A Song of Praise ~ Yesha’yahu 12:1-6

In my last post, we concluded looking at The Branch of Yishai (Jesse) ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 11:10-16. In this post, we examine A Song of Praise on Yesha’yahu 12:1-6.

As we have previously learned, Yesha’yahu’s name means Adonai is salvation, and salvation is a crucial theme in this song. Then we read that the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach is both our God and our Salvation, the Holy One of Isra’el in the midst of us.

Yesha’yahu concludes chapters 6-12 by foreseeing the day when God’s people will praise Him for the abundant joys of his salvation.

1 On that day you will say: “I thank you, Adonai, because, although you were angry at me, Your anger is now turned away; and You are comforting me. 

On that day points to a future date with Isra’el’s regathering and reunion and the righteous reign of the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach. The Jewish remnant will have come through the time of tribulation on earth (known as the trouble of Ya’akov in Jeremiah 30:7), seen their Mashiach, repented, and received Him by faith. Cleansed and established in their promised kingdom, the nation will praise the Lord and worship Him among the Gentiles. In addition to an application to Yesha’yahu’s day, there is also a prophetic application of this passage.

2 “See! God is my salvation. I am confident and unafraid; for Yah Adonai is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation!”

Yah is a shortened form of the divine name Yahweh, God’s covenant name that He revealed to Moshe at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14-15).

3 Then you will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation.

In a relatively dry land like Isra’el, water, and the refreshment it brings was an apt image for salvation. The picture of water bubbling up in the spring evokes freshness and abundance.

Jon Courson offers a fascinating insight into this verse: [1]

“Whoever drinks of that water will thirst again,” Jesus said to the woman at the well (John 4:13). The crazy thing about the water in the world is that it only makes you thirsty. If you draw from the wells of materialism or hedonism, you’ll have to return because you’ll just want more. If you’re thirsty today, don’t go back to the old watering holes. They won’t satisfy you. Come to the Lord and drink again.

4 On that day you will say, “Give thanks to Adonai! Call on His name! Make His deeds known among the peoples declare how exalted is His name.

The praise of God serves as a testimony not just within God’s people, but also to the nations. They were also recipients of God’s blessing through Avraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:1-13). The story of salvation must be told, even beyond the community of Isra’el (Psalms 67:2; 70:4; 98:2).

5 Sing to Adonai, for he has triumphed— this is being made known throughout the earth. 6 Shout and sing for joy, you who live in Tziyon; for the Holy One of Isra’el is with you in his greatness!”  ~ Yesha’yahu 12:1-6 (CJB)

This beautiful picture of the kingdom comes to a close with a song of praise, and we enter a new section of the Book of Yesha’yahu. In chapters 13 through 23, we come to a passage called the book of burdens in which judgments are pronounced upon the nine nations surrounding Isra’el and Y’hudah. In my next post, we’ll begin the journey through this section in Yesha’yahu 13 by learning about A Prophecy Against Babylon ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 13 1-9.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The Remnant of Isra’el ~ Yesha’yahu 10:20-34

In my last post, we continued to learn more about The Woes of Ashur in Yesha’yahu 10:12-19. In this post, we conclude our exploration of Yesha’yahu 10 by learning about The Remnant of Isra’el in verses 20-34.

The Remnant of Isra’el

20 On that day the remnant of Isra’el, those of the house of Ya‘akov who escaped, will no longer rely on the man who struck them down, but will truly rely on Adonai, the Holy One of Isra’el. 21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Ya‘akov, to the mighty God. 22 For, although your people, Isra’el, are like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with justice.

The remnant will turn their trust to God rather than a foreign power. God had promised Avraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the sand of the sea (see Gen 22:17; 32:12; 41:49), but because of their punishment, only a remnant would survive, and even that would be an act of God’s grace.

23 Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot will bring about this decreed destruction throughout all the land.

The divine decree that a city should be destroyed is a familiar motif in the ancient Near East. Though there is not always a reason that could be cited as “righteous,” the concept presented here is very familiar.

24 Therefore Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot says: “My people living in Tziyon, don’t be afraid of Ashur, even when he strikes you with a stick and raises his staff against you, the way it was in Egypt.

The present Assyrian threat is compared to bondage in Egypt. This comparison evokes memories of God’s deliverance of His people at the Red Sea (Exodus 14-15).

