The New Revised Standard Bible has a much better translation of this verse: “A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field” (Isaiah 40:6)Dr. Mariottini concludes:
The Today’s New International Version also reflects the intent of the writer: “A voice says: ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ ‘All people are like grass, and all human faithfulness is like the flower of the field.’”
In Isaiah 40:6 the prophet is saying that the commitment of Israel to the covenant was like the flower of the field: it did not last very long. He is also saying that God’s word, his promises to Israel, endure forever because he is faithful to his commitment to the relationship.I notice that the NET Bible footnote for Is. 40:6 supports Dr. Mariottini:
We must reread Isaiah 40:6 from a different perspective and learn anew that God does not want “goodliness.” God wants the commitment of his people.
The LXX, apparently understanding the antecedent as “grass,” reads “glory,” but חֶסֶד (khesed) rarely, if ever, has this nuance. The normal meaning of חֶסֶד (“faithfulness, loyalty, devotion”) fits very well in the argument. Human beings and their faithfulness (verbal expressions of faithfulness are specifically in view; cf. NRSV “constancy”) are short-lived and unreliable, in stark contrast to the decrees and promises of the eternal God.I am grateful for Better Bibles which are more accurate.
Categories: bible translation, translation accuracy, hesed