ספר ישעיה פרק ה
יג לָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי מִבְּלִי-דָעַת וּכְבוֹדוֹ מְתֵי רָעָב וַהֲמוֹנוֹ צִחֵה צָמָא: יד לָכֵן הִרְחִיבָה שְּׁאוֹל נַפְשָׁהּ וּפָעֲרָה פִיהָ לִבְלִי-חֹק וְיָרַד הֲדָרָהּ וַהֲמוֹנָהּ וּשְׁאוֹנָהּ וְעָלֵז בָּהּ:
Isaiah 5:13 states, “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, (לָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי) because they have no knowledge: (מִבְּלִי-דָעַת) and their honourable men are famished, (וּכְבוֹדוֹ מְתֵי רָעָב) and their multitude dried up with thirst. (וַהֲמוֹנוֹ צִחֵה צָמָא)” Isaiah 5:14 “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, (לָכֵן הִרְחִיבָה שְּׁאוֹל) and opened her mouth without measure: (נַפְשָׁהּ וּפָעֲרָה פִיהָ לִבְלִי-חֹק) and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. (וְיָרַד הֲדָרָהּ וַהֲמוֹנָהּ וּשְׁאוֹנָהּ וְעָלֵז בָּהּ)” Isaiah says לָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי where the word גָּלָה means “to go into captivity as in being captured by another nation” so the question is has Israel already gone into captivity at this point in time? According to the Torah we read the following, Shemot / Exodus 19:6, וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (KJV) We note that the people of God are called to be a kingdom of priests, the situation however is the people were in fact not in the pursuit of God, but rather they were in pursuit of personal pleasure and wealth trusting in themselves and the work of their hands. This is consistent with the contemporary prophet Hosea who says in Hosea 1:9, וַיֹּ֕אמֶר קְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ לֹ֣א עַמִּ֑י כִּ֤י אַתֶּם֙ לֹ֣א עַמִּ֔י וְאָנֹכִ֖י לֹֽא־אֶהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃ “Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” The people’s actions are evidence for their not knowing the Lord or His holy and righteous ways. Isaiah says מִבְּלִי-דָעַת they have no knowledge which again reminds us of the contemporary prophet Hosea when He said in Hosea 4:6, נִדְמ֥וּ עַמִּ֖י מִבְּלִ֣י הַדָּ֑עַת כִּֽי־אַתָּ֞ה הַדַּ֣עַת מָאַ֗סְתָּ וְאֶמְאָֽסְאךָ֙ מִכַּהֵ֣ן לִ֔י וַתִּשְׁכַּח֙ תּוֹרַ֣ת אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ אֶשְׁכַּ֥ח בָּנֶ֖יךָ גַּם־אָֽנִי׃ “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6) So the idea that “Therefore my people are gone into captivity” (לָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי) may be related to their sins, as being bound in their sins and not knowing the significance of their current state. The people’s rejection of God’s instructions for their lives is what Hosea means that they perish through lack of knowledge. The reason being is the natural outcome of sin is death, and the Torah states that this becomes an accelerated process when God gets involved. The patience of the Lord is His great mercy to allow for the realization (or to become aware) of one’s state which is to be followed by repentance and return.
What exactly does Isaiah mean when he says, לָכֵן הִרְחִיבָה שְּׁאוֹל נַפְשָׁהּ וּפָעֲרָה פִיהָ לִבְלִי-חֹק “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure?” The word translated as “hell” is שְּׁאוֹל֙ which means “pit, grave” and is used 66X throughout the Tanakh. שְׁאוֺל references a place below the earth and is often used to speak of graves since people are buried in the earth. Various Bible translations transliterate the word as “sheol” and others translate as “hell” or “grave” or even “pit.” The idea of שְׁאוֺל enlarging (הִרְחִיבָה) herself, this may signify that the number of the dead would be so great that the common burying places would be filled up or not be sufficient to contain the bodies. Isaiah says וְיָרַד הֲדָרָהּ וַהֲמוֹנָהּ וּשְׁאוֹנָהּ וְעָלֵז בָּהּ “and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” We note what Isaiah had written previously in Isaiah 1-4 of the pride of Israel and her lack of faith in God. The idea of hell becoming enlarged draws in the imagery of the greatness of the pride of the men and women who are being described here. The descending into hell, also draws upon a Torah narrative, the story of Korach. (Parashat Korach, Bamidbar / Numbers 16:1–18:32) According to Parashat Korach, we read how Korach influenced some of the men of Israel to challenge the leadership of Aaron and Moshe. ( some of the men from the families of Korach, Datan, Aviram, and Reuben) and some 250 distinguished men from the community. Moshe tells the men to offer up incense to prove their worthiness before God. At this time, fire comes down and consumes the 250 men, and the tribe of Korach, the ground literally opened up and swallows up the tribe of Korach, men, women, children, and all of their tents and possessions. The text states they went down to the grave alive. A plague also breaks out as the hearts of the people of Israel were not pure, and Aaron offers incense to stop the plague. Then we read about how Aaron’s staff buds proving that he is the chosen one to be the high priest before God on behalf of the people. The interesting point about the story of Korach is how שְׁאוֺל literally opened its mouth, widened, and deepened, to swallow up all of the wicked men and their families. We note the consequences of being in close proximity to those who are openly sinful, as possibly also reaping some of the punishment God is giving to them. The reason being is related to the issue of drawing near to sinners as opposed to drawing near to God. Lot and His family are also an example of this as losing everything they owned. Note that Lot had been blessed by God with cattle, but after the Sodom fiasco, he lost everything.
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
טו וַיִּשַּׁח אָדָם וַיִּשְׁפַּל-אִישׁ וְעֵינֵי גְבֹהִים תִּשְׁפַּלְנָה: טז וַיִּגְבַּהּ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְהָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ נִקְדָּשׁ בִּצְדָקָה:
Isaiah 5:15 state, “And the mean man shall be brought down, (וַיִּשַּׁח אָדָם) and the mighty man shall be humbled, (וַיִּשְׁפַּל-אִישׁ) and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: (וְעֵינֵי גְבֹהִים תִּשְׁפַּלְנָה)” Isaiah 5:16 “But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, (וַיִּגְבַּהּ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בַּמִּשְׁפָּט) and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. (וְהָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ נִקְדָּשׁ בִּצְדָקָה)” This describes those who are healthy, strong, and proud will be humbled. This does follow through from Isaiah’s previous chapters. The leaders are corrupt, they steal from the poor, there is no justice, and truth is warped for a lie. We note that when a nation is described as descending into hell, this is illustrative of the majority being corrupt. This draws on the jewish concept of a minyan (10) righteous men being needed to save a nation. This is brought out in Parashat Vayera (Bereshit / Genesis 18-19) where we are told that Sodom and Gomorrah needed ten Righteous people in order to prevent their destruction. When we draw in this Torah principle, what kind of imagery does this provide for us here in Isaiah concerning Judah and Jerusalem? Everyone was corrupted, there were not even ten righteous men in the midst of the people. This speaks to a famous passage from the Mishnah:
משנה אבות ב׳:ט״ז
(טז) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה. אִם לָמַדְתָּ תוֹרָה הַרְבֵּה, נוֹתְנִים לְךָ שָׂכָר הַרְבֵּה. וְנֶאֱמָן הוּא בַעַל מְלַאכְתְּךָ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם לְךָ שְׂכַר פְּעֻלָּתֶךָ. וְדַע מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא:
Mishnah Pirkei Avot 2:16
(16) He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it; If you have studied much Torah, you shall be given much reward. Faithful is your employer to pay you the reward of your labor; And know that the grant of reward unto the righteous is in the age to come.
We see according to the Mishnah how important it is to study God’s Word! This Mishnah is not about what it is we are to do from the sense of “minimum effort” what is the least required of us so as not to die. (Modern day mentality: “Just going to church or synagogue and believe in Yeshua and that’s the extent of one’s faith.”) Parshat Vayera offers a way to understand this well known mishnah concerning the righteousness of a nation, or at least of a region of peoples that included Sodom and Gomorrah. In Parashat Vayera Abraham prays speaking to Hashem about the destruction of Sodom and seeks the Lord’s mercy on a city on account of righteous men. Note that Abraham does not change God’s mind concerning their destruction, as in the morning he saw smoke rising up from that region, from Sodom. We also note that this conversation took up 17 verses in the Torah, Abraham reasoning with the Lord concerning these things. When we draw upon the Torah for our understanding of these verses, these things reveal a truth concerning the Lord God of Israel as Isaiah describes it in Isaiah 5:16, וַיִּגְבַּהּ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְהָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ נִקְדָּשׁ בִּצְדָקָה “the Lord God is exalted in judgement, and God who is holy is sanctified in righteousness.” These things describe the characteristics of God, that which marks Him as unique among the pantheon of gods that men create and serve in this world. We note that God is Just, He is Righteous, and He is Merciful for a period of time, at least until the sin of a nation is built up. All pride will be humbled in His presence. These are the things that mark God as being truly holy, as the Scriptures describe Him. We serve a moral God, one who champions justice, morality, ethics, and to love your neighbor, all of these things reveal to us the holiness of God who expects this of those who serve Him according to the Torah. These things again set our God apart from any other!
