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.

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Anarchy at Jerusalem (Isa 3:4-3:8)

“I will make boys

Their princes.

Babes shall rule

Over them.

The people will be oppressed.

Everyone will oppress another person.

Everyone will oppress his neighbor.

The youth will be insolent

To the elders.

The base fellows will be insolent

To the honorable ones.

Someone will even seize a relative,

A member of their clan.

Saying.

‘You have a cloak.

You shall be our leader.

This heap of ruins

Shall be under your rule.’

But the other will cry out.

Saying.

‘I will not be a healer.

In my house,

There is

Neither bread

Nor cloak.

You shall not make me

Leader of the people.’

Jerusalem has stumbled.

Judah has fallen.

Because their speech was

Against Yahweh.

Their deeds were

Against Yahweh.

They defied his glorious presence.”

Jerusalem will become a place of anarchy. Boys will be princes. Babies will be rulers. Everyone will oppress their neighbors with violence and civil unrest. The young people will not listen to their elders. Low life people will be insolent to the honorable ones. They will try to make leaders from their own clans. However, no one will want to be a leader because they do not have anything to eat or wear. Jerusalem has stumbled.  Judah has fallen. This is obviously the time of the Exile. All this has happened because their speech and deeds were against Yahweh. They defied his glorious presence among them.

The blow of the tongue (Sir 28:17-28:21)

“The blow of a whip

Raises a welt.

But a blow of the tongue

Crushes the bones.

Many have fallen

By the edge of the sword.

But not as many as have fallen

Because of the tongue.

Happy is the one

Who is protected from it.

Happy is the one

Who has not been exposed to its anger.

Happy is the one

Who has not borne its yoke.

Happy is the one

Who has not been bound

With its fetters.

Its yoke is

A yoke of iron.

Its fetters are

Fetters of bronze.

Its death is an evil death.

Hades is preferable to it.”

A blow of the tongue is worse than a blow from a whip because the blow from the tongue crushes your bones, not merely a welt on your skin. This blow of the tongue is something that somebody has said that ruins your life. More people have fallen from this blow of the tongue than from the sword. You will be happy if you are protected from this blow from the tongue. If you have not been exposed to its anger or yoke, consider yourself happy. The blow of the tongue is like being put in bronze chains with an iron yoke on your neck. Hades would be preferable to the slow evil death from a blow of the tongue. Be careful when you say things about others.

Apple tree (Song 2:3-2:5)

Female lover

“As an apple tree

Among the trees of the wood,

So is my beloved

Among young men.

With great delight

I sat in his shadow.

His fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me

To the banqueting house.

His intention toward me

Was love.

Sustain me with raisins.

Refresh me with apples.

I am faint with love.”

The female lover compares her lover to an apple tree in a forest. Thus she can sit in his shadow as this shady apple tree stands out among the other young men. His fruit was sweet and tasty. He brought her to the banquet hall with his love intentions. He sustained her with raisins. He refreshed her with apples. There could be sexual connotations here, but certainly the setting is romantic love. She is love sick, fainting with love. Clearly, she has fallen in love with this handsome young man who is like an apple tree.

Terrible situation (Ps 55:4-55:7)

“My heart is in anguish within me.

The terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling come upon me.

Horror overwhelms me.

I say,

‘O that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away.

I would be at rest.

Truly,

I would flee far away.

I would lodge in the wilderness.”

Selah

David was in anguish.  He feared death.  Fear and trembling came over him as horror overwhelmed him.  This concept of fear and trembling became a major concept and the name of a writing of the 19th century theologian or philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.  David finally said that he wished that he was a dove that could fly away.  He wanted to rest somewhere far away where no one knew him.  He would love to live in the wilderness.  This idea of flight from a problem is still common today.  We like to get away from our problems.  This section ended with the musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

The dead Jewish soldiers were idolaters (2 Macc 12:39-12:42)

“On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas Maccabeus and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen. He wanted to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. It became clear to all that this was the reason that these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden. They turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas Maccabeus exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin. They had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen.”

This is one of the few passages where there seems to be respect for the fallen soldiers, other than the leaders. They went out to pick up the bodies of the dead Jewish fighters so that they could be put in the tomb of their ancestors. To their surprise, they found that all the dead Jewish fighters were wearing the sacred tokens of the idols from Jamnia. How and why they had these tokens was not clear. Of course, this was forbidden to all Jewish people. They then prayed that the sins of these fallen men might be blotted out. Judas Maccabeus reminded them to keep themselves from sin. They had seen with their own eyes what happened to sinners.

Fortifications in Jerusalem (1 Macc 12:35-12:38)

“When Jonathan returned, he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea. He wanted to build the walls of Jerusalem still higher. He wanted to erect a high barrier between the citadel and the city to separate it from the city. He wanted to isolate it so that the people in the garrison could neither buy nor sell items. So they gathered together to rebuild the city. Part of the wall on the valley to the east had fallen. He repaired the section called Chaphenatha. Simon also built Adida in the Shephelah. He fortified it and installed gates with bolts.”

When Jonathan returned to Jerusalem, he convened the elders to build strongholds in Judea. He wanted the walls around Jerusalem to be still higher. He also wanted a barrier between the citadel and the city so that the troops in the citadel could not come into the city to buy or sell things. Thus they rebuilt the city since part of the east wall had fallen. Simon also did some work in the Shephelah.