The destruction of Babylon (Isa 43:14-43:15)

“Thus says Yahweh!

Your Redeemer!

The Holy One of Israel!

‘For your sake,

I will send to Babylon.

I will break down all the bars.

The shouting of the Chaldeans

Will be turned to lamentation.

I am Yahweh!

Your Holy One!

The Creator of Israel!

Your King.’”

In this short passage about the destruction of Babylon, Second Isaiah has this oracle of Yahweh refer to Yahweh as the Redeemer, the King, and the Creator, as well as the Holy One of Israel. Yahweh was going to destroy Babylon along with the shouting of the southern Babylonians, the Chaldeans. They will lament, because he was Yahweh, the holy creator king of Israel.

Powerful providence (Isa 40:27-40:31)

“Why do you say?

O Jacob!

Speak!

O Israel!

‘My way is hidden from Yahweh.

My right is disregarded by my God!’

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Yahweh is the everlasting God.

He is the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint.

He does not grow weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint.

He strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint.

They will be weary.

Young men shall fall exhausted.

But those who wait for Yahweh

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up

With wings

Like eagles.

They shall run.

They shall not be weary.

They shall walk.

They shall not faint.”

This chapter concludes with a shout out to the great providence of God. Do not be concerned that God does not know about you. Yahweh is an everlasting God, the creator of everything. Although he is unsearchable, he does not grow faint or weary in his understanding of you. He gives power to the faint. He strengthens the powerless. Even if some young people grow faint, weary, and exhausted, anyone who waits for Yahweh will find renewed strength. They will fly with wings like they were eagles. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not be faint. They just need to trust Yahweh, their God.

The Creator (Isa 40:21-40:24)

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you

From the beginning?

Have you not understood

From the foundations of the earth?

It is he

Who sits above the circle of the earth.

Its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens

Like a curtain.

He spreads them

Like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught.

He makes the rulers of the earth

As nothing.

Scarcely are they planted,

Scarcely sown,

Scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

When he blows upon them,

They wither.

The tempest carries them off

Like stubble.”

Second Isaiah continues to use the questioning style to make his point. He seems to call attention to the ignorance of the people. Do they not understand that God created them? God sits on top of the dome over the earth in the heavens, As Second Isaiah was expressing the cosmology of his day. God has stretched out the heavens like a curtain or a tent. All humans are like grasshoppers since he has such a lofty view. He controls the earthly princes and rulers. As soon as someone plants something and it begins to take roots, he blows on it and it withers. Then he sends a tempest storm to carry it off as stubble. Clearly God is in control as the creator of this world and the things in it.

These false worshipers are seeking something (Wis 13:6-13:9)

“These people are little to be blamed.

Perhaps they go astray.

But they were seeking God.

They desired to find him.

As they live among his works,

They keep searching.

They trust in what they see.

Because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again,

Not even they are to be excused.

If they had the power to know so much

That they could investigate the world,

How did they fail to find sooner

the Lord of these things?”

This writer seems to give these nature idol worshipers a pass. They were at least seeking God (πλανῶνται Θεὸν). They were trying to find him in his works (τοῖς ἔργοις). They kept searching in this beautiful world. However, since they were so smart, they should have investigated further to find the creator of all this beauty. They are not to be totally excused because they should have found the maker and creator (δεσπότην) of all these things. This is an argument against nature worshippers who fail to see through to the divine maker of nature.

The creator (Wis 13:3-13:5)

“If through delight

In the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods,

Let them know

How much better than these

Is their Lord.

The author of beauty created them.

If people were amazed

At their power,

At their working,

Let them perceive from them

How much more powerful

Is the one who formed them.

From the greatness of created things,

From the beauty of created things,

Comes a corresponding perception

Of their Creator.”

These beautiful natural forces led people to give them divine power as gods (θεοὺς). However, the author of beauty is greater than these beautiful creatures. If they were amazed at the power and works of these creatures, let them understand how much more powerful God is. He formed the greatness in these created things as their creator (ὁ γενεσιουργὸς). This idea of creature and artisan creator was also a common Greek thought. You should get to the creator through the created things that you see.

Shared wealth (Prov 17:1-17:5)

“Better is a dry morsel with quiet

Than a house full of feasting with strife.

A slave who deals wisely

Will rule over a child who acts shamefully.

The slave will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.

The crucible is for silver.

The furnace is for gold.

Yahweh tests the heart.

An evildoer listens to wicked lips.

A liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.

Those who mock the poor

Insult their maker.

Those who are glad at calamity

Will not go unpunished.”

You are better off with a dry morsel of bread in quiet peaceful solitude than having a house full of feasting and strife at the same time. A slave who is wise will rule over a child who acts shamefully. In fact, this slave will gain the inheritance as if he was one of the brothers. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. So too, Yahweh tests the human heart. An evildoer listens to wicked lips, while a liar follows mischievous tongues. Anyone who mocks poor people actually insults their maker, the creator. Those who are happy about bad news will not go unpunished.

The ruler king (Prov 14:28-14:35)

“The glory of a king

Is a multitude of people.

Without people

A prince is ruined.

Whoever is slow to anger

Has great understanding.

But one who has a hasty temper

Exalts folly.

A tranquil mind

Gives life to the flesh.

But passion

Makes the bones rot.

Those who oppresses the poor

Insult their maker.

But those who are kind to the needy

Honor him.

The wicked are overthrown

By their evildoing.

But the righteous find

A refuge in their integrity.

Wisdom is at home

In the mind of one who has understanding.

But it is not known

In the heart of fools.

Righteousness exalts a nation.

But sin is a reproach to any people.

A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor.

But his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.”

The great kings rule over a large amount of people. Without people, there cannot be any ruling princes. Those who are slow to anger have great understanding. Those with a hasty temper are foolish. Tranquility gives life to your body, while passion rots your bones. If you oppress the poor, you insult the creator. If you are kind to the needy, then you honor your creator. The wicked will be overthrown by their own evildoing. The righteous will always have integrity. Wisdom belongs to those who have understanding. There is no wisdom in the heart of fools. Righteousness will exalt a nation, but sin can be a reproach to a whole group of people. A wise servant gains the king’s favor, while wrath falls on those servants who act shamefully.