6 So a treaty curse[a] devours the earth; its inhabitants pay for their guilt.[b] This is why the inhabitants of the earth disappear,[c] and are reduced to just a handful of people.[d]
Isaiah 24:6sn Ancient Near Eastern treaties often had “curses,” or threatened judgments, attached to them. (See Deut 28 for a biblical example of such curses.) The party or parties taking an oath of allegiance acknowledged that disobedience would activate these curses, which typically threatened loss of agricultural fertility as depicted in the following verses.
Isaiah 24:6tn The verb אָשַׁם (ʾasham, “be guilty”) is here used metonymically to mean “pay, suffer for one’s guilt” (see HALOT 95 s.v. אשׁם).
Isaiah 24:6tn BDB 359 s.v. חָרַר derives the verb חָרוּ (kharu) from חָרַר (kharar, “burn”), but HALOT 351 s.v. II חרה understands a hapax legomenonחָרָה (kharah, “to diminish in number,” a homonym of חָרָה) here, relating it to an alleged Arabic cognate meaning “to decrease.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has חורו, perhaps understanding the root as חָוַר (khavar, “grow pale”; see Isa 29:22 and HALOT 299 s.v. I חור).
Isaiah 24:6tnHeb “and mankind is left small [in number].”
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