Warning for the Philistines (Isa 14:28-14:31)

“In the year that King Ahaz died

This oracle came.

‘Do not rejoice!

All you Philistines!

The rod that struck you is broken.

From the snake’s root

Will come forth an adder.

Its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.

The firstborn of the poor will graze.

The needy will lie down in safety.

But I will make your root

Die of famine.

Your remnant,

I will kill.

Wail!

O gate!

Cry!

O city!

Melt in fear!

O Philistia!

All of you!

Smoke comes out of the north.

There is no straggler in his ranks.’”

Next Isaiah turned to the coastal Philistines. This oracle has a specific time frame, the year that King Ahaz died, which would have been about 716 BCE. The Philistines had been a common enemy of the Israelites, especially during the time of King Saul and King David in 1 Samuel and I Chronicles. The Philistine southwestern coastal 5 cities had been captured by the Assyrians. Thus with the destruction of Assyria, they should be free. However, another foe from the north would come to attack them. Yahweh reminded them that a small adder snake can come from the fallen snake like a fiery flying serpent. Although it will seem okay because there will be food to eat and the needy will be safe, Yahweh was going to send them a famine to kill those left over. The Philistines would cry and wail. They would melt with fear because a great army from the north was coming. The Philistines actually seemed to disappear after the Assyrian takeover.

The glory of King David (Sir 47:6-47:11)

“They glorified him

For the tens of thousands that he conquered.

They praised him

For the blessings bestowed

By the Lord.

The glorious diadem was given to him.

He wiped out his enemies on every side.

He annihilated his adversaries,

The Philistines.

He crushed their power even to our own day.

In all that he did

He gave thanks to the Holy One,

The Most High,

Proclaiming his glory.

He sang praise

With all his heart.

He loved his Maker.

He placed singers before the altar.

They made sweet melody with their voices.

Daily they sing his praises.

He gave beauty to the festivals.

He arranged their times

Throughout the year.

They praised God’s holy name.

The sanctuary resounded from early morning.

The Lord took away his sins.

He exalted his power forever.

He gave him a covenant of kingship.

He gave him a glorious throne in Israel.”

Sirach told of the glory of King David who had killed thousands of his enemies. He was praised for the Lord’s blessings that he had received. He was given a glorious diadem crown to wear, after an unmentioned dispute with King Saul. David wiped out his enemies, especially the Philistines, but they kept coming back for more. However, David gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High God. He loved his creator. He sang praises to him. He had singers at the altar as well as set up wonderful festivals throughout the year. Although there is mention of a sanctuary, the Temple was not built until his son King Solomon built it. The Lord took away the sins of David and established a covenant of kingship with him on the throne in Israel. In light of what was to come, there was no eternal covenant of kingship.

The legend of King David (Sir 47:2-47:5)

“As the fat is set apart

From the offering of well-being,

So David was set apart

From the Israelites.

He played with lions

As though they were young goats.

He played with bears

As though they were lambs of the flock.

In his youth

Did he not kill a giant?

Did he take away the people’s disgrace?

Did he not whirl the stone in the sling?

Did he not strike down

The boasting Goliath?

He called on the Lord,

The Most High.

He gave him strength

To his right hand.

He struck down a mighty warrior.

He exalted the power of his people.”

Sirach sets out to portray David as a super hero, not just a holy famous man. He was set apart from all Israelites, like the fat at a sacrificial offering. As a young boy, he played with lions and bears as if they were goats and lambs. Then he killed the giant Goliath with his sling shot as found in 1 Samuel, chapter 17. He did this because he had called on the name of the Lord, the Most High God. Thus he exalted the power of his people with all these exploits. This was super David. It is interesting to note that Sirach did not consider the first king of Israel, King Saul, as a famous holy man, only this second king of Israel, the super hero King David.

Personal prayer to Yahweh (Ps 142:1-142:3)

A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave, a prayer

“With my voice

I cry to Yahweh!

With my voice

I make supplication to Yahweh!

I pour out my complaint before him.

I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit is faint,           

You know my way!”

Psalm 142 is a maskil or wisdom song of David, when he was in the cave. There is no explicit mention of an incident in the life of David where he was being persecuted in a cave. He may have been hiding out when he was trying to escape from King Saul. There is no doubt that it is a personal lament to Yahweh. David cries with his voice to Yahweh as he makes his supplications or complaints. He was telling Yahweh his troubles because his spirit was weak or faint. Yahweh knew David so that made him hopeful.

David’s enemies will be destroyed (Ps 63:9-63:11)

“But those who seek to destroy my life

Shall go down into the depths of the earth.

They shall be given over

To the power of the sword.

They shall be prey for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God.

All who swear by him shall exult.

The mouths of liars will be stopped.”

This psalm ends with the destruction of David’s enemies. Those out to destroy his life, like King Saul, shall go down to the depths of earth, the pit, or Sheol, the underground world of the dead. They would die by the sword. They would become the prey for the wild dog jackals. However, the king, meaning him rather than Saul, would rejoice in God. Those who swore by him would be exalted, while the mouths of the liars would be stopped.

The thirst for God (Ps 63:1-63:4)

A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah

“O God!

You are my God!

I seek you!

My soul thirsts for you!

My flesh faints for you!

I am like in a dry and weary land.

There is no water.

So I have looked upon you

In the sanctuary.

I behold your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love

Is better than life,

My lips will praise you.

So I will bless you

As long as I live.

I will lift up my hands.

I will call on your name.”

This Psalm 63 refers to the time that David was in the wilderness with his outlaw band of warriors against King Saul. There is no indication of any choral element in this psalm. David was seeking God. His soul was thirsty for God, like in Psalm 42. His flesh was faint without God. He was like in a dry and weary land without water. He wanted to look on the sanctuary of God, but it did not exist at this time. He wanted to behold the power and glory of God. He realized the steadfast love of God was better than life itself. His lips would praise and bless God as long as he lived. He was going to lift up his hands and call upon the name of God.

Deliver David from his enemies (Ps 59:1-59:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Do Not Destroy, a Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him

“Deliver me

From my enemies!

O my God!

Protect me

From those who rise up against me.

Deliver me

From those who work evil.

Save me

From bloodthirsty men.”

Psalm 59 is the 3rd psalm in a row that has the melody “Do Not Destroy.” Once again it is a choral Miktam psalm of David. This time the incident about David can be found in 1 Samuel, chapter 19, when King Saul sent people to his house to kill him. Then Michal, the daughter of King Saul and wife of David, saved him. David asked to be saved and protected from his enemies. There is never a specific mention of King Saul. Perhaps these psalms may date from the time of the captivity with a projection back to the time of David. David wanted protection from those who were opposing him. His opponents, of course, were the evil bloodthirsty men who were after him.