Introduction: Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Bible Marathon Day 384)

Introduction: Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Bible Marathon Day 384)

The Book of Isaiah reveals God’s judgment and salvation.
Isaiah is often referred to as “The Messianic Prophet”, because of his many prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus. The New Testament quotes and applies more scriptures from the book of Isaiah than any other Old Testament prophet.

Yet Isaiah’s work was not solely foretelling the future. A prophet of God was not primarily a future teller, but one who spoke God’s word to the people of his own day.

The regard in which Isaiah was held was so high that the book was frequently called “the Fifth Gospel”, the prophet who spoke more clearly of Christ and the Church than any others.

ISAIAH, THE MAN

His name (Isaiah) means “salvation of the Lord” or “the Lord is salvation”, and is certainly symbolic of his message. He is described as “the son of Amoz” (Isa 1:1; 2:1; 13:1), of whom the Bible reveals nothing.

Isaiah is widely regarded as one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. His name means “YHWH (the LORD) is salvation.” He lived in Jerusalem and the prophecies God gave him were directed toward Israel, Judah and other nations. Jewish tradition says he was of royal descent, and he may have been a cousin to King Uzziah. This may have given him access to the kings of Judah in Jerusalem.
The Date
The ministry of Isaiah extended from the death of Uzziah in 742 B.C. to Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C., and it may have continued even longer, until after the death of Hezekiah in 687 B.C. Later legend (the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah) claims that Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, executed Isaiah by having him sawed in two; cf. Hb 11:37.
The Book

The book of Isaiah can be divided into two major parts:

The Assyrian Period (chapters 1-39) – The prophet proclaims the Lord’s indictment against Judah and Jerusalem, and the coming judgment against them. He portrays the sovereign rule of the Lord of Hosts who judges not only Israel, but heathen nations as well. He prophesies that the Lord will use Assyria, Babylon, and the Medes to execute His purposes, and afterward judge each of these along other nations, bringing them to desolation because of their sins. (Harkrider)

The Babylonian Period (chapters 40-66) – Isaiah exhorts an afflicted people to have faith and patience. He describes the salvation and future blessings to come upon the true Israel of God. Though Isaiah did not live during the period of Babylonian captivity, through inspiration he was able to speak words of comfort to those who would experience that difficult time of Israel’s history. (ibid.)

Jesus Christ, The most important Theme

Almost one-third of the chapters of the book of Isaiah contain prophecies about Jesus Christ, addressing both His first and second comings. Isaiah provides more prophecy of the second coming of Christ than any other Old Testament prophet. The following are some prophecies about Christ in both His first and second comings:

“He shall judge between the nations” (Isaiah 2:4).
He was to be the “Branch of the Lord” (Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:1).
He would be born of a virgin and be called “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8, 10).
He would be a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (Isaiah 8:14).
An eternal “government will be upon His shoulder” and He would be called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-
7).
The Holy Spirit would “rest upon Him” (Isaiah 11:2).
He would be “a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (Isaiah 28:16).

Sirach Chapter 51 (Bible Marathon Day 384)

Ben Sira 51New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 51

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

I give you thanks, Lord and King,[a]
    I praise you, God my savior!
I declare your name, refuge of my life,
    because you have ransomed my life from death;
You held back my body from the pit,
    and delivered my foot from the power of Sheol.

You have preserved me from the scourge of the slanderous tongue,
    and from the lips of those who went over to falsehood.
You were with me against those who rise up against me;
    You have rescued me according to your abundant mercy
From the snare of those who look for my downfall,
    and from the power of those who seek my life.

From many dangers you have saved me,
    from flames that beset me on every side,
From the midst of fire till there was not a whiff of it,[b]
    from the deep belly of Sheol,
From deceiving lips and painters of lies,
    from the arrows of a treacherous tongue.

I was at the point of death,
    my life was nearing the depths of Sheol;
I turned every way, but there was no one to help;
    I looked for support but there was none.
Then I remembered the mercies of the Lord,
    his acts of kindness through ages past;
For he saves those who take refuge in him,
    and rescues them from every evil.

So I raised my voice from the grave;
    from the gates of Sheol I cried for help.
10 I called out: Lord, you are my Father,
    my champion, my savior!
Do not abandon me in time of trouble,
    in the midst of storms and dangers.
11 I will always praise your name
    and remember you in prayer!

