The destruction of the Temple (Jer 52:17-52:17)

“The Chaldeans

Broke into pieces,

The bronze pillars

That were

In the house of Yahweh,

As well as the stands,

With the bronze sea

That was

In the house of Yahweh.

They carried all the bronze

To Babylon.”

Just like in 2 Kings, chapter 25, the Chaldean Babylonian soldiers smashed the bronze pillars, the bronze stands, and the famous bronze sea. Then they took all this bronze to Babylon.

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The judgments of the Holy One of Israel (Isa 30:12-30:14)

“Therefore thus says

The Holy One of Israel.

‘Because you reject this word,

You put your trust in oppression.

You put your trust in deceit.

You rely on oppression.

You rely on perverseness.

Therefore this iniquity

Shall become for you

Like a break in a high wall.

It will bulge out,

About to collapse.

The crash comes suddenly,

In an instant.

Its breaking is

Like that of a potter’s vessel.

It is smashed so ruthlessly

That among its fragments

Not a shred is found

For taking fire from the hearth,

Or dipping water out of the cistern.’”

The Holy One of Israel, not Yahweh, delivers this oracle, via Isaiah, in the second person plural. The Israelites have rejected the word of God. Instead they have relied on deceit, oppression, and perversion to get things done. Thus they will be punished. They are like a high wall with bulges in it about to collapse. Suddenly, in an instant, the whole wall will come crashing down like a potter’s vessel. This wall will be smashed so badly, that not a shred will be found. They will be like a broken vase that will not be able to be brought back to the fire to be reformed. This broken container will not be able to hold any water at all from the cistern well.

Harvesting (Isa 28:7-28:29)

“Dill herbs are not threshed

With a threshing sledge.

Nor is a cart wheel rolled over carrot seeds.

But the dill herbs are beaten out with a stick.

The carrot seeds are beaten with a rod.

Grain is crushed for bread.

But one does not thresh it forever.

One drives the cart wheel with horses over it.

But he does not pulverize it.

This also comes from Yahweh of hosts.

He is wonderful in counsel.

He is excellent in wisdom.”

Each crop has a different form of harvesting. The dill herbs and carrot seeds are too fragile to be smashed with a threshing sledge hammer. You do not roll the cart wheels over the herbs and seeds like you do to the wheat and the barley. You beat the herbs and seeds with a stick or a rod that is gentler than the wheel cart. However, the threshing of the wheat and barley requires a heavy horse drawn cart wheel in order to provide grain for bread. However, you do not want to pulverize these grains into nothing. How do these farmers know how to do this? Why, the Lord of hosts, Yahweh has told them how to do it. Yahweh is wonderful in his counsel and excellent in his wisdom, as in the later wisdom tradition.

The death of all (Isa 13:14-13:16)

“Like a hunted gazelle,

Like sheep

With no one to gather them,

All will turn

To their own people.

All will flee

To their own lands.

Whoever is found

Will be thrust through.

Whoever is caught,

Will fall by the sword.

Their infants

Will be dashed to pieces,

Before their eyes.

Their houses will be plundered.

Their wives will be ravished.”

Now Isaiah has the death of all, no questions asked. Humans will be like hunted deer or sheep with no one guiding them. People will return to their own people and lands. However, whoever is caught would by killed by the sword. Their infants would be smashed. Their houses would be robbed and their wives raped. This is not a pretty picture.

Be careful (Sir 13:1-13:2)

“Whoever touches pitch

Gets dirty.

Whoever associates

With a proud person

Becomes like him.

Do not lift a weight

Too heavy for you.

Do not associate

With one mightier than you.

Do not associate

With one richer than you.

How can the clay pot associate

With the iron kettle?

The pot will strike against it.

The clay pot will be smashed.”

Be careful in your life. Do not touch the black pitch or you will get dirty. If you associate with proud people, you will become proud like them. Do not lift things that are too heavy for you. Do not associate with someone richer than you are. Otherwise you will be like the poor clay pot that gets smashed by the rich iron kettle, which is reminiscent of one of Aesop’s fables.

Description of the devastation (Ps 74:4-74:8)

“Your foes have roared

Within your holy place.

They set up their emblems there.

At the upper entrance

They hacked the wooden trellis with axes.

Then they smashed all its carved work

With hatchets and hammers.

They set your sanctuary on fire.

They desecrated the dwelling place of your name.

They said to themselves.

‘We will utterly subdue them.’

They burned

All the meeting places of God

In the land.”

Asaph then presented a detailed description of the destruction that took place. The enemies of God roared in God’s holy place. They set up their own emblems within the Temple. At the entrance to the Temple they hacked down the wooden trellis with axes. They smashed all the carved works with hatchets and hammers. Then they set the sanctuary on fire. They manually smashed and hacked away until they set it ablaze. They said to themselves that they had subdued the Israelites because they had burned their Temple and all the other meeting places of God. This might be later since originally there was only one Temple.