Isaiah 10:27 English Standard Version

And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”


Here is my very literal translation of Isa 10:27 -

And it shall com to pass in that day his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because [of] the oil.

Almost all version try to interpret this verse by translating the last phrase with something like:

  • NIV: because you have grown so fat.
  • BSB: because your neck will be too large
  • KJV: because of the anointing
  • CSB: because your neck will be too large
  • ISV: because you've become obese
  • YLT: because of prosperity

None of these words actually exist in the Hebrew.

The key to understanding this verse is the context begun in V12 where Isaiah utters a prophecy about:

  1. The destruction of Assyria and its army in one day (V16, 17, 25, etc)
  2. the survival of the remnant of Israel after Assyria's menace (V20, 21, etc)

The "remnant" will be saved because God loves them as His special people. The oil is a reference to Israel being anointed and chosen of God. Note the comments of Benson -

The yoke shall be destroyed, because of the (oil, unction, or) anointing — That is, out of regard to the holy unction, which God had established among his people. Or, for the preservation of the priesthood and kingdom, priests and kings being both initiated into their offices by the ceremony of anointing. The Jews, therefore, and some others, apply this to Hezekiah, who was the anointed of the Lord, an active reformer, and very dear to God, and in answer to whose prayers, as we read, (Isaiah 37:15,) God gave this deliverance. But possibly it might be better understood of David, who is often mentioned in Scripture by the name of God’s anointed; and for whose sake God gave many deliverances to the succeeding kings and ages, as is expressly affirmed 1 Kings 11:32; 1 Kings 11:34. And, which is more considerable, God declares that he would give this very deliverance from the Assyrian for David’s sake, 2 Kings 19:34; 2 Kings 20:6. But the Messiah is principally intended, of whom David was but a type; and who was in a particular manner anointed above his fellows, as is said Psalm 45:7.

  • +1 This makes a lot of sense. Messianic connections in the Old Testament make me happy. I think you could really strengthen your argument if you actually quoted some of the several passages where this word is used precisely in an anointing context, especially that of David.
    – Austin
    Aug 7 at 14:58

I’m under the impression that this is simply a corruption in the Hebrew text.

Answers that try to explain the text from the NT occurrences of the word “fat” or "oil" are to me non-starters because the NT authors were all Greek speakers and their “Bible” was the Greek translations, which read like this:

Brenton Septuagint Translation [Isaiah 10:27] And it shall come to pass in that day, that his yoke shall be taken away from thy shoulder, and his fear from thee, and the yoke shall be destroyed from off your shoulders.

The DSS has this, though:

[Isaiah 10:27] It will happen in that day, that his burden will depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing oil.

See also:

[Isa 9:4 NLT] (4) For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor's rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.


I think it doesn't matter if other translations say fat or anointing. If you read the whole chapter, you'll understand that the verse actually describes or shows the power that Israel will poses.

Truth be told, the yoke cannot be broken by being fat, but when we talk about being anointed, yes, the yoke definitely will break because now we are talking about the power of God or the power of the anointing.


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