Isaiah 7:1-25

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7:1. Masoretic Text: And it occurred in the days of Ahaz, son of Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to war against it, and he was unable to fight [successfully] against it.

Septugint: And it occurred in the days of Ahaz, [son] of Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to war against it, and they were unable to besiege it.

The third person singular (“he”) at the end of the verse does not have the support of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah nor the Septuagint and does not appear to be the original reading.

The transliteration of the names in the Greek text differs significantly from the usual spelling of the names as they appear here in the rendering of the Septuagint.

An ancient seal identifies a certain Ushna as a “servant” or “minister” of Ahaz.


King Jotham and his father King Uzziah (Azariah) were worshipers of YHWH. With the exception of Uzziah’s wrongfully entering the santuary in an attempt to offer incense, both kings acted uprightly. Their subjects, however, continued to engage in improper sacrificing at high places. (2 Kings 15:1-4, 32-35; 2 Chronicles 26:1-5, 16-21; 27:1-6) Jotham’s son Ahaz deviated completely from the course that his father and grandfather had pursued. He adopted Baal worship and engaged in abominable rituals, including child sacrifice. (2 Kings 16:2-4; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4) As a consequence, YHWH withdrew his protection from the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, with resultant exposure to invasions from Aram (Syria) and the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. (2 Chronicles 28:5)

With the support of 50 men of Gilead, Pekah assassinated King Pekahiah and began to reign over the northern kingdom of Israel. Later, Pekah formed an alliance with Rezin, the king of Aram or Syria. Sometime after Ahaz ascended the throne in the seventeenth year of Pekah’s reign, Pekah and Rezin planned to invade the two-tribe kingdom. Their combined forces brought about considerable devastation on their way to attack Jerusalem, but they did not succeed in capturing the city. (2 Kings 15:23-25; 16:1, 5; 2 Chronicles 28:5-7)

7:2. Masoretic Text: And the house of David received a report, saying, “Aram is allied with Ephraim.” And his heart and the heart of his people shook like the shaking of trees of the forest on account of wind.

Septuagint: And it was announced to the house of David, saying, “Aram came to an agreement with Ephraim.” And his soul was troubled, also the soul of his people, in the manner a tree of a forest is shaken by wind.

The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah does not include the reference to “his heart,” but includes the definite article before the words rendered “forest” and “wind.”


News about the alliance of Aram or Syria with Ephraim (the dominant tribe of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and designating the entire kingdom) terrified Ahaz and his subjects. In their “hearts” or within themselves, they were thrown into a state of uneasiness and alarm. Their inner upheaval was comparable to the effect of a strong wind on the trees of a forest. They sway back and forth.

7:3. Masoretic Text: And YHWH said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the channel of the upper pool on the road of the Fuller’s Field.”

Septuagint: And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and the remaining one, Jashub your son, to the pool of the upper way of the Fuller’s Field.”

The name “Shear-jashub” means “a remnant will return.” In the Septuagint, the first part of the compound name (“Shear”) is rendered according to its meaning “remaining one” or “remnant.”


Isaiah was divinely directed, probably in a dream or a vision, to meet Ahaz and to take his son Shear-jashub along. The presence of the son would in itself serve as a testimony, indicating that a remnant would continue to exist after the judgment that would befall the people of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. Isaiah was to meet Ahaz at a location outside the city of Jerusalem. The “end of the channel” may have been the place to which water from the pool flowed or where the water entered the pool through the channel. Both meanings are expressed in interpretive renderings of the Hebrew text. “Meet Ahaz at the place where the water flows into the upper pool.” (NCV) “You will find the king at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool.” (NLT) “Meet Ahaz at the end of the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool.” (NIRV)

Also in the area where Isaiah and his son were to meet Ahaz was the Fuller’s Field, an area where fullers worked or had their shops. Ancient fullers washed and bleached clothing and cleaned, shrunk, and thickened wool or new cloth in preparation for the dyeing process. Fullers might also do the actual dyeing.

7:4. Masoretic Text: And you must say to him, “Take heed and be undisturbed. Do not fear, and let your heart not be weak because of [these] two smoldering ends of firebrands, [on account of] the burning anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah.”

