The chant of the sharpened sword (Ezek 21:8-21:11)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Prophesy!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh!

Say!

‘A sword!

A sword is sharpened!

A sword is also polished!

It is sharpened

For slaughter!

It is polished

To flash

Like lightning!

How can we make merry?

You have despised

The rod.

You have despised

All discipline.

The sword is given

To be polished,

To be grasped

In the hand.

It is sharpened.

The sword is polished.

It is to be placed

In the killer’s hand.’”

This oracle of Yahweh is often called the song of the sword. Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize this chant about the importance of the sword. A sword should be sharpened and polished for the slaughter to come. The sword should be polished so that it flashes like lightning. How can they be happy and merry? They had despised the rod and all discipline. They should have a polished sword that can be easily grasped. It should be sharpened and polished before it was placed in the killer’s hand.

The king of Judah broke Yahweh’s oath (Ezek 17:19-17:21)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘As I live,

I will surely return

Upon his head

My oath

That he despised.

He broke

My covenant.

I will spread

My net

Over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon.

I will enter

Into judgment

With him there

For the treason

That he has committed

Against me.

The entire pick

Of his troops

Shall fall

By the sword.

The survivors

Shall be scattered

To every wind.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.’”

It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.

The useless Pharaoh cannot help (Ezek 17:17-17:18)

“Pharaoh,

With his mighty army,

With his great company,

Will not help him

In war.

When ramps are cast up

With siege walls built

To cut off many lives,

It is difficult.

Because he despised

The oath.

He broke the covenant.

Because he gave

His hand.

Yet he did

All these things.

He shall not escape.”

If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.

The eternal covenant (Ezek 16:59-16:60)

“Yes!

Thus says Yahweh God.

‘I will deal

With you

As you have done.

You have despised

The oath.

You have broken

The covenant.

Yet I will remember

My covenant

With you

In the days

Of your youth.

I will establish

With you

An everlasting covenant.”

Yahweh was going to establish an everlasting covenant with Jerusalem, even though she had forgotten and despised this oath. She had broken her covenant with Yahweh. However, he would remember the days of Jerusalem’s youth. He would remember the day that he established his everlasting covenant with her, despite the lack of commitment on her part.

Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

You are your mother’s daughter (Ezek 16:44-16:45)

“See!

Everyone

Who uses proverbs

Will use this proverb

About you.

‘Like mother,

Like daughter.’

You are the daughter

Of your mother.

She loathed

Her husband.

She loathed

Her children.

You are the sister

Of your sisters.

They loathed

Their husbands,

They loathed

Their children.

Your mother was

A Hittite.

Your father was

An Amorite.”

Everyone who used proverbs would say of Jerusalem that she was ‘like mother, like daughter.’ It was and still is common to say that a daughter was like her mother. Thus Jerusalem was like her mother who disliked her husband and her children. On top of that, she was like her sisters, who also despised their husbands and their children. After all, her mother was a Hittite, while her father was an Amorite, both distinct Canaanites tribes, not Israelites.

The coming battle against Edom (Jer 49:14-49:16)

“‘I have heard tidings

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among the nations.

‘Gather yourselves together!

Come against her!

Rise up for battle!’

I will make you least

Among the nations.

You will be

Despised by humankind.

The horror you inspire,

The pride of your heart,

Has deceived you.

You live

In the clefts

Of the rock.

You hold the height

Of the hill.

You make your nest

As high as the eagle’s.

I will bring you down

From there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh sent a messenger to all the countries. They were to gather together to do battle against Edom, so that Edom would become the least of all the countries in the world. The Edomites would be despised by all since they inspired terrorism. Their pride had deceived them. Even though they lived in rocks in high places, like eagles nesting, Yahweh was going to bring them down.

The new power of Jerusalem (Isa 60:14-60:16)

“The descendants of those

Who oppressed you

Shall come bending low to you.

All who despised you

Shall bow down at your feet.

They shall call you

The City of Yahweh.

They shall call you

The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

You have been forsaken.

You have been hated.

There was no one passing through.

I will make you majestic forever.

I will make you a joy from age to age.

You shall suck the milk of nations.

You shall suck the breast of kings.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Am your Savior!

I am Your Redeemer!

The Mighty One of Jacob!”

There will be a turnaround at Jerusalem. The descendants of those who oppressed Jerusalem will now come with bended knee. Those who despised this city will now bow down at its feet. The new name for Jerusalem will be the City of Yahweh, the City of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, Zion. No one had been coming to Jerusalem since it was hated and forsaken. Now it will be majestic forever. In colorful words, Jerusalem would suck the breasts of nations and kings. They would soon learn that Yahweh was their savior and redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob

 

The rejected servant of Yahweh (Isa 53:1-53:3)

“Who has believed

What we have heard?

To whom has the arm of Yahweh

Been revealed?

He grew up

Like a young plant,

Like a root out of dry ground.

He had no form.

He had no majesty

That we should look at him.

There was nothing in his appearance

That we should desire him.

He was despised.

He was rejected by others.

He was a man of suffering.

He was acquainted with infirmity.

He was as one

From whom others hide their faces.

He was despised.

We held him of no account.”

Second Isaiah asks who believed us. Has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? This suffering servant grew up like a plant or a root from dry earth, not moist soil. This servant was not particularly good looking, not really desirable, and not majestic. In fact, he was despised and rejected by others. He seems to be suffering from some sickness or infirmity. People hid their faces from him as if he was a leper. Most people did not think much of him. Who then is this suffering servant? Is it Israel, Isaiah, or as some Christians project it to Jesus Christ?

Oracle about the captivity (Isa 52:3-53:6)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘You were sold for nothing.

You shall be redeemed without money.’

Thus says Yahweh God.

‘Long ago,

My people went down into Egypt

To reside there as aliens.

The Assyrian also

Has oppressed them without cause.

Now therefore what am I doing here?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Why are my people taken away

Without cause?

Their rulers howl.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Continually,

All day long,

My name is despised.

Therefore my people shall know

My name.

Therefore in that day,

They shall know

That it is I who speak.

Here am I.’”

Second Isaiah has a series of oracles from Yahweh about the captivity. First, there was no money exchange in the capture of the Israelites. Thus there will be no ransom paid either. The Israelites were oppressed as aliens in Egypt a long time ago. Now they are oppressed by the Assyrians without any good cause. Continually all day long, the name of Yahweh is despised. They ought to know the name of Yahweh. They ought to know who is speaking to them. Clearly it is Yahweh.   He is there, as he says “Here am I.”