Fools and villains (Isa 32:5-32:8)

“A fool will no longer be called noble.

A villain will not be said to be honorable.

Fools speak folly.

Their mind plots iniquity.

They practice ungodliness.

They utter error concerning Yahweh.

They leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied.

They deprive the thirsty of drink.

The villainies of villains are evil.

They devise wicked devices.

They ruin the poor with lying words,

Even when the plea of the needy is right.

But those who are noble

Plan noble things.

They stand by noble things.”

This Isaiah poem about the fools and the villains is like later wisdom literature. A fool should not be called noble. Neither should a villain be called honorable. The fools naturally speak folly, as they plot iniquity and practice ungodliness. They speak erroneously about Yahweh as they leave the hungry unsatisfied and the thirsty without drink. The villains are the same. They are devising wicked things as they ruin the lives of the poor with lying words, even when the poor are right. On the other hand, the real noble people plan noble things and stand by them.

The sins in the desert (Ps 78:17-78:22)

“Yet they sinned still more against him.

They rebelled against the Most High.

In the desert,

They tested God in their heart.

They demanded the food they craved.

They spoke against God.

They said.

‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

Even though he had struck the rock

So that water gushed out,

The streams overflowed.

Can he also give bread?

Can he provide meat for his people?

Therefore, when Yahweh heard this,

He was full of rage.

A fire was kindled against Jacob.

His anger mounted against Israel.

They had no faith in God.

They did not trust his saving power.”

This complaint is based on Exodus, chapter 16. The Israelites rebelled against God in the desert. They wanted to test God. They demanded their food. They complained that things were better in Egypt. How was God going to provide food for them in the desert wilderness? They already had water from rocks, but that was not good enough. They also wanted bread and meat. This got Yahweh angry and mad at Jacob that is Israel. They had no faith in God and were not trusting in his saving power.

The miracle of bread and oil (1 Kings 17:8-17:16)

Then the word of Yahweh came to Elijah. ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon. Live there. I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and said. ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.’ As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said. ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ But she said. ‘As Yahweh your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug. I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son. We may eat it, and die.’ Elijah said to her. ‘Do not be afraid. Go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me. Afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says Yahweh the God of Israel. ‘The jar of meal shall not be emptied. The jug of oil will not fail until the day that Yahweh sends rain upon the earth.’ She went and did as Elijah said. Thus she and he, and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of Yahweh which he spoke by Elijah.”

Then Elijah gets another command from Yahweh. Elijah was to go to the northern town of Zarephath, near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town. There a widow would take care of him. When he got there, he saw a widow gathering sticks. He asked for water and got that. However, when he asked for a morsel of bread, she said that her and her son were about to die after they finished eating what they had in a jar and a jug. Elijah told her to make a cake for him with the meal and the oil. He said that the jar and jug would feed them since they would never be empty. That is exactly what happens. The never ending jar and jug provided meal and oil for the widow and her household until the drought came to an end. Everything happened the way that Elijah speaking for Yahweh said it would.