Against idolaters (Isa 57:11-57:13)

“Whom did you dread?

Whom did you fear?

Thus you lied.

You did not remember me.

You did not give me a thought.

Have I not kept silent?

Have I not closed by eyes?

Thus you do not fear me.

I will concede your righteousness.

I will concede your works.

But they will not help you.

When you cry out,

Let your collection of idols

Deliver you!

The wind will carry them off.

A breath will take them away.

Whoever takes refuge in me

Shall possess the land.

They shall inherit

My holy mountain.”

Third Isaiah warns in the first person singular what Yahweh has done with these idolaters. They no longer dreaded or feared Yahweh. They had lied to him. They did not remember or give him any thought. Yahweh had been silent and closed his eyes, so that they no longer feared him. Even though they might have been righteous and done some good things, these actions would no longer help them. If they had a problem, let them call their collection of idols to help them. The wind will carry away their useless idols. On the other hand, anyone who takes refuge in Yahweh will possess the land. They will inherit his holy mountain.

Lost wealth (Eccl 5:13-5:17)

“There is a grievous evil ill

That I have seen under the sun.

Riches were kept

By their owners

To their hurt.

Those riches were lost

In a bad venture.

Even though they were parents of children,

They have nothing

In their hands.

As they came

From their mother’s womb,

They shall go again.

They are naked

As they came.

They shall take nothing

For their toil

That they may carry away

With their hands.

This also is a grievous ill.

Just as they came,

So shall they go!

What gain do they have

From toiling for the wind?

Besides,

All their days

They eat in darkness,

In much vexation,

In much sickness,

In much resentment?”

Now Qoheleth tells the story of evil and illness here on earth. Some rich owners got together in a bad venture. The result was that they had nothing left for their children. Thus, they would be, as they left their mother’s womb, naked. They had nothing that they could carry away for all their labor. In other words, just as they came into this world with nothing, they were going to leave it the same way, with nothing. What did they gain from all their hard work? They were chasing the wind to no avail. Thus all their days, they would eat in darkness, be troubled, sick, and resentful.