The choice of life or death (Jer 21:8-21:9)

“To this people

You shall say.

‘Thus says Yahweh.

‘See!

I am setting before you

The way of life

Or the way of death.

Those who stay in this city

Shall die by the sword,

By famine,

Or by pestilence.

But those who go out,

Those who surrender to the Chaldeans,

Who are besieging you,

Shall live.

They shall have their lives

As a prize of war.’”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to tell the people of Jerusalem that they had a choice of life or death. If they stayed in the city, they would die by the sword, famine, or pestilence. However, if they surrendered to the Chaldeans, who had surrounded the city, they would live. They should consider their lives a prize of war.

Yahweh controls the future (Isa 46:8-46:10)

“Remember this!

Consider this!

Recall it to mind!

You transgressors!

Remember the former things of old!

I am God!

There is no other!

I am God!

There is no one like me!

I declare the end

From the beginning,

From ancient times,

Things not yet done.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh remind people about his ability to see the future. He wants them to remember and consider that they are transgressors. He is God and there is no other like him. He has declared from the beginning, in ancient times, things that had not yet happened. He knew the future.

The folly of a block of wood (Isa 44:18-44:20)

“They do not know anything.

They do not comprehend.

Their eyes are shut.

Thus they cannot see.

Their minds are shut.

Thus they cannot understand.

No one considers this.

No one has knowledge.

No one has discernment to say.

‘I burned half of it in the fire.

I also baked bread on its coals.

I roasted meat.

I have eaten meat.

Shall I make the rest of it an abomination?

Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’

He feeds on ashes.

A deluded mind has led him astray.

He cannot save himself.

He cannot say.

‘Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?’”

Second Isaiah explains the moral of this tale of the idol carpenter maker. These idol makers do not know or understand what they are doing. Their eyes and minds are shut, so that they cannot see or understand. These carpenters do not consider that they used part of their precious wood to make a fire to keep them warm and cook on. They then made their abominable wooden idol out of the rest of this wood. Do they not realize that they are bowing down to a block of wood? They have deluded minds. They have been led astray. They eat ashes. They do not understand that what they have made with their right hand is a fraud.

God of trees (Isa 41:19-41:20)

“I will put in the wilderness

The cedar tree,

The acacia tree,

The myrtle tree,

The olive tree.

I will set in the desert

The cypress tree,

The plane tree,

Together with the pine tree.

Thus all may see,

All may know,

All may consider,

All may understand together,

That the hand of Yahweh

Has done this.

The Holy One of Israel

Has created it.”

Once again, assuming the first person singular in Second Isaiah, Yahweh says that he is the one who planted a bunch of trees in the desert wilderness. These trees include the cedar trees, the acacia trees, the myrtle trees, the olive trees, the cypress trees, the plane trees, and the pine trees. Once you realize this, you will see, know, consider, and understand that the hand of Yahweh has done all this. The Holy One of Israel has created all these trees.

Preparations for the invasion (Isa 22:8-22:11)

“On that day,

You looked

To the weapons

Of the House of the Forest.

You saw

That there were so many breaches

In the city of David.

You then collected

The waters of the lower pool.

You counted

The houses of Jerusalem.

You broke down the houses

To fortify the wall.

You made a reservoir

Between the two walls

To hold the water of the old pool.

But you did not look

To him who did it.

You did not have regard

For him who planned it long ago.”

Isaiah now reprimands the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the second person plural. They made preparations to protect Jerusalem from invaders. The weapons were in the House of the Forest, which was the royal palace, since it had so much wood in it. The city of David was the older southeastern part of Jerusalem. They tried to fix the holes in the wall around Jerusalem by tearing down houses in the city to fill the holes. They also tried to make a reservoir for the water within the city from the old pool. Isaiah points out that there was a fatal flaw to their preparations. They forgot to consider who had made the city for them, God. They did not regard Yahweh who had planned this city with King David and King Solomon. They had forgotten the Lord.

Be reflective (Sir 11:7-11:9)

“Do not find fault

Before you investigate!

Examine first!

Then criticize!

Do not answer

Before you listen!

Do not interrupt

When another is speaking!

Do not argue about a matter

That does not concern you!

Do not sit with sinners

When they judge a case!”

You should be reflective. Do not find fault before you investigate a situation. Consider and examine the case before you criticize. Listen before you speak. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking. Don’t butt into things that do not concern you. Do not sit with sinners when there is a case under review.

Beautiful daughter (Ps 45:10-45:13)

“Hear!

O daughter!

Consider!

Incline your ear!

Forget your people!

Forget your father’s house!

The king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord,

Bow to him.

The people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts.

The richest of the people,

With all kinds of wealth,

Will come to you.”

This psalmist scribe asks that the daughter listen carefully and consider her words. She was to forget her people and her father’s house. She was to go forward to the king, her new lord. She was to bow to him. She would become powerful and rich with this marriage. These are like the words of encouragement to a reluctant bride before a marriage. Clearly she is to be subject to her new husband, the king. The consequences of this marriage will be enormous power and wealth. There is an interesting note about the new queen coming from Tyre. She may have been a Phoenician or a Philistine, the mortal enemy of David.