An Analysis of Isaiah 40:1-11 (17) -- By: Terry W. Eddinger

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 09:1 (NA 1999)
Article: An Analysis of Isaiah 40:1-11 (17)
Author: Terry W. Eddinger

An Analysis of Isaiah 40:1-11 (17)

Terry W. Eddinger

Houston Graduate School Of Theology,
High Point, North Carolina

Isa 40:1-11 is a passage filled with ambiguity of language but containing a high degree of order in form. This article presents a poetic, structural analysis of the pericope, examining critical issues such as parallelism, double entendre, meter, word/syllable count, and so on. It also contains a discussion of the setting of the text, including the commonly held position that the passage is a call narrative in a heavenly council meeting. The passage is divided into four strophes, each one discussed separately.

Key Words: parallelism, poetry, double entendre, call narrative, theophany, Exodus theme, Isaiah, strophe, Isaiah 40

Chapter 40 of Isaiah contains a famous yet problematic passage incorporating a number of ambiguities and nuances. For years scholars have debated, not only the authorship of the section of Isaiah beginning with this passage, but also the setting of the author. Other debates are directed at the text itself. Who are the various speakers in the text, and whom are the speakers addressing? Is this passage a call narrative? What can be said about the double entendres and the parallelism of the text? Does the pericope include vv. 1-9, 1-11 or another combination? The purpose of this study is to analyze the structure of Isa 40:1-11 (17), including the poetic nature of the text, and to determine what answers the structure indicates concerning the above questions.

The following is my translation of Isa 40:1-17. Included with the text are strophe divisions and a proposed metrical structure.1

The Text

Strophe I


“Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.2



“Speak upon the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her,


You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()