Silence is good (Lam 3:28-3:30)

Yod

“It is good

To sit alone

In silence,

When Yahweh

Has imposed it.

It is good

To put

One’s mouth

To the dust.

There may yet be hope.

It is good

To give one’s cheek

To the one who

Strikes you.

It is good

To be filled

With insults.”

Now this author says that is good to sit alone waiting in silence for Yahweh. It is also good to put your mouth to the dust, indicating that one has hope for the future. You should also give your cheek to the one who is hitting you, an idea mentioned later in the Christian gospels. Finally it is good to accept insults. Here there is an important element of silence, self control, and humility.   These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Yod in this acrostic poem.

The vicious animals (Lam 3:10-3:12)

Daleth

“Yahweh is

Like a bear

Lying in wait.

Yahweh is

Like a lion

In hiding.

He led me

Off my way.

He tore me to pieces.

He has made me

Desolate.

He bent his bow.

He set me

As a mark

For his arrow.”

Yahweh was like a bear or a lion waiting to attack this author. He was afraid to be torn into pieces since he had become desolate. Meanwhile, Yahweh has aimed his bow and arrow at him. This is a man in a lot of trouble. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Daleth in this acrostic poem.

The soldiers of Babylon stop fighting (Jer 51:30-51:33)

“The warriors of Babylon

Have given up fighting.

They remain

In their strongholds.

Their strength has failed.

They have become women.

Her buildings are on fire.

Her bars are broken.

One runner runs

To meet another.

One messenger runs

To meet another.

They tell

The king of Babylon

That his city is taken

From end to end.

The fords have been seized.

The marshes have been burned

With fire.

The soldiers are in panic.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Daughter Babylon is

Like a threshing floor

At the time

When it is trodden.

Yet a little while

The time of her harvest

Will come.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, notes that the Babylonian warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their fortresses. Their strength has left them so that they are like women. Their buildings are on fire. The bars to their gates are broken. Messengers are running to meet other messengers on their way to tell the king that the city is lost from end to end. The fords or the shallow parts of the river areas have been seized, while the wet marshes have been set on fire. All the soldiers are in a state of panic. Thus the God of Israel compares Babylon to a barren threshing floor that is waiting for a harvest that will never come.

Yahweh gives up (Jer 12:7-12:9)

“I have forsaken my house.

I have abandoned my heritage.

I have given the beloved of my heart

Into the hands of her enemies.

My heritage has become to me

Like a lion in the forest.

She has lifted up her voice

Against me.

Therefore I hate her.

Is the hyena greedy

For my heritage?

Are the birds of prey

All around her?

Go!

Assemble all the wild animals!

Bring them to devour her!”

Yahweh has given up on his house and abandoned his heritage. He has handed over his most beloved people into the hands of their enemies. His heritage had become like a lion in the forest that had lifted up its voice against him. Now Yahweh hates her. The greedy hyena is waiting for Yahweh’s heritage. The birds of prey are all around her. Yahweh wanted all the wild animals to gather and devour his people. This is an allusion to the neighboring countries and of course the Babylonians, who will come and devour Judah. It seems like Yahweh has given up on his people.

The wicked whores (Jer 3:2-3:3)

“Look up to the bare heights!

See!

Where have you not been lain with?

By the waysides

You have sat

Waiting for lovers,

Like a nomad in the wilderness.

You have polluted the land

With your whoring.

You have polluted the land

With your wickedness.

Therefore the showers have been withheld.

The spring rain has not come.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, told them to look at the heights. Was there any place where they have not lain with their lovers? They were waiting for lovers at the waysides, like a nomad in the wilderness. Thus they have polluted the land with their wicked whoring around. Because of this, the land will have a drought with no spring shower rains.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.

Yahweh will judge the world (Isa 51:4-51:6)

“Listen to me!

My people!

Give heed to me!

My nation!

A teaching will go out from me!

My justice will be for a light to the people.

I will bring near my deliverance swiftly.

My salvation has gone out.

My arms will rule the people.

The coastlands wait for me.

They hope for my arm.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens!

Look at the earth beneath!

The heavens will vanish

Like smoke!

The earth will wear out

Like a garment!

Those who live on it

Will die like gnats!

But my salvation will be forever!

My deliverance will never be ended!”

Once again, Second Isaiah wanted the people to listen to Yahweh and his teaching. Yahweh wanted to bring justice and light to the world and its people. He would bring salvation and deliverance swiftly. Once again, the coastlands of the Mediterranean Sea were mentioned explicitly as waiting for Yahweh. He told them to look at heaven and earth. Heaven would vanish like smoke, while the earth would wear out. The people on earth would die like gnats. However, the eternal salvation and deliverance of Yahweh would be forever without end.

The signal from Yahweh (Isa 49:22-49:23)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘I will soon lift up my hand

To the nations.

I will raise my signal

To the people.

They shall bring your sons

In their bosom.

Your daughters shall be carried

On their shoulders.

Kings shall be your foster fathers.

Queens shall be your nursing mothers.

With their faces to the ground,

They shall bow down to you.

They shall lick the dust of your feet.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.

Those who wait for me

Shall not be put to shame.’”

Second Isaiah has this oracle of Yahweh where he was going to lift up his hand and give a signal to the nations and the people of the world. Everyone will come with their sons and daughters. Kings would become foster parents, while queens would be nursing mothers. These kings and queens would bow down before them and lick the dust off their feet. Then they would know that it was Yahweh who was putting them to shame. However, those who had been waiting for Yahweh will not be put to shame.

Description of the servant of Yahweh (Isa 42:2-42:4)

“The servant will not cry.

He will not lift up his voice.

He will not make it heard in the street.

He will not break a bruised reed.

He will not quench a dimly burning wick.

He will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint.

He will not be crushed,

Until he has established justice on the earth.

The coastlands wait for his teaching.”

Second Isaiah describes this servant of Yahweh. He will not cry. He will not lift up his voice or cry in the streets. He will not break the bruised reeds nor put out a dimly burning wick on a candle. In other words, he will be a very quiet person. However, he will fight for justice. He will not faint or be crushed until he has established justice on the whole earth. Apparently the Mediterranean cities were waiting for this just teaching.

The song of hope (Isa 33:2-33:2)

“O Yahweh!

Be gracious to us!

We wait for you!

Be our arm every morning!

Be our salvation

In the time of trouble!”

This is a simple shout out to Yahweh. Isaiah wanted Yahweh to be gracious to all his people. They were waiting for him. He would be their arm every morning. Yahweh would be their salvation in any time of trouble.