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Ezekiel 22:23-31

Note: the structure of this prophecy is not neat entirely symmetrical, but there is clear inversion. The passage begins and ends with reference to the land. The prophets are described as lions and the princes as wolves. The second reference to the prophets seems to be in relation to justifying the princes rather than a separate unit of thought. The centre has to do with the priests who failed in their essential task – to distinguish holy from unholy. 

A. 23 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

B. 25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof,
like a roaring lion ravening the prey;  they have devoured souls;
they have taken the treasure and precious things;
they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

C. a. 26 Her priests have violated my law,
and have profaned mine holy things:

b. they have put no difference between the holy and profane,
neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean,

a’. and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths,
and I am profaned among them.

B’. 27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. |28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the Lord hath not spoken. 

A’. 29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. 30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Isaiah 22:15-25

Note: the tomb that Shebna was building was probably the one discovered in Silwan and the lintel is in the British Museum. His position as “over the house” was to be given to Eliakim, a type of Messiah. The final section v25 is a challenge. Is it about Shebna or Eliakim. Opinions vary. A chiastic structure suggests it is referring to Shebna who is replaced by Eliakim.

A. Shebna who is – “over the house” – is preparing a grand sepulchre
22:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts,
Go, get thee unto this treasurer,
even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here,
that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here,
as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high,
and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?

B. Shebna’s death predicted – he will be cast out of the country
17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.
19 And I will drive thee from thy station,
and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

B’. Eliakim will take over from Shebna
20 And it shall come to pass in that day,
that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
21 And I will clothe him with thy robe,
and strengthen him with thy girdle,
and I will commit thy government into his hand:
and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder;
so he shall open, and none shall shut;
and he shall shut, and none shall open.
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place;
and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.
24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house,
the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity,
from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.

A’. Shebna’s removal predicted?
25 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts,
shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place
be removed, and be cut down, and fall;
and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off:
for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 22:1-14

Note: this prophecy describes Jerusalem under siege, but instead of turning to God they are eating an drinking. Defences are made including what appears to be a reference to  the Broad Wall and to “Hezekiah’s tunnel”. 

22:1 The burden of the valley of vision.

A. Inappropriate rejoicing
What aileth thee now,
that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
2 Thou that art full of stirs,
a tumultuous city, a joyous city:
thy slain men are not slain with the sword,
nor dead in battle.
3 All thy rulers are fled together,
they are bound by the archers:
all that are found in thee are bound together,
which have fled from far.

B. Weeping
4 Therefore said I, Look away from me;
I will weep bitterly,
labour not to comfort me,
because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

C. Attacking forces
5 For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down,
and of perplexity
by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls,
and of crying to the mountains.
6 And Elam bare the quiver
with chariots of men and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 And it shall come to pass,
that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots,
and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
8 And he discovered the covering of Judah,

C’. Defending forces
and thou didst look in that day
to the armour of the house of the forest.
9 Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David,
that they are many:
and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem,
and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls
for the water of the old pool:
but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof,
neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.

B’. Weeping
12 And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call
to weeping, and to mourning,
and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:

A’. Nihilistic enjoyment
13 And behold joy and gladness,
slaying oxen, and killing sheep,
eating flesh, and drinking wine:
let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts,
Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die,
saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Isaiah 21

A. 21:1 The burden of the desert of the sea.
As whirlwinds in the south pass through;
so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.
2 A grievous vision is declared unto me;
the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously,
and the spoiler spoileth.

B. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media;
all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.
 3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain:
pangs have taken hold upon me,
as the pangs of a woman that travaileth:
I was bowed down at the hearing of it;
I was dismayed at the seeing of it.
4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me:
the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

C. 5 Prepare the table,
watch in the watchtower,
eat, drink:
arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

a. 6 For thus hath the LORD said unto me,
Go, set a watchman,
let him declare what he seeth.

b. 7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen,
a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels;
and he hearkened diligently with much heed:

a’. 8 And he cried, A lion:
My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime,
and I am set in my ward whole nights:

b’.  9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men,
with a couple of horsemen. 

