Yahweh against Assyria (Isa 30:31-30:33)

“The Assyrians will be terror-stricken

At the voice of Yahweh,

When he strikes with his rod.

Every stroke of the staff of punishment

That Yahweh lays upon them

Will be to the sound of timbrels,

Will be to the sound of lyres.

Battling with brandished arm,

He will fight with them.

His burning place of Topheth

Has long been prepared.

Truly,

It is made ready

For the King Molech.

Its pyre is made deep.

It is made wide.

There is fire in abundance.

There is wood in abundance.

The breath of Yahweh,

Like a stream of sulfur,

Kindles it.”

Isaiah warns Assyria that Yahweh will come after them. The Assyrians would be afraid of the voice of Yahweh. However, it is the stick or rod in his strong arm that they really have to fear. While music played, the clanging timbrels and the sweet sounding lyres, Yahweh would punish them. He had long prepared to light the fire that would destroy them. The burning place would be like Topheth, the ancient burning sacrifice place outside Jerusalem, where there were sacrifices to the Canaanite god king Molech. The abundant wood pile was prepared. All it needed was the sulfur breath of Yahweh to kindle and start this fire.

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The role of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:5-10:7)

“O Assyria!

The rod of my anger!

The club in their hands

Is my fury!

Against a godless nation,

I send him.

Against the people of my wrath,

I command him

To take spoil.

I command him

To seize plunder.

I command him

To tread them down

Like the mire of the streets.

This is not what he intends.

He did not have this in mind.

But in his heart,

He wanted to destroy.

He wanted to cut off

Not a few nations.”

It seems like Yahweh is sending the king of Assyria as his rod and club to work out God’s plans. Thus, King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE) of Assyria wanted to deport people, so that they would not lead a revolt against him. This Assyrian king was to be the stick of Yahweh’s anger to make the northern Israelites like sludge in the streets. He would take the plunder and the spoils of the people of Yahweh, the northern Israelites. The Assyrian king controlled a great part of the Middle East from the Tigris River, including Babylon, during this time of Isaiah. However, the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III did not intend to do the will of Yahweh. He really wanted to destroy and cut up many nations with his deportation and plunder policies.

Inheritance (Prov 13:22-13:25)

“The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children.

But the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

The field of the poor may yield much food.

But it is swept away through injustice.

Those who spare the rod

Hate their children.

But those who love them

Are diligent to discipline them.

The righteous have enough

To satisfy their appetite.

But the belly of the wicked

Is empty.”

Good people leave an inheritance to their children and grandchildren. However, the sinner’s wealth is taken over by the righteous. There is no indication how this is done. The fields of the poor have a good yield, but someone unjustly takes it away. This sounds strange, but once again there is no explanation as to how this is done. Then there is the famous phrase about sparing the rod. If you did not use the stick on your children it meant that you disliked your children. If you loved them, you disciplined them. The righteous would always have enough to satisfy their appetites. However, the wicked will have an empty belly.