Build well!

“That one

Who heard his word

And acted on it is

Like a man

Building a house.

He dug deeply.

He laid the foundation

On a rock.

When a flood came,

The river burst

Against that house.

However,

It could not shake it,

Because it had been

Well built.”

 

ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν, ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the one who had heard his word and acted on it was like a man building a house (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν).  He dug deeply (ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν).  He laid the foundation on a rock (καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  When a flood came (πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης), the streams of the river burst against that house (ροσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ).  However, they could not shake it (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν), because it had been well built (διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:24-25, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said there that these wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house, but it did not fall, because it was built on a strong foundation.  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.  How have you built your house?

No more livestock (Ezek 32:13-32:14)

“‘I will destroy

All its livestock

From beside abundant waters.

No human foot

Shall trouble them anymore.

The hoofs of the cattle

Shall not trouble them.

Then I will make

Their waters clear.

I will cause

Their streams

To run

Like oil.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh was going to destroy the Egyptian livestock. No humans or animals would be around anymore. The waters would be clear of fish. Their streams would be like polluted with oil flowing in them. Yahweh had spoken via Ezekiel.

The cedar tree goes down into Sheol (Ezek 31:15-31:15)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘On the day

It went down

To Sheol,

I closed the deep

Over it.

I covered it.

I restrained

Its rivers.

It mighty waters

Were checked.

I clothed Lebanon

In gloom

For it.

All the trees

Of the field

Fainted

Because of it.’”

Once again, carrying on the theme that Yahweh was in control of all the trees, Yahweh closed the deep abyss that had given water to this great cedar tree. Yahweh covered over and restrained the deep abyss streams that were now held in check. The cedar tree, like other humans, had gone to Sheol, the shadowy underworld afterlife place. Thus, Lebanon was in gloom and mourning for the lost personified tree. Also, all the other trees of the forest fainted because of this happening.

The mythical tall cedar in Lebanon (Ezek 31:3-31:5)

“Consider a cedar

Of Lebanon!

It has fair branches.

It has forest shade.

It has great height.

Its top is

Among the clouds.

The waters nourished it.

The deep made it

Grow tall.

Its rivers flow

Around the place

It was planted,

Sending forth

Its streams

To all the trees

of the forest.

So it towered high

Above all the trees

Of the forest.

Its boughs grew large.

Its branches were long

From abundant water

In its shoots.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, compared Egypt to a tall cedar tree in Lebanon. This majestic tree had fair branches in a forest shade. It was extremely tall so that its top reached into the clouds. Ezekiel seems to be referring to an ancient Babylonian myth about the deep abyss or a dragon from the watery chaos that made trees grow tall. Thus they would enter the heaven of the gods in the clouds. The nourishing water from this deep abyss made this cedar tree grow tall. Streams from this water abyss flowed all around the place where this tree was planted. Even the other trees in the forest were able to grow because of this water. Nevertheless, this high cedar tree towered over all the other trees in the forest, because it had large long branches, due to the abundance of water in its shoots.

The oracle of Yahweh against the Assyrian king (Isa 37:22-37:25)

“This is the word

That Yahweh

Has spoken

Concerning King Sennacherib.

‘She despises you.

She scorns you.

Virgin daughter Zion!

She tosses her head

Behind your back.

Daughter Jerusalem!

Whom have you mocked?

Whom have you reviled?

Against who have you raised your voice?

Against who have you haughtily lifted your eyes?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

By your messengers,

You have mocked Yahweh.

You have said.

‘With my many chariots,

I have gone up to

The heights of the mountains,

To the far recesses of Lebanon.

I felled its tallest cedars,

Its choicest cypresses.

I came to its remotest heights,

Its densest forest.

I dug wells.

I drank foreign waters.

I dried up with the sole of my foot

All the streams of Egypt’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. In very poetic words, Isaiah speaks for Yahweh. Judah was his daughter Zion as well as his daughter Jerusalem, his favorite spot. King Sennacherib has mocked, reviled, raised his voice, and lifted up his eyes against the Holy One of Israel. He even sent messengers mocking Yahweh. He has bragged about his mighty exploits with chariots in mountains, trees, wells, and streams.

 

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.

The peaceful saving Spirit of Yahweh (Isa 32:15-32:20)

“A Spirit from on high is

Poured out on us.

The wilderness becomes a fruitful field.

The fruitful field is deemed a forest.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness.

Righteousness will abide in the fruitful field.

The effect of righteousness will be peace.

The result of righteousness is quietness.

The result of righteousness is trust forever.

My people will abide

In a peaceful habitation,

In secure dwellings,

In quiet resting places.

The forest will disappear.

The city will be utterly laid low.

Happy will you be

Who sow beside every stream.

You will let the ox range freely.

You will let the donkey range freely.”

Into this desolate situation, Isaiah inserts a ray of hope. The Spirit of Yahweh will descend on his people. The wilderness will become a fruitful field, almost like a forest. Justice shall dwell in the wilderness, while righteousness will be in the fruitful fields. This righteousness will bring peace, quiet, and everlasting trust. You will live peacefully in secure houses with quiet resting places. The city and the forest will disappear. You will lead a happy life sowing along streams and letting your ox and donkeys graze freely. This will be the ideal time of peaceful farmers.