The longing for the youth wasted in Egypt (Ezek 23:19-23:21)

“Yet Oholibah increased
Her prostitution activities.
She remembered
The days of her youth,
When she played
The whore
In the land of Egypt.
She lusted
After her lovers there.
Their sexual organs were
Like those of donkeys.
Their sexual emissions were
Like those of stallions.
Thus you longed
For the lewdness
Of your youth.
The Egyptians fondled
Your bosom.
They caressed
Your young breasts.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, portrayed Oholibah, Jerusalem, as a sex starved female teenager. However, now she had become a full fledged prostitute. She remembered the good old days when she was a young whore in Egypt. There she lusted after all her lovers, who seem to have been well endowed. Yahweh compared their sexual prowess with donkeys and stallions. Thus Jerusalem longed for the days of her youth when her Egyptians lovers fondled and caressed her breasts.

The peaceful saving Spirit of Yahweh (Isa 32:15-32:20)

“A Spirit from on high is

Poured out on us.

The wilderness becomes a fruitful field.

The fruitful field is deemed a forest.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness.

Righteousness will abide in the fruitful field.

The effect of righteousness will be peace.

The result of righteousness is quietness.

The result of righteousness is trust forever.

My people will abide

In a peaceful habitation,

In secure dwellings,

In quiet resting places.

The forest will disappear.

The city will be utterly laid low.

Happy will you be

Who sow beside every stream.

You will let the ox range freely.

You will let the donkey range freely.”

Into this desolate situation, Isaiah inserts a ray of hope. The Spirit of Yahweh will descend on his people. The wilderness will become a fruitful field, almost like a forest. Justice shall dwell in the wilderness, while righteousness will be in the fruitful fields. This righteousness will bring peace, quiet, and everlasting trust. You will live peacefully in secure houses with quiet resting places. The city and the forest will disappear. You will lead a happy life sowing along streams and letting your ox and donkeys graze freely. This will be the ideal time of peaceful farmers.

The good times to come (Isa 30:23-30:26)

“Yahweh will give rain for the seed

With which you sow the ground.

Grain will be the produce of the ground.

It will be rich

It will be plentiful.

On that day,

Your cattle will graze in broad pastures.

The oxen will till the ground.

The donkey will eat silage

That has been winnowed

With shovels and forks.

On every lofty mountain,

On every high hill,

There will be brooks running with water.

On this day of the great slaughter,

The towers will fall.

The light of the moon will be

Like the light of the sun.

The light of the sun

Will be sevenfold,

Like the light of seven days.

On the day

When Yahweh binds up

The hurt of his people,

He will heal the wounds

Inflicted by his own blows.”

In this future time, things will be good. Yahweh will send rain to make the seed grains grow rich and plentiful. The cattle will graze in large pastures. There will be plenty of winnowed silage for the working oxen and donkeys so that they can till the ground. All the mountains and the hills will have flowing brooks. The towers will fall on the day of slaughter. However, the light from the moon will be like that of the sun, while the light from the sun will be like the light of a week of sunlight. Yahweh will heal the wounds that people have suffered even from his own blows.

Oracle on the desert animals (Isa 30:6-30:7)

“An oracle concerning

The animals of the Negeb.

Through a land

Of trouble,

Of distress,

Of the lioness.

Of the roaring lion,

Of the viper,

Of the flying serpent,

They carry their riches

On the backs of donkeys.

They carry their treasures

On the humps of camels,

To a people

That cannot profit them.

Egypt’s help is worthless.

Their help is empty.

Therefore I have called her

‘Rahab who sits still.’”

This seems to be an oracle by Yahweh about the animals in the Negeb desert, south of Israel. The messengers of the King of Judah were going to pass by these animals as they went with their riches on the backs of donkeys and treasures on the camel humps on their way to Egypt. Along the way, they would suffer trouble and distress. They would see many animals, like lioness, lions, vipers, and flying serpents. However, Isaiah says that their mission was worthless and empty. It was a waste of time since the Egyptians could not help them. In fact, Isaiah calls Egypt a useless sitting still ‘Rahab,’ a mythological sea monster like the Leviathan monster.

The sentinel announces the attack (Isa 21: 6-21:10)

“Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Post a lookout!

Let him announce

What he sees!

When he sees riders,

Horsemen in pairs,

Riders on donkeys,

Riders on camels,

Let him listen diligently,

Very diligently!’

Then the watcher cried out.

‘Upon a watchtower

I stand!

O Lord!

Continually by day!

At my post

I am stationed

Throughout the night.

Look!

There they come

Riders,

Horsemen in pairs!’

Then he responded.

‘Fallen!

Fallen is Babylon!

He has shattered on the ground

All the images of her gods!’

O my threshed one!

O my winnowed one!

What I have heard

From Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

I announce to you.”

Isaiah continues with what Yahweh had said to him. Yahweh wanted a lookout posted so that he could announce what he saw coming. This lookout person was to watch for riders on horses, camels, and donkeys as well as listen very carefully. He was to stand there during the day and the night. Then he saw the riders coming, as Babylon had fallen with all its gods shattered on the ground. This is what Isaiah had heard from Yahweh in his vision, as he announced this to all. The sentinel watchtower man was a main theme of the later 20th century Jehovah’s Witnesses with their Watchtower magazine.

Yahweh restores the fortune of Job (Job 42:10-42:15)

“Yahweh restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. Yahweh gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters as well as all who had known him before. They ate bread with him in his house. They showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that Yahweh had brought upon him. Each of them gave him some money and a ring of gold. Yahweh blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginnings. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women as beautiful as Job’s daughters. Their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.”

Yahweh restored Job to good health and fortune because he had prayed for his 3 friends. In fact, he got twice as much as he had before. His brothers and sisters, who were not involved in what happened to Job, came and ate with him. There is no indication of how long this anguishing trial went on for Job. I wonder where they were during the troubles of Job. However, they were generous with money and gold rings. There is no exact number of brothers and sisters mentioned. Now, however, he had 14,000 sheep instead of 7,000, 6,000 camels instead of 3,000, 1,000 oxen instead of 500, and 1,000 donkeys instead of 500. However, his family did not double. He once again had 7 sons and 3 daughters, who somehow replaced the 10 children who had died. The daughters were the most beautiful of all the women in the land. The 3 girls were named, Jemimah, or dove, Keziah or cinnamon, and Keren-happuch or eye cosmetic. He gave all 10 of his children an inheritance. Thus the story has a happy ending, despite all the trials and tribulations during this ancient mythic tale.

Job thought that God was too busy for the poor (Job 24:1-24:9)

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty Shaddai?

Why do those who know him never see his days?

The wicked remove landmarks.

They seize flocks and pasture them.

They drive away the donkey of the orphan.

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

They thrust the needy off the road.

The poor of the earth all hide themselves.

Like wild asses in the desert

They go out to their toil.

They scavenge in the wasteland food for their young.

They reap in a field not their own.

They glean in the vineyard of the wicked.

They lie all night naked,

Without clothing.

They have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the rain of the mountains.

They cling to the rock for want of shelter.”

Job seemed to imply that God was too busy to care about the poor. Job contrasted the ways of the rich and the poor. The day of the Lord never seemed to come. Instead the wicked remove landmarks or steal land, steal flocks, drive away with donkeys and oxen. They were stealing property from others. The poor are sent into hiding. They have to scavenge for their children’s food, work in other people’s fields, and glean or pick up the left over harvest items in the vineyard. They have no clothing to protect them from the cold and the wet. Their housing was rocks and caves.