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He said,
“Go, and tell this people,
‘Hear, yes, hear, but do not understand;
and see, yes, see, but do not perceive.’ Bible other translations

“hear, yes, hear...see, yes, see.” Isaiah 6:9-10 is a very solemn section of Scripture and a stern warning to those who value things in this life so much that they ignore or defy God. This prophecy occurs in whole or in part five more times in Scripture, for a total of six times (Matt. 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; and Acts 28:26-27), and this repetition greatly emphasizes how serious in God’s eyes it is when people continue in their stubborn refusal to believe and obey God. The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and God does not want anyone to die (Ezek. 18:30-32; 33:11), but wants all people to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Nevertheless, if people choose death, God will honor their choice and allow them to die in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:13-15). The way it is quoted in Matthew 13:14-15, it follows the Septuagint instead of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew text of Isaiah 6:10 reads, “Make the heart of this people fat. Make their ears heavy and shut their eyes,” while the Greek translation in the Septuagint reads, “For this people’s heart is grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing.” For why the Hebrew would use the word “make,” see commentary on Isaiah 6:10.

This is a translation of the figure of speech polyptoton that occurs in the Hebrew text (cp. Gen. 2:16; also, Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible). The figure emphasizes the fact that the proud and arrogant people were in fact hearing the truth and seeing God work, but were so hardhearted that they would not (indeed, some of them could not) really hear what they were hearing or see what they were seeing.

[For more on polyptoton and the way it is translated in this verse, see commentary on Genesis 2:16].


Commentary for: Isaiah 6:9