Yahweh did what he wanted to do (Lam 2:17-2:17)

Ayin

“Yahweh has done

What he purposed.

He has carried out

His threat.

As he ordained

Long ago,

He has demolished

Without pity.

He has made

Your enemies

Rejoice

Over you.

He exalted

The might

Of your foes.”

Yahweh has done what he planned to do. He has carried out his threat as he said he would. He has demolished Jerusalem without any pity. Notice that it was Yahweh and not the Babylonian king who destroyed Jerusalem. Now, he has made the enemies and foes of Zion rejoice and exalt. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Ayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh and the battle in Babylon (Jer 51:11-51:14)

“Sharpen the arrows!

Fill the quivers!

Yahweh has stirred up

The spirit of the kings

Of the Medes.

His purpose concerning Babylon

Is to destroy it.

That is the vengeance of Yahweh,

That is the vengeance

For his temple.

Raise a standard

Against the walls of Babylon!

Make the watch strong!

Post sentinels!

Prepare the ambushes!

Yahweh has both planned

As well as done

What he spoke

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

You who live

By mighty waters,

Rich in treasures,

Your end has come.

The thread of your life

Is cut.

Yahweh of hosts

Has sworn by himself.

Surely I will fill you

With troops,

Like a swarm of locusts.

They shall raise

A shout of victory

Over you.”

Here there is a serious of commands from Yahweh, via Jeremiah. The warriors were to have their quivers ready full of arrows. Yahweh has stirred up the Medes, the people to the north of Babylon with the Persians. They were going to destroy Babylon because of Yahweh’s vengeance for what the Babylonians had done to his temple in Jerusalem. There was going to be an invasion of Babylon with wise watchmen and sentinels as well as strong ambushes. Yahweh had planned and carried out his word against Babylon, the land of mighty waters such as the Euphrates and the Tigris, with all their treasures. Their end has come. The thread of their life has been cut. There will be troops in Babylon, like swarms of locusts, shouting about victory.

The call of Cyrus (Isa 46:10-46:11)

“Yahweh said.

‘My purpose shall stand.

I will finish my intention.’

I am calling a bird of prey

From the east.

I am calling the man

Of my purpose

From a far country.

I have spoken.

I will bring it to pass.

I have planned it.

I will do it.’”

Second Isaiah once again insists that Yahweh has called the bird of prey from the East in a far country, King Cyrus of Persia, for his own purpose. He was going to make sure that Cyrus could finish off his intentions and purposes. He has said this, and so it shall be. He has planned it, and so it will happen, no questions asked.

Yahweh destroys the harbor at Tyre (Isa 23:5-23:11)

“When the report comes to Egypt,

They will be in anguish

Over the report about Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish!

Wail!

O inhabitants of the coast!

Is this your exultant city?

Its origin is from days of old.

Its feet carried her to settle far away.

Who has planned this against Tyre?

They were the bestower of crowns.

Their merchants were princes.

Their traders were the honored of the earth.

Yahweh of hosts has planned it.

He wanted to defile

The pride of all glory.

He wanted to shame

All the honored of the earth.

Cross over to your own land!

O ships of Tarshish!

This is a harbor no more!

He has stretched out his hand

Over the sea.

He has shaken the kingdoms.

Yahweh has given command

Concerning Canaan

To destroy its fortresses.”

Isaiah then proclaims the effects of the destruction of the ports at Sidon and Tyre. Their commercial trading partners, especially Egypt, were upset. So too were the people of Tarshish, the precious metal producing people, and all the shipping ports along the Mediterranean coast line. Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes who had bestowed crowns on others. Their important people were renowned and honored everywhere. Who planned this destruction? Why it was Yahweh of hosts who wanted to bring down these proud inhabitants of this seaport. He has stretched out his angry hand over the sea. He has shaken these kingdoms. He has given his command to the Canaanites to destroy the various fortresses. The harbor is no more so that there is no sense in coming here.

Preparations for the invasion (Isa 22:8-22:11)

“On that day,

You looked

To the weapons

Of the House of the Forest.

You saw

That there were so many breaches

In the city of David.

You then collected

The waters of the lower pool.

You counted

The houses of Jerusalem.

You broke down the houses

To fortify the wall.

You made a reservoir

Between the two walls

To hold the water of the old pool.

But you did not look

To him who did it.

You did not have regard

For him who planned it long ago.”

Isaiah now reprimands the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the second person plural. They made preparations to protect Jerusalem from invaders. The weapons were in the House of the Forest, which was the royal palace, since it had so much wood in it. The city of David was the older southeastern part of Jerusalem. They tried to fix the holes in the wall around Jerusalem by tearing down houses in the city to fill the holes. They also tried to make a reservoir for the water within the city from the old pool. Isaiah points out that there was a fatal flaw to their preparations. They forgot to consider who had made the city for them, God. They did not regard Yahweh who had planned this city with King David and King Solomon. They had forgotten the Lord.

King Antiochus IV reverses himself about the Jews (2 Macc 9:13-9:18)

“Then the abominable fellow made a vow to the Lord, who would no longer have mercy on him. He stated that the holy city, which he was hastening to level to the ground in order to make it a cemetery, was now declared to be free. He had not considered the Jews worth burying. He had planned to throw them out with their children for the wild animals and for the birds to pick on. However, now he would make all of them equal to citizens of Athens. The holy sanctuary, which he had formerly plundered, he would adorn with the finest offerings. All the holy vessels he would give back many times over. The expenses, incurred for the sacrifices, he would provide from his own revenues. In addition to all this he also would become a Jew. He would visit every inhabited place to proclaim the power of God. However, when his sufferings did not in any way abate, for the judgment of God had justly come upon him, he gave up all hope for himself.”

This deathbed reversal of King Antiochus IV goes into greater detail here than in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. For Jerusalem, the city that he was going to make into a cemetery, now he was declaring it a free city. For the Jews themselves, instead of letting their bodies lay in the open for the wild animals and birds, he was making them citizens like the people in Athens. He was going to give fine offerings for the sanctuary he had plundered. He was going to return all the holy vessels that he took and more. He would pay for the expenses of the sacrifices out of his own revenue. He also was willing to become a Jew. He was going to go every place to proclaim God. However, his own just sufferings did not stop. He gave up all hope for himself. Thus this born again conversion of the king included the idea of becoming a Jew, which was extraordinary.

The death bed repentance of King Antiochus (1 Macc 6:8-6:13)

“When King Antiochus king heard this news, he was astounded and badly shaken. He took to his bed. He became sick from grief because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. He lay there for many days because deep disappointment continually gripped him. He concluded that he was dying. So he called all his friends. He said to them.

‘Sleep has departed from my eyes.

I am downhearted with worry.

I said to myself.

‘To what distress I have come!

Into what a great flood I now am plunged!

For I was kind and beloved in my power.’

But now I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem.

I seized all her vessels of silver and gold.

I sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason.

I know that it is because of this

That these misfortunes have come upon me.

Here I am perishing of bitter disappointment in a strange land.’”

King Antiochus IV was astonished and shaken by the news that he heard about Judah. In quite a melodramatic way, he took to his bed because things had not turned out the way that he had planned them. He was very despondent. Thinking that he was dying, he called his friends. He tried to clear his soul with a confession to his friends. He could no longer sleep because he was so worried. He was in great distress that he himself had caused. He had been a kind and beloved king, until he went to Jerusalem. There he took the silver and gold vessels and destroyed the people of Jerusalem for no reason. He believed that all his misfortunes stemmed from that incident. Now he was going to die disappointed in a strange land, Persia.