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134 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE
STUDIES IN ISAIAH
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
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.
FULLERTON: STUDIES IN ISAIAH 135
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.
136 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE
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.
FULLERTON : STUDIES IN ISAIAH 137
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.
138 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE
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.
PULLERTON: STUDIES IN ISAIAH 139
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-
140 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE
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.
FULLERTON: STUDIES IN ISAIAH 141
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.
142 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE
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"!