Isaiah 28 – Woe to Ephraim & The Abecedaries

Yesterday we talked about how evil and wicked the Catholic Church.  I know that everyone sins, even Jesus’ mother did, but how did Mary become a sinner?

Wall of Jericho
The Wall of Jericho was a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) defensive or flood protection wall suggested to date to approximately 8000 BCE. If interpreted as an “urban fortification”, the Wall of Jericho is the oldest city wall discovered by archaeologists anywhere in the world. It is built of undressed stones and is located at the archaeological mound known as Tell es-Sultan, in the city of Jericho on the West Bank.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating c. 11,500 – c. 10,000 BP. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent.

The time period is characterized by tiny circular mud brick dwellings, the cultivation of crops, the hunting of wild game, and unique burial customs in which bodies were buried below the floors of dwellings.

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). During this time, pottery was not yet in use. They precede the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).

8000 BCE.
The 8th millennium BC spanned the years 8000 through 7001 BC. During this time, agriculture became widely practised in the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia.

Pottery became widespread (with independent development in Central America) and animal husbandry (pastoralism) spread to Africa and Eurasia.

World population at this time was more or less stable, at Mesolithic level reached during the Last Glacial Maximum, at roughly 5 million

Tell es-Sultan
Tell es-Sultan (Sultan’s Hill) is a UNESCO-listed archaeological site in the West Bank,located two kilometres north of the centre of Jericho. The tell was inhabited from the 10th millennium BCE, and has been called “the oldest town in the world”, with many significant archaeological finds; the site is also notable for its role in the history of Levantine archaeology

Jericho
Jericho is in the Palestinian Territories and is located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate, and is governed by the Fatah faction of the Palestinian National Authority. In 2007, it had a population of 18,346.

The city was occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and has been held under Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994. It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world. It was thought to have the oldest stone tower in the world as well, but excavations at Tell Qaramel in Syria have discovered stone towers that are even older.

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BCE), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth’s history.

Copious springs in and around the city have attracted human habitation for thousands of years. Jericho is described in the Hebrew Bible as the “City of Palm Trees”

West Bank.
The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore. The West Bank has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, created administrative districts with varying levels of Palestinian autonomy within each area. Area C, in which Israel maintained complete civil and security control, accounts for over 60% of the territory of the West Bank.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640 km plus a water area of 220 km, consisting of the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. As of July 2017 it has an estimated population of 2,747,943 Palestinians, and approximately 391,000 Israeli settlers, and approximately another 201,200 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. The International Court of Justice advisory ruling (2004) concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

So how did Mary become a sinner, or are we born sinners?  See, I had figured that people like the Pope and politicians are born evil and they trick us so we become evil.  How does is actually work? 

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is 53:6).

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10).

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51:5).

“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Ps 58:3).

It’s bad enough that the president has lied to the people, but he also lied to his own mother.

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecc 7:20).

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:10).

Wow, I could have been a politician because I used to lie, making Jesus a liar, because I never would have admitted that I had done anything wrong.  Or heck, maybe I could have become a Pope because I never would have admitted that I had sinned against You.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas 4:17).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).

So I understand that we are all born into sin, but how or why did this happen?

“For by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…” (Rom 5:19).

Okay, so what do we have to do so You will still look upon us kindly and not send us to hell?

“…so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom 5:19).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

28:1-35:10 – a series of six woes (28:1, 29:1, 29:15, 30:1, 31:1), concluded with an announcement of judgment on the nations (ch 34) and a song celebrating the joy of the redeemed (ch 35)  Cf the six woes in ch 5 (see note 5:8-23).

“Crown” – Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, was a beautiful city on a prominent hill.

“Pride” – see v 3 and note on 16:6.

“Drunkards” – in the 8th century B.C. Samaria was a city of luxury and indulgence (see 5:11-13 and note; Amos 6:4-7).

“Ephraim” – see note on 7:2.

“Fat valleys” – valleys of fertility, cf 5:1.

2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

“Mighty and strong one” – the king of Assyria.