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
יז וְרָעוּ כְבָשִֹים כְּדָבְרָם וְחָרְבוֹת מֵחִים גָּרִים יֹאכֵלוּ:
Isaiah 5:17 states, “Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, (וְרָעוּ כְבָשִֹים כְּדָבְרָם) and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. (וְחָרְבוֹת מֵחִים גָּרִים יֹאכֵלוּ)” Isaiah describes the outcome of their sins, the people are described as having been driven from the land and the flock and lambs of the nations coming and consuming what was once theirs. This is the price that is paid to those who refuse to seek the God of Israel and His righteous one! Isaiah continues saying the following:
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
יח הוֹי מֹשְׁכֵי הֶעָוֹן בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא וְכַעֲבוֹת הָעֲגָלָה חַטָּאָה: יט הָאֹמְרִים יְמַהֵר | יָחִישָׁה מַעֲשֵֹהוּ לְמַעַן נִרְאֶה וְתִקְרַב וְתָבוֹאָה עֲצַת קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְנֵדָעָה:
Isaiah 5:18 states, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, (הוֹי מֹשְׁכֵי הֶעָוֹן בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא) and sin as it were with a cart rope: (וְכַעֲבוֹת הָעֲגָלָה חַטָּאָה)” Isaiah 5:19 “That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, (הָאֹמְרִים יְמַהֵר | יָחִישָׁה מַעֲשֵֹהוּ) that we may see it: (לְמַעַן נִרְאֶה) and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! (וְתִקְרַב וְתָבוֹאָה עֲצַת קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְנֵדָעָה)” We note how iniquity (הֶעָוֹן) and sin (חַטָּאָה) are being described as worthless cords (בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא) and rope (וְכַעֲבוֹת). Sin and iniquity cause one to be bound in his or her inability to overcome sin. This is coupled to the refusal to live in obedience to God’s Word. Over the years I have talked to some who doubt that God is active in this world, or even in their lives, because of the inability to overcome sin. Because of sin, perception is warped, and this is likely due to a perversion of values and truth, as one seeks to practice sin as opposed to righteousness. The most important aspect that is drawn out from these things is that God needs to be involved in the heart of the one who is seeking to overcome sin. When there is no desire to study God’s Word, no desire to draw near to Him, why would one expect anything less than utter bondage to that sin? Note how Isaiah is describing the people as being so intoxicated with pleasure and pride that they are incapable of hearing from God, or even recognizing that God is working in this world, and in their lives. These are those who mock those who choose to serve God and study His holy Word. We note what Isaiah says, הָאֹמְרִים יְמַהֵר | יָחִישָׁה מַעֲשֵֹהוּ לְמַעַן נִרְאֶה וְתִקְרַב וְתָבוֹאָה עֲצַת קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְנֵדָעָה “saying let Him make speed, and hasten His work, that we may see it, and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come that we may know it.” This is being done in a mocking manner, as not believing God will answer them, or bring to pass what Isaiah is saying concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The way this is written, it sounds as if they are daring God to punish them because they do not believe anything will happen. Based upon this mocking behavior, the people know exactly what they are doing, and their sin is a conscious choice to walk in evil as opposed to truth and righteousness. Notice something here, the people are basically saying that God must act first prior to their having faith. This demonstrates for us how it does not matter whether God works a miracle of total other worldly proportions or not, there will be no faith on the part of those who reject God’s Word. Drawing upon the Torah context, how all of Israel went through the Red Sea, experiencing a miracle of great magnitude, and yet when they came to the wilderness, they complained, and to the mountain of Sinai they built an altar to a false god, a golden calf. In more recent history as we are told according to the NT, Yeshua worked great miracles of healing, teaching Torah to the masses, and yet those who were filled with pride were unwilling and unable to believe in Him. All of these things reveal to us how iniquity and sin when coupled with pride can lead to an utter loss in understanding truth and life. This draws us back again to realize that only God Himself can reveal these truths to our lives! Without the Lord in our lives, sin leads to the spinning of truth, not being able to recognize the truth from a lie, which leads to even greater levels of wantonness and mocking of God and His Holy Word! This is exactly what Isaiah states in the very next verse!
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
כ הוֹי הָאֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע שָֹמִים חֹשֶׁךְ לְאוֹר וְאוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ שָֹמִים מַר לְמָתוֹק וּמָתוֹק לְמָר: כא הוֹי חֲכָמִים בְּעֵינֵיהֶם וְנֶגֶד פְּנֵיהֶם נְבֹנִים:
Isaiah 5:20 states, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; (הוֹי הָאֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע) that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; (שָֹמִים חֹשֶׁךְ לְאוֹר וְאוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ) that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (שָֹמִים מַר לְמָתוֹק וּמָתוֹק לְמָר)” Isaiah 5:21 “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, (הוֹי חֲכָמִים בְּעֵינֵיהֶם) and prudent in their own sight / understanding! (וְנֶגֶד פְּנֵיהֶם נְבֹנִים)” These two verses here have such a significant application for us today in our culture and around this world. The question for us is “what part of our culture, government, the world, does not do the things that are described here in Isaiah 5:20-21?” We note this draws us again back to the Torah context, how even from the beginning, man has had a problem with exchanging evil for good. Adam and Eve made the choice to do what is wrong over what they were instructed to do what was right. We note that if evil were not made to look good there would be no sense of temptation in this world. The reason it is so important for us to study the Bible, is because the righteousness of the world is different from that of what God defines. The world goes with the majority decision, if society or culture decides something is right, then the majority of the people believe it is right. This causes the morals of our culture to shift as time goes on, this is the method of the popular vote. The Lord has not changed His mind concerning these things, righteousness, holiness, and truth. Take King Solomon’s words according to Ecclesiastes.
ספר קהלת פרק ד-ה
טז שְׁמֹ֣ר רַגְלֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תֵּלֵךְ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְקָר֣וֹב לִשְׁמֹ֔עַ מִתֵּ֥ת הַכְּסִילִ֖ים זָ֑בַח כִּֽי־אֵינָ֥ם יוֹדְעִ֖ים לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת רָֽע׃ א אַל־תְּבַהֵ֨ל עַל־פִּ֜יךָ וְלִבְּךָ֧ אַל־יְמַהֵ֛ר לְהוֹצִ֥יא דָבָ֖ר לִפְנֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים כִּ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֤ים בַּשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ וְאַתָּ֣ה עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַֽל־כֵּ֛ן יִהְי֥וּ דְבָרֶ֖יךָ מְעַטִּֽים׃ ב כִּ֛י בָּ֥א הַחֲל֖וֹם בְּרֹ֣ב עִנְיָ֑ן וְק֥וֹל כְּסִ֖יל בְּרֹ֥ב דְּבָרִֽים׃
5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 5:3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. (KJV)
Here Solomon speaks of שְׁמֹ֣ר רַגְלֶיךָ “guarding your steps” which reminds us of the Jewish concept: שֹׁמֵר מִצְוָה שֹׁמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ The Hebrew words “Shomer Mitzvah Shomer Nafsho” (שֹׁמֵר מִצְוָה שֹׁמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ) are taken from Mishley / Proverbs 19:16 which states “he who keeps the commandments keeps his life/soul.” Solomon couples the idea of guarding the feet and drawing near to offer sacrifice to the Lord as the text states, כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תֵּלֵךְ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְקָר֣וֹב לִשְׁמֹ֔עַ meaning “that goes unto the house of God and draws near to listen.” This is the Torah concept of אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע֙ בְּקוֹל֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ listening to the voice of the Lord. Those who do not are as one’s who מִתֵּ֥ת הַכְּסִילִ֖ים זָ֑בַח “give the sacrifice of fools.” Solomon speaks of the weightiness of going before God with our requests, to consider every word. These things remind us of what is taking place in Isaiah, exchanging good for evil, or calling sin righteousness. The sacrifice will be a sacrifice of a fool. We note what the NT example from the author of the book of Hebrews writes, “No sacrifices can be made for people who decide to sin after they find out about the truth. For there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us. If we go on sinning after we have learned the truth, no sacrifice can take away our sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) This passage holds the very same weightiness as what we are reading here in Isaiah and Ecclesiastes. Here Isaiah speaks of those who שָֹמִים חֹשֶׁךְ לְאוֹר וְאוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ “placing darkness for light and light for darkness” which demonstrates the process of reasoning and desire, to remain in the shadows so that one’s sins may not be observed. We note that sin can only be satisfied when righteousness is destroyed. This is consistent with the way our country is working, the USA as the great Babylon who causes the nations of the world to drink of her adulteries (pornography). This is also observed in the government programs that promote LGBTQ policies and acceptance to foreign countries, withholding financial benefits if these modern liberal ideologies are not promoted and taught in their schools. By observing the policies that the leaders consider important, we can see the ethical and moral decay, which is dependent upon human reasoning alone and not upon God’s Word as a foundation stone upon which we stand. As a faithful people, we need to promote the wisdom of God according to His holy Word, to call for commitment to return to God’s ways as opposed to the ways of man. Only in this way is long lasting righteousness possible in society. The only way for lasting righteousness is to get the presence of God into the hearts of men! This comes by seeking God and placing our faith in Yeshua, and asking the Lord to send His Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we may dwell with Him! This calls for the humbling of our hearts as we admit to the Lord that we are unable to live by His standards alone, we need His help! We note this is how Isaiah understood these things as he states according to Isaiah 5:21 “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, (הוֹי חֲכָמִים בְּעֵינֵיהֶם) and prudent in their own sight / understanding! (וְנֶגֶד פְּנֵיהֶם נְבֹנִים)” Isaiah describes the arrogant heart as חֲכָמִים בְּעֵינֵיהֶם being “wise in your own eyes.” And one who believes himself to be of greater understanding, prudent in their own eyes. This is the outcome of liberal ideologies, those things which exchange evil for good, darkness for light, and bitter for sweet, there is utter confusion and self delusion! The one who accepts liberal ideologies have believed in the lie and will perish as a result!
