I Lay in Zion a Foundation Stone, ישעיהו כח:טו-כא / Isaiah 28:15-21

47

Isaiah 28:15-21

The narrative now changes to the people of Jerusalem and Judah, which was indicated by Isaiah’s statement according to Isaiah 28:14 “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. (לָכֵן שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר-יְהֹוָה אַנְשֵׁי לָצוֹן מֹשְׁלֵי הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלָם)” Here the word לָכֵן “wherefore” indicates this shift in the narrative and verse 14 states explicitly words to the scornful men who rule the people in Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 28:14–22 and 29:15–17) The idea is that the sinfulness of the northern kingdom of Israel, their idolatry caused them to be blind and lack understanding and we are told that the priests and prophets were drunk and could not see. (Isaiah 29:9-14) This inability to see and understand and reform their ways led to their destruction, and similarly Jerusalem and Judah find themselves in the same situation. Idolatry is a serious offense, and the reason being is described according to the psalmist in Tehillim / Psalms 115:1-8.

ספר תהילים פרק קטו
א   לֹא לָנוּ יְהֹוָה לֹא לָנוּ כִּי לְשִׁמְךָ תֵּן כָּבוֹד עַל-חַסְדְּךָ עַל-אֲמִתֶּךָ: ב   לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם אַיֵּה-נָא אֱלֹהֵיהֶם: ג   וֵאלֹהֵינוּ בַשָּׁמָיִם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-חָפֵץ עָשָֹה: ד   עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵֹה יְדֵי אָדָם: ה   פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ: ו   אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעוּ אַף לָהֶם וְלֹא יְרִיחוּן: ז   יְדֵיהֶם | וְלֹא יְמִישׁוּן רַגְלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְהַלֵּכוּ לֹא-יֶהְגּוּ בִּגְרוֹנָם: ח   כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵֹיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם:

Tehillim / Psalm 115:1–8
115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But unto thy name give glory, For thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. 115:2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: Eyes have they, but they see not: 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: Noses have they, but they smell not: 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: Feet have they, but they walk not: Neither speak they through their throat. 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; So is every one that trusteth in them. (KJV)

We see the futility of idolatry כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵֹיהֶם כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם “They that make them are like unto them; So is every one that trusteth in them” meaning that those who are idolaters cannot see or understand, and consequently as a result, they cannot hear, and cannot walk which is analogous to their inability to reform their ways and turn from idolatry. We note the seriousness of idolatry, that it has this ability to incapacitate their worshipers so that they remain where they are. This incapacitation is like becoming dead, having no life, no response, but only the route practice of their form of worship which is to remain in place and walk in sin. These are reasons why any form of idolatry should be rooted out in our lives, and that we should seek the Lord God Almighty for help to root out any forms of idolatry that may be in our lives today! Isaiah describes both the priests and the prophets as being drunk and blind according to Isaiah 29:1-9 and that because of this Jerusalem will suffer the same fate as Samaria. In Chapter 29 we are told that God will fight against the enemies of Judah and the reason being is due to the promises that God had made to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We note this Torah centric principle that is being worked out in the lives of the people, that when one sins, one brings judgment upon one’s self, and yet there is hope if we repent and turn from our wicked ways. We should not look to other nations for help as in the case of Judah and Egypt, but look to the Creator God, the Almighty One for help! The common theme throughout the scriptures is that we need to trust in the Lord God in the here and now, and not wait for signs of punishment to repent. This section of the Scriptures from Isaiah 28:14-21 are directed to the leaders of Jerusalem who are arrogant and prideful to the extent of foolishness in the way that they lead the people and the nation. We ask the question “What is true wisdom?” True Wisdom is the ability to differentiate between good and evil, making excellent and decisive judgments from one’s experience and knowledge gained that is based upon the Torah. Paul writes about wisdom in the following way to the Corinthians according to 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 
2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (KJV, ܘܶܐܢܳܐ ܐܱܚܰܝ̈ ܁ ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܐܷܬ݂ܻܝܬ݂ ܠܘܳܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܡܰܡܠ̱ܠܴܐ ܪܱܘܪܒ݂ܳܐ ܁ ܐܴܦ݂ܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܚܶܟ݂ܡܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܣܰܒܱ݁ܪܬ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܐ̱ܪܴܙܶܗ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܀ܘܠܴܐ ܕܴ݁ܢܶܬ݂ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܝ ܒܱ݁ܝܢܳܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕ݁ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܝܳܕ݂ܰܥ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܆ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܐܷܢ ܠܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ ܐܴܦ݂ ܠܷܗ ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܙܩܺܝܦ݂ ܂ ܘܶܐܢܳܐ ܒ݁ܕ݂ܶܚܠܬ݂ܴܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝܐܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܒ݂ܰܪܬ݂ܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܗܘܺܝܬ݂ ܠܘܳܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ ܘܡܶܠܱܬ݂ܝ ܘܟ݂ܳܪܾܘܙܽܘܬ݂ܝ ܇ ܠܴܐ ܗܘܳܬ݂ ܒܱ݁ܡܦܻ݁ܝܣܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܕ݁ܡܷ̈ܠܷܐ ܕ݁ܚܶܟ݂ܡܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܬ݂ܱܚܘܺܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܕ݁ܪܾܘܚܳܐ ܂ ܘܰܕ݂ܚܰܝܠܴܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܬܷ݁ܗܘܶܐ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܒ݁ܚܶܟ݂ܡܬ݂ܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܢܰܝ̈ܢܳܫܳܐ ܇ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܚܰܝܠܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܀ 2 Κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί,* ἦλθον οὐ καθʼ ὑπεροχὴν λόγου ἢ σοφίας καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ ⸀μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ.* 2 οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά ⸂τι εἰδέναι⸃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωμένον.* 3 κἀγὼ ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ καὶ ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ πολλῷ ἐγενόμην πρὸς ὑμᾶς, 4 καὶ ὁ λόγος μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμά μου οὐκ ἐν ⸂πειθοῖς σοφίας [λόγοις]⸃ ἀλλʼ ἐν ⸀ἀποδείξει πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως,* 5 ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλʼ ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ.*)

This statement by Paul is most important, ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων “that your faith does not stand on the wisdom of man.” The word σοφίᾳ means wisdom, and in the LXX σοφία occurs 250x where it renders the Hebrew word almost always חָכְמָה “wisdom.” The Hebraic understanding of חָכְמָה means “wisdom, skill, experience, shrewdness, prudence.” We note that this word σοφία as a noun occurs only in Shemot / Exodus 7:11 in the Torah in reference to Pharaoh’s wise men. The DSS usage of חָכְמָה is influenced by the dualism of the sect’s theology. God’s all-embracing plan for the world, the goal of which is the annihilation of the wicked, is determined by wisdom (see 1QS IV, 18). The elect is allotted the wisdom of the sons of heaven by the Spirit of truth (1QS IV, 21–22). Other terms that are semantically related play a more prominent role in the DSS (see γινώσκω for knowledge). The term φιλοσοφία derived from σοφία takes on a strong religious coloring in Hellenistic-Jewish writers. Philo for example, points out that on the Sabbath in the synagogues the Jews “cultivate their ancestral philosophy [φιλοσοφία],” which is a reference to the oral tradition of the Torah and the way of salvation (Legat. 156). According to Josephus, Jewish religion and philosophy are identical; he therefore presents the communities of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes as three philosophical schools (A.J. 18.11; B.J. 2.119). The same equation is found in 4 Maccabees; indeed, the martyrs appear as the representatives of “divine philosophy” (4 Maccabees 7:9). In the NT text we find the noun σοφία occurring 50x. The adjective σοφός is found 20x, while the negative ἄσοφος only in Ephesians 5:15 (contrasted with σοφός). The verb σοφίζω occurs twice (2 Timothy 3:15, 2 Peter 1:16); the compound κατασοφίζομαι is used only in Acts 7:19 (alluding to Shemot / Exodus 1:10 from the LXX). We also note in the gospels and Acts the use of σοφία is in general tied to the tradition of the Tanakh and Jewish ideology. We note this is consistent with the adjective σοφός occurring only in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 7:35 and in Matthew 23:34 where the “sages” are listed with prophets and teachers. We also note that according to Luke 2:40, Yeshua as a child “was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” We also read that, when he was twelve years old, the teachers at the temple were “amazed at his understanding” (Luke 2:47) and that he continued to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Mark 6:2 (and Matthew 13:54) depicts the astonishment of the inhabitants of Nazareth at the wisdom given to the carpenter’s son. Based upon the usage of the word σοφία in the Greek texts, this idea of wisdom or σοφία is related to a person’s whole approach in life that is founded upon the covenant of God that God has made with us! All of these things illustrate the importance of God’s word for gaining wisdom. (See Mishley / Proverbs 4:5 and James 1:5-8) These things are in stark contrast to the leadership of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day who are faithless and trust in themselves and the works of their own hands as opposed to the God of Israel. Isaiah tells the people that the only secure foundation is in the Lord and upon His covenant. The plans of the leaders will come to nothing and how the Torah describes how God works for us or against us. For us if we trust in Him, and against us if we trust in ourselves and forsake His holy and righteous ways! These Torah based descriptions are meant to turn us from our sins and to seek the Lord God in heaven. The reason being is the terror that is generated when turning from the Lord God’s power turns against His people. Primarily this happens as a wakeup call, to repent and believe and live a life of faithfulness! When we consider what is happening to the people here according to Isaiah and history, we should not think of God as being cruel and unjust in the way that he punished the people. These things are done out of a love for His people, for their repentance, and God’s mercy is great, and He gives an exorbitant amount of time for repentance and faithfulness to return. We note again how these things are consistent with the NT text. One example is from 2 Peter 3:9 which states that God mercifully provides time and opportunity for repentance from idolatry and spiritual fornication with this world. The basic concept is that the Lord is seeking a proper response to what is happening, i.e. to repent and seek His forgiveness in Yeshua the Messiah! If the Lord does not receive a proper response, He promises great tribulation and martyrdom. Again, this is not necessarily as punishment, but as an inducement for His people to repent. This drives forward the importance of repentance too and provides reason why we should be consistent to live repentant lives each day!

Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 28:15.

ספר ישעיה פרק כח
טו   כִּי אֲמַרְתֶּם כָּרַתְנוּ בְרִית אֶת-מָוֶת וְעִם-שְׁאוֹל עָשִֹינוּ חֹזֶה שֹׁיט [שׁוֹט] שׁוֹטֵף כִּי-ַעֲבֹר [יַעֲבֹר] לֹא יְבוֹאֵנוּ כִּי שַֹמְנוּ כָזָב מַחְסֵנוּ וּבַשֶּׁקֶר נִסְתָּרְנוּ: 

Isaiah 28:15 states, “Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; (כִּי אֲמַרְתֶּם כָּרַתְנוּ בְרִית אֶת-מָוֶת וְעִם-שְׁאוֹל עָשִֹינוּ חֹזֶה) when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: (שֹׁיט [שׁוֹט] שׁוֹטֵף כִּי-ַעֲבֹר [יַעֲבֹר] לֹא יְבוֹאֵנוּ כִּי שַֹמְנוּ כָזָב מַחְסֵנוּ וּבַשֶּׁקֶר נִסְתָּרְנוּ)” It is interesting how Isaiah states, כִּי אֲמַרְתֶּם כָּרַתְנוּ בְרִית אֶת-מָוֶת וְעִם-שְׁאוֹל “because you say we have made a covenant with death and with the grave.” This is very odd as it would be unlikely that one would literally make a covenant with death and the grave. It may be that Isaiah is interpreting the leaders’ actions, their engagement in idolatry and sorcery. The Canaanite god Mot (death) is the god of the underworld. Could it be that they made a covenant with these evil spirits? This reminds us of what Paul wrote the Corinthians according to 1 Corinthians 10:18-22.

