The defeat (Jer 46:5-46:6)

“‘Why do I see them terrified?

They have fallen back.

Their warriors are beaten down.

They have fled in haste.

They do look not back.

Terror is all around!’

Says Yahweh.

The swift cannot flee away.

The warrior cannot escape.

In the north,

By the Euphrates River,

They have stumbled.

They have fallen.”

How quickly things turn. Jeremiah explains what happens when defeat occurs. These strong warriors were terrified and fell back. They were beaten down and fled in haste, without looking back. Terror was all around them. Yahweh has issued this oracle for Jeremiah. The swift cannot go fast enough to escape. Finally, in the north, by the Euphrates River, they stumbled and fell.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.

Anarchy at Jerusalem (Isa 3:4-3:8)

“I will make boys

Their princes.

Babes shall rule

Over them.

The people will be oppressed.

Everyone will oppress another person.

Everyone will oppress his neighbor.

The youth will be insolent

To the elders.

The base fellows will be insolent

To the honorable ones.

Someone will even seize a relative,

A member of their clan.

Saying.

‘You have a cloak.

You shall be our leader.

This heap of ruins

Shall be under your rule.’

But the other will cry out.

Saying.

‘I will not be a healer.

In my house,

There is

Neither bread

Nor cloak.

You shall not make me

Leader of the people.’

Jerusalem has stumbled.

Judah has fallen.

Because their speech was

Against Yahweh.

Their deeds were

Against Yahweh.

They defied his glorious presence.”

Jerusalem will become a place of anarchy. Boys will be princes. Babies will be rulers. Everyone will oppress their neighbors with violence and civil unrest. The young people will not listen to their elders. Low life people will be insolent to the honorable ones. They will try to make leaders from their own clans. However, no one will want to be a leader because they do not have anything to eat or wear. Jerusalem has stumbled.  Judah has fallen. This is obviously the time of the Exile. All this has happened because their speech and deeds were against Yahweh. They defied his glorious presence among them.

Pride (Prov 16:18-16:21)

“Pride goes before destruction.

A haughty spirit happens before a fall.

It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Among the poor

Than to divide the spoil

With the proud.

Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper.

Happy are those who trust in Yahweh.

The wise of heart are called perceptive.

Pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.”

Being proud was not a good idea since it led to destruction. A haughty or proud spirit usually came before someone stumbled or fell. It is much better to be a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide up the spoils of victory with the proud people. If you are attentive to small matters you will prosper. If you trust in Yahweh, you will be happy. The wise ones are called perceptive. Pleasant speech will make it easier to be persuasive.

God is good to the righteous (Ps 73:1-73:2)

A psalm of Asaph

“Truly God is good to the upright.

He is good to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me,

My feet had almost stumbled.

My steps had nearly slipped.”

The 3rd book of psalms begins with Psalm 73 from Asaph. In fact, there are 12 psalms attributed to Asaph, Psalm 50, and the next 11 psalms at the beginning of this 3rd book of psalms. Asaph was a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon. This may also refer to the group named after him who were musicians at the Temple. This Asaph is described in 1 Chronicles, chapter 6, as one who could trace his ancestors directly back to Levi. In 2 Chronicles, chapter 5, he is listed as a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This psalm seems to be a consideration of justice and why did the evildoers prosper much like in the book of Job. There is the common statement that God is good to the upright and the pure of heart. However, this Asaph has almost stumbled. He has almost slipped.

The personal attack on David (Ps 35:15-35:16)

“At my stumbling

They gathered in glee.

They gathered together against me.

Ruffians whom I did not know

Tore at me without ceasing.

They impiously mocked more and more.

They gnashed at me with their teeth.”

Whenever David stumbled, these pursuers gathered in glee around him. People he did not know tore into him non-stop. They mocked him. They gnashed at him with their teeth. These are pretty graphic details about David’s enemies and what they were trying to do to him.

Yahweh protects David (Ps 9:3-9:4)

“When my enemies turned back,

They stumbled.

They perished before you.

You have maintained my just cause.

You have sat on the throne.

You have given righteous judgment.”

When David’s enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before Yahweh. Yahweh, who sits on the throne has maintained David’s just cause since he has given a righteous judgment.

Tobias heals his father Tobit (Tob 11:9-11:14)

“Then Anna ran to her son. She threw her arms around him.

‘Now that I have seen you,

My child,

I am ready to die.’

She wept. Then Tobit got up. He came stumbling out through the courtyard door. Tobias went up to him, with the gall of the fish in his hand. Holding him firmly, he blew into eyes, saying.

‘Take courage, father!’

With this he applied the medicine to his eyes. It made them smart. Next, with both his hands he peeled off the white films from the corners of his eyes. Then Tobit saw his son. He threw his arms around him.

‘I see you, my son,

The light of my eyes!’”

Tobias’ mother ran to her son and threw her arms around him. She wept and said that she could die now because she had finally seen him. Tobit tried to go to greet him, but he stumbled. Then Tobias went to greet him with the fish gall in his hand. He held his father tightly as he blew into his eyes and applied the fish gall medicine that smarted. Then the white films from the corners of his eyes were peeled off. Tobit could see his son, the light of his life. The healing of the eyes had taken place just as Raphael had said it would.