Yahweh’s army (Isa 13:2-13:3)

“On a bare hill

Raise a signal.

Cry aloud to them.

Wave the hand

For them to enter

The gates of the nobles.

I myself have commanded

My consecrated ones.

I have summoned

My warriors,

My proudly exulting ones,

To execute my anger.”

Now Yahweh speaks to Isaiah in his vision. Yahweh was on a hill. He gave a signal to give a loud cry. He waved his hand for them to enter through the gates of the nobles. Interesting enough, the name of Babylon was derived from the term “gate of God.” Yahweh commanded his consecrated ones, his proud exulting warriors, to execute his anger. This appears to be a reference to the Persian soldiers in the 6th century BCE when they were to enter into Babylon through one of the gates. This was not an Israelite army, but a foreign army that Yahweh sent to attack Babylon.

The invasion of Assyria (Isa 5:26-5:30)

“Yahweh will raise a signal

For a nation far away.

He will whistle for a people

At the ends of the earth.

Here they come!

Swiftly!

Speedily!

None are weary.

None stumbles.

None slumbers.

None sleeps.

Not a loin cloth is loose.

Not a sandal-thong broken.

Their arrows are sharp.

All their bows bent.

Their horses’ hoofs seem like flint.

Their wheels seem like the whirlwind.

Their roaring is like a lion.

Like young lions,

They roar.

They growl.

They seize their prey.

They carry it off.

None can rescue it.

They will roar over it

On that day,

Like the roaring of the sea.

If one looks to the land,

There is only darkness.

There is only distress.

The light grows dark

With clouds.”

This oracle of Isaiah probably refers to one of the various Assyrian invasions of Judah and Jerusalem between 735-701 BCE. The nation from far away may be the Babylonians who will execute God’s judgment on them. These invaders are actually acting on Yahweh’s behalf since he gave them a signal and a whistle. They are going to come speedily, swiftly, not stumbling, sleeping, or growing weary. Their loin clothes and sandals are tight and ready to go. Their spears, bows and arrows, as well as horses are on the move. They roar like a lion about to eat its prey. They roar like a sea storm about to hit land. There will be darkness and distress, as everything will be cloudy.

Yahweh judges (Ps 110:5-110:7)

“Yahweh is at your right hand.

He will shatter kings

On the day of his wrath.

He will execute judgment

Among the nations.

He will fill them with corpses.

He will shatter heads

Over the wide earth.

He will drink

From the stream by the path.

Therefore he will lift up his head.”

This short psalm ends with Yahweh giving this king, probably David, the power to judge. Thus the Christian interpretation of the Messiah as king, priest, and judge would be based on this psalm. Here there is a role reversal from the first verse as Yahweh is at the king’s right hand. Now this is a king who shatters other kings on the day of wrath. He too will execute judgment on the other nations as well. He will fill their countries with corpses. He will shatter their heads on the earth. He will drink from the streams along the pathway so that he will lift up his head. Yes, this is a difficult psalm to understand, so that the Davidic Christian messianic interpretation is certainly possible.

The judgment of God (Ps 75:5-75:8)

“Not from the east or from the west,

Not from the wilderness comes lifting up.

It is God who executes judgment.

He puts down one.

He lifts up another.

In the hand of Yahweh,

There is a cup,

With foaming wine,

Well mixed.

He will pour a draught from it.

All the wicked of the earth

Shall drain it down to the dregs.”

Judgment does not come from the east, the west, the wilderness in the south, or the mountains in the north. Only God can execute judgment. He puts one down and lifts the other up. The cup of anger was important in the prophetic tradition. The wicked would drink from the wine cup with the specially mixed foaming wine. They would drink it all down until nothing was left, their judgment.