Monday, December 31, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Proverbs 14-20

Readings for this week

Monday: Proverbs 14
Tuesday: Proverbs 15
Wednesday: Proverbs 16
Thursday: Proverbs 17
Friday: Proverbs 18
Saturday: Proverbs 19
Sunday: Proverbs 20

Introduction to Proverbs 14-20

Chapters 14-15 

After the extended Prologue, The second section of the Book is made up of the Proverbs of Solomon. The second unit, chapters 10–22:16, carries the superscription "the proverbs of Solomon", which may have encouraged its inclusion in the Hebrew canon. Proverbs 10:1–22:16 contains 375 sayings and consists of two parts.

Part One: Proverbs Which Contrast Righteous (Wise) with Wicked (Foolish) Living (10:1-15:33)

Part Two: Assorted Proverbs Which Exalt Righteous Living (16:1-22:16) 


The talk of fools is a rod for their backs.
Even in laughter the heart may ache.
Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker.
A gentle answer turns away wrath.
The eyes of the LORD are everywhere.
Plans fail for lack of counsel.
The LORD hears the righteous. 

Chapters 16-20 

Proverbs 10:1–22:16 contains 375 sayings and consists of two parts.

Part One: Proverbs Which Contrast Righteous (Wise) with Wicked (Foolish) Living (10:1-15:33)

Part Two: Assorted Proverbs Which Exalt Righteous Living (16:1-22:16) 


A man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Kings detest evil.
Pride goes before destruction.
Wisdom is a fountain of life.
A wise servant will rule over a shameful son.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam.
Even a fool seems wise if he keeps silent.
A fool delights in his own opinions.
The name of LORD is a strong tower.
A gift opens the way.
The tongue can bring life or death.
Wealth makes friends.
A false witness will not go unpunished.
A good wife is from the LORD.
Whoever helps the poor lends to the LORD.
Wine is a mocker, beer a brawler.
Even a child is known by his deeds.
The LORD hates false weights.
It is a snare to make rash vows.

Monday, December 24, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Proverbs 7-13

Readings for this week

Monday: Proverbs 7
Tuesday: Proverbs 8
Wednesday: Proverbs 9
Thursday: Proverbs 10
Friday: Proverbs 11
Saturday: Proverbs 12
Sunday: Proverbs 13

Introduction to Proverbs 7-13

Chapter 7 

Lesson Twelve: A father urges his son to avoid the adulteress and to follow wisdom. 

First, the Exhortation -- Heed Your Parents' Words to Identify with Wisdom to Keep from the flattering Adulteress.
Second, is the Dramatization of the Naive and the Adulteress.

First, he presents The Naivete of the Victim.
Then he offers A Description of the Adulteress, describing both her character and her tactics.
He then describes The Fall of the Victim, and offers his Concluding Plea. 

First, the Exhortation… Listen and Steer Clear.

“Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths." 

And then he offers the Reason… Death.

"Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
Her house is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death.” 

Chapter 8 

The father offers his conclusion… which is to Follow Wisdom’s invitation:

First, he discussed The Public Call of Wisdom. Then we hear The Words of Wisdom. Wisdom's Virtues are then presented:

“To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.”
Wisdom's Rewards are then discussed.

We then hear about Wisdom's Role in Creation:

“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.”

We then hear Wisdom's Concluding Plea -- Pursue Wisdom for Blessing and to Avoid Injury. 

Chapter 9 

We then come to the Summary of the Lessons -- Contrasting Two Rival Women, Two Rival Minds, and Two Disparate Results.

First, The Woman of Wisdom: Wisdom like an honorable woman invites the naive to her feast of life.

On the Preparation for the Naïve:

“Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up its seven pillars.
She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city..."

Details of the Invitation:

"‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’
To those who have no sense she says,
‘Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.’”

The Lesson’s example -- The Wise and The Scoffer Contrasted.

