The prophecy of Isaiah (Mk 7:6-7:7)

“Jesus said

To them.

‘Isaiah prophesied rightly

About you hypocrites!

As it is written.

‘This people honor me

With their lips,

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain

Do they worship me!

They teach

Human precepts

As doctrines.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων·

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:7-9.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to these Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that Isaiah had prophesied correctly (Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας) about them being hypocrites (περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν) as it was written (ὡς γέγραπται) in Isaiah.  Hypocrites were people who played a part in a drama, but who were not sincere.  This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13, is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Matthew.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centered on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated these verses of Isaiah.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They were teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Mark and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts pretending to be divine worship and divine teachings.

The comparison with his father (Jer 22:15-22:17)

“‘Are you a king

Because you compete in cedar?

Did not your father eat?

Did not your father drink?

Did not your father do justice?

Did not your father do righteousness?

Then it was well with him.

He judged the cause of the poor.

He judged the cause of the needy.

Then it was well.

Is not this to know me?’

Says Yahweh.

‘But your eyes

With your heart

Are only on your dishonest gain,

Are only for shedding innocent blood,

Are only for practicing oppression,

Are only for violence.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, takes on King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) by making a comparison with his father King Josiah (640-609 BCE). His father rightly judged the cases of the needy and the poor. He never tried to build a great house of cedar. He ate and drank, but was filled with justice and righteousness. Thus, everything went well with him. On the other hand, King Jehoiakim has turned his eyes and heart to dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, practicing oppression, and doing violence. Which king would you rather have?

Yahweh and Judah (Isa 48:1-48:2)

“Hear this!

O house of Jacob!

You are called

By the name of Israel.

You came forth

From the loins of Judah.

You swear by the name of Yahweh.

You confess the God of Israel.

But not in truth or right.

They call themselves

After the holy city.

They lean on the God of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.”

This chapter concludes the first section or first chant of Second Isaiah. Second Isaiah has this continual call to listen. This is directed at the house of Jacob, the Israelites, who come from Judah, a clear distinction about the house of Judah compared to all the other tribes. They swear by the name of Yahweh. They confess him as the God of Israel, but not truly or rightly in good faith. They seem to call themselves after their holy city. They lean on the God of Israel, Yahweh, and his army.

The role of the king (Prov 16: 10-16:15)

“Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king.

His mouth does not sin in judgment.

Honest balances and scales are Yahweh’s.

All the weights in the bag are his work.

It is an abomination for kings to do evil.

The throne is established by righteousness.

Righteous lips are the delight of a king,

He loves those who speak what is right.

A king’s wrath is a messenger of death.

Whoever is wise will appease it.

In the light of a king’s face

There is life.

His favor is like the clouds

That bring the spring rain.”

This next section follows the medieval concept of the diving right of kings. Thus the king speaks in the name of Yahweh. His decisions are thus inspired by Yahweh. He does not sin in making his judgments. He expects, like Yahweh, to have honest scales and balances, so that there should not be any false weights in bags on the scales. Thus, it is an abomination for a king to do evil because the throne was established by righteousness, which should be the delight of the king. The king loves those who speak correctly and rightly. On the other hand, his wrath is a messenger of death. The wise ones are able to appease his anger. You will have life if the king’s face lights upon you. His favors are like refreshing spring rains.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.