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Kemper Fullerton 
oberlin theological seminary 

I. On Is. 2:5 and Mi. 4:5 

Is Is. 2:5 a call to repentance or an exhortation to enjoy a 
privilege? It lias usually been taken in the former sense. The 
reason for this is the desire to explain the '3 of vs. 6 : the call 
to repentance is necessary because the people at present are not 
walking in the light of the Lord but quite the contrary, as is 
shown by vs. 6 ft. 1 But this connection cannot be original ; the 
transition to vs. 6 ff. is altogether too abrupt and harsh. The 
next step is therefore to hold that vs. 5, which is supposed to 
establish this faulty connection with what follows, is a gloss. 2 
But the interpretation of vs. 5, upon which this critical con- 
clusion is based, is false. Vs. 5 is not expressed as a call to 
repentance. We would expect in that case the use of the verb 
y\& 3 - Vs. 5 is an exhortation to enjoy a privilege, and its con- 
nection is with what precedes. 4 The thought does not rest upon 
the logical antithesis that the House of Jacob may not be enjoy- 
ing the privilege. It rests upon the positive thought of the 
privilege to be enjoyed. 5 The author is not thinking of the dark- 
ness in which they are walking but of the light in which they 
may walk. 

But vs. 5 lies outside the most probable strophical scheme of 
the poem in vss. 2-4, i. e. three stanzas of six lines each. 6 Accord- 
ingly vs. 5 is probably to be regarded as a later comment upon 
the poem. Was it added by the editor who is responsible for the 

1 Cf . Ges., Hitz., Di. 

2 Cf . Duhm. 

3 It is interesting to note how Gesenius and Hitzig insert the words tven- 
den (Ges.) or hekeliren (Hitz.) in their paraphrases. 

4 For the connection with what precedes cf . Ew. Ch. Marti, though in none 
of these writers is the exact force of the verse adequately brought out. 

' Cf . Rejoice in the Lord alway, etc., Phil. 3:1. 

"Cf. Duhm and J. M. P. Smith at Mi. The five stanzas of four lines 
(Marti and Gray) require an unnatural stanza-division in the middle of 
vs. 3 and also the addition of Mi. 4:4. 


present position of the poem in Isaiah? Probably not. If the 
editor of Isaiah had tinkered with the poem at all it would 
have been in the direction of adding to it some sort of a connect- 
ing link to adjust it to what follows, but this is exactly what he 
has not done. 

Is Mi. 4:5 a call to repentance or an exhortation to enjoy a 
privilege? It is neither. Is it the record of a vow or the state- 
ment of a fact ? The verse is not quite unambiguous in its mode 
of expression. It we work back from "IJfl D 1 ?")^ 1 ? we might 
argue that"] 1 ^ is to be translated either by will or shall (wollen 
or werden). In that case vs. 5b will be either the record of 
a vow or the statement of a future fact. But if "l^J is to be 
given the force of a future, it is natural, because of the parallel- 
ism, to assign the same force to "D'?'.' But what then is the 
precise purpose of the statement that all the peoples will 
hereafter walk, each in the name of its god? It is difficult to 
say unless it was intended to contradict in express terms the 
statement of the prophecy in vss. 1-3. Vss. 1-3 state that in 
the future many nations will turn to Jahweh, vs. 5 would state 
that in the future all nations will walk in idolatry. It is not 
advisable to posit a contradiction as aggressive and violent as 
this would be unless there is some compelling reason to do so. 
If we take "D^ as a present and vs. 5a as the statement of a 
fact in the present, and work forward, then, because of the paral- 
lelism, it is most natural to assign to "pi the same force. We 
would then have two contrasted statements of present fact. The 
nations walk in the name of their gods and we walk in the name 
of ours. s But what then of lp\ D^tf^? 

