A New Jerusalem (Isa 65:17-65:20)

“I am about to create new heavens.

I am about to create a new earth.

The former things

Shall not be remembered.

They shall not come to mind.

But be glad!

Rejoice forever In what I am creating!

I am about to create

Jerusalem as a joy.

I am about to create

Its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem!

I will delight in my people!

No more shall the sound

Of weeping be heard in it.

No more shall the sound

Of the cry of distress be heard in it.

No more shall there be in it

An infant that lives but a few days.

No more shall there be in it

An old person

Who does not live out a lifetime.

One who dies at a hundred years old

Will be considered a youth.

One who falls short of a hundred years old

Will be considered accursed.”

Yahweh was going to create a new heaven and a new earth. All the past things would be forgotten. Jerusalem was going to be a joy and a delight for its people, since there would be no more weeping or crying in distress. Infants would not die at child birth. Old people would live a long life. Anyone who died before 100 years of age would be considered a cursed youth. Good times would come to this new Jerusalem.

The future of Jerusalem (Isa 4:4-4:6)

“When Yahweh has washed away

The filth of the daughters of Zion,

When he has cleansed

The bloodstains of Jerusalem

From its midst

By a spirit of judgment,

When the cleansing

By a spirit of burning

Is complete,

Then Yahweh will create

Over the whole site of Mount Zion.

He will create over its places of assembly

A cloud by day with smoke,

By night the shining of a flaming fire.

Indeed over all the glory

There will be a canopy.

It will serve as a pavilion.

It will be a shade by day

From the heat.

It will be a refuge from storms.

It will be a shelter from rain.”

Many of these oracles of Isaiah may come from the period of the exile, when there was the hope for a future Jerusalem. Once all the filth of the daughters of Zion and all the bloodshed in Jerusalem had been cleared out by judgment and burning, then Yahweh could create a whole new site at Zion. This new place for a religious assembly at Jerusalem would have a cloud or smoke during the day. At night, there would be a bright burning flame. Over all this glory, there would be a canopy that would act as a pavilion to provide shade from the heat and shelter from storms and rain. This was obviously a less ostentatious undertaking than a whole new temple.

Quarrels (Sir 28:8-28:12)

“Refrain from strife.

Your sins will be fewer.

The hot tempered kindle strife.

The sinner disrupts friendships.

The sinner sows discord

Among those who are at peace.

In proportion to the fuel,

So will the fire burn.

In proportion to the obstinacy,

So will strife increase.

In proportion to a person’s strength,

So will be his anger.

In proportion to his wealth,

So he will increase his wrath.

A hasty quarrel kindles a fire.

A hasty dispute sheds blood.

If you blow on a spark,

It will glow.

If you spit on it,

It will be put out.

Yet both come out of your mouth.”

Sirach reminds us of the problems with quarrels and arguments. If you refrain from conflicts, your sins will be less. Usually it is the hot tempered people who start disputes. Sinners disrupt friendships. They sow discord among peacemakers. Then Sirach has a number of proportional examples. The more fuel you have, the more the fire burns. The more stubborn you are, the more disagreements you create. The stronger you are, the more you will be angry. The more wealth that you have, the more fury you will have. Sometimes it is a hasty quarrel that starts a fire that leads to bloodshed. However, you have control with your mouth. You can either blow on the spark to increase the flame or spit on the spark to put it out. The choice is yours, spit or blow on the spark of a fire to increase or decrease the argument.

Immortality (Wis 1:12-1:15)

“Do not invite death

By the error of your life.

Do not bring on destruction

By the works of your hands.

God did not make death.

He does not delight

In the death of the living.

He created all things

So that they might exist.

The generative forces of the world

Are wholesome.

There is no destructive poison in them.

The dominion of Hades is not on earth.

Righteousness is immortal.”

This author states clearly that God did not create death (θάνατον). Man has created death that leads to hell, Sheol, or Hades (Άδης). You invite death by the error of your life. You bring on destruction by your own hands. God does not delight in death. God created living things as a generative wholesome force with no destructive poison in them so that they might exist. The kingdom or dominion of Hades is not on earth. Righteousness, or those who act justly, will make you immortal (δικαιοσύνη γὰρ ἀθάνατός ἐστιν), the opposite of death, not dying. Thus this is a vague immortality, somewhat like the Greek immortality of the soul that comes from a good life.

Whisperers (Prov 26:20-26:22)

“For lack of wood

The fire goes out.

Where there is no whisperer,

Quarreling ceases.

As charcoal is to hot embers,

As wood is to fire,

So a quarrelsome person is for kindling strife.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels.

They go down into the inner parts of the body.”

I guess that I never thought of whisperers as a problem. Clearly they are. These whisperers create quarrels. They are like wood to a fire, like charcoal on hot embers, or like kindling wood. These whisperers must be people who go around spreading rumors. Once again, almost word for word from chapter 18, the whisperer is compared to a delightful delicious morsel until you swallow it. Then it goes into the inner parts of your body and causes internal problems.

Seven ugly vices (Prov 6:16-6:19)

“Yahweh hates six things.

But seven are an abomination to him.

They are haughty eyes.

They include a lying tongue.

They are hands that shed innocent blood.

They include a heart that devises wicked plans.

They are feet that hurry to run to evil.

They include a lying witness who testifies falsely.

They include anyone who sows discord in a family.”

This is a numerical listing of vices like the medieval 7 deadly sins. Although Yahweh hates 6 things, 7 are an abomination to him. Among these 7 mentioned, lying is mentioned twice. The first is haughty eyes. The second is the lying tongue. Thus eyes and mouths can create evil vices. Then there are hands that shed innocent blood and feet that run to evil. Thus hands and feet can do evil. Then there is the heart that devises wicked plans. There is then a second mention of lying, by being a false witness, which is somehow different than just a lying tongue. Finally, there is the 7th vice of sowing discord in a family.

David wants a clean heart (Ps 51:10-51:12)

“Create in me a clean heart!

O God!

Put a new spirit within me!

Put a right spirit within me!

Do not cast me away from your presence.

Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me

The joy of your salvation.

Sustain in me a willing spirit.”

David wanted God to create a clean heart, a new right spirit, the Holy Spirit. He did not want to leave the presence of God. The Holy Spirit would remain with him. He wanted to be restored to the joy of salvation, while retaining his willing spirit. Clearly this is an internal spiritual new life, what some might call a born again experience that David wishes to undergo. He wanted this “Holy Spirit” to be in him.