Beginning with Isaiah 22, we see Isaiah speaking an oracle against Jerusalem. This is an interesting place for Isaiah’s oracle to begin, the reason being, this oracle follows Isaiah having given an oracle to the nations first. This is a fantastic parallel to the rabbinic concept of God offering His Torah to the nations prior to Israel. The nations rejected the Torah of God, and Israel accepted God’s holy and righteous ways! A search on “God offering His Torah to the nations first” produce a number of references in the Jewish literature according to the following list:
- Legends of the Jews (1)
- Kos Eliyahu on Pesach Haggadah (1)
- Simchat HaRegel on Pesach Haggadah (1)
- Shenei Luchot HaBerit (3)
Tanakh Commentary (9)
- Chizkuni (1)
- Rabbeinu Bahya (2)
- Tur HaArokh (1)
- Or HaChaim on Exodus (4)
- Or HaChaim on Deuteronomy (1)
Talmud Commentary (1)
- Daf Shevui to Avodah Zarah (1)
We have discussed this topic in past commentaries where these rabbinic conclusions are derived from Shemot / Exodus 12:38 that God delivered Israel as a mixed multitude, both Jew and Gentile. The question isn’t a matter of “why” Isaiah chose to place this oracle here following the oracles to the nations. There is a pointed statement that God is showing us of His mercy and Grace, calling to all peoples to repent and turn from their sins! When we take a Torah perspective to the book of Isaiah, it becomes clear what the Lord is trying to show us! We note again how the people, those in the surrounding nations, and those who remain in Judah and Jerusalem, are unaware of the destruction that awaits them due to their unrepentant sins. The Leaders are unable to see the Sovereignty of God, how trusting in Him is far superior to any defenses they may have on their own. These things speak to the dangers of pride, trusting in self, and taking hold of a worldly point of view leads to judgment falling upon the people who believe they are secure in their faith. What do these things teach us? The rabbinic opinion is that HaShem offered the Torah first to Esau. The rabbinic Midrash states that they asked the question “What are its laws?” When Hashem told them that one of its laws was “You shall not murder,” they said, “How can we accept the Torah? That law goes against our very nature, as Yitzchak said to our father Esav, ‘And you will live by the Sword!’” The Midrash goes on saying next God offered Torah to Amon and Moab who likewise turned it down. The people asked, “What are the laws of the Torah?” When they heard that immorality was one of its main prohibitions, they said, “Our national origins are bound up with a story of immorality between Lot’s daughters and their drunken father. Immorality has become part and parcel of our national character.” The Midrash continues saying that God offered the Torah to the descendants of Ishmael. So, they asked the same question, and the response was we cannot obey the prohibition against stealing. (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:11) When the Lord then offered the Torah to Israel, we are told that He was seeking a nation who would love Him and His Holy and Righteous ways. This is the response from the people of Israel according to Shemot / Exodus 24:7
ספר שמות פרק כד
ז וַיִּקַּח סֵפֶר הַבְּרִית וַיִּקְרָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וַיֹּאמְרוּ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה נַעֲשֶֹה וְנִשְׁמָע:
Shemot / Exodus 24:7
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. (KJV)
Note how the Lord is looking for faith in the phrase נַעֲשֶֹה וְנִשְׁמָע “Naaseh V’nishma” meaning “We will first do and then understand / listen / obey.” Throughout the Scripture, listening is equated with obeying. In many passages, a direct connection is clearly made between listening and obeying (Shemot / Exodus 15:26, Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:3-5, Luke 6:47, 8:21, 11:28). The word שְׁמָע is like two sides of the same coin, they are synonymous terms in the biblical text. When we look at a text comparison between the LXX, LHB, and L-Peshitta this becomes apparent.
The LXX translates נַעֲשֶֹה וְנִשְׁמָע with ἀκουσόμεθα a future, middle, indicative, first person plural verb meaning “to hear or obey.” We noted earlier that the שמע can denote listening and obeying. The idea of listening means that one has understanding for what to do, the person listening is actually paying attention. This isn’t just the hearing with the ears, but that what is heard goes to a deeper level, for understanding that leads to obedience. This is exactly how the L-Peshitta translates ܢܫܡܥ ܘܢܥܒܕ “we will listen, and we will do.” The Syriac switches the ordering of the words, to listen first and then to obey/serve/do whereas the Hebrew Bible has “do and listen” (נַעֲשֶֹה וְנִשְׁמָע). This nuance of the text reveals that our actions are always coupled to our faith because if we do not produce fruit what good is our faith? (James 2:24) It is interesting that these oracles Isaiah gives to the nations (Oracles to Kingdoms Isaiah 15-21), against Moab (Isaiah 15-16), against Damascus and Ephraim (Isaiah 17), against Cush (Isaiah 18), against Egypt (Isaiah 19) and against Edom (Isaiah 21), there is a significant parallel to the rabbinic midrash on God offering His Torah to the nations and then to Israel and the placement of Isaiah 22. The point of this sequence of oracles from a Torah perspective is showing us the call of God on all peoples and all nations equally! If we consider the position of chapter 22 next to 21, then the prophet may be paralleling Jerusalem with Babylon. John Oswalt states, “Classically vv. 1-4 have been taken as prophecy (Calvin, Vitringa), and a few modern scholars do also, although most take this passage as reflective of a past event, as noted above. If the former is correct, then Isaiah is looking beyond the present mindless rejoicing to a time when the city will be in ruins.26 This thought is so horrifying that he refuses to join in the merrymaking. The correspondence noted above between vv. 2c-3 and 2 K. 25:4-7 would be in favor of this position. Isaiah is saying that the people have allowed the immediate present to blind their eyes to the long-range realities (39:8).” We note how John Oswalt calls out John Calvin and Vitringa and then mentions that only a few scholars believe these verses are prophetic. This demonstrates the lack of Torah study in the church in years past, and there being no understanding of the rabbis and the principles of hermeneutics such as the principle of גזרה שוה Gezerah Shavah that we find here in Isaiah 15-22. We also note the lack of faith in God’s holy word, its inspiration, and its authoritative nature indicated by only a few commentaries who believe these scriptures are prophetic. According to Isaiah, the people are ignoring their present situation, unrepentant sin before God believing they can live as they want without consequence. How significantly does this parallel our society today? There is a blindness to the coming destruction and ignoring the present reality of this world which is destined for destruction. Note also it is possible to partake in this judgment if one is schmoozing up alongside the ways of the nations as opposed to the ways of God! This is a very serious point we all need to be aware of, that faith in Yeshua is not just a get out of hell free card! Our faith should elicit a relationship with God, and a relationship involves love and endearment of God and His Holy Word! These prophetic utterances are a warning to us to wise up and get right with the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua. We need to focus upon the most important things, to have faith and live by that faith, and to continue to dig into God’s holy words for truth and life! If we fail to do these things, then unexpected devastation will follow, and simply “believing” one is on the right path does not necessarily mean one is walking in the way which pleases God!