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
כב הוֹי גִּבּוֹרִים לִשְׁתּוֹת יָיִן וְאַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל לִמְסֹךְ שֵׁכָר: כג מַצְדִּיקֵי רָשָׁע עֵקֶב שֹׁחַד וְצִדְקַת צַדִּיקִים יָסִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ:
Isaiah 5:22 states, “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, (הוֹי גִּבּוֹרִים לִשְׁתּוֹת יָיִן) and men of strength to mingle strong drink: (וְאַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל לִמְסֹךְ שֵׁכָר)” Isaiah 5:23 “Which justify the wicked for reward, (מַצְדִּיקֵי רָשָׁע עֵקֶב שֹׁחַד) and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (וְצִדְקַת צַדִּיקִים יָסִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ)” Again we read here something about the people. Here we Isaiah mentions the גִּבּוֹרִים (Giborim), the mighty one’s from Bereshit / Genesis 6:4 which states, הַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָרֶץ֮ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵעוֹלָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם׃ “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days— and afterward as well — when the sons of God had relations with the daughters of men. And they bore them children who became the mighty men of old, men of renown.” Here the word Giborim is written in the defective form in Bereshit / Genesis 6:4 (הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים) whereas Isaiah uses the full spelling, גִּבּוֹרִים. The idea is the גִּבּוֹרִים describe the mighty men, those who are powerful in war, the NIV calls these men “the heroes of old.” These are those who are mighty who drink wine (לִשְׁתּוֹת יָיִן). These drunkards are the ones who “justify the wicked for reward, (מַצְדִּיקֵי רָשָׁע עֵקֶב שֹׁחַד) and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (וְצִדְקַת צַדִּיקִים יָסִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ)” The issue is how getting drunk is related to God’s Torah from the sense of whether one will listen and obey, of whether one will choose his or her own self serving desires. Notice this reminds us of the Torah from the sense of Nadav and Avihu in the Tabernacle who died before the Lord.
ספר ויקרא פרק י
א וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי-אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִֹימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם: ב וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה:
Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1-2
10:1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 10:2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Do you remember why this took place? God commands Aaron through Moshe following this event that the priest is not to drink wine before going to the tabernacle before the Lord to offer incense or any of the korbanot (sacrifices). This is called strange fire and notice how consistent this is with what we are reading according to Solomon in Ecclesiastes, 5:1-3, and the NT text in Hebrews 10:26, and elsewhere. The point is that these men simply serve themselves and we are being warned not to be like them but to listen to the voice of the Lord our God!
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
כד לָכֵן כֶּאֱכֹל קַשׁ לְשׁוֹן אֵשׁ וַחֲשַׁשׁ לֶהָבָה יִרְפֶּה שָׁרְשָׁם כַּמָּק יִהְיֶה וּפִרְחָם כָּאָבָק יַּעֲלֶה כִּי מָאֲסוּ אֵת תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וְאֵת אִמְרַת קְדוֹשׁ-יִשְֹרָאֵל נִאֵצוּ: כה עַל-כֵּן חָרָה אַף-יְהֹוָה בְּעַמּוֹ וַיֵּט יָדוֹ עָלָיו וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיִּרְגְּזוּ הֶהָרִים וַתְּהִי נִבְלָתָם כַּסּוּחָה בְּקֶרֶב חוּצוֹת בְּכָל-זֹאת לֹא-שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה:
Isaiah 5:24 states, “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, (לָכֵן כֶּאֱכֹל קַשׁ לְשׁוֹן אֵשׁ) and the flame consumeth the chaff, (וַחֲשַׁשׁ לֶהָבָה) so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: (יִרְפֶּה שָׁרְשָׁם כַּמָּק יִהְיֶה וּפִרְחָם כָּאָבָק יַּעֲלֶה) because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (כִּי מָאֲסוּ אֵת תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וְאֵת אִמְרַת קְדוֹשׁ-יִשְֹרָאֵל נִאֵצוּ)” Isaiah 5:25 “Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, (עַל-כֵּן חָרָה אַף-יְהֹוָה בְּעַמּוֹ) and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, (וַיֵּט יָדוֹ עָלָיו) and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, (וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיִּרְגְּזוּ הֶהָרִים) and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. (וַתְּהִי נִבְלָתָם כַּסּוּחָה בְּקֶרֶב חוּצוֹת) For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (בְּכָל-זֹאת לֹא-שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה)” The issue here is of the leaders being drunkards, interested in partying and getting drunk. Note the consumption of those who כִּי מָאֲסוּ אֵת תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה “neglect the instruction of God.” The end result is that there will be nothing left. This concept of fire devouring chaff or stubble, describes the mental faculties of those who do these things. There is very little depth to these people, all of their lives they live superficially for wanton pleasure and disregard for the weightier matters in life! Note that these scriptures describe how there is nothing left but destruction, rotten grapes and a vineyard that does not produce fruit, the trees are only good for firewood and destruction. We note the comments concerning the roots of the plant. This describes the necessity for the nutrient content of the land, so that the plant can grow and flourish, and yield a great amount of fruit. The parallel is to the nourishment of the peoples who have not feasted upon the Torah of God. Decay and destruction is found at the root level, when not properly receiving the spiritual nutrition they need. This same application may be made to our lives as needed to be involved in God’s Word, and feasting upon the truth that only God can share with us according to His holy Word! Because of these things, because the people reject God’s Word, Isaiah continues saying, “Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, (עַל-כֵּן חָרָה אַף-יְהֹוָה בְּעַמּוֹ) and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, (וַיֵּט יָדוֹ עָלָיו) and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, (וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיִּרְגְּזוּ הֶהָרִים) and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. (וַתְּהִי נִבְלָתָם כַּסּוּחָה בְּקֶרֶב חוּצוֹת) For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (בְּכָל-זֹאת לֹא-שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה)” These things describe the Authority of God over all of Creation, and over His people. All of these things happened so long ago, and yet today we are to take every word that is written in the Scriptures very seriously!
