“The chief priests
And the Scribes
They keep looking
For a way
To kill him.
They were afraid
Because the whole crowd
By his teaching.”
καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς, καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν· ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν, πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος ἐξεπλήσσετο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ
There was something similar in Luke, chapter 19:47-48. Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς). Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν). This may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus. However, they were afraid of Jesus (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν), because the whole crowd (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος) was spellbound or astonished (ἐξεπλήσσετο) by his teaching (πὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ). The plot thickens.
“You have heard
You have heard
All their plots
With the murmurs
Of my assailants
Are against me
All day long.
Whether they sit
Or whether they rise,
I am the object
Of their taunt songs.”
This personalized lamentation approach continues with a complaint against his enemies who taunt him. They plot against him with whispers and murmurs all day long. Whether they are sitting around or moving about, they continue to make him the object of their taunting songs. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.
“In the ninth year
Of King Zedekiah’s reign,
In the tenth month,
On the tenth day of the month,
Came with all his army
They laid siege to it.
They built siege works
So the city was besieged
Until the eleventh year
Of King Zedekiah.”
Once again, this is an exact date, word for word as in 2 Kings, chapter 25 and earlier in this book of Jeremiah, in chapter 39. It is rare that we have exact dating, but here it is very specific, not some vague “at that time.” In the 9th year of King Zedekiah, in the 10th month on the 10th day, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his army to Jerusalem in order to besiege the city. King Zedekiah had probably began to plot with the Egyptians and rebelled against the king of Babylon. This siege of Jerusalem began in 588 BCE and lasted about 18 months to 2 years
“In the ninth year
Of King Zedekiah
In the tenth month,
With all his army
Came against Jerusalem.
He besieged it.”
Once again, there is an exact date, almost the same as in 2 Kings, chapter 25. It is rare that we have exact dating, but here it is very specific, not some vague “at that time.” In the 9th year of King Zedekiah, in the 10th month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his army to Jerusalem in order to besiege the city. King Zedekiah had probably began to plot with the Egyptians and rebelled against the king of Babylon. This siege of Jerusalem probably began in 588 BCE. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, since they are the latter part of chapter 45 and chapter 46, not chapter 39 as here.
“Woe to you!
You hide a plan too deep for Yahweh!
Your deeds are in the dark!
‘Who sees us?
Who knows us?’
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made
Say of its maker?
‘He did not make me.’
Shall the thing formed
Say of the one who formed it?
‘He has no understanding.’”
Yahweh seems to be mad at the leaders of Judah who are attempting to plot with Assyria. They have a hidden dark plan since they seem to say that no one sees them or knows about it. They have things upside down because they are the creatures, not the creators. They are the clay that thinks that they are the potters who mold the clay. They were made by the Creator God as in Genesis, chapter 2. They were the formed, not the formers. Why are they saying that the Creator God does not understand, since they are mere clay?
“Thus says Yahweh,
God of hosts.
Go to this steward,
Who is master of the household.
Say to him.
What right do you have here?
Who are your relatives here?
Why have you cut out
A tomb for yourself?
Why have you cut a tomb on the height?
Why did you carve a habitation
For yourself in the rock?
Yahweh is about to hurl you away violently,
He will seize firm hold on you.
He will whirl you around and around.
He will throw you like a ball
Into a wide land.
There you shall die.
There your splendid chariots shall lie.
Disgrace to your master’s house.
I will thrust you from your office.
You will be pulled down
From your station.’”
Yahweh told Isaiah to go to Shebna, the head of the household of King Hezekiah, and admonish him in a very specific way. There was a Shebnah that was the secretary of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 19. It is not exactly clear whether this is the same person. It is also not clear what this Shebna had done other then build his own tomb. There may have some sort of plot that was not mentioned. Yahweh, via Isaiah, was clear in his language to Shebna. He wanted to know why Shebna was there and who his relatives were. Yahweh, via Isaiah, seemed particularly upset about this tomb that Shebna was building. However, Shebna was about to die with all his splendid chariots. Yahweh was going to spin him around and around and then throw him like a ball into some waste land. He was a disgrace to King Hezekiah, but exactly how is not mentioned. He was about to be removed from his official position.
“The wicked plot against the righteous.
The wicked gnash their teeth at them.
However Yahweh laughs at the wicked
He sees that their day is coming.”
Right now, the wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them. However, their day is coming, so that right now Yahweh laughs at these wicked ones.
“Therefore you shall observe this with all good cheer
As a notable day among your commemorative festivals.
Both now and hereafter it may represent
Deliverance for you and the loyal Persians.
However, this will be a reminder of destruction
For those who plot against us.
Every city and country, without exception,
That does not act accordingly
Shall be destroyed in wrath with spear and fire.
It shall be made not only impassable for human beings,
But also most hateful to wild animals and birds for all time.”
The Greek text of the document concludes that this should be a festival day because it represents deliverance for all loyal Persians. Now this festival is not only a Jewish remembrance but a Persian holiday showing what happens to those who plot against the Persians. Anyone who does not follow this decree will be wiped out, not only the humans there, but also the animals and birds of that area.