“Is not this the fast that I choose?
You must loose the bonds of injustice!
You must undo the thongs of the yoke!
Let the oppressed go free!
Break every yoke!
Is it not to share your bread
With the hungry?
Is it not to bring the homeless poor
Into your house?
When you see the naked,
Do not hide yourself
From your own relatives!
Then your light shall break forth
Like the dawn.
Your healing shall spring up quickly.
Your vindicator shall go before you.
The glory of Yahweh
Shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call.
Now Yahweh will answer.
You shall cry for help.
He will say.
‘Here I am.’”
Third Isaiah has Yahweh explain what kind of relationships that they should have while fasting. They should try to do away with injustice. They should try to lift the yoke of those who are oppressed. They should share their bread with the hungry. They should provide housing for the homeless. They should clothe the naked. In some sense, this sounds like the later Christian beatitudes in the gospel stories. They should take care of their relatives or next of kin. If they did all these things, then their light would be like the dawning of a new day. They would heal quickly. Their vindicator would lead them, while the glory of God would be behind them. If they called him, obviously the Lord, Yahweh, would answer their cry for help with a simple saying that he was here. How you treat others has an impact on how you treat God.
O people in Zion!
Inhabitants of Jerusalem!
You shall weep no more!
He will surely be gracious to you
At the sound of your cry.
When he hears it,
He will answer you.
Even though Yahweh may give you
The bread of adversity
With the water of affliction,
Yet your teacher
Will not hide himself any more.
But your eyes shall see your teacher.
When you turn to the right
Or when you turn to the left,
Your ears shall hear
A word behind you,
‘This is the way!
Walk in it!’
Then you will defile
Your silver-covered idols.
Then you will defile
Your gold-plated images.
You will scatter them
Like filthy rags.
You will say to them.
‘Away with you!’”
This seems to be an oracle from the time of the Exile about the future restoration of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem will weep no more, because Yahweh will be gracious to their cry and answer them. There will be adversity and affliction. However, your teacher will no longer hide himself from you as you will be able to see him. This teacher may have been a prophet. Then as you turn to the right or the left, you will hear his words from behind you telling you the correct way to walk on the straight path. That is when you will defile the silver and golden idols and images that you had. You will scatter them like filthy rages as you will throw them away. Apparently idol worship was prevalent in Jerusalem itself.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words.
He is gracious in all his deeds.
Yahweh upholds all who are falling.
He raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you.
You give them their food in due season.
You open your hand.
You satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Yahweh is just in all his ways.
He is kind in all his doings.
Yahweh is near to all who call upon him.
He is near to all who call upon him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him.
He also hears their cry.
He saves them.
Yahweh watches over all who love him.
But he will destroy all the wicked.”
Yahweh is faithful in his words and gracious in his deeds. He holds up all who are falling. He raises up those bowed down. He gives them food in due season. He opens his hand to fulfill desires. Yahweh is just in his ways and kind in his actions. He is near to those who truthfully call upon him. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him. He can hear their cry and save them. He watches over all those who love him. However, he will destroy the wicked. The next 8 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.
“May my enemy be like the wicked ones!
May my opponents be like the unrighteous!
What is the hope of the godless?
When God cuts them off?
When God takes away their lives?
Will God hear their cry?
When trouble comes upon them?
Will they take delight in the Almighty Shaddai?
Will they call upon God at all times?
I will teach you concerning the hand of God.
What is with the Almighty Shaddai?
I will not conceal it.
All of you have seen it yourselves.
Why then have you become altogether vain?”
Job or is it Zophar described the lot of the wicked. His enemies should be like the wicked and unrighteous. The godless people have no hope. When God cut them off, he takes their lives. God did not hear their cry when trouble came to them. They did not delight in the almighty Shaddai. Job knew about the almighty God, but they did not know him. Job did not hide so that anyone can see what is vain.