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The MT for Isaiah 63:11 is:

וַיִּזְכֹּר יְמֵי-עוֹלָם, מֹשֶׁה עַמּוֹ; אַיֵּה הַמַּעֲלֵם מִיָּם, אֵת רֹעֵי צֹאנוֹ--אַיֵּה הַשָּׂם בְּקִרְבּוֹ, אֶת-רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ

Isaiah 63:11 NASB

Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the [g]shepherds of His flock?

Isaiah 63:11 KJV

11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

Which is the correct translation of the above text?

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  • (+1) YLT has And He remembereth the days of old, Moses -- his people.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 12, 2020 at 10:07
  • I removed the verse number "11" from the verse citation and also removed the יא, the Hebrew number 11 from the verse citation as I see that these were causing some confusion below decks.
    – user17080
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:26

2 Answers 2

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The first question is who the subject of וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר is. It could be G-d, or it could be עַמּ֑וֹ meaning His nation. This is the fundamental difference between the translations presented here. Based on context, עַמּ֑וֹ makes more sense. Now יְמֵֽי־עוֹלָ֖ם means old days. מֹשֶׁ֣ה either means the name Moses here, or the action of bringing out of the water. It most likely means Moses. Thus, the phrase יְמֵֽי־עוֹלָ֖ם מֹשֶׁ֣ה most likely means "the old days of Moses." The next word אַיֵּ֣ה means where. This appears to be missing a connective. The likely connective here would be "thinking about." The rest of the verse is fairly trivial to translate. My translation is as follows:

Then His nation remembered the old days of Moses and pondered "Where is He who brought them out of the sea along with the shepherd of His flock and where is He who placed in their midst the spirit of His holiness?"

NASB is closer to the desired translation here than KJB; however, it is not perfect.

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Great Question, Collen! - Grammatically, Neither the NASB or KJV are accurate translations of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 63:11.

  1. "Moshe" (מֹשֶׁה) does not translate to Moses.

  2. The Dead Sea Scroll does not have the Masoretic marker "יא" for 11.

  3. The prefix "Va" (וַ) means 'And' not 'Then'.

Since you cite the Masoretic Tanakh with niqqud vowels, the verse at the beginning of Isaiah 63:11 reads ( וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר יְמֵֽי־עוֹלָ֖ם מֹשֶׁ֣ה עַמּ֑וֹ ) : And-remembered days-forever of Moshe People-His.

Who remembered? - His people ( עַמּוֹ ).

"And His people remembered the old days of Moshe"

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  • 1
    Verse numbers aren't Masoretic. The יא was a cut-and-paste mistake from a transcription with added verse numbers. I removed it.
    – user17080
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:34
  • Really - the Verse notations aren't Masoretic? Did Masoretes not add Verse notations after analyzing the Aleppo Codex to create a revised Tanakh? [ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretes ] Aug 12, 2020 at 16:16
  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible. The Alepo Codex is the Massorah, written by the Masorite, i.e. Aaron Ben Asher.
    – user17080
    Aug 12, 2020 at 17:37
  • Did the original Aleppo Codex (developed by Aharon Ben Moshe Ben Asher) not provide only the traditional Hebrew vowels using niqqud? [aleppocodex.org/links/8.html ] - Was the printed Tanakh which includes the later Masoretic Verse notations adapted from Ben Asher's original codex? - Thank you so much for helping share your research and resources to help us all learn the history and context of the Tanakh. I appreciate your time, Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim. - Blessings! Aug 12, 2020 at 18:06
  • 1
    You can see from the photos at archive.org/details/Leningrad_Codex/page/n356/mode/2up that the Leningrad Codex has no verse numbers but does have colons at the end of verses. Same for Aleppo Codex here aleppocodex.org/links/imagesjpgs/3.2.1a.jpg . These manuscripts do have vowels, cantillation marks, and masoretic notes. The provenance of the original printed editions such as the Mikraot Gedolot (1516) edition is unknown, but probably from copies of Ben-Asher codexes. These editions have verse numbers and chapters that closely follow the Christian editions.
    – user17080
    Aug 12, 2020 at 19:43

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