1 Corinthians 10:18–22 
10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? (KJV, ܚܙܰܘ ܠܻܐܝܣܪܴܝܶܠ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܰܒ݂ܣܰܪ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܐܱܝܠܷܝܢ ܕܴ݁ܐܟ݂ܠܻܝܢ ܕܷ݁ܒ݂̈ܚܶܐ ܆ ܗܳܘܶܝܢ ܫܰܘܬܴ݁ܦ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܠܡܰܕ݂ܒ݁ܚܳܐ ܆ܡܳܢܳܐ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܐܴܡܰܪ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܂ ܕܱ݁ܦ݂ܬ݂ܱܟ݂ܪܴܐ ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܐܻܝܬ݂ܱܘܗ̄ܝ ܆ ܐܱܘ ܕܷ݁ܒ݂ܚܳܐ ܕܱ݁ܦ݂ܬ݂ܱܟ݂ܪܴܐ ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܗ̄ܽܘ ܆ ܠܴܐ ܂ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܗܰܘ ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܕ݁ܕ݂ܳܒ݂ܚܺܝܢ ܚܰܢ̈ܦ݂ܶܐ ܆ ܠܫܻ̈ܐܕ݂ܶܐ ܗ̄ܘ ܕܴ݁ܒ݂ܚܺܝܢ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܠܱܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܨܴܒ݂ܶܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܷܗܘܽܘܢ ܫܰܘܬܴ݁ܦ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܠܫܻ̈ܐܕ݂ܶܐ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܟ݁ܚܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܷܫܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܟܴ݁ܣܳܐ ܕ݁ܡܳܪܱܢ ܂ ܘܟ݂ܳܣܳܐ ܕ݁ܫܻ̈ܐܕ݂ܶܐ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܟ݁ܚܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܷܫܬܱ݁ܘܬ݁ܦ݂ܽܘܢ ܒ݁ܦ݂ܳܬ݂ܾܘܪܴܐ ܕ݁ܡܳܪܱܢ ܂ ܘܰܒ݂ܦ݂ܳܬ݂ܾܘܪܴܐ ܕ݁ܫܻ̈ܐܕ݂ܶܐ ܂ ܐܱܘ ܕܱ݁ܠܡܳܐ ܡܰܛܴܢܽܘ ܡܰܛܢܺܝܢܰܢ ܠܡܳܪܱܢ ܆ ܕܱ݁ܠܡܳܐ ܚܰܣܺܝܢܺܝܢܰܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܀ 18 βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα·* ⸀οὐχ οἱ ἐσθίοντες τὰς θυσίας κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου εἰσίν; 19 Τί οὖν φημι; ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτόν ⸉τί ἐστιν⸊ ⸋ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν ⸉1τί ἐστιν⸊⸌;* 20 ἀλλʼ ὅτι ἃ ⸀θύουσιν*, δαιμονίοις ⸂καὶ οὐ θεῷ [θύουσιν]⸃· οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ⸄κοινωνοὺς τῶν δαιμονίων⸅ γίνεσθαι.* 21 οὐ δύνασθε ποτήριον κυρίου πίνειν καὶ ποτήριον δαιμονίων,* οὐ δύνασθε τραπέζης κυρίου μετέχειν καὶ τραπέζης δαιμονίων.* 22 ἢ παραζηλοῦμεν τὸν κύριον;* μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμεν;)

Here Paul states directly providing an interpretation on the Gentiles and their sacrifices to their gods. He states that these sacrifices are sacrifices to demons (δαιμονίοις). Paul makes it clear that we cannot join ourselves with occult practices or the worship of אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים (other gods) and also have a part with the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua! The leaders in Isaiah’s day deceived themselves in this way rejecting the life that God wants to give them and instead choosing death. Could it be that their reliance upon Egypt is analogous to these things? It is interesting how the leadership proclaim שֹׁיט [שׁוֹט] שׁוֹטֵף כִּי-ַעֲבֹר [יַעֲבֹר] לֹא יְבוֹאֵנוּ כִּי שַֹמְנוּ כָזָב מַחְסֵנוּ וּבַשֶּׁקֶר נִסְתָּרְנוּ “the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves” which indicates that they do not believe their actions or the one in whom they trust is a covenant with lies and falsehood. The point is that the people believe in their gods, but Isaiah is saying that their gods are nothing, the gods of Egypt and Canaan, and that God is the one who is bringing judgment due to their sin of disobedience. Again, we find this implication that there will be a flood of people coming to overtake them when they are unaware, similar to the wind and the rain and the flash flood. The point is that lies, and false beliefs do not save, the truth is only found in God’s word. This provides us with another reason why television and movies are so dangerous. Most of what is portrayed on television or in movies concerning the word of God and the truth is twisted and warped. The point is that the world warps what the truth is to keep one in a state of deception. The safest approach to knowing the truth is to forget everything that is taught on television or in movies and pick up a bible and begin reading! This is the safest approach, and this is what the people in Isaiah’s day had forgotten, they forgot the word of God and they forgot the covenant their fathers had made with God as they entered into the Land in which they live! Deception and forgetfulness lead to disaster, just as Isaiah is speaking of here in his book. 

Isaiah continues saying the following according to Isaiah 28:16.

ספר ישעיה פרק כח
טז   לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיּוֹן אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ: 

Isaiah 28:16 states, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיּוֹן אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ)” This verse is very significant as it suggests that God is going to do something to establish salvation for the people, laying a foundation stone upon which the people can stand secure. The LXX states:

Here the Septuagint says, διὰ τοῦτο οὕτως λέγει κύριος Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐμβαλῶ εἰς τὰ θεμέλια Σιων λίθον πολυτελῆ ἐκλεκτὸν ἀκρογωνιαῖον ἔντιμον εἰς τὰ θεμέλια αὐτῆς, καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ. 16 “Because of this, this is what the lord Lord says: “Look, I am casting into the foundations of Zion a precious choice stone, a valuable cornerstone into its foundations, and the one who trusts will certainly not be disgraced.” The LXX uses the word καταισχυνθῇ to represent the word יָחִישׁ and denotes that one will not be ashamed.” It is interesting how the LXX writes that God is casting into the foundations of Zion a cornerstone that has its own foundations. This suggests there is something very unique about what Isaiah is saying here in regard to the stone, and it may be that what is inscribed on this stone is the words, ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ “the one who trusts.” Note also how this verse is used frequently throughout the NT Text (Romans 9:33, 10:11, 1 Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4-6), let’s look at these verses.

Romans 9:31–33 
9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (KJV, ܐܻܝܣܪܴܝܶܠ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܕ݁ܪܴܗܶܛ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܒܴ݁ܬ݂ܱܪ ܢܳܡܽܘܣܳܐ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܺܐܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܠܢܳܡܽܘܣܳܐ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܺܐܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܠܴܐ ܐܱܕ݂ܪܷܟ݂ ܂ܡܶܛܾܠ ܡܳܢܳܐ ܂ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܡܶܢ ܥܒ݂ܳܕ݂ܰܘܗ̄ܝ̈ ܕ݁ܢܳܡܽܘܣܳܐ ܂ ܐܷܬ݁ܬ݁ܩܶܠܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܾܘܩܰܠܬ݂ܴܐ ܇ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕܱ݁ܟ݂ܬ݂ܻܝܒ݂ ܂ ܕ݁ܗܳܐ ܣܳܐܷܡ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܒ݁ܨܷܗܝܽܘܢ ܆ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܾܘܩܰܠܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܟ݂ܺܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܡܰܟ݂ܫܽܘܠܴܐ ܂ ܘܡܰܢ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܗ ܢܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܠܴܐ ܢܶܒ݂ܗܰܬ݂ ܀ 31 Ἰσραὴλ δὲ διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης ⸂εἰς νόμον⸃ οὐκ ἔφθασεν*. 32 διὰ τί; ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ ἔργων⸆· *προσέκοψαν τῷ λίθῳ τοῦ προσκόμματος, 33 καθὼς γέγραπται· ἰδοὺ τίθημι ἐν Σιὼν λίθον προσκόμματος καὶ πέτραν σκανδάλου*, καὶ ⸆ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ ⸀καταισχυνθήσεται*.)

Romans 10:9–13 
10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (KJV, ܘܶܐܢ ܬܱ݁ܘܕܷ݁ܐ ܒ݁ܦ݂ܽܘܡܳܟ݂ ܒ݁ܡܳܪܱܢ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܇ ܘܰܬ݂ܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܒ݁ܠܷܒܴ݁ܟ݂ ܂ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܐܱܩܺܝܡܶܗ ܡܶܢ ܒܷ݁ܝܬ݂ ܡܺܝ̈ܬ݂ܷܐ ܆ ܬܻ݁ܚܶܐ ܂ܠܷܒܴ݁ܐ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܕܱ݁ܡܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܂ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܡܶܙܕܱ݁ܕܱ݁ܩ ܂ ܘܦ݂ܽܘܡܳܐ ܕ݁ܡܰܘܕܷ݁ܐ ܂ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܚܳܝܶܐ ܂ ܐܷܡܰܪ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܟ݁ܬ݂ܴܒ݂ܳܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܠ ܕܱ݁ܡܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܢܶܒ݂ܗܰܬ݂ ܂ ܘܰܒ݂ܗܳܕ݂ܶܐ ܠܴܐ ܦ݁ܪܱܫ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܠܻܝ̈ܗܽܘܕ݂ܳܝܶܐ ܘܠܴܐ ܠܱܐܪ̈ܡܳܝܶܐ ܂ ܚܰܕ݂ ܗ̄ܽܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܠܗܽܘܢ ܆ ܕ݁ܥܰܬܻ݁ܝܪ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܠ ܕ݁ܩܳܪܷܐ ܠܷܗ ܂ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܕ݁ܢܶܩܪܷܐ ܫܡܶܗ ܕ݁ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܂ ܢܺܚܶܐ ܀ 9 ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ⸂ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησοῦν⸃ καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ· 10 καρδίᾳ γὰρ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην, στόματι δὲ ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν. 11 λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφή·* πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται*. 12 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολὴ Ἰουδαίου τε καὶ Ἕλληνος, ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς κύριος πάντων, πλουτῶν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἐπικαλουμένους αὐτόν· 13 πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται.)

1 Corinthians 3:11–13
3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (KJV, ܫܶܬ݂ܷܐܣܬܴ݁ܐ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܐ̱ܚܪܻܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܣܛܱܪ ܡܶܢ ܗܳܕ݂ܶܐ ܕ݁ܣܺܝܡܳܐ ܆ ܐ̱ܢܳܫ ܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܟܱ݁ܚ ܠܱܡܣܳܡ ܂ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܷܝܗ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ܘܶܐܢ ܐ̱ܢܳܫ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܒܴ݁ܢܶܐ ܥܰܠ ܗܳܕ݂ܶܐ ܫܶܬ݂ܷܐܣܬܴ݁ܐ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܗܒ݂ܳܐ ܐܱܘ ܣܺܐܡܳܐ ܁ ܐܱܘ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܝܰܩܺܝܪܴ̈ܬ݂ܴܐ ܇ ܐܱܘ ܩܰܝ̈ܣܶܐ ܐܱܘ ܥܡܺܝܪܴܐ ܁ ܐܱܘ ܚܰܒ݁ܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܥܒ݂ܳܕ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܠܢܳܫ ܡܶܬ݂ܓ݁ܠܷܐ ܂ ܝܰܘܡܳܐ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܗܰܘ ܓܴ݁ܠܷܐ ܠܷܗ ܂ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܢܽܘܪܴܐ ܡܶܬ݂ܓ݁ܠܷܐ ܂ ܘܰܥܒ݂ܳܕ݂ܶܗ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܠܢܳܫ ܐܱܝܟܱ݁ܢܳܐ ܐܻܝܬ݂ܱܘܗ̄ܝ ܆ ܢܽܘܪܴܐ ܬܷ݁ܦ݂ܪܫܺܝܘܗ̄ܝ ܂ 11 θεμέλιον γὰρ ἄλλον οὐδεὶς δύναται θεῖναι παρὰ τὸν κείμενον, ὅς ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. 12 εἰ δέ τις ἐποικοδομεῖ ἐπὶ τὸν θεμέλιον ⸆ ⸂χρυσόν,* ἄργυρον⸃, λίθους τιμίους, ξύλα, χόρτον, καλάμην, 13 ⸂ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον φανερὸν γενήσεται⸃,* ἡ γὰρ ἡμέρα δηλώσει, ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται·* καὶ ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον ὁποῖόν ἐστιν τὸ πῦρ °[αὐτὸ] δοκιμάσει.)

