Rejoice in Yahweh (Hab 3:18-3:19)

“Yet I will rejoice

In Yahweh!

I will exult

In the God

Of my salvation!

God!

Yahweh!

Is my strength.

He makes my feet

Like the feet of a deer.

He makes me tread

Upon the heights.”

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

Habakkuk ended his song or hymn with great rejoicing in Yahweh his God, who saves him.  Clearly this was a psalm or canticle with the notation about the leader or choirmaster and the stringed instruments.  Yahweh, God, was his strength, who gave him the ability to run like a deer.  He could even ascend to the heights.  This psalm has a very optimistic ending.

Daniel alone saw the vision (Dan 10:7-10:9)

“I,

Daniel,

Alone,

Saw the vision.

The people,

Who were with me,

Did not see the vision.

But a great trembling

Fell upon them.

They fled.

They hid themselves.

I was left alone

To see this great vision.

My strength

Left me.

My complexion

Grew deathly pale.

I retained no strength.

Then I heard

The sound

Of his words.

When I heard

The sound

Of his words,

I fell into a trance,

Face to the ground.”

Daniel explained in the first-person singular what happened to him when he saw this grand vision. Although there were other people there with him, he was the only one who saw the man clothed in linen. They did not see anything, but they began to tremble and then hid themselves. Thus, Daniel was left alone to see this vision by himself. He, too, had a problem. His strength left me. His complexion turned pale. When he heard the sound of this bronze man’s voice, he fell into a trance, face to the ground.

The great conversion to Yahweh (Jer 16:19-16:20)

“Yahweh!

My strength!

My stronghold!

My refuge in the day of trouble!

The nations shall come to you

From the ends of the earth.

They will say.

‘Our fathers have inherited

Nothing but lies,

Worthless things,

In which there is no profit.

Can mortals make for themselves gods?

Such are not gods!’”

Jeremiah in this passage, which is probably from the exilic time, talks about Yahweh being his strength and stronghold, his refuge in the time of trouble. All the countries of the world would come from the ends of the flat earth to Yahweh. They were going to say that their fathers inherited nothing but useless lies that did not lead to any gain. How could mortals make gods for themselves? Truly, they were not gods at all. This is the universal appeal of Yahweh that does not appear until the exilic times.

The servant’s purpose (Isa 49:5-49:6)

“Now Yahweh says

That he formed me

From the womb

To be his servant.

I was to bring Jacob

Back to him.

Thus Israel might be gathered to him.

I am honored

In the sight of Yahweh.

My God has become my strength.

Yahweh says.

‘It is too light a thing

That you should be my servant

To raise up the tribes of Jacob,

To restore the survivors of Israel.

I will give you

As a light to the nations.

Thus my salvation may reach

To the ends of the earth.’”

Second Isaiah explains why this servant was formed from the womb. He was to bring back Jacob and gather Israel. This servant would be honored in the sight of Yahweh and become his strength. It was not enough that that he would raise up the tribes of Jacob or restore the survivors of Israel. He would now become the light to all the nations. Thus Yahweh would save everyone, even those at the ends of the earth.

The discussion between Yahweh and his servant (Isa 49:3-49:4)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘You are my servant!

Israel!

I will be glorified in you.’

But I said.

‘I have labored in vain.

I have spent my strength

For nothing,

For vanity.

Yet surely my cause is with Yahweh.

My reward is with my God.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh call his servant Israel, not Isaiah. Yahweh was going to be glorified in his servant. However, the servant responded that he had labored in vain, spending all his strength on nothing but useless things. Nevertheless, this servant was willing to say that his cause was with Yahweh. He expected his reward from his God.

The ironsmith makes an idol (Isa 44:12-44:12)

“The ironsmith fashions it.

He works it over the coals.

He shapes it with hammers.

He forges it with his strong arm.

He becomes hungry.

His strength fails.

He drinks no water.

He is faint.”

Second Isaiah calls out the ironsmith for special attention. He has to work hard to produce this idol. He uses coal, hammers, and a strong arm. However, this blacksmith gets hungry and thirsty, so that his strength fails and he faints.

The difficulties of King Solomon (Sir 47:19-47:22)

“You brought in women

To lie at your side.

Through your body,

You were brought

Into subjection.

You stained your honor.

You defiled your family line.

You brought wrath

Upon your children.

They were grieved

At your folly.

Because the sovereignty

Was divided.

A rebel kingdom

Arose out of Ephraim.

But the Lord

Will never give up his mercy.

He will not cause

Any of his works to perish.

He will never blot out

The descendants of his chosen one.

He will not destroy

The family line

Of him who loved him.

So he gave a remnant to Jacob.

To David

He gave a root of his stock.”

Unlike the other famous holy men, Sirach points out some problems with King Solomon. He had a woman problem. As usual, Sirach blames them rather than Solomon. However, he did point out that Solomon brought in women to lie with him that reduced his strength and power. Solomon thus stained the family line with this dishonor. Thus his children suffered with the split in the Israelite kingdom. At the death of King Solomon, the rebels in Ephraim took over the northern part of the kingdom, so that only Judah was left. However, the Lord was merciful and never gave up, so that the family line was not destroyed. They just had less power. The remnant remained of Jacob and David and his family. The roots were still there, even if the tree was smaller.