“Tyre and Sidon thought
That they are very wise.
Tyre has built itself a rampart.
They piled up silver
They piled up gold
Like the dirt of the streets.
Yahweh will strip it
Of its possessions.
He will hurl
Into the sea.
Tyre shall be devoured
The 2 coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon, in present day Lebanon, thought that they were wise. They had built fortresses to protect themselves. They had so much silver and gold that it was like dust or dirt on the streets. However, Yahweh was going to strip them of their possessions, by hurling their wealth into the sea. The city of Tyre would also suffer a devouring fire.
Peace to those far away!
Peace to those near!’
‘I will heal them.
But the wicked are
Like the tossing sea.
It cannot keep still.
Its waters toss up mire.
Its waters toss up dirt.
There is no peace
For the wicked!’
Says my God.”
Third Isaiah ends this chapter with a cry for peace. Peace will be with those near and far. Yahweh was going to heal them and bring them peace. However, the wicked would not have any peace. They are like a tossing sea that keeps throwing up mire and dirt, so that there is no hope for them.
“But the workers are not concerned
That mortals are destined to die.
Their life is brief.
But they compete with workers
They compete with workers
They imitate workers
They count it as a glorious thing
To mold counterfeit gods.
Their heart is ashes.
Their hope is cheaper than dirt.
Their lives are of less worth than clay.
Because they failed to know
The one who formed them.
They failed to know
Who inspired them with active souls.
They failed to know
Who breathed a living spirit into them.
They considered our existence an idle game.
They considered our life a festival held for profit.
They say one must get money
However one can,
Even by base means.
For these persons,
More than all others,
Know that they sin
When they make from earthy matter fragile vessels,
When they make graven images.”
These idol makers do not care about their short lives. They are competing with other artisans making gold, silver, and copper molded items. They are making counterfeit gods. They have hearts (καρδία αὐτοῦ) like ashes and hope cheaper than dirt (γῆς). Their lives are less worthy than their own clay images. They do not know the one who formed them. They do not know the one who inspired them with a living soul (ψυχὴν). They do not know that their living spirit (πνεῦμα ζωτικόν) came from God. They consider life to be an idle game or a festival played for profit. They maintain that they need money, so that even a low base means (πορίζειν) is okay. More than others, they know that they are sinning. They make these vessels and carved images from mere earth.
“Do not human beings have a hard service on earth?
Are not their days like the days of a laborer?
Are not their days like a slave who longs for the shadow?
Are not their days like laborers who look for their wages?
So I am allotted months of emptiness.
Nights of misery are apportioned to me.
When I lie down I say.
‘When shall I arise?’
But the night is long.
I am full of tossing until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt.
My skin hardens.
Then my skin breaks out again.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.
They come to their end without hope.”
This was a man in despair. He had a hard mortal life. He was like a day laborer who got paid by the day, assuming that he worked. He was like a paid mercenary. He was a like a slave who only looked for shade. All that he could hope for was his paid wages. His months were empty. His nights were miserable. When he lay down, all he could think of was when he would get up. He tossed and turned all night long with little sleep. His flesh was full of worms and dirt. His skin hardened and then broke out again. His days went by like a weaver’s spinning wheel. In the end, there was no hope in his hopeless hard human life.