The useless idols (Jer 10:14-10:16)

“Everyone is stupid

Without knowledge.

Goldsmiths are put to shame

By their idols.

Their images are false.

There is no breath in them.

They are worthless.

They are a work of delusion.

At the time of their punishment,

They shall perish.

Not like these is Yahweh.

He is the portion of Jacob.

He formed all things.

Israel is the tribe of his inheritance.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.”

Jeremiah contends that the idols are useless because the people who made them were stupid without any kind of knowledge. These goldsmiths will be put to shame because they have created false images without any breath in them. They are worthless works of delusion that will perish at the time of punishment. Yahweh, on the other hand, has formed all things. His portion and inheritance is the tribe of Jacob or Israel. He, of course, is called Yahweh of hosts.

False wooden idols (Jer 10:3-10:5)

“The customs of the people

Are false.

A tree from the forest

Is cut down.

It is worked with an ax

By the hands of an artisan.

People deck it with silver.

They deck it with gold.

They fasten it with a hammer.

They fasten it with nails.

Thus it cannot move.

Their idols are

Like scarecrows in a cucumber field.

They cannot speak.

They have to be carried.

They cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them!

They cannot do evil.

It is not in them to do good.”

This section is a lot like that of Second Isaiah, especially chapters 40-44, against false human made idol gods. Thus this probably also comes from the later exilic times. Many people have this false custom of idol worship. He reminded them that these wooden idols come from a tree. Someone cut down the tree in the forest. Then an artisan or wood carver axed or created an image with a hammer and nails. Then they put silver and gold on it. Thus these false wooden idols cannot move. They are more like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch. They cannot talk or walk, since they have to be carried around. No one should be afraid of these scarecrow idols, since they cannot do any evil to you. However, they also cannot do any good for you either. Once again, this is an argument against the false wooden idol gods and their human makers.

Prayer to creative Yahweh (Isa 64:8-64:9)

“Yet

O Yahweh!

You are our Father!

We are the clay,

You are our potter.

We are all the work of your hands.

Do not be exceedingly angry!

O Yahweh!

Do not remember iniquity forever!

Now consider!

We are all your people.”

The prophet was clear. Humans were like clay in the hands of the great potter, Yahweh. All humans were the work of his hands. He wanted his Father Yahweh not to be too angry. He wanted Yahweh not to remember forever the iniquities that had been done. He wanted Yahweh to remember only that they were his people, created by him, the great artist.

The weapons of the new Jerusalem (Isa 54:16-54:17)

“‘See!

It is I!

I have created the smith

Who blows the fire of coals.

He produces a weapon

Fit for its purpose.

I have also created the ravager

To destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned

Against you

Shall prosper.

You shall confute every tongue

That rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh

Their vindication is from me.’

So says Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh explain his position about the arms and protection of Jerusalem. Yahweh has created the blacksmiths who stand before the blast furnaces creating these weapons of destruction. He has also created the people who oppose them. No weapon will be successful against the Israelites. They will also have to fight off verbal aggression that would arise against them. These servants of Yahweh are his heritage, so that he will vindicate them.

New things (Isa 48:6-48:8)

“From this time forward,

I make you hear new things.

These hidden things,

You have not known.

They are created now,

Not long ago.

Before today,

You have never heard of them.

Thus you could not say.

‘I already knew them.’

You have never heard!

You have never known!

From of old

Your ear has not been opened.

I knew that

You would deal

Very treacherously.

I knew that

From birth

You were called a rebel.”

Now Second Isaiah has Yahweh reveal new hidden things, revelations that they did not know anything about. These were created now, not long ago. Nobody could have heard about them, so that they cannot say that they already knew about them. This is something that nobody heard or knew about. Their ears were not open. Besides, he knew that they were rebels from birth. They would deal treacherously with this information, if they had it. Once again, these are remarks about their unfaithfulness.

The Creator Yahweh (Isa 45:18-45:19)

“Thus says Yahweh.

He created the heavens!

He is God!

He formed the earth!

He made it!

He established it!

He did not create it as a chaos!

He formed it to be inhabited!

‘I am Yahweh!

There is no other!

I did not speak in secret.

I did not speak in a land of darkness.

I did not say to the offspring of Jacob.

‘Seek me in chaos.’

I Yahweh speak the truth,

I declare what is right.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh speak about his creative actions. However, before he utters his words, this author explains clearly who Yahweh is. He is God, who created the heavens and the earth. He created it out of the primal chaos so that people could inhabit it. Then Yahweh proclaimed that there is no person, god, or being like him. He did not speak in secret or darkness to the offspring of Jacob. He spoke only the truth and what is right, not chaos.

Cyrus the Anointed Messiah Christ (Isa 45:1-45:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

To his anointed,

To Cyrus.

I have grasped his right hand,

To subdue nations before him,

To strip kings of their robes,

To open doors before him.

The gates shall not be closed.”

Second Isaiah calls Cyrus the anointed one, in Hebrew the Messiah, or in Greek the Christ. This is the only reference of an anointed person or a messiah who was not an Israelite. Cyrus, the King of Persia from 559-530 BCE, more than two centuries after the lifetime of Isaiah, was really a favorite of both Yahweh and the author of Second Isaiah. Cyrus the Great created the largest empire in the world with present day Iran the last vestige of that empire as he took over many countries. Second Isaiah continually insisted that Yahweh was behind Cyrus as he is clearly the anointed one of Yahweh. Yahweh has grasped his right hand, so that he could subdue various nations. Yahweh would help Cyrus strip kings of their robes. He would open doors for him, since no gates would be closed to Cyrus.