Isaiah 9:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, And they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm.

King James Bible
And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

Darby Bible Translation
and he snatcheth on the right hand, and is hungry, and eateth on the left hand; and they are not satisfied. They eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

World English Bible
One will devour on the right hand, and be hungry; and he will eat on the left hand, and they will not be satisfied. Everyone will eat the flesh of his own arm:

Young's Literal Translation
And cutteth down on the right, and hath been hungry, And he devoureth on the left, And they have not been satisfied, Each the flesh of his own arm they devour.

Isaiah 9:20 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And he shall snatch - Hebrew, 'He shall cut off.' Many have supposed that this refers to a state of famine; but others regard it as descriptive of a state of faction extending throughout the whole community, dissolving the most tender ties, arid producing a dissolution of all the bonds of life. The context Isaiah 9:19, Isaiah 9:21 shows, that the latter is meant; though it is not improbable that it would be attended with famine. When it is said that he 'would cut off his right hand,' it denotes a condition of internal anarchy and strife.

And be hungry - And not be satisfied. Such would be his rage, and his desire of blood, that he would be insatiable. The retarder of those on one side of him would not appease his insatiable wrath. His desire of carnage would be so great that it would be like unappeased hunger.

And he shall eat - The idea here is that of contending factions excited by fury, rage, envy, hatred, contending in mingled strife, and spreading death with insatiable desire everywhere around them.

They shall eat - Not literally; but "shall destroy." To eat the flesh of anyone, denotes to seek one's life, and is descriptive of blood-thirsty enemies; Psalm 27:2 : 'When the wicked, even mine enemies and foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell;' Job 19:22 :

Why do ye persecute me as God,

And are not satisfied with my flesh?

Compare Deuteronomy 7:16; Jeremiah 10:25; Jeremiah 30:15; Jeremiah 50:17; Hosea 7:7; see Ovid's Metam. 8, 867:

Ipse suos artus lacero divellere morsu

Coepit; et infelix minuendo corpus alebat.

The flesh of his own arm - The Chaldee renders this, 'Each one shall devour the substance of his neighbor.' Lowth proposes to read it, 'The flesh of his neighbor.' but without sufficient authority. The expression denotes a state of dreadful faction - where the ties of most intimate relationship would be disregarded, represented, here by the appalling figure of a man's appetite being so rabid that he would seize upon and devour his own flesh. So, in this state of faction and discord, the rage would be so great that people would destroy those who were, as it were, their own flesh, that is, their nearest kindred and friends.

Isaiah 9:20 Parallel Commentaries

The Nativity
'Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

December the Twenty-Fourth Entering in at Lowly Doors
"Unto us a Child is born." --ISAIAH ix. 1-7. How gentle the coming! Who would have had sufficient daring of imagination to conceive that God Almighty would have appeared among men as a little child? We should have conceived something sensational, phenomenal, catastrophic, appalling! The most awful of the natural elements would have formed His retinue, and men would be chilled and frozen with fear. But He came as a little child. The great God "emptied Himself"; He let in the light as our eyes were
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8.
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Disciple, -- Master, if Thou Wouldst Make a Special Manifestation of Thyself to The...
The Disciple,--Master, if Thou wouldst make a special manifestation of Thyself to the world, men would no longer doubt the existence of God and Thy own divinity, but all would believe and enter on the path of righteousness. The Master,--1. My son, the inner state of every man I know well, and to each heart in accordance with its needs I make Myself known; and for bringing men into the way of righteousness there is no better means than the manifestation of Myself. For man I became man that he might
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 4:5
The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.

Isaiah 3:1
For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread And the whole supply of water;

Isaiah 8:21
They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.

Isaiah 8:22
Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness.

Isaiah 14:30
"Those who are most helpless will eat, And the needy will lie down in security; I will destroy your root with famine, And it will kill off your survivors.

Isaiah 49:26
"I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 51:19
These two things have befallen you; Who will mourn for you? The devastation and destruction, famine and sword; How shall I comfort you?

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