Day 221

Isaiah 54-58

Chapter 54

The author compares the restoration of Jerusalem to a childless woman suddenly bearing several children (v 1-3); in other words, barren is synonymous with ’empty’ or disappointed, and multiple children equate to success and prosperity. Rather an outdated and inappropriate metaphor now. The rest of the chapter zzzzzz.

Chapter 55

God will make Israel glorious, and the commander of other nations, yeah, we know… zzzzz. But look at v 8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV) This passage continues to be used by believers to justify every kind of injustice and tragedy: a child dies of cancer, a tsunami kills thousands, an epidemic wipes out a community – and you’ll hear believers say (it’s especially popular at funerals) that it’s not up to us to question god, for his ways are not our ways, etc etc. Hurk!

Chapter 56

Yahweh welcomes and blesses everyone who keeps the sabbath, including foreigners who convert, and eunuchs (v 3-4). No opinion from god about the ethical implications of castrating young boys without their consent, though.

isaiah 57 Chapter 57

The first few lines offer an egregious rationalization for tragedy – when good people die young, it’s because god is protecting them from something worse that would/could have happened to them if they had lived longer. Spare me this crap! Then, in v 3-13, Isaiah launches into a diatribe against neighboring cultures, particularly followers of Molech, calling them witches and whores, and railing against idol worship and child sacrifice.

Chapter 58

In v 1-5, Yahweh rants about people who observe all the rituals, like fasting and making sacrifices, while fighting among themselves and oppressing others. Instead, he says (v 6-14) that they should help others – Free the wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burdens of workers, let the oppressed go free, share food, shelter the homeless, clothe the poor, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Sounds like humanism to me! And it most certainly does not sound like the god of Moses, who liked the smell of burning fat. Either this is a different god, or Yahweh evolved as the surrounding culture evolved. And read v 6 – does it support the abolition of slavery?

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