“I will go before you.
I will level the mountains.
I will break into pieces
The doors of bronze.
I will cut through the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness.
I will give you riches hidden in secret places.
Thus you may know
That it is I,
The God of Israel,
Who call you by your name.”
Second Isaiah says that Yahweh, in the first person singular, will clearly help Cyrus, since he will go before him to set things up for him. Yahweh was going to level the mountains. He was going to break down the bronze doors with their iron bars. He was going to give Cyrus the treasures and the riches from dark and secret places. In case there was any doubt, it was Yahweh, the God of Israel, who has called Cyrus by name to do his work.
“Some sat in darkness.
Some sat in gloom.
They were prisoners in misery.
They were prisoners in irons.
They had rebelled against the words of God.
They had spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor.
They fell down.
There was no one to help them.
Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.
He saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness.
He brought them out of gloom.
He broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank Yahweh
For his steadfast love!
Let them thank Yahweh
For his wonderful works to humankind!
He shatters the doors of bronze.
He cuts in two the bars of iron.”
Some people were in darkness and gloom. They were prisoners in misery and in actual irons, shackled together, because they had rebelled against God. They had turned away from the counsel of the Most High God. They were in forced labor with no one to help them. These people were not innocent, since they had done or said something against God. However, they cried to Yahweh for help in their distress. Guess what? He saved them from their distress, darkness, and gloom. He tore their chains apart. Now they should give thanks to Yahweh for his steadfast love and wondrous deeds. He shattered the doors of bronze and the iron bars. They were now free people.
“Look at Behemoth!
I made it as I made you.
It eats grass like an ox.
Its strength is in its loins.
Its power is in the muscles of its belly.
It makes its tail stiff like a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit together.
Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs like bars of iron.”
Behemoth seems to be some kind of wild beast, a large hippopotamus, an ancient monster. Yahweh made this monster. The biblical author has Yahweh give a description of this monster that makes it seem like a hippo. This monster ate grass like an ox. Its power came from its loins and belly, while it had a stiff tail like a large tree. Its thighs seemed to be knit together with bronze bones and limbs like iron bars. Thus the idea that this is a large hippopotamus seems correct.