I might be getting too nitty-gritty or nit-picky.

However, I’m trying to get a deeper understanding as to why there is an strange choice in some translations when it comes to the possessive adjective used in Isaiah 33:2 (b) & Isaiah 33:6 (c)

Isaiah 33:2 New American Standard Bible 1995

2 (a) O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. (b) Be their strength every morning, (c) Our salvation also in the time of distress.

Isaiah 33:2 New King James Version

2 (a) O Lord, be gracious to us; We have waited for You. (b) Be their arm every morning, (c) Our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Isaiah 33:2 English Standard Version

2 (a) O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. (b) Be our arm every morning, (c) our salvation in the time of trouble.

33:2 The Westminster Leningrad Codex

2 יְהוָ֥ה חָנֵּ֖נוּ לְךָ֣ קִוִּ֑ינוּ הֱיֵ֤ה זְרֹעָם֙ לַבְּקָרִ֔ים אַף־יְשׁוּעָתֵ֖נוּ בְּעֵ֥ת צָרָֽה׃

Isaiah 33:6 New American Standard Bible 1995

6 (a) And He will be the [a]stability of your times, (b) A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; (c) The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

Isaiah 33:6 New King James Version

6 (a) Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, (b) And the strength of salvation; (c) The fear of the Lord is His treasure.

Isaiah 33:6 English Standard Version

6 (a) and he will be the stability of your times, (b) abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; (c) the fear of the Lord is Zion's[a] treasure.

33:6 The Westminster Leningrad Codex

6 וְהָיָה֙ אֱמוּנַ֣ת עִתֶּ֔יךָ חֹ֥סֶן יְשׁוּעֹ֖ת חָכְמַ֣ת וָדָ֑עַת יִרְאַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה הִ֥יא אוֹצָרֽוֹ׃ ס

To elaborate, as one reads Isaiah 33:2, it begins with Isaiah humbly requesting God to be gracious to “us” which is the object pronoun used to represent Isaiah himself and supposedly the Israelite nation( of which Isaiah is member of ).

However, in the NASB1995 and the NKJV, Isaiah 33:2 (b), the possessive adjective used during the requesting of strength is “their”. Why isn’t it the “our” possessive adjective?

I suppose my confusion about Isaiah 33:26 is in regards to who the audience is supposed to be.

Isaiah 33:6(a) starts with Isaiah supposedly telling the Israelite nation that God will be a stability in their times. Isaiah 33:6(a) use of the “your” possessive adjective indicates that it the audience is the Israelite nation.

However, in Isaiah 33:6(c), Isaiah strangely uses the possessive adjective of “his” which might be referring to the Israelite nation but it seems like he is talking to a general audience( like whoever is reading scripture).

In any case, could someone please respond with some insights in regards to why the grammar is strange/different? ( Please take into consideration the Old Testament Hebrew translation included in this posting )

1 Answer 1


The pulpit commentary offers this about Isa 33:2

Verse 2. - O Lord, etc. The mingling of prayer with prophecy is very unusual, and indicative of highly excited feeling. Isaiah realizes fully the danger of his people and nation, and knows that without prayer there is no deliverance. His prayer is at once an outpouring of his own heart, and an example to others. We have waited for thee (comp. Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 26:8). Their Am; i.e. "the Arm of thy people." Every morning. Continually, day by day, since their need of thy support is continual. Isaiah 33:2

Matthew Poole reminds us of a common feature of Hebrew poetry:

O Lord, be gracious unto us; the prophet contemplating the judgment which was now coming upon God’s people, directeth his prayer to God for them.

Their arm; our arm or strength. The change of persons is most frequent in prophetical writings.

Ellicott is similar:

(2) O Lord, be gracious . . .—Faith transforms itself into prayer. The prophet will still “wait” upon God. In the change of person, “their arm,” “our salvation,” we hear the very words of the prayer as it was spoken, the first referring to the soldiers who were to fight the battles of their country, the second to the non-combatants who were assembled with Isaiah in supplication.

There is a similar phenomenon in V6 [your time vs their treasure]- change of persons in pronouns and perspective is a common feature of Hebrew poetry.

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