Isaiah opens his oracle saying the following according to Isaiah 22:1.
ספר ישעיה פרק כב
א מַשָּׂא גֵּיא חִזָּיוֹן מַה-לָּךְ אֵפוֹא כִּי-עָלִית כֻּלָּךְ לַגַּגּוֹת:
Isaiah 22:1 states, “The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? (מַשָּׂא גֵּיא חִזָּיוֹן מַה-לָּךְ אֵפוֹא כִּי-עָלִית כֻּלָּךְ לַגַּגּוֹת)” Do the words מַשָּׂא גֵּיא חִזָּיוֹן “the burden of the valley of vision” draw a parallel to the opening of Isaiah 21:1 saying, מַשָּׂ֖א מִדְבַּר־יָ֑ם “the burden of the desert of the sea?” It is argued over what valley this is referring to, it is interesting to note that the Hinnom, Kidron, and Tyropoean valleys meet at the foot of the hill on which David’s city stood. Note the topographical map showing the joining of these three valleys at the foot of the city.
We note that these valleys meet at around the pool of Siloam and that this location is not one that offers a great view of the distance. In fact, nothing really can be seen at this location, this may be the point of the choice to start off with the words מַשָּׂא גֵּיא חִזָּיוֹן “the burden of the valley of vision” to draw in parallel this stark contrast between not being able to see, and the necessity for the Lord God of Israel being a part of one’s life in order to actually see and understand the truth. We note the Hinnom valley and its history, and the remainder of Isaiah 21:1 saying מַה-לָּךְ אֵפוֹא כִּי-עָלִית כֻּלָּךְ לַגַּגּוֹת “what is it with you who go up to the roof tops?” The roof tops are associated with idolatry, the worship of the host of heaven. We note the references to the worship of the host of heaven and how this is also coupled to Asherim worship. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:19, 17:3, 2 Kings 17:16, 21:3, Jeremiah 8:2, Zephaniah 1:5, Nahum 9:6, 2 Chronicles 33:3)
The idea may also be what is put forward by John Oswalt and other commentators, that their going up to the rooftops was meant for the purpose of watching Senecharib’s army retreat which was the Lord’s doing. Others propose the idea of the watchman looking for messengers bringing news of Babylon’s defeat. As God’s children, we are told that we are to always have our eyes open to discern the truth, regardless of our situation. Note the NT warning for us in regards to what was written, telling us beforehand what was going to happen if we continue in our sin in unrepentance.
“But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” (NASB, ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܂ ܐܷܙܕܱ݁ܗ̄ܪܘ ܂ ܗܳܐ ܩܰܕ݁ܡܶܬ݂ ܐܷܡܪܷܬ݂ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܀ 23 ὑμεῖς δὲ βλέπετε· προείρηκα ὑμῖν πάντα. )
1 Thessalonians 5:3-4
5:3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; (NASB, ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܢܺܐܡܪܾܘܢ ܕܱ݁ܫܠܴܡܳܐ ܗ̄ܘ ܘܫܰܝܢܳܐ ܆ ܘܗܳܝܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܡܶܢܫܶܠܝܳܐ ܢܩܽܘܡ ܥܠܱܝܗܽܘܢ ܐܱܒ݂ܕܴ݁ܢܳܐ ܇ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܚܶܒ݂̈ܠܷܐ ܥܰܠ ܒܱ݁ܛܢܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܢܰܡܕ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܐܱܚܰܝ̈ ܆ ܠܴܐ ܗܘܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܒ݁ܚܶܫܽܘܟ݂ܳܐ ܇ ܕ݁ܗܰܘ ܝܰܘܡܳܐ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܓܱ݁ܢܳܒ݂ܳܐ ܢܰܕ݂ܪܷܟ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂, ὅταν λέγωσιν· εἰρήνη καὶ ἀσφάλεια, τότε αἰφνίδιος αὐτοῖς ἐπίσταται ὄλεθρος ὥσπερ ἡ ὠδὶν τῇ ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσῃ, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἐκφύγωσιν. Ὑμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σκότει, ἵνα ἡ ἡμέρα ὑμᾶς ὡς κλέπτης καταλάβῃ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς υἱοὶ φωτός ἐστε καὶ υἱοὶ ἡμέρας· οὐκ ἐσμὲν νυκτὸς οὐδὲ σκότους.)
Paul wrote something that falls very closely in parallel to what Isaiah is saying concerning the unexpected destruction. Many will say peace and safety, but destruction will come suddenly, and that we are not to be in darkness sinning such that the day of destruction overtakes us like a thief in the night. This is exactly what is happening in the case of Judah and Jerusalem, this is what Isaiah is trying to warn the people about!
Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 22:2-3.
ספר ישעיה פרק כב
ב תְּשֻׁאוֹת | מְלֵאָה עִיר הוֹמִיָּה קִרְיָה עַלִּיזָה חֲלָלַיִךְ לֹא חַלְלֵי-חֶרֶב וְלֹא מֵתֵי מִלְחָמָה: ג כָּל-קְצִינַיִךְ נָדְדוּ-יַחַד מִקֶּשֶׁת אֻסָּרוּ כָּל-נִמְצָאַיִךְ אֻסְּרוּ יַחְדָּו מֵרָחוֹק בָּרָחוּ:
Isaiah 22:2 states, “Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. (תְּשֻׁאוֹת | מְלֵאָה עִיר הוֹמִיָּה קִרְיָה עַלִּיזָה חֲלָלַיִךְ לֹא חַלְלֵי-חֶרֶב וְלֹא מֵתֵי מִלְחָמָה)” Isaiah 22:3 “All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far. (כָּל-קְצִינַיִךְ נָדְדוּ-יַחַד מִקֶּשֶׁת אֻסָּרוּ כָּל-נִמְצָאַיִךְ אֻסְּרוּ יַחְדָּו מֵרָחוֹק בָּרָחוּ)” The text writes תְּשֻׁאוֹת | מְלֵאָה עִיר הוֹמִיָּה “a tumultuous noise fills the city” suggesting a great uproar as the inhabitants are falling and are in their final death throes due to the famine and the plague in the city. A text comparison reveals the following:
The LXX writes, μάταια; ἐνεπλήσθη ἡ πόλις βοώντων “futility the city cries out” The Targum Jonathan tralsates מִן קֳדָם אִתרְגֹושָא דְאִתמְלִיאַת קַרתָא מְשַבַחתָא “On account of the tumult wherewith the praiseworthy, the fortified, the joyous city is filled.” We note the word דְאִתמְלִיאַת is the Ethpeal verb which has a reflexive meaning, meaning that the city filled itself, the outcry of the people went from joyous to cries of despair. This is also how the L-Peshitta translates, ܐܷܬ݂ܡܰܠܝܰܬ݂ which is written in the Ethpeal, perfect, feminine, third person, singular. Note the lexical form is ܡܠܐ meaning to fill, which is the Aramaic equivalent of מְלֵאָה in the Hebrew bible. What these things reveal to us is that Isaiah was not seeing a city that was captured with broken walls and being filled with the slain dead. Isaiah states explicitly חֲלָלַיִךְ לֹא חַלְלֵי-חֶרֶב “the slain men not slain by the sword” indicating the form of death of these people, due to starvation and the plague, just like God had said would occur according to the words of the prophet. Those who dwell in the city Jerusalem cannot see their selfishness. They seek pleasure filling their lives with gratifications, lasciviousness, and lusts for all things that stand in opposition to God and His Holy Word. The Word of God speaks to the idea of self-sacrifice as a service to others and to God. This service involves our being humble and merciful towards others, things of which are necessary for people to exist together. (Isaiah 30:10, Mishley / Proverbs 29:18) Isaiah 22:3 goes on according to the Targum “3 All thy rulers have been led forth; from before the bent bow, they are gone into captivity together: all that were found in thee have been slain, together they have fled afar.” This is consistent with the LXX and MSS on the rulers fleeing and being bound and led into captivity. We note again the picture that is being drawn out, sin leads to bondage in one way or another. The point of the way these texts are written appears to show us that sin is subtle, it brings one into bondage, and eventually leads to death, maybe not at first, but eventually, the kind of death is paralleled to great suffering, the kind of which is starvation and plague. The calling of God upon our lives is to draw us near, to dig into God’s holy Word, and to make it a part of our lives for God’s glory. The Lord is calling to all men to repent, to believe in Him and His Messiah Yeshua, and to have fellowship and relationship with Him! These things illustrate the greatest love that God has for us. The people however refuse to see and listen with understanding, for this reason Isaiah writes the following according to Isaiah 22:4.
