The end of Israelite internal strife (Isa 11:12-11:16)

“Yahweh will raise a signal for the nations.

He will assemble the outcasts of Israel.

He will gather the dispersed of Judah

From the four corners of the earth.

The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart.

The hostility of Judah shall be cut off.

Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah.

Judah shall not be hostile towards Ephraim.

But they shall swoop down

On the backs of the Philistines

In the west.

Together they shall plunder

The people of the east.

They shall put forth their hand

Against Edom and Moab.

The Ammonites shall obey them.

Yahweh will utterly destroy

The tongue of the sea of Egypt.

He will wave his hand over the River,

With his scorching wind.

He will split it into seven channels.

Thus there will be a way to cross on foot.

There shall be a highway from Assyria

For the remnant that is left of his people,

As there was for Israel

When they came up

From the land of Egypt.”

Isaiah implies that there will be a glorious reunion of Judah and Ephraim, the south and north of Israel, since Yahweh, the Lord, will give a signal to all the nations. The dispersed Israelites were to return from the four corners of the earth. There would no longer be any jealousy or hostility between Judah and Ephraim, north and south. Instead, they would unite to fight against the Philistines in the west and the Edomites and Moabites on the eastern side of Israel. They would have control of the Ammonites, the traditional enemies of Israel, as outlined in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The reference to the tongue of the sea is to the Red Sea. Of course, the River is the Euphrates River. Yahweh was going to break up these seas so that people could walk through them. He wanted a highway from Assyria to the Promise Land so that all the exiles in Assyria could return, just like the Exodus march from Egypt took place. Obviously, we are talking about the time of the Exile in the 6th and 7th centuries BCE, and how it would end.

The escape from Egypt (Wis 19:1-19:5)

“The ungodly were assailed to the end

By pitiless anger.

God knew in advance

Even their future actions.

Even though they themselves had permitted

Your people to depart,

As they hastily sent them forth.

They would change their minds.

They would pursue them.

While they were still busy in mourning,

As they were lamenting

At the graves of their dead,

They reached another foolish decision.

They pursued as fugitives

Those whom they had begged to depart.

They had compelled them to depart.

The fate that they deserved

Drew them on to this end.

Fate made them forget

What had happened.

Thus they might fill up the punishment

That their torments still lacked.

Thus your people might experience an incredible journey.

However they themselves might meet a strange death.”

Once again, without any specific mention of the Red Sea incident in Exodus, chapter 13, there is an explanation of that event that is unmistakable. These ungodly (ἀσεβέσι) Egyptians had let God’s chosen ones go. However, they changed their minds. They were still in mourning, lamenting at the graves of their dead (νεκρῶν) children. Then they made another foolish decision, even thought God knew in advance that they would. Although they had begged and compelled the Israelites to leave, they now decided to pursue them as fugitives. For this, they deserved the fate that awaited them. While the people of God (λαός σου) experienced an incredible journey, these ungodly people met a strange death (θάνατον) at the Red Sea.

 

The Exodus from Egypt (Wis 10:17-10:21)

“She gave to holy people

The reward of their labors.

She guided them

Along a marvelous way.

She became a shelter to them by day.

She became a starry flame

Through the night.

She brought them over the Red Sea.

She led them through deep waters.

But she drowned their enemies.

She cast them up

From the depth of the sea.

Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly.

They sang hymns!

O Lord!

To your holy name!

They praised with one accord

Your defending hand.

Wisdom opened the mouths

Of those who were mute.

Wisdom made the tongues

Of infants speak clearly.”

This explanation of the exodus from Egypt is based on the stories from Exodus, chapters 13-15. Once again, it is wisdom that is leading the way. Day and night, wisdom provided shelter and starlight. She had brought them over the Red Sea, so that their enemies had drowned, but they were safe. Then they plundered the Egyptian soldiers. After that they sang hymns (ὕμνησαν) to the holy name of the Lord (Κύριε, τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἅγιόν σου). Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) opened the mouths of the mute. She made infants speak clearly.

Yahweh and the Exodus (Ps 136:10-136:15)

“Yahweh struck Egypt through their first-born.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He brought Israel out from among them.

His steadfast love endures forever.

With a strong hand,

With an outstretched arm,

His steadfast love endures forever.

He divided the Red Sea in two.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made Israel pass through the midst of it.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,

His steadfast love endures forever.”

Once again, the congregational refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever” is repeated after every verse. Just as in the preceding psalm, Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt. He clearly struck down the first-born of humans and animals. He led them out with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. He divided the Red Sea into two parts so that the Israelites were able to pass through in the middle of it. Finally, he destroyed Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Throughout it all they realized that his steadfast love endures forever.

Why did nature fear Yahweh? (Ps 114:5-114:8)

“Why is it?

O sea!

Why do you flee?

O Jordan!

Why do you turn back?

O mountains!

Why do you skip like rams?

O hills!

Why do skip like lambs?

O earth!

Tremble at the presence of Yahweh!

Tremble at the presence of the God of Jacob!

He turns the rock into a pool of water.

He turns the flint into a spring of water.”

This short psalm concludes with wondering why nature was so submissive to Yahweh. Why did the Red Sea flee and spread apart? Why did the Jordan River turn back? Why were the mountains and hills skipping like rams and lambs? The answer was, of course, they trembled at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Jacob. Yahweh was able to turn rock and flint into water.

The land was happy (Ps 114:3-114:4)

“The sea looked.

The sea fled.

Jordan turned back.

The mountains skipped like rams.

The hills skipped like lambs.”

The Red Sea got out of the way of the Israelites. The Jordan River turned back. The mountains and the hills were so happy that they skipped like rams and lambs. The sea and the land accepted the Israelites.

The golden calf (Ps 106:19-106:23)

“They made a calf in Horeb.

They worshiped a cast image.

They exchanged the glory of God

For the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God!

Their Savior!

He had done great things in Egypt.

He had done wondrous works in the land of Ham.

He had done awesome things by the Red Sea.

Therefore he said

That he would destroy them.

But Moses,

His chosen one,

Stood in the breach before him.

He wanted God

To turn away his wrath

From destroying them.”

This is a sanitized version of the story in Exodus, chapter 32. While Moses was at the top of the Sinai Mountain with Yahweh, Aaron and the Israelites built a golden calf at Horeb or Sinai as it is called. They then worshipped this golden ox as they turned away from Yahweh. They forgot how he had saved them in Egypt and the all the deeds that he done for them in the land of Ham, Egypt, and the Red Sea. Yahweh wanted to destroy them all. However, Moses interceded with God to turn his anger away so that he did not destroy them.