“Tempest of hail…waters overflowing” – see v 17, 8:7-8 and note, 17:12 and note; cf 30:30, 32:19.

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

“Residue” – remnant, see note on 1:9.

4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

5  In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

“Spirit of judgment” – see 11:2-4 and notes.

“Gate” – the most vulnerable part of a city.

7  But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

“Wine…strong drink” – the religious leaders should have been filled with the Spirit, not with wine (see Lev 10:9; Num 11:29; Eph 5:18).

8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

“Vomit” – cf Jer 25:16, 27.

9  Whom shall he teach knowledge?  And whom shall he make to understand doctrine?  Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

28:9-10 – the mocking response of Isaiah’s hearers.  The monosyllabic words Sav Lasav, Kav lakav, kav lakav imitate the babbling sounds of a child; cf the mocking tones of 5:19.

Jordan River
The Jordan River or River Jordan is a 251-kilometre-long (156 mi) river in the Middle East that flows roughly north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea. Jordan and the Golan Heights border the river to the east, while the West Bank and Israel lie to its west. Both Jordan and the West Bank take their names from the river.

The river has a major significance in Judaism and Christianity since many believe that the Israelites crossed it into the Promised Land and that Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist in it.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

28:11-12 – quoted in part in 1 Cor 14:21.

“Stammering lips” – the language of the Assyrians.

12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

“Rest” – the land given to them by the Lord, in whom they were to trust (see 26:3, 30:15, 40:31; Josh 1:13).

13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

“Was unto them Precept upon precept” – they dismissed the words of the prophet as childish nonsense, so the word of the Lord that he speaks will remain nonsense to them (see 6:9-10 and notes).

14  Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; 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:

28:15, 18 – Covenant with death” – possibly an allusion to necromancy and worship of idols (see 8:19).  By using a vivid figure of speech, Isaiah mocks their sense of assurance against national calamity, placing on their lips a claim to have a covenant with death that it will not harm them (see Hos 2:18).

“Overflowing scourge” – a mixed metaphor referring to the armies of Assyria and Babylonia.  “Overflowing” pictures an army as a flooding river (see 8:7-8); a “scourge” is a whip (10:26).

16  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.

“Stone” – the Lord (see 8:14, 17:10 and notes).

“Corner stone” – cf the “head stone of the corner” of Ps 118:22.

“Foundation” – see 1 Cor 3:11; cf 1 Pet 2:4-7.

Gibeon (ancient city)
Gibeon was a Canaanite city north of Jerusalem. According to Joshua 10:12 and Joshua 11:19, the pre-conquest inhabitants of Gibeon, the Gibeonites, were Hivites; according to 2 Samuel 21:2 they were Amorites. The remains of Gibeon are located on the south edge of the Palestinian village of Al Jib.

The earliest known mention of Gibeon in an extra-biblical source is in a list of cities on the wall of the Amum temple at Karnak, celebrating the invasion of Israel by Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I (945-924 BCE).

Gibeon was founded in the Early Bronze Age (EB), for the excavators discovered fourteen EB storage jars beneath the foundations of the Iron Age wall. Other EB remains were discovered at the top of the tel but the stratigraphy had been destroyed by British gunfire during the First World War. It is probable that there was a defensive wall, but this has not yet been found. Tombs cut into the rock on the east site of the hill contained EB jars and bowls, formed first by hand and then finished on a slow wheel. The Early Bronze city was destroyed by fire, but no date has been determined for this destruction.

The Middle Bronze Age (MB1) is known from shaft tombs on the west of the city: twenty-six MB1 tombs have been found but the crudeness of the pottery they contain indicate that the people may have been nomads camping on an unfortified site. The remains are similar to those found elsewhere at Jericho, Lachish and Megiddo.

In MBII, however, a substantial city with finely made pottery was found. Twenty-nine MB2 tombs have been found, apparently containing multiple burials (as opposed to the single burials of the MBI tombs).

