All the others go into the pit (Ezek 31:16-31:17)

“‘I made

The nations quake

At the sound

Of its fall.

I cast it down

To Sheol

With those

Who go down

To the pit.

All the trees of Eden,

The choice,

The best,

Of Lebanon,

All that were

Well-watered,

Were consoled

In the world below.

They also shall go down

To Sheol

With it,

Those killed

By the sword,

Along with its allies,

Those who lived

In its shadow

Among the nations.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he had made the other nations shake at the sound of this falling great cedar tree. Yahweh had cast it down to Sheol where others had gone into the pit also. This included the choice and best cedar trees from Lebanon and the Garden of Eden. All these well-watered trees were consoled in the world below. They all went down to Sheol with those who had been killed by the sword, as well as the allies who had lived in the shadow of this great tree.

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Against the messengers sent to Egypt (Isa 30:1-30:5)

“‘Woe to you!

Rebellious children!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You carry out a plan,

But it is not mine.

You make an alliance,

But it is against my will.

You are adding sin to sin!

You set out to go down to Egypt,

Without asking for my counsel!

You want to take refuge

In the protection of Pharaoh!

You want to seek shelter

In the shadow of Egypt!

Therefore the protection of Pharaoh

Shall become your shame.

The shelter in the shadow of Egypt

Shall become your humiliation.

Even though his officials are at Zoan,

Even though his envoys reach Hanes,

Everyone will come to shame.

They are a people

That cannot profit them.

They can bring

Neither help nor profit.

They can only bring shame and disgrace.’”

This is an oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, against sending messengers to Egypt to ask for help against Assyria around 703-701 BCE. These messengers were not from Yahweh. They were in fact rebelling against the will of Yahweh, so that they were only adding sin to sin. They went to Egypt without seeking the guidance of Yahweh, since they wanted to take refuge under the shadow and protection of the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, this protections will become their shame and humiliation. Even though these messengers are in the 2 Egyptian delta cities of Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, everyone will be shamed. They will not get help, profit, or protection, but only shame and disgrace for this action.

David praises God (Ps 63:5-63:8)

“My soul is satisfied

As with a rich feast.

My mouth praises you

With joyful lips.

I think of you

On my bed.

I meditate on you

In the watches of the night.

You have been my help.

In the shadow of your wings

I sing for joy.

My soul clings to you.

Your right hand upholds me.”

David’s soul was satisfied like as if it were at a great feast. His mouth praised God with his joyful lips. At night when he was in bed, he meditated on God. During the 3 night watches, God had been a help to him. Once again, there is allusion to the refuge in the shadow of the wings of God, when in fact God did not have wings. The cherubim in the Holy of Holies had wings. David sang for joy. His soul clung to God because God helped him with his right hand. Once again, God did not have hands. These metaphorical phrases of a thirsty soul and a winged God with a right hand are ways of explaining his trust in God.

Protection from my enemies (Ps 17:7-17:12)

“From my adversaries

Who are at your right hand!

Guard me as the apple of your eye!

Hide me in the shadow of your wings!

Hide me from the wicked who despoil me!

Hide me from my deadly enemies who surround me!

They close their hearts to pity.

With their mouths

They speak arrogantly.

They track me down.

Now they surround me!

They want to cast me to the ground.

They are like a lion eager to tear.

They are like a young lion lurking in ambush.”

Now the psalmist is explicit. He wanted to be the apple of God’s eye. He wanted to be hidden in the shadow of his wings. He wanted protection from the wicked and deadly enemies who surrounded him. The enemies had no pity as they were arrogant. They had tracked him down and surrounded him. They were about to leap at him like a young lion lurking in an ambush.