Good morning! The prophet Isaiah writes today in chapters 25-28 of the coming re-ordering that God will bring to pass among the Hebrew people. While Isaiah shows some preference for the inhabitants of Israel and Judah because they are Jews, he also has no patience for Jewish leaders who misuse their authority and privilege. Isaiah is first and foremost on God’s side, and has no doubt that God will make all things right once again.
Chapter 25 begins the series of verses that praise God for the coming overthrow of oppressors. I find it interesting that both the climate metaphors of winter rainstorm and dry heat are used to represent harsh treatment, and that the shade of clouds—not sun—is a metaphor for the saving care of God. In famous verses at the middle of this chapter, Isaiah awakens our appetite by describing a feast for all peoples on the mountain of abundance (Jerusalem?), where God will destroy the cloak of death forever. But then almost in the same breath as the declaration of a universal welcome to this feast, the Moabites are metaphorically buried in manure. Even Isaiah had his blind spots!
Chapters 26 and 27 point to the time of God’s redemption, which will develop in later prophetic literature into “The Day of the Lord”. Isaiah here outlines the victories that God will win “on that day”, when God makes peace with the vineyard Israel, and it makes peace with God. All the enemies of Judah and Israel will endure harsher punishment than that faced by God’s chosen people. I found curious this mention in chapter 26: “Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.” Might this be the first time that a theology of resurrection arises? (Get it? Get it?? :D)
The final chapter in this passage denounces libertine excesses, especially by those in authority like priests, prophets and rulers. It sounds like the Hebrew authorities have made a “deal with the devil” which lets them live high on the hog. Had they come to some arrangement with Assyria or one of the other threatening powers to cooperate with foreign power, which gave them more money or freedom to carouse? Regardless, God will not let it stand. Drunken libations will be replaced with a spirit of justice and strength, sturdiness in the fight for righteousness. The wisdom of ordinary folk—who understand the ways of farming and of natural order comes from God—will trip up the haughty at last. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Isaiah 29-32. Thanks for reading!