Only seven tombs are known from the Late Bronze period, but they nevertheless point to a degree of sophistication, as they contained imported Cypriote ware and local potters attempted to copy Mycenaean and Cypriote pottery. It would appear that some, at least, of these tombs had been cut during earlier periods and were being reused.

17 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.

“Line…plummet” – the standards and tests the Lord will apply are His justice and righteousness.

18  And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

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.

20 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.

“Shorter…narrower” – Israel was unprepared both militarily and spiritually.

21 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.

“Mount Perazim” – where God “broke forth” against the Philistines (2 Sam 5:20).

“Valley of Gibeon” – where God sent hail to demolish the Amorites (Josh 10:10-12).

“Strange work…strange act” – this time God would fight against Israel.

22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

“A consumption, even determined” – the judgment God has planned against the nations; see 10:22-23 and note on 10:22.

23  Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.

28:23-29 – a wisdom poem (a poetic parable) in two stanzas, each ending in a verse that praises the wisdom of God.  In the context and since “threshings” is emphasized (vv 27-28), the point may be that though God must punish Israel, His actions will be as measured and as well-timed as a farmer’s (see 27:12 and note).

24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?  Doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place?

“Fitches…cummin” – black cumin and regular cumin, herbs used for seasoning (see Matt 23:23).

“rye” – or “spelt,” a kind of wheat (see Ex 9:32).

26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

27 For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

28 Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.

29 This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

“Wonderful in counsel” – see 9:6 and note.

The Abecedaries

Abecedarium
An abecedarium (or abecedary) is an inscription consisting of the letters of an alphabet, almost always listed in order. Typically, abecedaria (or abecedaries) are practice exercises.

An abecedary is a type of ancient inscription containing letters in a standard alphabetical order.  Many such writings appear to be nothing more than the elementary exercises of school children.

However, these documents still yield valuable information concerning the development and transmission of the alphabet.  The earliest abecedaries were found at Ugarit and date to the 14th century B.C.

The order of the letters preserved in these in these early documents follows the arrangement later adopted by the Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic alphabets.

Many have argued that the names of the letters, though not preserved ion these inscriptions, must have developed simultaneously with the fixed alphabetic order by serving as a mnemonic device to aid in remembering the pattern.  By analogy, modern American children use a rhyming song to learn their alphabet.

The Oldest ABC’s: The Ugarit Cuneiform Alphabet
The technology of writing reached its greatest level of efficiency with the invention of the phonemic alphabet utilizing the acrophonic or “top sound” principle sometime in the early second millennium BC, probably during the Hyksos period c. 1730-1570 BC.

Epigraphers cherish the short inscriptions in Early Canaanite from Palestine and Sinai, attributed to the eighteenth or seventeenth century BC, as invaluable examples of alphabet usage, but it’s with the hundreds of inscribed clay tablets from Ugarit (modern Ras esh Shamra, the “Fennel Head”), Syria c. 1500-1250 BC, our appreciation of the alphabet is fully realized.

 

Parts of Isaiah 28:9-13 are difficult to interpret; verse 10 in particular looks like a series of nonsense rhymes.  The NIV renders this as “Do and do, do and do, rule on, rule on rule; a little here, a little there,” but this translation is something of a guess.

The translation difficulty in the Hebrew can perhaps be explained by the development of mnemonic tools such as rhyming for teaching children.  The nonsensical Hebrew words that appear in this passage are probably consonants plus rhyming vowel sounds, simulating an elementary school lessen. 

Further evidence that the Israelites made use of the alphabet for memorization purposes can be found elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible.  For ex, Psalms 111 and 112 are acrostic poems that follow the order of the Hebrew alphabet.

Wow, these people had the intelligence of a drunk when it came to understanding You.  When you’re drunk you are pretty stupid, but you think you are so smart, I have experience in that field.

Nothing’s changed really, people now days are just as stupid as they were back then, but it’s worse, not we have pastors not telling the full truth about You, about the scary parts about You.

Going back to the Catholic religion, I don’t understand why anyone can say they love Jesus and be a Catholic?  For one example, their Rosary goes against Your 2nd commandment?