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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 28-30

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore
Published on 22 March 2020




Isaiah 28-30 Timeline
Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats Isaiah 28-30 as a "Functional Chiasmus" in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. Text that is arranged in the form of a functional chiasmus must be rearranged based on certain logical principles to be correctly interpreted. A functional chiasmus is a new concept; see definition here [1]. This study also contains an exegesis of the rearranged text. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Part 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

This is one of the few chiastically structured passages in the Bible that are explicitly designated as sealed - other passages are Daniel 8, Daniel 10-12 and Isaiah 7-9. It contains prophecies regarding Shalmaneser's defeat and exile of the Northern Tribes, and regarding the start of the Millennial reign of Christ.


Notes:
We will use the term "Judahite" to refer to the Israelites living in and around Jerusalem in the 1st century who primarily were of the tribe of Judah; We will try to avoid the term "Jew" to avoid the confusion it introduces.


Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse of Isaiah 28:1-30:18 on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:

  1. The Assyrians defeat Samaria and exile Ephraim (c. 725BC). Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria, attacked Samaria, because Hoshea, king of Samaria, stopped paying tribute to him and formed an alliance with Egypt against him.
  2. The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD). The Roman army began their siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD and completely destroyed the city and its people shortly thereafter.
  3. The start of Christ's millennial reign (circa 2000AD). Israel's enemies are defeated and Christ leads a blessed new Israel.

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as above. We will call the time of Assyria's defeat of Samaria Period 1, the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD Period 2 and the start of Christ's millennial reign Period 3.


Categorizing Isaiah 28:1-30:18

Ch 28 Vs 1-4 belong to Period 1. Samaria, the pride of Ephraim's "drunkards", will be defeated by Assyria.

Ch 28 Vs 5-6 belong to Period 3. The Lord will guide the leader of the new Israel.

Ch 28 Vs 7 - Ch 29 Vs 4 belong to Period 2. The message of Christ is mocked, Jerusalem is defeated.

Ch 29 Vs 5-8 belong to Period 3. Israel's enemies are defeated at the start of the Millennial reign of Christ.

Ch 29 Vs 9-12 belong to Period 1. The prophets are blind and the scroll is sealed.

Ch 29 Vs 13-16 belong to Period 2. The people do not worship God in the right spirit. We believe this belongs to Period 2 because of the way its referenced in the New Testament (Matthew 15:7-9).

Ch 29 Vs 17-24 belong to Period 3. Israel will be blessed and Christ will rule a just earth.

Ch 30 Vs 1-18 belong to Period 1. Ephraim is defeated because they chose to rely on Egypt instead of repenting for their waywardness and relying on their God


Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2 and green for Period 3.


Isaiah 28 1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. 4 That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them.
5 In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. 6 He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. 8 All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.
9 “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? 10 For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.”
...
(Verses 11-27 omitted)
...
28 Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain. 29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.


Isaiah 29 1 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled! Add year to year and let your cycle of festivals go on. 2 Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth. 3 I will encamp against you on all sides; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. 4 Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper.
5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, 6 the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. 7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night— 8 as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.
9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” 16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— 21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. 23 When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”


Isaiah 30 1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”
...
(Verses 6-14 omitted)
...
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!



3. Building the reconfigured text


From this parse, it appears that Isaiah 28-30 form a Functional chiasmus as below:

A1   Ch 28 Vs 1-4 Period 1. Samaria is defeated by Assyria.
  B1   Ch 28 Vs 5-6 Period 3. The Lord will guide the leader of the new Israel.
    X   Ch 28 Vs 7 - Ch 29 Vs 4 Period 2. The sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans.
  B2   Ch 29 Vs 5-8 Period 3. Israel's enemies are defeated at the start of the Christ's reign.
A2   Ch 29 Vs 9-12 Period 1. The prophets are blind and the scroll is sealed.


We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a functional chiasmus [1].