B’. And he answered and said,
Babylon is fallen, is fallen;
and all the graven images of her gods
he hath broken unto the ground.

A’. 10 O my threshing, and the corn of my floor:
that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel,
have I declared unto you.

11 The burden of Dumah.

A. He calleth to me out of Seir,
Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?

A’. 12 The watchman said,
The morning cometh, and also the night:
if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.

13 The burden upon Arabia.

A. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge,
O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.
14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema
brought water to him that was thirsty,
they prevented with their bread him that fled.

B. 15 For they fled from the swords,
from the drawn sword,
and from the bent bow,
and from the grievousness of war.

A’. a. 16 For thus hath the LORD said unto me,

b. Within a year, according to the years of an hireling,
and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:

b’. 17 And the residue of the number of archers,
the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished:

a’. for the Lord GOD of Israel hath spoken it.

Isaiah 20

Note: Assyria invades the coast (A) and the occupants look to Egypt/Ethiopia for help (A’). Isaiah, for three years, dramatically illustrates there will be captives – but these are from the country they are trusting to to help them! The message – don’t trust in Egypt – turn to God. 

A. The threat
20:1 In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod,
(when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,)
and fought against Ashdod, and took it;

B. 2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins,
and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

B’. 3 And the LORD said,
Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot
three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;
4 So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

A’. No escape
5 And they shall be afraid and ashamed of 
Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

Isaiah 17*

Note: the first part of this prophecy connects the fate of Damascus and Israel.  A remnant of Israel  (gleanings remaining after a harvest of judgment) will be saved. The judgment comes because Israel has forgotten their God . The centre indicates the acceptable way – to “look” to the One True God.  The last section describes the fate of the invader.

17:1 An oracle concerning Damascus.

A. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
and will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer are deserted;
they will be for flocks,
which will lie down,
and none will make them afraid.
3 The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,
and the kingdom from Damascus;
and the remnant of Syria will be
like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the LORD of hosts.

B. 4 And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
5 And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain
and his arm harvests the ears,
and as when one gleans the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Gleanings will be left in it,
 as when an olive tree is beaten—
two or three berries in the top of the highest bough,
four or five on the branches of a fruit tree,
declares the Lord GOD of Israel.

C. 7 In that day man will look to his Maker,
and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel.

C’. 8 He will not look to the altars,
the work of his hands,
[what his own fingers] [have made]
he will not look on,
either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

A’. 9 In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops,
which they deserted because of the children of Israel,
and there will be desolation.

B’. 10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
11 though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain.

A. 12 Ah, the thunder of many peoples;
they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
 Ah, the roar of nations;
they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!

B. 13 The nations roar
like the roaring of many waters,

C. but he will rebuke them,
and they will flee far away,

B’. chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
and whirling dust before the storm.

A’. 14 At evening time, behold, terror!
Before morning, they are no more!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
and the lot of those who plunder us.

Joel 2:27-3:21

Note: Based on Mark Allfree’s earlier schematic outline.

A. Ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed (2:27)
B. Heavens… earth… sun… moon (2:30,31)
C. The great and terrible day of Yahweh (2:31)
D. The valley of Jehoshaphat (3:2)
E. Speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head (3:4)
F. The children Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians (3:6)
F’. I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them (3:7)
E’. Will return your recompense upon your own head (3:7)
D’. The valley of Jehoshaphat (3:12)
C’. The day of Yahweh is near (3:14)
B’. Sun… moon… heavens and the earth (3:15,16)
A’. So shall ye know that I am Yahweh your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain (3:17)

A. 27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

B. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens 
and on the earth,
blood and fire and columns of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
32 And it shall come to pass that  everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.  For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape,  as the LORD has said,
and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

C. 3:1 “For behold, in those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all the nations  and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
And I will enter into judgment with them there,
on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel,

D. because they have scattered them among the nations
and have divided up my land,
3 and have cast lots for my people,
and have traded a boy for a prostitute,
and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.