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
כו וְנָשָֹא-נֵס לַגּוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק וְשָׁרַק לוֹ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה מְהֵרָה קַל יָבוֹא:
Isaiah 5:26 “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, (וְנָשָֹא-נֵס לַגּוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק) and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: (וְשָׁרַק לוֹ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ) and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: (וְהִנֵּה מְהֵרָה קַל יָבוֹא)” This sounds as if the Lord will lift up a sign to the nations to come and destroy Israel. The nations are described as wild animals. At this point there is no indication of who or which nation the Lord will bring. Isaiah’s statements are generalized here. Asyria is the one who destroyed northern Israel, and then Babylon to Judah and Jerusalem as we know from history. At this point in time it may have not been as important to specify exactly who it was that God was calling, but that due to their sins a powerful nation from the world will come unless they repent. We note it is the Lord who is shaping the nations, not just Israel, and so this confirms how the Lord is the One who holds all things. (see Isaiah 40:21-24 and 45:1-9)
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
כז אֵין-עָיֵף וְאֵין-כּוֹשֵׁל בּוֹ לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן וְלֹא נִפְתַּח אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו וְלֹא נִתַּק שְֹרוֹךְ נְעָלָיו: כח אֲשֶׁר חִצָּיו שְׁנוּנִים וְכָל-קַשְּׁתֹתָיו דְּרֻכוֹת פַּרְסוֹת סוּסָיו כַּצַּר נֶחְשָׁבוּ וְגַלְגִּלָּיו כַּסּוּפָה: כט שְׁאָגָה לוֹ כַּלָּבִיא וִשְׁאַג [יִשְׁאַג] כַּכְּפִירִים וְיִנְהֹם וְיֹאחֵז טֶרֶף וְיַפְלִיט וְאֵין מַצִּיל:
Isaiah 5:27 states, “None shall be weary nor stumble among them; (אֵין-עָיֵף וְאֵין-כּוֹשֵׁל בּוֹ) none shall slumber nor sleep; (לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן) neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, (וְלֹא נִפְתַּח אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו) nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: (וְלֹא נִתַּק שְֹרוֹךְ נְעָלָיו)” Isaiah 5:28 “Whose arrows are sharp, ( אֲשֶׁר חִצָּיו שְׁנוּנִים) and all their bows bent, (וְכָל-קַשְּׁתֹתָיו דְּרֻכוֹת) their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, (פַּרְסוֹת סוּסָיו כַּצַּר נֶחְשָׁבוּ) and their wheels like a whirlwind: (וְגַלְגִּלָּיו כַּסּוּפָה)” Isaiah 5:29 “Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: (שְׁאָגָה לוֹ כַּלָּבִיא וִשְׁאַג [יִשְׁאַג] כַּכְּפִירִים) yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. (וְיִנְהֹם וְיֹאחֵז טֶרֶף וְיַפְלִיט וְאֵין מַצִּיל)” Note the description of the peoples who come, לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן “none shall slumber nor sleep” and וְלֹא נִפְתַּח אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו “neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed” these things describe a time of haste. There also appears to be Torah references here in the statement, וְלֹא נִתַּק שְֹרוֹךְ נְעָלָיו “nor the latchet of their shoes be broken.” This reminds us of שִׂמְלָ֨תְךָ֜ לֹ֤א בָֽלְתָה֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יךָ וְרַגְלְךָ֖ לֹ֣א בָצֵ֑קָה זֶ֖ה אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָֽה׃ “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:4) note the divine intervention on behalf of Israel as their cloths did not wear out, God had sustained them through the wilderness until His plan for them had been accomplished. This description of the latch of their shoe not failing reminds us of these things, as God providing divine intervention on behalf of the nations to accomplish what He has decreed for Judah and Jerusalem.
ספר ישעיה פרק ה
ל וְיִנְהֹם עָלָיו בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כְּנַהֲמַת-יָם וְנִבַּט לָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה-חשֶׁךְ צַר וָאוֹר חָשַׁךְ בַּעֲרִיפֶיהָ:
Isaiah 5:30 states, “And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: (וְיִנְהֹם עָלָיו בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כְּנַהֲמַת-יָם) and if one look unto the land, (וְנִבַּט לָאָרֶץ) behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof. (וְהִנֵּה-חשֶׁךְ צַר וָאוֹר חָשַׁךְ בַּעֲרִיפֶיהָ)” This last description of the armies that are coming upon Israel as the roar of the sea (כְּנַהֲמַת-יָם) and when we think about the sea and its waves, this provides us with a different picture as opposed to the animal kingdom. Lions for example will grow tired, and there will be reprieve from the roaring and fighting. The waves of the sea against the surf do not stop, they never stop, they are never ending, constant, ever continuing, beating of the surf, this is the description of the armies that are coming! The only hope of salvation is that of the Lord God Almighty. There will be darkness, distress, and destruction like never seen before. These things remind us that salvation is of the Lord! And the Torah reminds us that if we remain unfaithful and unrepentant, destruction will come, and it doesn’t matter what amount of sacrifice will stop that from coming!
The Targum Jonathan interprets Isaiah in the following way:
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק ה:יג-ל
יג בְכֵין גְלֹו עַמִי מִידְלָא יְדַעוּ אֹורָיתָא׃ יד בְכֵין אַפתִיאַת שְאֹול נַפשַה וּפתַחַת פוּמַה וְלֵית סֹוף וּנחַתוּ יַקִירֵיהֹון וְסִגוּיְהֹון וְאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון וּדתַקִיף בְהֹון׃ טו וְיִמאַך אְנָשָא וְיִחלַש תְקֹוף גוּברִין וְעֵינֵי רָמַיָא יִמאְכָן׃ טז וְתַקִיף יוי צְבָאֹות בְדִינָא וַאְלָהָא קַדִישָא קַדִיש בְזָכוּתָא׃ יח וְיִתפַרנְסוּן צַדִיקַיָא כְמָא דַאְמִיר עְלֵיהֹון † וְנִכסֵי רַשִיעַיָא צַדִיקַיָא יַחסְנוּן׃ יז יֵי דִמשָרַן לְמִחטֵי צִיב חַד נָגְדִין חֹובִין בְחַבלֵי לָמָא אָזְלִין וְסָגַן עַד דְתַקְפִין כִגדִילַת עַגַלתָא חֹובִין׃ יט דְאָמְרִין אִימַתִי יֹוחֵי יְגַלֵי פְרִישָתֵיה בְדִיל דְנִחזֵי וְיִקרַב וְיֵיתֵי מִלכֵיה דְקַדִישָא דְיִשׂרָאֵל וְנִידְעִינֵיה׃ כ יֵי דְאָמְרִין לְרַשִיעַיָא דְמַצלְחִין בְעָלְמָא הָדֵין אַתוּן טָבַיָא וּלעִנוְתָנַיָא אָמְרִין אַתוּן רַשִיעַיָא הְלָא בְמֵיתֵי נְהֹורָא לְצַדִיקַיָא יַחשֹוך לְרַשִיעַיָא וְיִבסְמוּן פִתגָמֵי אֹורָיתָא לְעָבְדֵיהֹון וְיֵיתֵי מְרָרָא לְרַשִיעַיָא וְיִדְעוּן דִבסֹופָא מָרִיר חִטאָה לְעָבְדֵיה׃ כא יֵי דְחַכִימִין בְעֵינֵי נַפשְהֹון וְלָקֳבֵיל אַפֵיהֹון סוּכלְתָנִין׃ כב יֵי דְגִיבָרִין לְמִשתֵי חְמַר וְגֻברִין מָרֵי נִכסִין לְאִתרְוָאָה מִן עַתִיק׃ כג מְזַכַן לֵיה לְחַיָיבָא חְלָף דִמקַבְלִין מִנֵיה מָמֹון דִשקַר וּזכוּת זַכָאַיָא בִרשַע מַעדַן מִינְהֹון׃ כד בְכֵין יִתאַכלוּן כְקַשָא בְאִישָתָא וּכעָמִירָא בְשַלהָבִיתָא מִסְגֵי תוּקפְהֹון כִשבַז יְהֵי וּמָמֹון אוּנסְהֹון כְאַבקָא דְפָרַח אְרֵי קַצוּ בְאֹורָיתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות וְיָת מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשׂרָאֵל רַחִיקוּ׃ כה עַל כֵן תְקֵיף רֻגזָא דַיוי בְעַמֵיה וַאְרֵים מַחַת גְבוּרְתֵיה עְלֵיהֹון כַד מְחָנוּן וְזָעוּ טוּרַיָא וַהְוָת נְבֵילַתהֹון מְשַגְרָן כִסחוּתָא בְגֹו שוּקַיָא בְכָל דָא לָא תָבוּ מֵחֹובֵיהֹון דִיתוּב רוּגזֵיה מִנְהֹון וְעַד כְעַן מְתַקְפִין מִרדֵיהֹון וְעֹוד מַחְתֵיה עְתִידָא לְאִתפְרָעָא מִינְהֹון׃ כו וְיִזקֹוף אָת לְעַמְמַיָא מֵרַחִיק וְיַכלֵי לֵיה מִסְיָפֵי אַרעָא וְהָא בִפרִיַע מַלַך בְמַשרְיָתֵיה כַעְנָנִין קַלִילִין יֵיתֵי׃ כז לֵית דִמשַלהֵי וְלֵית דְמִיתְקֵיל בֵיה לָא יְנוּם וְלָא יִדמוּך וְלָא יִשתְרֵי זְרָז חַרצֵיה וְלָא תִתפְסֵיק עַרקַת מְסָנֵיה׃ כח דְגִירֹוהִי מְחָרְפִין וְכָל קַשתָתֵיה מְתִיחָן פַרסַת סוּסָוָתֵיה כְטִינָרַיָא תַקִיפִין וְגַלגִלֹוהִי קַלִילִין הָא כְעַלעוּלָא׃ כט נֵיהֻימֵי לֵיה כְאַריֵי יִנהֹום כְבַר אַריָוָן וְיַכלֵי וְיֵיחֹוד בִיזָא וִישֵיצֵי וְלֵית דְמַצִיל׃ ל וְיַכלֵי עְלֹוהִי בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא כְאִתרְגֹושַת יַמָא דְאִם יִבעֹון רַשִיעַיָא סְעֵיד מִיָתְבֵי אַרעָא עָקָא † אַיתִי עְלֵיהֹון בְרַם צַדִיקַיָא דִיהֹון דִי יְהֹון בְשָעְתָא הַהִיא יִתכַסֹון מִן קֳדָם בִשתָא׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 5:13-30
