Within the larger context of the Isaiah 25-27 bible passage, the scriptures seem to declare God’s disciplinary actions against various groups of people. However, in the case of the Israelites, there are some declarations of blessings/favor as well:

  • Israelite religious-ethnic group, the chosen people of God

  • Rival nations (e.g., Moab, Philistine, Arameans, Amalekites, Assyria, Egypt, etc.) (Moab is explicitly mentioned in Isaiah 25:10)

  • Ungodly people (can be deduced from the fact that Isaiah 26:20 warns God’s people (i.e. “my people”) to hide because the succeeding Isaiah 26:21 verse mentions that God will “punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity”)

As one continues to read, one will notice in Isaiah 27:6 that the Israelites are blessed/favored.

Isaiah 27:7 uses interesting artistic literature that seems to suggest God rhetorically asking questions that indicated that He did not severely punish the Israelites in the same manner as He severely punished rival nations and Ungodly people.

Isaiah 27:6-8

New King James Version

6 Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit. 7 Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him? 8 In measure, by sending it away, You contended with it. He removes it by His rough wind In the day of the east wind.

English Standard Version

6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. 7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain? 8 Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them; he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.

New American Standard Bible 1995

6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit. 7 Like the striking of Him who has struck them, has He struck them? Or like the slaughter of His slain, have they been slain? 8 You contended with them by banishing them, by driving them away. With His fierce wind He has expelled them on the day of the east wind.

Amplified Bible

6 In the generations to come Jacob will take root; Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the surface of the world with fruit. 7 Like the striking by Him who has struck them, has He struck them? Or like the slaughter of His slain, have they been slain? 8 You contended with them by exile, by driving them away [from Canaan]; He has expelled them with His fierce wind on the day of the east wind.

The Westminster Leningrad Codex

6 הַבָּאִים֙ יַשְׁרֵ֣שׁ יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב יָצִ֥יץ וּפָרַ֖ח יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וּמָלְא֥וּ פְנֵי־תֵבֵ֖ל תְּנוּבָֽה׃ ס

7 הַכְּמַכַּ֥ת מַכֵּ֖הוּ הִכָּ֑הוּ אִם־כְּהֶ֥רֶג הֲרֻגָ֖יו הֹרָֽג׃

8 בְּסַאסְּאָ֖ה בְּשַׁלְחָ֣הּ תְּרִיבֶ֑נָּה הָגָ֛ה בְּרוּח֥וֹ הַקָּשָׁ֖ה בְּי֥וֹם קָדִֽים׃

Isaiah 27:8 seems to suggest some form of disciplinary actions against the Israelites.

However, my concern is that some translations like NKJV and ESV use the word “measure” while other translations like NASB1995 and the AMP do not.

I, personally, liked the word “measure” being used because it sort of remotely aligns with Exodus 21:24 which shows God’s desire for judgment/discipline to be proportional to the severity of the sin in question:

Exodus 21:24 New American Standard Bible 1995

eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Therefore, could someone please read the Old Testament Hebrew translation of Isaiah 27:6-8 to see if it mentions some term/phrase/word that is similar in meaning to “measure”? Furthermore, could someone please also elaborate on why a word like “measure” is missing in some translations but not in others?

1 Answer 1


The pertinent word in Isa 27:8 is the first Hebrew word in the verse, namely, בְּסַּאסְּאָ֖ה which consists of two parts:

  • בְּ = a preposition = "in"
  • סַּאסְּאָ֖ה = verb, piel infinitive construct, 3rd person feminine singular form of סֵאסֵא. It may also be a noun. This is the only time this word occurs in the OT.

The difficulty in translating this word is its uncertain meaning. BDB essentially give two meanings that are debated:

[סֵאסֵא] verb Pilpel, whence Infinitive בְּסַאסְאָהּ (ᵑ0 בְּסַאסְּאָה) Isaiah 27:8 = by driving her (it) away (conjecture from "" בְּשַׁלְּחָהּ), according to Hi Ew Di Du CheHpt AmRVm; > = בִּסְאָה סְאָה by the se'ah, the se'ah, i.e. (Ges§ 123c, 133k) by exact measure Vrss (not ᵐ5), Ges De compare AV RV, which is probably Rabbinic conceit. (On formative compare טאטא, and see Ges§ 55f. Sta§§ 112 a Anm. 2; 238.)

"The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Old Testament" by Baker and Carpenter sets this out more clearly:

  • I. A feminine noun indicating a driving away, warfare. It refers to banishing someone, especially one's enemy or advisory expelling them
  • II. A feminine noun referring to moderation, a measured response. It was formerly taken to indicate something done in a controlled measured way.

This explains the two sets of translations commonly available.

  • Meaning I: NIV, NLT, BSB, NASB, LSB, CSB, HCSB, NAB, NRSV, etc
  • Meaning II: ESV, KJV, NKJV, ASV, ERV, etc

I note that the LXX supports meaning I; and the Aramaic supports meaning II.

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