Ephesians 2:19–22 
2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (KJV, ܡܶܟܻ݁ܝܠ ܠܴܐ ܗܘܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܐܱܟ݂ܣܢܴ̈ܝܶܐ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܬܱ݁ܘܬܴ݁ܒ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܆ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܢܱ̈ܝ ܡܕ݂ܺܝܢ̄ܬܴ݁ܐ ܕ݁ܩܰܕܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܂ ܘܰܒ݂ܢܱ̈ܝ ܒܱ݁ܝܬܷ݁ܗ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ܘܶܐܬ݂ܒ݁ܢܺܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܥܰܠ ܫܶܬ݂ܷܐܣܬܴ݁ܐ ܕܱ݁ܫܠܻܝ̈ܚܶܐ ܘܕ݂ܰܢ̈ܒ݂ܺܝܶܐ ܆ ܘܗܽܘ ܗܘܳܐ ܪܻܝܫ ܩܰܪܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܶܢܝܳܢܳܐ ܂ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ ܘܒ݂ܶܗ ܡܶܬ݂ܪܱܟܱ݁ܒ݂ ܟܾ݁ܠܷܗ ܒܷ݁ܢܝܳܢܳܐ ܇ ܘܪܴܒ݂ܶܐ ܠܗܰܝܟ݁ܠܴܐ ܩܰܕܻ݁ܝܫܳܐ ܒ݁ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܆ ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܐܴܦ݂ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܡܶܬ݂ܒ݁ܢܶܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܇ ܠܡܰܥܡܪܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܒ݁ܪܾܘܚ ܁܀܁܀܁ 19 Ἄρα °οὖν οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι ἀλλʼ* ⸀ἐστὲ συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ,* 20 ἐποικοδομηθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν,* ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου ⸆ αὐτοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, 21 ἐν ᾧ πᾶσα ⸆ οἰκοδομὴ συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον ἐν κυρίῳ,* 22 ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσθε εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ ⸀θεοῦ ἐν πνεύματι.*)

1 Peter 2:1–6 
2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (KJV, ܐܱܢܺܝܚܘ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܡܶܢܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܟܾ݁ܠܴܗ ܒܻ݁ܝܫܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܟ݂ܽܠܷܗ ܢܶܟ݂ܠܴܐ ܘܡܰܣܰܒ݂ ܒܱ݁ܐܦܷ̈݁ܐ ܂ ܘܰܚܣܳܡܳܐ ܂ ܘܡܶܐܟ݂ܰܠܩܰܪܨܴܐ ܂ܘܰܗܘܰܘ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܝܱ̈ܠܾܘܕ݂ܶܐ ܫܰܒ݂ܪܷ̈ܐ ܂ ܘܶܐܬ݂ܪܱܓ݂ܪܱܓ݂ܘ ܠܴܗ ܠܡܶܠܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕܱ݁ܠܚܰܠܒ݂ܳܐ ܢܰܩܕܴ݁ܐ ܘܪܾܘܚܳܢܳܐ ܇ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܗ ܬܷ݁ܬ݂ܪܱܒܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܚܰܝܷ̈ܐ ܂ ܐܷܢ ܛܥܶܡܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܘܰܚܙܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕ݁ܛܴܒ݂ ܗ̄ܽܘ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܂ ܗܰܘ ܕ݁ܠܷܗ ܡܶܬ݂ܩܰܪܒ݂ܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܇ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܱܘܗ̄ܝ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܚܰܝܳܐ ܕܱ݁ܐܣܠܝܽܘܗ̄ܝ ܒ݁ܢܱ̈ܝ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܆ ܘܰܓ݂ܒ݂ܶܐ ܘܰܡܝܰܩܰܪ ܠܘܳܬ݂ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܘܳܐܦ݂ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܚܰܝܴ̈ܬ݂ܴܐ ܐܷܬ݂ܒܱ݁ܢܰܘ ܂ ܘܰܗܘܰܘ ܗܰܝ̈ܟ݁ܠܷܐ ܪܾ̈ܘܚܳܢܶܐ ܘܟ݂ܳܗܢܷ̈ܐ ܩܰܕܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܆ ܠܡܰܣܳܩܽܘ ܕܷ݁ܒ݂̈ܚܶܐ ܪܾ̈ܘܚܳܢܶܐ ܕܱ݁ܡܩܰܒ݁ܠܻܝܢ ܩܕ݂ܳܡ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܒ݁ܝܰܕ݂ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܁܀܁܀܁ ܐܱܡܺܝܪ ܗ̄ܽܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܒܱ݁ܟ݂ܬ݂ܴܒ݂ܳܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܗܳܐ ܣܳܐܷܡ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܒ݁ܨܷܗܝܽܘܢ ܆ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ܳܐ ܒ݁ܚܺܝܪܬܴ݁ܐ ܘܝܰܩܺܝܪܬܴ݁ܐ ܒ݁ܪܻܝܫ ܙܳܘܺܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܡܰܢ ܕܱ݁ܡܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܒܴ݁ܗ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܢܶܒ݂ܗܰܬ݂ ܂ *2 Ἀποθέμενοι οὖν πᾶσαν κακίαν καὶ* πάντα δόλον καὶ* ⸀ὑποκρίσεις καὶ ⸁φθόνους καὶ ⸂πάσας καταλαλιὰς⸃* 2 ὡς ἀρτιγέννητα βρέφη τὸ λογικὸν ⸆ ἄδολον γάλα ἐπιποθήσατε, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ αὐξηθῆτε ⸋εἰς σωτηρίαν⸌, 3 ⸀εἰ ἐγεύσασθε ⸆ ὅτι ⸁χρηστὸς ὁ κύριος.* 4 πρὸς ὃν προσερχόμενοι λίθον ζῶντα ⸀ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων μὲν ἀποδεδοκιμασμένον,* παρὰ δὲ θεῷ ἐκλεκτὸν ἔντιμον,* 5 καὶ αὐτοὶ ὡς λίθοι ζῶντες* ⸀οἰκοδομεῖσθε οἶκος πνευματικὸς °εἰς ἱεράτευμα ἅγιον ἀνενέγκαι  *πνευματικὰς θυσίας⸃ εὐπροσδέκτους ⸆ θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 6 διότι περιέχει ⸂ἐν γραφῇ⸃· ἰδοὺ τίθημι ἐν Σιὼν λίθον ⸉ἀκρογωνιαῖον ἐκλεκτὸν⸊ ἔντιμον,* καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ.)

What both Paul and Peter are providing here is this one whom God has established as a foundation stone. The NT text describes how this foundation upon which one stands, and trusts is in God our father in heaven and in His Son Yeshua! Note what Isaiah 28:16 states, לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיּוֹן אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Specifically, Isaiah says הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ “he who believes will not be ashamed.” This is how Paul uses this verse in the description of faith and believing in Yeshua, one who believes and confesses sins will be saved and not be ashamed according to Romans 10:9-13. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 Paul argues that this foundation stone is nothing other than Yeshua the Messiah, and that nobody can build a foundation that one can stand upon besides the one that God has built, just as Isaiah is saying. We note that Isaiah speaks of a stone, a foundation to trust in. If we think about this, trusting in a stone is a little bit of a strange concept. The idea here is that there is a future expectation here, and that the NT text reveals to us what exactly it is that God had planned to do in establishing this stone upon which we can trust. Paul argues that this foundation upon which we stand is also built upon the tradition of the prophets and the Apostles. He also analogizes construction, where a solid building is established on a solid foundation according to Ephesians 2:19-22. Peter describes this stone as coming to us, something that God had chosen, and couples this to turning from sin, malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speech. This chief cornerstone that is laid in Zion is none other than Yeshua the Messiah! Isaiah uses the concept of laying a foundation stone to illustrate how God is going to establish something in Zion that will be a source of strength for those who believe, and a source of judgment for those who do not. Remember how Yeshua spoke of this foundation stone and its importance in the parable of the house that stands comparing a foundation of sand or stone. (Matthew 7:24-27) This is the point of what the leaders have done, setting up their foundation stone on their idolatry or their trust in other nations as opposed to trusting in God. The point that the Lord is drawing in here is to the choices that God gives us, we spoke about this in the introduction section to Isaiah 27:7-13. This cornerstone carries with it a very complex set of ideas which are tightly coupled with the revelation of God in regard to faithfulness, both His faithfulness and the people’s faithfulness. God is faithful to call for our return, and so we too should demonstrate that kind of faithfulness to turn from sin and seek the Lord! All of these ancient truths are valid for us today, to remain faithful, to trust in the Lord God Almighty our Father in heaven, to believe in His Messiah Yeshua, and to trust in all of these things, as opposed to any human schemes. The human schemes are anything else that is other than these things, all forms of idolatry are man-made, along with the sorceries and witchcraft of both the past and the present day! The point that Isaiah is making here is that when we trust in the Lord we find peace, and security from our enemies! When we refuse to trust in the Lord, or as the NT text writes, trusting in Yeshua the foundation stone of God, then our lives will be filled with disorder, fear, restlessness, and much despair! When we commit our ways to the Lord, we are granted peace and life! How much more evidence do we need to understand these things, and give over our lives to the Lord in all that we do?

Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 28:17-19.

ספר ישעיה פרק כח
יז   וְשַֹמְתִּי מִשְׁפָּט לְקָו וּצְדָקָה לְמִשְׁקָלֶת וְיָעָה בָרָד מַחְסֵה כָזָב וְסֵתֶר מַיִם יִשְׁטֹפוּ: יח   וְכֻפַּר בְּרִיתְכֶם אֶת-מָוֶת וְחָזוּתְכֶם אֶת-שְׁאוֹל לֹא תָקוּם שׁוֹט שׁוֹטֵף כִּי יַעֲבֹר וִהְיִיתֶם לוֹ לְמִרְמָס: יט   מִדֵּי עָבְרוֹ יִקַּח אֶתְכֶם כִּי-בַבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר יַעֲבֹר בַּיּוֹם וּבַלָּיְלָה וְהָיָה רַק-זְוָעָה הָבִין שְׁמוּעָה: 

Isaiah 28:17 states, “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. (וְשַֹמְתִּי מִשְׁפָּט לְקָו וּצְדָקָה לְמִשְׁקָלֶת וְיָעָה בָרָד מַחְסֵה כָזָב וְסֵתֶר מַיִם יִשְׁטֹפוּ)” Isaiah28:18 “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; (וְכֻפַּר בְּרִיתְכֶם אֶת-מָוֶת וְחָזוּתְכֶם אֶת-שְׁאוֹל לֹא תָקוּם) when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (שׁוֹט שׁוֹטֵף כִּי יַעֲבֹר וִהְיִיתֶם לוֹ לְמִרְמָס)” Isaiah 28:19 “From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. (מִדֵּי עָבְרוֹ יִקַּח אֶתְכֶם כִּי-בַבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר יַעֲבֹר בַּיּוֹם וּבַלָּיְלָה וְהָיָה רַק-זְוָעָה הָבִין שְׁמוּעָה)” Here Isaiah explains the outcome of making a covenant with death and the grave (כָּרַתְנוּ בְרִית אֶת-מָוֶת וְעִם-שְׁאוֹל עָשִֹינוּ). Isaiah uses the imagery of flowing waters which are powerful and of which nobody can stop. Isaiah 28:19 describes an unrelenting overcoming or conquering that happens day after day, night after night, and continues until one recognizes that this is from the Lord, and those who are being punished understand the report. The text comparison on Isaiah 28:17-19 shows the following.