5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity unawares, and their honourable men have died through famine, and their multitude through dryness and thirst. 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure, and their nobles, and their multitudes, and their tumultuous assemblies, and he that is strong among them, shall descend into it. 5:15 And the mean man shall be humbled, and the strength of the strong shall be weakened, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. 5:16 And the Lord of hosts shall be mighty in judgment, and the holy God shall be sanctified in righteousness. 5:17 And the righteous shall be fed, as it is promised concerning them, and they shall multiply; and the substance of the ungodly shall the righteous possess. 5:18 Woe to them that begin to sin by little, drawing sins with the ropes of vanity, and they go on and increase until that they are strong, and their sins are as a cart-rope. 5:19 That say, When will He hasten and reveal His miracle, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! 5:20 Woe to them that say to the wicked who prosper in this world, Ye are good; and say to the meek, Ye are wicked. What, is it not so? When light cometh to the righteous, shall it not be dark with the wicked? And the words of the law shall be sweet to them that do them; but bitterness shall come to the wicked, and they shall know that in the end sin is bitter to them that commit it. 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and mighty lords of riches, to make themselves drunk with old wine. 5:23 Who justify the guilty in order to receive from him the mammon of falsehood, and wickedly take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. 5:24 Therefore they shall be devoured as stubble in the fire, and like dry hay in the flame; they are multiplying their strength, it shall be like an ulcer, and the money of their oppression, as the dust that flieth away: because they despised the law of the Lord of hosts, and rejected the WORD, the Holy One of Israel. 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord of hosts mighty against His people, and He has lifted the stroke of His power upon them. When He smote them, then the mountains moved, and their carcases were cast out as dung into the midst of the streets. By all this they turn not away from their sins, that His fury may turn away from them; but until now their rebellion groweth stronger, and His stroke is again to take vengeance on them. 5:26 And He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and he will call him from the end of the earth: and, behold, a king with his army shall come swiftly, as light clouds. 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their sandals be broken. 5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs strong like flint, and their wheels swift, behold, like a whirlwind. 5:29 His roaring shall be like a lion, and he shall roar like a young lion, yea, he shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. 5:30 And in that time he shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: so that if the wicked should seek support from the inhabitants of the earth, he will bring upon them oppression and destruction; but the righteous which shall be in that hour shall be protected on account of the evil. (TgJ)
TgJ translates Isaiah 5:13-14 saying, יג בְכֵין גְלֹו עַמִי מִידְלָא יְדַעוּ אֹורָיתָא׃ יד בְכֵין אַפתִיאַת שְאֹול נַפשַה וּפתַחַת פוּמַה וְלֵית סֹוף וּנחַתוּ יַקִירֵיהֹון וְסִגוּיְהֹון וְאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון וּדתַקִיף בְהֹון׃ 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity unawares, and their honourable men have died through famine, and their multitude through dryness and thirst. 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure, and their nobles, and their multitudes, and their tumultuous assemblies, and he that is strong among them, shall descend into it. (TgJ) There is a variant text here that adds the words מבלי דעתא וְיַקִירֵיהֹון מִיתוּ בְכַפנָא וְסִגוּיְהֹון בְבוּצרָתָא which is the second half of that verse. The interesting aspect of the variant reading is the words מבלי דעתא meaning “without knowledge” or being “unaware.” The reason this particular reading is interesting is begging the question of how the people could enter into captivity being unaware of it? The point TgJ is making here is that sin can keep a person captive and they may not even be aware of such captivity. Selfish desires lead to the fulfillment of sin under the action of having little regard for others. This is what gives birth to sin as James said in James 1:14-15 says “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (NIV) This passage suggests to us an ancient understanding on the source of sin, how this comes from our own desires to entice and lure us into sin. Notice how this draws us back to the Torah perspective of Adam and Eve in the Garden and the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When one does not deal with the source of the issue, sin is birthed in each of us as a result of the evil desire, the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination). James draws out the copout some use that God is to blame saying, James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (NIV) Being a slave to sin brings forth death. Paul wrote that the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit according to Galatians 5:17. There is a battle that is being waged between the spirit which desires the things of God and the flesh. Victory is achieved only when one’s focus stops being upon one’s self, the end of selfishness, and our focus is upon Yeshua the Messiah. This is what Paul meant when he said that we are to set our minds upon that which is above, the heavenly things as opposed to the earthly things. (Colossians 3:2) Here the people are said to be unaware, as they serve sin with all of their hearts. Doing so causes Hell to cling to them and they descend into Hell, as the text goes on to describe how Hell has enlarged herself to accommodate all of those who are willing to go there. The Torah centric principle of God dwelling in our midst, and the NT fulfillment of this by faith in Yeshua, the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit (John 14), we receive power from on high to overcome sin, to turn from selfish desire, and to live and walk according to the Spirit in obedience to God’s word. The Talmud discusses the reason for the destruction of Jerusalem according to the Talmud Bavli Shabbat 119b.
Talmud Bavli Shabbat 119b
אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ: לֹא חָרְבָה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁבִּיטְּלוּ קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שַׁחֲרִית וְעַרְבִית, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״הוֹי מַשְׁכִּימֵי בַבֹּקֶר שֵׁכָר יִרְדֹּפוּ וְגוֹ׳״, וּכְתִיב: ״וְהָיָה כִנּוֹר וָנֶבֶל תּוֹף וְחָלִיל וָיַיִן מִשְׁתֵּיהֶם וְאֵת פּוֹעַל ה׳ לֹא יַבִּיטוּ״, וּכְתִיב: ״לָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי מִבְּלִי דָעַת״.
The Gemara suggests additional reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem. Rabbi Abbahu said: Jerusalem was destroyed only because its citizens intentionally omitted recitation of Shema morning and evening, as it is stated: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning and pursue the drink and are aflame from wine until late in the evening” (Isaiah 5:11). And it is written in the continuation of that passage: “And their drinking parties have lyre and lute, drum and flute and wine, and they do not look upon the actions of God, and they do not see His hands’ creations” (Isaiah 5:12). This means that in the morning and evening, when the Jews should have been reciting Shema, they were drinking wine and liquor. And it is written in that passage: “Therefore My nation is being exiled for its ignorance; its honor will die of hunger and its multitudes will be parched with thirst” (Isaiah 5:13).
It is interesting how the rabbis discuss the sin of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were not reciting the Shema each morning. The Shema is regarded as the most important prayer in Judaism. This is because it reminds us of the key principle of the faith, that there is only one God. This is a monotheistic principle that comes from Torah.
ספר דברים פרק ו
ד שְׁמַע יִשְֹרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה | אֶחָד: ה וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ: ו וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם עַל-לְבָבֶךָ: ז וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4-7
6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (KJV)
Note the significance of the Shema, as teaching us to listen (שְׁמַע) to the Lord God of Israel, and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength. Studying these words very carefully, we begin to perceive the intended role of the Shema in our lives. This helps to further appreciate the significance of Moshe’s words to Israel just prior to her going into the promised Land. HaShem is speaking through Moshe that she is to remain faithful to God’s word, and how The Lord God will remain faithful to His people for a thousand generations. The Lord says “for as long as the heavens were above the earth” the Lord God would uphold this guarantee only if the children of Israel pledged to teach their children to love God with all their hearts and they, in turn, taught their children and so on and so forth forever and ever, from generation to generation (l’dor v’dor). This is why Judaism considers the Shema the watchword of faith for God’s people. These things provide a daily reminder of our covenant relationship with God which is the primary basis for survival in this world. The Shema is so significant that Yeshua quoted the Shema when a lawyer asked him what must he do to gain eternal life.
