3

YLT Isaiah 59:19 And they fear from the west the name of Jehovah, And from the rising of the sun -- His honour, When come in as a flood doth an adversary, The Spirit of Jehovah hath raised an ensign against him.

Biblehub has several example translations, which vary a lot.

Issues:

  • why the double dashes? That's a "writing smell" to me suggesting the translators are in the weeds
  • is the flood a good thing or a bad thing?
  • what is the purpose of raising a flag?

6 Answers 6

2

A better rendering is:-

Isaiah 59:19 New International Version (NIV) [] Added

19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord [Jehovah, Heb. "JHVH"], and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.[a]

a Footnotes: Isaiah 59:19 Or When enemies come in like a flood, / the Spirit of the Lord will put them to flight

The context show his is a time when Jehovah has his "name" know and his worship known and preformed world wide or as it says from "west" to east, "the rising sun" and according to the later part of the verse nothing will stop him from doing this, (see NIV footnote). Nothing will halt Jehovah's action as it will be like an unstoppable flood.

7
  • "Better" doesn't really say what makes it "better". What do you do with the word "sar" ("enemy")? biblehub.com/interlinear/isaiah/59-19.htm
    – Ruminator
    Nov 3, 2018 at 16:12
  • The conection with "enemy" is from - Isaiah 59:18 (NIV) "According to what they have done, so will he [Jehovah] repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due." "Flag" does not seem to fit the flow of the verse etc..
    – user26950
    Nov 3, 2018 at 22:00
  • @Ruminator The NIV translation interprets the same word as having another meaning, "narrow," so it is translated as "pent-up"
    – b a
    Nov 4, 2018 at 9:29
  • Yes, I see this in BDB: "Isaiah 59:19 like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river". I might have to rethink the answer. BDB also has: "Polel Perfect Isaiah 59:19 נֹסֲסָה בּוֺ ׳רוּחַ י the breath of ׳י driveth at it, driveth it on (compare Hiphil 2)."
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4, 2018 at 11:07
  • ethos, if you put the info from BDB in your answer I can mark it as the answer.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4, 2018 at 11:12
6

why the double dashes? That's a "writing smell" to me suggesting the translators are in the weeds

What the translation means to say by including the dashes is And from the rising of the sun [they fear] His honour (replacing the dashes with bracketed words), as in the beginning of the verse, as opposed to And from the rising of the sun [is] His honour. This is required by the grammar of the verse in Hebrew, which says וּמִמִּזְרַח־שֶׁ֖מֶשׁ אֶת־כְּבוֹד֑וֹ, requiring "His honor" to be a direct object of something, namely the fear mentioned earlier in the verse.

is the flood a good thing or a bad thing?

It's a bad thing, because the river (נָהָר) is used as a metaphor to describe an adversary (צָר). A river can indeed be a symbol of good (Isaiah 66:12), but the context here rules that out. For another example of rivers in battle imagery, see Habakkuk 3:9.

what is the use of raising a flag?

Raising a flag is a symbol of war. For example, Isaiah 13:2 describes raising a flag (נֵס) on a hill as the introduction to a prophecy of a war against Babylon. The imagery of this passage is a war: God dresses in armor and a helmet, and goes to fight his enemies (Isaiah 59:17-18)

1

The original Hebrew can be seen here: https://biblehub.com/interlinear/isaiah/59.htm

The literal translation,that I just made, word for word is: "And they will fear from the west the name YHVH and from eastern sun His Glory when will come like a river enemy, Spirit YHVH put to flight in him.

They added the double dashes evidently to add emphasis to the word following. The word "et" before a word adds emphasis, but "et is also used in this verse before the word "name", so why wasn't it used there as well?

"Flood" is not used, but one could imagine an overflowing river. The enemy coming like a "flood" or "river" could not be a good thing, that is why the Spirit of YHVH is going to make him turn to flee.

There is no "degel" or "flag", so I have no idea why that is added to translations.

I do see a correlation between this verse and Revelation 12:16: "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."

0

I am not a scholar but the difference between NIV and KJV is partly due to the fact that NIV relies on Septuaginta (which is translated into Greek), and not the Masoretic Text. Which is, Hebrew.

So what I want to say is that according to Pastor Benny Hinn, who has read Hebrew from since he was young, gives an opinion on the translation made in KJV and practically all other translations based on the MT, which reads:

So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

But according to Hinn, in the original Hebrew, there is not a comma after the "flood". (Hinn 2004) So it could be most likely be like this, by just changing the place of the comma:

So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."

Source: Hinn, B. "Good Morning, Holy Spirit", 2004, Thomas Nelson Publishers

1
  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Nov 23, 2021 at 13:59
0

Am a bible student for a very few months, but I appreciate the contributions herein. My take on the verse has been more war-related. When military makes conquests, they mark their territories by raising a flag (standard) for the anniversary to be warned by the ensign. That's my take

2
  • 1
    Welcome to BH and thanks for joining in. A good answer will not just have something interesting but show in detail how it was arrived at. So if you can edit into your answer more detail of that nature do go for it. Do read the tour [below left] to see how this site works.
    – C. Stroud
    Jan 3 at 10:39
  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Jan 3 at 14:50
0

For context :

According to their deeds, accordingly, will he repay, Indignation to his adversaries, Recompense to his enemies,––To the Coastlands––recompense, will he repay:

That they may revere––From the West, the name of Yahweh, And from the Rising of the Sun, his glory. For he will come in like a rushing stream, The breath of Yahweh, driving it on;

So shall come in, for Zion, a Redeemer, Even for such as are turning from transgression in Jacob,––Declareth Yahweh.

