Here we go, it’s Samaria’s turn now. Isaiah doesn’t seem to have much use for liquor. He’s made negative references to it before, but this is the funniest. The NLT translation of v 1-2 “…Samaria—the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel…It is the pride of a people brought down by wine.” V 7-8 are even worse! V 16 is kind of curious – according to the SAB it was misquoted in Romans 9:33, so I went there and looked to compare. But the translations of both these verses – and I looked at the Hebrew (for Isaiah only), and the KJV, the NLT, and the NIV for both – are so varied that I cannot make head nor tail of what the original meaning and intent of either was supposed to be. The chapter ends with a farming lesson (v 24-28).
The predictions of devastation continue with the fall of Jerusalem. But Yahweh goes on a power rant in the middle of the chapter, talking about astounding the hypocrites with amazing wonders, and bragging about how he knows all and sees all (sort of like a creepy Santa Claus, or a stalker) (v 14-15). And then, v 16, loved by creationists everywhere “How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”? Man, I just knew there’d be a song with that phrase somewhere, and I win!
The SAB has so many icons for this chapter – where to start? Well, god starts out by scolding the Israelites like they were rebellious children (he doesn’t approve of their alliance with Egypt). Boo hoo. V 6 refers to Egypt as “a place of lionesses and lions, a place where vipers and poisonous snakes live.” Maybe true (wait, lions???), but in the KJV those ‘poisonous snakes’ are ‘fiery flying serpents’. Hahahaha. Interestingly, the Hebrew refers only to ‘flying serpents’ (not fiery). Did the KJV translators embellish that description to make them sound more menacing? I was going to just find an image of them, but this is so much more interesting. Warning – reading it might raise your blood pressure.
Anyway, Yahweh continues his rant about punishing and destroying Israel. And then, after all that, we read – “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.” (v 18) Are you friggin’ kidding me? In v 22 there’s a really graphic metaphor – “destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags,” (NLT); except that in the KJV this passage reads “thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth”. Lovely. And again, this isn’t present in the Hebrew, which only says “put them far away as one unclean”. What’s up with those KJV translators?
One last verse of note. The chapter continues with a description of the utopian world that will arise when god restores Jerusalem, and it includes this passage “The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one!” (v 26) Neither is possible, scientifically. Perhaps the biblical literalists would like to explain.