They do not listen to the warning (Jer 6:9-6:11)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Glean thoroughly

As a vine

The remnant of Israel.

Like a grape-gatherer,

Pass your hand again

Over its branches.’

To whom shall I speak?

To whom shall I give warning?

Who might hear?

See!

Their ears are closed

Their ears are uncircumcised.

They cannot listen.

See!

The word of Yahweh is to them

As an object of scorn.

They take no pleasure in it.

But I am full of the wrath of Yahweh.

I am weary of holding it in.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they should glean the vineyards looking for those grapes of the holy remnant of Israel. They should go behind the pickers to find these precious grapes. Who was going to listen to these warnings from Yahweh? Their ears were closed like uncircumcised ears. They could not listen. The word of Yahweh had become an object of scorn. They did not take any pleasure in the word of God. The wrath of God could not be held in any longer.

The power of Jeremiah comes from Yahweh (Jer 1:17-1:19)

“‘You!

Gird up your loins!

Stand up!

Tell them everything

That I command you!

Do not break down before them!

Or I will break you before them!

I for my part

Have made you today

A fortified city,

An iron pillar,

A bronze wall,

Against the whole land.

You will be against

The kings of Judah,

Its princes,

Its priests,

The people of the land.        

They will fight against you.

But they shall not prevail against you.

I am with you

To deliver you.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah will have the power of Yahweh behind him. Yahweh tells Jeremiah that he must get ready for a battle against others by standing up for Yahweh. He was to tell them everything that Yahweh had commanded him to say. He was not to break down or Yahweh would break him. He was going to be as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, or a bronze wall. However, Jeremiah was going to go against the whole land, including the kings, princes, priests, and all the people of Judah. They were going to fight against him, but they would not prevail, because Yahweh was with Jeremiah. Yahweh would save and deliver Jeremiah.

The importance of good relationships (Isa 58:6-58:9)

“Is not this the fast that I choose?

You must loose the bonds of injustice!

You must undo the thongs of the yoke!

Let the oppressed go free!

Break every yoke!

Is it not to share your bread

With the hungry?

Is it not to bring the homeless poor

Into your house?

When you see the naked,

Cover them!

Do not hide yourself

From your own relatives!

Then your light shall break forth

Like the dawn.

Your healing shall spring up quickly.

Your vindicator shall go before you.

The glory of Yahweh

Shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call.

Now Yahweh will answer.

You shall cry for help.

He will say.

‘Here I am.’”

Third Isaiah has Yahweh explain what kind of relationships that they should have while fasting. They should try to do away with injustice. They should try to lift the yoke of those who are oppressed. They should share their bread with the hungry. They should provide housing for the homeless. They should clothe the naked. In some sense, this sounds like the later Christian beatitudes in the gospel stories. They should take care of their relatives or next of kin. If they did all these things, then their light would be like the dawning of a new day. They would heal quickly. Their vindicator would lead them, while the glory of God would be behind them. If they called him, obviously the Lord, Yahweh, would answer their cry for help with a simple saying that he was here.  How you treat others has an impact on how you treat God.

Cyrus the Anointed Messiah Christ (Isa 45:1-45:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

To his anointed,

To Cyrus.

I have grasped his right hand,

To subdue nations before him,

To strip kings of their robes,

To open doors before him.

The gates shall not be closed.”

Second Isaiah calls Cyrus the anointed one, in Hebrew the Messiah, or in Greek the Christ. This is the only reference of an anointed person or a messiah who was not an Israelite. Cyrus, the King of Persia from 559-530 BCE, more than two centuries after the lifetime of Isaiah, was really a favorite of both Yahweh and the author of Second Isaiah. Cyrus the Great created the largest empire in the world with present day Iran the last vestige of that empire as he took over many countries. Second Isaiah continually insisted that Yahweh was behind Cyrus as he is clearly the anointed one of Yahweh. Yahweh has grasped his right hand, so that he could subdue various nations. Yahweh would help Cyrus strip kings of their robes. He would open doors for him, since no gates would be closed to Cyrus.

Yahweh calls the victor from the east (Isa 41:2 -41:4)

“Who has roused a victor from the east?

Who summoned him to service?

He delivers up nations to him.

He tramples kings under foot.

He makes them

Like dust with his sword.

He makes them

Like driven stubble with his bow.

He pursues them.

He passes on safely,

Scarcely toughing the path

With his feet.

Who has performed this?

Who has done this?

He is calling the generations

From the beginning.

I!

Yahweh!

I am the first!

I will be with the last.”