25 For in but a little while, my fury will end; and my anger will have destroyed them.” 26 Adonai-Tzva’ot will wield a whip against them, as he did when striking Midyan at the Rock of ‘Orev; as his staff was over the sea, he will raise it, the way it was in Egypt.  

‘Orev was a Midianite leader who oppressed the Israelites during the period of the judges. The forces of Gideon defeated him and executed at a rock that was given his name in Judges 7:24-25). The reference to God’s staff in Egypt recalls the crossing of the Red Sea. Moshe raised his staff, representing God’s presence. God caused the sea to divide, allowing the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army (Exodus 14:21-31).

27 On that day his burden will fall from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck; the yoke will be destroyed by your prosperity.

The yoke is an image of political domination frequently used by the prophets.

28 He has come to ‘Ayat and passed through Migron. He has stored his equipment at Mikhmas. 29 They have crossed the pass, then lodged at Geva. Ramah is shaking, Giv‘at-Sha’ul has fled. 30 Cry, shriek, Bat-Gallim! Listen, Layish! Poor ‘Anatot! 31 Madmenah is in flight, the people of Gevim take cover. 32 This very day he will stop at Nov; and he will shake his fist at the mountain of the daughter of Tziyon, at the hill of Yerushalayim.

The prophecy in these verses describes the march of the Assyrian army from the north to the very doorstep of Yerushalayim. While some have suggested that this illustrates an actual attack on Yerushalayim, it cannot be equated with the Assyrian advance that took place in 701 BCE because the army made a different route. This leads certain scholars to propose a second, later Assyrian campaign on Y’hudah, but this is doubtful. The journey described in these verses is unlikely to be one taken by an actual army since the terrain would be difficult to cross. The best understanding of these verses is as a visionary image of an attack, not a description of an actual attack. The route described is the most direct route “as the crow flies,” indicating that not even natural obstacles could slow down the army’s advance. [1]

33 See how Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot lops off the branches with terrible violence! The ones standing highest are chopped down, the lofty are laid low. 34 He will hack down the forest underbrush with an axe, and the L’vanon in its splendor falls. ~ Isaiah 10:20-34 (CJB)

The prophecy ends with a sudden reversal. Assyria marched on Yerushalayim, but the army met with destruction. They will become trees (the final line implies a cedar from L’vanon) that will be felled by none other than God Himself. The Assyrians had been the ax in God’s hand against His people in verse 15, but God will wield an ax against them.

In my next post, we begin to explore Yesha’yahu 11 by learning about The Branch of Yishai (Jesse) ~ Part 1.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] HCSB Study Bible.

The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 3 ~ Yesha’yahu 7:13-25

In my last post, we continued the story in The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 7:7-12. We learned that Achaz had put his fate in an alliance with Assyria rather than in God. In this post, we conclude our exploration of The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 7:13-25.

17 Adonai will bring the king of Ashur [Assyria] on you, your people and your father’s house. These will be days worse than any you’ve known since Efrayim broke loose from Y’hudah.”

The Neo-Assyrian Empire was inaugurated soon after Tiglath-Pileser III’s accession to the throne in 745 BCE and was not to be overthrown until 612 BCE when Nineveh fell to the alliance of the Medes and Babylonians. At its height, it included all or part of the modern countries of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Isra’el and Egypt. Ashur’s reputation as an aggressive regime is supported by extensive documentation and stands as its historical legacy. Its strategy of psychological warfare included terrifying rhetoric, brutal destructions and carefully chosen examples of cruel torture. Its expansion was fueled by the potential for economic gain, which would come through the plunder, tribute, and tariffs that would result from control of trade and the trade routes

But it was not just Aram and the northern kingdom of Isra’el that would experience Assyrian devastation. Y’hudah would also suffer God’s punishment. As later events showed, paying Tiglath-Pileser III to take care of Achaz’s northern problem was not the smartest strategy. From that point on Achaz paid a heavy tribute as Ashur’s vassal.

18 Yes, when that day comes, Adonai will whistle for the fly in the farthest streams of the Nile in Egypt and for the bee in the land of Ashur.

Part of the lore of beekeeping maintained that a swarm could be lured out of its hive to another location by a whistling sound. Attacking armies are compared to flies and bees in Homer’s Iliad as well. [1]

19 They will come and settle, all of them, in steep vadis and holes in the rocks and on all thorn bushes and brambles.

This verse continues the imagery of bees by listing the places where bees are naturally inclined to make their hives. Such locations were also places of refuge for the desperate. However, Y’hudah’s enemies would find them there.

