[b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 11 17:01:47 EDT 2007

Dear Peter,
>> HH: Actually, the Mosaic law was given to a specific people, not all 
>> people. It was given to the descendants of Jacob (not, for example, 
>> to the descendants of Esau, who were excluded). But of course others 
>> could and did join them. You are right that foreigners could 
>> participate in the Israelite religion, but they had to act like 
>> Israelites if they were do so:
> Indeed, Harold, and this is the background to my suggestion that 
> Isaiah 56:3-8 may simply be a restatement of this principle, that 
> foreigners are welcome to participate in Israelite religion, that it 
> was never intended to be a simply racial religion.

HH: I never said it was intended to be "a simply racial religion."
> By the way, I am taking Isaiah 56 as the start of a new section, as 
> many scholars do, and not so much linked to chapters 51-55.

HH: The wording in Isa 56:1 is quite like that in Isa 51:5.

> How far these are intended to be future is another issue. I don't see 
> the distant future in chapter 55; verses 12-13 are what will happen 
> (symbolically) in the immediate future to those who accept the 
> invitation of verses 1-7. 

HH: I think Isaiah 55:12-13 is talking about something that has never 
happened yet. It is of a piece with Isaiah 35. Other related passages 
include 41:17-2-0, 43:19-20, 44:23, 48:21-22, 49:9-11.

> I don't see 56:1 "close at hand ... will soon be revealed" as temporal 
> at all, there is no "soon" in the Hebrew but only QAROB which means 
> "near", usually in space. 

HH: The word "near" can be used of time:

Num. 24:17  “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star 
will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush 
the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. 

Deut. 32:17 They sacrificed to demons, which are not God — gods they had 
not known, gods that recently (MQRB) appeared, gods your fathers did not 

Deut. 32:35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot 
will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” 

HH: This temporal meaning is present elsewhere in Isaiah:

Is. 13:6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like 
destruction from the Almighty.

Is. 13:22 Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious 
palaces. Her time is at hand (WQRWB), and her days will not be prolonged.

HH: The phrase LBW), "to come," is a temporal phrase in Isa 13:22, and I 
see no reason to think that it functions differently in Isa 56:1. The 
imperfect of BW) occurs in Isa 13:6. It is a normal way to mark time in 
other prophets as well, this temporal conjunction of QRB and BW):

Jer 48:16; Ezek 7:7; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1;

HH: I believe it is temporal in Isa 56:1, as in Isa 51:5.
> Perhaps the "foreigners joined to the LORD" of 56:3 felt their 
> position under threat, or felt unwelcome in the temple, but the 
> prophet writes that they should not do, that their offerings are also 
> acceptable. I don't say that this has no future relevance, but it has 
> a future relevance because it is timelessly true, at least while the 
> temple stands.

HH: I already explained my thinking. I understand your point of view, 
and there is a certain validity to it, but certainly most understand the 
context to be temporal in Isa 56:1. Check the major translations:

KJV: Is. 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for 
my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

NIV: Is. 56:1  This is what the LORD says:  “Maintain justice and do 
what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness 
will soon be revealed.

NRSV: Is. 56:1       Thus says the LORD: 
    Maintain justice, and do what is right,
    for soon my salvation will come,
        and my deliverance be revealed.

NASB: Thus says the LORD, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My 
salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.

NLT: "Be just and fair to all," says the LORD. "Do what is right and 
good, for I am coming soon to rescue you

GNB (or TEV):  The Lord says to his people, "Do what is just and right, 
for soon I will save you.

Harold Holmyard

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list