The people in Jerusalem (Jer 29:16-29:16)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the king

Who sits

On the throne of David.

This concerns

All the people

Who live in this city.

This concerns

Your kinsmen

Who did not go out

With you into exile.”

This and the following verses are lacking in the Greek Septuagint translation, since they are like a comment on Jeremiah’s letter. Yahweh seems to be talking about the king in Jerusalem as well as the people who were not sent into captivity. These are the people who were left behind in Jerusalem, their relatives. They were the people favored by the Babylonians, since they were not sent to Babylon in the first purge and captivity of 598 BCE.

The importance of good relationships (Isa 58:6-58:9)

“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,

Cover them!

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.