Today as I had my #QT in Isaiah 28, I ran across two most intriguing verses in both Hebrew and English (v. 10 and 13):
Isaiah 28:10 כִּ֣י צַ֤ו לָצָו֙ צַ֣ו לָצָ֔ו קַ֥ו לָקָ֖ו קַ֣ו לָקָ֑ו זְעֵ֥יר שָׁ֖ם זְעֵ֥יר שָֽׁם׃
Isaiah 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”
Isaiah 28:13 וְהָיָ֨ה לָהֶ֜ם דְּבַר־יְהוָ֗ה צַ֣ו לָצָ֞ו צַ֤ו לָצָו֙ קַ֤ו לָקָו֙ קַ֣ו לָקָ֔ו זְעֵ֥יר שָׁ֖ם זְעֵ֣יר שָׁ֑ם לְמַ֨עַן יֵלְכ֜וּ וְכָשְׁל֤וּ אָחֹור֙ וְנִשְׁבָּ֔רוּ וְנֹוקְשׁ֖וּ וְנִלְכָּֽדוּ׃ פ
Isaiah 28:13 But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,” That they might go and fall backward, and be broken And snared and caught.
Believe it or not, and especially in verse 10, the English makes more sense because in Hebrew it is just a string of words that seem to have no purpose. And that is the point of Isaiah and this post.
For Isaiah, the people were following laws taught by teachers unqualified to teach. They were following a covenant of death while God was offering them a covenant of life and a sure foundation. A covenant of justice and righteousness that was not built on meaningless laws with no purpose but death behind them (v. 16-17).
Today, I would argue Rabbinic Judaism is an exact mimicry of the purposeless laws found in verses 10 and 13 while 1 Peter reminds us Jesus is the precious cornerstone who annuls the death covenant. However, how will they ever know unless we tell them (Rom. 10)? For even during the Haftarah portion of this passage, these words are often left as a mystery to the rabbi and reader. We must tell them the end of the story – Messiah Jesus!