The TgJ translates Isaiah to say, “17 And I will make judgment straight as a line of a building, and justice as a plummet, because ye would hide yourselves. And my justice shall burn against the confidence of your lie; and because ye would hide yourselves from the coming distress, the nations shall lead you into captivity. 18 And your covenant with death shall be destroyed, and your peace with the destroyer shall not stand. When the stroke of the enemy shall come upon you, it shall be like an overwhelming river, and ye shall be unto them for a treading under foot. 19 At the time of its passing by, it shall lead you captive, because each morning it shall pass by, by day and by night: and it shall come to pass before the time of the curse shall have come, that ye shall consider the words of the prophets.” (TgJ) The TgJ says essentially the same thing as the MSS. The LXX changes the translation slightly saying, καὶ θήσω κρίσιν εἰς ἐλπίδα, ἡ δὲ ἐλεημοσύνη μου εἰς σταθμούς, καὶ οἱ πεποιθότες μάτην ψεύδει, ὅτι οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ὑμᾶς καταιγίς, 17 “And I will turn judgment into hope, and my mercy into balances, and those who trust a lie pointlessly; for a storm will not pass by you” (LES) Note here the Septuagint changes this verse to speak of “hope” and “balances” speaking of trust and justice. Drawing in the idea of balances speaks to faulty scales that cheat and steal from the people. This is the lie that takes place, and one is unaware of the theft. In verse 18, the LXX speaks of the people’s hope toward the netherworld. Here the Greek text states literally ἐλπὶς ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν ᾅδην “your hope towards Hades.” In the LXX ᾅδης occurs over 100×; in passages where it translates the Hebrew word almost always שְׁאוֹל the grave, which refers to the underworld that receives all the dead (see θάνατος death). This is known as the land of darkness, in which God is not remembered (Job 26:5–6 Tehillim / Psalms 6:5 [LXX 6:6], 115:17 [113:25], Isaiah 5:14). What is significant is the theological statement that God does not remember the dead, that they are cut off from him and outside his activity in history (Tehillim / Psalms 88:5 [87:5]). The dead were regarded as unclean, there was no cult of the dead, and necromancy was expressly forbidden according to the Torah in Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:11. We think about the concept of ᾅδης or שְׁאוֹל, this concept of the grave surrounds us on every side, through illness, weakness, imprisonment, oppression by enemies, and death. This is why the psalmist David can assert that he has already experienced Sheol but has been rescued by God (Tehillim / Psalms 30:3 [29:4]). Dying is not primarily a biophysical process but is the disintegration or ending of the relationship with God in the land of the living. The Tanakh does provide us with hope beyond death (Job 19:25–27, Tehillim / Psalms 49, 73:23–28 [72:23–28], Daniel 12). The hope is in the form of the resurrection! These texts provide us with the earliest Jewish attestations of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. In 1 Enoch 22 we read about how reward and punishment begin, after death, in Hades (2 Macc 6:24). According to Josephus (A.J. 18.14; cf. B.J. 2.163; 3.375), this was the position of the Pharisees and the Essenes, in contrast to that of the Sadducees. A later view states that the souls of the righteous, after death, enter heavenly blessedness, while the souls of the ungodly are punished in Hades. Thus Hades lost its role as the resting place of all souls and became simply a place of punishment. 

The word ᾅδης occurs 10× in the NT. It is used in Yeshua’s condemnation of Capernaum (Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:15), in Yeshua’s response to Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:18), in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:23), in a quotation from the OT (Acts 2:27-31), ᾅδης occurs 4× in Revelation (Revelation 1:18, 6:8, 20:13-14). We are told that Hades is represented as lying within the earth, so that one has to “go down” to it (Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:15). Like a city it has gates (Matthew 16:18), and it is locked with a key that Yeshua now holds (see Revelation 1:18, φυλακή “prison,” in Revelation 20:7 and 1 Pet 3:19). Hades can be viewed as a place inhabited (or a state experienced) by both the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 2:27-31), but Luke 16:22–23 appears to make a distinction between Hades and Abraham’s bosom, which is pictured as a place of comfort (Luke 16:25). In Revelation 20:13–14 both death and Hades are personified, and the fact that at the time of the resurrection they give up their dead indicates that Hades is a temporary, not an eternal, place (corresponding to what is often described as the “intermediate state”). What is distinctively unique from all other religions is that Yeshua has risen to Jewish concept of the indestructible life (see Tanakh passages above and Hebrews 7:16) and has therefore conquered the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Indeed, he is “Lord of both the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9). As a result, Hades cannot affect the people of God (Matthew 16:18), and anyone who dies is united with Yeshua (Philippians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:8). In addition to this, we learn that ᾅδης is connected to the realm of the dead and is related to ἄβυσσος. In the NT, ἄβυσσος refers primarily to the netherworld as the abode of demons and other evil forces (see Luke 8:31), βάθος “depth” (Romans 8:39), and the adjective κατώτερος “lower” (“the lower regions,” Ephesians 4:9) and καταχθόνιος “subterranean” (Philippians 2:10). The closest synonym to ᾅδης γέεννα “Gehenna, hell,” which is used extensively in the Rabbinic literature! It is interesting to note that while Hades is viewed as a temporary place (i.e. in Revelation Hades is also cast into the lake of fire), Gehenna (Revelation 20:14, Matthew 22:13, 2 Peter 2:17, Jude 1) is presented as eternal (Mark 9:43). (Information about ᾅδης was taken from Christopher A. Beetham, ed., “ἍΙδη,” Concise New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2021, 27.

So here in Isaiah, God speaking through Isaiah is describing how He is building a place, a foundation stone upon which He will place his own faithfulness and according to the LXX will make righteousness and justice a standard for His people! This refers to a life of integrity and purpose, and one that does not twist truth or trust in lies! Note that when one lives in a lie, and is unrepentant, and does not seek the Lord, when these things begin to happen as a result of God drawing back, or simply punishing the nations, when the oppressors sweep over the people, all of their agreements, their witchcrafts and sorceries, and false gods will prove to be useless! The irony that Isaiah points out is to trust in the God of life as opposed to trusting in death and the grave which is paralleled to anything that is other than the God of Israel! 

Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 28:20-21, saying the following:

ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כ   כִּי-קָצַר הַמַּצָּע מֵהִשְֹתָּרֵעַ וְהַמַּסֵּכָה צָרָה כְּהִתְכַּנֵּס: כא   כִּי כְהַר-פְּרָצִים יָקוּם יְהֹוָה כְּעֵמֶק בְּגִבְעוֹן יִרְגָּז לַעֲשֹוֹת מַעֲשֵֹהוּ זָר מַעֲשֵֹהוּ וְלַעֲבֹד עֲבֹדָתוֹ נָכְרִיָּה עֲבֹדָתוֹ:

Isaiah 28:20 states, “For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. (כִּי-קָצַר הַמַּצָּע מֵהִשְֹתָּרֵעַ וְהַמַּסֵּכָה צָרָה כְּהִתְכַּנֵּס)” Isaiah 28:21 “For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, (כִּי כְהַר-פְּרָצִים יָקוּם יְהֹוָה כְּעֵמֶק בְּגִבְעוֹן יִרְגָּז) that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. (לַעֲשֹוֹת מַעֲשֵֹהוּ זָר מַעֲשֵֹהוּ וְלַעֲבֹד עֲבֹדָתוֹ נָכְרִיָּה עֲבֹדָתוֹ)” Isaiah now speaks of a bed that is shorter and narrower than what is needed such that than a man can stretch himself out upon it. This bears out the testimony that when people continue in their own ways, they will face the “woes of God” and find no rest or peace. Just as Isaiah had stated earlier, there can never be comfort or peace when men have made “lies their refuge and hid themselves under falsehood.” (Isaiah 28:15) These things are true for us today, especially when we seek life in the wrong places which are filled with darkness and sin as opposed to the God of life, the living God who gives life and abundance to those who love and obey Him. Notice how Jeremiah puts it according to Jeremiah 2:12-13

ספר ירמיה פרק ב
יב   שֹׁמּוּ שָׁמַיִם עַל-זֹאת וְשַֹעֲרוּ חָרְבוּ מְאֹד נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה: יג   כִּי-שְׁתַּיִם רָעוֹת עָשָֹה עַמִּי אֹתִי עָזְבוּ מְקוֹר | מַיִם חַיִּים לַחְצֹב לָהֶם בֹּארוֹת בֹּארֹת נִשְׁבָּרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָכִלוּ הַמָּיִם:

Jeremiah 2:12–13 
2:12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (KJV)

Jeremiah speaks of this very thing, looking to places other than the Lord, here he describes people forsaking the מַיִם חַיִּים (living waters) and making a cistern that cannot hold water because it is broken for the simple fact that it was not done in the Lord. Isaiah describes the people making their own bed, and it brings misery, discomfort, and emptiness. We note the NT has some to say concerning these things from the sense of men placing high values upon what others think, and so much so that one compromises important principles in order to keep favor with men. Paul wrote this saying according to Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (KJV) Another example is Pontios Pilatos. Pontios Pilate was the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from 26/27 to 36/37 AD. He is best known for being the official who presided over the trial of Yeshua and ultimately ordered his crucifixion. We note here that he was more concerned with the people’s opinion as opposed to the actual guilt of a person and by placing a high value on the opinion of men he ordered Yeshua’s crucifixion. (States this explicitly in Mark 15:15) These two examples illustrate what happens when one chooses to please people as opposed to being pleasing unto the Lord God of Israel. We note that the most unteachable people are those who believe they know it all (Isaiah 28:9). This is the leadership of that day, and we can see these characteristics in the leadership of peoples around the world today! We note that pride has this capacity to cause one to not hear, to not listen, and to not obey the voice of God according to the Scriptures. We live in an intellectual age today in which men have many academic degrees and such and thus due to this are filled with pride, and by doing so take the Lord God Almighty out of the equation for life. The point is that all men will be weighed in the scales for whether their works were done for themselves or for the Lord. This is the point of our faith, as Peter writes according to 1 Peter 1:6–9 

1 Peter 1:6-9
1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (KJV, ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܗܽܘܢ ܬܷ݁ܚܕܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܥܳܠܱܡ ܆ ܐܴܦ݂ܶܢ ܒ݁ܗܳܢܳܐ ܙܰܒ݂ܢܳܐ ܩܰܠܻܝܠ ܡܶܬ݁ܬ݁ܥܺܝܩܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܒ݁ܢܶܣܝܾ̈ܘܢܶܐ ܡܫܰܚܠܦ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܕ݁ܥܳܕ݂ܶܝܢ ܥܠܱܝܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܆ܐܱܝܟܱ݁ܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܽܘܚܪܴܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܢܶܬ݂ܚܙܶܐ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܡܝܰܬܱ݁ܪ ܡܶܢ ܕܱ݁ܗܒ݂ܳܐ ܣܢܺܝܢܳܐ ܕܷ݁ܐܬ݂ܒ݁ܩܺܝ ܒ݁ܢܽܘܪܴܐ ܇ ܠܬ݂ܷܫܒܾ݁ܘܚܬܴ݁ܐ ܘܠܻܐܝܩܳܪܴܐ ܘܰܠܩܽܘܠܴܣܳܐ ܂ ܒ݁ܓ݂ܶܠܝܳܢܶܗ ܕ݁ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ ܗܰܘ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܚܙܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢܳܝܗ̄ܝ ܘܡܰܚܒ݂ܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܷܗ ܂ ܘܰܒ݂ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܷܗ ܪܴܘܙܺܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܒ݁ܚܰܕ݂ܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܡܫܰܒܱ݁ܚܬܴ݁ܐ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܡܶܬ݂ܡܰܠܠܴܐ ܆ ܕܱ݁ܬ݂ܩܰܒ݁ܠܾܘܢ ܦܾ݁ܘܪܥܳܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ ܚܰܝܷ̈ܐ ܕ݁ܢܱ̈ܦ݂ܫܳܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ 6 ⸂ἐν ᾧ⸃ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὀλίγον ἄρτι, εἰ δέον °ἐστίν, ⸀λυπηθέντας ἐν ⸁ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς,* 7 ἵνα τὸ ⸀δοκίμιον ⸉ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως⸊ πολυτιμότερον ⸁χρυσίου τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου, ⸂διὰ πυρὸς δὲ⸃ δοκιμαζομένου εὑρεθῇ εἰς ἔπαινον καὶ ⸄δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν⸅ ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ 8 ὃν οὐκ ⸀ἰδόντες ἀγαπᾶτε,* εἰς ὃν ἄρτι μὴ ὁρῶντες, πιστεύοντες δὲ* ⸁ἀγαλλιᾶσθε χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ* 9 κομιζόμενοι τὸ τέλος τῆς πίστεως °ὑμῶν σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν.*)

