Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isaiah 11-20: I wish I paid more attention in history class!

Isaiah 11 has a strong point to make...especially after what has preceded it. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse..." Our take on this is that he is seeing the coming of a savior...this is continued by talk of times of peace and those who were dispersed around the world returning to the homeland (We don't think he was envisioning Paul Newman in Exodus though). 

Another line is of particular interest: Isaiah 11:10 "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. " So we are getting from this that this savior comes and returns the good people to there homeland and there is peace in the land, we then Gentiles will seek this savior as well. 

Chapters 12-20 get confusing as they are filled with names of cities and rulers from the region that vaguely come to memory because of an all night cram session helping Molly pass an ancient history final in college. What we can discern (history aside) is that not only will the Assyrians come in and throw the Israelis out of their homeland (the Babylonians will help destroy the countryside in conquest as well ), but unfortunately there will be some collateral damage: Babylon will fall, Moab will fall, Ethiopia will fall, Egypt will fall, Damascus will fall, etc. We had to stop because our brains were full, but it looks like there are some upcoming chapters that describe even more cities and peoples of note that will be falling. Conveniently, a Google search of "map of Assyrian empire" will allow you to see that the Assyrian empire covered the places described in this section of Isaiah. 

So basically, to this point in Isaiah we can discern that God is no longer using his own hand to smite people (think Sodom and Gomorrah), but rather is finding a new tactic: take down his protective hand from Israel and let the Assyrians smite them for him. Unfortunately, these other civilizations surrounding the region will also fall to the Assyrians in the meantime. Small glimmers of hope seem to peek up through this section though, suggesting that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel that has come as a result of the Israelite's own doing.

One minor note of seems that throughout the Bible (from previous encounters), there are many synonyms used.  For example, Israel (as in the nation), is the descendants of Jacob (the twelve tribes), so "the house of Jacob" and "Israel" are used interchangeably.  It is helpful to pay attention to these sorts of things when reading!

If you have any other thoughts to help this make more sense, we gladly welcome them.

1 comment:

  1. Reading the Bible from cover to cover, and not necessarily in order is something I have wanted to do for a long time. This is a great adventure you are embarking on. Thanks for taking all of us along and allowing us to participate. I will try to read along or maybe read after your comments. More later.


    West Coast Mom