7 So Hitzig. 

8 Cf. "Well, and Nowaek for the present force of the two tenses. It has 
been objected that if it were desired to express a present fact, a participle 
would be used. That the participle would be an appropriate mode to 
describe the present situation is of course recognized, but that the imper- 
fect can be used with equal propriety is equally certain ; though admittedly 
the imperfect is less frequent. Cf. Jer. 9:3, Job 9:11; Is. 1:23, Ps. 99:6, 
1 K. 17:6 (in these three cases in parallelism with the participle) and 
especially 1 S. 11:5a and Jer. 6:4b. In the two latter cases the fre- 
quentative idea of the imperfect is almost lost. But at Mi. 4:5 this 
frequentative idea is probably present, in which case the interpretation of 
the tenses as present is absolutely normal. Since the imperfect as well 
as the participle can certainly be used of the present, the question as to 
its force in any passage is purely a matter of exegesis. Cf. Driver. Keb. 
Tenses, sees. 32, 33; Konig, Syntax, sec. 160. 


This must be regarded as a slight afterthought and as reflect- 
ing back upon "l^J a secondary reference to the future : We walk 
[now and will continue to walk] for ever and ever. 9 Thus, while 
Mi. 4 :5 allows of several interpretations so far as its tense values 
are concerned we have certainly neither a call to repentance nor 
an exhortation to enjoy a privilege and probably neither a vow 
nor a description of a future condition but rather a statement 
of a present fact. This conclusion is borne out when we come to 
examine the relationship of vs. 5 to its context. Here there can 
be no question that it is to be connected with what precedes 
because of the '5- But what is the force of this conjunction? 
The commentators have too often failed to explain it. 10 Well- 
hausen, so far as I have observed, has made the only suggestion 
that is worthy of consideration. According to him the verse will 
say: Every nation has its own god, only we have the true 
God to whom therefore all nations will hereafter come. This 
explanation may do for want of a better but no one would claim 
that the thought here suggested is naturally expressed. Para- 
phrased the thought on this interpretation runs thus: Many 
nations will come to Jahweh hereafter because C3) all nations 
at present are idolaters but we Jews worship the true God. It 
is clear that the first clause in vs. 5b is introduced in the most 
awkward way if it is the intention of the writer to express the 
thought suggested by Wellhausen. The simple statement of the 
present antithesis between the religion of the heathen and the 
religion of the Jews is not in itself an adequate explanation for 
the future conversion of the heathen. It could be just as easily, 
or rather more easily, a reason for the future destruction of the 
heathen. Further, when one examines into vs. 5 more carefully 
it is seen that in thought and temper it differs too widely from 
vss. 1-3 to be regarded as an explanation of these verses. In 
vss. 1-3 breathes a spirit of universalism and magnificent tolera- 

9 Cf . Caspari long ago. 

10 Hitzig holds that vs. 5 is the delayed reason for the change from the 
threat of chap. 3 to the promise of chap. 4! Ewald translates by Wenn 
. . . so wollen wir, and so also J. M. P. Smith: Though . . . yet we will, 
but the latter scholar neither justifies nor explains this translation. Nowack 
translates by derm, but explains the verse really as an antithesis: Jetzt 
ist es noch nicht so wie eben geschildert. Marti omits all explanation. 
Caspari made an honest attempt to explain the connection but was able to 
do so only by reading into the passage a whole series of dogmatic ideas. 


tion almost unrivalled in the Old Testament. 11 In vs. 5 there is 
the spirit of post-exilic Jewish exclusiveness. The emphatic 
1Jf"0N> to which commentators do not pay sufficient attention 
in estimating the peculiar quality of the verse, will contrast 
the privileges and piety of Judaism with the obstinacy and 
idolatry of the heathen. It is therefore after all highly improb- 
able that vs. 5 was intended to be an explanation of vss. 1-3. 
Accordingly it must be regarded as an explanation of vs. 4 
or all connection with what precedes must be given up. Here 
it is necessary to consider the probable meaning and connec- 
tion of vs. 4. In the first place vs. 4 is expressed individualis- 
tically (t£>'*N). not nationalistically. It is each individual, not each 
nation, that is here thought of. This at once raises the question 
whether vs. 4, in spite of the seemingly appropriate liturgical 
conclusion of vs. b, is really the original conclusion of the proph- 
ecy in vss. 1-3. In the next place we have seen that on the most 
probable strophical analysis of the poem vs. 4 would be excluded. 
But what then is the purpose of this accretion? In the third 
place it has often been noticed that the statement of vs. 4 is 
applied elsewhere to Israel (cf. IK. 5:5 and Zech. 3:10). This 
at once suggests that vs. 4 really has Israel rather than the 
nations in mind. 1 -' This suggestion at once confirms the sus- 
picion that vs. 4 is a gloss and explains its purpose. It will 
show how the international peace prophesied in vss. 1-3 will 
redound especially to the advantage of Israelites. If vs. 4 is 
thus interpreted the relationship of vs. 5 to it at once becomes 
apparent. The reason why we Jews will dwell safely is not 
so much because war in general will be no more, but because we 
walk in the name of Jahweh while the other nations are idolaters. 
Vss. 4 and 5 taken together are thus seen to be, not an explicit 
contradiction of what precedes as they would be if the tenses in 
vs. 5 were construed as futures, but certainly a qualification of 
what precedes in the interest of Jewish exclusiveness. 