We usually lead with the pivot point but in this case, we will place central pivot point 'X' last as allowed by the rules of Functional Chiasmus [1]. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

[A1,A2]  [B1,B2]  X        (1)

We have the following sequence when we include the rest of the prophecy:
[A1,A2] - Period 1
[B1,B2] - Period 3
X - Period 2
Ch 29 Vs 13-16 - Period 2. The people do not worship God in the right spirit.
Ch 29 Vs 17-24 - Period 3. Israel will be blessed and Christ will rule a just earth.
Ch 30 Vs 1-18 - Period 1. Ephraim relies on Egypt to fight Assyria instead of on their own God.


We still have text for the periods in a non-contiguous form. We can treat this as a doubly applied functional chiasmus as below.


M1   [A1,A2] - Period 1
  N1   [B1,B2] - Period 3
   XX   X,  Ch 29 Vs 13-16 - Period 2
  N2   Ch 29 Vs 17-24 - Period 3
M2   Ch 30 Vs 1-18 - Period 1

The sequence selected for rearrangement is:
XX  [M1,M2]  [N1,N2]        (2)


Translating this sequence (2) into the subunits of the first chiasmus, we get:

X, Ch 29 Vs 13-16   [[A1,A2], Ch 30 Vs 1-18]   [[B1,B2], Ch 29 Vs 17-24]        (3)

Further translating (3) into verse numbers, we get:

[Ch 28 Vs 7 - Ch 29 Vs 4, Ch 29 Vs 13-16]  [[Ch 28 Vs 1-4, Ch 29 Vs 9-12], Ch 30 Vs 1-18]   [[Ch 28 Vs 5-6, Ch 29 Vs 5-8], Ch 29 Vs 17-24]        (4)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (4).



4. Isaiah 28-30 Reconfigured

The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD).(Ch 28 Vs 7 - Ch 29 Vs 4, Ch 29 Vs 13-16)
Chapter 28 7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. 8 All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.
9 “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? 10 For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.”
...
(Verses 11-27 omitted)
...
28 Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain. 29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.


Chapter 29 1 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled! Add year to year and let your cycle of festivals go on. 2 Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth. 3 I will encamp against you on all sides; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. 4 Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper.

Chapter 29 13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” 16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?


The Assyrians defeat Samaria and exile Ephraim (c. 725BC). (Ch 28 Vs 1-4, Ch 29 Vs 9-12, Ch 30 Vs 1-18)
Chapter 28 1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. 4 That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them.

Chapter 29 9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”


Chapter 30 1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”
...
(Verses 6-14 omitted)
...
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!


The Start of Christ's millennial reign (circa 2000AD) (Ch 28 Vs 5-6, Ch 29 Vs 5-8, Ch 29 Vs 17-24)
Chapter 28 5 In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. 6 He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

Chapter 29 5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, 6 the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. 7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night— 8 as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.

Chapter 29 17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— 21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. 23 When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”


5. An exegesis of the reconfigured text.

The passage has been split into 3 sections as above for analysis.

5.1 The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD).(Ch 28 Vs 7 - Ch 29 Vs 4, Ch 29 Vs 13-16)

Chapter 28 7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. 8 All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.

The leadership of Judea, the Pharisees and prophets, were figuratively "drunk" with the Satanic ideas they got from Babylon and as a result, their doctrines and prophecies were covered with the evil from Babylon. They led the people astray because they themselves were corrupted by the lies from Satan.



Chapter 28 9 “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? 10 For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.”

We believe that this verse quotes the Judahites of the time. The Pharisees, who considered themselves experts in the Law, mocked the teaching of Jesus as being too simplistic; they felt that it was as though Jesus was talking to infants (see also 1 Cor. 1:18-31).



Chapter 28 11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people,

Jesus' followers miraculously spoke in tongues - in foreign languages previously unknown to them - but some of the Judahites remained unbelievers. Paul quoted this passage in 1 Corinthians 14:21 when he explained that speaking in tongues was for the benefit of non-believers.



Chapter 28 12 to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”— but they would not listen. 13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there— so that as they go they will fall backward; they will be injured and snared and captured.

