Yahweh will not forget Zion (Isa 49:14-49:16)

“But Zion said.

‘Yahweh has forsaken me.

My Lord has forgotten me.’

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child?

Can she show no compassion

For the child of her womb?

Even these may forget.

Yet I will not forget you.

See!

I have inscribed you

On the palms of my hands.

Your walls are continually before me.’”

Second Isaiah has Zion complain that Yahweh, the Lord, had forgotten and forsaken them. Yahweh, however, responded very forcefully. How could a woman forget her nursing child? How could anyone forget what came out of her womb? Even if these women would forget, Yahweh would never forget about the Israelites, since he had their names inscribed on the palms of his hands like a tattoo. This was an anthropomorphic attempt to show that Yahweh really cared for them, since their walls were always before him.

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The anger of Yahweh (Isa 30:27-30:28)

“See!

The name of Yahweh

Comes from far away.

It burns with his anger,

In thick rising smoke.

His lips are

Full of indignation.

His tongue is

Like a devouring fire.

His breath is

Like an overflowing stream

That reaches up to the neck.

He sifts the nations

With the sieve of destruction.

He places on the jaws of the people

A bridle that leads them astray.”

Is this an allusion to the Assyrians as they attack Jerusalem? The name of Yahweh comes from a distance. Could this be an indication of the far off Assyrians? Or was this Yahweh himself angry? He burns with anger so that smoke is rising up. His lips and tongue were full of indignation and fire. His breath was like an overflowing stream that reached to your neck. He used a sieve to sift out the destruction of the various nations. He placed a bridle on the jaws of the people to lead them in the wrong direction. This is either a description of an anthropomorphic mad Yahweh or how Yahweh made the Assyrians mad.

The futility of other gods (Ps 115:4-115:8)

“Their idols are silver and gold.

They are the work of human hands.

They have mouths,

But do not speak.

They have eyes,

But do not see.

They have ears,

But do not hear.

They have noses,

But do not smell.

They have hands,

But do not feel.

They have feet,

But do not walk.

They make no sound in their throat.

Those who make them are like them.

So are all who trust in them.”

The contrast of Yahweh with these gold and silver idols is stark. These idol gods are the works of human hands. They have mouths, eyes, ears, noses, hands, and feet. However, they cannot speak, hear, see, smell, feel, or walk. Thus these impotent idols could not utter any sound. The idols were like those who had made them. They were trusting in themselves. The implication here was that Yahweh, whose name was in the Temple, had the anthropomorphic ability to speak, hear, see, smell, feel, and walk among his people. Many of the Israelite prayers assume this ability as they often pray that Yahweh might speak, hear, and see them.

The eye of Yahweh (Ps 33:18-33:19)

“Truly the eye of Yahweh is

On those who fear him.

The eye of Yahweh is

On those who hope in his steadfast love.

He will deliver their soul from death.

He will keep them alive in a famine.”

Once again, the anthropomorphic eye of Yahweh is upon those who fear him and hope in his steadfast love. The eye of Yahweh will help deliver them from death and famine. Thus they will have a long life.

God controls thunder, lightning, and rain (Job 37:1-37:13)

“At this also my heart trembles.

My heart leaps out of its place.

Listen!

Listen to the thunder of his voice.

Listen to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

Under the whole heaven he lets it loose.

His lightning goes to the corners of the earth.

After it his voice roars.

He thunders with his majestic voice.

He does not restrain the lightning when his voice is heard.

God thunders wondrously with his voice.

He does great things that we cannot comprehend.

To the snow he says.

‘Fall on the earth.’

The shower and the rain,

His heavy shower of rain,

Serve as a sign on everyone’s hand.

Thus all whom he has made may know it.

Then the animals go into their lairs,

They remain in their dens.

From its chamber comes the whirlwind.

Cold comes from the scattering winds.

By the breath of God ice is given.

The broad waters are frozen fast.

He loads the thick cloud with moisture.

The clouds scatter his lightning.

They turn round and round by his guidance.

They accomplish all that he commands them

On the face of the habitable world.

Whether for correction,

Or for his land,

Or for love,

He causes it to happen.”

God as the weather man continues in this hymn to the power of God. The voice of God can be heard in thunder. His lightning reaches the ends of the earth. He makes snow fall. He sends rains, heavy and light. We feel the rain as a way that God touches us. Animals know when to get out of the cold. God sends the cold and ice as he freezes up the rivers. God causes all this to happen here on earth. This is a Theo-centric climate concept. All comes from God, not man. He guides the climate to correct us, help the land, and show his love. God makes it happen. Humans are merely passive to the actions of God. This is very poetic and thus not literal. It is anthropomorphic in that we assign the voice of God, who has no voice, to the thunder. God does not literally speak to us in thunder.

Job wants God to listen to him (Job 13:17-13:28)

“Listen carefully to my words!

Let my declaration be in your ears!

I have indeed prepared my case.

I know that I shall be vindicated.

Who is there that will contend with me?

Then I would be silent and die.

Only grant two things to me!

Then I will not hide myself from your face.

Withdraw your hand far from me!

Do not let dread of you terrify me!

Then call!

I will answer.

Let me speak!

You reply to me.

How many are my iniquities?

How many are my sins?

Make me know my transgression and my sin.

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you count me as your enemy?

Will you frighten a windblown leaf?

Will you pursue dry chaff?

You write bitter things against me.

You make me reap the iniquities of my youth.

You put my feet in the stocks.

You watch all my paths.

You set a bound to the soles of my feet.

One wastes away like a rotten thing.

One wastes away like a garment that is moth-eaten.”

Job pleads his case before God. He wanted him to listen carefully to his words. He has prepared his case well. He knew that he would be vindicated. He wanted to know who would oppose him. He wanted God not to hide his face and he would not hide his face. He wanted to go face to face with God. He wanted God not to scare him, but to call him. He wanted to reply to the many sins and iniquities of his youth. He wanted to know why God had him as an enemy. Why were bitter things written about him? This is almost saying that God had a face with a voice, and was able to hear and write things down with his hands. In this anthropomorphic view of God, he has a human face, ears, voice, and hands. God wanted him to be chained in a stockade, to waste away like a rotten garment that was moth-eaten. Certainly this was colorful language to use against a vindictive God.