22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 22:38 This is the first and great commandment. 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (KJV)
We note that technically the Shema is not a prayer as it consists of three paragraphs from the Hebrew bible, from Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, and Bamidbar / Numbers 15:37-41. The references to Devarim / Deuteronomy are to the declaration of the oneness of God and the call to love Him with all of our being, and in Bamidbar / Numbers 15:37-41 speaks of the mitzvah on tzitzit and of the exodus from Egypt, coming out of a place of bondage to sin. Yeshua directed the lawyer to focus upon the Lord, and to serve Him. Yeshua went on to say how in order to have treasure in heaven, sell all that you have and come and follow him. This saddened the rich young ruler as he had great wealth. These things draw us back to what Isaiah is declaring to the people here concerning pride, wealth, and forgetting about the Lord from whom is the source of all that we have, and even in our ability / skills that He gives us to make wealth. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18)
Isaiah continues according to the TgJ saying in Isaiah 5:14, יד בְכֵין אַפתִיאַת שְאֹול נַפשַה וּפתַחַת פוּמַה וְלֵית סֹוף וּנחַתוּ יַקִירֵיהֹון וְסִגוּיְהֹון וְאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון וּדתַקִיף בְהֹון׃ 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure, and their nobles, and their multitudes, and their tumultuous assemblies, and he that is strong among them, shall descend into it. (TgJ) The Lexham LXX on Isaiah 5:14 states, καὶ ἐπλάτυνεν ὁ ᾅδης τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ διήνοιξεν τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ τοῦ μὴ διαλιπεῖν, καὶ καταβήσονται οἱ ἔνδοξοι καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι καὶ οἱ πλούσιοι καὶ οἱ λοιμοὶ αὐτῆς. “and has widened hades, self it’s and has opened its mouth, and it’s not in order to relent, and will go down glorious and great and rich and violent.” Here in Aramaic and Hebrew, שְאֹול (sheol) and in Greek ᾅδης (hades) these ancient texts express a world of death whose bounds appear to be broadening in order to engulf the wicked. The hebraic understanding of שְאֹול / ᾅδης as being a location below the earth (see Tehillim / Psalms 16:10 and 49:14, Mishley / Proverbs 1:12, 30:16, and Jonah 2:2). The NT text personifies Sheol / Hades describing how these are also cast into the Lake of Fire. (see Revelation 20:13-14) Later Judaism according to the NT considers two regions, one place of suffering and an another of paradise (גן עדן) (Luke 16:19-31). This is the place which is described as being enlarged, the place where the glory and pride of the oppressors of the poor will find themselves. The rabbis of the Talmud state the following:
Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 111a
(ישעיהו ה, יד) לכן הרחיבה שאול נפשה ופערה פיה לבלי חוק אמר ר”ל למי שמשייר אפי’ חוק אחד א”ר יוחנן לא ניחא למרייהו דאמרת להו הכי אלא אפי’ לא למד אלא חוק אחד
§ With regard to the verse: “Therefore, the netherworld has enlarged itself and opened its mouth without measure [livli ḥok]” (Isaiah 5:14), Reish Lakish says: It is referring to one who leaves even one statute [ḥok] unfulfilled; the netherworld expands for him. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: It is not satisfactory to God, their Master, that you said this about them, as according to Reish Lakish’s opinion most of the Jewish people would be doomed to Gehenna. Rather, even if one learned only one statute, he has a share in the World-to-Come, and “livli ḥok” means one who has learned no statutes at all.
The words שאול נפשה from the TgJ state “hell / sheol herself” referring to the place of suffering as enlarging itself and doing so without measure, as the Targum states וְלֵית סֹוף “without end.” The idea provided in the Talmud is that even if one mitzvah is kept from the Torah, this was sufficient to prevent one from descending into hell and has a share in the world to come. These things speak to the power of God’s word in the lives of His people. Consider what Yeshua said according to John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (KJV) This is consistent with First Century Judaism approach to the commands of God. When Isaiah says in Isaiah 5:15, טו וְיִמאַך אְנָשָא וְיִחלַש תְקֹוף גוּברִין וְעֵינֵי רָמַיָא יִמאְכָן׃ 5:15 And the mean man shall be humbled, and the strength of the strong shall be weakened, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. (TgJ) Without faith, even the strongest warrior is weak and bound for hell. But faith alone is not enough, just as James wrote according to James 2:24. These things reveal to us when the people of the nation forsake the commandments of God, the nation itself will fall into destruction. We can see this going on today in all the world!
The point of the commands is not about earning a share in the Olam Haba (World to Come). Obedience to the commands are evidence of God working in our lives (the fruit of the Spirit). If the Lord is not dwelling in our midst, there is nothing left but judgment like the author of Hebrews states “but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:27) This is consistent with how Isaiah explains these things saying in Isaiah 5:16, טז וְתַקִיף יוי צְבָאֹות בְדִינָא וַאְלָהָא קַדִישָא קַדִיש בְזָכוּתָא׃ 5:16 And the Lord of hosts shall be mighty in judgment, and the holy God shall be sanctified in righteousness. (TgJ) If we consider what the author of Hebrews is saying, Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV, ܕ݁ܠܳܐ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܶܝܢ ܠܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܫ ܡܶܫܟ݁ܰܚ ܕ݁ܢܶܫܦ݁ܰܪ ܠܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ ܚܰܝܳܒ݂ ܗ̱ܽܘ ܓ݁ܶܝܪ ܡܰܢ ܕ݁ܡܶܬ݂ܩܰܪܰܒ݂ ܠܘܳܬ݂ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܕ݁ܰܢܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܕ݁ܺܐܝܬ݂ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܘܠܰܐܝܠܶܝܢ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܥܶܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܗܳܘܶܐ ܦ݁ܳܪܽܘܥܳܐ) Here in the Peshitta the author of Hebrews writes ܕ݁ܠܳܐ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܳܐ “without true faithfulness” this is the essence of what the Torah teaches us, to have faith in God, and to love Him with all of our being (the Shema). All of these Scriptures reveal to us the purpose of creation, to bring glory to God, and to receive the love of the creator, just as we are reading of God’s love for His people, His mercy to give time for His people to repent. Isaiah 5:17 states, יז וְיִתפַרנְסוּן צַדִיקַיָא כְמָא דַאְמִיר עְלֵיהֹון וְנִכסֵי רַשִיעַיָא צַדִיקַיָא יַחסְנוּן׃ 5:17 And the righteous shall be fed, as it is promised concerning them, and they shall multiply; and the substance of the ungodly shall the righteous possess. יח יֵי דִמשָרַן לְמִחטֵי צִיב חַד נָגְדִין חֹובִין בְחַבלֵי לָמָא אָזְלִין וְסָגַן עַד דְתַקְפִין כִגדִילַת עַגַלתָא חֹובִין׃ 5:18 Woe to them that begin to sin by little, drawing sins with the ropes of vanity, and they go on and increase until that they are strong, and their sins are as a cart-rope. יט דְאָמְרִין אִימַתִי יֹוחֵי יְגַלֵי פְרִישָתֵיה בְדִיל דְנִחזֵי וְיִקרַב וְיֵיתֵי מִלכֵיה דְקַדִישָא דְיִשׂרָאֵל וְנִידְעִינֵיה׃ 5:19 That say, When will He hasten and reveal His miracle, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! (TgJ) Here the Targum translation reminds us of the reward of walking in righteousness here on earth, וְנִכסֵי רַשִיעַיָא צַדִיקַיָא יַחסְנוּן “the possessions of the wicked the righteous will take hold of” which is translated as the righteous possessing the substance of the ungodly. We are reminded that sin begins little by little to deceive and draw one away from the Lord. This is what happens when the words of the Torah are not kept in the midst of the heart where they serve as the source of life. (Mishley / Proverbs 4:21-22) When turning away from truth, confusion is the end result leading to the exchanging of good for evil and evil for good, something we are seeing at a massive scale today in this world.
