This study argues that Isa 10,16–19, located in the context of the anti-Assyrian prophecy, provides essential clues in understanding the formation of the book of Isaiah. While current research often takes this text as a late redactional composition, it is more reasonable to argue that the pericope was relocated by the editors from a prophecy originally threatening Israel with destruction. This level of meaning is endorsed by the specific metaphors used, as well as arguments from the context, most notably vv. 20–23, which still regard vv. 16–19 as an anti-Israel text. As a result of this editorial process, the earlier message of judgment on Israel becomes a threat against Israel’s enemy. Restoring world order by inverting fates according to the measures of proportional retribution, often explicitly formulated in prophetic literature, elucidates the rationales behind inverting texts within the editorial process.
Rationales of Reinterpretation in the Compositional History of the Isaianic Prophecies, with Special Emphasis on Isaiah 10,16–19 and Its Context