Yahweh will judge the world (Isa 51:4-51:6)

“Listen to me!

My people!

Give heed to me!

My nation!

A teaching will go out from me!

My justice will be for a light to the people.

I will bring near my deliverance swiftly.

My salvation has gone out.

My arms will rule the people.

The coastlands wait for me.

They hope for my arm.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens!

Look at the earth beneath!

The heavens will vanish

Like smoke!

The earth will wear out

Like a garment!

Those who live on it

Will die like gnats!

But my salvation will be forever!

My deliverance will never be ended!”

Once again, Second Isaiah wanted the people to listen to Yahweh and his teaching. Yahweh wanted to bring justice and light to the world and its people. He would bring salvation and deliverance swiftly. Once again, the coastlands of the Mediterranean Sea were mentioned explicitly as waiting for Yahweh. He told them to look at heaven and earth. Heaven would vanish like smoke, while the earth would wear out. The people on earth would die like gnats. However, the eternal salvation and deliverance of Yahweh would be forever without end.

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Food on the journey (Wis 19:10-19:12)

“They still recalled the events of their sojourn.

Instead of producing animals,

The earth brought forth gnats.

Instead of fish,

The river spewed out vast numbers of frogs.

Afterward they saw also new kind of birds.

When desire led them to ask for luxurious food,

To give them relief,

Quails came up from the sea.”

Based on the Exodus stories in chapters 8 and 16 and Numbers, chapter 11, this author tells how the Israelites were feed in the wilderness or strange land (γῆ σκνῖπα). Interesting there is no mention of manna. They ate gnats and frogs and some kind of birds. The luxury foods were the quails (παραμυθίαν) that somehow came from the sea.

Divine punishment towards Egypt (Wis 11:15-11:20)

“In return for their foolish thoughts,

In return for their wicked thoughts,

Which led them astray

To worship irrational serpents,

To worship worthless animals,

You sent upon them

A multitude of irrational creatures

To punish them.

Thus they might learn

That one is punished

By the very things

By which one sins.

Your all-powerful hand,

Which created the world out of formless matter,

Did not lack the means to send upon them

A multitude of bears,

Or bold lions,

Or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,

Or such as breathe out fiery breath,

Or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,

Or flash terrible sparks from their eyes.

Not only could the harm they did destroy people,

But the mere sight of them could kill by fright.

Even apart from these,

People could fall at a single breath

When pursued by justice.

They could be scattered by the breath of your power.

But you have arranged all things by measure.

You have arranged all things by number.

You have arranged all things by weight.”

The divine plague punishments could have been much worse for the Egyptians in Exodus, chapters 9-11. In fact, this author implies that God was mild with his punishments because the Egyptians had foolish and wicked thoughts that led them to worship serpents and animals. God very kindly sent them only irrational creatures like frogs, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats to punish them. He could have sent them a multitude of bears or bold lions. He might have sent them unknown beasts full of rage that would breathe out fire and belch out smoke, with flashing terrible sparks in their eyes that could have killed them with fright. God could have made them fall with a single breath or scattered them through the world, but he carefully arranged all this according to his measure, number, and weight.

Moses and the plagues (Ps 105:26-105:36)

“Yahweh sent his servant Moses whom he had chosen.

He sent Aaron whom he had chosen.

They performed his signs among them.

They performed miracles in the land of Ham.

He sent darkness.

He made the land dark.

They rebelled against his words.

He turned their waters into blood.

He caused their fish to die.

Their land swarmed with frogs,

Even in the chambers of their kings.

He spoke.

Then there came swarms of flies.

There were gnats throughout their country.

He gave them hail for rain.

He gave them lightning that flashed through their land.

He struck their vines.

He struck their fig trees.

He shattered the trees of their country.

He spoke.

Then the locusts came.

There were young locusts without number.

They devoured all the vegetation in their land.

They ate up the fruit of their ground.

He struck down the entire first born in their land.

He struck down the first issue of all their strength.”

This section is based on Exodus, chapters 3-10. First, Yahweh chose Moses and Aaron. Then he performed signs and miracles in the land of Ham, Egypt. He sent darkness. He turned waters into blood so that the fish died. He sent swarms of frogs, flies, and gnats throughout the country, even in the royal chambers. He sent hail and lightning instead of gentle rain. He struck down the vines, fig trees, and shattered all the trees. He then sent numerous locusts that ate all the vegetation and fruits of the land. Finally, he struck down the first born through the country, both among humans and animals. This was just about total destruction to the land of Ham, the Egyptians.

The third plague – mosquito/gnats (Ex 8:16-8:19)

“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats throughout the whole the land of Egypt.’  They did so.  Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth and gnats came on humans and animals alike.  All the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt.  The magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, but they could not.  There were gnats on both humans and animals.  The magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’  But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, just as Yahweh had said.”

Aaron once again stretched out his hand with his staff and gnats came out of the dust all over humans and animals in Egypt.  I prefer the French mosquitoes.  Normally in the fall, the Nile had stagnant waster that led to mosquito infestation. Now the Egyptian magicians could not do this trick, so they told Pharaoh that this time it was the finger of God, and not a magic trick.  Of course Pharaoh did not listen to them.