When reading this verse in the past it I seemed to take it for granted that Ephraim was jealous of someone else, likely Judah, rather than being the target of other's jealousy.

The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,

and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;

Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,

and Judah shall not harass Ephraim (ESV)

There is clearly an AB/AB parallelism structure in Jealousy/Harassing/Jealousy/Harassing.

But there is also a pattern of Ephraim/Judah/Ephraim to Judah/Judah to Ephraim.

Once I saw this made me question the first line. Is Ephraim being envied, rather than being envious? Because in the 3rd line Ephraim clearly is being envious, so why is the 1st line saying that?

The 2nd and 4th lines invert who is being harassed, so why wouldn't the 1st and 3rd invert who is being jealous, or who is being envied?

But I don't know Hebrew well enough and no commentaries I can find dive very deep into thus verse.

Is Ephraim being jealous, or are they the target of other's jealousy in the first phrase of Isaiah 11:13?

Said differently, Is "jealousy of Ephraim" denoting Ephraim's possession of jealousy or someone else being jealous OF Ephraim?

1 Answer 1


I would translate Isaiah 11:13 like this:

And he shall turn aside the jealousy of Ephraim, and those of Judah who cause trouble will be cut off. Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, and Judah will not trouble Ephraim.


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Who is jealous of whom here, is not a problem -- Ephraim is Jealous of Judah.

The real issue is the expression וְצֹרְרֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה (and the troublers of Judah), which is not a reference to those who cause trouble FOR Judah, but those OF Judah who are the source of concern for Ephraim. When these ones disappear from Judah, then Judah will no longer trouble Ephraim.

  • I know that Ephraim is jealous of Judah In the 3rd line. Do you get what I mean when it seems it is either a-b/a-b repeating parallelism (its saying same thing twice basically) OR it inverting things. Are you saying its NOT inverting it in the first line and is not speaking of those jealous of Ephraim first and Ephraim troubling Judah (and then reversing it in second two lines)? Are you negating that as a possibility?
    – Joshua
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 13:39
  • I am seeing וְצֹרְרֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה (the troublers of Judah) as I would בְנֵי יְהוּדָה֮ (the sons of Judah), i.e. they come from OF Judah. If these troublers were from outside of Judah, causing trouble FOR Judah, I would have expected to see something like וְצֹרְרֵ֥ים יְהוּדָ֖ה I don't believe it is saying the same thing twice. "He", just like the "He"s of verse 12, will turn aside the jealousy of Ephraim, which is why Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah. Now, because Ephraim is no longer jealous of Judah, those OF Judah who cause trouble for Ephraim, will disappear.
    – enegue
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 15:05
  • Ephraim's jealousy being the trigger for those OF Judah who want to trouble him.
    – enegue
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 15:05

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