Septuagint: And say to him, “Take heed to be undisturbed, and do not fear, nor let your soul be weak from these two wood [pieces] of smoldering firebrands. For when the anger of my fury comes [to its finish], I will again heal.”

As in the Septuagint, the conjunction “and” appears in the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah before the words, “do not fear.”

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the point about “anger” is preceded by the word ki, meaning “for,” “because” “because of,” or “on account of.”

The Septuagint rendering does not link the anger to that of the kings and their armies but identifies it as YHWH’s anger. At the same time, the Septuagint reading includes a message of hope. YHWH would bring healing after he, in expression of his anger, punished the disobedient people.


Ahaz was to take heed, watch, or be on guard as to how he responded to the threatening situation. Instead of giving in to an overwhelming unsettling feeling of alarm within himself, he was to remain undisturbed, quiet, or calm. Ahaz was not to give in to fear or let his heart become “weak,” losing courage and hope on account of the threatening developments.

King Rezin and Aram (the kingdom of Syria) and the son of Remaliah (King Pekah) did not pose the kind of threat that Ahaz imagined. They merely were comparable to the ends of smoldering firebrands, no longer ablaze and thus without the destructive capabilities associated with fiercely burning wood. The minimization of the danger apparently served to encourage Ahaz to put faith in YHWH for assistance and not to look to a stronger military power for aid in dealing with the threat to the continuance of his rule.

In being called the “son of Remaliah,” Pekah is not dignified by having his own name mentioned.

7:5. Masoretic Text: For the reason that Aram has counseled evil against you, [also] Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, saying,

Septuagint: And the son of Aram and the son of Remaliah — for they have counseled evil counsel concerning you, saying,

In the Hebrew text, the first two words are conjunctions and can be literally translated “because that.” The rendering “for the reason that” serves to preserve this significance.


Aram or Syria, in the person of its monarch, had formulated a plan against King Ahaz. Ephraim (the dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel and here used to represent the entire kingdom) had joined Syria in this plot. The son of Remaliah, King Pekah, had made an alliance with Rezin, the Syrian king.

7:6. Masoretic Text: “Let us go up against Judah and frighten it, and let us make a breach for ourselves and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it.”

Septuagint: “Let us go up into Judea; and, speaking together with them, we will turn them to us, and we will have the son of Tabeel rule it.”


Kings Rezin and Pekah agreed to invade Judah with their combined forces and make a breach, probably of the capital city Jerusalem. They then intended to remove Ahaz as king and to replace him with the “son of Tabeel,” a man who would not have been of the royal line of David and who would function as their vassal. According to the reading of the Septuagint, the two allied kings would endeavor to have his subjects cooperate with them in deposing Ahaz and then having the son of Tabeel reign over them. This son of Tabeel is not dignified by having his own name included in the record.

7:7. Masoretic Text: Thus says my Lord, YHWH, “It will not stand, and it will not happen.”

Septuagint: Thus says the Lord Sabaoth, “By no means will this counsel remain, nor will it be.”

“Sabaoth” is a transliterated form of the Hebrew word meaning “hosts” or “armies.” To convey the emphatic sense, the two words for “not” in the Septuagint are here rendered “by no means.”


The scheme, plot, or “counsel” would not “stand” or “remain” as valid or as bound to succeed. What kings Rezin and Pekah had hoped to achieve would not come to pass.

7:8. Masoretic Text: For the head of Aram [is] Damascus, and the head of Damascus [is] Rezin. And yet sixty-five years [and] Ephraim will be shattered so that [it will cease to be] a people.

Septuagint: But the head of Aram [is] Damascus, but yet sixty-five years [and] the kingdom of Ephraim will cease from the people.


In the alliance, Aram or Syria appears to have been the more powerful partner and, therefore, is mentioned first. Its “head” or capital city is Damascus, and nothing is indicated respecting Rezin, the “head” of Damascus or the reigning king in the capital city. In the case of Ephraim (the dominant tribe that is representative of the entire ten-tribe kingdom of Israel), however, a drastic reversal is mentioned. It would cease to be a people that was identifiable with its native land. The end of the period of 65 years may relate to the last Assyrian deportation of survivors from the territory of the ten northern tribes of Israel and the completed settlement of foreign peoples in the land. (Compare Ezra 4:2.)