The corrupted religion of the Pharisees was based on "works" which meant that its adherents had to follow a number of burdensome man-made rules to please God. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promised to give relief to these weary and heavy laden, for his "yoke is easy" (his requirements are simple). But to those who would not listen to him, Jesus' words were only a set of rules and its true essence remained hidden from them (Matthew 11:25). Jesus is a snare and a stumbling block for the Judahites who do not believe in him (1 Cor 1:23, Romans 9:33) and they ended up captured or killed by the Romans.



Chapter 28 14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. 15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.”

The leaders of the Judahites appear to have made a covenant with the Satanic realm to the effect that they would not be affected by a great scourge. They wrongly felt protected from the Roman attack by this agreement because they were unaware that the covenant could not be honored by the dark realm. This is an indication of the extent to which they were involved in witchcraft and demon worship.



Chapter 28 16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17a I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line;

Jesus, the stone that is a stumbling block to some, is the cornerstone for others (Romans 9:33, Matthew 21:42, 1 Peter 2:4-8); he shows us the right way to think , live and worship God and he gives us the peace that comes through faith in God. Those Judahites who heeded Jesus' instruction to flee as soon as they saw the Romans escaped death.



Chapter 28 17b hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. 19 As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through.” The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror. 20 The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

The Judahites covenant with dark forces did not stand, as the Romans, over a period of 7 miserable years, comprehensively destroyed all of Judea and brutally massacred its people. The sense of the proverbial saying, "the bed is too short...", is that the preparations for defence against the Romans will prove to be inadequate. (See more historical details of the period in our paper on the "70 Weeks of Daniel" [2])



Chapter 28 21 The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon— to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task. 22 Now stop your mocking, or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

God miraculously helped the Israelites defeat their enemies in places like Mount Perazim (2 Samuel 5:20-21, 1 Chronicles 14:11), and the valley of Gibeon (1 Chronicles 14:16), but this time he will be doing the "strange work" of aiding the enemy; the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem and the slaughter of its people was decreed by God.



Chapter 28 23 Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. 24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? 25 When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field? 26 His God instructs him and teaches him the right way.
27 Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin; caraway is beaten out with a rod, and cumin with a stick. 28 Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain. 29 All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.

The sense of this parable is that God, who gives wisdom to the farmer in the cultivation of crops, knows how to manage His own creation. God does what is right at all times in His infinite wisdom, though sometimes his actions may seem unwise or excessively cruel to us.



Chapter 29 1 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled! Add year to year and let your cycle of festivals go on. 2 Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth. 3 I will encamp against you on all sides; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. 4 Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper.

Ariel, a poetic name for Jerusalem, has been variously interpreted as meaning "the hearth of God" or "Lion of God". The Lord will use the Roman army to set up siege around Jerusalem and turn it into a altar hearth with only ashes remaining in spite of its people religiously observing the cycle of appointed festivals.



Chapter 29 13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

The people may say the right things and they may follow the man-made rules they have been taught by their corrupt Pharisee leaders ("works") to earn Gods favor, but their hearts are lacking in love for God and their fellow man (Matthew 15:7-9). Jesus will astound the Judahites with miracles and wonders so that they believe in him and follow him, and so it will be clear to them that the wisdom of their "wise" Pharisee leaders is foolishness.(1 Cor. 1:19-20)



Chapter 29 15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” 16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?

Those who engage in witchcraft and the worship of demon gods try to hide that from God and his faithful followers. Satanic doctrines such as Gnosticism, which originated in the 1st century, teach of a complex spiritual hierarchy in which God is subordinate to a "supreme being", and in which the demon gods are exalted. Everything is upside down in this belief system and so its adherents tend to manifest a disdain for God.



5.2 The Assyrians defeat Samaria and exile Ephraim. (c. 725BC) (Ch 28 Vs 1-4, Ch 29 Vs 9-12, Ch 30 Vs 1-18)

Chapter 28 1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!