E. 4 “What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon,
and all the regions of Philistia?
Are you paying me back for something?
If you are paying me back,
I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily.

F. 5 For you have taken my silver and my gold,
and have carried my rich treasures into your temples.
6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks
in order to remove them far from their own border.

F’. 7 Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them,  

E’. and I will return your payment on your own head.

D’. 8 I will sell your sons and your daughters
into the hand of the people of Judah,
and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away,
for the LORD has spoken.”

C’. 9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
12 Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow, for their evil is great.

B’. 14 Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
16 The LORD roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the LORD is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.

A’. a. 17 “So you shall know that I am the LORD your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.

b. 18 And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water;
and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD
and water the Valley of Shittim.

b’. 19 Egypt shall become a desolation
and Edom a desolate wilderness,
for the violence done to the people of Judah,
because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

a’. 20 But Judah shall be inhabited forever,
and Jerusalem to all generations.
21 I will avenge their blood,
blood I have not avenged,
for the LORD dwells in Zion.

Galatians 4:8-20

Note: In any translation this is a difficult passage to follow. Here is an attempt to tease out the sense. The Galatians were turning back from the gospel preached by Paul (C) to the ritual of law under the influence of Judaizers (C’) who sought a following. The Galatians had moved away from faith – the “blessedness” referred to in v15.

A. 8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God,  ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

B.  9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

B’. 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

A’. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

A. 12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.

B. 13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised  not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

C. 15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?

B’. for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

A’. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

A. 17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.

B. 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

A’. 19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

Isaiah 15-16

Note: Isaiah 15 and 16 appear to be one prophecy. The sections are divided by “voice” . The centre focuses on the throne of David. Translations differ on the identity of  the refugees – are they Moabite or Israelis?  i suggest the latter and that this is a prophecy of the effects of the Gogian invasion. 

Moab’s ruin foretold
15:1 The burden of Moab.
Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;
because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;

B. Moab weeps and howls
2 He is gone up to Bajith,  and to Dibon,
the high places, to weep:
Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba:
on all their heads shall be baldness,  and every beard cut off.
3 In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth:
on the tops of their houses, and in their streets,
every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.
4 And Heshbon shall cry,  and Elealeh:
their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz:
therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out;
his life shall be grievous unto him.

C. The LORD grieves for Moab – food stocks gone
5 My heart shall cry out for Moab;
his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old:
for by the mounting up of Luhith  with weeping shall they go it up;
for in the way of Horonaim  they shall raise up a cry of destruction.
6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate:
for the hay is withered away,
the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
7 Therefore the abundance they have gotten,
and that which they have laid up,
shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.
8 For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab;
the howling thereof unto Eglaim,
and the howling thereof unto Beerelim.
9 For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood:
for I will bring more upon Dimon,
lions upon him that escapeth of Moab,
and upon the remnant of the land.

D. Moab to seek the protection of the ruler in Zion
a. 16:1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land
from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
2 For it shall be, that,  as a wandering bird cast out of the nest,
so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.

b. 3 Take counsel, execute judgment;
make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday;
hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.

b’. 4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab;
be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler:

a’. for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth,
the oppressors are consumed out of the land.
5 And in mercy shall the throne be established:
and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David,
judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

B’. Moab’s weeps and howls
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud:
even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath:
but his lies shall not be so.
7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab,
every one shall howl:
for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn;
surely they are stricken.
8 For the fields of Heshbon languish,  and the vine of Sibmah:
the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof,
they are come even unto Jazer,
they wandered through the wilderness:
her branches are stretched out,
they are gone over the sea.

C’. The LORD’s grief over Moab’s plight – no harvest
9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah:
I will water thee with my tears,
O Heshbon, and Elealeh:
for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.
10 And gladness is taken away,  and joy out of the plentiful field;
and in the vineyards there shall be no singing,
neither shall there be shouting:
the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses;
I have made their vintage shouting to cease.
11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab,
and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.
12 And it shall come to pass,
when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place,
that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray;
but he shall not prevail.

A’. Moab’s Ruin foretold
13 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time. 14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.