Potter and clay

Human beings are clay shaped by the Almighty Potter. So are events.  Isaiah says that long before the events happened the Lord “fashioned-like-a-potter” the Assyrian invasion and devastation of city and country in Israel and Judah (Isaiah 37:26). If the Lord is a potter fashioning . . . . Continue Reading »

Pride, Idolatry Adam

Isaiah 2:12-22 warns of a day when Yahweh will cast down the tall trees and high mountains, the proud men, and the idols.  The passage ends with a warning not to esteem man who has breath in his nose.  This last is often taken as a reference to the frailty and weakness of man, who should . . . . Continue Reading »

Withered Tree

Isaiah 34 prophesies about Yahweh’s assault on the nations and their armies.  They will be slaughtered, their corpses will rot on the earth, adn the mountains will be drenched with their blood (vv. 1-3).  Instead of sacrificial smoke with its pleasing aroma, the stench of corpses . . . . Continue Reading »

Fasting and pleasure

For many throughout church history, fasting is bound up with hostility to matter and the body. We refrain from bodily pleasures of food and drink to train our souls in disembodied life. That’s not biblical. The biblical fast, as Isaiah 58 puts it, is to share food with the hungry and clothing . . . . Continue Reading »

Isaiah 33

Some scattered notes on Isaiah 33, the product of listening to students comment on the passage in exams throughout the week. 1) Verse 1 includes an interesting variation on the lex talionis. Destroyers will be destroyed, and the treacherous will be dealt with treacherously. But the justice that the . . . . Continue Reading »

Fat Heart

Isaiah 6:10 says that Isaiah’s ministry will make the hearts of Israel “fat” and their ears “heavy” ( kabad ). The phrasing is unique to Isaiah 6, but the combination of heavy and fat conjures up Eli, who also was going blind. Isaiah 6 is a new Samuel, and like . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on Isaiah 61

A number of these thoughts were suggested by students during exams during the last week. I can’t remember now who said what, but thanks to them all. 1) Isaiah 61 begins with a declaration of the Spirit, and ends with a reference to a garden. That suggests the possibility that Gen 1-2 is . . . . Continue Reading »

Faith in Isaiah

Gordon CI Wong (VT 51.4) examines the call to “believe” in Isaiah 7 (specifically v. 9b). He asks, What does faith mean in Isaiah 7? He rejects interpretations that suggest Ahaz is supposed to respond passively to the threat from Israel and Aram by renouncing military defenses. On the . . . . Continue Reading »

Man of Sorrows

Following Jewish exegetes of his time, Andrew of St. Victor interpreted Isaiah 53 as a prophecy of Israel. Isaiah used the phrase “man of sorrows” to speak “of the people as though of one man.” “Bearing infirmities” refers to “the people who were to suffer . . . . Continue Reading »

Glad Wilderness

Isaiah 35:1 says that the wilderness will be glad. This could be a simple personification of a wilderness blossoming and coming to fertility. But in context, the passage is talking about the return from exile. Perhaps the wilderness is the desolated land of Israel, which rejoices at Yahweh’s . . . . Continue Reading »