Let the earthly waters bless God (Dan 3:55-3:57)

“Bless the Lord!

You springs!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Seas!

Rivers!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

You whales!

All that swim

In the waters!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

The 3 men continued their hymn of praise. This time, they wanted the earthly waters, and all that live in them, to bless the Lord by praising and exalting him. The division of the waters was into springs, seas, and rivers, since there was never any thought of an ocean. However, the one fish that they do mention is a whale.

Honor Yahweh (Isa 43:20-43:21)

“The wild animals will honor me.

The jackals will honor me.

The ostriches will honor me.

I give water in the wilderness.

I give rivers in the desert

To give drink

To my chosen people.

They are the people

Whom I formed for myself

That they might declare my praise.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh continue in the first person singular, saying that the wild animals will honor him. However, he only lists the jackals and the ostriches. Yahweh has provided water in the wilderness by providing rivers in the desert. Thus his specially chosen people could also give praise, just like the wild animals have. The wild animals seemed to appreciate the water more than Yahweh’s chosen people. Apparently on the return from Babylon, they passed through a desert wilderness in Syria some place.

Yahweh the savior (Isa 43:1-43:3)

“But now thus says Yahweh.

‘He who created you!

O Jacob!

He who formed you!

O Israel!

Do not fear!

I have redeemed you.

I have called you by name.

You are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you.

When you pass through the rivers,

They shall not overwhelm you.

When you walk through fire,

You shall not be burned.

The flame shall not consume you.

For I am Yahweh!

Your God!

The Holy One of Israel!

Your Savior!’”

Here in Second Isaiah, Yahweh speaks directly to the Israelites. He has created and formed them. They are not to be afraid, because Yahweh has redeemed them also. He has also called them by name, Israel and Jacob. They are his. If they pass through waters, he will be with them. If they go through rivers, it will not overtake them. If they are in fire, they will not get burned with a consuming fire. They only have to remember that Yahweh is their God. He is the Holy One of Israel and their savior. Otherwise there is nothing to worry about.

The intervention of Yahweh (Isa 42:14-42:17)

“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.

God of water (Isa 41:17-41:18)

“When the poor seek water,

When the needy seek water,

There is none.

Their tongues

Are parched with thirst.

I!

Yahweh!

Will answer them!

I!

The God of Israel!

Will not forsake them!

I will open rivers

on the bare trails!

I will open fountains

In the midst of the valleys!

I will make the wilderness

A pool of water!

I will make

The dry land springs of water!”

Yahweh, maintaining the first person singular in Second Isaiah, says that he will provide water for the thirsty poor people and the parched needy ones. He would not forget them, but he would answer them. He will open up rivers on the bare trails. He will open up fountains of water in the valleys. In fact, he will make the great desert wilderness like a pool of water. There will be springs of water where there was a dry land area. Don’t worry about water! Yahweh will take care of things.

Overflowing wisdom (Sir 24:24-24:29)

“It overflows

Like the Pishon,

With wisdom.

It overflows

Like the Tigris

At the time of the first fruits.

It runs over,

Like the Euphrates,

With understanding.

It is

Like the Jordan

At harvest time.

It pours forth instruction

Like the Nile.

It is

Like the Gihon

At the time of vintage.

Just as the first man

Did not know wisdom fully,

Neither will the last one

Fathom her.

Her thoughts

Are more abundant

Than the sea.

Her counsel deeper

Than the great abyss.”

Sirach goes into a section on how wisdom overflows its banks like many of the rivers in the area. Using the 4 biblical paradise rivers mentioned as surrounding the Garden of Eden, in Genesis, chapter 2, the Pishon, the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Gihon, Sirach spoke of them individually. Wisdom overflowed each of them. He also spoke of 2 other important rivers for the Israelites, the Jordan and the Nile. Finally he mentioned that the first man did not fully understand wisdom. However, he also said that the last man would not fully understand wisdom either, because her thoughts are more abundant and deeper than the sea.

Praise Yahweh for all he does for you (Ps 147:12-147:20)

“Praise Yahweh!

O Jerusalem!

Praise your God!

O Zion!

He strengthens the bars of your gates.

He blesses your sons within you.

He grants peace in your borders.

He fills you with the finest of wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth.

His word runs swiftly.

He gives snow like wool.

He scatters frost like ashes.

He hurls down hail like crumbs.

Who can stand before his cold?

He sends out his word.

He melts them.

He makes his wind blow.

He makes the waters flow.

He declares his word to Jacob.

He declares his statutes and ordinances to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any other nation.

They do not know his ordinances.

Praise Yahweh!”

The end of this alleluia psalm naturally has the phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This section begins and ends with that phrase. This is a long description of what Yahweh is doing in the current time to help Israel with the use of the present tense. He keeps the bars strong on the gates into the town. He blesses them with children. He grants them peace at home. He fills them with a good harvest of wheat. Yahweh commands the whole earth. His word controls the climate as snow, frost, and hail follow his command. He sends out his wind to make the snow melt and the waters flow in the various rivers. He has given his word, his statutes, and his ordinances to Jacob or Israel. No other nation is like Israel. Notice that this is not the Mosaic code but the ordinances of Jacob.