The new power of Jerusalem (Isa 60:14-60:16)

“The descendants of those

Who oppressed you

Shall come bending low to you.

All who despised you

Shall bow down at your feet.

They shall call you

The City of Yahweh.

They shall call you

The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

You have been forsaken.

You have been hated.

There was no one passing through.

I will make you majestic forever.

I will make you a joy from age to age.

You shall suck the milk of nations.

You shall suck the breast of kings.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Am your Savior!

I am Your Redeemer!

The Mighty One of Jacob!”

There will be a turnaround at Jerusalem. The descendants of those who oppressed Jerusalem will now come with bended knee. Those who despised this city will now bow down at its feet. The new name for Jerusalem will be the City of Yahweh, the City of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, Zion. No one had been coming to Jerusalem since it was hated and forsaken. Now it will be majestic forever. In colorful words, Jerusalem would suck the breasts of nations and kings. They would soon learn that Yahweh was their savior and redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob

 

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The sinful rebellious nation (Isa 58:1-58:2)

“Shout out!

Do not hold back!

Lift up your voice

Like a trumpet!

Announce to my people

Their rebellion!

Announce to the house of Jacob

Their sins!

Yet they seek me daily.

They delight to know my ways,

As if they were a nation

That practiced righteousness,

As if they did not forsake

The ordinance of their God.

They ask of me

Righteous judgments.

They delight to draw near to God.”

Third Isaiah wants the house of Jacob to shout out and not hold back. They should lift up their voices, as if it was like a trumpet. However, the announcement was that they were a sinful rebellious people. They have pretended to act righteously. They profess daily that they delight in God’s ways. Meanwhile, they are a nation that has forsaken the ordinances of God. They want righteous judgments. They say that they want to draw near to God, but they do not follow his laws.

Yahweh will not forget Zion (Isa 49:14-49:16)

“But Zion said.

‘Yahweh has forsaken me.

My Lord has forgotten me.’

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child?

Can she show no compassion

For the child of her womb?

Even these may forget.

Yet I will not forget you.

See!

I have inscribed you

On the palms of my hands.

Your walls are continually before me.’”

Second Isaiah has Zion complain that Yahweh, the Lord, had forgotten and forsaken them. Yahweh, however, responded very forcefully. How could a woman forget her nursing child? How could anyone forget what came out of her womb? Even if these women would forget, Yahweh would never forget about the Israelites, since he had their names inscribed on the palms of his hands like a tattoo. This was an anthropomorphic attempt to show that Yahweh really cared for them, since their walls were always before him.

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?

The restoration of Jerusalem (Isa 1:26-1:28)

“I will restore your judges

As at the first.

I will restore your counselors

As at the beginning.

Afterward,

You shall be called

The city of righteousness.

You shall be called

The faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed

By justice.

Those in her,

Who repent,

Will be redeemed

By righteousness.

But the rebels

Shall be destroyed.

The sinners also

Shall be destroyed

Together with them.

Those who forsake Yahweh

Shall be consumed.”

Continuing with this oracle of Yahweh via Isaiah, Yahweh was then going to restore the judges and the counselors as in former times. This indicates that the current kings were not doing a good job. Then they would be a new city of righteous and faithful ones. This righteous faithful Zion would be redeemed by justice and righteousness. The rebels and sinners would either repent or be destroyed because they both had forsaken Yahweh.

The outcry against Israel (Isa 1:4-1:4)

“O!

Sinful nation!

People laden with iniquity!

Offspring who do evil!

Children who deal corruptly!

They have forsaken Yahweh.

They have despised the Holy One of Israel.

They are utterly estranged!”

Yahweh in his oracle, as pronounced by Isaiah, calls out the Israelites. He calls them a sinful nation of people who are criminals. Their children do evil things and act perversely. They have forsaken the Lord, Yahweh. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, God. They have utterly estranged themselves from Yahweh.  Once again, it is not clear whether this oracle is against just the northern Israelites or also includes the people of Judah. Sometimes the term “Israel” is used for both and sometimes just for the northern Israelites.

The destiny of the impious and their children (Sir 41:5-41:10)

“The children of sinners

Are abominable children.

They frequent

The haunts of the ungodly.

The inheritance

Of the children of sinners

Will perish.

On their posterity

Will be a perpetual reproach.

Children will blame

An ungodly father.

They suffer disgrace

Because of him.

Woe to you!

The ungodly!

You have forsaken

The law of the Most High God!

If you have children,

Calamity will be theirs.

You will beget them

Only for groaning.

When you stumble,

There is lasting joy.

When you die,

A curse is your lot.

Whatever comes from earth,

Returns to earth.

Thus the ungodly go

From curse to destruction.”

Sirach draws a clear line from parent to child when it comes to sinners. The children of sinners are abominable. These children will live among the ungodly, since their inheritance will be lost. These children of sinners will blame their sinful ungodly father because they suffer a perpetual disgrace due to him. Then Sirach turns directly to these ungodly folks claiming that they have forsaken the law of the Most High God. Calamity and groaning will come to their children. When they stumble, everyone will be happy. When they die, they will receive a curse. Whatever comes from earth returns there. Thus the ungodly will go from a curse to total destruction.