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Isaiah 28:10

    Isaiah 28:10 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For it is one rule after another; one line after another; here a little, there a little.

    Webster's Revision

    For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.

    World English Bible

    For it is precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 28:10

    For precept must be upon precept - The original is remarkably abrupt and sententious. The hemistichs are these: -

    לצו צו לצו צו כי latsav tsav latsav tsav ki לקו קו לקו קו lakau kau lakau kau שם זעיר שם זעיר sham zeeir sham zeeir

    For, - Command to command, command to command.

    Line to line, line to line.

    A little there, a little there.

    Kimchi says צו tsau, precept, is used here for מצוה mitsuah, command, and is used in no other place for it but here. צו tsau signifies a little precept, such as is suited to the capacity of a child; see Isaiah 28:9. קו kau signifies the line that a mason stretches out to build a layer of stones by. After one layer or course is placed, he raises the line and builds another; thus the building is by degrees regularly completed. This is the method of teaching children, giving them such information as their narrow capacities can receive; and thus the prophet dealt with the Israelites. See Kimchi in loc., and see a fine parallel passage, Hebrews 5:12-14, by which this may be well illustrated.

    My old MS. Bible translates oddly: -

    For sende efter sende, sende efter sende:

    Abide efter abiide, abide efter abiide:

    Lytyl ther, lytyl ther.

    Coverdale is also singular: -

    Commande that may be commanded;

    Byd that maye be bydden:

    Foorbyd that maye be forbydden;

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 28:10

    For precept must be upon precept - This is probably designed to ridicule the concise and sententious manner of the prophets, and especially the fact that they dwelt much upon the same elementary truths of religion. In teaching children we are obliged to do it by often repeating the same simple lesson. So the profane and scoffing teachers of the people said it had been with the prophets of God. It had been precept upon precept, and line upon line, in the same way as children had been instructed. The meaning is, 'there is a constant repetition of the command, without ornament, imagery, or illustration; without an appeal to our understanding, or respect for our reason; it is simply one mandate after another, just as lessons are inculcated upon children.'

    Line upon line - This word (קו qav), properly means "a cord, a line;" particularly a measuring cord or line (2 Kings 21:13; Ezekiel 47:13; see the note at Isaiah 18:2). Here it seems to be used in the sense of "a rule," "law," or "precept." Grotius thinks that the idea is taken from schoolmasters who instruct their pupils by making lines or marks for them which they are to trace or imitate. There is a repetition of similar sounds in the Hebrew in this verse which cannot be conveyed in a translation, and which shows their contempt in a much more striking manner than any version could do - לקו קו לקו קו לצו צו לצו צו כי kı̂y tsav lâtsâv tsav lâtsâv qav lâqâv qēv lâqâv.

    Here a little and there a little - In the manner of instructing children, inculcating elementary lessons constantly. It may be observed here that God's method of imparting religious truth has often appeared to a scoffing world to be undignified and foolish. Sinners suppose that he does not sufficiently respect their understanding, and pay a tribute to the dignity of their nature. The truths of God, and his modes of inculcating them, are said to be adapted to the understandings of childhood and of age; to imbecility of years, or to times when the mind is enfeebled by disease.

    Wesley's Notes on Isaiah 28:10

    28:10 For - They must be taught like little children, because of their great dullness. Line - One line of the book after another, as children are taught to read.