“They went on
He did not want
Anybody to know it.”
Κἀκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντες παρεπορεύοντο διὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν ἵνα τις γνοῖ·
This incident in Galilee can also be found in Matthew, chapter 17:22. Jesus and his disciples left the area (Κἀκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντες) around the transfiguration mountain. They were passing through Galilee (παρεπορεύοντο διὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας). Only Mark indicated that they did not want anyone to know what they were doing (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν ἵνα τις γνοῖ). Mark portrayed Jesus as more secretive.
“Then the devil left him.
Τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.
This ending is not quite the same as in Luke, chapter 4:13, where there were no angels. The show is over. The devil left Jesus (Τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος). He had failed to convince Jesus in any of these temptations. Jesus had passed his first test. As the devil left him, a number of angels came, as in 1 Kings, chapter 19:4-8, where an angel came to help Elijah when he was in the desert. The shadow of Elijah appears in many of the gospel stories. These angels came to wait on and care for Jesus (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ). Score one for the good guys.
Enter your chambers!
Shut your doors
For a little while
Until the wrath is past!
From his place
To punish the inhabitants
Of the earth
For their iniquity.
The earth will disclose
The bloodshed on it.
Will no longer
Cover its slain.”
This section indicates that Isaiah wants everybody to stay inside their houses with their doors closed. They were to hide until the anger of the Lord had passed, much like the prototype Passover. Yahweh was going to come out of his place to punish the iniquitous inhabitants of this earth. There would be bloodshed everywhere. Dead people would lie all over the place uncovered. This would be a gruesome scene.
“When the oppressor is no more,
When the destruction has ceased,
When marauders have vanished
From the land,
Then a throne will be established
In steadfast love,
In the tent of David.
Shall sit in faithfulness
A ruler who seeks justice.
He will be swift
To do what is right.”
At one time the Moabites had paid tribute to Judah, so that this did not seem out of place to have the same set up again. When all this destruction and oppression of the marauders had passed, the Moabites should pay tribute to the tent of David, or the king of Judah. There they would receive steadfast love and faithful justice. They will do what is right.
“The whole creation
In its nature
Was fashioned anew.
It complies with your commands.
Thus your children might be kept unharmed.
The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp.
Dry land emerged
Where water had stood before.
There was an unhindered way
Out of the Red Sea.
There was a grassy plain
Out of the raging waves.
Those protected by your hand
They passed through as one nation.
After gazing on marvelous wonders.
They ranged like horses.
They leaped like lambs.
They praised you.
You delivered them.”
Creation itself helped the righteous Israelites as they complied with the commands of God to help his children (σοὶ παῖδες). There was a cloud (παρεμβολὴν) over the camp. Dry land emerged from the Red Sea (ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης) as in Exodus, chapter 13. Here there is an explicit mention of the Red Sea as they passed through a grassy plain in the middle of the raging waters. God’s hand (χειρί) protected them as they passed through the Red Sea together like horses and lambs. They praised the Lord (Κύριε) for their deliverance.
“I passed by the field
Of a lazy person.
I passed by the vineyard
Of a stupid person.
It was all overgrown with thorns.
The ground was covered with nettles.
Its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw it.
I considered it.
I received instruction.”
This wise person passed by the fields of a lazy person as well as the vineyards of a stupid person. These fields were overgrown with thorns and nettles. The stone wall fences were broken down. Once again, this indicates a strong agricultural society where there were general rules on how to keep up your farming fields. The wise one saw it, looked at it, considered it, and received instructions about it. This un-kept farm field was a big deal.
“At the window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice.
I saw among the simple ones.
I observed among the youths.
There was a young man without sense.
He passed along the street near her corner.
He took the road to her house,
In the twilight,
In the evening,
At the time of night and darkness.”
Now we find out about the simple person who does not have wisdom. This wonderful father looked out his window. He then saw a simple young man without sense. What was he going to do? This simple one, in the twilight of the evening when night and darkness was coming, passed along the street near the corner that led to her house. Stay tuned for further adventures.
“Yahweh established a decree in Jacob.
He appointed a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
To teach their children.
Thus the next generation might know them,
The children yet unborn.
Thus they might rise up.
They then could tell them to their children.
Therefore they should set their hope in God.
They should not forget the works of God.
They should keep his commandments.
They should not be like their ancestors.
They were a stubborn and rebellious generation.
They were a generation
Whose heart was not steadfast.
They were a generation
Whose spirit was not faithful to God.”
In recalling the introduction of the law to Jacob or Israel, Asaph, the psalmist, reminded his audience that their ancestors were not that faithful to the law. There are no specific incidents cited. What was indicated clearly was that they were supposed to teach the law to their children just as their ancestors had done for them. This may be a reference to the “shema” love of God law in Deuteronomy, chapter 6. There is no direct reference to Moses and the 10 Commandments. In one sense, this may be an indication of a non-written oral law that was passed on by word of mouth in an oral tradition. They should set their hope in God. They should remember his great works. In a twist of fate, he reminds them not to be like their ancestors, who were stubborn and rebellious. They did not have steadfast love of God, nor was their spirit faithful to God. This paints a bleak picture of their ancestors. The works of Exodus and Deuteronomy show the so-called warts of their ancestors.
A Maskil of Asaph
“O my people!
Give ear to my teaching!
Incline your ears
To the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable.
I will utter dark sayings from of old.
These are the things
That we have heard and known.
Our ancestors have told us these things.
We will not hide them from their children.
We will tell them to the coming generation.
These are the glorious deeds of Yahweh,
These show his might.
These are the wonders that he has done.”
Psalm 78 is one of these long didactic psalms that relate the whole history of the Israelite people, like Psalms 105 and 106 as well as Psalms 135 and 136. This psalm is also a maskil of Asaph as the others in this series. We will learn the lessons of Israelite history, with a special emphasis on particular favorite heroes. There is an initial call to listen with care to the teaching of this psalmist, Asaph. He was going to speak in parables like the wisdom writers. These are the stories that were passed on to him by his ancestors. Now he was not going to hide it from the current children and the generations yet to come. All this shows the glorious deeds of Yahweh and his strength in the wonders that he has done for Israel.