Isaiah 44:15-20

Note: in this passage the foolishness of worshipping a tree stump is  specified in three parallel sections. In the first there is – burn, warm, bake bread and idolatry; in the second the order is – burn, roast flesh, warm, idolatry; in the third – burn, bake bread, roast flesh, idolatry. The three are overlapping but distinct. The central point is in verses 18-19. 

A1. a. 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn:

b. for he will take thereof, and warm himself;

c. yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread;

d. yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it;
he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

A2. a’. 16 He burneth part thereof in the fire;

e. with part thereof he eateth flesh;
he roasteth roast, and is satisfied:

b’. yea, he warmeth himself,and saith,
Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:

d’.17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god,
even his graven image:
he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it,
and prayeth unto it,  and saith,
Deliver me;  for thou art my god.

B. i. 18 They have not known nor understood (biyn):

ii. for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see;
 and their hearts,  that they cannot understand (sakal).

ii’. 19 And none considereth in his heart,

i’.  neither is there knowledge  nor understanding
(tabun – from biyn) to say,

a’’.I have burned part of it in the fire;

b’’. yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof;

e’. I have roasted flesh, and eaten it:

d’’’. and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination?
shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
20 He feedeth on ashes:
a deceived heart hath turned him aside,
that he cannot deliver his soul,
nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

2 thoughts on “Isaiah 44:15-20”

  1. This is certainly an interesting analysis of structure, but I’m just wondering, are you claiming this as a “chiasm”?
    (I note that the aim of the website is: “We share and discuss possible chiastic and other literary structures….” — so possibly you might be considering it as an “other literary structure.” But then, you’ve written in the letters “A,” “B,” etc., and called attention to a “central point,” as would be done for chiasms.)
    Thanks for clarifying.

  2. Thanks for your comment Richard.

    We are interested in learning about all literary structures and not just chiasmus. This one has some chiastic features but is quite difficult to set out. It looks to me like AA’BA”. Maybe “central point” was a misleading term – “key point” might have been better. Thoughts for improving understanding will be most welcome.

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