First, On the Scoffer's Closed Mind -- Abuses Reprovers and Hates Reproof

Second, On the Wise Man's Teachable Mind -- Loves Learning, Increases in Learning, Fears the Lord & Lives Long.

Summary: The wise man benefits from wisdom, but the scoffer can blame only himself.

On the Woman of Folly: Folly like an adulterous woman invites the naive to her feast of Death.

On the Woman Folly’s Character -- Noisy, Simple, & Ignorant:

“Folly is an unruly woman;
she is simple and knows nothing."

On Her Position -- Religious:

"She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city..."

On Her Appeal to the Righteous:

"...calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way..."

On Her Invitation to the Naïve:

"‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’
To those who have no sense she says..."

On Her Enticement -- Evil is Good

"‘Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!’"

On Her Fate -- Death!

"But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” 

Chapters 10-13 

After the extended Prologue, The second section of the Book is made up of the Proverbs of Solomon. The second unit, chapters 10–22:16, carries the superscription "the proverbs of Solomon", which may have encouraged its inclusion in the Hebrew canon. Proverbs 10:1–22:16 contains 375 sayings and consists of two parts.

Part One: Proverbs Which Contrast Righteous (Wise) with Wicked (Foolish) Living (10:1-15:33)

Part Two: Assorted Proverbs Which Exalt Righteous Living (16:1-22:16)

Monday, December 17, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Proverbs 1-6

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 39
Tuesday: Proverbs 1
Wednesday: Proverbs 2
Thursday: Proverbs 3
Friday: Proverbs 4
Saturday: Proverbs 5
Sunday: Proverbs 6

Introduction to Wisdom Literature 

Egyptian Instructional Wisdom 

Ancient Egyptians collected short, usually optimistic sayings about leading a successful life. These collections are typically addressed from a teacher—called “father” or “mother”—to a student—called “child” or “son.” Egyptian instructional wisdom bears some resemblance to Proverbs.

Instructions of Ptahhotep (2450 B.C.) 

“He said to his son: Do not become arrogant because of your knowledge, nor confident because you are wise. Take advice from the simple as well as the wise. You never reach your full potential, always having more to learn. Good speech is hidden like an emerald, but may be found as women grinding grain.”

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” – Proverbs 2:1-5

Instructions of Amen-em-Opet (1200 B.C.) 

“Give thy ears, hear what is said, Give thy heart to understand them. To put them in thy heart is worth while, See [you] these thirty chapters: They entertain; they instruct. Do not associate to thyself the heated man. Do not carry off the landmark at the boundaries of the arable land.”

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge . . . Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge . . . Make no friendship with a man given to anger . . . Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.” – Proverbs 22:17-28

Mesopotamian Discoursive Literature 

Ancient Mesopotamians composed lengthy, usually pessimistic monologues and dialogues about the lack of justice in the world. These documents teach cosmic retribution: righteousness leads to prosperity, and wickedness leads to suffering. The problem is that nobody is righteous, and everybody suffers because of the crimes they have committed. The solution to suffering is to accept the judgment of the gods. Mesopotamian discoursive literature bears some resemblance to Job and Ecclesiastes.

Ludlul bel Nemequi (“I will praise the Lord of wisdom”): 

A monologue in which a Babylonian tells about how he encountered misery in his life and how Marduk eventually restored him.

Babylonian Theodicy 

“Sufferer to his friend: ‘Your opinion is like the north-wind, a pleasant breeze for everyone. Pure and choice is your advice. But I have one problem for you: those who neglect the god prosper, while those who devoutly pray become poor and weak.’”

“Then Job answered and said: . . . ‘Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?’” – Job 21:1-7

“Friend to the sufferer: ‘When the great primeval, creator gods of the universe created humankind, they gave him twisted speech. They endowed them forever with lies and not the truth.’”

