The return from the Exile (Isa 14:1-14:2)

“Yahweh will have compassion

On Jacob.

He will again choose Israel.

He will set them

In their own land.

Aliens will join them.

They will attach themselves

To the house of Jacob.

The nations will take them.

They will bring them

To their place.

The house of Israel

Will possess these nations,

As male and female slaves,

In Yahweh’s land.

They will take captive

Those who were their captors.

They will rule over

Those who oppressed them.”

Obviously this oracle assumes that the Israelites were in Exile, which did not happen during the life of Isaiah. Yahweh was going to have compassion on Jacob, the Israelites. He was going to set them in their own land with the help of other nations. Other non-Israelites would join them, the so called aliens or strangers. Then the house of Israel would have its own male and female slaves from the other countries. In fact, their former captors would become their captives. Thus they would rule over those who oppressed them. I am not so sure whether this last part ever happened. They were allowed to have slaves and other countries helped them. Those aliens in Israel would have to follow the Israelite law if they wanted to stay in Israel.

Remembering Zion in Babylon (Ps 137:1-137:3)

“By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down.

We wept,

When we remembered Zion.

On the willows there,

We hung up our lyres.

There our captors

Asked us for songs.

Our tormentors asked for mirth.

They said.

‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’”

Psalm 137, although untitled, is a psalm of captivity since they are sitting at the rivers in Babylon. They were weeping as they remembered Zion. They had hung up their lyres on the willow trees. However, their captors wanted to hear joyful songs. Their tormentors wanted them to sing the songs of Zion.