Isaiah Query

Charles David Isbell cisbell at
Mon Jul 16 15:19:03 EDT 2001

Dear Robert and Dan,
It is a common practice in the reading of haftarot to repeat a positive
verse when the end of a book would cause a haftarah to stop on a negative
note, especially a terrible imprecation such as is found in Isaiah 66:24.
This is merely the rabbinic position that one should end with a positive
rather than a negative tone in the reading of sacred texts.  Such a
repetition is also found at the ends of Malachi, Lamentations and Qohelet,
and in the rabbinic Hebrew texts, the repeated positive passages are printed
in a smaller font size.  There is no intent here to change the Hebrew text,
merely to finish on a positive note by repeating a verse taken from within
the haftarah reading itself.
Kol Tuv,
Charles David Isbell
----- Original Message -----
From: "Daniel Wagner" <dan.wagner at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 1:34 PM
Subject: Re: Isaiah Query

----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Vining <rvining at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 12:06 PM
Subject: Isaiah Query

> 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.

With neither textual evidence nor any problem with the current text,
emendation seems absurd to me. The ending is consistent with Isaiah's
theology, and similar to other books with much positive content, such as
Malachi's ending. The majority of Isaiah's potential readership were
unfaithful to the covenant. Maybe some of them were even like some of us
readers today who read the introduction and the conclusion, and then decide
if they want to read the rest of the book!

Dan Wagner

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