20 When that day comes, Adonai will shave – with a razor hired beyond the [Euphrates] River, that is, with the king of Ashur – the head and the hair between the legs and get rid of the beard as well.

While many translations suggest the shaving of the entire head, the forehead seems to be indicated explicitly by the Hebrew word. In Mesopotamia shaving off half the hair was used as a punishment intended to bring public humiliation. Additionally, a style of the haircut was used to designate a slave. Most commentators believe that the hair between the legs is a euphemism for pubic hair. [2]

21 When that day comes, a man will raise a young cow and two sheep. 22 Will they produce in abundance? No, he will [have to] eat curdled milk. Indeed, everyone left in the land will eat curdled milk and [wild] honey. 23 When that day comes, wherever there once were a thousand grapevines, worth a thousand pieces of silver, there will be only briars and thorns.

It is difficult to determine whether the text refers to a thousand vines that would be bought or sold for a shekel each (an exorbitant price), or, more reasonably, to a vineyard housing a thousand vines whose annual produce would bring a thousand shekels. The latter understanding would find support in Song of Songs 8:11. In short, the farmers faced near total disaster.

24 One will go there [to hunt] with bow and arrow because all the land will be briars and thorns. 25 You won’t visit hills once worked with a hoe, for fear of the briars and thorns; it will be good only for pasturing cattle and being trampled down by sheep. ~ Isaiah 7:17-25 (CJB)

Cattle and flocks could be devastating to agricultural land. Their movements would trample the soil, and their grazing would defoliate it, eventually leading to massive erosion of the topsoil and depletion of water sources.

In my next blog, we learn about The Assyrian Invasion in Yesha’yahu 8:1-10.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Background Commentary – The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

[2] Ibid.

The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 7:7-12

In my last post, we looked at The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 7:1-6. We learned that Aram and Isra’el had formed an alliance and were coming to the south to conquer Y’hudah. In this post, we continue the story in The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 7:7-12.

Yesha’yahu said to King Achaz:

7 “This is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘It won’t occur, it won’t happen. 8 For the head of Aram is Dammesek and the head of Dammesek Retzin. In sixty-five years Efrayim will be broken and will cease to be a people.

The reference to 65 years is puzzling. If this prophecy is dated to 735 BCE or thereabouts, then it would point to approximately 670 BCE, but Assyria soundly defeated the northern kingdom in 722 BCE. Of course, that is “within 65 years,” but perhaps the reference is to some unknown event among the survivors of the northern kingdom around 670 BCE. It is also possible that the deportations of Israelites and the importation of foreigners into their former region happened around that time.

9 The head of Efrayim is Shomron, and the head of Shomron is the son of Remalyah. Without firm faith, you will not be firmly established.’

The challenge that the prophecy presented to Achaz was that he should trust God and not Assyria as he faced a threat from Retzin and Pekach. Their confederacy was not going to be successful.

We know what God says always comes to pass. Sha’ul writes: Moreover, my God will fill every need of yours according to his glorious wealth, in union with the Messiah Yeshua. ~ Philippians 4:19 (CJB) We can either believe that or reject it. If we reject it, His promise still stands – but we’ll go through all kinds of unnecessary tension. Yeshua said He’s coming back for us (John 14:3). Even if you don’t believe that He’s still coming back, but if you don’t believe it when you look at the situation of the world today, you’ll be filled with fear. It’s far better to rest in the promises of God.

10 Adonai spoke again to Achaz; he said, 11 ‘Ask Adonai your God to give you a sign. Ask it anywhere, from the depths of Sh’ol to the heights above.’

There are a number of cases of signs being given by God in the Tanakh. The most similar examples are found in 1 Samuel 2:34 and 2 Kings 19:29. In these instances, the sign relates to the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy. The purpose of this sign in our text was to give Achaz even more reason to have confidence in God rather than Assyria to rescue him from Retzin and Pekach.

12 But Achaz answered, ‘I won’t ask, I won’t test Adonai.’”  ~ Isaiah 7:7-12 (CJB)

Although Achaz’s response sounds holy, in reality, it was hypocrisy because, in 2 Kings 16, we read that Achaz had previously taken a journey to Assyria to make his peace pact with the Assyrians. Because he sought the king of the Assyrians, he didn’t think he needed a sign from the King of the universe.

