The great gathering (Jer 31:7-31:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Sing aloud with gladness

For Jacob!

Raise shouts

For the chief of the nations!

Proclaim!

Give praise!

Say!

‘Save!

O Yahweh!

Your people!

The remnant of Israel!’

See!

I am going to bring them

From the north country.

I am going to gather them

From the farthest parts of the earth.

Among them will be

The blind,

The lame,

Those with child,

Those in labor,

Together,

A great company.

They shall return here.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, wants everyone to sing out loud and be glad for Jacob. They should shout out with joy as they proclaim and praise Yahweh. The people should ask Yahweh to save the remnant of its people. Yahweh was going to return all his people from the lands of the north, as well as from all over the earth, wherever they were. This would include the blind and the lame, women with children and those expecting. Everyone would come together in a great gathering of people as they returned home.

Yahweh’s vineyard (Isa 5:7-5:7)

“The vineyard of Yahweh of hosts

Is the house of Israel.

The people of Judah

Are his pleasant planting.

He expected justice.

But he saw bloodshed!

He expected righteousness.

But he heard a cry!”

Isaiah is clear about explaining this song of the vineyard. This vineyard is the house of Israel, and in particular the people of Judah. Yahweh was expecting justice and righteousness from his pleasant planting in the vineyard. However, all he saw and heard was bloodshed and crying. These wild grapes were very disconcerting.

The song of the vineyard (Isa 5:1-5:2)

“Let me sing

For my beloved.

My love song

Concerns his vineyard.

My beloved had

A vineyard

On a very fertile hill.

He dug it out.

He cleared it of stones.

He planted it

With choice vines.

He built a watchtower

In the midst of it.

He hewed out

A wine vat in it.

He expected it

To yield grapes.

But it yielded wild grapes.”

The allegory about a vineyard can be found among many other biblical prophets and even Jesus Christ himself. Either this was at the beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic career, or it was part of the festival of booths. Certainly it was a song about a friend’s vineyard, a common biblical theme. Isaiah was singing for his beloved friend, who had a vineyard on a fertile hill. This friend of Isaiah’s took great care to get this vineyard ready. He dug out stones and planted choice vines. He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also. He was expecting good grapes, but he only got wild grapes. Clearly, he did not get what he expected.

The importance of words (Prov 25:11-25:13)

“A word fitly spoken

Is like apples of gold

In a setting of silver.

Like a gold ring,

Like an ornament of gold,

Is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.

Like the cold of snow,

In the time of harvest,

Are faithful messengers

To those who send them.

They refresh the spirit of their masters.”

A fit correct word spoken at the right time is like a golden setting in silver, like a golden ring, or an ornament of gold. In other words, to say the right word at the right time is important. This can be like a wise rebuke to someone who will take it to heart, if they are listening. The right word sent at the right time is like a cold snow at harvest time or like a faithful messenger. Both refresh the spirit of the one working in the field or the one expecting some news.

The defeat of Gorgias (2 Macc 12:35-12:37)

“A certain Dositheus, one of Bacenor’s men, who was a strong man on horseback, caught hold of Gorgias. He was grasping his cloak, while dragging him off by his hand strength. He wished to take the accursed man alive. However, one of the Thracian cavalry bore down upon him and cut off his arm. Thus Gorgias escaped and reached Marisa. As Esdris and his men had been fighting for a long time, they were weary. Judas Maccabeus called upon the Lord to show himself as their ally and leader in the battle. In the language of their ancestors he raised the battle cry with hymns. Then he charged against Gorgias’ troops when they were not expecting it. He put them to flight.”

Dositheus, who was one of those who had captured Timothy earlier in this chapter, caught Gorgias. He was dragging him by his cloak, when another Thracian cavalry man cut his hand off. Thus Gorgias escaped to Marisa, which was southwest of Jerusalem. The Thracians were a group of mercenaries from Asia Minor. Apparently one of Judas Maccabeus’ leaders Esdris and his group were weary. Judas asked the Lord to lead them in battle with hymns in the language of their ancestors. He then unexpectedly charged the troops of Gorgias and put them to flight.