Isaiah 6:3

I’m preaching on Isa 6 soon and, in my prep, I’m intriged by Isa 6:3. The verse goes like this:

וְקָרָא זֶה אֶל־זֶה וְאָמַר קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת מְלֹא כָל־הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ (MT)

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (ESV)

The interesting bit is the threefold repetition of “holy holy holy”. So I decided to do some Bibleworks searching…

Thanks to some help from my local BibleWorks expert, I learnt that you can search for strings using the hash (#). So here are some searches and their results in the OT:

(note, to do these searches, you need to turn either Qere or Kethiv off; otherwise you get some bogus results)

;#1 #1 #1

BW8 yields 12 verses in its results, but not many of them are actually what we are looking for. Some are triple uses of verbs of the same lemma but different stems (e.g. Ex 21:12).

Judges 15:16 is interesting, but not what we are looking for.

Jeremiah 22:29, Eze 21:32 and Isaiah 6:3 are the only occurences of identical words used three times in immediate apposition. In Jeremiah the word is “land”, in Ezekiel it is “ruin”.

;#1 #1

The double occurnce of words is more common.

If we limit our search to adjectives (;#1@a* #1 and ;#1@a* #1 #1) Isa 6:3 is the only triple occurnces. Prov 20:14 and Eccl 7:24 are good examples of double occurences.

In the NT, the only threefold repetitions are in Revelation 4:8 and 8:13 (‘holy’ and ‘woe’ respectively).

There’s just some stats and verses for now. I may come back and revisit this stuff later…


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