Day 214

Isaiah 23-27

Chapter 23

Well this is dismal. Yahweh turns to Tyre and promises to trash it, too. But there’s more – at the end we are told that “after seventy years the Lord will revive Tyre. But she will be no different than she was before. She will again be a prostitute to all kingdoms around the world.”

Chapter 24

So can it get much worse? Yes. I thought that after Noah’s ark, Yahweh made a vow never again to destroy everyone. Guess I’ll have to reread that – maybe there was fine print that said his promise only applied to floods. Because now he destroys the land through drought and fire. Only a few people are spared (v 6 and 13) and it’s not clear who they are. But they sing and shout for joy (v 14) – what, thanks for picking me over my neighbor? Sick! V 19 goes on to describe what sounds like an earthquake, but that’s Yahweh’s doing, too. Or maybe, just maybe, droughts, forest or brush fires, and earthquakes are natural phenomena not understood in Isaiah’s day, and so they were blamed on vengeful gods????

Chapter 25

This one sounds more like a psalm. Isaiah is praising god for all his wondrous works, like “You do such wonderful things!… You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt.” (v 1-2)

Chapter 26

Verse 2 has the dubious distinction of being used by Rumsfeld in 2003 to inspire the troops during the invasion of Iraq. “Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.” Guess we know which side god was on. The chapter continues on, thanking god for helping us and punishing those ‘others’. Yeah, yeah.

But v 19 gets interesting. It’s the first mention in the OT of some kind of resurrection and afterlife. And before you correct me, yes, there were a couple of references back in Kings, but they referred only to specific people; basically miracles associated with Elijah and Elisha reviving a recently deceased person. This is the first reference that applies to multiple people. After this there will be only two more hints in the OT to an afterlife (in Daniel and Ezekiel); the idea doesn’t really take off until the NT.

Leviathan 2

Destruction of Leviathan, 1865 engraving, Gustave Dore

Chapter 27

Oh fudge! Here comes that leviathan again! We met it before in Job 40. Well Yahweh’s gonna kill it this time. V 6 sounds like more prophesy. And so does v 12-13. No wonder Christians quote so much from Isaiah. But these verses, in context, refer to the restoration of Israel after the siege in 586 BCE. Why are people trying to make them apply now?

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