We note the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls, and it is quite possible that those who do not evaluate their faith and their intentions, will not realize they have made for themselves a bed of lies until the day comes that they stand before the Lord, as we read Yeshua speaking of according to Matthew 7 and those whom he calls workers of anomia (lawlessness). Unless we are living for the Lord God, His Messiah Yeshua, and having eyes looking forward to spending an eternity with God, our bed will always be too short and our blanket too narrow as Isaiah is saying here. We note those who are the enemies of God, these are those who do not obey him! (Tehillim / Psalms 139:19-24) We note this is the context of Isaiah 28:21 יג   כִּי-שְׁתַּיִם רָעוֹת עָשָֹה עַמִּי אֹתִי עָזְבוּ מְקוֹר | מַיִם חַיִּים לַחְצֹב לָהֶם בֹּארוֹת בֹּארֹת נִשְׁבָּרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָכִלוּ הַמָּיִם: “For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.” We note how the people, and the leadership were disobedient to the Lord living in sin, and so they would be classified as those who do not know God. The people are strange and foreign to God, and so Isaiah writes that the Lord will rise like at mount Perazim (see 2 Samuel 5:20, 1 Chronicles 14:11) and so He will perform “strange” work and “strange” acts because they do not know Him, nor do they recognize His work in their lives! We note that this is true for both Jew and Gentile (See Malachi 1:11 and Revelation 2:5) Again these things are true because the Torah writes that God delivered a mixed multitude from Egypt, both Jew and Gentile (Shemot / Exodus 12:38). Because of this, when the people stood at the mountain of Sinai, God gave his Torah to both Jew and Gentile! We can see the consistency of these things and the centrality of the Torah in the lives of God’s people! We note that the sin from which there is no return is the refusal to listen which is coupled to the act of mocking and making fun of the power of God and His Word. (Hebrews 10:26-31, 1 John 5:16-17) When this happens, this kind of attitude is founded upon pride, and so one is unable to see the truth even when he comes face to face with the power of God! Death and destruction are the final outcome of those who do such things. The doors for repentance are always open, and the hope that we have is that we can find God if we seek Him, and we can hear His voice if we listen and obey, and seek repentance from the folly of our ways! The power of God revealed in His Son Yeshua the Messiah, so that this Torah principle of God dwelling in our midst can be achieved for both the Jew and Gentile, just as God had worked so powerfully in the lives of His people so many centuries ago. Note that all of these things hinges on our being a people of faith! 

Rabbinic Literature

The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic interpretation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a very valuable resource for our study of the book of Isaiah! 

תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק כח:טו-כא
טו  אְרֵי אְמַרתוּן גְזַרנָא קְיָם עִם קַטלָא וְעִם מְחַבְלָא עְבַדנָא שְלָמָא מַחַת סָנְאָה אְרֵי תֵיתֵי עְלֵיכֹון כִנחַל מְגַבַר דְאַתוּן אָמְרִין לָא תֵיתֵי עְלַנָא אְרֵי שַוִינָא בִכדַב רוּחצָנַנָא וּבגֵין שַקָרִין אִיטְמַרנָא׃ טז  בְכֵין כִדנָן אְמַר יוי אְלֹהִים הָאְנָא מְמַנֵי בְצִיֹון מַלַך מַלַך תַקִיף גִיבָר וְאֵימְתָן אִתַקְפִינֵיה וְאַחסנִנֵיה אְמַר נְבִיָא וְצַדִיקַיָא דְהֵימִינוּ בִאִלֵין בְמֵיתֵי עָקָא לָא יִזדַעזְעוּן׃ יז  וַאְשַוֵי דִינָא תָקֵין כְחוּט בִניָנָא וְזָכוּתָא כְאַבַן מַשקֻלתָא וְיִדלַק רוּגזִי בְרֻחצַן כַדבֵיכֹון וְעַל דְאִיטְמַרתוּן מִן קֳדָם מָעִיקָא יָתְכֹון עַמְמִין יַגלֹון׃ יח  וְיִבטַל קְיָמְכֹון דְעִם קַטלָא וּשלָמְכֹון דְעִם מְחַבְלָא לָא יִתקַייַם מַחַת סָנְאָה אְרֵי תֵיתֵי עְלֵיכֹון כִנחַל מְגַבַר וּתהֹון לֵיה לִדיָש׃ יט  בִזמָן מִעדֹוהִי יַגלֵי יָתְכֹון אְרֵי בִצפַר בִצפַר יִעדֵי בִימַם וּבלֵילֵי וִיהֵי עַד לָא יִמטֵי זְמָן לְוָטָא תִסתַכְלוּן בְמִלֵי נְבִיַיָא׃ כ  אְרֵי יִתקְצַר חֵילְהֹון מִשִעבוּד תַקִיף וְשִלטֹון מָעִיק יִסגֵי מַרוָא׃ כא  אְרֵי כְמָא דְזָעוּ טוּרַיָא כַד אִתגְלִי יְקָרָא דַיוי בְיֹומֵי עֻזִיָה מַלכָא וּכנִסִין דַעְבַד לִיהֹושֻעַ בְמֵישַר גִבעֹון לְאִתפְרָעָא מֵרַשִיעַיָא דַעְבַרוּ עַל מֵימְרֵיה כֵין יִתגְלֵי לְאִתפְרָעָא מִדְעָבְדִין עוּבָדִין נוּכרָאִין עוּבָדֵיהֹון וּמִדְפָלְחִין פוּלחַן טָעְוָתָא פוּלחָנְהֹון׃

Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 28:15-21
28:15 Because ye say, “We have made a covenant with death, and have made peace with the destroyer:” ye say, when the blow of the enemy shall come upon you like an overwhelming river, “It shall not come upon us, because we have placed our confidence in a lie, and have hidden ourselves under falsehood.” 28:16 Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I appoint a King in Zion; a King mighty, powerful, and terrible: I will make Him powerful, and I will strengthen Him, saith the prophet. But the righteous, who believe these things shall not be moved, when distress shall come. 28:17 And I will make judgment straight as a line of a building, and justice as a plummet, because ye would hide yourselves. And my justice shall burn against the confidence of your lie; and because ye would hide yourselves from the coming distress, the nations shall lead you into captivity. 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be destroyed, and your peace with the destroyer shall not stand. When the stroke of the enemy shall come upon you, it shall be like an overwhelming river, and ye shall be unto them for a treading under foot. 28:19 At the time of its passing by, it shall lead you captive, because each morning it shall pass by, by day and by night: and it shall come to pass before the time of the curse shall have come, that ye shall consider the words of the prophets. 28:20 For their strength shall be diminished by reason of mighty slavery; and the government of the oppressor shall increase their subjection. 28:21 For as the mountains trembled when the glory of the Lord was revealed in the days of king Uzziah, and in the wonders which He performed for Joshua in the valley of Gibeon, taking vengeance on the wicked, who had transgressed against His WORD: so shall He be revealed to take vengeance on them, who work works, strange works, and on those who worship with idolatrous worship. (TgJ)

Reading Isaiah 28:15-21, there are several realities that are established by this passage in Isaiah 28:15 when Isaiah writes about the “covenant of death,” (אֶת־מָ֔וֶת) and the “pact with Sheol.” (וְעִם־שְׁאֹ֖ול) (i) this covenant is made by the rulers of Judah, (ii) it is made with “death” (אֶת־מָ֔וֶת), (iii) instead of trusting in God’s Mashiakh (Messiah), they rely on the covenant, (iv) they enter into the covenant specifically for the purpose of avoiding “the overwhelming (flooding) scourge” (שֹׁ֣יט שֹׁוטֵ֤ף), yet (v) the covenant “will be canceled” or broken. Therefore, (vi) instead of providing Judah with deliverance from the flooding scourge, they will be “trampled” (בְּרַגְלַ֖יִם תֵּֽרָמַ֑סְנָה) by it. These things describe the outcome of man’s attempts at self-protection through a covenant of his own making, of which is unable to stop the overwhelming flood of military might that is coming due to the judgment of God. The prophet Isaiah is speaking sarcastically, as he indicates in verse 11 (כִּ֚י בְּלַעֲגֵ֣י שָׂפָ֔ה וּבְלָשֹׁ֖ון אַחֶ֑רֶת יְדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּֽה׃). The question we should be asking is, “To which particular covenant does the prophet refer in Isaiah 28:14-15?” and “To which particular scoffers does the prophet refer?” The backdrop for this prophecy is related to the downfall of northern Israel whom are referred to as Ephraim. (1 Kings 12:25, Zechariah 10:7) Northern Israel wears a crown of pride in relation to her strength as warriors and is likely the reason Isaiah 28:1 speaks to this crown, and to being drunk, possibly due to their own sense of power. We know from the Tanakh that Israel had turned from God to worship idols, Baal worship (2 Kings 22:51-52). The עֲטֶ֤רֶת גֵּאוּת֙ crown of pride is likely a reference to the beauty of the capital city of Samaria. In prophetic language, Isaiah speaks of the casting and trampling down to the earth and the overthrow of a nation of king who have turned from the Lord God of Israel. This is how Isaiah speaks according to the TgJ, טו  אְרֵי אְמַרתוּן גְזַרנָא קְיָם עִם קַטלָא וְעִם מְחַבְלָא עְבַדנָא שְלָמָא מַחַת סָנְאָה אְרֵי תֵיתֵי עְלֵיכֹון כִנחַל מְגַבַר דְאַתוּן אָמְרִין לָא תֵיתֵי עְלַנָא אְרֵי שַוִינָא בִכדַב רוּחצָנַנָא וּבגֵין שַקָרִין אִיטְמַרנָא׃  28:15 Because ye say, “We have made a covenant with death, and have made peace with the destroyer:” ye say, when the blow of the enemy shall come upon you like an overwhelming river, “It shall not come upon us, because we have placed our confidence in a lie, and have hidden ourselves under falsehood.” (TgJ) Researchers in the Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law write that pathological liars believe their own lies to the extent of self-delusion. The scientific term for pathological lying is mythomania or pseudologia fantastica.  (Dike, Charles C., “Pathological Lying Revisited,” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, Vol. 33, Issue 3, 2005, Healy, W., & Healy, M. T. (1915). “Pathological lying, accusation, and swindling: A study in forensic psychology.” The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 11(2), 130-134.) Here the people appear to fall into this clinical description of believing the lie and their behavior demonstrates this belief system. There are many times in the Gospels that Yeshua gives warnings saying, “watch out,” “take heed,” or “beware.” 

