We are sinners (Isa 64:5-64:7)

“But you were angry.

We sinned!

Because you hid yourself,

We transgressed.

We have all become

Like one who is unclean.

All our righteous deeds are

Like a filthy cloth.

We all fade

Like a leaf.

Our iniquities are

Like the wind.

They take us away.

There is no one

Who calls on your name.

No one attempts

To take hold of you.

You have hidden your face

From us.

You have delivered us

Into the hand of our iniquities.”

Then the prophet proclaimed that he and his people were sinners. Once again, he tried to mitigate this sinfulness by saying that God was angry at them and hid his face. This made it easier to be a transgressor. They all became unclean, so that even their good deeds were like filthy cloths. They faded like a leaf into their iniquities. They were like the wind, blown away. No one called the name of Yahweh or tried to contact him, because Yahweh had hidden his face from them. Once again, in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the prophet said that he was delivered into the hands of iniquity, as if he could not refrain from it.

God helps the righteous (Ps 68:1-68:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song

“Let God rise up!

Let his enemies be scattered!

Let those who hate him

Flee before him!

As smoke is driven away,

So drive them away!

As wax melts before fire,

Let the wicked perish before God!

But let the righteous be joyful!

Let them exult before God!

Let them be jubilant with joy!”

Psalm 68 is a long liturgical choral psalm and song of David at the Temple. It portrays the various stages in the history of Israel where God has helped them, but it is a little disjointed in its long ramblings. This psalm begins by asking God to rise up and scatter his enemies, especially those who hate him. The wicked should flee, just like smoke that is blown away. They should be driven out like wax that melts in front of a fire. The wicked should die, but the righteous should be joyful before God.

The punishment of the wicked ones (Job 15:28-15:35)

“They will live in desolate cities.

They will live in houses that no one should inhabit.

They will live in houses destined to become heaps of ruins.

They will not be rich.

Their wealth will not endure.

They will not strike root in the earth.

They will not escape from darkness.

The flame will dry up their shoots.

Their blossoms will be swept away by the wind.

Let them not trust in emptiness by deceiving themselves.

Emptiness will be their recompense.

It will be paid in full before their time.

Their branch will not be green.

They will shake off their unripe grape on the vine.

They will cast off their blossoms,

Like the olive tree.

The company of the godless is barren.

Fire consumes the tents of bribery.

They conceive mischief.

They bring forth evil.

Their heart prepares deceit.”

The wicked ones are punished, just like Job has been punished. They will live in desolate cities, where the houses are not fit to be lived in. They will not be rich. What wealth they have will not endure. They will not be able to plant anything. They will not escape darkness. Their shoots will go up in flames. Their blossoms will be blown away. Emptiness is their reward. Their branches will not turn green. They will pick the grapes before they are ripe. Everyone will be barren in their family. Fire will consume their living tents. They conceive and bring forth evil and iniquity because they have deceitful hearts.