In my next blog, we will conclude our exploration of The Sign of Immanuel ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 7:13-25.

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God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 3:8-15

In my last post, we began our look at God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 1 beginning in Yesha’yahu 3:1-7. In this post, we continue to look at God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim in Part 2 covering Yesha’yahu 3:8-15.

8 For Yerushalayim is ruined, and Y’hudah has fallen; because their words and deeds defy Adonai, in open provocation of His glory.

Although Y’hudah was experiencing a time of prosperity, the handwriting of decay was on the wall. The Assyrians were already camped at their border. But because the economy was rolling along, many people were not listening to Yesha’yahu warning of destruction.

Sha’ul told us that the signs of the end of our age would be like birth pangs (1 Thessalonians 5:3). In other words, times of travail will be followed by times of peace. It is the wise individual who doesn’t get lulled by times of calm, but rather is constantly aware of the nearness of the Lord’s coming.

9 Their very look witnesses against them! They parade their sin, like S’dom; they don’t even try to hide it – all the worse for them! – they bring evil on themselves.

Yesha’yahu compares Y’hudah to S’dom, the preeminent early example of open, flagrant sin as well as God’s determined judgment (see Genesis 19). Although Yesha’yahu was prophesying the end of their society as they knew it, the people weren’t listening. Instead, they flaunted their sin even as those in S’dom.

10 Say that it will go well with the righteous, that they will enjoy the fruit of their actions; 11 but woe to the wicked, it will go badly with him; for what he has done will be done to him. 12 My people – children, oppress them, and women are ruling over them. My people! Your guides lead you astray and obliterate the paths you should follow.

But not all people will experience the severe judgment of God. The righteous will find reward in a good life, and the wicked will suffer. In both cases, they will get what they deserve. Their guides sound vaguely similar to the Anti-Messiah.

13 Adonai rises to accuse; He stands to judge the peoples. 14 Adonai presents the indictment against the leaders and officers of His people: “It is you who devour the vineyard; in your houses is plunder taken from the poor. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding down the faces of the poor?” says Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot.” ~ Isaiah 3:8-15 (CJB)

In Acts 7:56, we read of Yeshua standing to welcome Stephen home. Here, however, we see the Lord standing not to welcome but to judge.

Yesha’yahu returned to the legal language with which the book began. The leaders were guilty of destroying the vineyard, the land of Y’hudah, through their exploitation of the poor.

Those in authority had abused their power and authority. As a result, they were about to find themselves under the authority of the invading Assyrians.

In my next post, we will conclude our exploration of God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 3:16-4:1.

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God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 3:1-6

In my last post, we concluded our look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:18-22. In this post, we begin our look at God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim beginning in Yesha’yahu 3:1-6.

1 For see! The Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot, will remove from Yerushalayim and Y’hudah every kind of support – all reserves of food and water; 2 heroes and warriors, judges and prophets, diviners and leaders, 3 captains of fifty, men of rank and advisers, skillful magicians and expert enchanters.

Since God’s people trust in humans (see Isaiah 2:22) rather than in Him, He will remove from them every kind of security. Not only would there be a lack of food and water, but there would be a dearth of leaders, of mighty men, knowledgeable men, wise men, and skilled men.

Siege warfare was designed to isolate a city and create a blockade that would eventually force a surrender. With the enemy camped around the city, the fields could not be harvested for their food supply. No one could get in to bring in food, so the people in the city had to live on whatever had been stockpiled in the city. If the water source for the city were a well or spring outside the city walls, the siege would be short, for the cisterns would quickly run dry. Yerushalayim had a water supply that could be accessed from inside the city walls. To survive a siege would require capable leadership that could keep morale high and successfully manages food rationing.

4 I will put children in authority; capriciousness will govern them. 5 People will oppress each other – everyone his friend, everyone his neighbor. The young will be insolent toward their elders, the insignificant arrogant toward the respected. 6 A man will take hold of his brother in his father’s house and say, “You have a coat, so rule us! Take charge of this ruin!” 7 But on that day, he will protest, “I don’t have a remedy, I lack food and clothing for my own house; don’t put me in charge of people!”

With the removal of the leaders in whom the people trust comes the installation of youths to replace them. The result will be social chaos and oppression.

Whether regarding the last days of the ten tribes or the last days of our society, children will rule. We see that happening to a degree even now, for, in many countries of the world, it is the students who bring down governments. There was a time when gray hair was highly esteemed. Now, however, it is the opinion of younger generations that seems to be most highly valued in our culture.