Yeshua’s Warnings

  • Beware of False Teachers (Matthew 16:6, Mark 12:38-40, Luke 12:1, 11:35, 11:39 20:46-47) 
  • Warnings against Greed (Luke 12:15)
  • Warnings against Pride (Matthew 5:5, 6:1, Luke 18:14)
  • Warnings against False Prophets (Matthew 7:15-16, 24:4, 24:36, 24:36, Luke 21:8)
  • Warnings to be Ready / Prepared (Matthew 24:36, 24:42, 25:13, Mark 13:33, Luke 21:34, 21:36, Revelation 3:3)
  • Warning to Listen to the Word of God (Luke 8:18-21)

We note that pride can come in many forms, for example, doing anything right in order to receive honor and glory from men is considered prideful. Another example is the saying of elaborate prayers in order to appear spiritual. Or making statements that one attends synagogue or church weekly. Or that one claims to tithe 10% weekly, these things being done to boost the way others think in an attempt to elevate oneself in the eyes of others. This is the definition of prideful behavior! Yeshua spoke of these things in Matthew 6:1 and Luke 18:14.

Matthew 6:1 
6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (KJV, ܚܽܘܪܘ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܒ݁ܙܶܕ݂ܩܰܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܬܷ݁ܥܒ݁ܕ݂ܽܘܢܳܗ ܩܕ݂ܳܡ ܒ݁ܢܱ̈ܝ ܐ̱ܢܴ̈ܫܳܐ ܂ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܷܬ݂ܚܙܽܘܢ ܠܗܽܘܢ ܂ ܘܶܐܠܴܐ ܐܱܓ݂ܪܴܐ ܠܱܝܬ݁ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܠܘܳܬ݂ ܐܱܒ݂ܽܘܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܰܫܡܰܝܳܐ ܂ 6 * Προσέχετε °[δὲ] τὴν ⸀δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς·* εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν °1τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.)

Luke 18:14
18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (KJV, ܐܴܡܰܪ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܕܱ݁ܢܚܶܬ݂ ܗܳܢܳܐ ܡܙܰܕܱ݁ܩ ܠܒ݂ܰܝܬܷ݁ܗ ܂ ܝܰܬܻ݁ܝܪ ܡܶܢ ܗܰܘ ܦ݁ܪܻܝܫܳܐ ܂ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܐ̱ܢܳܫ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܕܱ݁ܢܪܻܝܡ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܶܗ ܂ ܢܶܬ݂ܡܰܟܱ݁ܟ݂ ܂ ܘܟ݂ܽܠ ܕ݁ܢܰܡܶܟ݂ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܶܗ ܂ ܢܶܬ݁ܬ݁ܪܻܝܡ ܀܀ *14 λέγω ὑμῖν, κατέβη οὗτος δεδικαιωμένος εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ ⸂παρʼ ἐκεῖνον⸃· ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται,* ὁ δὲ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται.)

The point is to remain humble and let the Lord raise one up. Ibn Ezra states the following concerning this verse on Isaiah 28:15.

Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 28,15 Part 2
חזה An agreement. R. Moses Hakkohen says that חזות (ver. 18) signifies a kind of prophecy; but how can he apply this explanation to the phrase 18I. E. says that, although חזות in the phrase וחזותכם את שאול לא תקום (ver. 18) might be explained to signify prophecy, and the whole sentence to mean: And what you prophesied concerning the grave will not be fulfilled, it is impossible to find that sense in the phrase ועם שאול עשינו חוזה, which has evidently the same meaning; חזות and חוזה are therefore explained by the assumption of an ellipsis, to be the same as ברית חזות and ברית חוזה, a covenant of a prophecy and a covenant of a prophet; that is, a covenant like that made by divine inspiration.?עשינו חזה I think that חזה means prophet, and explain עשינו חזה to be the same as עשינו ברית חזה We have made a prophet’s covenant, a covenant like that made by divine inspiration.

While first reading through Isaiah 28:18 I too thought this word וְחָזוּתְכֶ֥ם meant “and your visions” in reference to the grave (אֶת־שְׁאֹ֖ול). This suggests a connection to the false prophets of Ephraim and the covenant that was being made with death and the grave. Ibn Ezra connects this to ברית חזות and ברית חוזה, a covenant of a prophecy and a covenant of a prophet, where the people believed their prophets were divinely inspired. This ties back to the lie of idolatry and walking in our own ways as opposed to God’s holy and righteous ways! This kind of lie has the reinforcement of religious practice which is also trusted in. These things illustrate the importance of the Torah in our lives for both right living and walking in God’s holy ways. We note that in Devarim / Deuteronomy 18 Moshe also provides a warning against false prophets, such that the one who denies Torah is a false prophet. How great is the fact that while reading the NT text, we see the NT being founded upon the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings (the Tanakh) which is illustrated by the numerous times the NT authors quote from the Tanakh and the Torah to substantiate their doctrine! Rashi also writes the following concerning Isaiah 28:15 in his commentary.

Rashi on Isaiah 28,15 Parts 1-7
כרתנו ברית את מות. שלא יבא עלינו: We made a treaty with death that it come not upon us.
עשינו חוזה. גבול שלא יעברנהו וכן מחוז חפצם (תהילים ק״ז:ל׳) וכן מחזה אל מחזה (מלכים א ז׳:ה׳) כולם ל’ גבול הם וחיצונו של דבר אשומיי”ר בלע”ז: we have made a limit a boundary that it should not cross. Comp. (Ps. 117:30) “the boundary (מְחוֹז) of their desire,” similarly (I Kings 7:4), “An edge opposite an edge (מֶחֱזָה אֶל מֶחֱזָה). They are all an expression of a boundary and an extremity of a thing, asomajjl in O.F.
שיט שוטף. מכה המתהלכת בארץ: an overflowing scourge a scourge that travels throughout the land.
לא יבואנו. לא יבא עלינו: it shall not come upon us (יְבוֹאֵנוּ), the usual form for a transitive verb with a direct object. It shall not come upon us.
שמנו כזב. שמנו ע”א: we have made lies We have made idolatry.
מחסנו. מחסה שלנו: our shelter (מַחְסֵנוּ) our shelter.
ובשקר נסתרנו. בע”א בטחנו להסתירנו: and in falsehood have we hidden ourselves We have hoped in idols to conceal us.

We see how Rashi interprets these things saying that the people have made idolatry their shelter and believing in falsehood the people hid themselves in their hope in idols (false gods). This again is the idea of living in a fantasy, which is something many people do today, drowning themselves in sports, entertainment, alcohol, drugs, and woke ideologies. Our modern times illustrate these things to the nth degree, and so we are able to see the power of Isaiah’s words if we would listen to His prophecy and heed the call of God in our lives today! The Scriptures always speak to God providing a deliverer, and The TgJ on Isaiah 28:16 seems to suggest such a thing saying, טז  בְכֵין כִדנָן אְמַר יוי אְלֹהִים הָאְנָא מְמַנֵי בְצִיֹון מַלַך מַלַך תַקִיף גִיבָר וְאֵימְתָן אִתַקְפִינֵיה וְאַחסנִנֵיה אְמַר נְבִיָא וְצַדִיקַיָא דְהֵימִינוּ בִאִלֵין בְמֵיתֵי עָקָא לָא יִזדַעזְעוּן׃  28:16 Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I appoint a King in Zion; a King mighty, powerful, and terrible: I will make Him powerful, and I will strengthen Him, saith the prophet. But the righteous, who believe these things shall not be moved, when distress shall come. (TgJ) The TgJ speaks of the one whom God establishes as opposed to those who establish themselves. The one whom God establishes will be mighty, powerful, and terrible. In addition, the righteous will be secure in their faith, they will be unmoved and will continue listening to the voice of God. These are truths taught throughout the Scriptures for those who would believe! The commentary Kol HaTor writes the following concerning this passage.

Kol HaTor 1:22
[c]. little by little. We must know beforehand that the beginning of the Redemption will come gradually, a little at a time. According to our Sages of blessed memory (Yerushalmi: Brachot, ch. 1), the redemption of Israel will come about little by little, like the first rays of light before dawn, [Micah 7:8] “though I sit in darkness, the Lord is a light to me” and [Prov. 4:18] “a light that increases more and more until the day is established.” Therefore, one should start any deed connected with the beginning of the Redemption, even to a small extent, as is written: [Jer. 3:14] “one from a city, and two from a family. The Gaon states that there is an important rule that anything that will occur when the Redemption is complete, will begin gradually at its beginning. This is also true of rebuilding Jerusalem. One should begin, even with one stone. According to what is written, [Isa. 28:16] “behold I lay in Zion a foundation stone, a tried stone, ” for this stone will test the will to rebuild Jerusalem and to enlarge the site of its tent, and God will help us do this. We also asked the Gaon about what is revealed by the words, [Gen. 33:14] “I will direct it at my slow pace, ” that is, why must the beginning of the Redemption occur slowly? If it comes when it is a time of favor on the part of God in connection with gathering in the exiles of Israel, is the hand of God short [is it too difficult for God] to accomplish this task on a large scale all at once? The Gaon then explained to us that the period of the beginning of the Redemption will come into being if the Jews do not have the merit, which means when it does not come because of our righteousness. In that case, if the Redemption comes suddenly, then on the one hand it will be impossible to bear the suffering that will come with the quality of Din (Judgment), as explained above. On the other hand, it will be impossible to accept the great light that will come all at once from the side of Lovingkindness. We must understand all this beforehand in connection with the practical work involved in gathering in the exiles.

The commentary speaks of building a city one stone at a time. This is a very good approach, in relation to our faith as we grow in the knowledge of God and continue in God’s holy and righteous ways. This is how the apostles ruled when discussing Gentile inclusion into the faith according to Acts 15:20-21.

Acts 15:20–21
15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (KJV, ܐܷܠܴܐ ܢܶܫܬ݁ܠܱܚ ܠܗܽܘܢ ܆ ܕ݁ܢܶܗܘܽܘܢ ܦܱ݁ܪܻܝܩܺܝܢ ܡܶܢ ܛܱܡܐܘܽܬ݂ܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܕ݂ܒ݂ܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ ܘܡܶܢ ܙܳܢܝܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܡܶܢ ܕܱ݁ܚܢܺܝܩܳܐ ܂ ܘܡܶܢ ܕ݁ܡܳܐ ܂ܡܽܘܫܶܐ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܡܶܢ ܕܴ݁ܪܷ̈ܐ ܩܰܕ݂ܡܳܝܷ̈ܐ ܆ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܠ ܡܕ݂ܺܝܢܳܐ ܐܻܝܬ݂ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܠܷܗ ܟܴ݁ܪܾ̈ܘܙܶܐ ܒܱ݁ܟ݂ܢܾ̈ܘܫܳܬ݂ܴܐ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܟ݂ܽܠ ܫܰܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܢ ܩܳܪܷܝܢ ܠܷܗ ܂ 20 ἀλλʼ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι* ⸆ τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων* ⸋καὶ τῆς πορνείας⸌ ⸂καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ⸃ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος⸇.* 21 Μωϋσῆς γὰρ ἐκ γενεῶν ἀρχαίων κατὰ πόλιν τοὺς κηρύσσοντας αὐτὸν ἔχει ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς κατὰ πᾶν σάββατον ἀναγινωσκόμενος.*)

We note how James concludes his ruling with Moshe being read in the synagogues every shabbat. This alludes to the idea of learning more, slowly growing, stone by stone as the rabbis discuss in Kol HaTor. It is interesting the entire context of the commentary speaks to the work of gathering in the exiles. The parallel here is to the exiles who have loosened their resolve to remain faithful and have learned some pagan ways. The return to the Land is paralleled to redemption and consequently returning to Torah. Redemption is then merited through obedience, and the people are blessed by God. We note meriting of the kingdom of God as Yeshua explains according to the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. (See Isaiah study here for more: https://www.matsati.com/index.php/to-the-one-who-overcomes-what-does-this-mean-isaiah-261-7/) The Zohar speaks to the mercy of God and what it means to walk according to the Spirit.