Samaria, the capital city of Ephraim (the Northern tribes of Israel), was located on a pleasant and fertile hill. The city was surrounded by a rich valley, with a circle of hills beyond, all of which looked like a laurel wreath or crown around the city. We believe that "wine" and "drunkenness" in this Period refer to the corruption of the mind that occurs through the worship of pagan demon gods.



Chapter 28 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. 4 That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them.

As punishment for their "drunkenness" or idol worship, God sent the powerful Assyrian king Shalmaneser to defeat the city. With the kingdom left weakened and without a ruler, the Assyrians gradually exiled the people of Ephraim (to form the "Ten Lost Tribes") and settled the land with foreigners.



Chapter 29 9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).

Here we get clarification that the "drunkenness" in this prophecy is figurative. The Lord has blinded the leadership of Ephraim to the truth because of their sins and idolatry.



Chapter 29 11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

This entire prophecy is sealed to the people even though the events of first Period occur soon after the prophecy is made. Because it is sealed, those who are literate and learned can understand as much of the prophecy as one who cannot read.



Chapter 30 1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”
6 A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev:
Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, 7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing.

Hoshea, the king of Ephraim, stopped paying tribute to Shalmaneser V, the king of Assyria, and sent out envoys to make an alliance with Egypt against Assyria. But when Shalmaneser attacked Samaria to quell this rebellion, Egypt proved to be useless to Samaria. Egypt is called Rahab - a poetic name - to indicate that it is arrogant and boastful, as it promises a lot but cannot deliver on those promises.



Chapter 30 8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”

The people do not want to hear the unpleasant words from God through His prophets, which is an indication of how far they have fallen away from their God.



Chapter 30 12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, 13 this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”

The Israelites alliance with Egypt will prove utterly worthless when the Assyrians attack, because they chose to depend on Egypt, their deceitful oppressor, instead of relying on their God.



Chapter 30 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

The people of Ephraim chose to rely on their battle preparations instead of repenting and trusting in their God to help them. And so, the cavalry they planned to use for attack was used to flee; they fled from a much smaller force; and the people were left isolated and unprotected. In spite of all this, their God wants to forgive them and show compassion.




5.3 The Start of Christ's Millennial Reign (circa 2000AD) (Ch 28 Vs 5-6, Ch 29 Vs 5-8, Ch 29 Vs 17-24)

Chapter 28 5 In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. 6 He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

The Lord will guide his representative who will rule Israel and, in effect, rule the earth, and he will help the people of the new Israel defend their blessed land against wicked nations.



Chapter 29 5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, 6 the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. 7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night— 8 as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.

The victory of the of the multitude of nations that will come against the the new Israel seems to be assured because of their strength and numbers, but they will be suddenly and miraculously defeated so that their confidence in victory will seem like a dream. (The capital city, Mount Zion or Ariel, represents the new Israel here)



Chapter 29 17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? 18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.

The sense of the proverbial saying that the mostly barren Lebanon will turn into a lush forest is that there will be a sudden revolutionary change for the better. In a very short period - suddenly - the eyes of the nation of Israel will be opened and they will turn away from pagan gods and back to their God. In this Period, this scroll will be unsealed so that its meaning will be revealed to all.



Chapter 29 19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— 21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

Christ will preside over Israel and over a world in which truth and justice prevail.



Chapter 29 22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. 23 When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”

Israel will no longer suffer punishment and humiliation; the people will be righteous and remain faithful to their God.




Conclusion

This paper is a chiastic reconstruction of the text which shows that the passage contains three interwoven prophetic passages. Once again, we see the destruction of Jerusalem featured prominently as the pivot of this chiasmus.

The first Period of the prophecy predicts the exile of the ten Northern Tribes from Israel, the second Period predicts the destruction of Judea and the dispersion of the two Southern tribes and the last Period predicts the gathering of all twelve tribes to the new Israel.



References

[1] A Definition of Functional Chiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"










Related pages

Daniel 9
Mark 13
Luke 21
Luke 17:22-37
Functional Chiasmus