In Israelite society, the oldest active male was the head of the household. He typically represented the family in the community and made the decisions for the family. As a result, the senior members of the family usually commanded a high degree of respect and honor.

In such a disorderly society, it did not take much to be a leader among men. In the vignette described in these verses, the people are so unwilling and unfit to lead that a man will be pressed into a leadership role just because he has a coat. But what would be left for him to lead? Only a heap of rubble.

In my next post, we will continue to explore God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 3:7-15.

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The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 3 ~ Yesha’yahu 2:18-22

[Since this is a fairly short post, I thought I should post it sooner than my usual Sunday/Wednesday schedule.}

In my last post, we continued to look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:7-17. In this post, we conclude our look at The Coming Day of the Lord beginning in Yesha’yahu 2:18-22.

18 The idols will be completely abolished. 19 People will enter cracks in the rocks and holes in the ground to escape the terror of Adonai and His glorious majesty when He sets out to convulse the earth. 20 On that day a man will take hold of his idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, and fling them away to the moles and bats! 21 Then they will enter the cracks in the rocks and the crevices in the cliffs to escape the terror of Adonai and His glorious majesty when He sets out to convulse the earth. 22 Stop relying on man, in whose nostrils is a mere breath— after all, he doesn’t count for much, does he?” ~ Isaiah 2:18-22 (CJB)

It is clear to me that although verse 18 has certainly been partially fulfilled, it won’t be completed until the ultimate Day of the Lord at Yeshua’s Second Coming.

People will flee in terror from the coming judgment of God. In the ancient Near East, earthquakes are an indication of the divine involvement in battle. Additionally, the dread of a deity as a divine warrior was often believed to precede a powerful, successful army into battle.

Out of fear, they will throw away their precious idols. Just as men have fled from the glory of the Adonai, the idols will be tossed aside as useless.

Verse 22 states an important and pervasive theme in Yesha’yahu connected to the prophet’s concern that God’s people act with humility. They were not to trust in man but to put their confidence in God.

“Don’t look to man,” God says. “You don’t even know if he’s going to have another breath. Instead, look totally, fully, and only to Me.” [1]

Come Lord, quickly!!

In my next post, I will explore God’s Judgment on Y’hudah and Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 3:1-26.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary.

The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 2:9-17

In my last post, we began to look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:6-22. I decided to switch gears for my blog for this series as I will be taking more of a verse-by-verse format. We only covered verses 6-8. In this post, we continue to look at The Coming Day of the Lord beginning in Yesha’yahu 2:9-17.

Why will God judge His people? We learned in Part 1 it was (and still is) because of their idolatry, covetousness, pride, and exploiting of the poor. Instead of holding to the truth of God’s Word, they were full of sorcerers, not unlike many “religious seekers” today. The growth of Eastern religions in the modern Western world is a phenomenon that is both frightening and challenging. Even nonreligious people are practicing Eastern forms of meditation and relaxation, following techniques that are being taught in university classes and business seminars.

9 A person bows down, a man lowers himself — don’t forgive them! 10 Come into the rock, hide in the dust to escape the terror of Adonai and the glory of his majesty.

In the ancient world, a bright or flaming aura surrounding deity is the norm in depicting the glory of his majesty. It is especially evident in the divine warrior motif where the deity unveils his glory as he fights for his people.

11 The proud looks of man will be humiliated; the arrogance of men will be bowed down; and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted. 12 Yes, Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day in store for all who are proud and lofty, for all who are lifted high to be humiliated; 13 for all cedars of the L’vanon that are high and lifted up, for all the oaks of the Bashan; 14 for all the high mountains, for all the hills that are lifted up; 15 for every high tower, for every fortified wall; 16 for every “Tarshish” ship, for every luxurious vessel. 17 The pride of man will be bowed down, the arrogance of men will be humiliated, and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted.

With the words proud looks of man will be humiliated, Yesha’yahu expressed one of the major themes of his book. Through judgment, God cuts down the sinful pretensions of His people.

The prophets of the Tanakh often spoke of a Coming Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; Amos 2:1,11,31; 5:18,20; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1). This day is the judgment of sinners, which means the redemption of God’s people. However, God’s people in this verse were the object of His anger since they were rebelling against Him. While the Day of the Lord ultimately points to the final judgment, God’s temporal punishments of His people are often understood to be anticipatory fulfillment of the final judgment. L’vanon and Bashan were well known for their fertile lands and their impressive trees. Thus, they are representative of arrogance built on abundance. God’s judgment is against all kinds of pride.

