Powerful Yahweh (Zeph 2:11-2:11)

“Yahweh will be terrible

Against them.

He will shrivel

All the gods of the earth.

All the coasts,

All the islands,

Shall bow down,

Each in its place.”

Yahweh was all powerful.  He would make all the small idol gods of the earth shrivel up.  All the coasts and islands on earth would remain where they were, but they would bow down to Yahweh.  This seems like an addition here to finish up the destruction of Moab and Ammon.

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The intervention of Yahweh (Isa 42:14-42:17)

“For a long time,

I have held my peace.

I have kept still.

I have restrained myself.

Now I will cry out

Like a woman in labor.

I will gasp.

I will pant.

I will lay waste mountains.

I will lay waste hills.

I will dry up all their herbage.

I will turn the rivers into islands.

I will dry up the pools.

I will lead the blind

By a road that they do not know.

I will lead the blind

In paths that they have not known.

I will guide them.

I will turn

The darkness before them into light.

I will turn

The rough places into level ground.

These are the things I will do.

I will not forsake them.

They shall be turned back.

They shall be utterly put to shame.

All those who trust in craved images,

All those who say to cast images,

‘You are our gods.’”

Once again, we have the first person singular, as Yahweh speaks directly in Second Isaiah. Yahweh had been quiet, still, and restrained. Now, however, Yahweh was going to yell out with gasps and pants, like a woman in labor about to give birth. He was going to tear down the mountains and the hills, dry up vegetation and pools, as well as turn rivers into islands. He was going to lead the blind on unknown roads with unlevel ground. He would turn their darkness into light and level the rough ground. He was not going to give up on the blind, perhaps a reference to the Israelites being led blindly in the desert wilderness during the Exodus. However, he was going to shame those who relied on carved and cast images as their gods. This was a strong plea for monotheism among the Israelites.

The powerful successful king (Ps 72:8-72:11)

“May he have dominion

From sea to sea!

May he have dominion

From the river to the ends of the earth!

May his foes

Bow down before him!

May his enemies

Lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish

Render him tribute!

May the kings of the isles

Render him tribute!

May the kings of Sheba and Seba

Bring gifts!

May all kings

Fall down before him!

All nations

Give him service!”

Now we have the practical empire of the king. He will be king from sea to shining sea even to the ends of the earth. His foes will bow down before him, while his enemies will lick dust. What a nice thought! The kings of Tarshish and various islands will render him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will also bring gifts and tribute. The river mentioned here is the Euphrates River, since that was a border area easily recognized. Tarshish maybe Spain and the other Mediterranean islands. Sheba and Seba are probably Arabian countries. There is no mention of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and other common enemies, suggesting maybe a post-exilic writing. King Solomon had been an idealist wise king that everyone respected. Thus all the kings and all the nations would bring gifts and give service to him.