English Translation of Isaiah 2.1-5

As I mentioned here, I decided to translate the Hebrew Bible lectionary readings this year. We’ll be using these translations each week as part of our Sunday Bible study. Specifically we’ll be using them for our time of group Lectio. Below is Isaiah 2.1-5, which we used today. There are a few things I might change now, in hindsight, but I’ve left them here for posterity.

Isaiah 2.1-5

1 – The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem

2 – So it will be in the last days: The mountain of the house of Adonai will be established as the chief mountain. It will be lifted up from the hills and all the nations will flow to it.

3 – Many peoples will come and will say “Come! Let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of Jacob’s God. He will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths because instruction goes out from Zion and Adonai’s word goes out from Jerusalem.”

4 – He will judge between the nations! He will decide for many peoples! They will beat their swords to shovels and their spears to pruning knives. Nation will not lift up a sword against another nation, and they will not learn war any longer.

5 – O house of Jacob, come! Let us walk in the light of Adonai.


2 thoughts on “English Translation of Isaiah 2.1-5

  1. Random Thoughts:

    In v.1 דבר is better translated as “word” or “matter” rather than “vision.” I really like to keep it literal here: “The word that Isaiah saw…” But I’m a bit of a nut

    In v.3a, why do you translate הלך as “come” rather than “go”? Isn’t the use of הלך in the v.3b deliberative? (Though I admit this double use of the verb is difficult in v.5).

    Finally, a question for you: why do you think the lectionary ends at v.5, when the unit seems to end in v.4?

    Fun stuff. I’m going to be teaching Maccabbees and Daniel on Friday, complete with menorah, dreidels, gold coins and (hopefully) latkas. Yum!

  2. Jim, thanks for the questions.

    Concerning דבר in v.1 I normally like to keep it literal as well. It was “the word that Isaiah saw…” for quite a while (as I was tweaking this translation). However, as I thought about it more I realized that as much as I might like and understand that translation it would only cause questions from the teens in our youth ministry. They don’t normally “see” words, unless they’re on a page. I didn’t want to give them the idea that God had sent a letter to Isaiah, so I went with the more “dynamic” option.

    As for הלך, I’m not completely sure what your question is. Maybe I’ve just been spending too much time studying for finals and my brain is fried, are you referring to the use in v. 3 or v. 5?

    As for why the lectionary ends at v.5, my initial thought was that it wanted to have the whole “light of Adonai” thing for Advent. However, I notice now that the editor in BHS for Isaiah (D. Winton Thomas, I believe) appears to have indented vv 2-5 as a unit, so they could be following his reasoning — of which I am woefully ignorant. He is ignoring the Masoretes in this case.

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