Isaiah 59:18-20 Rotherham

why the double dashes? That's a
"writing smell" to me suggesting
the translators are in the weeds

Not at all.
It provides a clue to the reader as to what the translator considers to be the tenor in hebrew. In this case Rotherham has merely placed a comma which I think serves fine.
You'll notice Rotherham also uses the double dash, but considers it of such little import that I cannot see him elaborating on its use.

Perhaps more noteworthy is the couplet :

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.

Isaiah 59:19 NIV

These being two parallel phrases with a shared rhythm, suggesting a parallel format, such as both employing commas or dashes or whatever, but at least identical.
It is for this reason the NIV has chosen to format this chapter as prose.
Perhaps the most pressing reason to differentiate the two phrases, adding emphasis to the second with the double dash, is the emphasis being placed on the redeemer as the glory of the name.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious - כְּבוֹד֑וֹ.

Isaiah 11:10 NIV

We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 NIV

Personally I think the favour weighs toward "glory" and not honour.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Isaiah 6:3 NIV

Honour doesn't really fit here or elsewhere.

is the flood a good thing or a bad thing?

Flood is a bad rendering.
To my understanding כַנָּהָר֙ only occurs twice, the other instance also found in Isaiah :

If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river - כַנָּהָר֙,
your well-being like the waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:18 NIV

Clearly not indicative of an alarming torrent, rather something to be welcomed.

There is some sense of urgency to this stream or river however, צָ֔ר indicating a restricted position. All in all I think Rotherham nailed it :

For he will come in like a rushing stream ...

He has a marginal note for "rushing" being "contracted" or "pent up".

A quick look suggests this to be a majority position :

https://biblehub.com/isaiah/59-19.htm

Rushing stream, pent-up stream, river, etcetera. Certainly נָהָר indicates a river, so "flood" being ambiguous in that regard seems a poor choice.

There's a transition from recompense for past deeds through the arrival of the "glory" of yhwh, clearly the son, Jesus, and a resulting peace for Jacob.
This appearance is described in a metaphor, a river being overflowed by the breath of the father.
In that sense, the "flood" is neither good nor bad, but both. It inevitably brings with it condemnation to the nations, the coastlands of necessity being most vulnerable, but it also heralds the wonderful future.

what is the purpose of raising a flag?

Jesus is the flag!

This chapter clearly refers to the future establishment of god's kingdom on the earth :

"The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 59:20 NIV

The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

Romans 11:26 NIV

Jesus as the banner, or ensign, is a common theme in Isaiah :

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

He will raise a banner for the nations ...

He lifts up a banner for the distant nations ...

Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.

Isaiah 11:10,12 5:26, 68:10 NIV

And many others.

However, while all that is certainly true, this seems to be a case of mistranslation.

https://biblehub.com/isaiah/59-19.htm

The vast majority choosing to go with "driving it on" rather than "raising an ensign".
From Barnes' notes :

The word rendered ... 'shall lift up a standard' (נססה nosesâh), rendered in the margin, 'put him' to flight,' if derived from נסס nāsas, and if written with the points נססה nāsesâh, would denote to lift up, to elevate, as a standard or banner, or anything to oppose and retard a foe. But the word is probably derived from נוּס nûs, to flee ... נוסס nôsēs, "to impel, to cause to flee."

I assume the YLT got caught up in Isaiah's frequent and almost peculiar employment of "the ensign" as emblematic of the promised redeemer. He's not the only one. While the concluding verse supports this ...

So shall come in, for Zion, a Redeemer ...

... and that redeemer is the subject of the verse in question ...

... from the rising of the sun -- His honour ...

It still seems wrong.
The immediate context in the couplet suggests the alternate rendering :

For he will come in like a rushing stream, The breath of Yahweh, driving it on ...

I have to go with Barnes and others and the majority of translations on this.

Bonus points.

According to their deeds, accordingly, will he repay, Indignation to his adversaries, Recompense to his enemies,––To the Coastlands––recompense, will he repay:

That they may revere––From the West, the name of Yahweh, And from the Rising of the Sun, his glory. For he will come in like a rushing stream, The breath of Yahweh, driving it on;

So shall come in, for Zion, a Redeemer, Even for such as are turning from transgression in Jacob,––Declareth Yahweh.

Isaiah 59:18-20 Rotherham

Not co-incidentally, the allusion to the direction of the sun's rising is notable at both advents of the great king.

Firstly at his birth :

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea ... Magi from the east - ἀνατολῶν - came to Jerusalem ...

Matthew 2:1 NIV

Then later in preparation for his return :

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East - ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου.

Revelation 16:12 NIV

In both cases ἀνατέλλω signifying the sun's rising (hence "the east").
Jesus of course being the sun of righteousness.

So shall the sun of righteousness, arise to you who revere my Name, with healing in his wings ...

Malachi 4:2 Rotherham

This sixth bowl culminating in the great battle that heralds the return of the king.

A parallel also found to those that dwell in the "coastlands" in the description of that battle in the great day of god almighty :

To the Coastlands––recompense, will he repay ...

Isaiah 59:18 Rotherham

And I will send a fire into Magog, And among them who are dwelling in the Coastlands, securely ...

Ezekiel 39:6 Rotherham

All in all a somewhat difficult verse as evident in the disparity of translations and resulting commentary.
Personally I'd ditch the YLT - I find it unsophisticated and misleading, but at least peruse some others, the more the merrier, including at least some mainstream ones.
For me Rotherham has been the bees knees, and his formatting and notes are probably unparalleled.

https://archive.org/details/RotherhamEmphasizedBible

Cheers.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.