The cry to Yahweh (Joel 1:19-1:20)

“To you!

O Yahweh!

I cry!

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.

Flames have burned

All the trees

Of the field.

Even the wild animals

Cry to you.

Because the water streams

Are dried up.

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.”

Joel cried out to Yahweh. He called the drought of this locust plague a fire. He repeated twice that this fire had devoured the pastures in the wilderness. The dry flames had burned the trees of the fields. The wild animals were also crying out to Yahweh. The streams of water had dried up. This was a desperate situation.

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The blessing of Israel (Isa 44:3-44:4)

“I will pour water

On the thirsty land.

I will pour streams

On the dry ground.

I will pour my Spirit

Upon your descendants.

My blessing will be

On your offspring.

They shall spring up

Like a green tamarisk,

Like willows by flowing streams.”

Yahweh continues in the first person singular to bless Israel. He was going to pour water on the thirsty land with streams of water on the dry ground so that it would be fruitful. He was going to pour out his Spirit on the descendents of Israel. His blessing would be on all the offspring of Israel. They would spring up like green tamarisk bushes or like willows along a flowing stream. There was nothing but good things ahead for the Israelites because of Yahweh’s blessing.

The justice of the rulers (Isa 32:1-32:4)

“See!

A king will reign in righteousness.

Princes will rule with justice.

Each will be

Like a hiding place from the wind,

Like a covert from the tempest,

Like streams of water

In a dry place,

Like the shade of a great rock

In a weary land.

Then the eyes of those who have sight

Will not be closed.

The ears of those who have hearing

Will listen.

The minds of the rash

Will have good judgment.

The tongues of the stammerers

Will speak readily.

They will speak distinctly.”

Isaiah maintains that there will be new age when justice will prevail. The righteous kings and the good princes will rule with justice. Thus they will be helpful to others because they will be like a hiding place from the wind, like a covering in a storm, like streams of water in a dry place, and like shade in a hot weary land. The seeing will see and the hearing will hear. Minds will make good judgments. People who stammer will speak readily and distinctly. This would be some kind of utopian time when justice and fairness for all existed in an enlightened society.

The happy people (Ps 1:1-1:3)

“Happy are those

Who do not follow the advice of the wicked.

They do not take the path that sinners tread.

They do not sit in the seat of scoffers.

Their delight is in the law of Yahweh.

On his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees

That are planted by streams of water.

They yield their fruit in its season.

Their leaves do not wither.

In all that they do,

They prosper.”

Psalm 1 is considered a preface to the collection of psalms or praises. There is no attribution to this psalm. It may have been the biblical editor’s choice. This psalm emphasizes the two ways, much like the later 1st century CE Christian Didache. This is, in fact, a wisdom psalm. The happy or blessed ones are the people who do not follow wicked advice. They receive blessings. They are the prosperous or the righteous people. They do not walk down the way of sinners or scoffers. Their delight and happiness is in the law of Yahweh. They are like the strong trees planted by streams of water as they always yield their fruit in the correct season. Their leaves never wither. Everything that they do is prosperous because they are sustained by the water. They meditate day and night on the Torah that was given by Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Moses. They are much like Christian contemplatives or Buddhist monks. The happy blessed one is the one who follows the law. This psalm sets the tone for all the psalms to follow.