ספר ישעיה פרק כב
ד עַל-כֵּן אָמַרְתִּי שְׁעוּ מִנִּי אֲמָרֵר בַּבֶּכִי אַל-תָּאִיצוּ לְנַחֲמֵנִי עַל-שֹׁד בַּת-עַמִּי:
Isaiah 22:4 states, “Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. (עַל-כֵּן אָמַרְתִּי שְׁעוּ מִנִּי אֲמָרֵר בַּבֶּכִי אַל-תָּאִיצוּ לְנַחֲמֵנִי עַל-שֹׁד בַּת-עַמִּי)” Here we see the act of crying, the outpouring of tears from the eyes of people who are sad or distraught. The weeping for Jerusalem. We are told according to the NT text that Yeshua wept over the city according to Luke 19:41-44.
19:41 And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, 19:42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 19:43 “For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 19:44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (NASB, ܘܟ݂ܰܕ݂ ܩܪܷܒ݂ ܘܰܚܙܳܗ ܠܱܡܕ݂ܺܝܢ̄ܬܴ݁ܐ ܆ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܳܐ ܥܠܷܝܗ ܂ܘܶܐܡܰܪ ܂ ܐܷܠܾܘ ܟܱ݁ܝ ܝܳܕ݂ܰܥܬ݁ܝ ܐܱܝܠܷܝܢ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܱܝܗܶܝܢ ܕܱ݁ܫܠܴܡܶܟ݂ܝ ܞ ܐܴܦ݂ܶܢ ܒ݁ܗܳܢܳܐ ܝܰܘܡܶܟ݂ܝ ܆ ܗܳܫܳܐ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܐܷܬ݂ܟܱ݁ܣܺܝ ܠܗܶܝܢ ܡܶܢ ܥܰܝܢܰܝ̈ܟ݁ܝ ܂ ܢܺܐܬ݂ܾܘܢ ܠܷܟ݂ܝ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܝܱ̈ܘܡܳܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܢܶܚܕ݁ܪܾܘܢܶܟ݂ܝ ܒ݁ܥܶܠܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܒ݂ܰܝ̈ܟ݁ܝ ܆ ܘܢܶܐܠܨܾܘܢܶܟ݂ܝ ܡܶܢ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܕܾ݁ܘܟܴ݁ܐ ܂ ܘܢܶܣܚܦ݂ܽܘܢܶܟ݂ܝ ܁ ܘܠܱܒ݂ܢܱ̈ܝܟ݁ܝ ܒ݁ܓ݂ܰܘܶܟ݂ܝ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܢܶܫܒ݁ܩܽܘܢ ܒܷ݁ܟ݂ܝ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ ܥܰܠ ܟܻ݁ܐܦ݂ ܆ ܚܠܴܦ݂ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܝܺܕ݂ܰܥܬ݁ܝ ܙܰܒ݂ܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܣܽܘܥܪܴܢܶܟ݂ܝ ܀ 41 Καὶ ὡς ἤγγισεν, ἰδὼν τὴν πόλιν ἔκλαυσεν ἐπʼ αὐτὴν 42 λέγων ὅτι εἰ ἔγνως ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ταύτῃ καὶ σὺ τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην· νῦν δὲ ἐκρύβη ἀπὸ ὀφθαλμῶν σου. 43 ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ περιβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν 44 καὶ ἐδαφιοῦσίν σε καὶ τὰ τέκνα σου ἐν σοὶ καὶ οὐκ ἀφήσουσιν λίθον ἐπὶ λίθον ἐν σοί, ἀνθʼ ὧν οὐκ ἔγνως τὸν καιρὸν τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς σου.)
Here Yeshua wept over the city, and the reason was for a number of things, the people did not know the day of their visitation, and the people did not know what it was that would have brought peace. This is a perfect example of what is going to happen here according to Isaiah, not just due to the people rejecting the Messiah of God, but because of their unrepentant lifestyles. Just like Isaiah, Yeshua had great compassion for the city and the people. We note something of great importance here, Isaiah in his great compassion for Jerusalem weeps and suffers with the people due to his longing for their return to the Lord. We note something Paul wrote according to Philippians 3:10.
3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (KJV, ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܗ ܐܷܫܬܱ݁ܘܕܱ݁ܥ ܠܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܘܰܠܚܰܝܠܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܩܝܳܡܬܷ݁ܗ ܇ ܘܶܐܫܬܱ݁ܘܬܱ݁ܦ݂ ܒ݁ܚܰܫܰܘܗ̄ܝ̈ ܁ ܘܶܐܬ݁ܕܱ݁ܡܶܐ ܒ݁ܡܰܘܬܷ݁ܗ ܇ܕܱ݁ܠܡܳܐ ܐܷܫܟܱ݁ܚ ܐܷܡܰܛܷܐ ܠܱܩܝܳܡܬܴ݁ܐ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܒܷ݁ܝܬ݂ ܡܺܝ̈ܬ݂ܷܐ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܟܱ݁ܕܾ݁ܘ ܢܶܣܒܷ݁ܬ݂ ܂ ܐܱܘ ܡܶܢ ܟܱ݁ܕܾ݁ܘ ܐܷܬ݂ܓܱ݁ܡܪܷܬ݂ ܂ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܪܴܗܶܛ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܆ ܕܱ݁ܠܡܳܐ ܐܱܕ݂ܪܷܟ݂ ܠܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܕ݁ܡܶܛܾܠܴܬ݂ܷܗ ܐܱܕ݂ܪܟ݂ܰܢܝ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܁܀܁܀܁ 10 τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ κοινωνίαν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ, 11 εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν. 12 οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι, διώκω δὲ εἰ καὶ καταλάβω ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.)
