I found these transliterations, nasa and massa, while reading/studying Isaiah (NIV, 1998 edition). The greatness of these words became such a burden to me, I had to be an oracle and sing their meanings. All of you Hebrew scholars, please lighten up as I have fun exploring these terms.

Massa, Strong’s H4853, has several ideas connected to it, but “a burden” is the major one. The KJV and other translations render the word “a burden”. The 1998 NIV says “oracle” and the 2011 NIV uses the word prophecy. That is why I found these two great words; Bible Gateway did not have enough oracles listed. They changed the translation, NIV does this frequently, and it really messes with search tools.

When it is used as “burden”, it means you are personally carrying the load. It also is used as a “weighty message” or a hard or dark saying. Isaiah 13:1 has massa and Isaiah “saw” it as actions against Babylon.

Okay, I thought it looked like masa, which is a corn mush used in cooking.

Nasa, Strong’s H5375, is the “parent word” for massa and it means burden. Strong’s says it is used in many different ways and it is. The definition that is given is very specific in that it is a burden carried for someone else; like the Messiah, Jesus, carrying our sin to the cross.

That is the term for the United States Space Agency, period. I truly believe God has a sense of humor.

Show some love to a translator. The job they do to bring an ancient language to modern man is astounding. There really is no dictionary the ancients left for your use. These men and women find the words in every passage and have to piece together meaning from the context the word is found in. Then they use modern words so it makes sense to us. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls improved scholars’ understanding of the biblical text, they have more to work with and compare.

So, place yourself into the world of Isaiah. He saw a vision that was “dark” toward Babylon and it weighed him down, so he spoke it out as a prophecy.      

Now that the corny burden is lifted to the moon and beyond, I can continue studying Isaiah, and not be weighed down by massa and nasa.

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