Are vss. 4 and 5 by the editor who assigned the prophecy, vss. 
1-3, to its present position? To this question no conclusive 

11 Duhm 's attempt to weaken the universalism of the passage in order 
to save it to Isaiah cannot be regarded as successful. 

12 Tor the limitation of vs. 4 to Israel cf. even Keil as well as later 
critical scholars, Well., Du. (Theologie der Propheten, p. 181), Bertholet 
(Stellung d. Isr. zu d. Fremden, p. 97), Now., J. M. P. Smith. 


answer can be given. But since it is unwise to assume compli- 
cated critical processes where there is no obvious reason for doing 
so, it is fair to assume that the editor and the glossator were 
one and the same. This assumption may possibly be confirmed 
by two considerations drawn from the immediate context. The 
purpose of placing 4:1-3 in its present position was to nullify 
the terrible threat of total destruction of the temple found at 
the end of chap. 3. In other words the purpose of locating 
the prophecy just here and not somewhere else has a certain 
apologetic bias which well agrees with the Judaism of vss. 4 and 
5. Again the temper of 4:11-13 agrees with the temper of vss. 
4 and 5. 

The critical conclusions which have thus far been obtained 
are the following. 1. Is. 2 :5 is an editorial comment or exhor- 
tation based upon the old poem vss. 2-4, but this comment was 
not made by the editor of Isaiah who placed this prophecy 
in its present place in Isaiah. It was found by him already 
attached to the poem. 2. Mi. 4:4 and 5 are editorial comments 
or qualifications of the same poem added to it by the editor who 
placed the poem in its present position in Micah. The relation- 
ship of the respective editors of Isaiah and Micah to Is. 2 :5 
on the one hand and to Mi. 4 :4 and 5 on the other is diiferent. 
The editor of Isaiah found 2:5 already attached to the poem. 
The editor of Micah added 4 :4 and 5 himself. 

We are now prepared to examine the question, so often 
discussed, of the relative originality of this celebrated poem in 
Isaiah and Micah. I assume without further debate that neither 
Isaiah nor Micah could have placed this prophecy in the posi- 
tions which they now occupy. The connections of the prophecy 
in both cases are manifestly secondary. The question concerns 
the relationship of editors, not of original authors. What, now, 
is the relationship between Is. 2:5 and Mi. 4:5? The condition 
to which Is. 2 :5 exhorts to attain is affirmed by Mi. 4 :5 to already 
exist. 13 It is hardly possible to think of these two verses as 
absolutely independent of each other. But if related, on which 
side does the dependence lie? Marti urges that Is. 5 depends 

13 This is recognized with increasing clearness by Marti, Gray and J. M. P. 
Smith. Contrast Che, Intro., p. 14, -where the real difference between the 
two verses is ignored. 