Paul writes of the power of God in suffering. This is a common rabbinic theme in the Rabbinic literature. Paul speaks to suffering and experiencing pain and difficulty with his people because of what God is doing to the people. This is a key comparison to Isaiah and the Messiah Yeshua, the one who suffered with us and for us so that we might be saved! We note again the compassion of God towards all peoples, and the life that He offers to those who believe. But not just believing, also living, making faith true by our actions! We note that Yeshua wept in two places, one is here making his final journey to Jerusalem, and when Lazarus had died according to John 11. We note that Yeshua did not weep over the death of Lazarus since He knew what He was going to do to raise Lazarus from the dead. Yeshua wept due to Mary and Martha weeping (John 11:33) and so this demonstrates the compassion that Yeshua has for the people. Yeshua wept differently in these two locations, one was due to the outcry of those who he knew, and the second is due to Jerusalem not believing and therefore did not have life. The same is true today, Yeshua said “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (see John 11:25) This is the key to understanding why Yeshua did what he did for us, to suffer, and to lay his life down so that we might have life, peace, and the joy of the Lord. Isaiah goes on saying the following:
ספר ישעיה פרק כב
ה כִּי יוֹם מְהוּמָה וּמְבוּסָה וּמְבוּכָה לַאדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה צְבָאוֹת בְּגֵיא חִזָּיוֹן מְקַרְקַר קִר וְשׁוֹעַ אֶל-הָהָר: ו וְעֵילָם נָשָֹא אַשְׁפָּה בְּרֶכֶב אָדָם פָּרָשִׁים וְקִיר עֵרָה מָגֵן: ז וַיְהִי מִבְחַר-עֲמָקַיִךְ מָלְאוּ רָכֶב וְהַפָּרָשִׁים שֹׁת שָׁתוּ הַשָּׁעְרָה: ח וַיְגַל אֵת מָסַךְ יְהוּדָה וַתַּבֵּט בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶל-נֶשֶׁק בֵּית הַיָּעַר:
Isaiah 22:5 states, “For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. (כִּי יוֹם מְהוּמָה וּמְבוּסָה וּמְבוּכָה לַאדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה צְבָאוֹת בְּגֵיא חִזָּיוֹן מְקַרְקַר קִר וְשׁוֹעַ אֶל-הָהָר)” Isaiah 22:6 “And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. (וְעֵילָם נָשָֹא אַשְׁפָּה בְּרֶכֶב אָדָם פָּרָשִׁים וְקִיר עֵרָה מָגֵן)” Isaiah 22:7 “And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. (וַיְהִי מִבְחַר-עֲמָקַיִךְ מָלְאוּ רָכֶב וְהַפָּרָשִׁים שֹׁת שָׁתוּ הַשָּׁעְרָה)” Isaiah 22:8 “And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armor of the house of the forest. (וַיְגַל אֵת מָסַךְ יְהוּדָה וַתַּבֵּט בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶל-נֶשֶׁק בֵּית הַיָּעַר)” The ancient literature speaks to these things in the following way:
DSS 4Q371 (4QapocrJosepha) 4QApocryphon of Joseph
4 [a place] in the valley of the vision [and …] Zion, and [t]he[y] made [… and turned]
5 [Jerusalem into ruins and the mountain] of my God into a [wooded] heig[ht …]
6 […] the laws of [God, and Judah as well,]
7 [together with him, and he st]ood [at a crossroads,] to d[o …]
8 [to be together with his two brothers. And while] all this happened, Joseph [was thrown into lands]
Jubilees (Pseudepigrapha) 23:13
23:13* because plague (came) upon plague, and wound upon wound, and affliction upon affliction, and evil report upon evil report, and sickness upon sickness, and every evil judgment of this sort one with another: sickness, and downfall, and sleet, and hail, and frost, and fever, and chills, and stupor, and famine, and death, and sword, and captivity, and all plagues, and suffering.”
Jubilees (Pseudepigrapha) 36:10
36:10 And on the day of turmoil and execration and indignation and wrath, (then) with devouring burning fire just as he burned Sodom so too he will burn up his land and his city and everything which will be his. And he will be wiped out from the book of the discipline of mankind, and he will not be written (on high) in The Book of Life for (he is written) in the one which will be destroyed and pass on to eternal execration so that their judgment will always be renewed with eternal reproach and execration and wrath and torment and indignation and plagues and sickness.
Testament of Levi (Pseudepigrapha) 10:3-5
3 And you shall act lawlessly in Israel, with the result that Jerusalem cannot bear the presence of your wickedness, but the curtain of the Temple will be torn, so that it will no longer conceal your shameful behavior. 4 You shall be scattered as captives among the nations, where you will be a disgrace and a curse. 5 For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as the book of Enoch the Righteous maintains.
The DSS, Jubilees, and the Testament of Levi all provide some background information regarding the outcome of unrepentant sin, the plague, wounds and afflictions, sickness, famine, and death by sword, plague, or starvation. It is because of these things that it is wise to seek and serve God. These things reveal to us the importance of musar, which is a way of serving God that emphasizes the shaping of a person’s character such that one prepares himself to serve God. The Hebrew noun musar denotes fatherly correction intended to impart moral discipline and character development to a child. This is how Solomon wrote saying, “Hear, my child, the musar of your father, and forsake not the torah of your mother” (Mishley / Proverbs 6:20, נְצֹ֣ר בְּ֭נִי מִצְוַ֣ת אָבִ֑יךָ וְאַל־תִּ֝טֹּ֗שׁ תּוֹרַ֥ת אִמֶּֽךָ). We note from a biblical perspective, one of the primary ways that God reveals Himself to us, and His character, and the kind of people we are (our character) is through musar, as a father corrects his son. The Torah tells us that God tests what is in our hearts (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:2) and reveals Himself as the Yeshua (salvation) that we need to do away with what we have within, which is sin and ungodliness. We note that musar teaches us to be humbled, broken, and corrected, which causes us to rely on and trust in the Lord and His provision for our lives. This is what Isaiah was trying to say to His people and to the nations, that we all need to live by what Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:3 says, that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Isaiah 22:5-8 goes on to describe the chastening of Israel describing those who will capture the cities of the land and place the people into bondage, because they refused to seek the holiness of God.
