Isaiah Query

Numberup at Numberup at
Mon Jul 16 18:20:20 EDT 2001

I also just finished reading Isaiah 66, as part of a program to read the
Bible through
in a year, beginning with Genesis 1:1 on January 1.  The Stone Edition
of the Tanach
which, like the JPS is a Jewish translation, also repeats the
penultimate verse and
has this note on the matter:

"It is customary, during public readings of Isaiah, to repeat the
penultimate verse.
This is done in order to end the reading on a positive note.  The same
custom is also
followed at the conclusion of Malachi, Lamentatins, and Ecclesiastes

Thus, it appears that this is a feature of Jewish versions, based on
public reading.

Solomon Landers

Robert Vining wrote:

> Isaiah Ending Query
> In the JPS version of the Tanakh,  Isaiah ends on a positive note,
> 66:24b. This appears to be achieved by tacking on a refrain of the
> preceding verse, 66:23.
>    "And new moon after new moon, and sabbath after sabbath,
>      All flesh shall come to worship Me, said the Lord"
> All my other versions end without this apparent emendation, resulting in
> the most beloved prophet Isaiah concluding his great work with this most
> gruesome picture-
>  "They shall go out and gaze on the corpses of the men who rebelled
> against Me:
>    Their worms shall not die, nor their fire be  quenched;
>    They shall be a horror to all flesh" 66:24
> Having just finished reading through again the Book of Isaiah,  my
> unscientific observation  is,  that on balance,  there  is much more of
> God's angry  judgment depicted than the wondrous vision of all  coming
> to worship Him in Jerusalem. In that sense, to be consistent with the
> Book's emphasis, it seems appropriate to leave the early text alone, and
> conclude with the horror scene. Has the author's intention to finish his
> book with one final blast at evil-doers been thwarted by  well
> intentioned correctors who thought they could improve his work?
> It surely put a downer on the wondrous vision of the people of all
> nations, some exilic returnees, perhaps some first-timers, who come to
> worship the true God in Jerusalem. That they should see as they leave a
> sight most disgusting to all mankind. Dead bodies in the streets, eaten
> by worms that never die, and burned by  fire that cannot be put out.*
> Can we assume  that handlers of the JPS text found it to be quite an
> unpalatable way to wind up such a glorious work, and exercised their
> prerogative to change the text so it  read more to their liking?

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