Clear the path (Lk 3:5-3:5)

“Every valley

Shall be filled.

Every mountain

Shall be made low.

Every hill

Shall be made low.

The crooked ways

Will be made straight.

The rough ways

Will be made smooth.”

 

πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας·

 

Only Luke has this continuation of the prophecy from Deutero-Isaiah.  As a further description on how to prepare the way for the Lord, Luke quoted Isaiah, chapter 40:4-5.  Every valley will be filled (πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται).  Every mountain and hill will be made low (καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται).  The crooked ways will be made straight (καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας).  The rough ways will be made smooth (καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας).  This would be a time of upheaval.  The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall.  Also, the uneven and rough places would become level and plain so that all the people would then see the glory of God revealed.

The hungry are filled (Lk 1:53-1:53)

“God

Has filled

The hungry

With good things.

He has sent

The rich away

Empty.”

 

πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς.

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son the prophet Samuel.  Luke had Mary elaborate on Hannah’s thought about how the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the low and the poor would succeed.  Mary said that God had filled or satisfied the needy hungry people with good things (πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν), while at the same time he had sent away (ἐξαπέστειλεν) the rich people (καὶ πλουτοῦντας) empty handed (κενούς.).  God was going to reverse the human order of rich and poor as far as food was concerned.  The rich would have nothing, but the poor would be satisfied.

The strength of God (Lk 1:51-1:51)

“God

Has shown strength

With his arm.

He has scattered

The proud thinking

In their hearts.”

 

Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:3-4, that praised Yahweh for her son, Samuel the prophet.  Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble but the low and the poor would succeed.  Here Luke indicated that Mary said that God had shown strength with his arm (Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ).  Thus, he has scattered the proud thinking in their hearts (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν).  The power of God would scatter the proud people.

The final praise of God (Dan 4:37-4:37)

“Now I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Praise

The king of heaven!

I extol

The king of heaven!

I honor

The king of heaven!

All his works

Are true!

His ways

Are justice!

He is able to

Bring low

Those who walk

In pride.”

The king continued, in the first-person singular, to praise, extol, and honor the king of heaven. All God’s works are true. All his ways are just. God is able to bring low those who walk in pride. The king was referring to himself and his new-found God.

The Lord of the trees (Ezek 17:24-17:24)

“All the trees

Of the field

Shall know

That I am Yahweh.

I bring low

The high tree.

I make high

The low tree.

I dry up

The green tree.

I make the dry tree

Flourish.

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.

I will accomplish it.”

This chapter ends with Yahweh clearly showing that he was in charge of trees. They should know that he made high trees low and low trees high. He dried up green trees and made dry trees flourish. He was Yahweh. He had spoken. It was going to happen.

The victory chant (Isa 26:1-26:6)

“On that day,

This song will be sung

In the land of Judah.

‘We have a strong city.

He sets up victory,

Like walls,

Like bulwarks.

Open the gates!

Thus the righteous nation

That keeps faith

May enter in.

You keep them in peace

Those of a steadfast mind.

You keep them in peace

Because they trust you.

Trust in Yahweh forever!

Trust in Yahweh God!

You have an everlasting rock.

He has brought low

The inhabitants of the heights.

He lays low the lofty city.

He lays it low to the ground.

He casts it to dust.

The foot tramples it.

The feet of the poor

Trample it.

The steps of the needy

Trample it.’”

Isaiah presents this victory song or chant that may have used in processions into Jerusalem, since this text says that it should be sung in Judah. There is an emphasis on a strong city like Jerusalem because of its protective walls. In typical fashion, the high people are brought low. The gates are open so that everyone in the righteous nation might enter. They have peace because they trusted the Lord, Yahweh, who is their eternal rock. However, the lofty city was laid low. He has crushed the mighty into the ground so that they are like dust. Now all can trample on them. Both the needy and the poor trample away.

The response of Yahweh (Isa 10:33-10:34)

“Look!                                                                                         

The Sovereign!

Yahweh of hosts W

ill lop the boughs

With terrifying power.

The tallest trees

Will be cut down.

The lofty will be brought low.

He will hack down

The thickets of the forest

With an axe.

Lebanon

With its majestic trees

Will fall.”

Isaiah says that Yahweh with his armies will cut the tree branches with his terrible power. He will chop down the tallest trees, meaning the Assyrians. These proud invaders will be brought low. Yahweh will use an axe on the tall Lebanon cedar trees, as he cuts them down in this forest. They, the Assyrians, will all fall.