The Targum translates “5 For it is a day of tumult, and of treading underfoot, and of slaughter before the Lord, the God of hosts, against the city that dwelleth in the valley, against which the prophets prophesied. Thy search the houses, they encompass the towers which are on the tops of the mountains.” The LXX describes this as ταραχῆς καὶ ἀπωλείας καὶ καταπατήματος “trouble and destruction and trampling” translating the hebrew text כִּ֣י יוֹם֩ מְהוּמָ֨ה וּמְבוּסָ֜ה וּמְבוּכָ֗ה “in the day of confusion, trampling, and confusion.” The idea here is מְהוּמָ֨ה describes one who is confused to go wild, and וּמְבוּכָ֗ה the confusion as one who wanders around not knowing what he is doing, this describes disorder in one’s life due to sin, and this is what happens when we do not seek the Lord and have the Lord in our lives. Isaiah 22:7 וַיְהִי מִבְחַר-עֲמָקַיִךְ מָלְאוּ רָכֶב וְהַפָּרָשִׁים שֹׁת שָׁתוּ הַשָּׁעְרָה “And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate” speaks of the land being filled with the army in every place, in the valleys and the city gates. This is a description of the oppression of the people, which leads to there being no cause for rejoicing. Note how this follows along the lines of the Torah regarding the joy of the Lord. (See the Simkhat Torah “Joy of Torah” series) Isaiah 22:8 states, וַיְגַל אֵת מָסַךְ יְהוּדָה וַתַּבֵּט בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶל-נֶשֶׁק בֵּית הַיָּעַר “And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armor of the house of the forest.” John Oswalt writes this בֵּית הַיָּעַר House of the Forest was part of the temple complex built by Solomon according to 1 Kings 7:2-6. It received its name because of its construction being made with cedar columns and woodwork. This was the storehouse for weapons (Isaiah 39:2) as well as for other precious items (1 Kings 10:17, 2 Chronicles 9:20). This is interesting as these things describe the temple complex as both having a spiritual aspect for drawing near to the Lord, and on the other hand a physical preparation for war. We note how these things are connected, and in light of the spiritual problems of the people, they are not seeking the Lord, they are unprepared for what is coming. We also note that we are constantly in a spiritual war, since the enemy seeks to capture us in any means possible. We also note that we should be looking to the spiritual things when something happens, paying attention to our Maker, the God in heaven, and His Messiah Yeshua. This is the opposite of what is common today, and this same mentality was in Hezekiah’s day. This is why these Scriptures which were written thousands of years ago have application for our lives today. It is easy to speak of spiritual values when we are comfortable and at ease. It is easy to look away towards other things, as opposed to considering the blessing of the Creator. These things teach us that we are to set ourselves on the task of seeking the Lord and His Messiah Yeshua, regardless of whether we have a life of ease or a life of difficulty. Isaiah 22:5 drawing us back to the valley of vision, כִּי יוֹם מְהוּמָה וּמְבוּסָה וּמְבוּכָה לַאדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה צְבָאוֹת בְּגֵיא חִזָּיוֹן מְקַרְקַר קִר וְשׁוֹעַ אֶל-הָהָר “For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains” speaks to the blindness of the people to the nature of their reality and the prophetic message that Isaiah is bringing to them telling them to repent. The most relevant point for us today is to commit ourselves and our situations to the Lord God in heaven. We should seek a willingness to submit our lives to God and His holy Word, and when we do, the Lord removes the hopelessness that is in our hearts. The point is by their refusal to trust God in preparing for the worst, they have ensured that the worst will come. These are the things we need to be aware of today, just as the people in Isaiah’s day (Isaiah 6:9-12, 39:5-7).
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a very important text for us to study in our journey through the book of Isaiah.
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק כב:א-ח
א מַטַל נְבוּאְתָא עַל קַרתָא דְיָתְבָא בְחִילְתָא דְאִתנַבִיאוּ עְלַה נְבִיַיָא מָא לְכֹון כְדֵין אְרֵי סְלֵיקתוּן כוּלְכֹון לְאִיגָרַיָא׃ ב מִן קֳדָם אִתרְגֹושָא דְאִתמְלִיאַת קַרתָא מְשַבַחתָא כַרכָא חַדָאָה קְטִילַך לָא אִתקְטִילוּ בְחַרבָא וְאַף בִקרָבָא לָא מִיתוּ׃ ג כָל שִלטֹונַך אִיטַלטַלוּ כַחדָא מִן קֳדָם מָתַח קַשתָא גְלֹו כָל דְאִשתְכַח בִיך אִתקְטַלוּ כַחדָא מֵירַחִיק עְרַקוּ׃ ד עַל כֵין אְמַרִית שְבוּקוּ מִנִי אַבכֵי בִמרָר לָא תִתבְעִיתוּ לְנַחָמוּתִי עַל תְבָר כְנִשתָא דְעַמִי׃ ה אְרֵי יֹום רִיגוּש וְאִיתדָשָא וְקִיטוּל קֳדָם יוי אְלֹהִים צְבָאֹות בְקַרתָא דְיָתְבָא בְחִילְתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ עְלַה נְבִיַיָא מְבַלְשִין בָתַיָא מַקְפִין מִגדְלַיָא בְרֵישֵי טוּרַיָא׃ ו וְעֵילֹומָאֵי נְטַלוּ זֵין בִרתַך אְנָש וְעִימֵיה זֹוג פָרָשִין וְעַל שוּר דְבַקוּ תְרִיסִין׃ ז וַהְוָה שְפַר מֵישְרַך אִתמְלִיאוּ רְתִיכִין וּפָרָשִין מְמֻנַן עַל תַרעִין׃ ח וְגַלִי יָת מַטמֹורָית בֵית יְהוּדָה וְאִסתַכִי בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא עַל זֵין גִנזֵי בֵית מַקדְשָא׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 22:1-8
22:1 THE BURDEN OF THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE CITY THAT DWELLETH IN THE VALLEY, OF WHICH THE PROPHETS PROPHESIED. What aileth you here, that all of you are gone up to the housetops? 22:2 On account of the tumult wherewith the praiseworthy, the fortified, the joyous city is filled. Thy slain were not slain by the sword, neither did they die in battle. 22:3 All thy rulers have been led forth; from before the bent bow, they are gone into captivity together: all that were found in thee have been slain, together they have fled afar. 22:4 Wherefore I said: Leave off from me, I will weep bitterly, seek ye not to comfort me for the desolation of the congregation of my people. 22:5 For it is a day of tumult, and of treading under foot, and of slaughter before the Lord, the God of hosts, against the city that dwelleth in the valley, against which the prophets prophesied. Thy search the houses, they encompass the towers which are on the tops of the mountains. 22:6 And the Elamites have taken arms in the chariot of a man, and with him are a couple of horsemen, and on the wall they hang the shields.