The annals of the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III mention that he received tribute from King Rezin and that he later carried out an extensive military campaign against Syria, destroying 591 cities of 16 districts of Damascus.

7:9. Masoretic Text: And the head of Ephraim [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] the son of Remaliah. If you will not trust [’amán], surely you will not be trusted [’amán].

Septuagint: And the head of Ephraim [is] Samaria, and the head of Samaria [is] the son of Remaliah. And if you do not believe, neither will you understand.

In the Hebrew text, the last phrase involves a wordplay (“if you will not trust, surely you will not be trusted”; or, “if you will not believe, surely you will not be made firm”).


The “head” or capital city of Ephraim (the dominant tribe that represented the entire ten-tribe kingdom of Israel) was Samaria, and the “head” of the capital city was “the son of Remaliah,” the king. YHWH’s word through Isaiah had made it clear that this would not continue to be the case, for Ephraim or the northern kingdom of Israel would be shattered. The point about believing or trusting is not just addressed to Ahaz, for the verb forms are second person plural.

The Hebrew word ’amán basically means “believe,” “trust,” or “have faith,” and it can also convey the thought of being “safe,” “firm,” or “established.” So the second use of the word can identify Ahaz and the others who were on the scene as persons who could not be trusted or as persons who would not be made or remain safe, secure, or firm if they failed to believe. According to the Septuagint rendering, those who did not believe would not understand. Failing to comprehend would mean refusing to act in keeping with the message that they had heard.

7:10. Masoretic Text: And YHWH continued to speak to Ahaz, saying,

Septuagint: And the Lord continued to speak to Ahaz, saying,


Apparently through Isaiah, YHWH added to the message that had been conveyed to Ahaz. As the introduction of an additional message, the words of this verse appear to indicate that they were spoken in another location. In view of the fact that the “house of David” is later addressed (verse 13), the royal household, including the king’s advisors and women, must have been present to hear the message.

7:11. Masoretic Text: Ask a sign of YHWH your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.

Septuagint: Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord your God, [a sign] in depth or in height.


Apparently to provide him with confirmatory assurance that the attempt to remove him from the throne would fail, Ahaz received the invitation to ask for a sign of his own choosing. The word of YHWH placed no limit on the nature of the sign, giving Ahaz the option of asking for something comparable to the lowest depth (Sheol or the realm of the dead) or the greatest height (heaven or the sky).

7:12. Masoretic Text: And Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not test YHWH.”

Septuagint: And Ahaz said, “I will by no means ask nor by any means test the Lord.”

In the Septuagint, the verbs for “ask” and “test” are preceded by two words that mean “not,” making the expression emphatic. This is conveyed in the translation by the words “by no means” and “nor by any means.”


Ahaz responded as a man who did not trust YHWH’s words. He refused to ask for a confirmatory sign regarding a message he did not believe. Although he had been invited to make a test by asking for a sign, he faithlessly declared that he was not going to put YHWH to the test. He wanted no evidence to assure him that YHWH’s word would unfailingly be fulfilled, for he had determined to pursue his own way in dealing with the threat from the kingdom of Syria and the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel.

7:13. Masoretic Text: And he said, “Hear now, house of David! [Is it something] little for you to weary men that you also weary my God?”

Septuagint: And he said, “Hear now, house of David! [Is it something] little for you to cause a contest with men? And how can you cause a contest with the Lord?”


Perhaps in the palace at Jerusalem, Isaiah directed these words to all who were present — Ahaz, his advisors and servants, and other members of the royal house, including women. By their refusal to believe and act in harmony with YHWH’s word, the members of the “house of David” had “wearied men,” primarily Isaiah and other prophets who became tired of their resistant unbelief. Instead of “men,” the Targum of Isaiah specifically refers to the “prophets.”

In view of the adamant refusal of Ahaz to ask for a confirmatory sign and a like faithless disposition being displayed by members of the royal house generally, they were making God weary or wearing out his patience with them. As YHWH’s prophet, Isaiah used the expression “my God,” indicative of his personal relationship with him. It was a relationship the faithless members of the “house of David” did not have. According to the Septuagint rendering, their resistant opposition to Isaiah’s words proved to be a contest, a struggle or a conflict with men, but that did not seem to be enough for them. They attempted to fight with God. The questions Isaiah raised should have prompted them to consider how they could possibly justify their defiant course of faithlessness.