Zohar 1:140a:2
כְּגַוְונָא דָא, לָא דָן לֵיהּ לְבַּר נָשׁ כְּעוֹבָדוֹי בִּישִׁין דְּאִיהוּ עָבִיד תָּדִיר, דְּאִי הָכִי לָא יָכִיל עַלְמָא לְאִתְקַיְימָא, אֶלָּא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אָרִיךְ רוּגְזֵיהּ עִם צַדִּיקַיָא, וְעִם רַשִּׁיעַיָא יַתִּיר מִצַּדִּיקַיָא. עִם רַשִּׁיעַיָא בְּגִין דִּיתוּבוּן בִּתְיוּבְתָּא שְׁלֵימָתָא, דְּיִתְקַיְימוּן בְּהַאי עַלְמָא וּבְעַלְמָא דְאָתֵי. כְּמָה דִכְתִיב, (יחזקאל ל״ג:י״א) חַי אָנִי נְאֻם יְיָ וְגו’ אִם אֶחְפֹּץ וְגו’ כִּי אִם בְּשׁוּב רָשָׁע מִדַּרְכּוֹ וְחָיָה. וְחָיָה בְּעַלְמָא דֵין, וְחָיָה בְּעַלְמָא דְאָתֵי, וְעַל דָּא אוֹרִיךְ רוּגְזֵיהּ לוֹן תָּדִיר. אוֹ בְּגִין דְּיִפּוּק מִנְּהוֹן גִּזְעָא טָבָא בְּעַלְמָא כְּמָה דְאַפִּיק אַבְרָהָם מִתֶּרַח דְּאִיהוּ גִּזְעָא טָבָא, וְשָׁרָשָׁא וְחוּלָקָא טָבָא לְעַלְמָא. Similarly, (Hashem) does not judge man according to his evil deeds, which he continually does, for if He did so, the world would not have survived. But the Holy One, blessed be He, refrains from wrath with the Righteous and the wicked. With the wicked more than with the righteous, so that they may repent completely and exist in this world and in the World to Come. As it is written, “‘As I live,’ says Adonai Elohim. ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live'” (Ezekiel 33:11), to live in this world and in the World to Come. For that reason, He is always forbearing. Another reason is that good stock may issue from them, as Abraham was begotten of Terah, who issued good stock and good origin and portion in the world.

The Zohar speaks of the Lord not judging man according to the continual performance of evil deeds. This is coupled to God’s mercy, allowing a period of time for man to repent. The rabbis point out that this is due to the mercy of God, and quote from Ezekiel 33:11 and the Lord who does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. The point of this mercy, for both the wicked and the righteous, is that of repentance and turning from sin. Note that it is pointed out how the wicked receive mercy to a greater extent than the righteous. These things parallel what Peter writes according to His epistle in 2 Peter 3:8-9.

2 Peter 3:8–9 
3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV, ܗܳܕ݂ܶܐ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܚܕ݂ܳܐ ܁ ܠܴܐ ܬܷ݁ܛܥܶܝܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܚܰܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܒ݂ܰܝ ܆ ܕ݁ܚܰܕ݂ ܝܰܘܡܳܐ ܠܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܁ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܐܴܠܷܦ݂ ܫܢܺܝ̈ܢ ܐܻܝܬ݂ܱܘܗ̄ܝ ܇ ܘܳܐܠܷܦ݂ ܫܢܺܝ̈ܢ ܂ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܝܰܘܡܳܐ ܚܰܕ݂ ܂ܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܬܱ݁ܘܚܰܪ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܒ݁ܡܽܘܠܟܴ݁ܢܱ̈ܘܗ̄ܝ ܁ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕ݁ܐ̱ܢܴ̈ܫܺܝܢ ܫܽܘܘܚܳܪܴܐ ܡܰܣܒ݁ܪܻܝܢ ܇ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܡܰܓܱ݁ܪ ܪܾܘܚܶܗ ܡܶܛܾܠܴܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܒܱ݁ܕ݂ܠܴܐ ܨܴܒ݂ܶܐ ܕ݁ܐ̱ܢܳܫ ܢܺܐܒ݂ܰܕ݂ ܇ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܟܾ݁ܠܢܳܫ ܠܱܬ݂ܝܳܒ݂ܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܢܺܐܬ݂ܷܐ 8 ⸂Ἓν δὲ τοῦτο⸃ μὴ λανθανέτω ὑμᾶς, ἀγαπητοί, ὅτι μία ἡμέρα ⸄παρὰ κυρίῳ⸅ ὡς χίλια ἔτη ⸂1καὶ χίλια ἔτη⸃ ὡς ἡμέρα μία.* 9 οὐ ⸀βραδύνει ⸆ κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας,* ⸋ὥς τινες βραδύτητα ἡγοῦνται,⸌ ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ ⸂εἰς ὑμᾶς⸃ μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι.*)

The Lord provides His mercy specifically for men to come to repentance, and this is why men do not perish immediately. There are cases however where men and women perished immediately when their sins were found out, according to Acts 5:1-11 Ananias and Sefira. It is important to note that there was some time that was given to them to repent, up until the time they spoke with Peter. The Zohar goes on saying the following:

Zohar 1:140b:2
וְתָּא חֲזֵי, בְּזִמְנָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אִתְרָעֵי בְּנִשְׁמָתֵיהּ דְּבַּר נָשׁ, לְאִתְהַנָּאָה (נ”א לאתנהרא) בָהּ, מָחֵי לְגוּפָא בְּגִין דְּתִשְׁלוֹט נִשְׁמָתָא. דְּהָא בְּעוֹד דְּנִשְׁמָתָא עִם גּוּפָא, נִשְׁמָתָא לָא יָכְלָא לְשַׁלְטָאָה. דְּכַד אִתְרַע (נ”א אתבר) גּוּפָא, נִשְׁמָתָא שָׁלְטָא. צַדִּיק יִבְחָן, מַאי צַדִּיק יִבְחָן, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמֵר, (ישעיהו כ״ח:ט״ז) אֶבֶן בֹּחַן, הָכִי נָמֵי צַדִּיק יִבְחָן, אַתְקִיף לֵיהּ. כְּהַאי אֶבֶן בֹּחַן, דְּהִיא (ישעיהו כ״ח:ט״ז) פִּנַּת יִקְרַת, הָכִי נָמֵי צַדִּיק יִבְחָן. And Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to illuminate the soul of a man, He crushes the body so that the soul will govern. As long as the soul is with the body, (they are equal and) the soul can not rule. After the body is crushed, the soul becomes powerful. What is the meaning of the verse, “tries the righteous” (Tehillim 11:5)? It is as is written, “a tried stone” (Isaiah 28:16); in the same way He “tries the righteous,” which means that He strengthens him by this “tried stone,” which is a precious cornerstone. So does He try the righteous!

Here we find the idea of crushing the body so that the soul will govern or supersede the desires of the body. The rabbis speak of after the bodying being crushed the soul then becomes powerful to reign. This parallels the concept that Paul taught according to Romans 6:8-11.

Romans 6:8–11
6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV, ܐܷܢ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܡܺܝܬ݂ܢ ܥܰܡ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܆ ܢܗܰܝܡܶܢ ܕ݁ܥܰܡܶܗ ܥܰܡ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܢܺܚܶܐ ܂ܝܳܕ݂ܥܺܝܢܰܢ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܕܱ݁ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܩܳܡ ܡܶܢ ܒܷ݁ܝܬ݂ ܡܺܝ̈ܬ݂ܷܐ ܂ ܘܬ݂ܾܘܒ݂ ܠܴܐ ܡܳܐܷܬ݂ ܂ ܘܡܰܘܬܴ݁ܐ ܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܬܱ݁ܠܱܛ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܂ ܕ݁ܡܺܝܬ݂ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܁ ܠܱܚܛܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܗܽܘ ܡܺܝܬ݂ ܂ ܚܕ݂ܳܐ ܙܒ݂ܰܢ ܆ ܘܰܕ݂ܚܰܝ ܁ ܚܰܝ ܗ̄ܽܘ ܠܱܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܗܳܟ݂ܰܢܳܐ ܐܴܦ݂ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܞ ܚܫܽܘܒ݂ܘ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܕ݁ܡܺܝ̈ܬ݂ܷܐ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܱܚܛܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܘܚܰܝܷ̈ܐ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܱܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܇ ܒ݁ܡܳܪܱܢ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܀ 8 εἰ ⸀δὲ ἀπεθάνομεν σὺν Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν ὅτι καὶ ⸁συζήσομεν ⸀1αὐτῷ*, 9 εἰδότες ὅτι Χριστὸς ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν οὐκέτι ἀποθνῄσκει, θάνατος αὐτοῦ οὐκέτι κυριεύει*. 10 ὃ γὰρ ἀπέθανεν, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ· ὃ δὲ ζῇ, ζῇ τῷ θεῷ*. 11 οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς λογίζεσθε ἑαυτοὺς ⸂[εἶναι] νεκροὺς μὲν⸃ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ζῶντας δὲ τῷ θεῷ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ⸆.)

Note here the Paul speaks to being dead, that means that our bodies no longer rule, and of being raised from the dead and living victoriously unto the Lord. Understand what it means to live victoriously, what it means to be alive to God. This is how Paul describes the power of God in our lives through faith in Yeshua and the indwelling Holy Spirit of God to empower us to walk according to God’s Torah. Remember, walking according to the Spirit means that we produce the fruits of the Spirit which means that we no longer live in sin, we no longer practice sin. We note that the Zohar also speaks of how the Lord God tries his people and this produces strength to overcome, and states that it is by this “tried stone” the precious cornerstone, that these things happen. This provides the rabbinic connection back to Yeshua the Messiah, who is paralleled to this tried cornerstone which is set up in Zion and the Mountain of the Lord! (Isaiah 28:16) 

Isaiah says the following according to the TgJ, יז  וַאְשַוֵי דִינָא תָקֵין כְחוּט בִניָנָא וְזָכוּתָא כְאַבַן מַשקֻלתָא וְיִדלַק רוּגזִי בְרֻחצַן כַדבֵיכֹון וְעַל דְאִיטְמַרתוּן מִן קֳדָם מָעִיקָא יָתְכֹון עַמְמִין יַגלֹון׃  28:17 And I will make judgment straight as a line of a building, and justice as a plummet, because ye would hide yourselves. And my justice shall burn against the confidence of your lie; and because ye would hide yourselves from the coming distress, the nations shall lead you into captivity. יח  וְיִבטַל קְיָמְכֹון דְעִם קַטלָא וּשלָמְכֹון דְעִם מְחַבְלָא לָא יִתקַייַם מַחַת סָנְאָה אְרֵי תֵיתֵי עְלֵיכֹון כִנחַל מְגַבַר וּתהֹון לֵיה לִדיָש׃  28:18 And your covenant with death shall be destroyed, and your peace with the destroyer shall not stand. When the stroke of the enemy shall come upon you, it shall be like an overwhelming river, and ye shall be unto them for a treading underfoot. יט  בִזמָן מִעדֹוהִי יַגלֵי יָתְכֹון אְרֵי בִצפַר בִצפַר יִעדֵי בִימַם וּבלֵילֵי וִיהֵי עַד לָא יִמטֵי זְמָן לְוָטָא תִסתַכְלוּן בְמִלֵי נְבִיַיָא׃  28:19 At the time of its passing by, it shall lead you captive, because each morning it shall pass by, by day and by night: and it shall come to pass before the time of the curse shall have come, that ye shall consider the words of the prophets. (TgJ) There is a lot of Torah language here, the Lord God says that He will make judgment and justice as a plumbline so that man cannot hide in their own lies. Also, the Lord will destroy the covenant of death the people have made, and this appears to be a covenant they have made with the destroyer. We note how death is coupled to the destroyer. This reminds us of those who are deceived to practice witchcraft in our modern times, this parallels the belief that one can make a covenant with rebellion, sin (the destroyer) and become unharmed. We note how the TgJ writes that this destroyer passes by, and the people become enslaved. This is a very real description of the effects of sin in one’s life, it enslaves, restricts, and is rooted in lies, injustice, and a covenant with death. The Midrash Tanchuma expands upon these concepts saying the following:

