The power of Yahweh (Isa 44:24-44:28)

“Thus says Yahweh,

Your Redeemer!

He formed you in the womb.

‘I am Yahweh!

I made all things!

I alone stretched out the heavens!

I by myself spread out the earth!

Who was with me?

Who frustrates the omens of liars?

Who makes fools of diviners?

Who turns back the wise?

Who makes their knowledge foolish?

Who confirms the word of his servant?

Who fulfills the predictions of his messengers?

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be inhabited.’

Who says of the cities of Judah?

‘They shall be rebuilt.

I will raise up their ruins.’

Who says to the deep?

‘Be dry!

I will dry up your rivers.’

Who says of Cyrus?

‘He is my shepherd.

He shall carry out my purpose.’

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be rebuilt.’

Who says of the temple?

‘Your foundations shall be laid.’”

Second Isaiah ends this chapter the way it began, stressing the redeeming power of Yahweh among the Israelites who had been formed by Yahweh in their mother’s womb. Yahweh has stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth by himself. He has frustrated liars. He has made fools of false prophets. He has made the wise people look foolish with all their knowledge. However, he has fulfilled his word to his servants and the predictions of his messengers. He said that Jerusalem would be inhabited and the cities of Judah would be rebuilt from their ruins. He dried up the rivers. He also made Cyrus his shepherd, a very strong term for this Persian leader from 559-530 BCE. Cyrus was to carry out Yahweh’s purposes as the destroyer mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. Jerusalem would be rebuilt with the foundations of the temple laid out.

Clever ones (Prov 12:23-12:25)

“Whoever is clever

Conceals his knowledge.

But the mind of the fool

Broadcasts folly.

The hand of the diligent will rule.

The lazy will be put to forced labor.

Anxiety weighs down the human heart.

But a good word cheers it up.”

The clever person conceals their knowledge. They do not show off their wisdom. The fools, on the other hand, broadcast their folly. They speak and show how stupid they are. The diligent will rule, while the lazy ones will be forced into labor. Anxiety weights down people, but a good word can cheer people up.

Righteousness (Prov 11:5-11:9)

“The righteousness of the blameless keeps their ways straight.

But the wicked fall by their own wickedness.

The righteousness of the upright saves them.

But the treacherous are taken captive by their schemes.

When the wicked die,

Their hope perishes.

The expectation of the godless comes to nothing.

The righteous are delivered from trouble.

The wicked gets into trouble instead.

With their mouths

The godless would destroy their neighbors.

But by knowledge

The righteous are delivered.”

The blameless keep the straight ways because of their righteousness. The wicked fall by their own wickedness. The upright are saved because of their righteousness, while the treacherous fall captive to their own schemes. When the wicked die, all their hopes perish, since the expectations of the godless come to nothing. While the righteous are delivered from trouble, the wicked get into trouble. The godless destroy their neighbors with their mouths, but the righteous are saved by their knowledge.