The fingers writing on the wall (Dan 5:5-5:5)

“Immediately,

The fingers

Of a human hand

Appeared.

These fingers

Began writing

On the plaster

Of the wall

Of the king’s palace,

Next to the lampstand.

The king

Was watching

The hand

As it wrote.”

Immediately, as they began to drink from the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple, praising the various Babylonian gods, the fingers of a human hand appeared. These fingers of this strange hand started writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, next to the lampstand. The king watched as this mysterious hand wrote on the wall.

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Sinfulness (Isa 59:1-59:4)

“See!

Yahweh’s hand is not too short to save.

His ear is not too dull to hear.

But your iniquities have been barriers

Between you and your God.

Your sins have hidden his face

From you.

Thus he does not hear.

Your hands are defiled with blood.

Your fingers are defiled with iniquity.

Your lips have spoken lies.

Your tongue mutters wickedness.

No one brings suit justly.

No one goes to law honestly.

They rely on empty pleas.

They speak lies.

They conceive mischief.

They beget iniquity.”

Third Isaiah has a call for repentance since the Israelites were sinners. However, Yahweh’s hands were not too short to forgive. He could hear what they were saying. However, the obstacles and barriers to forgiveness of sin were that of his people. They have forced Yahweh to hide his face. Their sins include iniquity with bloody hands and fingers. They speak lies and mutter wickedness. No one can bring a law suit forward because no one was honest and just. All they do is speak lies, conceive mischief, and produce more iniquity.

The end of idolatry (Isa 17:7-17:8)

“On that day

People will regard their Maker.

Their eyes will look

To the Holy One of Israel.

They will not have regard

For the altars,

The work of their own hands.

They will not look

To what their own fingers have made,

Either the sacred poles

Or the altars of incense.”

The end of idolatry and the turning to the Holy One of Israel will take place on this day of destruction. On that day, they will turn away from the altars that they made with their own hands. They will not look at the idols that they made with their own fingers.   They will turn away from the sacred or holy poles or sticks, like totem poles, and the altars with incense on them. Idolatry will become a thing of the past.

Idol worshipers (Isa 2:6-2:8)

“You have forsaken

The ways of your people!

O house of Jacob!

You are full of diviners

From the east.

You are full of soothsayers

Like the Philistines.

They clasp hands with foreigners.

Their land is filled with silver.

Their land is filled with gold.

There is no end

To their treasures.

Their land is filled with horses.

There is no end to their chariots.

Their land is filled with idols.

They bow down

To the work of their hands.

They bow down

To what their own fingers have made.”

Isaiah speaks out strongly against idol worship that must have been common among the house of Jacob in eight century BCE. The Israelites have forsaken the ways of their people since they had a lot of eastern diviners, like priestly prophets who foretold the future in the name of some god, roughly the equivalent of a Yahweh prophet among the non-Israelites. There were also the fortune tellers or soothsayers from Philistine, from along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. There must have been some kind of magic handshake with foreigners that was also forbidden. Why were they doing this? Their land was full of silver, gold, many treasures, horses, and chariots. What else did they want? Despite all this, they still bowed down in worship to the idol gods that they had made with their own hands and fingers. Why were they worshiping these false idol statutes that they themselves had made?

Sleeping beauty (Song 5:2-5:5)

Female lover

“I slept.

But my heart was awake.

Listen!

My beloved is knocking.

‘Open to me!

My sister!

My love!

My dove!

My perfect one!

My head is wet

With dew.

My locks are wet

With the drops of the night.’

‘I had put off my garment.

How could I put it on again?

I had bathed my feet.

How could I soil them?’

My beloved thrust his hand

Into the opening.

My innermost being

Yearned for him.

I arose

To open to my beloved.

My hands dripped

With myrrh.

My fingers dripped

With liquid myrrh,

Upon the handles of the bolt.”

The female lover was sleeping, but her heart was awake. Then she heard her lover knocking at the door. He wanted her to open the door. He called her sister, lover, dove, and the perfect one. His head was wet with dew. His hair was wet with night rain drops. She had taken off her garments. Was she naked? She had washed her feet. He then put his hand into the opening. Meanwhile the female lover yearned for him. She got up to open the door to her beloved. Her hands and fingers were dripping with liquid myrrh as she reached the bolt on the door. She was anticipating a rendezvous with her lover.

Prayer before the battle (Ps 144:1-144:2)

A psalm of David

“Blessed be Yahweh!

My rock!

He trains my hands for war.

He trains my fingers for battle.

My rock!

My fortress!

My stronghold!

My deliverer!

My shield!

I take refuge in him.

He subdues the peoples under me.”

Psalm 144 is a psalm of David as he prepared for a battle in a war. Yahweh was to be blessed because he was the rock of David. He trained his hands and fingers for war and its battles. Yahweh was his fortress, his stronghold, his deliverer, his shield, and his refuge. Yahweh would subdue the various people for David.