7:14. Masoretic Text: Therefore, my Lord himself will give you a sign. Look! The maiden [‘almáh] [is] pregnant and is bearing a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.

Septuagint: Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look! The virgin [parthénos] will conceive and will give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the name YHWH is found (instead of “my Lord”). Another difference is that this scroll says, “he will be called” (not “she will call him”). The Septuagint reading (“you will call” [second person singular]) may be understood generically to mean “they will call.”


King Ahaz had refused to ask for a sign. For this reason YHWH himself provided one. This sign was one designated for the faithless monarch and others who heard Isaiah’s words. For it to serve as a sign to them, they would of necessity have to witness it. Perhaps Isaiah pointed to the young woman as being pregnant with a baby boy. The name “Immanuel” signifies “with us [is] God.” In a sense, the announcement about the birth of this boy revealed that God was still with his people (despite their lack of faith and disobedience), for no members of the house of David appear to have known about the pregnancy, and they definitely did not know that the baby would be a son. Accordingly, YHWH was still very much involved in the affairs that affected the royal house.

The identity of the maiden and her child in the time of Isaiah is unknown, and this aspect more readily served the purpose of pointing forward to the birth of the promised Messiah, Jesus, the permanent heir in the royal line of David. As the direct representative of his Father, Jesus lived up to the name “Immanuel.” In the person of his unique Son, God was indeed with his people.

The Hebrew word ‘almáh refers to a “young woman” or “maiden” and can refer to a virgin or a young married or engaged woman. In the Septuagint and in Matthew 1:23, the corresponding term is parthénos, (“virgin”). By reason of her engagement, Mary already belonged to Joseph as his “young woman” and was also a virgin. The more specific Greek term reflected the precise circumstances that uniquely applied in Mary’s case. Knowing Jesus to be the Son of God whose life as a human came about through the direct operation of holy spirit and not the usual process of procreation, Matthew recognized that the words of Isaiah 7:14 matched exactly what had occurred in Jesus’ case and could therefore refer to them as having been fulfilled.

7:15. Masoretic Text: Curds and honey he will eat when he knows [how] to reject the evil and choose the good.

Septuagint: Butter and honey he will eat; before he knows or prefers evil things, he will choose the good.


On account of military invasions that interfered with the cultivating, growing, and harvesting of crops, the boy’s basic diet would be wild honey and thick, curdled milk from the cows and goats that the survivors of the military campaigns would have managed to preserve. This would be the circumstance at a point where the boy first had the ability to distinguish good from bad.

7:16. Masoretic Text: For before the boy knows [how] to reject the evil and choose the good, the land, of which you are in fright before the faces of the two kings, will be abandoned.

Septuagint: For before the boy knows good or bad, he rejects evil to choose good; and the land will be abandoned, [the land] which you fear before the face of the two kings.

The idiomatic expression “before the face” or “faces” basically means “before.” In this case, it could also be understood to signify “because of.” The fright of Ahaz and his subjects proved to be on account of the two kings and their plot. These two kings planned to invade the territory of the kingdom of Judah, depose Ahaz as king, and install the son of Tabeel as monarch.


According to the Hebrew text, the land that was governed by kings Rezin and Pekah would be abandoned by the time the boy had the moral discrimination to reject evil and choose good. This indicated that the territory over which these monarchs ruled would be conquered and their subjects would either perish or be taken as captives to be settled in other areas. From the standpoint of the native population, the land would then have been abandoned.

The Septuagint rendering preserves the thought about the boy’s not then having moral discrimination to know or recognize good or bad. It differs, however, in representing him as rejecting evil to choose good (as if doing so instinctively).

According to the partially preserved Assyrian annals, Tiglath-pileser III captured the warriors, archers, shield- and lance-bearers of King Rezin. At that time, King Rezin, to save his life, fled alone. According to the account in 2 Kings 16:9, Tiglath-pileser captured Damascus and killed Rezin. No record of this is preserved in any part of the fragmentary Assyrian annals, but what is found therein does confirm that the kingdom of Syria was desolated. Tiglath-pileser III “destroyed 591 cities of 16 district of Damascus,” reducing them to piles of ruins. The forces of Tiglath-pileser III also invaded the territory of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and took captives from the conquered cities to Assyria. Very fragmentary Assyrian annals indicate that Tiglath-pileser III had leveled cities of Israel to the ground during his military campaigns. These annals mention the overthrow of Pekah as king, and indicate that Pekah’s successor (Hoshea) was a vassal of the Assyrian monarch. (Compare 2 Kings 15:29, 30.)