Isaiah saw this very same thing according to Isaiah 5:20, כ יֵי דְאָמְרִין לְרַשִיעַיָא דְמַצלְחִין בְעָלְמָא הָדֵין אַתוּן טָבַיָא וּלעִנוְתָנַיָא אָמְרִין אַתוּן רַשִיעַיָא הְלָא בְמֵיתֵי נְהֹורָא לְצַדִיקַיָא יַחשֹוך לְרַשִיעַיָא וְיִבסְמוּן פִתגָמֵי אֹורָיתָא לְעָבְדֵיהֹון וְיֵיתֵי מְרָרָא לְרַשִיעַיָא וְיִדְעוּן דִבסֹופָא מָרִיר חִטאָה לְעָבְדֵיה׃ 5:20 Woe to them that say to the wicked who prosper in this world, Ye are good; and say to the meek, Ye are wicked. What, is it not so? When light cometh to the righteous, shall it not be dark with the wicked? And the words of the law shall be sweet to them that do them; but bitterness shall come to the wicked, and they shall know that in the end sin is bitter to them that commit it. (TgJ) The Targum interprets Isaiah’s words to describe the ultimate outcome of the unrighteous, to realize that their sins lead to bitterness, darkness, and no relationship with God. This is how Rashi describes this verse saying:
Rashi on Isaiah 5:20 Part 1
האומרים לרע טוב. מקלסין לעכו”ם ורע בעיניהם לעבוד הקב”ה שהוא טוב:
Those who say of the evil that it is good They praise idolators [var. idolatry], but they consider it evil to worship the Holy One, blessed be He, Who is good.
Those who do not love the Lord want those who do love the Lord to forsake God and His ways of righteousness, justice, and truth. Those who serve idols, praise idolatorers and want God’s children to turn from Him and walk in darkness because they want to remain hidden in their sin, as the light of God reveals the truth. We note that the word for faith (אמונה) is derived from the root word אמן (aman) which means “to nourish, to make firm, to make strong” which reveals to us how faith nourishes the spirit to walk in God’s ways, and God’s word is the food upon which we are sustained. אמונה speaks to God’s people persevering in the midst of this sinful world, regardless of the circumstance, to keep us from wavering, and keeping us committed to the Lord and His truth. The rabbis in the Talmud also describe these verses in the following way:
Talmud Bavli Sotah 41b
וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר כׇּל אָדָם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חֲנוּפָּה נוֹפֵל בְּגֵיהִנָּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הוֹי הָאוֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע וְגוֹ׳ מָה כְּתִיב אַחֲרָיו לָכֵן כֶּאֱכֹל קַשׁ לְשׁוֹן אֵשׁ וַחֲשַׁשׁ לֶהָבָה יִרְפֶּה וְגוֹ׳
And Rabbi Elazar says: Any person who has flattery in him falls into Gehenna, as it is stated: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). What is written afterward? “Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours straw, and as the chaff is consumed by the flame” (Isaiah 5:24), meaning that the people described in the earlier verse will end up burning like straw in the fires of Gehenna.
Note that the definition of flattery is the “excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one’s own interests.” This sounds like the person who is going through the motions, the rabbis consider the one who does this falls into Gehenna. The word gehenna is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, meaning “Valley of the sons of Hinnom.” In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna (Γέεννα, ܓܝܗܢܐ) was originally the location that the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. Because of this great wickedness this valley was deemed to be cursed. (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:2-6, 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6) In the rabbinic literature, this place became the ultimate destination of the wicked. The oldest historical reference to the valley is found in Joshua 15:8, 18:16 which describe tribal boundaries. The next chronological reference to the valley is at the time of King Ahaz of Judah who sacrificed his sons there according to 2 Chronicles 28:3. In later years, Gehenna continued to be an unclean place used for burning trash from the city of Jerusalem. Yeshua used Gehenna as an illustration of hell. These practices of the nations were so reprehensible that the Lord God had forbidden the worship of this false god (Molech) and to have nothing to do with their form of worship according to Vayikra / Leviticus 18:21. The Lord even warned of the impending judgement that would come if they forsook His commandment concerning these things. According to Jeremiah, the Lord God re-named the Valley of Hinnom as the Valley of Slaughter. (Jeremiah 19) According to history, the Lord God brought Assyria and Babylon against Judah and Jerusalem to carry out His judgment due to their sins in idolatry and child sacrifice. The people were exiled from the Land for 70 years, and this valley ceased to be used to kill innocent children. When the people returned from exile, this plot of land became the location for burning trash, a place for the dead, and garbage. (2 Kings 23:10) We note that this valley then provided the imagery for the sickening smell of rot, burning flesh, a place where corpses and criminals, dead animals, and all manner of trash and garbage was deposited. The smoke, the smell of burning sewage and trash, sickening to the stomach. Eventually this location, due to these things, earned its place in rabbinic literature and in the pages of biblical literature. The child sacrifice and other forms of idolatry ceased in Israel. This place then became known as a place of eternal torment, constant uncleanness, where the fire never ceased burning, and the worms never stopped crawling. (see Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:47-48) Because Yeshua used this word Gehenna (Γέεννα, ܓܝܗܢܐ) this became synonymous with hell, a place of great torment. This is the location where those who are sent here, where the fire is not quenched, to hell, are separated from God for all eternity. This is how the rabbis understood the one who keeps flattery upon his lips. He is one who falls into hell. The reason being, he has departed from the commandments of God, and destruction is the ultimate outcome when one turns from the Lord God in heaven. The rabbis go on saying the following:
Talmud Bavli Sotah 47b
מִשֶּׁרַבּוּ לוֹחֲשֵׁי לְחִישׁוֹת בַּדִּין רָבָה חֲרוֹן אַף בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְנִסְתַּלְּקָה הַשְּׁכִינָה מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט מִשֶּׁרַבּוּ אַחֲרֵי בִצְעָם לִבָּם הֹלֵךְ רַבּוּ הָאוֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע מִשֶּׁרַבּוּ הָאוֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע רַבּוּ הוֹי הוֹי בָּעוֹלָם
From the time when those who whisper whisperings in judgment, advising judges surreptitiously, proliferated, fierce anger proliferated in Israel, and the Divine Presence departed, because it is stated: “God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judges” (Psalms 82:1). The Divine Presence that dwells among judges leaves if they judge improperly. From the time when those who are referred to in the verse: “Their heart goes after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31), proliferated, “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) proliferated, i.e., those who treat wicked people as though they were righteous proliferated as a result. From the time when the fulfillment of the verse: “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil,” proliferated, the cry of: Woe, woe, proliferated in the world. There was an increase in troubles that cause people to cry out.
