Good conduct (Isa 58:9-58:12)

“If you remove the yoke

From among you,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you remove the pointing of the finger,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you stop speaking of evil,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you offer your food to the hungry,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

Your gloom will be

Like the noonday.

Yahweh will guide you continually.

He will satisfy your needs in parched places.

He will make your bones strong.

You shall be

Like a watered garden,

Like a spring of water,

Whose waters do not fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt.

You shall raise up

The foundations of many generations.

You shall be called

The repairer of the breach,

The restorer of streets to live in.”

Third Isaiah points out how the Israelites could become the light in the darkness. They had to remove the yoke from those around them. They had to stop pointing their fingers in a derisive contemptuous way. They had to stop speaking evil. Instead they should offer their food to the hungry and help the afflicted. Gloom could be turned to a noonday sun. Yahweh would guide them continually as their needs would be satisfied. Their bones would grow strong. They would become like watered gardens or unfailing spring waters. They were to rebuild the ancient ruins, thus becoming the foundation for many generations to come. They will be known as those who repaired the streets after the Exile in Jerusalem.

Wood as fuel (Isa 44:14-44:15)

“The carpenter cuts down cedars.

He may choose a holm tree.

He may choose an oak tree.

He lets it grow strong

Among the trees of the forest.

He plants a cedar.

The rain nourishes it.

Then it can be used as fuel.

He takes a part of it.

He warms himself.

He kindles a fire.

He bakes bread.”

Second Isaiah points out that tree wood has many uses. The most common form of Middle Eastern trees was the cedar or the oak tree, especially the holm oak. You have to let these trees grow strong among the many other trees in the forest. A cedar tree had to be nourished by rain. When it is chopped down, it could be used as fuel to warm oneself. You could also start a fire in order to bake bread.

The dying words of Mattathias about the law (1 Macc 2:61-2:64)

“Thus observe, from generation to generation,

Those who put their trust in him,

They will not lack strength.

Do not fear the words of sinners.

The splendor of the sinners will turn into dung and worms.

Today they will be exalted.

However, tomorrow they will not be found,

They will have returned to the dust.

Their plans will perish.

My children,

Be courageous and grow strong in the law.

By the law,

You will gain honor.”

Mattathias wants his children to always follow the Mosaic Law. They are to grow strong in the law and thus gain honor. If they put their trust in God, they will not lack strength. They should never fear the words of the sinners because their splendor will turn into dung and worms. They may be exalted today but tomorrow they will be dust as their plans perish.