upon Mi. 5. Is. 5 exhorts to the fulfilment of the claim (Versich- 
erung) made in Mi. 5. The reason given for this view is that 
Is. 5 is shorter than Mi. 5 and looks like an intentional abbre- 
viation. 14 But as Gray rightly points out, if the intention was 
to abbreviate, why is Oh House of Jacob added in Isaiah? He 
also calls attention to the fact that the Come and let us walk 
of Isaiah is in much closer agreement with the language of the 
prophecy than is the We walk of Micah. But what force is 
there, after all, in an exhortation to achieve a result that is 
described as already existing. When once the exact meaning of 
the two forms of the verse is clearly recognized it will be seen 
that Mi. 5 must be a correction of Is. 5. What Is. 5 exhorts to 
is affirmed by Mi. 5 to exist. The whole trend of the revision 
of the earlier documents also favors the view that Mi. 5 is a cor- 
rection of Is. 5. One of the great tendencies in the post-exilic 
development of Judaism is at work in this correction, namely 
the emphasis of the contrast between Judaism and the heathen 
world. We therefore conclude that the editor who placed Mi. 
1-3 in its present position and added vss. 4, 5 depends upon Is. 
2 :5, that is, he found the prophecy with vs. 5 already attached 
to it. But did the editor of Micah borrow it from its present 
position in Isaiah? This is not so clear. We saw that Is. 5 
was probably attached to the prophecy before it was adopted 
into Isaiah's prophecies. But further, would it be likely for the 
editor of Micah to ascribe this prophecy to Micah if he had 
found it already ascribed to Isaiah with the explicitness, the 
unusual explicitness, with which this is done in Isaiah (cf. Is. 
2:1)? To my mind this is very unlikely. We are therefore 
driven to conclude that the view which holds that both the edi- 
tors of Micah and Isaiah derived this prophecy quite independ- 
ently of each other from an older source, is the correct view. 
In that case the prophecy was no doubt anonymous and relative 
to the time of the two editors it was also old. Its anonymity 
coupled with its supposed age will most naturally account for 
the fact that it was ascribed to two different prophets of the 
early pre-exilic period. 

14 Cheyne, Intro., p. 14 f., likewise holds that Is. 5 is an abbreviation of 
Mi. 5. The statement of Cheyne 's position in Gray p. 48 seems to be a mis- 


II. On Is. 7 :7-9 

Vss. 8 and 9 are intended to confirm positively what was stated 
negatively in vs. 6. Two tilings in these verses demand atten- 
tion, the meaning of vs. 8a and vs. 9a and the genuineness of 
vs. 8b. 1. The clauses vs. 8a and 9a are obscure. The simple 
historical statement that Damascus is the capital of Aram and 
Resin the ruler of Damascus, and that Samaria is the capital of 
Ephraim and Ben Remaliah the ruler of Samaria, affords, in 
itself, no intelligible basis for the promise of encouragement 
preceding. This statement must therefore be supposed to suggest 
something which it does not definitely express. But what does 
it express? To modern commentators many things, a. The 
usually assumed implicit um is that neither Damascus nor Sama- 
ria will be able to enlarge their territory at the expense of 
Judah. 1 Damascus is the capital of Aram and will remain so. 
Neither Resin nor the son of Remaliah will rule over any wider 
territory than they now possess. On this view we have a fact 
stated (the names of the capitals and of the chiefs of the two 
kingdoms opposed to Ahaz) and a prophecy implied (these 
kingdoms will not extend their power beyond their present 
borders). The encouragement would therefore consist not in 
the stated fact but in the implied prophecy. This is very singu- 
lar. We would naturally expect that the thought upon which the 
whole meaning of the passage depends would be formally 
expressed. Does the statement that Damascus is the capital of 
Aram really suggest that it is to remain only the capital of 
Aram 1 o. Hence others have tried to find the ground of encour- 
agement only in the stated fact. There is no cause to fear, for 
these nations "are only the well-known neighboring peoples 
with capitals over which the Davidic dynasty has already ruled 
and with kings who have been robbed of their dignity." 2 The 
bare mention of these capitals and kings ought, it is assumed, to 
be sufficient to remind Ahaz of their impotence. But would 
they 1 Would they not suggest the very opposite 1 Ahaz was in 
a panic (vs. 2). The simple mention of Aram and Ephraim 

1 Cf . Ges., Di., Gray. 

2 So Du., and also Marti, after Hitzig. That the Davidic dynasty of that 
time had already developed a tradition of a one-time sovereignty over 
Damascus is incidentally more than doubtful. 