The cedars of the L’vanon and the oaks of the Bashan were valued for their size, beauty, strength, and durability. They would be used in the building projects (such as gates and palaces) that were the sources of pride for nations and in which they would put their trust. The cedars of L’vanon and oaks of Bashan speak of men that are proud of their abilities. Who or what do we put our trust in? For my wife and I, it is the Lord and ADT Security.

The high mountains could speak of government. Walls and towers speak of military might. Walls of this period were solid and could be made of mud brick, fieldstone or ashlar [large square-cut] stone. While towers and walls were features of fortified cities, there were also many garrison fortresses built along trade routes and borders. In Isra’el both the fortresses and towers were rectangular. Since city walls have not been preserved to their original height, it is difficult to say how high they were. A width of fifteen to twenty feet was common and judging from their massive foundations and the length of ladders used for scaling the walls, a height of thirty to forty feet would not be unusual.

Trade using seagoing vessels was already taking place in the first half of the third millennium BCE. Excavations of a sunken merchant ship (off the coast of Turkey) from the period gives a good idea of the variety of items being shipped. Trading ships of the first millennium were single-masted with a crow’s nest and could feature either one or two banks of oars. A typical length would be about fifty feet, though larger ones are known. [1]

It is not idols, but only Yeshua who will ultimately be exalted. When He comes back to this planet, before He rules and reigns in the Temple, there will be a time of chastening and judging. As a result, people will take all that they once worshiped to the dump to be left to the rats because, at last, all idols will be seen to be meaningless.

In my next post, I will finish with this topic for now as we explore The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 2:18-22.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament

The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 2:6-8

In my last post, we examined Yesha’yahu 2:1-5 to learn about The Mountain of the Lord. In this post, we look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:6-22. You will notice that I have switched gears for my blog for this series as I will be taking more of a verse-by-verse format.

To the prophets, the Day of the Lord was foreshadowed by events in their day. In the Book of Yesha’yahu, Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom [Isra’el] and invasion of Y’hudah, and the Babylonian captivity of Y’hudah both picture the coming Day of the Lord.

6 For you have abandoned your people the house of Ya‘akov. Now they are filled from the east, full of sorcerers, like the P’lishtim [Philistines]; even the children of foreigners are enough for them!

God had removed His presence from His people because they had imbibed of the superstitions of their neighbors to the East (Edom and Mesopotamia) and the west (Philistia). They practiced divination. Divination was the science of being able to interpret the omens and formulate incantations that would be effective in dispelling the powers that threatened them. The Torah forbade such practices (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

Even as people in Yesha’yahu’s day were fascinated by the Babylonian and Syrian cultures with all their magic and mystery, where are people turning today? To Eastern mysticism and spiritism.[1]

7 Their land is full of silver and gold; They have no end of treasures. Their land is full of horses; They have no end of chariots. 8 Their land is full of idols; everyone worships the work of his hands, what his own fingers have made.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 prohibited kings from accumulating precious metals and military assets, i.e., horses and chariots. Assyrian chariots were large, carrying four men and being pulled by four horses which represented the cutting edge of military technology. Vast economic resources were required to import the animals, build the chariots and train the horsemen and charioteers (for an indication of the expense see 1 Kings 10:29).

Idols came in a variety of shapes and sizes in the ancient Near East. They were typically carved of wood and overlaid with hammered-out sheets of silver or gold and then clothed in the finest attire. Human in appearance (except those from Egypt, which combined human and animal characteristics), they had distinctive, even formalized, poses, clothing, and hairstyles. Sha’ul reflected this understanding when he referred to the folly when they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for mere images, like a mortal human being, or like birds, animals or reptiles! ~ Romans 1:23 (CJB)

As in our culture today, the people of Y’hudah were not only rich, prosperous, and enamored with Eastern thought, but they had idols. Theirs happened to be made of stone and wood, while ours can be flesh and blood or chrome and rubber.

Have you abandoned the God of our fathers and replaced Him with your idols?

In my next post, I will continue to explore The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:9-22.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

Elisha ~ Part 22

In my last post, we continued our exploration of the life of Elisha. In this last post of this series, we pick up the story in 2 Kings 13:14-21 to learn of Elisha’s Death.