22:7 And it shall come to pass that the most beautiful of thy valleys shall be filled with chariots; and the horsemen shall be set against the gates. 22:8 And he shall discover the covering of Judah, and he shall look at that time upon the arms of the house of the treasury of the sanctuary. (TgJ)
Isaiah opens chapter 22 according to the Targum Jonathan saying the following, א מַטַל נְבוּאְתָא עַל קַרתָא דְיָתְבָא בְחִילְתָא דְאִתנַבִיאוּ עְלַה נְבִיַיָא מָא לְכֹון כְדֵין אְרֵי סְלֵיקתוּן כוּלְכֹון לְאִיגָרַיָא׃ 22:1 THE BURDEN OF THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE CITY THAT DWELLETH IN THE VALLEY, OF WHICH THE PROPHETS PROPHESIED. What aileth you here, that all of you are gone up to the housetops? (TgJ) The TgJ speaks of prophecy, the city that dwells in the valley (Jerusalem), and of a valley in which the prophets speak prophetic words. These things remind us of Ezekiel 37:1-14 and the prophecy of the valley of dry bones. In Ezekiel’s vision, he saw a valley with dried out human bones that were scattered throughout this valley. This speaks to there being an extensive amount of carnage, devastation, and war. The Lord God told Ezekiel to prophesy over these bones, which led to an army and is symbolic of the restoration of Israel. The connection to Isaiah 22:1 is to Isaiah seeing the happy city in a vision of disaster and death. This may be the origins of the dry bones in which Ezekiel saw, the location of this valley appears to be at the intersections of the Hinnom, Kidron, and Tyropoeon valleys which meet at the foot of the hill on which David’s city stood. The description of the situation of Jerusalem regarding her destruction is not a pleasant one, as death does not come quickly but slowly indicated by the slain not being killed by the sword or in battle. Isaiah goes on saying, ב מִן קֳדָם אִתרְגֹושָא דְאִתמְלִיאַת קַרתָא מְשַבַחתָא כַרכָא חַדָאָה קְטִילַך לָא אִתקְטִילוּ בְחַרבָא וְאַף בִקרָבָא לָא מִיתוּ׃ 22:2 On account of the tumult wherewith the praiseworthy, the fortified, the joyous city is filled. Thy slain were not slain by the sword, neither did they die in battle. ג כָל שִלטֹונַך אִיטַלטַלוּ כַחדָא מִן קֳדָם מָתַח קַשתָא גְלֹו כָל דְאִשתְכַח בִיך אִתקְטַלוּ כַחדָא מֵירַחִיק עְרַקוּ׃ 22:3 All thy rulers have been led forth; from before the bent bow, they are gone into captivity together: all that were found in thee have been slain, together they have fled afar. (TgJ) The MSS Isaiah text writes, כָּל-קְצִינַיִךְ נָדְדוּ-יַחַד מִקֶּשֶׁת אֻסָּרוּ כָּל-נִמְצָאַיִךְ אֻסְּרוּ יַחְדָּו מֵרָחוֹק בָּרָחוּ “All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.” The LXX translation renders מִקֶּ֣שֶׁת אֻסָּ֑רוּ “bow captured” as ἁλόντες σκληρῶς δεδεμένοι “conquered harshly bound.”
The L-Peshitta translates ܟܠܗܘܢ ܫ̈ܠܝܛܢܝܟܝ ܢܕܘ ܐܟܚܕܐ “all the leaders were loathed together” where the word ܢܕܘ means “to loathe, abhor, turn from, reject.” The leaders were rejected due to their unrepentant sins. This valley of vision centers upon the destruction, whereas Ezekiel 37:1-14 looks towards Jerusalem’s restoration. Ibn Ezra and JPS state the following concerning these verses.
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 22,1 Part 1-2
משא גיא חזיון. ירושלם שהיא מקום הנבואה: The valley of vision. Jerusalem, the centre of all prophecies.
יש אומרים כי טעם עלית לגגות לקטר למלאכת השמים, ולפי דעתי שהטעם עלותם לראות החיילות הצרות על ירושלם כי כן מנהג המדינות: Thou art wholly gone up to the house-tops. Some think, they went up in order to offer incense to the host of heaven, but my opinion is, that they went up in order to see the force that besieged Jerusalem, as is generally done under such circumstances.
JPS 1985 Footnotes, Isaiah 22:2
Vv. 1–3 describe a scene of mourning to take place in Jerusalem in the near future. In the ancient Near East, public weeping took place on the low flat roofs as well as in the streets and squares; cf. above, 15.3; Jer. 48.38.
Rashi agrees with Ibn Ezra as Jerusalem being the place for which most prophecies are prophesied. The idea of going up the rooftop, Ibn Ezra points out like we did earlier, that the roof tops were places for offering incense to the host of heaven, a place of idol worship. Rashi points out a few other interpretations on this verse saying, “Our Rabbis, however, explained this concerning the priests who went up to the roof of the Temple with the keys of the forecourt in their hands, as is stated in the Tractate Taanith (29a). The Midrash Aggadah, however, states that they, (the people of Jerusalem,) were haughty. (This is found) in Lamentations Rabbah (Int. 24).” (Rashi on Isaiah 22,1 Part 2) The Chazal states that this is a description of the priests going to the rooftop of the temple with the keys to the forecourt. The Talmud Bavli Taanit 29a expands on what Rashi is saying concerning the keys to the forecourt saying, “The Sages taught: When the Temple was destroyed for the first time, many groups of young priests gathered together with the Temple keys in their hands. And they ascended to the roof of the Sanctuary and said before God: Master of the Universe, since we did not merit to be faithful treasurers, and the Temple is being destroyed, let the Temple keys be handed to You. And they threw them upward, and a kind of palm of a hand emerged and received the keys from them. And the young priests jumped from the roof and fell into the fire of the burning Temple.” So, the idea here is of their not being worthy for the Temple to remain which is symbolic of God’s presence in their midst, and so they give the keys to the forecourt back to the Lord God our Father in heaven. There appears to be an interesting connection here to Isaiah 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (NIV) This also parallels what Yeshua said according to Matthew 16:17-19 “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven,” the apostles may have known that Yeshua was alluding to the passage in Isaiah 22? Searching references to “keys” produces the following results:
It is interesting that Luke 11:52 speaks to the keys of knowledge in reference to the Torah, and Revelation 1:18 to Yeshua having the keys to death and hades (hell) and the key of David (Revelation 3:7). These things tie together the concepts of authority, righteousness, holiness, and the destruction of the Temple. It is interesting how the NT account of Yeshua the Messiah, that we are to believe in Him as the path to righteousness, truth, and receiving the power of God from above by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, His presence in our lives! This directs us to understand how sin destroys, and how the Messiah delivers us from the bondage to sin! These are some very significant observations concerning what Isaiah has been teaching us concerning trusting in God as opposed to trusting in ourselves! Note how the keys were handed back to heaven according to the Talmudic opinion. This places salvation into God’s hands, and so by faith we live, and by faith we obey. This again illustrates that the Torah was not given for man to earn his way to heaven, but that as a child of God we live our lives for His glory with His help to empower us to overcome this world! The Torah according to Paul directs us to the Messiah because of our failures and inability to be perfect. The Talmud continues to comment upon this going up to the rooftop in the following way.