7:17. Masoretic Text: YHWH will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house days [such] as have not come since the day Ephraim revolted from Judah — the king of Assyria.

Septuagint: But God will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house days, which have not yet come since the day he took away Ephraim from Judah — the king of the Assyrians.

At the beginning of the verse, the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah includes the word meaning “and.”


Ephraim, as the dominant tribe, is here used to represent the ten tribes that revolted in the days of Rehoboam, the Judean king in the royal line of David. These tribes then formed a separate kingdom, with Jeroboam as their first monarch. (1 Kings 12:1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19) That left Rehoboam with a greatly reduced realm over which to rule. What would be effected through the king of Assyria would be an even greater blow. On account of Assyrian aggression, many would perish, and land, cities, and towns would be devastated.

7:18. Masoretic Text: And it will occur in that day that YHWH will whistle for the fly that [is] at the extremity of the canals of Egypt and for the bee that [is] in the land of Assyria.

Septuagint: And it will be in that day that the Lord will whistle for the flies which rule part of the river of Egypt, and for the bee which is in the country of the Assyrians.

The Targum of Isaiah refers to the “armies of mighty men” from Egypt that are as numerous as flies, and to the “mighty armies” from Assyria that are “as strong as bees.”


“Fly” and “bee” are here used as collective singulars and represent the military forces from Egypt and Assyria. The kingdom of Judah would be subjected to military invasions from Egypt and Assyria. YHWH’s “whistling” for them signified that he would be summoning them as his instruments to punish his disobedient people. Egypt was known for the abundance of flies, and Assyria for its bees, making the respective insects fitting representations of their large invading armies. The “extremity of the canals of Egypt” probably refers to the branches or canals of the Lower Nile, whereas the Septuagint rendering designates a region through which the Nile flows.

7:19. Masoretic Text: And they will come and settle, all of them, in the steep ravines and in the crevices of the rocks and on all the thorny plants and on all the watering locations [nahalól].

Septuagint: And all will come and rest in the valleys of the country and in the crevices of the rocks and in the caves and in every ravine and on every tree.


The invaders, like swarms of flies and bees, would not leave any part of the territory of the kingdom of Judah untouched. They would carry out their campaigns as if settling down like bees and flies everywhere, including the steep sides of ravines and crevices in rocky terrain and every kind of plant, including weeds, and around pools of water. There is a measure of uncertainty about the significance of the Hebrew designation nahalól, with lexicographers suggesting watering place, pasture, and a kind of shrub. The uncertainty is reflected in the various renderings found in translations (“pastureland” [CEV], “stinkwort” [REB], “water-points” [NJB], and “water holes” [NIV]). The Septuagint rendering “tree,” however, would not support an application to locations for watering.

7:20. Masoretic Text: In that day my Lord will shave with the hired razor beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet, and also the beard it will remove.

Septuagint: In that day the Lord will shave with the great and drunken razor (which is beyond the River of the king of the Assyrians) the head and the hair of the feet, and he will remove the beard.


The hired razor is the king of Assyria who would be leading his forces into the kingdom of Judah. To counter the threat from the alliance between Syria and the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, Ahaz sent silver and gold to the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III, petitioning him to attack Syria and the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. (2 Kings 16:7-9) Thus the king of Assyria came to be hired, but this did not work out well for the kingdom of Judah, for it placed the realm in a subservient position to Assyria and subject to the demands of the Assyrian monarch and his successors. YHWH thereafter permitted the king of Assyria to act as he pleased toward the kingdom of Judah, using the king as his “razor from beyond the River” (the Euphrates) or his instrument to punish the disobedient people. (2 Chronicles 28:16-21)

The treatment that the kingdom of Judah experienced from the Assyrian monarch and his forces was comparable to that of a man who was stripped naked and had to endure the indignity of having all his bodily hair shaved off. It appears that the expression “hair of the feet” euphemistically denotes the pubic hair.

