Listen up (Joel 1:2-1:3)

“Hear this!

O elders!

Give ear!

All inhabitants of the land!

Has such a thing happened

In your days?

Has such a thing happened

In the days

Of your ancestors?

Tell your children of it!

Let your children

Tell their children!

Let their children tell

Another generation!”

Joel began, like many of the other prophets, by asking the people to listen. He wanted the elders and all the people of the land to listen. He was going to talk about a rare event that had happened. He wondered whether it had happened in the days of their ancestors. He wanted them to tell their children about this, so that their children might tell another generations about this great event.

The call of the prophet (Isa 49:1-49:2)

“Listen to me!

O coastlands!

Pay attention!

You people from far away!

Yahweh called me

Before I was born.

While I was in my mother’s womb,

He named me.

He made my mouth

Like a sharp sword.

In the shadow of his hand,

He hid me.

He made me a polished arrow.

In his quiver,

He hid me away.”

In this second chant of the servant of Yahweh, Second Isaiah has this servant speak about how he was called to be a prophet while still in the womb. Once again, the main theme was to listen up and pay attention, but this time the intended listeners are the coastline towns of the Mediterranean Sea, and those far away. Perhaps this alludes to the calling of the prophet Isaiah, but he is not explicitly named here. Nevertheless, this servant was named while still in the womb. He had been given a sharp tongue for his mouth, while he was hidden in the shadow of Yahweh’s hand. He was like a polished arrow hidden in the quiver of the other arrows.