might suggest comfortable thoughts to a critic complacently 
sitting in his study three thousand years after the war, but they 
would suggest to Ahaz' terrified imagination a very different 
train of thought, I fancy. If Isaiah sought to cure the fear 
of Ahaz by suggestion he certainly took a very strange way to 
do it. 3 

From the foregoing it is clear that vs. 8a and vs. 9a, when 
taken by themselves, are not sufficiently definite to serve as 
a basis for the encouragement in vs. 7. They need some fur- 
ther qualification in order to show in what sense they are to 
be taken. Ahaz needs a more definite assurance than these 
clauses are able to convey. If we now turn to vs. 8b we imme- 
diately find something definite. Ephraim is to be destroyed 
within a certain time. This is a statement Ahaz can grasp. He 
does not need to be an exegete in order to fathom its meaning. 
Vs. 9a read in the light of vs. 8b now becomes intelligible. Ahaz 
is panic-stricken at the thought of a coalition between Aram and 
Ephraim. These two powers loom large in his imagination. 
Vs. 9a is not the cryptic promise of the prophet; it voices the 
fear of Ahaz. Vs. 9a and similarly vs. 8a are really what Ahaz 
is forever timorously repeating to himself and vs. 8b is the 
prophet's answer to these fears. But this interpretation would 
necessitate placing vs. 8b after vs. 9a. This leads us to a con- 
sideration of vs. 8b. 2. We wish something definite, but vs. 8b 
overdoes it a bit. Both because of its position and the singu- 
larly definite but quite inappropriate time element in the clause 
it has been rejected by practically all modern scholars. The 
detailed statement of the grounds for the deletion need not 
be rehearsed. I am quite prepared to admit that if we must 
choose between accepting vs. 8b in its present position and in its 
present textual form or rejecting it I should join the general 
chorus and delete it as a gloss. But is this the only alternative '! 
We have seen that some such clause as vs. 8b is really necessary 
to the proper understanding of vs. 9a, only it should stand after 

3 Marti refines somewhat upon the second interpretation. The clauses, 
according to his view, were intended to suggest that Eesin and Pekah were 
alone in their attack upon Judah, the other nations holding themselves aloof 
from the coalition. But it is difficult to read this idea out of the words 
and it is more than doubtful if Isaiah could have intended such an idea since 
it would not have corresponded with historical fact. 


vs. 9a instead of before it. But if vs. 8b is once placed after vs. 
9a the real gap in the passage immediately becomes apparent. 
"We would expect a parallel clause referring to the destruc- 
tion of Damascus in the position now occupied by vs. 8b. But 
further, since the sixty-five years of vs. 8b is an impossible 
terminus, we must suppose that this definite time-limit has taken 
the place of the more indefinite time-limit originally assigned by 
Isaiah in harmony with the prophetic chronology in 7 :14, 16, 
and 8 :4. 4 When the present date was substituted for the orig- 
inal vaguer date in order to make it agree with a crisis in the 
fate of the people of Northern Israel in which some scribe had a 
special interest, the reference to the time of the destruction of 
Damascus was lost as not agreeing with the new date, and by 
an accident vs. 8a was transposed to its present position. The 
passage, if the above suggestions are adopted would read some- 
what as follows : 

For (while) 5 the head of Aram is Damascus 
And the head of Damascus is Resin 
[Within . . . Damascus shall be destroyed.] 
And (while) the head of Ephraim is Samaria 
And the head of Samaria is Ben Remaliah 
[Within . . . Damascus shall be destroyed.] 
shall not be a people. 

1 This suggestion was advanced by Bredenkamp and Delitzsch. 

5 1 have felt justified in inserting ' while ' since Isaiah is really expressing 
the thoughts of Ahaz to which his prophecy is set in an implied antithesis. 
Ewald rejected vs. 8a with Ges. and Hitz. but correctly felt that vs. 8a and 
vs. 9a by themselves were incomplete. He conjectured a line after vs. 9a: 
"But Judah's head is Jerusalem and Jerusalem's head is Jahve"!