Bible Notes

"The glory of Lebanon ... the excellency of Carmel and Sharon" (Isa. 35:2)—The "glory of Lebanon" was evidently its cedar trees (compare Song of Solomon 5:15). The term "carmel" means literally "garden or park," while the word rendered "excellency" can be translated either as "height" or "splendor." Mount Carmel was noted for its luxuriant vegetation, its flowers, and its olive trees (cf. Hastings: Bible Dictionary, Vol. I, p. 354; and W. W. Smith: Historical Geography of Palestine), while the blossoms which grew in the fertile vale of Sharon were equally famous (Song of Solomon 2:1; cf. Isa. 35:1).

"The parched ground shall become a pool" (Isa. 35:7)—The Hebrew word "sharab," here rendered "parched ground," means literally "a mirage" (Feyerabend: Hebrew Dictionary, p. 363; and the margin of the Revised Version), and when the word is thus taken in its original sense, the metaphor is seen to be a peculiarly vivid one, for the deceptive image of a pool, misleading the thirsty traveler in the Syrian desert, is to be replaced by the real water he so sorely craves.

"The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those" (Isa. 35:8)—There is considerable uncertainty as to the form of the original Hebrew at this point, but the Septuagint translators suggest the rendering: "There shall not pass by there any unclean person, neither shall there be there any unclean way," and end the verse, "but the dispersed shall walk on it and they shall not go astray." Moffatt suggests: "A stainless highroad shall appear, its name 'The Sacred Way'; no soul unclean shall tread it, no impious foot shall o'er it stray;" while Smith's rendering of the verse is: "And a highway shall be there and a road, which shall be called the Holy Way; no unclean one shall pass over it—But it shall be for his people as they go along the way—And no fools shall wander there."

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