During the reign of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, the kingdom of Judah experienced the brunt of Assyrian assault, with resultant extensive devastation to the land and tremendous loss of life. All the fortified cities of Judah came under attack and were captured. (2 Kings 18:13) Divine intervention, however, prevented Jerusalem from being conquered. (2 Kings 19:32-36) According to the annals of Assyrian King Sennacherib, he besieged 46 fortified cities and surrounding smaller towns, taking 200,150 people captive.

7:21. Masoretic Text: And it will occur in that day that a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep [tso’n].

Septuagint: And it will be in that day that a man will feed a young cow of the cattle and two sheep.


Invading armies would devastate the land and greatly reduce the population. The conquerors would also take domestic animals as spoils. In his annals, Assyrian King Sennacherib, during his campaign against the kingdom of Judah, claims to have taken as booty countless numbers of “big and small cattle,” which would have included sheep and goats. A man, one of the survivors in the land, may have managed to keep alive a young cow and two animals of the flock. The Hebrew word tso’n can designate either a sheep or a goat.

7:22. Masoretic Text: And it will occur in that day that, because of the abundance of milk they give, he will eat curds, for curds and honey all who remain in the midst of the land will eat.

Septuagint: And it will be that, from the abundance of the milk they produce, butter and honey everyone who will be left on the land will eat.


Military campaigns would have interfered with cultivating the soil, sowing, and other essential agricultural work. Whatever crops could have reached maturity for harvesting would have been extremely limited. Therefore, the survivors would have depended on wild honey and thick, curdled milk for their basic food. With the population being significantly reduced, the proportionate amount of available milk would then have been sufficient to feed those remaining in the territory of the kingdom of Judah.

7:23. Masoretic Text: And it will occur in that day that every place (wherever there were a thousand vines [worth] a thousand silver shekels) will become [overgrown with] thorny plants and weeds.

Septuagint: And it will be in that day that every place (wherever there were a thousand vines [worth] a thousand siklos) will become barren land and thorn.

The term “siklos” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “shekel,” a monetary unit that had a weight approximately three times greater than a denarius, a Roman silver coin from a much later time. In the first century CE, a denarius was the common daily wage for an agricultural laborer. (Matthew 20:2)


On account of the extensive devastation resulting from warfare and the steep decline of the population in the land, vineyards would be neglected and thorny plants and other weeds would take over everywhere. Extensive vineyards, containing many valuable vines, would be transformed into mere weed patches. (Also see 5:6 regarding “thorny plants and weeds.”)

7:24. Masoretic Text: And a man will go there with arrows and a bow, for all the land will be [overgrown with] thorny plants and weeds.

Septuagint: With arrow and bow, they will enter there, for all the land will be barren land and thorn.

The Greek word here rendered “bow” is a form of tóxeuma, which term commonly designates an “arrow.” In Greek, the usual term for “bow” is tóxon.

In the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, the Hebrew word for “bow” is plural.


In the deserted vineyards and the surrounding depopulated area, wild animals would start to live. Therefore, either to hunt or to prepare for possible attack from lions, leopards, or bears, a man would arm himself with a bow and arrows before entering overgrown vineyards or other desolated areas. (Regarding “thorny plants and weeds,” see 5:6.)

7:25. Masoretic Text: And [to] all the hills that were hoed with a hoe, you will not go there for fear of thorny plants and weeds, and they will be an area where cattle are let loose and where sheep trample.

Septuagint: And every hill being plowed will be plowed; also by no means will fear enter there, for it will come to be from barren land and thorn [to land] for sheep to feed and bovine to trample.

In the Greek text, there are two words for “not,” which are here rendered “by no means.” The Septuagint reading represents a change in the situation, with the neglected land again being cultivated and transformed, becoming suitable for sheep and cattle to pasture. (Regarding “thorny plants and weeds,” see 5:6.)


The Hebrew text continues the description of the desolation. Because of the condition of the formerly cultivated hillsides, people would have been afraid to go there. Thorn bushes and weeds would have taken over to such an extent that it would have been extremely labor intensive and, hence, impractical to do anything with the land. These areas would have been considered suitable only for cattle, sheep, and goats to find pasturage.