“On that day,
It shall be said
‘Do not fear!
Do not let your hands
Is in your midst!
He is a warrior
Who gives victory.
He will rejoice
He will renew you
In his love.
He will exult
With loud singing
As on a day of festival.”
Zephaniah emphasized that on that great day, Jerusalem would have Yahweh in their midst. They were not to fear or let their hands grow weak. Yahweh, their God, would be a warrior for them. Yahweh was going to rejoice and be glad about them. He would renew them with his love. He would exult over them with loud singing, as on the various festival days.
“Yahweh saw this.
It displeased him
That there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one.
He was appalled
That there was no one to intervene.
Thus his own arm brought him victory.
His righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness
Like a breastplate.
He put on a helmet of salvation
Upon his head.
He put on garments of vengeance
He wrapped himself in fury
As a mantle.”
Yahweh saw all this evil. He was displeased since there was no justice. He was appalled that no one had intervened in that situation. Thus he was going to bring victory with his mighty arm. Righteousness would be his breastplate out front. He would wear the helmet of salvation on his head. His garments would be for vengeance. His fury would be in his mantle coat. Yahweh, according to Third Isaiah, was dressed like a warrior ready for battle wearing the proper upright clothes.
Son of Nun
Was mighty in war.
He was the successor of Moses
In the prophetic office.
As his name implies,
A great savior of God’s elect.
He took vengeance
On the enemies
That rose against them.
Thus he might give Israel
How glorious he was
When he lifted his hands.
He brandished his sword
Against the cities.
Who before him,
Ever stood so firm?
He waged the wars of the Lord.
Was it not through him
That the sun stood still?
Did not one day
Become as long as two?
He called upon the Most High,
The Mighty One,
When enemies pressed him on every side.
The great Lord answered him
With hailstones of mighty power.
He overwhelmed that nation in battle.
On the slope
He destroyed his opponents.
Thus the nations might know his armament.
He was fighting
In the sight of the Lord.
He was a devoted follower of the Mighty One.”
Of course, there was a whole biblical book named after Joshua. Sirach lists him as a warrior and a prophet, who succeeded Moses. This son of Nun was a great savior of God’s people. He wiped out the enemies of Israel so that they might have their inheritance. He lifted up his hand as he swung his sword. Before him, no one had ever waged wars for the Lord like him. He stood firm and created miracles with the sun. He called upon the Most High God, the mighty one, when enemies were all around him. The Lord heard his cry so that his enemies were destroyed. Thus all the countries came to know about his fighting strength for the Lord, as a devoted follower of the Mighty one.
“The Lord will not delay.
Like a warrior,
He will not be patient.
He will crush
The loins of the unmerciful.
He repays vengeance
On the nations.
He will destroy
The multitude of the insolent.
The scepters of the unrighteous.
He will repay mortals
According to their deeds.
He will repay the works of all
According to their thoughts.
He will judge
The case of his people.
He will make them rejoice
In his mercy.
His mercy is as welcome
In time of distress,
As clouds of rain
In time of drought.”
According to Sirach, the Lord will not delay in bringing about justice. He will be like a warrior without patience. He will crush the backs of the unmerciful ones. He will take vengeance on the various countries. He will destroy the multitude of insolent people as he will break the scepters of the unrighteous. He will repay mortals according to their deeds and thoughts. He will judge his people so that they will rejoice in his mercy that is like a cloud of rain during a drought. The vengeance of God will come upon the earth.
“At two things,
My heart is grieved.
Because of a third,
Anger comes over me.
The first is
A warrior in want
The second is
Who are treated contemptuously.
The third is
A man who turns back
From righteousness to sin.
The Lord will prepare him
For the sword.”
Once again, we have this numerical proverb from Sirach, like in Proverbs. There are 2 things that grieve him, and a 3rd that angers him. He is grieved to see a warrior in poverty and intelligent men treated with contempt. The 3rd thing that really angers him is a righteous man who sins. The Lord will prepare a sword for him.
“Sons are indeed a heritage from Yahweh.
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
Are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
His quiver full of them!
He shall not be put to shame
When he speaks with his enemies
At the gate.”
This short psalm comes to an end with the consideration that many sons are a gift from Yahweh, the rewards of the fruit of the womb. The more sons you have, the more you are like a warrior with many arrows, so that you can have a quiver full of them. The men with many sons will not be put to shame when they speak with the enemies at the meeting place at the gate to the town because they would have sons to back them up.
“What shall be given to you?
What more shall be done to you?
You have a deceitful tongue.
It is like a warrior’s sharp arrows!
It is like glowing coals of the broom tree!”
What should be given to this deceitful tongue? What should be done to it? A deceitful tongue is like a warrior’s sharp arrows. This deceitful tongue is like glowing coals of a broom tree, which was some kind of tree that produced a long simmering burning fire.
“He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
The tent where he dwelt among mortals.
He delivered his power to captivity.
He delivered his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people to the sword.
He vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men.
Their girls had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword.
Their widows made no lamentation.
Then Yahweh awoke as from sleep,
Like a warrior shouting because of wine.
He put his adversaries to rout.
He put them to everlasting shame.”
This is a reference to 1 Samuel, chapter 4, about the Ark of the Covenant at Shiloh. This was when the Philistines defeated the Israelites. Things were looking bad for Israel. God was angry at them. People died by the sword. Fire destroyed their young men so that the young girls had no marriage songs. The priests died by the sword, but somehow the widows were not able to mourn. Finally Yahweh woke up as if he were asleep. He then shouted like a warrior full of wine. God then put the adversaries of Yahweh to rout in everlasting shame.
“Yahweh brings the counsel of the nations to nothing.
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of Yahweh stands forever.
The thoughts of his heart go to all generations.
Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh!
Happy are the people
That he has chosen as his heritage!
Yahweh looks down from heaven.
He sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned,
He watches all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashions the hearts of them all.
He observes all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his great army.
A warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory.
By its great might it cannot save anyone.”
Yahweh controls everything. The various nations cannot counsel together without his approval. He frustrates the plans of men. His counsel stands forever and for all generations. Luckily the nation that has Yahweh as its God will be happy and blessed. Yahweh has chosen them as his heritage. Yahweh sees all things from heaven where he sits on his throne looking at all the inhabitants of the earth. He knows their hearts and watches all their deeds. A king, a warrior, or a great war horse does not gain victory without him. Yahweh is the one in charge of everything.
“I was at ease.
God broke me in two.
God seized me by the neck.
God dashed me to pieces.
God set me up as his target.
God’s archers surround me.
God slashes open my kidneys.
God shows no mercy.
God pours out my gall on the ground.
God bursts upon me again and again.
God rushes at me like a warrior.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin.
I have laid my strength in the dust.
My face is red with weeping.
Deep darkness is on my eyelids.
Although there is no violence in my hands,
My prayer is pure.”
Job was very explicit. God was picking on him. God had broken him in two. God had seized him by the neck. God had broken him into pieces. Job had become a target having arrows coming at him. God had not shown him any mercy. God had slashed his kidneys and gall bladder. God had rushed at him like a warrior. As a result, Job said that he sewed his skin with sackcloth, a very course fabric worn next to the skin. His strength was in the dust. His face was red with crying tears. His eyes were darkened. Still there was no violence in Job’s hands. His prayer remained pure. Job is almost indignant that God is picking on him.