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: . . . ‘For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you.’” – Job 15:5-6

Old Testament Wisdom Literature 

The term “wisdom literature” comes from Old Testament scholarship, not from the Ancient Near East. Scholars recognized a different genre in Scripture and discovered other Ancient Near Eastern texts that were similar. The Israelites borrowed and adapted the wisdom literature of other cultures. “Wisdom” in the Ancient Near East often carried a secular or magical connotation. “Wisdom” in the OT often carries a moral or religious connotation. Proverbs 1:7, for example, states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

There are various inflections of the word “wisdom” (hokmah) in the Old Testament. It represents both a way of thinking and a way of living. Four biblical nuances are:

1. Skill in craft as an artisan (e.g., workers in the Pentateuch, Hiram of Tyre, goldsmiths in Jeremiah)
2. Insight into life and life’s details (skill in thinking and in intellect)
3. Way of thinking and acting morally (social conduct, private conduct, practical wisdom)
4. Philosophical/theological view of life (higher, reflective wisdom)

The goal of biblical wisdom literature is to encourage people to think and behave in covenant ways. Wisdom literature emphasizes creation theology more than covenant theology to make it simple and universal. It is also oriented for individuals more than for communities.

Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are considered true wisdom literature. There are also a number of wisdom psalms, and Song of Songs resembles wisdom literature in function and literary form. Therefore, all the poetic books may be categorized as wisdom literature.

Other Wisdom Literature:

Story of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-45)
Wisdom of Solomon (Apocrypha)
Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach (Apocrypha)
The Beattitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)
James (e.g., 1:5) 

Introduction to Proverbs 1-6

Chapter 1 

The introduction the Book states its purpose and theme. The author of the book is introduced as “Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel. The Purposes of the Proverbs are given in a brief summary statement: Moral-To Bring Skill and Corrective Instruction, Mental-To Discern Sayings of Understanding

An expanded statement is then provided as well:

To receive: discipline, righteousness, judgment, equity
To give: prudence to the naïve, knowledge and discretion to young ones
To increase: in learning, in wise counsel
To understand: a proverb, a figure, sayings of the wise, riddles of the wise

On the principle of proverbs: Fearing the Lord is the first step of learning
On the foundation of knowledge: Fearing God is the foundation of knowledge
On the rejection of Wisdom: The rejection of Wisdom is folly

We then come to the Prologue of the first section of the book which is set up as a father's exhortations to his son to embrace wisdom. The first section (chapters 1–9) consists of an initial invitation to young men to take up the course of wisdom, ten "instructions", and five poems on personified Woman Wisdom. The first unit, chapters 1–9, was probably the last to be composed, in the Persian or Hellenistic periods. The extended prologue begins with an appeal to heed Wisdom.

Lesson One: A father urges his son not to yield to the invitation of robbers and murderers, and not to reject the invitation of wisdom.

On Evil Invitations: Refuse evil invitations

The Admonition:

“My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.

The Enticement:

If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul…”

The Results:

“These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!”

On Wisdom's Invitation: Do Not Refuse the Invitation of Wisdom

Wisdom's Invitation:

“Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square…”

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?”
“Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.”

The Rejection of Wisdom:

“…since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you…”

He then discussed the results of Wisdom… which are far better. 

Chapter 2 

Lesson Two: A father urges his son to receive his sayings on wisdom resulting in protection through discernment.

First, The exhortations to Wisdom:

“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you…”

Then, The results of Wisdom--Protection through discernment.

“…then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”
“Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.”
“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men…”
“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman…” 

Chapter 3 

Lesson Three: A Father urges his son to trust and honor God.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Lesson Four: A Father urges his son to understand that wisdom will bring him blessing.

First, blessing will come through discipline.

On Blessings Enumerated:

“Blessed are those who find wisdom…”
“Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.”

Lesson Five: A Father urges his son to be wise in his relationships with others.

First, an exhortation to keep Wisdom is given. Then, an exhortation to be wise in relationships is given. 