Second Isaiah wants to know who has summoned the victor conquer from the east for service. This victor from the east was Cyrus, the King of Persia from 559-530 BCE, more than two centuries after the time of Isaiah. Cyrus the Great created the largest empire in the world with present day Iran the last vestige of that realm. Cyrus took over many countries, trampling kings. He made them like dust or stubble with his sword as well as his bow and arrows. He pursued many people, but he was always safe with his fast feet that barely touched the ground. Second Isaiah points out that Yahweh was behind Cyrus. Who allowed him to do all these things? Why it was Yahweh, who interjected himself in the first person singular, saying that he was eternally the first and the last.

Yahweh will answer you (Isa 30:19-30:22)

“Yes!

O people in Zion!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

You shall weep no more!

He will surely be gracious to you

At the sound of your cry.

When he hears it,

He will answer you.

Even though Yahweh may give you

The bread of adversity

With the water of affliction,

Yet your teacher

Will not hide himself any more.

But your eyes shall see your teacher.

When you turn to the right

Or when you turn to the left,

Your ears shall hear

A word behind you,

Saying.

‘This is the way!

Walk in it!’

Then you will defile

Your silver-covered idols.

Then you will defile

Your gold-plated images.

You will scatter them

Like filthy rags.

You will say to them.

‘Away with you!’”

This seems to be an oracle from the time of the Exile about the future restoration of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem will weep no more, because Yahweh will be gracious to their cry and answer them. There will be adversity and affliction. However, your teacher will no longer hide himself from you as you will be able to see him. This teacher may have been a prophet. Then as you turn to the right or the left, you will hear his words from behind you telling you the correct way to walk on the straight path. That is when you will defile the silver and golden idols and images that you had. You will scatter them like filthy rages as you will throw them away. Apparently idol worship was prevalent in Jerusalem itself.

Blessing for Egypt and Assyria (Isa 19:24-19:25)

“On that day,

Israel will be the third

With Egypt and Assyria.

Israel will be

A blessing

In the midst of the earth

That Yahweh of hosts has blessed,

Saying.

‘Blessed be Egypt

My people.

Blessed be Assyria

The work of my hands.

Blessed be Israel

My heritage.’”

This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, is one of the few examples of ecumenical universalism. On that special day to come, Israel with be 3rd behind Egypt and Assyria, as a blessing or mediator for the whole earth. Yahweh would bless all three, not just Israel. He wanted Egypt, his own people, and Assyria, with the work of his hands, also blessed. However, Israel was blessed as his heritage. Thus we have a blessing for everybody, not just the Israelites.

The day of the exaltation of God (Isa 2:9-2:11)

“People are humbled.

Everyone is brought low.

Do not forgive them!

Enter into the rocks

From the terror of Yahweh!

Hide in the dust

From the glory of his majesty!

The haughty eyes of people

Shall be brought low.

The pride of everyone

Shall be humbled.

Yahweh alone

Will be exalted On that day.”

Isaiah warned that there would come a day when Yahweh, the Lord would be exalted. Then on that day the people would be humbled and brought low. Their sins would not be forgiven. They might try to hide behind rocks or in the ground, but the terror of Yahweh would find them. The glory of his majesty would overtake them. The haughty eyes of everyone would be humbled. Only Yahweh would remain alone and exalted.

Spring visit (Song 2:8-2:9)

Female lover

“The voice of my beloved!

Look!

He comes

Leaping upon the mountains,

Bounding over the hills.

My beloved is

Like a gazelle,

Like a young stag.

Look!

There he stands

Behind our wall,

Gazing in at the windows,

Looking through the lattice.”

This female lover cries out that her beloved has come leaping over the mountains and bounding over hills, like a super hero. Her beloved is like a gazelle or antelope. He is like a young deer, a young stag. Suddenly he is behind the wall, gazing in at her window through the lattice, like our venetian blinds. This young stud has come to pay a visit, but stands outside peeking in, like a peeping Tom.

God speaks to the wicked (Ps 50:16-50:18)

“But to the wicked,

God says.

‘What right have you

To recite my statutes?

What right have you

To take my covenant on your lips?

You hate discipline!

You cast my words behind you!

You make friends with a thief,

When you see one.

You keep company

With adulterers.’”

This is one of the few times where God speaks directly to the wicked. It is usually about them. He asked them what right they had to recite his statutes. What right did they have to put the covenant on their lips? The wicked hated discipline. They put God’s word behind them. They made friends with thieves and adulterers. This is a strong direct description and rebuke of the wicked.