Some prophets wrote things, while others had people write things about them. Thus, there is a mixed bag about the Hebrew prophets. Generally speaking, a prophet was someone who believed that a higher power had contacted them. Thus, they became the intermediary between Yahweh, their God, and their fellow human beings. Almost like angels, these humans delivered a divine message. Quite often, the message itself that the prophet conveyed was called a prophecy. The Hebrew prophets were moral teachers. Some prophets may have had a role with the institutional Temple priests. Many religious groups have had what are called prophetic priests. The Hebrew word navi, meaning spokesperson, has been traditionally translated as prophet. These navi was considered to be the mouth of Yahweh or God, since they were open to receive and transmit his divine wisdom. Besides writing and speaking messages from God, these Israelite Nevi’im often acted out prophetic parables in their life. They were not always praised, since some prophets were even considered bad or false prophets. Thus, they were sometimes the target of persecution and opposition.
“A voice cries out.
‘In the wilderness,
Prepare the way of Yahweh!
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up.
Every mountain shall be made low.
Every hill shall be made low.
The uneven ground shall become level.
The rough places shall become a plain.
The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed.
All the people shall see it together.
The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.’”
Here we have the famous phrase that was used by the Christian writers of the New Testament to speak about John the Baptist. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke both use these phrases from the Greek Septuagint when citing them from Isaiah. Apparently this new path is a way out of the Exile, just as there was the path of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way that was mentioned earlier in chapter 35, to prepare a path for Yahweh. This would also 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. All the people would then see the glory of God revealed. In case there was any doubt, Second Isaiah said that this was spoken by the mouth of Yahweh.
“Seek the book of Yahweh!
Read from the book of Yahweh!
Not one of these shall be missing.
None shall be without its mate.
The mouth of Yahweh has commanded.
His Spirit has gathered them.
He has cast the lot for them.
His hand has portioned it out to them
With the line.
They shall possess it forever.
From generation to generation,
They shall live in it.”
It is not clear what the book of Yahweh is. Is this the Torah or is it the oracles of Isaiah? Isaiah wants you to seek it out and read from it. Nothing will be missing from it. Everything will have a mate. The mouth of Yahweh has commanded this as his Spirit has gathered them. He has gambled for them and protected them. He has given them their portion that will last forever from generation to generation. Perhaps this is a reference to the Israelites.