Chapter 4 

The Book’s extended Prologue then comes to an Interlude… also on the theme of Wisdom: Here a Father urges his sons to acquire wisdom as their highest priority because it has proved itself to be good. 

First, is A Father's Exhortation to pay attention to Wisdom.

Second, is A Father's Experience of the Good of Wisdom.

Third, is A Father's Encouragement to acquire, love and prize wisdom:

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”

Lesson Six: A father urges his son to follow the right path of uprightness and to avoid the wrong path of the wicked.

First, is a Reminder of Past Guidance--The Right Path

Next, is a Reminder to Stay on the Right Path: Keep Instruction, Avoid the Path of the Wicked, Follow the Path of the Righteous.

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Lesson Seven: A father urges his son to discipline himself by watching his motives and actions.

First, is An Exhortation to Heed the Father's Words for Life and Health.

Second, is An Exhortation to Guard Motives and Actions: Guard Your Heart, Guard Your Mouth, Guard Your Eyes, Guard Your Feet. 

Chapter 5 

Lesson Eight: A father warns his son about the temptations and costs of sexual immorality with the adulteress.

First Exhortation--Heed Wisdom, the Adulteress is Destructive.

“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.”

Second Exhortation--Heed Wisdom, the Consequences are Destructive.

“Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel…”

Lesson Nine:
A father urges his son to enjoy his wife because of the consequences of doing evil.

First, he gives his Exhortation:

“Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?”

He then offers his Reasons:

"For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths." 

Chapter 6 

Lesson Ten: A father urges his son to avoid the company of evil people like strangers in debt, sluggards, and worthless people.

On the Sluggard:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.”

"How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.”

On the Worthless Person:

“There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes
a lying tongue
hands that shed innocent blood
a heart that devises wicked schemes
feet that are quick to rush into evil
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” 

Lesson Eleven: A father urges his son to avoid the adulteress.

First, is an Exhortation to Heed Parents' Teachings.

The Reason—to provide Blessings and Protection from the Evil Woman.

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

“For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.”

Monday, December 10, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 32-39

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 32
Tuesday: Isaiah 33
Wednesday: Isaiah 34
Thursday: Isaiah 35
Friday: Isaiah 36
Saturday: Isaiah 37
Sunday: Isaiah 38

Introduction to Isaiah 32-39

Chapters 32-33 

Isaiah finishes off his series of six woe oracles that began in chapter twenty-eight. 

Fifth Woe Oracle: Against the Women of Jerusalem 

They are complacent women, thinking they stand secure.
Your merriment will be turned to mourning when this place is destroyed.
This place will become a wasteland forever until the Spirit is poured on us from on high. 

Sixth Woe Oracle: Against the Destroyer 

The LORD is a consuming fire who will destroy the destroyer and betray the betrayer. 

Chapter 34 

The next section of the book foretells Zion’s deliverance. First, Isaiah pronounces God’s Judgment against the nations. 

“Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” 

Chapter 35 

Isaiah then proclaims the joy of the redeemed. 

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.” 

“Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” 

Chapter 36 

Chapters 36-39 are the same as 2nd Kings 18:17–20:21. This section retells almost verbatim the stories of Isaiah’s interaction with King Hezekiah. 

King Sennacherib of Assyria sends troops to surround Jerusalem. The field commander called out to the people of Jerusalem: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? Pharaoh will not be able to save you from us. We will give you a good new land to live in if you surrender to us. Will Yahweh really protect you? Haven’t you been unfaithful to Yahweh? None of the gods of the other nations of the world were able to save their people from our might. Yahweh himself told us to march against Jerusalem and destroy it! Surely you will all eat your own dung and drink your own piss!

The people remained silent as Hezekiah had commanded them. Hezekiah puts on sackcloth and goes to the Temple. He sends for the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. Hezekiah hoped that God would “rebuke” the Assyrians for their blasphemy and save Jerusalem. 

