Fundamentalists interpret Scripture with certitude, guidance, and peace. The Bible is God’s direct, divine word to humanity. 39% of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, that the authors were inspired to write the specific exact words. The literal, plain meaning is the primary meaning of a word, the simple intention of the author. However, there are spiritual or deeper meanings in an allegorical or moral sense. There is no need for critical history and literary analysis, since it is plain and clear already.
The exile of the king and princes (Lam 2:9-2:9)
“Her gates have sunk
Into the ground.
Yahweh has ruined them.
He has broken her bars.
Is among the nations.
Are among the nations.
Guidance of the law
Is no more.
Her prophets obtain
The gates of Jerusalem have sunk into the ground. Yahweh has ruined the bars on the gates that are now broken. The king and the princes have been scattered among the various nations, so that there is no longer any guidance about the law. The prophets no longer have any visions or oracles from Yahweh. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Tet. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
Against the messengers sent to Egypt (Isa 30:1-30:5)
“‘Woe to you!
‘You carry out a plan,
But it is not mine.
You make an alliance,
But it is against my will.
You are adding sin to sin!
You set out to go down to Egypt,
Without asking for my counsel!
You want to take refuge
In the protection of Pharaoh!
You want to seek shelter
In the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore the protection of Pharaoh
Shall become your shame.
The shelter in the shadow of Egypt
Shall become your humiliation.
Even though his officials are at Zoan,
Even though his envoys reach Hanes,
Everyone will come to shame.
They are a people
That cannot profit them.
They can bring
Neither help nor profit.
They can only bring shame and disgrace.’”
This is an oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, against sending messengers to Egypt to ask for help against Assyria around 703-701 BCE. These messengers were not from Yahweh. They were in fact rebelling against the will of Yahweh, so that they were only adding sin to sin. They went to Egypt without seeking the guidance of Yahweh, since they wanted to take refuge under the shadow and protection of the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, this protections will become their shame and humiliation. Even though these messengers are in the 2 Egyptian delta cities of Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, everyone will be shamed. They will not get help, profit, or protection, but only shame and disgrace for this action.
The lover is gone (Song 6:1-6:1)
“Where has your beloved gone?
O fairest among women!
Which way has your beloved turned?
We may seek him with you.”
This chorus of the Jerusalem daughters wanted to know where her lover had gone. They wanted to help her find him, since she was the fairest among all women. However, they needed some guidance.
Wisdom and knowledge (Prov 24:3-24:7)
A house is built.
The house is established.
The rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
Wise warriors are mightier
Than strong ones.
Those who have knowledge are mightier
Than those who have strength.
By wise guidance
You can wage your war.
In an abundance of counselors
There is victory.
Wisdom is too high for fools.
At the gate
They do not open their mouths.”
You need wisdom and understanding to build a house. You need knowledge so that you can fill up the rooms with precious and pleasant rich items. The wise knowledgeable warrior is mightier than the physically strong warrior. You need wise guidance to wage a war. The more counselors you have, the greater the possibility of victory. Fools think that wisdom is too high and foolish. Thus at the meetings at the gate, they say nothing.
City life (Prov 11:10-11:14)
“When it goes well with the righteous,
The city rejoices.
When the wicked perish
There is jubilation.
By the blessing of the upright,
A city is exalted.
But the city is overthrown
By the mouth of the wicked.
Whoever belittles another
But an intelligent person remains silent.
A gossip goes about telling secrets.
But one who is trustworthy in spirit
Keeps a confidence.
Where there is no guidance,
A nation falls.
But in an abundance of counselors
There is safety.”
The city dwellers are happy with the righteous. They rejoice when all goes well with them. However, they are just as happy when the wicked perish. The city dwellers exalt at the blessings of the upright. However, the words of the wicked can overthrow a city. Anyone who belittles another lacks sense because the intelligent person keeps silent. You cannot trust gossips that go about telling secrets because they are not trustworthy. If there is no guidance, a city or country will fall. It is much better when there are many counselors, since they will keep the city or country safe.
Faith in Yahweh (Ps 32:8-32:9)
“I will instruct you.
I will teach you
The way that you should go.
I will counsel you
With my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule,
Their temper must be curbed with bit and bridle.
Otherwise they will not stay near you.”
David would instruct the people. He was going to teach them the way that they follow. He was going to counsel them by keeping his eyes on them. He reminded them that they should not be like a horse or a mule without understanding. Those animals have to have their temper curbed with a bridle or bit in the mouth. Otherwise these horses and mules would not stay near anyone. So too the faithful needed guidance.