Yahweh destroys the harbor at Tyre (Isa 23:5-23:11)

“When the report comes to Egypt,

They will be in anguish

Over the report about Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish!

Wail!

O inhabitants of the coast!

Is this your exultant city?

Its origin is from days of old.

Its feet carried her to settle far away.

Who has planned this against Tyre?

They were the bestower of crowns.

Their merchants were princes.

Their traders were the honored of the earth.

Yahweh of hosts has planned it.

He wanted to defile

The pride of all glory.

He wanted to shame

All the honored of the earth.

Cross over to your own land!

O ships of Tarshish!

This is a harbor no more!

He has stretched out his hand

Over the sea.

He has shaken the kingdoms.

Yahweh has given command

Concerning Canaan

To destroy its fortresses.”

Isaiah then proclaims the effects of the destruction of the ports at Sidon and Tyre. Their commercial trading partners, especially Egypt, were upset. So too were the people of Tarshish, the precious metal producing people, and all the shipping ports along the Mediterranean coast line. Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes who had bestowed crowns on others. Their important people were renowned and honored everywhere. Who planned this destruction? Why it was Yahweh of hosts who wanted to bring down these proud inhabitants of this seaport. He has stretched out his angry hand over the sea. He has shaken these kingdoms. He has given his command to the Canaanites to destroy the various fortresses. The harbor is no more so that there is no sense in coming here.

The devastation of the land of Ephraim (Isa 17:4-17:6)

“‘On that day,

The glory of Jacob

Will be brought low.

The fat of his flesh

Will grow lean.

It shall be

As when reapers

Gather standing grain.

Their arms harvest the ears.

It shall be

As when one gleans

The ears of grain

In the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

As when an olive tree is beaten.

Two or three berries

On the top of the highest bough

Will be left.

Four or five on the branches

Of a fruit tree

Will be left.’

Says Yahweh

God of Israel.”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, but about Ephraim of northern Israel. This rebuke is against Jacob, not Damascus. There is a reference to the Valley of Rephaim, which is northwest of Jerusalem in the Ephraim territory. Thus this land of Ephraim will be devastated. The fat animals will grow lean. All that will be left are the gleanings of left over grain that the pickers left behind. The olive trees will only have a few berries that were too difficult to pick, since all the others would have been shaken out of the trees. There will only be a few branches on any trees. There will not be much left after this day of destruction in northern Israel.

Slander (Sir 28:13-28:16)

“Curse the gossips!

Curse the double-tongued!

They destroy the peace of many.

Slander has shaken many.

Slander has scattered them

From nation to nation.

Slander has destroyed strong cities.

Slander has overturned

The houses of the great.

Slander has driven virtuous women

From their homes.

Slander has deprived them

Of the fruit of their toil.

Whoever pays heed to slander

Will not find rest.

They will not settle down in peace.”

The gossips, the whisperers, the double-tongued, and the slanders are all to be cursed because they destroy the peace of many people. In particular, Sirach singles out slander, the slurring of other people and their reputation. Slander has shaken and scattered many people in various countries. It has destroyed cities and different rulers. Slander has driven virtuous women from their homes. It has deprived people of the results of their work. If you listen to slander, you will not find rest. You will not settle in peace.

The test of human speech (Sir 27:4-27:7)

“When a sieve is shaken,

The refuse remains.

Thus a person’s faults appear

When he speaks.

The kiln tests

The potter’s vessels.

Thus the test of a person

Is in his conversation.

The fruit discloses

The cultivation of a tree.

Thus a person’s speech

Discloses the cultivation of his mind.

Do not praise anyone

Before he speaks.

This is the way people are tested.”

When cooking, people often use a sieve to only let the good grains go through. So when a sieve is shaken, the refuse remains. In the same way, when a person speaks, their faults appear. Just as a potter’s work is finished or tested in the furnace kiln, so too human conversation is a test. Just as the fruit of a tree reveals how well the tree was cultivated, so too a person’s speech reveals how his or her mind has been cultivated. Thus you should not praise anyone until they have spoken. Human conversation is how we test each other.

The righteous stand tall (Wis 5:1-5:3)

“Then the righteous

Will stand with great confidence

In the presence of those

Who have afflicted them.

They will stand

In the presence of those

Who make light of their labors.

When the unrighteous see them,

They will be shaken with dreadful fear.

They will be amazed

At the unexpected salvation of the righteous.

They will speak to one another

In repentance.

In anguish of spirit

They will groan.”

The righteous (δίκαιος) will stand with great confidence against those that afflicted them and made light of their labors. The unrighteous will see this. They will be shaken with a dreadful fear. They will be amazed at how the righteous are saved (σωτηρίας). They will begin to repent to one another because their spirits will be in anguish. Then they will groan.

The life of darkness (Ps 82:5-82:5)

“They have neither knowledge nor understanding.

They walk about in darkness.

All the foundations of the earth are shaken.”

The people of earth and the rulers do not have knowledge or understanding. They are people walking around in darkness.   Thus all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Trust in God (Ps 62:5-62:8)

“For God alone

My soul waits in silence.

My hope is from God.

He alone is my rock.

He alone is my salvation.

He alone is my fortress.

I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance.

On God rests my honor.

My mighty rock is God.

My refuge is God.

Trust in God

At all times!

O people!

Pour out your heart before him!

God is a refuge for us!”

Selah

These first few verses repeat the first few verses of this psalm. David placed all his trust in God alone. He waited in silence. He knew that God was his salvation, his rock, and his fortress. He would not be shaken in his ways. God gave him deliverance and honor. God was his mighty rock and refuge. He wanted all the people to trust in God at all times. He wanted them to pour out their hearts to God because he was the refuge for all of them. This section concluded with a musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.