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When the king of Assyria surrounded Jerusalem, Isaiah prophesied against him in

Isaiah 37:7 English Standard Version

Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

in him
בּוֹ֙ (bōw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew

In https://biblehub.com/isaiah/37-7.htm, 14 versions translate this as "in him".

Douay-Rheims Bible

Behold, I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a message, and shall return to his own country, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own country.

Seven versions translate it as "on" or "upon him".

Which is more accurate?

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First, the Douay-Rheims Bible is a translation of a translation so I am reticent to rely on it for such fine detail.

However, the OP is correct that the preposition בּוֹ֙ (bōw) is various translated:

  • "in him", ESV, BSB, NASB, HCSB, JPS, ASV, YLT
  • "on him", AKJV
  • "upon him", KJV, NKJV, KJ2000, Webster
  • "within him", ISV

I do not think the details of "upon" vs "in" are important here. The broader message is important - God sends a spirit - now how we translate depends on which part of the process we concentrate on:

  • The spirit (presumably an angel?) was send upon him
  • The thought was place in in his mind.

Some versions reflect this better:

  • "place an attitude within him" (ISV)
  • "take control of his mind" (NET)
  • "when he hears a certain report" (NIV)

The central point here is that God send a spirit upon him to place a thought within him. How this was accomplished is not stated. Whether an angel whispered in his ear or the thought was directly planted in the brain is not stated. The language could simply mean the "spirit" was a mental impulse or attitude. In any case, he become fearful and returns home frightened.

In fact, in V36 we discover that God kills 185,000 solders - that certainly plant fear in his mind and he returned home humiliated.

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  • Given God uses clean and unclean spirits to exact His will, I don’t see why you would presume it was a clean spirit that was sent to spread a rumor. It would seem far likelier that it was an unclean spirit which had jurisdiction over an unbeliever and likelier still because it was bearing a false witness, a rumor. Other than that I agree with the post, in or upon (most likely in for reasons I cannot fit in a comment) a spirit was sent and they left. +1 – Nihil Sine Deo Oct 31 '20 at 3:18

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