The beautiful prayer of King Hezekiah (Isa 37:15-37:20)

“King Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh.

He said.

‘O Yahweh of hosts!

God of Israel!

You are enthroned above the cherubim!

You alone are God

Of all the kingdoms of the earth.

You have made heaven and earth.

Incline your ear!

O Yahweh!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

O Yahweh!

See!

Hear all the words of King Sennacherib

That he has sent to mock the living God!

O Yahweh!

The kings of Assyria have laid waste

All the nations with all their lands.

They have hurled their gods into the fire.

They were no gods,

But the work of human hands,

Wood with stone.

So they were destroyed.

O Yahweh!

Our God!

I pray you,

Save us

From his hand!

Thus all the kingdoms of the earth

May know that you,

O Yahweh,

Are God alone.’”

Once again, this beautiful prayer of monotheism is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. There is no doubt or question that there is only one God, Yahweh. There are no other gods, since this is the monotheistic religion of Yahweh. There might have been some ambiguity in the past, but not here. This is a personal direct prayer to Yahweh. King Hezekiah cries out to Yahweh, who is almighty in heaven, above all the kingdoms of the earth. He has made heaven and earth as its creator. Now the personal plea comes, as King Hezekiah asks Yahweh to listen to how King Sennacherib of Assyria has mocked Yahweh. It is true that he has destroyed many nations and many gods, but those gods were manmade gods of sticks and stones. King Hezekiah wants Yahweh to show his glory to all the nations of the world by saving Jerusalem.

The ode to wisdom (Wis 7:24-7:26)

“Wisdom is more mobile

Than any motion.

Because of her pureness

She pervades all things.

She penetrates all things.

She is a breath

Of the power of God.

She is a pure emanation

Of the glory of the Almighty.

Therefore nothing defiled

Gains entrance into her.

She is a reflection of eternal light.

She is a spotless mirror

Of the working of God.

She is an image

Of his goodness.”

Wisdom (σοφία) is clearly tied to God, so that the obvious comparison to the Christian Holy Spirit continues. This female wisdom is more mobile than any motion. She is pure so that she pervades and penetrates all things. She is a breath of the power of God (τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως), a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty (τοῦ Παντοκράτορος δόξης). Nothing defiled gains entrance into her. She is the reflection of an eternal light (φωτὸς ἀϊδίου) like a spotless mirror of a working God (τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐνεργείας). She is the image of his goodness. Many of these same things have said about the Holy Spirit.

The names of God (Ps 91:1-91:2)

“You live in the shelter of the Most High.

You abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

You will say to Yahweh.

‘My refuge and my fortress.

My God,

In whom I trust.’”

Psalm 91 has no title, unlike many of the other psalms. This psalm starts with 4 different names for God, which is unusual since normally only 2 or 3 names are used, God or Yahweh. First we live in the shelter of the Most High God that is El Elyon in Hebrew and gphyistos in Greek, the highest one. Next we abide in the shadow of the Almighty God that is El Shaddai in Hebrew and the more familiar Greek pantokrator, creator of all. Normally when the Israelites speak to God they call him with the more familiar Yahweh that is the proper name for the God of Israel, more commonly the Hebrew epigram YHW. He seems to be an Israelite warrior God who gets angry a lot. He could not be depicted with any statues or idols. Later Jewish prayer life changed the pronunciation of Yahweh with the word Adonai in its place. The common translation of Yahweh into Greek was kurios, or Lord. Thus many bibles use this term “Lord” for Yahweh. So what did he say to Yahweh? Yahweh is his refuge and fortress. However, then we have the 4th term for God, Elohim in Hebrew and Theos in Greek. Using Theos in Greek put God at the same level as other gods, but clearly Adonai or Yahweh was the monotheistic God in the later writings. Obviously this psalmist trusted in God.

Yahweh asks Job about his arguments (Job 40:1-40:2)

“Yahweh said to Job.

‘Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty Shaddai?

Anyone who argues with God must respond.’”

Yahweh now asked Job to respond. He had been complaining about what was just and right. He now has the chance to present his arguments to the almighty Shaddai.

Elihu explains that God is always just (Job 34:10-34:15)

“Therefore, hear me!

You men of understanding!

Far be it from God

That he should do wickedness.

Far be it from the Almighty Shaddai

That he should do wrong.

According to their deeds

He will repay them.

According to his ways

He will make it befall them.

Of a truth,

God will not do wickedly.

The Almighty Shaddai will not pervert justice.

Who gave him charge over the earth?

Who laid on him the whole world?

If he should take back his Spirit to himself,

If he should gather to himself his breath,

All flesh would perish together.

All mortals would return to dust.”

Once again, Elihu turned to the 3 wise men. They should listen to him. God cannot do wickedness. He does not do wrong things. Thus according to your deeds you will be repaid. You will get what you deserve. The almighty God will not pervert justice. He is in charge of the earth and the whole world. If he wanted to take his Spirit back, then all humans would perish and return to dust. The all powerful God had control of everything even human lives.

Elihu attacks the presumptions of Job (Job 33:1-33:7)

“But now,

Hear my speech, O Job!

Listen to all my words!

See!

I open my mouth.

The tongue in my mouth speaks.

My words declare the uprightness of my heart.

What my lips know,

They speak sincerely.

The Spirit of God has made me.

The breath of the Almighty Shaddai gives me life.

Answer me!

If you can!

Set your words in order before me!

Take your stand!

See!

Before God.

I am as you are.

I too was formed from a piece of clay.

No fear of me need terrify you.

My pressure will not be heavy upon you.”

Then Elihu turned on Job himself. He almost sounded like an Israelite prophet, but he was not an Israelite. He wanted Job to listen to him. His mouth and tongue were going to speak. His heart was upright. His lips were sincere. The Spirit of the almighty Shaddai was given to him. Elihu wanted Job to answer him if he could. He wanted Job to take the stand. He like Job came from clay. He seemed to ignore the mother’s womb concept here. He was not going to pressure Job too hard, but already he asked Job to answer him.