Reversal of fortune (Isa 35:5-35:7)

“Then the eyes of the blind

Shall be opened.

The ears of the deaf

Shall be unstopped.

Then the lame

Shall leap like a deer.

The tongue of the speechless

Shall sing for joy.

Waters

Shall break forth in the wilderness.

The streams

Shall be in the desert.

The burning sand

Shall become a pool.

The thirsty ground

Shall become springs of water.

The haunt of jackals

Shall become a swamp.

The grass

Shall become reeds or rushes.”

Isaiah seems to indicate that there will be a reversal of fortune, a change in the ways that things happen. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The lame will run. The dumb will speak. Waters and streams will be in the wilderness desert, as the burning sand will turn into a pool of water. The jackals will be in a swamp. The grass will become reeds or rushes along the streams. Everything will be reversed or different.

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Drying up of the Nile River (Isa 19:5-19:10)

“The waters of the Nile

Will be dried up.

The river

Will be parched.

It will be dry.

Its canals will become foul.

The branches of Egypt’s Nile

Will diminish.

They will dry up.

Reeds will rot away.

Rushes will rot away.

There will be bare places

By the Nile,

On the brink of the Nile.

All that is sown

By the Nile

Will dry up.

It will be driven away.

It will be no more.

The fishermen will mourn.

All who cast hooks

In the Nile

Will lament.

Those who spread nets

On the water

Will languish.

The workers in flax

Will be in despair.

The carders,

Those at the loom,

Will grow pale.

The weavers

Will be dismayed.

All who work for wages

Will be grieved.”

Next this oracle takes on a river, the Nile River. The waters will dry up with dire consequences to follow. The Nile River canals and branches will be foul smelling like dry wells. All the reeds, rushes, and plants along the river will dry up and rot away also. The fishermen will have a problem, since their hooks and nets will not catch anything. The flax and cotton looms will be useless. The weavers will be distraught. In fact, anyone who works for any kind of wages will be upset since the Nile River was so important for all kinds of commerce in Egypt.

The ill-mannered fool (Sir 21:22-21:24)

“The foot of a fool

Rushes into a house.

But an experienced person

Waits respectfully outside.

A boor peers into the house

From the door.

But a cultivated person

Remains outside.

It is ill-mannered

For a person to listen at a door.

The discreet person

Would be grieved by this disgrace.”

Sirach explains the actions of an ill-mannered fool. This fool rudely rushes into a house, while a more experienced wise person would wait respectfully outside the house at the door. A boorish fool would peer in through the windows, but the cultivated wise man would remain outside. This ill-mannered fool would listen at the door, but the discreet wise person would be ashamed and disgraced by this kind of behavior.