Ephraim continues in falsehood (Hos 12:1-12:1)

“Ephraim herds the wind.

Ephraim pursues the east wind

All day long.

They multiply falsehoods.

They multiply violence.

They make a treaty

With Assyria.

Their oil is carried

To Egypt.”

Ephraim followed and gathered the wind to itself. They were all day long pursuing the east wind, the destructive wind. They were full of lies and violence. They made a treaty with Assyria that led to their ruin. They gave gifts of oil to Egypt to keep them from attacking.

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The Sabbath (Isa 58:13-58:14)

“‘If you refrain

From trampling the Sabbath,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you refrain

From pursing your own interests

On my holy day,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you call the Sabbath a delight

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you call the holy day of Yahweh honorable

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you honor it,

Not going your own ways,

Nor seeking your own interests,

Nor pursuing your own affairs,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

I will make you ride

Upon the heights of the earth.

I will feed you

With the heritage of your ancestor Jacob.’

The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”

This chapter of Third Isaiah ends with an oracle from Yahweh about the Sabbath. They had to refrain from trampling the Sabbath and pursuing their own interests on this holy day. If they delighted and honored the Sabbath, they would surely delight in Yahweh. As long as they were not pursuing their own affairs and interests on the Sabbath, Yahweh would make them ride to the heights of the earth. They would be part of the heritage of their ancestor Jacob.

Salvation for the children of Abraham (Isa 51:1-51:3)

“Listen to me!

You that pursue deliverance!

You that seek Yahweh!

Look to the rock

From which you were hewn!

Look to the quarry

From which you were dug!

Look to Abraham your father!

Look to Sarah who bore you!

He was but one when I called him.

I blessed him.

I made him many.

Yahweh will comfort Zion.

He will comfort all her waste places.

He will make her wilderness

Like Eden.

He will make her desert

Like the garden of Yahweh.

Joy will be found in her.

Gladness will be found in her.

Thanksgiving will be found in her.

The voice of song will be found in her.”

Second Isaiah says that the rock of salvation is Yahweh. If they were pursuing righteousness, they were seeking the Lord, Yahweh. They had to remember where they came from. Here it is not dust, but a rock quarry that they came from. The rock from this quarry was formed to make them. They had to remember not only Abraham but also Sarah, one of the few times that she is mentioned outside of Genesis. Yahweh blessed Abraham so that he had many descendants. Now Yahweh was going to comfort their offspring at Zion. The desert and the wilderness were going to become like the Garden of Eden, the garden of Yahweh. There would be nothing there except joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and hymn singing in this new Garden of Eden.

The negative power of gold (Sir 31:5-31:7)

“Whoever loves gold

Will not be justified.

Whoever pursues money

Will be led astray by it.

Many have come to ruin

Because of gold.

Their destruction has met them

Face to face.

It is a stumbling block

To those who are avid for it.

Every fool

Will be taken captive by it.”

Sirach warns that those who love gold will not be justified. Pursuing money will simply lead you astray. A lot of lives have been ruined over gold. Destruction has come to many, since gold is a stumbling block for those who seek it. Every fool seems to be captivated by a gold rush or the search for gold. Don’t fall in love with gold since it will take hold of you.

Yahweh protects all (Ps 146:7-146:9)

“Yahweh executes justice for the oppressed.

Yahweh gives food to the hungry.

Yahweh sets the prisoners free.

Yahweh opens the eyes of the blind.

Yahweh lifts up those who are bowed down.

Yahweh loves the righteous.

Yahweh watches over the strangers.

Yahweh upholds the orphan and the widow.

Yahweh brings to ruin the way of the wicked.”

Yahweh makes sure that there is justice for the oppressed. He gives food to the hungry. He sets prisoners free. He opens the eyes of the blind. He lifts up those who are bowed down. He loves the righteous. He watches over strangers. He helps orphans. He holds up widows. However, he brings to ruin those who are pursuing wicked ways.

The ostracism of Job (Job 19:13-19:22)

“He has put my family far from me.

My acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.

My relatives and my close friends have failed me.

The guests in my house have forgotten me.

My servant girls count me as a stranger.

I have become an alien in their eyes.

I call to my servant,

But he gives me no answer.

I must myself plead with him.

My breath is repulsive to my wife.

I am loathsome to my own family.

Even young children despise me.

When I rise,

They talk against me.

All my intimate friends abhor me.

Those whom I loved have turned against me.

My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh.

I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

Have pity on me!

Have pity on me!

O you my friends,

The hand of God has touched me!

Why do you,

Like God,

Pursue me?

Why are you never satisfied with my flesh?”

Job was an outcast from his family and friends. Everyone had failed him. His own house guests have forgotten him. As if to impress us with his wealth, his servant girls now treat him like a stranger. His servants do not answer him so that now he has to actually plead with them to do things. His wife did not like his breath. Even little kids ran away from him and talked behind his back. His bones clung to his skin since he seemed to lose weight. His teeth were in bad shape. He wanted God to have pity on him. He wanted to know why God was pursuing him. Why was everybody after him?