“Foreigners join themselves to Yahweh.
They minister to him.
They love the name of Yahweh.
They want to be his servants.
They keep the Sabbath.
They do not profane it.
They hold fast to my covenant.
‘I will bring these to my holy mountain.
I will make them joyful
In my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings,
With their sacrifices
Will be accepted on my altar.
My house shall be called
A house of prayer
For all people.’
Thus says Yahweh God!
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
‘I will gather others to them,
Besides those already gathered.’”
Third Isaiah keeps the universal theme alive. He has Yahweh extend a hand to the proselytes, those people who were not originally Israelites but joined their religious community. In pre-exilic times, they would have been excluded from the community. These foreigners are the ones who have joined themselves to Yahweh, the Lord. They have ministered to him and want to be his servants. They love the name of Yahweh and hold fast to his covenant. Yahweh will bring them to his holy mountain where they will be joyful in his house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on his altars. No longer is the Temple a place for clean Israelites, but all the people are invited to Yahweh’s house of prayer. Yahweh, the Lord God, has gathered all the outcasts of Israel, but he has also gathered other believers who were not Israelites.
Your sentinels lift up their voice.
Together they sing for joy.
In plain sight,
They see the return of Yahweh
Break forth together into singing!
You ruins of Jerusalem!
Yahweh has comforted his people.
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
Yahweh has bared his holy arm
Before the eyes of all the nations.
All the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God.”
Second Isaiah wants a grand celebration of singing as Yahweh leads his people back into Jerusalem. First, the sentinels at their watch posts somehow see Yahweh coming to Mount Zion as they burst into joyful singing. Then everybody else should break out singing, especially the ruins of Jerusalem itself. Yahweh has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. He has showed his bare holy arm to all the nations of the world. Everyone will see the salvation of their God, even to the ends of the earth.
O give thanks to Yahweh!
He is good!
His steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of Yahweh?
Who can declare all his praise?
Happy are those
Who observe justice!
Happy are those
Who do righteousness at all times!”
Psalm 106 is a continuation of Psalm 105, but is less joyful since it points out the many problems that the Israelites had. Once again there is no title to this psalm. However, it starts out with a rousing hymn to Yahweh. Praise Yahweh or alleluia, is the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” They are to give thanks to Yahweh because he is good. His steadfast love endures forever, a theme that is repeated over and over again. Who can say what all the mighty deeds of Yahweh are? Who can declare his praise? However, the happy ones are those who observe justice and are righteous all the time.
To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song
“Let God rise up!
Let his enemies be scattered!
Let those who hate him
Flee before him!
As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away!
As wax melts before fire,
Let the wicked perish before God!
But let the righteous be joyful!
Let them exult before God!
Let them be jubilant with joy!”
Psalm 68 is a long liturgical choral psalm and song of David at the Temple. It portrays the various stages in the history of Israel where God has helped them, but it is a little disjointed in its long ramblings. This psalm begins by asking God to rise up and scatter his enemies, especially those who hate him. The wicked should flee, just like smoke that is blown away. They should be driven out like wax that melts in front of a fire. The wicked should die, but the righteous should be joyful before God.
“You desire truth in the inward being.
Therefore teach me wisdom
In my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop!
Then I shall be clean.
Then I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness!
Let the bones that you have crushed rejoice!
Hide your face from my sins!
Blot out all my iniquities!”
David wanted to be purified. He wanted wisdom in his heart. He wanted to be purged or purified with some ritual that involved a hyssop, a ceremonial plant that was used to sprinkle water in a cleansing ritual. The hyssop was used in cleansing lepers in Leviticus, chapter 14. This cleansing hyssop was more explicit in Numbers, chapter 19, as the main tool used in sprinkling water to ritually clean things. He wanted to be clean, whiter than snow. There was a mention of some crushed bones. He wanted to be joyful, not with broken bones. He wanted his sins hidden and blotted out. He wanted a clean slate.
“O send out your light!
Send out your truth!
Let them lead me!
Let them bring me to your holy hill!
Let them bring me to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God.
I will go to God.
My exceeding joy.
I will praise you with the harp.
The psalmist wanted God to send light and truth to him. They would lead him to the holy hill in Jerusalem. He would then be able to go to Temple, the dwelling of God. Then he would be happy and joyful praising God on the harp.