Re read in gory detail how Yahweh will destroy Babylon. Not that it could really be worse than anything than we’ve heard before – we’re used to Yahweh’s cruelty by now. Check v 10 and 13 for some bad science; v 15-18 for examples of biblical morality and justice; v 20 for prophecy that proved false; and v 21 for another mythical beast, the satyr (an ithyphallic male companion of Dionysus with equine features, including a horse-tail, horse-like ears, and sometimes a horse-like phallus). In modern bible translations, these satyrs have become ‘wild goats’ – not quite the same thing… but more, shall we say, family-friendly.
The rant continues. Read v 1-2, keeping in mind that Isaiah is speaking of the return of the exiles from Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. People read these lines today in a completely different context. Keep reading, and keep in mind that the taunts and accusations in v 3-21 are addressed to the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar?) who has been overthrown. V 9-11 describe his reception in hell. V 12 refers to the king as Lucifer in the KJV, but in Hebrew it says “day-star, son of the morning”, and modern translations have similarly removed the reference to Lucifer. Certainly the meaning here has nothing to do with Satan. (And apparently this is the only mention of Lucifer in the bible. So how did Satan become synonymous with Lucifer?) V 24 is further evidence of god’s evil machinations. At the end of the chapter there’s a friendly little warning to the Philistines not to get too complacent – their turn is coming. And in v 29 the cockatrice is back. Nice.
Yahweh turns his evil towards Moab. It’s just more of the same violence and cruelty; the worst is in v 9 – the rivers will run with blood and lions will hunt the survivors. Honestly, could any modern horror writer even think this stuff up?
Now we learn of the desolation in the aftermath of the scourge of Moab. The women are destitute and the land is barren. Here comes more prophecy in v 4-5: “…God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth…”
Yahweh turns his destruction towards Damascus. V 1 predicts that the city will become a ruinous heap. Which of course isn’t true – it’s still there. But look at this note in the SAB, which I will just share here without further comment because world politics really isn’t my area:
“5 September 2013: Now that the United States is considering the use of force in Syria, believers are claiming that Isaiah 17:1 is being fulfilled and Armageddon is right around the corner. Even the Muslims are excited, since the Quran predicts Jesus’s return on the day of judgment and the hadith says he will descend on a mosque on the east side of Damascus.”
The rest of the chapter is just Yahweh’s usual vitriol. zzzzz