All nations will turn to Israel (Isa 45:14-45:14)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘The wealth of Egypt

With the merchandise of Ethiopia,

With the Sabeans,

Tall of stature,

Shall come over to you.

They will be yours.

They shall follow you.

They shall come over in chains.

They shall bow down to you.’”

Second Isaiah talks about everyone coming to Jerusalem. The wealth of the Egyptians and the Ethiopian merchandise would come to Israel. The Sabeans or the tall people of Sheba, the southern Arabs, lived in what is today Yemen. All these people will come to Israel in chains following the Israelites, where they will bow down to these Israelites.

The clever ones (Sir 19:23-19:30)

“There is cleverness

That is detestable.

There is a fool

Who merely lacks wisdom.

Better are the God-fearing

Who lacks understanding

Than the highly intelligent

Who transgresses the law.

There is cleverness

That is exact

But unjust.

There are people

Who abuse favors

To gain a verdict.

There is a villain

Bowed down in mourning.

But inwardly

He is full of deceit.

He hides his face.

He pretends not to hear.

But when no one notices,

He will take advantage of you.

Even if he lacks strength

It does not keep him from sinning.

He will nevertheless do evil

When he finds the opportunity.

A person is known

By his appearance.

A sensible person is known

When first met,

Face to face.

A person’s attire shows what he is.

His hearty laughter shows what he is.

The way he walks shows what he is.”

Sirach then attacks the clever ones with their cleverness, who are really detestable fools who lack wisdom. It is better to be a God fearing person without intelligence than an intelligent transgressor of the law. There are exacting clever people who are unjust. These clever people use the legal system to avoid a bad verdict. They pretend to bow down before you, but there is only deceit in their hearts. They pretend not to hear and not to care, until the right time comes along. Then they take advantage of you. Even if these clever fools are not strong, they will try to do as much evil as they can. They will find any opportunity to be wicked. Look at the appearances of people. See what clothes they are wearing. See how they laugh and walk. Thus you can spot these clever wicked fools.

The perverse simple fools (Prov 14:14-14:19)

“The perverse get what their ways deserve.

The good get what their deeds deserve.

The simple believes everything.

But the clever consider their steps.

The wise are cautious.

They turn away from evil.

But the fool throws off restraint.

The fool is careless.

One who is quick tempered

Acts foolishly.

The schemer is hated.

The simple are adorned with folly.

But the clever are crowned with knowledge.

The evil bow down before the good.

The wicked are at the gates of the righteous.”

Both the perverse and the good get what they deserve based on their ways and deeds. The simple believe everything, but the clever ones watch their steps. The wise clever ones are cautious. They turn away from evil. The foolish ones throw off restraint and are careless. As usual, it is better to be good and wise than a simple perverse fool. The quick tempered ones act foolishly. The schemers are hated. The simple ones are full of folly, but the clever ones are crowned with knowledge. The evil wicked ones bow down before the gates of the good and righteous ones.

Heavenly Yahweh above all gods (Ps 97:6-97:9)

“The heavens proclaim his righteousness.

All the peoples behold his glory.

All worshipers of images are put to shame.

They make their boast in worthless idols.

All gods bow down before him.

Zion hears.

Zion is glad.

The towns of Judah rejoice,

Because of your judgments.

O God!

Yahweh!

You are most high

Over all the earth.

You are exalted far above all gods.”

The heavens proclaim the righteousness of God. Everybody sees his glory. All the worshipers of false images and worthless idols are put to shame since their gods bow down before Yahweh. Mount Zion and all Judah are glad and rejoice. The judgments of Yahweh are most high over all the earth. Yahweh is exalted over the other gods. This seems like some kind of contest between the various gods where Yahweh is the clear winner.

The greatness of Yahweh (Ps 86:8-86:11)

“There is none like you among the gods!

Yahweh!

There are not any works like yours!

All the nations that you have made shall come.

They shall bow down before you!

Yahweh!

They shall glorify your name!

You are great!

You do wondrous things!

You alone are God!

Teach me your way!

Yahweh!

Thus I may walk in your truth.

Give me an undivided heart.

Thus I may revere your name!”

David continued his prayer by saying that Yahweh was like no other god. There was nothing like his works. All the nations that Yahweh has made should come and bow down before him. They should glorify his name for all the great deeds that he has done. Yahweh alone was God. This was a strong monotheistic idea that Yahweh was the one true God, while there were other false gods. David wanted to be taught in the ways of God. He wanted to walk in truth with an undivided heart. He wanted to revere the name of Yahweh.

Listen to the voice of Yahweh (Ps 81:8-81:10)

“Hear!

O my people!,

I will admonish you!

O Israel!

If you would but listen to me!

There shall be no strange god among you.

You shall not bow down to a foreign god.

I am Yahweh!

Your God!

I brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide!

Then I will fill it.”

Yahweh speaks, probably through the Temple prophet. He wanted to admonish his people, Israel. If only they would listen to him. Very clearly he says that there should not be any strange gods among them. They were not to bow down to foreign gods. He was Yahweh, their God. He brought them out of Egypt. He wanted them to open their mouths wide so that he could fill them.

The powerful successful king (Ps 72:8-72:11)

“May he have dominion

From sea to sea!

May he have dominion

From the river to the ends of the earth!

May his foes

Bow down before him!

May his enemies

Lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish

Render him tribute!

May the kings of the isles

Render him tribute!

May the kings of Sheba and Seba

Bring gifts!

May all kings

Fall down before him!

All nations

Give him service!”

Now we have the practical empire of the king. He will be king from sea to shining sea even to the ends of the earth. His foes will bow down before him, while his enemies will lick dust. What a nice thought! The kings of Tarshish and various islands will render him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will also bring gifts and tribute. The river mentioned here is the Euphrates River, since that was a border area easily recognized. Tarshish maybe Spain and the other Mediterranean islands. Sheba and Seba are probably Arabian countries. There is no mention of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and other common enemies, suggesting maybe a post-exilic writing. King Solomon had been an idealist wise king that everyone respected. Thus all the kings and all the nations would bring gifts and give service to him.