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.

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The message of Yahweh for King Ahaz (Isa 7:4-7:6)

“Say to King Ahaz.

‘Take heed!

Be quiet!

Do not fear!

Do not let your heart be faint               

Because of these

Two smoldering stumps of firebrands,

Because of the fierce anger

Of King Rezin from Syria,

Because of the son of Remaliah.

Syria with Ephraim,

The son of Remaliah,

Has plotted evil

Against you.

Saying.

‘Let us go up against Judah!

Let us cut off Jerusalem!

Let us conquer it for ourselves!

Let us make the son of Tabeel king in it.’”

The message of Yahweh for King Ahaz via Isaiah was to take heed and be quiet. King Ahaz had nothing to fear, so that he should not be faint hearted. Two firebrands from Syria and Ephraim had plotted together. King Rezin of Syria (792-732 BCE) and the son of Remaliah from Ephraim or northern Israel were coming after him. The unnamed Ephraim son of Remaliah was King Pekah (742-432 BCE), who had been a captain in the king’s army before he killed King Pekahiah and took over. The two of them were going to attack Judah and isolate Jerusalem. They were going to conquer this territory and put their own king of Judah in charge, who was the son of Tabeel. Actually Tabeel is a region on the other northern side of the Jordan River. We do not know much else about this king that never took the throne. Nevertheless, Yahweh via Isaiah wanted to let the King of Judah know what was happening.

They discuss the idea of seizing the spring water (Jdt 7:8-7:15)

“Then all the chieftains of the Edomites and all the leaders of the Moabites along with the commanders of the coastland came to General Holofernes and said.

‘Listen to what we have to say, my lord.

Your army will suffer no losses.

This people, the Israelites,

Do not rely on their spears

But on the height of the mountains where they live.

It is not easy to reach the tops of their mountains.

Therefore, my lord,

Do not fight against them in regular formation.

Not a man of your army will fall.

Remain in your camp!

Keep all the men in your forces with you.

Let your servants take possession of the spring of water

That flows from the foot of the mountain,

Which is where all the people of Bethulia get their water.

So thirst will destroy them.

They will surrender their town.

Meanwhile, we and our people

Will go up to the tops of the nearby mountains.

We will camp there to keep watch to see

That no one gets out of the town.

They and their wives and children will waste away with famine.

Before the sword reaches them

They will be strewn about in the streets where they live.

Thus you will pay them back with evil,

Because they rebelled and did not receive you peaceably.’”

The local groups of Edomites, Moabites, and coastal people had a proposal for General Holofernes. They came up with the idea where the Assyrians would lose no men in battle because the mountains were hard to climb. This is the only occasion where mountains seem to favor the Israelites. In all other cases the battles seemed to be around towns and in valleys. They proposed that the water supply be shut down. Somehow the water springs were at the bottom of the mountain. It seems like there might be water at the top of the mountain. The Israelites would suffer from a great thirst. Eventually, they would surrender their towns as they would waste away with famine. This is somewhat similar to the idea of trying to cause a famine in Samaria under the Israelite King Jehoram (852-841 BCE) in 2 Kings, chapter 6, when he was attacked by the king of the Arameans. This would be an easy way to conquer these rebellious men of Judah and Benjamin, since theoretically Israel had already been conquered the previous century.

Jerusalem shall be the light to the world (Tob 13:11-13:13)

“A bright light will shine to all the ends of the earth.

Many nations will come to you from far away.

The inhabitants of the remotest parts of the earth,

They will come to your holy name.

They will bear gifts in their hands.

For the King of heaven.

Generation after generation will give joyful praise in you.

The name of the chosen city will endure forever.

Cursed are all who speak a harsh word against you.

Cursed are all who conquer you.

Curses are all who pull down your walls.

Cursed are all who overthrow your towers.

Cursed are all who set your homes on fire.

Blessed forever will be all who revere you.

Go then!

Rejoice over the children of the righteous.

The righteous will be gathered together.

The righteous will praise the Lord of the ages.”

Jerusalem will be the light of the world. Every nation will come to Jerusalem. The people from the most remote part of the earth will come to Jerusalem. They will bring gifts to the king of heaven. For generations, people will give praise to this chosen city. However, people will be cursed who speak against Jerusalem. Anyone who tries to conquer it or pull down its walls will be cursed. People will be cursed who try to set fire to Jerusalem or overthrow its towers. The righteous people, on the other hand, will gather together in Jerusalem to praise the Lord of all ages.