Jacob will be forgiven (Isa 27:6-27:9)

“In days to come,

Jacob shall take root.

Israel shall blossom.

Israel shall put forth shoots.

They will fill the whole world

With fruit.

Has he struck them down

As he struck those

Who struck them?

Or have they been killed

As their killers

Were killed?

By expulsion,

By exile,

You struggled against them.

He removed them

With his fierce blast

In the day of the east wind.

Therefore by this

The guilt of Jacob will be expiated.

This will be the full fruit

Of the removal of his sin.

When he makes all the stones of the altars

Like chalkstones

Crushed to pieces.

No sacred poles will remain standing.

No incense altars will remain standing.”

In some future date, not specified, Jacob or Israel will take root and blossom with many sprouts so that its fruits will be all over the world. Yahweh has struck down and killed those who had struck and killed the Israelites. Thus this appears to be a post-exilic comment. However, the punishment for Israel had been merely banishment or exile via the powerful wind of the Near Eastern powers. That punishment was enough for them to remove the guilt of their sins. Now, however, he was going to remove all those sacred poles and stone altars of incense to the false idol gods. These worship places were to be crushed to pieces like stones or chalk.

Creative wisdom (Prov 8:22-8:31)

“Yahweh created me at the beginning of his work.

This was the first of his acts of long ago.

Ages ago,

I was set up,

At the first,

Before the beginning of the earth.

When there were no depths

I was brought forth.

When there were no springs

Abounding with water,

I was brought forth.

Before the mountains had been shaped,

Before the hills were shaped,

I was brought forth.

Before he had made the earth and fields,

I was brought forth.

Before the world’s first bits of soil,

I was brought forth.

When he established the heavens,

I was there.

When he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

I was there.

When he made firm the skies above,

I was there.

When he established the fountains of the deep,

I was there.

When he assigned to the sea its limit,

I was there.

Thus the waters might not transgress his command,

When he marked out the foundations of the earth.

Then I was beside him,

Like a master workman.

I was daily his delight.

I rejoiced before him always.

I rejoiced in his inhabited world.

I delighted in the human race.”

The personality of wisdom was created at the beginning of creation. In a certain sense this personal female created wisdom was an antidote to the many female gods at the time of the Exile and the post-exilic period. Wisdom says that she was created before anything else, including before the time of water, mountains, and earth. Lady wisdom preceded the heavens also. She was there before anything else was created, including humans. She was like the co-worker at creation.

Thanksgiving psalm (Ps 107:1-107:3)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

He is good!

His steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so.

He has redeemed them from trouble.

He has gathered them in from the lands.

He has gathered them from the east.

He has gathered them from the west.

He has gathered them from the north.

He has gathered them from the south.”

Psalm 107 opens the last book of psalms as a thanksgiving psalm with no titles. The psalmist wants to give thanks to Yahweh because he is good and his steadfast love endured forever. This was a very common lovely theme, often repeated. Yahweh has redeemed them from trouble in various lands in every direction, east, west, north, and south. This would seem to indicate a post-exilic psalm since they are all returning from captivity.

Do not forget us (Ps 74:1-74:3)

A Maskil of Asaph

“O God!

Why do you cast us off forever?

Why does your anger smoke

Against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember your congregation!

You acquired it long ago.

You redeemed it.

It was to be the tribe of your heritage.

Remember Mount Zion!

There you came to dwell.

Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins!

The enemy has destroyed everything

In the sanctuary.”

Like the preceding psalm, Psalm 74 is a Maskil or psalm of Asaph, the Temple singer, part of the series that begins book 3 of the psalms. This appears to be a national lamentation, post-exilic, after the destruction of the Temple. This starts out as a cry for help. Asaph wants to know why God has cast them off forever. Why was God angry at his own sheep? God should remember his congregation that he acquired long ago. He had redeemed this tribe at Mount Zion to be his heritage as he dwelt there. Somehow the idea that God lived in the Temple was a common theme. However, here was the problem. The Temple was in ruins, destroyed by the enemy. Everything in the sanctuary had been destroyed. What is the exact reference? Was this the Babylonian captivity?

God will save us (Ps 69:34-69:36)

“Let heaven and earth praise him!

Let the seas praise him!

Let everything that moves in them praise him!

God will save Zion!

God will rebuild the cities of Judah!

His servants shall live there!

His servants shall possess it!

The children of his servants

Shall inherit it!

Those who love his name

Shall live in it.”

This long psalm ends with a great praise for God who will save the Israelites. Heaven and earth shall praise God. The seas and everything that lives in the seas shall praise God. God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah, another post-exilic theme. The servants of God will possess and remain in Zion. Those who love the name of God shall live in the land.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 69:30-69:33)

“I will praise the name of God with a song!

I will magnify him with thanksgiving!

This will please Yahweh

More than an ox.

This will please Yahweh

More than a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it!

Let them be glad!

You who seek God,

Let your hearts revive!

Yahweh hears the needy.

Yahweh does not despise his own that are in bonds.”

David was going to praise the name of God with a song. He felt that his song would magnify this thanksgiving praise. This will please Yahweh more than the sacrifices of oxen and bulls. This might be a post-exilic composition. Those who were oppressed should see the glory of God. They should be happy so that their hearts would be revived. Yahweh hears the cries of the needy and does not despise them.

Rebuild Zion (Ps 51:18-51:19)

“Do good to Zion!

In your good pleasure!

Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem!

Then you will delight in right sacrifices.

You will delight in burnt offerings.

You will delight in whole burnt offerings.

Then bulls will be offered on your altar.”

This psalm ends with this addition about rebuilding Zion that had nothing to do with David and his sin with Bathsheba.  David had not even built the Temple so that to rebuild it would have been a post-exilic effort such as in Ezra and Nehemiah. This addition is almost in contradiction to the preceding verses that were pointing out the non-importance of sacrifices.  Here it is the opposite.  God would delight in right sacrifices, various burnt offers, and all those bulls on his altar.  This seems to go against the whole theme of this psalm, but brings the repentance back to ritual sacrifices.