Midrash Tanchuma, Bechukotai 1:1
(Lev. 26:3:) “If [you walk] in My statutes (huqqim).” This text is related (to Job 14:5), “If his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have set limits (huqqim) that he shall not pass.” What is the meaning of “If his days are determined?” When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He determined the days of each and every one, as stated (in Gen. 1:14), “and let them be for signs, seasons, days, and years.” Now to whom did He give them? To Israel, as stated (in Ps. 147:19), “He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes (huqqim) and His ordinances to Israel.” (Job 14:5, cont.:) “The number of his months is with You; You have set his limits (huqqim) that he shall not pass.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel. “If you have carried out My statutes (huqqim), the adversary (Satan) shall not touch you, as stated, ‘that he shall not pass.’ But if you do not carry out My statutes, behold that the adversary will touch you, as stated (of death in Is. 28:19), ‘As often as he passes, he shall seize you.’1In other words, Israel is safe from the death-dealing Adversary as long as the statutory limits (huqqim) remain intact through Israel’s observance of them. I said so to Solomon, when he asked for wisdom. And what did I say to him? (I Kings 3:13:) ‘I have also granted you what you did not ask, both riches and honor.’ So if you fulfill the Torah, the angel of death shall not touch you, as stated to him (in I Kings 3:14), ‘If you go in My ways to fulfill My statutes and My commandments as David your father did, [then I will lengthen your days].’” Ergo, (in Job 14:5) “You have set limits (huqqim) that he shall not pass….” If the first Adam had observed the Torah and the commandments that I gave him, he would not have died. Therefore, it is written (in Lev. 26:3) “If you walk in My statutes (huqqim)….”

Notice how the rabbis discuss when one walks in sin death seizes him. The primary question is what does it mean to walk in sin? What is sin? The only way we can know this is through studying God’s Torah. When we look at the Torah, and we list all of the mitzvot (commandments) of God, we understand that 40% of the Torah is related to the Temple service. Now because the Temple does not exist today, it is impossible to fulfill these commands. We note that simply because we cannot fulfill these 40% of the commands, this does not nullify the remaining 60%. Many times, Christians like to raise the question of certain commands which are not practiced today and use this as a justification or proof text for disobeying the remainder of the commands. For example, the levirate law, or those for the shemitah (7-year release) or the Yovel (Jubilee, 50-year release) or indentured servitude, etc. then using these things which are not practiced as a justification or proof not to keep the remainder of the commands. This is an erroneous way of thinking about God’s holy and righteous ways. The Midrash speaks to the importance of carrying out God’s commands, as these have a way of causing death to turn away and have a way of bringing life to the one who obeys. Even Yeshua supports this view according to John 12:49-50.

John 12:49–50 
12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 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, ܕܷ݁ܐܢܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܝ ܠܴܐ ܡܰܠܠܷܬ݂ ܂ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܐܱܒ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܫܰܕ݁ܪܱܢܝ ܆ ܗܽܘ ܝܰܗ̄ܒ݂ ܠܻܝ ܦܾ݁ܘܩܕܴ݁ܢܳܐ ܁ ܡܳܢܳܐ ܐܻܡܰܪ ܂ ܘܡܳܢܳܐ ܐܷܡܰܠܷܠ ܂ܘܝܳܕ݂ܰܥ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܦ݂ܽܘܩܕܴ݁ܢܶܗ ܚܰܝܷ̈ܐ ܐܷܢܽܘܢ ܕܱ݁ܠܥܳܠܱܡ ܂ ܐܱܝܠܷܝܢ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܕܱ݁ܡܡܰܠܷܠ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܆ ܐܱܝܟܱ݁ܢܳܐ ܕܷ݁ܐܡܰܪ ܠܻܝ ܐܴܒ݂ܝ ܂ ܗܳܟ݂ܰܢܳܐ ܡܡܰܠܷܠ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܀ 49 ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐξ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐκ ἐλάλησα, ἀλλʼ ὁ πέμψας με πατὴρ αὐτός μοι ἐντολὴν ⸀δέδωκεν τί εἴπω καὶ τί λαλήσω.* 50 καὶ οἶδα ὅτι ἡ ἐντολὴ αὐτοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιός ἐστιν.* ἃ οὖν ⸂ἐγὼ λαλῶ⸃, καθὼς εἴρηκέν μοι ὁ πατήρ, οὕτως λαλῶ.)

Note how Yeshua pretexts this statement with God our Father in heaven giving him the commandment in the Torah, and how he has lived a life of obedience. Then Yeshua says that he knows there that His (God’s) commandment is life everlasting. We note from the Greek text that ἡ ἐντολὴ αὐτοῦ is written in the genitive, which gives possession of the commands to God our Father in heaven, which is a reference back to God’s Torah! The major point is that when we choose to disobey the Word of God, the enemy has touching rights, meaning that the destroyer can seize and place one in bondage! As a result, the commands of God have a protective feature to them, so the Midrash concludes saying, “If the first Adam had observed the Torah and the commandments that I gave him, he would not have died. Therefore, it is written (in Lev. 26:3) ‘If you walk in My statutes (huqqim)….’” Isaiah continues saying the following according to Isaiah 28:20-21 in the TgJ, כ  אְרֵי יִתקְצַר חֵילְהֹון מִשִעבוּד תַקִיף וְשִלטֹון מָעִיק יִסגֵי מַרוָא׃  28:20 For their strength shall be diminished by reason of mighty slavery; and the government of the oppressor shall increase their subjection. כא  אְרֵי כְמָא דְזָעוּ טוּרַיָא כַד אִתגְלִי יְקָרָא דַיוי בְיֹומֵי עֻזִיָה מַלכָא וּכנִסִין דַעְבַד לִיהֹושֻעַ בְמֵישַר גִבעֹון לְאִתפְרָעָא מֵרַשִיעַיָא דַעְבַרוּ עַל מֵימְרֵיה כֵין יִתגְלֵי לְאִתפְרָעָא מִדְעָבְדִין עוּבָדִין נוּכרָאִין עוּבָדֵיהֹון וּמִדְפָלְחִין פוּלחַן טָעְוָתָא פוּלחָנְהֹון׃ 28:21 For as the mountains trembled when the glory of the Lord was revealed in the days of king Uzziah, and in the wonders which He performed for Joshua in the valley of Gibeon, taking vengeance on the wicked, who had transgressed against His WORD: so shall He be revealed to take vengeance on them, who work works, strange works, and on those who worship with idolatrous worship. (TgJ) Note that The TgJ equates the violation of God’s commands as being synonymous to “strange works” and the worship of idols. These are important concepts since when a man chooses to live as he wants and disregards the Torah of God, the rabbis parallel this as turning from God, and when one does that, this is like the one who works strange works and chooses to follow after idols of his own making. Ibn Ezra and Rashi write the following concerning Isaiah 28:21.

Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 28,21 Parts 1-3
כי כהר פרצים. הוא הנודע במלחמות דוד (שמואל ב’ ה’ כ’) שנקרא בעל פרצים כי בפתע פתאום רוצחו הפלשתים במעשה פלא, או כעמק [בגבעון], שהוא בגבעון: As in mount Perazim, known by the wars of David (2 Sam. 5:20); the place was called בעל פרצים place of breaches, because the Philistines were suddenly defeated there in a miraculous way.

[ירגז]. שרגז (רמז) בעת עמוד השמש והירח (יהושע י’ י”ב), כן יעשה השם מלחמה זרה על ישראל שלא נשמע כמוה: As in the valley of Gibeon (Jos. 10:12), where sun and moon stood still. That He may do His work, His strange work. In the same way God will make a strange war against Israel, such as was never heard of before.

נכריה עבודתו. כפול בטעם, כמשפט: And bring to pass His act, His strange act. A mere repetition of the preceding idea, not an exceptional instance.

Rashi on Isaiah 28,21 Parts 1-3
כי כהר פרצים. ת”י ארי כמא דזעו טוריא כד אתגלי יקרא דה’ ביומי עוזיה מלכא וכניסין דעביד ליהושע במישר גבעון וכו’ כן יתגלי לאתפרעא מדעבדין וכו’: For like the mountain of breaches Jonathan paraphrases: For, just as the mountains quaked when the glory of the Lord was revealed on the day of King Uzziah, (supra. 6:4,) and as the miracles He performed for Joshua in the valley of Gibeon (Jos. 10:12f) (to punish the wicked who transgressed His word,) so shall He be revealed to punish those who perform (strange deeds, strange are their deeds, and those who worship pagan deities, strange is their worship).
זר מעשהו. ידמה לכם לזר כי יבוא עליכם פורענות קשה: strange is His deed He will seem to you as a stranger, for He will bring upon them ([all other editions:] upon you) harsh retribution.
לעבוד עבודתו. לעשות מלאכתו כמו עבודת האדמה לבורי”ר בלע”ז: and to perform His work (וְלַעֲבֹד עֲבֹדָתוֹ) like work of the soil, ‘laborer’ in O.F.

Ibn Ezra speaks of the strangeness of God’s ways during war time, how the Lord made breaches upon the Philistines in 2 Samuel 5:20, and how he made the sun and moon stand still Joshua 10:12. He then parallels this to how the Lord will bring a strange work against those who rebel against Him. The strangeness of the thing that the Lord brings upon the rebellious should function as a wakeup call. Rashi writes using the same miracles in his commentary, speaking of the wicked being punished who transgress God’s word due to their strange deeds and their strange worship parallels the worship of pagan deities. What these things are teaching us is that the commands of God are life! The commands of God should be taken in light of how David understands God’s commands according to Tehillim / Psalms 19.

ספר תהילים פרק יט
ח   תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהֹוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי: ט   פִּקּוּדֵי יְהֹוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַֹמְּחֵי-לֵב מִצְוַת יְהֹוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם: י   יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: יא   הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים: יב   גַּם-עַבְדְּךָ נִזְהָר בָּהֶם בְּשָׁמְרָם עֵקֶב רָב: 

Tehillim / Psalm 19:7–11 
19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: And in keeping of them there is great reward. (KJV)

David describes the Torah of God as being capable of converting the soul, it is perfect, it is for making one wise, for rejoicing, for enlightening the eyes, for the fear of the Lord, and are more to be desired than gold and how there is great reward for those who keep God’s Words. This is why both David and Yeshua said that the commands of God lead to life! God’s Torah provides the true reality of how a faithful believer is to live his or her life! These truths are built into the fabric of creation that guide us in God’s ways of growth and life and direct us to “The Mashiach” (Messiah) of God! This becomes apparent as Isaiah 28:16 and the rabbis draw in the importance of the cornerstone, that ancient rock which God created for us to stand upon, which is the Messiah of God according to the NT text. By faith in the Messiah, we receive the Holy Spirit of God, His indwelling presence, this Torah centric principle, of God helping us to obey his word, and it is in this way that God’s commands are for our protection. Many today look at the commands of God as something awful, but the Lord God has given us His commands for the purpose of protection and life! This was the whole purpose of the Shabbat, to provide a time for rest, and spending time with God, so that we can reflect upon and experience the wonderful work of God in our lives! It is because of these things; we should ask ourselves what do the commands of God truly mean to us in our personal lives? How would obeying God’s word change our lives for the better? I hope this study may be an encouragement to do a little self-evaluation and to begin incorporating God’s commands, little by little, and when doing so, ask the Lord God our Father in heaven to help, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah! When we do this, we will begin to see the powerful work of God in our lives to overcome this world and for this we glorify God for all that He has done for us! Baruch Hashem!

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Dr. Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher.Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!