Chapter 37 

Isaiah gave this message to King Hezekiah:

“This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.”

The Assyrians retreated because of threats of a Cushite invasion from the African continent. As they left, they sent a letter to King Hezekiah threatening that they would eventually come back and conquer Jerusalem and no one would be able to stop them.

Hezekiah’s Prayer:

“It is true that the Assyrians have destroyed the gods of other nations…because they were not really gods at all… Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

Isaiah’s message about Sennacherib, condensed:

“‘Virgin Daughter Zion
despises you and mocks you.
Daughter Jerusalem
tosses her head as you flee.
Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
“Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:
“‘He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city,
declares the Lord.
I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”

The angel of the LORD slaughters 185,000 Assyrian soldiers at night. Sennacherib returns to his capital at Nineveh. His two sons assassinate him. Esarhaddon becomes king of Assyria. 

Chapter 38 

Hezekiah becomes deathly ill. Isaiah’s message: Get your house in order because you are going to die. Hezekiah faces the wall and cries and asks God to remember his faithfulness. Isaiah leaves, but God stops him, sends him back. Isaiah’s new message: God has heard you. God will heal you. God will protect this city from the Assyrians. Hezekiah asks for a sign from God. The sign was the shadow moving backwards up the steps instead of following its normal course down the steps during the day. Hezekiah then offers a song of praise to God. 

Chapter 39 

Later, King Marduk-Baladan of Babylon is pleased when he learns that Hezekiah has recovered, and he sends envoys with gifts for him. Hezekiah shows off all of Jerusalem’s wealth to the envoys. Isaiah scolds him, and predicts the King of Babylon will one day come to plunder Jerusalem’s wealth. Hezekiah doesn’t care – he figures he’ll be long gone by then.

Monday, December 3, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 25-31

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 25
Tuesday: Isaiah 26
Wednesday: Isaiah 27
Thursday: Isaiah 28
Friday: Isaiah 29
Saturday: Isaiah 30
Sunday: Isaiah 31

Introduction to Isaiah 25-31

Chapters 25-27 

Within the section of the book known as “Isaiah’s Apocalypse”, he offers praise to the LORD: 

“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.” 

Isaiah then offers up to God another song of praise. 

“Lord, they came to you in their distress;
when you disciplined them,
they could barely whisper a prayer.
As a pregnant woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pain,
so were we in your presence, Lord.
We were with child, we writhed in labor,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have not brought salvation to the earth,
and the people of the world have not come to life.” 

“But your dead will live, Lord;
their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust
wake up and shout for joy—
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead.” 

Isaiah then speaks about the deliverance of Israel. 

“In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword—
his fierce, great and powerful sword—
Leviathan the gliding serpent,
Leviathan the coiling serpent;
he will slay the monster of the sea.” 

“In days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will bud and blossom
and fill all the world with fruit.” 

Chapters 28-31 

The book then contains six “woe oracles.” 

First Woe Oracle: Against Ephraim 

The name Ephraim here represents the northern kingdom of Israel. Isaiah denounced Ephraim’s pride and arrogance. God vowed to bring justice and righteousness to the land through his “tested cornerstone.” 

Second Woe Oracle: Against Ariel 

The name Ariel here represents the city of Jerusalem. “Ariel” seems to mean “hearth of God.” The people of Jerusalem spoke as if they knew God, but they had hardened their hearts from following Him. 

Third Woe Oracle: Against the Obstinate Children 

“They say to the seers,
‘See no more visions!’
and to the prophets,
‘Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.
Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!’” 

Fourth Woe Oracle: Against Those Who Rely on Egypt 

Isaiah condemned Judah’s attempt at foreign alliances. These foreign treaties often included formally recognizing the other nation’s gods. Also, Egypt had developed a reputation of promising its allies assistance and then failing to provide it. The LORD would one day raise up a righteous king whose coming would renew society. Other leaders would follow his example and bring blessing to all the land.