Based upon this commentary, the rabbis are discussing how sin has a tendency to proliferate, to increase, to multiply and draw in other people. Notice this may be the point of בְכֵין אַפתִיאַת שְאֹול נַפשַה “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself” as sin multiplies and proliferates in this world at a great rate of change. This reminds us how easy it is to sin. Sin is the easy way out, not caring, zero discipline, no reservation of mind or thought of action, just walking as an animal in the desires of the flesh and any wind or whim that comes along one taking hold of without thought of consequence. Following in the footsteps of the Messiah, walking in His ways, this requires discipline, thoughtful action, where one seeks God and His ways, studies His holy Words, and carefully considers every action and its consequence! These are done because we love God and love others, as opposed to those who are selfish thinking only of themselves. This is why Isaiah said what he did when he warned of the deceitfulness of sin, according to Isaiah 5:21. כא יֵי דְחַכִימִין בְעֵינֵי נַפשְהֹון וְלָקֳבֵיל אַפֵיהֹון סוּכלְתָנִין׃ 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! כב יֵי דְגִיבָרִין לְמִשתֵי חְמַר וְגֻברִין מָרֵי נִכסִין לְאִתרְוָאָה מִן עַתִיק׃ 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and mighty lords of riches, to make themselves drunk with old wine. כג מְזַכַן לֵיה לְחַיָיבָא חְלָף דִמקַבְלִין מִנֵיה מָמֹון דִשקַר וּזכוּת זַכָאַיָא בִרשַע מַעדַן מִינְהֹון׃ 5:23 Who justify the guilty in order to receive from him the mammon of falsehood, and wickedly take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. (TgJ) As these things will lead to self delusion, as if one is falling into the pit unaware and unrestrained. Very reminiscent of what we read according to the Talmud Bavli Sota 41b. The outcome is as Isaiah says their place in hell will be as being devoured by fire, Isaiah 5:24, כד בְכֵין יִתאַכלוּן כְקַשָא בְאִישָתָא וּכעָמִירָא בְשַלהָבִיתָא מִסְגֵי תוּקפְהֹון כִשבַז יְהֵי וּמָמֹון אוּנסְהֹון כְאַבקָא דְפָרַח אְרֵי קַצוּ בְאֹורָיתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות וְיָת מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשׂרָאֵל רַחִיקוּ׃ 5:24 Therefore they shall be devoured as stubble in the fire, and like dry hay in the flame; they are multiplying their strength, it shall be like an ulcer, and the money of their oppression, as the dust that flieth away: because they despised the law of the Lord of hosts, and rejected the WORD, the Holy One of Israel. כה עַל כֵן תְקֵיף רֻגזָא דַיוי בְעַמֵיה וַאְרֵים מַחַת גְבוּרְתֵיה עְלֵיהֹון כַד מְחָנוּן וְזָעוּ טוּרַיָא וַהְוָת נְבֵילַתהֹון מְשַגְרָן כִסחוּתָא בְגֹו שוּקַיָא בְכָל דָא לָא תָבוּ מֵחֹובֵיהֹון דִיתוּב רוּגזֵיה מִנְהֹון וְעַד כְעַן מְתַקְפִין מִרדֵיהֹון וְעֹוד מַחְתֵיה עְתִידָא לְאִתפְרָעָא מִינְהֹון׃ 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord of hosts mighty against His people, and He has lifted the stroke of His power upon them. When He smote them, then the mountains moved, and their carcases were cast out as dung into the midst of the streets. By all this they turn not away from their sins, that His fury may turn away from them; but until now their rebellion growth stronger, and His stroke is again to take vengeance on them. (TgJ) The Lord will call nations from far off to come against Judah and Jerusalem to bring the punishment for their unrepentant sins. Isaiah 5:26, כו וְיִזקֹוף אָת לְעַמְמַיָא מֵרַחִיק וְיַכלֵי לֵיה מִסְיָפֵי אַרעָא וְהָא בִפרִיַע מַלַך בְמַשרְיָתֵיה כַעְנָנִין קַלִילִין יֵיתֵי׃ 5:26 And He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and he will call him from the end of the earth: and, behold, a king with his army shall come swiftly, as light clouds. כז לֵית דִמשַלהֵי וְלֵית דְמִיתְקֵיל בֵיה לָא יְנוּם וְלָא יִדמוּך וְלָא יִשתְרֵי זְרָז חַרצֵיה וְלָא תִתפְסֵיק עַרקַת מְסָנֵיה׃ 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their sandals be broken. כח דְגִירֹוהִי מְחָרְפִין וְכָל קַשתָתֵיה מְתִיחָן פַרסַת סוּסָוָתֵיה כְטִינָרַיָא תַקִיפִין וְגַלגִלֹוהִי קַלִילִין הָא כְעַלעוּלָא׃ 5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs strong like flint, and their wheels swift, behold, like a whirlwind. כט נֵיהֻימֵי לֵיה כְאַריֵי יִנהֹום כְבַר אַריָוָן וְיַכלֵי וְיֵיחֹוד בִיזָא וִישֵיצֵי וְלֵית דְמַצִיל׃ 5:29 His roaring shall be like a lion, and he shall roar like a young lion, yea, he shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. ל וְיַכלֵי עְלֹוהִי בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא כְאִתרְגֹושַת יַמָא דְאִם יִבעֹון רַשִיעַיָא סְעֵיד מִיָתְבֵי אַרעָא עָקָא אַיתִי עְלֵיהֹון בְרַם צַדִיקַיָא דִיהֹון דִי יְהֹון בְשָעְתָא הַהִיא יִתכַסֹון מִן קֳדָם בִשתָא׃ 5:30 And in that time he shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: so that if the wicked should seek support from the inhabitants of the earth, he will bring upon them oppression and destruction; but the righteous which shall be in that hour shall be protected on account of the evil. (TgJ) The Lord God does these things due to the people’s unrepentant sins, He causes these things to come in order to bring their sins to an end and bring rest to the land. Isaiah describes hell later on in the following way according to Isaiah 30:33.
ספר ישעיה פרק ל
כִּֽי־עָר֤וּךְ מֵֽאֶתְמוּל֙ תָּפְתֶּ֔ה גַּם־הוּא לַמֶּ֥לֶךְ הוּכָ֖ן הֶעְמִ֣יק הִרְחִ֑ב מְדֻרָתָ֗הּ אֵ֤שׁ וְעֵצִים֙ הַרְבֵּ֔ה נִשְׁמַ֤ת יְהוָה֙ כְּנַ֣חַל גָּפְרִ֔ית בֹּעֲרָ֖ה בָּֽהּ׃
ܡܛܠ ܕܡܛܝܒ ܡܢ ܩܕܡ ܝܥܡ̈ܬܐ ܡܐܟܘܠܬܗ ܐܦ ܗܝ ܐܬܛܝܒܬ ܕܬܡܠܟ ܘܥܡܘܬ ܘܪܘܚܬ ܒܝܬ ܡܥܡܪܗ̇ ܣ̈ܓܝܐܝܢ ܩܝܣ̈ܐ ܘܢܘܪܐ ܘܢܫܡܬܗ ܕܡܪܝܐ ܐܝܟ ܢܚܠܐ ܘܟܒܪܝܬܐ ܕܝܩ̇ܕܐ ܒܗ
30:33 Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze. (NIV)
In the Hebrew Bible, Tophet or Topheth (תוֹפֶת) in Greek Τoφέθ, this was the location in Jerusalem in the valley of Gehinnom where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of children to the gods Moloch and Baal by burning them alive. Again we see how hell is coupled to this idea of becoming enlarged, deepened, and filled with an abundance of fire, and burning sulfur. Notice the Lord is who set it ablaze. This imagery provides us with a dark picture of the consequences of sin and unfaithfulness to God. Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded that we are to trust in the Lord God in heaven, and not in man. We are to walk humbly before the Lord and not be puffed up. The Scriptures also tell us how the Lord God of Israel is the living God, he is the life giving God, and His Words are holy and life giving as well! This is what we read in the Apostolic Writings concerning Yeshua the Messiah, He says come to Him as living waters (mayim khayim) will flow from Him symbolizing the revelation of God through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. According to the prophets, the outpouring is a Messianic expectation, a sign of the Messianic Era. (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Joel 2:28) In Judaism the רוח or רוח הקודש is the equivalent of the term in the Hebrew bible “Spirit of the Lord” or “Spirit of God.” The term רוח הקודש (Holy Spirit) is mentioned in the rabbinic literature as a circumlocution for the Divine Name, used to protect the name of God. We are told in Midrash Rabbah on Bereshit / Genesis 1:2 that the spirit moving on the surface of the waters of creation was the spirit of Mashiakh (Messiah). It is through the Spirit that God interfaces with mankind and is the promised presence of God in the midst of His people. It is the Spirit of God that fills men with wisdom, insight, discernment, and the anointing of God. These things speak to the dwelling place of God in our hearts. This is why Isaiah speaks at length on the issues of the heart, what is the central pillar of one’s life, is it God in heaven, or an idol of one’s own making? The Messianic expectation given in Jeremiah 31:34 is כִּֽי־כוּלָּם֩ יֵדְע֨וּ אוֹתִ֜י לְמִקְטַנָּ֤ם וְעַד־גְּדוֹלָם֙ “They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” meaning the Spirit of God will reveal the knowledge of God to those who seek and ask. According to the Apostle John, the Spirit had not yet been given at that time because the Messiah had not yet been glorified. Today, He is glorified, and if we ask, the Lord will give us His presence and His spirit to do as the Scriptures say according to Ezekiel 36:27, וְאֶת־רוּחִ֖י אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְעָשִׂ֗יתִי אֵ֤ת אֲשֶׁר־בְּחֻקַּי֙ תֵּלֵ֔כוּ “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes.” When John says, “as yet the Spirit had not been given,” (John 7:39) he alludes to this Messianic expectation of the Spirit. We are given promises of the mercy of God, all the more reason to seek Him every day of our lives, just as Paul realized the significance of the presence of God through His Spirit in our lives.
אִגֶּרֶת שָׁאוּל הַשְּׁנִיָּה אֶל הַקּוֹרִינְתִּים פרק א
כא וֵאלֹהִים הוּא הַמְכוֹנֵן אוֹתָנוּ עִמָּכֶם בַּמָּשִׁיחַ. הוּא מָשַׁח אוֹתָנוּ, כב וְהוּא אֲשֶׁר גַּם חָתַם אוֹתָנוּ בְּחוֹתָמוֹ וְשָׂם בְּלִבֵּנוּ אֶת הָעֵרָבוֹן שֶׁל הָרוּחַ.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (KJV)
אִגֶּרֶת שָׁאוּל אֶל הָאֶפֶסִים פרק א
יג וּבוֹ נַחֲלַתְכֶם גַּם אַתֶּם; שֶׁכֵּן בְּשָׁמְעֲכֶם אֶת דְּבַר הָאֱמֶת, אֶת בְּשׂוֹרַת יְשׁוּעַתְכֶם, וּבְהַאֲמִינְכֶם בּוֹ, נֶחְתַּמְתֶּם גַּם אַתֶּם בְּרוּחַ הַהַבְטָחָה, רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, יד אֲשֶׁר הִיא עֵרָבוֹן לְנַחֲלָתֵנוּ עַד לִפְדִיַּת הַקִּנְיָן, לִתְהִלַּת כְּבוֹדוֹ.
1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (KJV)