Talmud Bavli Taanith 29a
אַנְתְּ צְבֵית לְ[אַ]חְרוֹבֵי בֵּיתָא — יְדָךְ אַשְׁלֵימְתְּ לֵיהּ. You want to destroy the Temple; I have given you your hand. It is as though one idol said to the other: You are seeking to destroy the Temple by causing Israel to pray to you; I, too, give you a hand to assist you.
בְּתִשְׁעָה בְּאָב נִגְזַר עַל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ, מְנָלַן — דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיְהִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הוּקַם הַמִּשְׁכָּן״. וְאָמַר מָר: שָׁנָה רִאשׁוֹנָה עָשָׂה מֹשֶׁה אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, שְׁנִיָּה הֵקִים מֹשֶׁה אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, וְשָׁלַח מְרַגְּלִים. וּכְתִיב: ״וַיְהִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בְּעֶשְׂרִים בַּחֹדֶשׁ נַעֲלָה הֶעָנָן מֵעַל מִשְׁכָּן הָעֵדֻת״. § The mishna taught: On the Ninth of Av, it was decreed upon our ancestors that they would not enter Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara asks: From where do we derive this? As it is written: “And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was erected” (Exodus 40:17). And the Master said: In the first year after leaving Egypt, Moses built the Tabernacle. At the beginning of the second year, Moses erected the Tabernacle and sent the spies. And it is written: “And it came to pass in the second year in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, that the cloud was taken up from the Tabernacle of the Testimony” (Numbers 10:11).
וּכְתִיב: ״וַיִּסְעוּ מֵהַר ה׳ דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים״. אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא: אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם סָרוּ מֵאַחֲרֵי ה׳. וּכְתִיב: ״וְהָאסַפְסֻף אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבּוֹ הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיִּבְכּוּ גַּם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוֹ׳״, וּכְתִיב: ״עַד חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים וְגוֹ׳״ — דְּהָווּ לְהוּ עֶשְׂרִין וְתַרְתֵּין בְּסִיוָן, And it is further written: “And they set forward from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey” (Numbers 10:33). Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina said: That very day, they turned away from God by displaying their anxiety about leaving Mount Sinai. And it is written: “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting, and the children of Israel also wept on their part, and said: Would that we were given flesh to eat” (Numbers 11:4). And it is written that the Jews ate the meat “for an entire month” (Numbers 11:20). If one adds to the first twenty days an additional three days’ journey, these are twenty-three days. Consequently, the subsequent month of twenty-nine days of eating meat ended on the twenty-second of Sivan.
We note how at this time Israel had placed idols within the holy place in the Temple in Jerusalem. The description is as if the idols are discussing amongst one another that they are causing the destruction of this place by causing the people to pray to idols. The Chazal (sages) go on to describe how as soon as the people left the mountain of Sinai, they lusted. The rabbis say it was the mixed multitude that was among them that lusted. Lust is a function of the flesh, the body, and therefore the parallel is to the people who complained in the wilderness and God gave them meat to eat. The idea is that when one leaves the holy place, they are led by their lusts if they do not maintain a holy place in their hearts and minds focusing upon the Lord and His holy ways. We note from the Torah context that the kingdom of God which is found in the community of believers consists of a mixed multitude. This concept of a mixed multitude means that these people are comprised of all peoples, nations, and men of every tongue. So, this is not a “national kingdom” as we are accustomed to thinking about kingdoms. This is a description of an international kingdom, one that is composed of all peoples. The interesting thing is once we realize this, it is easy to recognize that Paul also calls this a redeemed, restored, mixed multitude kingdom of Israel. (i.e. the Israel of God, ܐܻܝܣܪܴܝܶܠ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ, τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ, Galatians 6:16, ܘܰܐܝܠܷܝܢ ܕܱ݁ܠܗܳܢܳܐ ܫܒ݂ܺܝܠܴܐ ܫܳܠܡܺܝܢ ܆ ܫܠܴܡܳܐ ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܥܠܱܝܗܽܘܢ ܘܪܱ̈ܚܡܶܐ ܇ ܘܥܰܠ ܐܻܝܣܪܴܝܶܠ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܀ 16 καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν, εἰρήνη ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ). Now Paul speaking to the Gentiles needed to distinguish exactly what he was talking about and so he used b’mashiakh (in Christ), or habasar shel mashiakh (the body of Christ) or the kahal (ekklesia, church). We note the political terminology here saying ekklesia which is used extensively in the LXX (Septuagint) for the nation and people of Israel, this term was already familiar in the Greek and Roman culture. The idea here is not of Paul teaching about a different group, but of a grafted in people, a mixed multitude of peoples just as the Torah description provides for us (see Romans 11). When we look at the original languages and begin studying the way these texts are written, it becomes apparent the writing of Paul becomes a little bit more consistent with the Torah descriptions of the people of God.
Isaiah goes on saying according to the TgJ, ד עַל כֵין אְמַרִית שְבוּקוּ מִנִי אַבכֵי בִמרָר לָא תִתבְעִיתוּ לְנַחָמוּתִי עַל תְבָר כְנִשתָא דְעַמִי׃ 22:4 Wherefore I said: Leave off from me, I will weep bitterly, seek ye not to comfort me for the desolation of the congregation of my people. ה אְרֵי יֹום רִיגוּש וְאִיתדָשָא וְקִיטוּל קֳדָם יוי אְלֹהִים צְבָאֹות בְקַרתָא דְיָתְבָא בְחִילְתָא דְאִתנַבִיוּ עְלַה נְבִיַיָא מְבַלְשִין בָתַיָא מַקְפִין מִגדְלַיָא בְרֵישֵי טוּרַיָא׃ 22:5 For it is a day of tumult, and of treading under foot, and of slaughter before the Lord, the God of hosts, against the city that dwelleth in the valley, against which the prophets prophesied. Thy search the houses, they encompass the towers which are on the tops of the mountains. ו וְעֵילֹומָאֵי נְטַלוּ זֵין בִרתַך אְנָש וְעִימֵיה זֹוג פָרָשִין וְעַל שוּר דְבַקוּ תְרִיסִין׃ 22:6 And the Elamites have taken arms in the chariot of a man, and with him are a couple of horsemen, and on the wall they hang the shields. ז וַהְוָה שְפַר מֵישְרַך אִתמְלִיאוּ רְתִיכִין וּפָרָשִין מְמֻנַן עַל תַרעִין׃ 22:7 And it shall come to pass that the most beautiful of thy valleys shall be filled with chariots; and the horsemen shall be set against the gates. ח וְגַלִי יָת מַטמֹורָית בֵית יְהוּדָה וְאִסתַכִי בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא עַל זֵין גִנזֵי בֵית מַקדְשָא׃ 22:8 And he shall discover the covering of Judah, and he shall look at that time upon the arms of the house of the treasury of the sanctuary. (TgJ) These verses from the TgJ on the prophetic words of Isaiah are not very encouraging. They are describing the outcome of the people’s rejection of the Lord God in heaven, death and suffering. The rabbis in the Talmud state the following concerning these verses.