14 Elisha was now ill with the disease from which he would eventually die. Yo’ash, the king of Isra’el, came down to visit him and wept over him; he said, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Isra’el!’ 15 Elisha said to him, ‘Bring a bow and arrows’; and he brought him a bow and arrows. 16 He said to the king of Isra’el, ‘Put your hand on the bow’; and he put his hand on it. Then Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands 17 and said, ‘Open the east window.’ He opened it. Elisha said, ‘Shoot’; and he shot. He said, ‘Adonai’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory against Aram! You will defeat Aram completely at Afek!’ 18 He said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. He told the king of Isra’el, ‘Strike the ground.’ He struck three times, then stopped. 19 The man of God became angry with him; he said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram completely. As it is, you will defeat Aram only three times.’

20 Elisha died, and they placed him in a burial cave. Now the raiding parties of Mo’av used to make yearly incursions into the land at the start of the year. 21 Once it happened that just as they were burying a man, they spotted a raiding party; so, they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s burial cave; and the moment the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” ~ 2 Kings 13:14-21 (CJB)

We haven’t heard from or about Elisha since 2 Kings 9:1 when he sent one of the guild prophets to anoint Yehu to be king of Israel. This means over forty years of silence as far as the record is concerned, yet Elisha was at work in the land, and the Lord was with him. Now he was an old man and about to die, and the king of Israel went to see him. Let’s at least give Yo’ash credit for visiting the prophet and seeking his help. Only Elisha knew God’s plan, and the king was wise enough to visit him.

It is a shame that spiritual leaders aren’t appreciated during their lifetime but are greatly lauded after they die. The P’rushim were better at building tombs for the dead than they were at showing thanks to the living (Matthew 23:29-32). Faithful servants of God never “retire” even though they may leave their lifelong vocation and step back from public ministry. Even from his deathbed, Elisha was serving the Lord and his people. As long as God gives us strength and sanity, we should serve Him the best we can in whatever ways He opens for us. As I have said before, the concept of retirement is not in the Scriptures which is why I continue to serve in the church we attend and write my blog posts.

Elisha knew that Yo’ash was in trouble because of the Aramian’s and graciously used his failing strength to help the king. Yes, Yo’ash was a compromising king who disobeyed God, but Adonai is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth” ~ Exodus 34:6 (CJB). He had promised deliverance for His people, and He would keep His promise. However, Elisha gave Yo’ash God’s promise of victory but did it in a way that required the king to exercise intelligent faith.

King Yo’ash was not a man of faith, but he could follow directions. However, he lacked the spiritual discernment and insight that people have who live in the Word and walk by faith. When the prophet put his hands on the king’s hands, it symbolized a conveying of power from God. When Elisha commanded him to shoot an arrow toward the area where the Aramian’s were in control, it spoke of victory over the enemy. This much the king could have understood because Elisha gave him a clear promise of victory.

But when Elisha told him to take the remaining arrows and strike the ground with them, he didn’t have the spiritual understanding he needed to make the most of it. Had he been a faithful worshiper of the living God, he would have seen the truth; but he was blind like the dead idols he worshiped. Shooting one arrow guaranteed victory, but the number of times he smote the ground determined how many victories God would give him. Because Yo’ash had ignorant faith, he limited himself to only three victories over the Aramian’s. If he had known the Word, he would have struck the ground at least seven times, the number of completeness.

When Elisha died, the king may have wondered if his promises died with him. To encourage the king, the Lord graciously performed a miracle after Elisha died. The Jews didn’t embalm corpses as did the Egyptians. They merely washed the body and wrapped it in clean clothes along with spices. One day, when the arrival of Mo’avite raiders interrupted a committal service of a man recently deceased, the mourners quickly put the body into Elisha’s tomb and fled. But God used that occasion to give the man life! Surely this miracle was talked about among the people, and the king may have heard the account from the lips of the men who saw it. This miracle told him that, though the prophet was dead, Adonai was still the living God and the God of power. His promises would not fail.

The Prophet Eliyahu never died but was caught up into heaven, but the Prophet Elisha died and was buried. However, Elisha seems to have performed a miracle even after he was dead. God has different plans for each of His servants, and it’s not our business to compare one with the other or to question what He does.

After studying the lives of Eliyahu and Elisha, in my next post (or series), I want to look at this whole concept of what is a prophet and are prophets still on the scene today.