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Isaiah 40:7

    Isaiah 40:7 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    The grass wither, the flower fades: because the spirit of the LORD blows on it: surely the people is grass.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    The grass becomes dry, the flower is dead; because the breath of the Lord goes over it: truly the people is grass.

    Webster's Revision

    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass.

    World English Bible

    The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh's breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the breath of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 40:7

    The grass withereth - The whole of this verse is wanting in three of Kennicott's and five of De Rossi's MSS., and in a very correct and ancient MS. of my own, and also in the Septuagint and Arabic.

    Surely the people "Verily this people" - So the Syriac; who perhaps read העם הזה haam hazzeh.

    Because the spirit of the Lord "When the wind of Jehovah" - רוח יהוה ruach Jehovah, a wind of Jehovah, is a Hebraism, meaning no more than a strong wind. It is well known that a hot wind in the east destroys every green thing. Compare Psalm 103:16. Two MSS. omit the word יהוה Yehovah, Jehovah.

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 40:7

    The grass withereth - Soon withers. Its beauty is soon gone.

    The flower fadeth - Soon fades; or fades when the wind of Yahweh passes over it. So is also with man. He loses his vigor, and dies at once when Yahweh takes away his strength and beauty.

    Because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it - This should be rendered, undoubtedly, 'When the wind of Yahweh bloweth upon it.' The word 'spirit' here does not suit the connection, and does not express the idea of the prophet. The word רוח rûach means, properly, "breath" - a breathing, or blowing; and is often used indeed to denote spirit, soul, life. But it often means a breath of wind; a breeze; air in motion Job 41:8; Jeremiah 2:24; Jeremiah 14:6. It is applied to the cool breeze which springs up in the evening (Genesis 3:8; compare Sol 2:17; Sol 4:6). It sometimes means a strong and violent wind Genesis 8:1; Isaiah 7:2; Isaiah 41:16; and also a tempest, or hurricane Job 1:19; Job 30:15; Isaiah 27:8. The 'wind of Yahweh' means that which Yahweh sends, or causes; and the expression here refers, doubtless, to the hot or poisonous east winds which blow in Oriental countries, and which wither and dry up everything before them (compare Jonah 4:8).

    Surely the people is grass - Lowth reads this, 'this people;' referring to the Jewish nation. So the Syriac. Perhaps it refers to the people of Babylon (so Rosenmuller), and means that mighty people would fade away like grass. But the more probable interpretation is that which regards it as referring to all people, and of course including the Jews and the Babylonians. The sense, according to this view, is, 'all nations shall fade away. All human power shall cease. But the promise of Yahweh shall survive. It shall be unchanging amidst all revolutions; it shall survive all the fluctuations which shall take place among people. It may, therefore, be trusted with unwavering reliance.' To produce that reliance was the object of the proclamation. On this passage, descriptive of the state of man, the reader will at once be reminded of the beautiful language of Shakespeare:

    This is the state of man! Today he puts forth

    The tender leaves of hope: to-morrow blossoms,

    And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;

    The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,

    And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely

    His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,

    And then he falls -

    - Never to hope again.

    Hen. VIII, Act. ii. Sc. 2.

    In the following passage from Tasso, the same image is adopted:

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