“Isaiah said this
Because he saw his glory.
He spoke about him.”
ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἡσαΐας ὅτι εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ
ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ.
Then John uniquely indicated that Isaiah
(Ἡσαΐας) had said this (ταῦτα εἶπεν) because he had seen (ὅτι εἶδεν) the glory
of Yahweh, God (τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ). He had
spoken (καὶ ἐλάλησεν) about him (περὶ αὐτοῦ), God the Father. John explained that Isaiah had
seen and spoken of the glory of Yahweh, God, the Father. Thus, Isaiah had predicted the coming
of Jesus as being sent from the Father.
The Christological theology of John is very clear with this glorification
of the Son that came from the glorified Father.
How do you glorify Jesus and the Father?
“Jesus said to Martha.
‘Did I not tell you
That if you believe,
You would see
The glory of God?’”
λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐκ εἶπόν σοι ὅτι ἐὰν πιστεύσῃς
ὄψῃ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ Θεοῦ;
uniquely indicated that Jesus (ὁ Ἰησοῦς) said to Martha (λέγει αὐτῇ) that had
he not told her (Οὐκ εἶπόν σοι) to believe (ὅτι ἐὰν πιστεύσῃς), so that she
might see (ὄψῃ) the glory of God (τὴν δόξαν τοῦ Θεοῦ). To bring Lazarus back to life would be a
manifestation of God’s glory. They would
see the splendor of God. This was a hint
that something big was going to happen. Do
you believe in the glory of God?
“Pray then in this way!
Holy be your name!
Let your kingdom come!
Your will be done,
As it is in heaven.’”
οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
Matthew, as well as Luke, chapter 11:2-3, both have the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” with only slightly different versions, perhaps indicating a Q source. The text in Luke is shorter than here, since Matthew has 7 demands of God, one of his favorite numbers. The first part of the prayer is about the glory of God himself, the Father. Jesus simply tells them to pray like this (οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς). The Greek word for praying “προσεύχεσθε” means an exchange of wishes. Jesus opened this prayer with a call to their common “our” Father (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) who is in the heavens (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). The heavenly father was a major theme throughout Matthew. His name should be holy (Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου), just as in the Hebrew scriptures where the name of Yahweh was holy, especially Psalm 105:1-5. His kingdom should come (ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου). His will should be done (γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου) on earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), just as it is done in heaven (ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ). Obviously following the will of God, Yahweh, was a common theme of Judaic life. The followers of Jesus would not be exempt from following the will of their heavenly Father.
“This is the one
The prophet Isaiah
When he said.
‘The voice of one crying out
In the wilderness.
The way of the Lord!
Make his paths straight!’”
οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ῥηθεὶς διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ.
Matthew followed Mark who introduced John as a fulfilment of a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah. However, the text from Mark, chapter 1:2, was a composite of texts from Isaiah, Malachi and Exodus. Matthew, as well as Luke, dropped the first part of these references. However, Luke, chaper 3:4-6, has a more extended citation from Isaiah. Matthew began with the modified quotation from Isaiah, chapter 40:3, while he moved the Malachi and Exodus material to later in the text, where Jesus quoted them. However, it was clear that John the Baptist was the one (οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ῥηθεὶς) that Isaiah the prophet was talking about (διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος). He was the messenger being sent ahead. He was a voice crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ). He was to prepare the way for the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου,). He was going to make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ). Deutero-Isaiah originally talked about a voice in the wilderness leading to a new path out of the Exile, in this oracle of Yahweh, just as there had been a path out of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way. However, this would also be a time of upheaval. The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall, so that the uneven and rough places would become level and plain. All the people would then see the glory of God revealed. Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist and Isaiah the prophet.
Covered the heavens.
The earth was
Full of his praise.
His brightness was
Like the sun.
Rays came forth
From his hand.
The glory of God covered the heavens, while the earth was full of his praise. His brightness was like the sun. Rays of light came from his hands, although his power was hidden. This was a glorious description of God’s glory.
That I saw was
Like the vision
That I had seen
When he came
To destroy the city.
Like the vision
That I had seen
By the river Chebar.
I fell upon my face.”
Ezekiel explicitly referred to his earlier visions of the glory of God. In chapter 8, he saw the abominations in the Temple. Later, he saw the fall of Jerusalem in chapter 24. He mentioned his vision of God’s glory at the River Chebar in Babylon that he described at the beginning of this book, in chapters 1-3. Once again, in the first person singular, Ezekiel noted that he fell on his face in reverence to the glory of God that stunned him, just as it had before.
Stand upon the height!
Look toward the east! See your children
Gathered from the west,
Gathered from the east, At the word
Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing
That God has remembered them. They went out from you
They were led away
By their enemies.
But God will bring them
Back to you.
They will be carried in glory
As on a royal throne.
God has ordered
That every high mountain
With the everlasting hills
Will be made low.
The valleys will be filled up
To make level ground.
Thus Israel may walk safely
In the glory of God.
With every fragrant tree
Have shaded Israel
At God’s command.
God will lead Israel with joy,
In the light of his glory,
With the mercy,
With the righteousness
That comes from him.”
This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.
“Look toward the east!
See the joy
That is coming
Those you sent away
They are gathered
From the east,
From the west,
At the word
Of the Holy One,
In the glory
Jerusalem was to look to the east to see the joy of those coming back to Jerusalem. The children, who were sent away, are now returning to this holy city. They are being gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, not Yahweh. They are rejoicing in the glory of God.
“A voice cries out.
‘In the wilderness,
Prepare the way of Yahweh!
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up.
Every mountain shall be made low.
Every hill shall be made low.
The uneven ground shall become level.
The rough places shall become a plain.
The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed.
All the people shall see it together.
The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.’”
Here we have the famous phrase that was used by the Christian writers of the New Testament to speak about John the Baptist. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke both use these phrases from the Greek Septuagint when citing them from Isaiah. Apparently this new path is a way out of the Exile, just as there was the path of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way that was mentioned earlier in chapter 35, to prepare a path for Yahweh. This would also be a time of upheaval. The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall. Also the uneven and rough places would become level and plain. All the people would then see the glory of God revealed. In case there was any doubt, Second Isaiah said that this was spoken by the mouth of Yahweh.
“Let us now sing the praises
Of famous men,
In their generations.
The Lord apportioned to them
The Lord apportioned to them
His majesty from the beginning.”
Sirach then turned to a hymn to honor all his famous holy ancestors from past generations. Their lives, like the saints of the later Christian tradition, illustrated the glory of God. Notice how all are male. In their own generations, they were glorified by the Lord so that his majesty might shine in their lives from the beginning. For those familiar with the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire” will recognize this verse from the opening scenes of the movie at the memorial services.