I cannot read Hebrew and am struggling a great deal to understand Yeshayahu 43:10/43:13. In my English versions, these verse-parts seem very much to suggest that HaShem was Himself ‘formed’ at some point in time. My NIV, for example, has ‘Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me’ / ‘... From ancient days I am He’.

Am I being stupid here? Why does Hashem appears to be saying here that there was a ‘before’ and ‘after’ in relation to Him? Needless to say, the implications of my reading are disastrous: Only the Most High / Uncreated One can worshipped / honoured and obeyed as G-d!

I am guessing that this is just another case of inexact translation, hence my question. Still: my faith is falling to bits because of this problem - please help!

  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya Tom and thanks for this first question. Can I recommend you take the tour to get a sense of how the site works? Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 17:04
  • 2
    Yeshayahu language is a real challenge even for a natural Hebrew speaker. Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 6:19
  • 1
    FYI use an actual Hebrew translation such as the JPS or the Art Scroll translations. Online you can go to chabad.org in the Learning and Values section. This also gives the Rashi teranslation as well. The NIV is very careful to mistranslate many parts of the Tanach in order to push their agenda. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Your question has been asked before by traditional commentators (e.g., Radak). artscroll translates the end of 43:10

before Me nothing was created by a god, nor will there be after Me!

and comments based on Radak and Mahari Kara

This is addressed to idolaters, who believed that there was another divine being. Isaiah repudiates the notion that there ever was or ever will be a deity other than Hashem. The verse is not to be taken literally, that God exists in a time zone - as could be inferred from the terms before Me and after Me - because God is infinite and eternal; He created the vey concept of time, so it is impossible to envision anything actually "before" or "after" Him.

They translate 43:13

Even before there was a day [Radak: even before the world existed], I was He, and there is none who can save from My hand; when I act, who can reverse it?

  • 5
    Thank you so much for this - my blessings to you. I can feel the faith returning to my heart. If there is any way I can repay you, please do let me know. Yours truly, TW
    – Tom W
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 17:39
  • 5
    @TomW Repay him by just keeping at it.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 19:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .