Yahweh will judge the world (Isa 51:4-51:6)

“Listen to me!

My people!

Give heed to me!

My nation!

A teaching will go out from me!

My justice will be for a light to the people.

I will bring near my deliverance swiftly.

My salvation has gone out.

My arms will rule the people.

The coastlands wait for me.

They hope for my arm.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens!

Look at the earth beneath!

The heavens will vanish

Like smoke!

The earth will wear out

Like a garment!

Those who live on it

Will die like gnats!

But my salvation will be forever!

My deliverance will never be ended!”

Once again, Second Isaiah wanted the people to listen to Yahweh and his teaching. Yahweh wanted to bring justice and light to the world and its people. He would bring salvation and deliverance swiftly. Once again, the coastlands of the Mediterranean Sea were mentioned explicitly as waiting for Yahweh. He told them to look at heaven and earth. Heaven would vanish like smoke, while the earth would wear out. The people on earth would die like gnats. However, the eternal salvation and deliverance of Yahweh would be forever without end.

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The invasion of Assyria (Isa 5:26-5:30)

“Yahweh will raise a signal

For a nation far away.

He will whistle for a people

At the ends of the earth.

Here they come!

Swiftly!

Speedily!

None are weary.

None stumbles.

None slumbers.

None sleeps.

Not a loin cloth is loose.

Not a sandal-thong broken.

Their arrows are sharp.

All their bows bent.

Their horses’ hoofs seem like flint.

Their wheels seem like the whirlwind.

Their roaring is like a lion.

Like young lions,

They roar.

They growl.

They seize their prey.

They carry it off.

None can rescue it.

They will roar over it

On that day,

Like the roaring of the sea.

If one looks to the land,

There is only darkness.

There is only distress.

The light grows dark

With clouds.”

This oracle of Isaiah probably refers to one of the various Assyrian invasions of Judah and Jerusalem between 735-701 BCE. The nation from far away may be the Babylonians who will execute God’s judgment on them. These invaders are actually acting on Yahweh’s behalf since he gave them a signal and a whistle. They are going to come speedily, swiftly, not stumbling, sleeping, or growing weary. Their loin clothes and sandals are tight and ready to go. Their spears, bows and arrows, as well as horses are on the move. They roar like a lion about to eat its prey. They roar like a sea storm about to hit land. There will be darkness and distress, as everything will be cloudy.

The judgment of God (Wis 6:4-6:8)

“Because as servants of his kingdom,

You did not rule rightly.

You did not keep the law.

You did not walk

According to the purpose of God.

He will come upon you terribly.

He will come upon you swiftly.

Because severe judgment falls

On those in high places.

The lowliest may be pardoned in mercy.

But the mighty will be mightily tested.

The Lord of all

Will not stand in awe of any one.

He will not show deference to greatness.

Because he himself made

Both small and great.

He takes thought for all alike.

But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.”

Severe judgment will come upon those who are in high places that did not rule rightly. They did not keep the law (νόμον) or walk according to God’s purposes (κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπορεύθητε). God will come upon them terribly and swiftly. God might pardon the lowly with mercy, but the mighty are tested mightily. The Lord of all will not be awed by anyone. He does not show deference, whether they are small or great. He does a strict inquiry into all, especially the mighty ones.