The scattering of the evil ones (Jer 13:22-13:24)

“If you say in your heart,

‘Why have these things

Come upon me?’

It is for the greatness

Of your iniquity.

Thus your skirts are lifted up.

You are violated.

Can Ethiopians change their skin?

Can leopards change their spots?


Can you do good

Since you are so accustomed to do evil?

I will scatter you

Like chaff driven by the wind

From the desert.’”

Yahweh was concerned that they did not realize what was going to happen to them. Was it their iniquity that led them to this point? Yes, they would be ashamed, because their skirts would be lifted up, as they will be sexually violated. The problem is that they cannot change their ways. Just like the Ethiopians with their dark skin cannot change their skin color, so neither can a leopard change its spots. They had become so accustomed to evil that they could not do any good things anymore. Thus Yahweh will scatter them like useless chaff with a strong desert wind.

A message for everyone (Isa 18:3-18:6)

“All you inhabitants of the world!

You who live on the earth!

When a signal is raised

On the mountains!


When a trumpet is blown!


Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘I will quietly look

From my dwelling

Like clear heat in sunshine,

Like a cloud of dew

In the heat of harvest.

Before the harvest,

When the blossom is over,

The flower becomes

A ripening grape.

He will then cut off the shoots

With pruning hooks.

He will hew away

The spreading branches.

They shall all be left

To the birds of prey

Of the mountains.

They shall all be left

To the animals

Of the earth.

The birds of prey

Will summer on them.

All the animals of the earth

Will winter on them.”

Now Isaiah delivers a more universal message since this is for everyone living on earth, not just the Israelites. Yahweh had spoken to him. The example that he used was the harvest of vineyards, a fairly common biblical theme. Yahweh looked out from his dwelling, as on a clear sunny day or an overcast day at harvest time. He explained that the vine first had a blossom, a flower. Finally the ripened grape was ready for harvest. Along the way, he used pruning shears to cut back shoots and wandering branches. He left these for the birds and animals to use as food, sometimes storing them up for winter or summer. It is not clear whether this is an allusion to battles between the Assyrians and the Egyptians and Ethiopians. However, it is the story of the growth of a grape, if nothing else.

Hanani the seer and King Asa (2 Chr 16:7-16:10)

“At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa of Judah. He said to him. ‘Because you relied on the king of Aram and did not rely on Yahweh your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on Yahweh, he gave them into your hand. The eyes of Yahweh range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is blameless to him. You have done foolishly in this. From now on you will have wars.’ Then King Asa was angry with the seer. He put him in the stocks, in prison. He was in a rage with him because of this. King Asa inflicted cruelties on some of the people at the same time.”

There is a whole change of tone here. The prophet or seer Hanani came to King Asa that he should not have made an alliance with the King of Aram against his fellow Israelites. He should have consulted with Yahweh, like he did when he prayed for help against the Ethiopians. King Asa did not take this rebuke kindly. He put the prophet in jail. Then he angrily inflicted cruelties on others. There were other people with the name of Hanani, but this prophet only appears here. King Asa should have consulted with Yahweh, not made foreign alliances with the King of Aram.  Suddenly the good King Asa takes a bitter turn as this may explain why he was struck ill in the next section.