the incomparability of Hashem (see Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. Pritchard, 332, 389).

Second Isaiah argues that Israel’s God is the only true deity and that the future of Jerusalem is in his hands alone. He seeks to persuade the people during Jerusalem’s ruin to believe in God’s power. Hashem is of an entirely different order from the nature-sovereigns worshipped in Babylon. They are described in myth as builders who made the earth like a…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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2 Responses to Isaiah 40:12-17 Hebrew, English, and Commentary

  1. Derek Leman says:

    Thanks, James.


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    My pleasure. I was glad to have read it.


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