Futile sacrificial offerings (Isa 1:11-1:13)

“‘What to me

Is the multitude of your sacrifices?’

Says Yahweh.

‘I have had enough

Of burnt offerings

Of rams.

I have had enough

Of burnt offerings

Of the fat of fed beasts.

I do not delight

In the blood of bulls.

I do not delight

In the blood of lambs.

I do not delight

In the blood of goats.

When you come

To appear before me,

Who asked this

From your hand?

Trample my courts no more.

Bringing offerings is futile.

Incense is an abomination to me.’”

In a total rejection of the priestly Levitical Israelite line that stressed the importance and necessity of sacrificial offerings, Yahweh, via Isaiah, seems to call all of the Temple sacrifices useless. Why were there multitudes of sacrifices? Yahweh, the Lord, had had enough of priestly burnt offerings of rams, fatten animals, blood, bulls, lambs, and goats. Who asked you to bring all these animals? Why, of course it was God’s law, the Torah, especially the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It was a common theme as late as the wisdom literature. Here is an opposite strain of thought. Yahweh did not want his courts trampled, but that was what the law called for. This is a strong condemnation of incense, which was praised throughout all the other biblical writings because of its sweet smell. What a stunning reversal against the Torah!

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Springtime (Song 2:10-2:14)

Male lover

“My beloved speaks.

He says to me.

‘Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

Now the winter is past.

The rain is over.

The rain is gone.

The flowers appear on the earth.

The time of singing has come.

The voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs.

The vines are in blossom.

They give forth fragrance.

Arise!

My love!

My fair one!

Come away!

O my dove!

In the clefts of the rock,

In the covert of the cliff,

Let me see your face.

Let me hear your voice.

Your voice is sweet.

Your face is lovely.’”

This female lover recounts the words of her male lover. In a phrase that is repeated twice within a couple of verses, we have that wonderful love request.   Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away with me! Will she go? Was this request enough to make her leave her home? He tells her why she should do this now. It is springtime. The winter has gone. The rains are gone. The flowers are appearing. The turtledove birds are singing. The fig trees have figs. The vines are blossoming with a sweet smell. It was time to go with him as he repeated the phrases from above. This turtledove lives in the rocks and the cliffs. He wanted to see her lovely face and to hear her sweet voice, a clear presentation of springtime romantic love.