The devastation of northern Israel (Isa 9:13-9:17)

“The people did not turn to him

Who had struck them.

They did not seek Yahweh of hosts.

Thus Yahweh cut off from Israel

Head and tail.

In one day,

He cut off the palm branch.

He cut off the reed.

The elders and dignitaries are the head.

The prophets who teach lies are the tail.

Those who lead this people

Led them astray.

Those who were led by them

Were left in confusion.

Therefore Yahweh did not have pity

On their young people.

He did not have compassion

On their orphans and widows.

Everyone was godless.

Everyone was an evildoer.

Every mouth spoke folly.

Thus his anger has not turned away.

His hand is still stretched out.”

Isaiah puts part of the blame for the destruction of northern Israel on their leaders. However, he starts and finishes with the guilt of all the people, because they did not turn to the Lord, Yahweh. Both the head and the tail of northern Israel were to blame. Thus Yahweh cut off the tall palm trees and the short reeds in one day. The heads of northern Israel were the elders and the dignitaries who failed to do anything. The tails were the lying northern prophets since there were both good and bad prophets. These leaders led their people astray. They left the people confused. Thus Yahweh, the Lord, did not take pity on their young, their orphans, or their widows, as he had done elsewhere. After all, everyone was involved in foolish godless evildoing. Once again, we have the refrain that Yahweh’s anger was continuing, as he still stretched out his hand against these northern Israelites.

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