Yahweh and Judah (Isa 48:1-48:2)

“Hear this!

O house of Jacob!

You are called

By the name of Israel.

You came forth

From the loins of Judah.

You swear by the name of Yahweh.

You confess the God of Israel.

But not in truth or right.

They call themselves

After the holy city.

They lean on the God of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.”

This chapter concludes the first section or first chant of Second Isaiah. Second Isaiah has this continual call to listen. This is directed at the house of Jacob, the Israelites, who come from Judah, a clear distinction about the house of Judah compared to all the other tribes. They swear by the name of Yahweh. They confess him as the God of Israel, but not truly or rightly in good faith. They seem to call themselves after their holy city. They lean on the God of Israel, Yahweh, and his army.

The devastation of the land of Ephraim (Isa 17:4-17:6)

“‘On that day,

The glory of Jacob

Will be brought low.

The fat of his flesh

Will grow lean.

It shall be

As when reapers

Gather standing grain.

Their arms harvest the ears.

It shall be

As when one gleans

The ears of grain

In the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

As when an olive tree is beaten.

Two or three berries

On the top of the highest bough

Will be left.

Four or five on the branches

Of a fruit tree

Will be left.’

Says Yahweh

God of Israel.”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, but about Ephraim of northern Israel. This rebuke is against Jacob, not Damascus. There is a reference to the Valley of Rephaim, which is northwest of Jerusalem in the Ephraim territory. Thus this land of Ephraim will be devastated. The fat animals will grow lean. All that will be left are the gleanings of left over grain that the pickers left behind. The olive trees will only have a few berries that were too difficult to pick, since all the others would have been shaken out of the trees. There will only be a few branches on any trees. There will not be much left after this day of destruction in northern Israel.

The remnant of Israel (Isa 10:20-10:21)

“On that day,

The remnant of Israel

With the survivors

Of the house of Jacob

Will no more lean on the one

Who struck them.

But they will lean

On Yahweh,

The Holy One of Israel,

In truth.

A remnant will return.

The remnant of Jacob,

to the mighty God.”

Isaiah returns to the theme of the remnant of Israel, which is actually the name of his son Shear-Jashub, as mentioned earlier in chapter 7 of this work. They will no longer lean on Assyria but on the Lord, Yahweh, the true holy one of Israel. This remnant returning was a common theme during the Exile.

Fear of the Lord and wisdom (Sir 15:1-15:8)

“Whoever fears the Lord

Will do this.

Whoever holds to the law

Will obtain wisdom.

Wisdom will come to meet him

Like a mother.

She will be

Like a young bride.

She will welcome him.

She will feed him

With the bread of learning.

She will give him

The water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her.

He will not fall.

He will rely on her.

He will not be put to shame.

She will exalt him

Above his neighbors.

She will open his mouth

In the midst of the assembly.

He will find gladness.

He will find a crown of rejoicing.

He will inherit an everlasting name.

The foolish will not obtain her.

Sinners will not see her.

She is far from arrogance.

Liars will never think of her.”

Anyone who fears the Lord will have a chance at wisdom. They must hold firmly and follow the law in order to get wisdom. Then wisdom will come to meet them like a mother or a young bride. Clearly wisdom is feminine as a mother or wife. The food and drink of the wise person will be the bread of learning and the water of wisdom. These people can lean on wisdom so that they will not fall or be put to shame. They will be exalted above their neighbors because they will open their mouths in the assembly of the elders. They will find gladness with a rejoicing crown and an everlasting name. The foolish and the sinners cannot obtain or see wisdom. Wisdom stays away from arrogance. Liars never think about wisdom, since she is reserved for those who fear the Lord.