Jerusalem Talmud Yoma 1:1:20
118Babli 9a/9b. We find that the Temple was destroyed the first time only because they were active idolators, and uncoverers of nakedness119The technical term for incest and adultery (all crimes prohibited in Lev. 18.), and spillers of blood. And so the second time. Rebbi Joḥanan ben Torta said, we find that Shiloh was destroyed only because they slighted the holidays and desecrated the sancta. We find that the Temple was destroyed the first time only because they were active idolators, and uncoverers of nakedness, and spillers of blood. But of the second we know that they toiled in the Torah, were careful about the commandments and tithes, and every good custom120Latin suetum (E. G.). was in them; only they loved money and hated one another without reason. Hate without reason is hard for it is the equivalent of idolatry, and uncovering nakedness, and spilling of blood. An example. Rebbi Zeˋira, and Rebbi Jacob bar Aḥa, and Rebbi Abuna, were sitting and saying, it is worse since the first time it was rebuilt but the second time it was not rebuilt. Rebbi Zeˋira said, the first ones repented, the second ones did not repent. Rebbi Eleazar said, the first time their sin was brought into the open and so was their end; the second time their sin was brought into the open but their end was not brought into the open. They asked Rebbi Eliezer, are the later generations more qualified than the first? He told them, your witness, the Temple, shall prove it. Our forefathers removed the ceiling, the curtain of Jehudah was lifted121Is. 22:8., but we blew out the walls, who are saying, make bare, make bare, up to its foundations122Ps. 137:7.. They said, any generation in which it is not rebuilt is debited as if it had destroyed it.
The Talmud draws out the reason why the Temple in Jerusalem was originally destroyed, it was due to idolatry and what the rabbis say “uncovering of nakedness” which draws in the idea of immorality. Note how immorality such as incest, adultery, murder is all coupled together in the definition of idolatry. They also say that the destruction of the Tabernacle at Shiloh was due to the forsaking of the moedim. They also conclude saying explicitly that hate without reason is equivalent to idolatry, uncovering nakedness (incest), and murder. The Talmudic conclusion is that due to the unrepentant sins of the people, the meaning of this verse: ח וְגַלִי יָת מַטמֹורָית בֵית יְהוּדָה וְאִסתַכִי בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא עַל זֵין גִנזֵי בֵית מַקדְשָא׃ 22:8 And he shall discover the covering of Judah, and he shall look at that time upon the arms of the house of the treasury of the sanctuary (TgJ), is related to the sins being revealed outwardly through the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem. It is interesting how the rabbis say, “any generation in which it is not rebuilt is as if it had destroyed it.” These things draw in the significance of the Torah command, and the people’s obedience to that command. The idea is not that one must earn his place in the kingdom. The better analogy is one of marriage, where one has an unfaithful wife or husband. We note that the major premise for the destruction of the Temple was idolatry and coupled with it, immorality. When one enters into a covenant relationship, one is expected to be faithful to one’s husband or wife. If we take this kind of analogy, we note how the claim that one earned his salvation under the Torah falls flat to the ground! The Torah says there is to be only one law for both Jews and aliens sojourning with the Jewish people. (Bamidbar / Numbers 15:15-16)
We note the occurrences of “One Law” in the Torah being found in Shemot / Exodus 12:49, Vayikra / Leviticus 7:7, Bamidbar / Numbers 15:15-16, Esther 4:11, Daniel 2:19, and James 4:12. Note that in context, Shemot / Exodus 12:49 speaks of the moedim (Passover), and in Vayikra / Leviticus 7:7 is discussing the Asham Korban (Guilt Offering), Bamidbar / Numbers 15:15-16 is discussing a generalization of the sacrifices, if an alien resident wanted to bring a sacrifice (וְכִֽי־יָגוּר֩ אִתְּכֶ֨ם גֵּ֜ר א֤וֹ אֲשֶֽׁר־בְּתֽוֹכְכֶם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וְעָשָׂ֛ה אִשֵּׁ֥ה רֵֽיחַ־נִיחֹ֖חַ לַיהוָ֑ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשׂ֖וּ כֵּ֥ן יַעֲשֶֽׂה׃ הַקָּהָ֕ל חֻקָּ֥ה אַחַ֛ת לָכֶ֖ם וְלַגֵּ֣ר הַגָּ֑ר חֻקַּ֤ת עוֹלָם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם כָּכֶ֛ם כַּגֵּ֥ר יִהְיֶ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ תּוֹרָ֥ה אַחַ֛ת וּמִשְׁפָּ֥ט אֶחָ֖ד יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם וְלַגֵּ֖ר הַגָּ֥ר אִתְּכֶֽם׃) What we can note about these passages is how the context deals not with the application of Torah as a whole, but specifically with the sacrifices. For example, according to Bamidbar / Numbers 15:14-16, if an alien wanted to offer a sacrifice in the Temple, he needed to follow the same Torah guidelines as the Israelite. So, these things speak to the Temple ritual, the moedim, and the temple service in relation to the resident alien, he is to follow the same Torah, same instruction, same rules in regard to bringing a sacrifice. When we consider the prophets and the writings sections in the Tanakh, we also know that the same standards of ethics, morality, and false god worship are expected of all peoples, even the nations. This much is evident based upon the book of Isaiah alone thus far we have studied. The point is that if the Temple was built, these things could be in place, and the Torah command on these things would be required to follow to bring a sacrifice as a testimony to God, to Moshe, and to faithfulness to God’s Word. These Scriptures from the Torah on “One Law” unequivocally reveal to us the relevance of the Torah to God’s people. In Acts 15, the Apostles gave the Gentile believers four minimum standards for fellowship within the Jewish synagogue communities, and they did not need to issue a mandate clarifying Gentile obligation to the whole Torah because this mandate was already stated in the Torah under the One Law command. The major point of Acts 15 was that one does not need to undergo a conversion process, to become a Jew in order to be saved. Remember, circumcision was a sign of the covenant, it was not an act so that one may enter into a covenant with God. Likewise, the Torah was given to a community who was already in a covenant relationship with God, not being given as a way for a man to earn his way into the covenant or to earn his salvation. Notice once we realize what the Scriptures actually state, how many Christian theologies simply fall flat to the ground! In addition, the Didache (allegedly a collection of apostolic instructions for Gentile believers) agrees with Bamidbar / Numbers 15:15-16. There is not supposed to be a different Torah for Gentile believers. The Gentile believers are not supposed to have a different type of worship or religion. There is only one Torah for God’s people. Note also in the first century, the Gentile believers kept most of the mitzvot (commandments) along with the Jewish believers as part of their participation in their shared religion!