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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Whatever happened to the woman preacher in Isaiah 40:9?

In an earlier post, I noted that for the TNIV, the CBT had changed all references in the OT from "Daughter of Zion/Jerusalem" to "Daughter Zion/Jerusalem," deleting the 'of'. It has come to my notice that one other verse, Isaiah 40:9, has also been changed in reference to Zion and Jerusalem. But the difference is all in the footnote.

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, [a]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"

NIV note:
a. Isaiah 40:9 or O Zion, bringer of good tidings, / go up on a high mountain. / O Jerusalem, bringer of good tidings

TNIV note:
a. Isaiah 40:9 or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news

While they were at updating the supposedly archaic language of Isaiah 40:9, the CBT missed out on a wonderful opportunity to bring out an explicit reference to a woman preacher. Really, there's no excuse for them not having done so, given their translation philosophy.

Now, I'm not a Hebrew scholar, but as nearly as I can figure, this is how the verse originally read:

1. word-for-word:

on mountain high go-thou(f)-up for-you(f) bearer(f)-of-glad-tidings of-Zion raise-thou(f)-up
in-the-strength of-thy(f)-voice bearer(f)-of-tidings of-Jerusalem raise-thou(f)-up
do-not fear(f) say-thou(f) to-the-cities of-Judah Lo! your(p)-God

2. Literal:

Get thee(f) up onto a high mountain, evangelist(f) (of) Zion.
Raise thee(f) up in the strength of thy(f) voice, evangelist(f) (of) Jerusalem.
Raise thee(f) up; fear thou(f) not; say thou(f) to the cities of Judah, "Lo! Your God!"

3. KJV:

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength;
lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

As you can hopefully see, there are two possibilities here: one, that Isaiah is addressing a feminine personification of Zion/Jerusalem (without the 'of'); and the other, that he is addressing a female bearer of glad tidings who is from Jerusalem. So, this is how the possibility that would be alternate to that in the text of the KJV should read:

4. WMV:

To the woman from Zion who brings good news:
Go up on a high mountain.
To the woman from Jerusalem who brings good news:
Lift up your voice with a shout,
Lift it up, do not be afraid;
Say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"

This is very nearly the alternative that the CBT chose for the text of Isaiah 40:9, but they totally missed noting the feminine nature of the evangelist when they 'carefully revised' that text--even down to updating the alternate reading in the footnote.


Well, perhaps because it wasn't the sort of thing that would show up on a global search-and-replace.

(There was no change to the NNIV)


  1. Thank you for this short and to the point article. I'm here this morning because I saw, while reading in Isaiah 40, that I had penned the word 'woman' at Zion and Jerusalem in v.9 and wanted to see if anyone, other than Katherine Bushnell ("God's Word to Women"), dealt with this matter on the www.

    Obviously, since the handling of the Scriptures has been restricted by men to men only, there are many instances to be found within the text that manifest just how many and varied are the ways that 'Adam' would 'lord it over Eve', just as God warned her. In fact, 'men' have interpreted God's WARNING to Eve as some kind of privilege and order to the man to dominate and oppress women.

    Few have reasoned or questioned why God would 'reward' Adam, who KNOWINGLY sinned against Him, by making him 'lord' over Eve, whom satan had to deceive, to get her to sin. But it is not due to ignorance or oversight that man has 'assumed' to dominate woman. Rather, it is the will of satan, the enemy of the woman, that the man has fulfilled, and, as the 'father of lies', has veiled this wickedness with the lie that 'God' set man as 'lord' over woman.

    There is nothing in Genesis to suggest that 'woman' was banished from Eden; only 'the man' was expelled. God saw that the woman was 'teshuqa'; turning or inclined to follow the man, and therefore God warned the woman that if she followed her inclination to follow the man out of Eden, that the man, as a tool in the hand of her enemy, would dominate and oppress her and make life miserable for her and her children.

    The 'enmity' only existed between the 'woman' and satan. No such enmity existed between the 'man' and satan. Eve made herself satan's enemy when she repented for having believed his lies and disobeyed God's command, and she alone exposed satan's part in her fall. Adam did not repent but rather first blamed Eve, and ultimately blamed God for having given Eve to him, and said not a word about the deceiver who ambushed his wife, but rather concealed the enemy, indicating his choice to retain the enemy of God as his 'friend'. So when Eve followed Adam out of Eden, against God's counsel to her, she subjected herself and all her offspring under satan's domination through her man.

    Few have considered what blasphemy it is to teach that God ordained that the man, through whom death is passed onto all of his 'seed', should have dominion/lordship over the 'mother of all LIVING'; that God would grant to satan the 'right' to dominate His woman and His 'Seed' to be born through her. This lie of the devil is at the root of all the wickedness, violence and destruction that has been obstructing the will of God from being 'done on earth as He wills in heaven'. Satan's man has ruled the world and the 'church', which is why hardly any distinction can be made between the two. Women have been excluded and deprived by satan, through man and the deception of man's 'lordship' over her, of fulfilling her role in bringing the Light and Life of Jesus Christ to the souls who have languished in darkness.

    Ergo, God's admonition to the 'women' in Isaiah 40:9 to "...get thee up into the high mountain; ..., that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; "

  2. Linda, I took a belated look at the book you mentioned, and while I may find it useful to read, I'm very concerned by her hermeneutic approach. She writes, “Adam and Eve (so far as their primal state is concerned) were created simultaneously” and speaks of "the elaboration of Eve, and her separation from Adam." None of this arises from a straight reading of Genesis.


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