Clear the path (Lk 3:5-3:5)

“Every valley

Shall be filled.

Every mountain

Shall be made low.

Every hill

Shall be made low.

The crooked ways

Will be made straight.

The rough ways

Will be made smooth.”

 

πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας·

 

Only Luke has this continuation of the prophecy from Deutero-Isaiah.  As a further description on how to prepare the way for the Lord, Luke quoted Isaiah, chapter 40:4-5.  Every valley will be filled (πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται).  Every mountain and hill will be made low (καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται).  The crooked ways will be made straight (καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας).  The rough ways will be made smooth (καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας).  This would be a time of upheaval.  The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall.  Also, the uneven and rough places would become level and plain so that all the people would then see the glory of God revealed.

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Egypt brings gifts to Yahweh at Jerusalem (Isa 18:7-18:7)

“At that time,

Gifts will be brought

To Yahweh of hosts

From a tall people,

From a smooth people,

From a people

Feared near and far,

From a mighty nation,

From a conquering nation.

The river divides its land.

They will bring it

To Mount Zion,

The place of the name

Of Yahweh of hosts.”

Next Isaiah talks about gifts being brought to Yahweh. Strangely enough, they are from a tall, smooth, and feared people.   They were from the nation that was mighty and conquering, where the rivers divide it. This is exactly the same description of Egypt as at the beginning of this chapter. This mighty nation was going to bring its gifts to Mount Zion, the place for the name of Yahweh. Perhaps this was done because the people of Judah were in alliance with Egypt against the Assyrians at this time, as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 18-19.

Oracle about the mighty nation (Isa 18:1-18:2)

“O land of whirring wings!

Beyond the rivers of Ethiopia!

They send ambassadors

By the Nile River

In vessels of papyrus

On the waters.

Go!

You swift messengers!

Go to a tall nation!

Go to a smooth nation!

Go to a people

Feared near and far!

Go to a mighty nation!

Go to a conquering nation!

Go to a nation

Whose land the rivers divide!”

Quite often Egypt and Ethiopia were united together. The older name of Ethiopia was Kush, one of the older sons of Ham, the son of Noah. Thus there was some relationship with them. Here it seems that they have swift ambassadors that use papyrus paper like vessels to deliver messages. The reference to a tall, smooth, mighty, and conquering nation could be Egypt, since there is a division between Ethiopia and Egypt.

Watch your tongue (Prov 26:23-26:28)

“Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel

Are smooth lips with an evil heart.

An enemy dissembles in speaking,

While harboring deceit within.

When an enemy speaks graciously,

Do not believe it.

There are seven abominations concealed within.

Their hatred is covered with guile.

Their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Whoever digs a pit

Will fall into it.

A stone will come back

On the one who starts it rolling.

A lying tongue hates its victims.

A flattering mouth works ruin.”

Watch your lips and the smooth lips of your enemies. Watch what they say. Smooth lips with an evil heart are the glaze that makes a glossy vessel shiny. Watch out for the enemy who has deceit in his heart while speaking to you. When an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe them since they are concealing 7 abominations. They cover their hatred with guile, but it will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever starts to dig a pit, will fall into it. If you start to roll a stone, it will come back on you. Lying tongues hate their victims. Flattery will only bring you to ruin.

The house of death (Prov 7:24-7:27)

“Now!

My children!

Listen to me!

Be attentive to the words of my mouth!

Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways.

Do not stray into her paths.

Many are those she has laid low.

Numerous are her victims.

Her house is the way to Sheol.

You will be going down to the chambers of death.”

This chapter ends with the death of the simpleton. Once again, there is the parental warning to pay attention to his words. They should not turn away from his warnings. They were not to listen to the smooth and seductive words of the prostitute. The adulteress had laid low many. They were to stay the path and not stray into her paths. Her house was the way to hell, Sheol, the dark underworld of death. Going into that house would lead to death. It is not clear how she actually killed them. This is a very strong warning against adultery and prostitution with the punishment as death.