“For a long time,
I have held my peace.
I have kept still.
I have restrained myself.
Now I will cry out
Like a woman in labor.
I will gasp.
I will pant.
I will lay waste mountains.
I will lay waste hills.
I will dry up all their herbage.
I will turn the rivers into islands.
I will dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind
By a road that they do not know.
I will lead the blind
In paths that they have not known.
I will guide them.
I will turn
The darkness before them into light.
I will turn
The rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do.
I will not forsake them.
They shall be turned back.
They shall be utterly put to shame.
All those who trust in craved images,
All those who say to cast images,
‘You are our gods.’”
Once again, we have the first person singular, as Yahweh speaks directly in Second Isaiah. Yahweh had been quiet, still, and restrained. Now, however, Yahweh was going to yell out with gasps and pants, like a woman in labor about to give birth. He was going to tear down the mountains and the hills, dry up vegetation and pools, as well as turn rivers into islands. He was going to lead the blind on unknown roads with unlevel ground. He would turn their darkness into light and level the rough ground. He was not going to give up on the blind, perhaps a reference to the Israelites being led blindly in the desert wilderness during the Exodus. However, he was going to shame those who relied on carved and cast images as their gods. This was a strong plea for monotheism among the Israelites.
“‘I will rise up against them.’
Says Yahweh of hosts.
‘I will cut off from Babylon
‘I will make it a possession
Of the hedgehog,
With pools of water.
I will sweep it
With the broom of destruction.’
Says Yahweh of hosts.”
Isaiah has Yahweh give a dire outlook for Babylon with 2 oracles. Yahweh was going to cut off the name of Babylon, including the remaining people, its offspring, and its posterity. In addition to that, Yahweh was going to make Babylon the possession of the hedgehog with pools of water. Finally, Yahweh was going to take out the broom of destruction against Babylon. This large city of Babylon became the symbol of evil. These were clear oracles of Yahweh against Babylon, not just its king.
“How graceful are your feet in sandals.
O queenly maiden!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels.
They are the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl
That never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
Encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
By the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
Your head crowns you like Carmel.
Your flowing locks are like purple.
A king is held captive in the tresses.”
This description of the female lover is not exactly the same as in chapters 4 and 6. Here she has graceful feet in her sandals with rounded thighs like jewels. Her navel was like a round bowl with mixed wines. Her belly was like a heap of wheat with lilies. Her two breasts were like fawns or gazelles. He seemed to know a lot about her body. Her neck was like an ivory tower. Her eyes were like the pools in Heshbon that was on the east side of the Jordan River. Heshbon had been the chief city of King Sidon of the Amorites as found in Numbers, chapter 21. These pools must have been famous as it became Israelite territory. This town also became known as Bath-rabbim. Her nose was like a high tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus. I am not sure how this is a compliment. Her head was like Mount Carmel. Her locks were purple here and not like a flock of goats as earlier described. Nevertheless, the king was held captive by them anyway.