Then the Lord heard my voice,
    and listened to my appeal.
12 He saved me from every evil
    and preserved me in time of trouble.
For this reason I thank and praise him;
    I bless the name of the Lord.[c]

Ben Sira’s Pursuit of Wisdom

13 [d]When I was young and innocent,
    I sought wisdom.
14 She came to me in her beauty,
    and until the end I will cultivate her.

15 As the blossoms yielded to ripening grapes,
    the heart’s joy,
My feet kept to the level path
    because from earliest youth I was familiar with her.

16 In the short time I paid heed,
    I met with great instruction.
17 Since in this way I have profited,
    I will give my Teacher grateful praise.

18 I resolved to tread her paths;
    I have been jealous for the good and will not turn back.
19 I burned with desire for her,
    never relenting.
I became preoccupied with her,
    never weary of extolling her.

I spread out my hands to the heavens
    and I came to know her secrets.
20 For her I purified my hands;
    in cleanness I attained to her.

At first acquaintance with her, I gained understanding
    such that I will never forsake her.
21 My whole being was stirred to seek her;
    therefore I have made her my prize possession.
22 The Lord has rewarded me with lips,
    with a tongue for praising him.

23 Come aside to me, you untutored,
    and take up lodging in the house of instruction;[e]
24 How long will you deprive yourself of wisdom’s food,
    how long endure such bitter thirst?
25 I open my mouth and speak of her:
    gain wisdom for yourselves at no cost.

26 Take her yoke upon your neck;
    that your mind may receive her teaching.
For she is close to those who seek her,
    and the one who is in earnest finds her.

27 See for yourselves! I have labored only a little,
    but have found much.
28 Acquire but a little instruction,
    and you will win silver and gold through her.

29 May your soul rejoice in God’s mercy;
    do not be ashamed to give him praise.
30 Work at your tasks in due season,
    and in his own time God will give you your reward.

Footnotes:

  1. 51:1–30 This chapter contains two appendixes: a prayer (vv. 1–12) and an autobiographical poem praising wisdom (vv. 13–30).
  2. 51:4 So complete is the deliverance from fire that even the smell of smoke cannot be detected. Cf. Dn 3:27.
  3. 51:12After this verse the Hebrew text gives the litany of praise contained below. It is similar to Ps 136. Though not found in any versions, and therefore of doubtful authenticity, the litany seems from internal evidence to go back to the time of Ben Sira.

    Give praise to the Lord, for he is good, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the God of glory, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the Guardian of Israel, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the creator of all things, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the redeemer of Israel, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to God who gathers the dispersed of Israel, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to God who builds the city and sanctuary, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to God who makes a horn sprout forth for the house of David, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to God who has chosen the sons of Zadok as priests, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the Shield of Abraham, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the Rock of Isaac, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the Mighty One of Jacob, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to God who has chosen Zion, for God’s love endures forever;

    Give praise to the King, the king of kings, for God’s love endures forever.

    He has lifted up the horn of his people! Let this be his praise from all the faithful,

    From Israel, the people near to him. Hallelujah! (Cf. Ps 148:14.)

  4. 51:13–30 A Hebrew manuscript from Qumran demonstrates the acrostic style of vv. 13–20. This is an elegant twenty-three-line alphabetic acrostic hymn that describes Ben Sira’s relationship to wisdom: (a) his approach to wisdom through prayer, persistent study, and instruction (vv. 13–17); (b) his purification from sin, his enlightenment, and ardent desire to possess wisdom (vv. 18–22). Ben Sira concludes with an urgent invitation to his students to receive instruction in wisdom from him, and to live by it, because wisdom gives herself to those who seek her (vv. 23–26); and for their labor, God will reward them in his own time (vv. 27–30). Cf. Mt 11:28; Eccl 12:14.
  5. 51:23 House of instruction: this may be a metaphor for Ben Sira’s teaching.

Sirach Chapter 50 (Bible Marathon Day 383)

Ben Sira 50New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 50

Simeon, Son of Jochanan

Greatest of his family, the glory of his people,
    was Simeon the priest, son of Jochanan,[a]
In whose time the house of God was renovated,
    in whose days the temple was reinforced.
In his time also the retaining wall was built
    with powerful turrets for the temple precincts.
In his time the reservoir was dug,
    a pool as vast as the sea.
He protected the people against brigands
    and strengthened the city against the enemy.
How splendid he was as he looked out from the tent,
    as he came from behind the veil!
Like a star shining among the clouds,
    like the full moon at the festal season;
Like sun shining upon the temple of the King,
    like a rainbow appearing in the cloudy sky;
Like blossoms on the branches in springtime,
    like a lily by running waters;
Like a green shoot on Lebanon in summer,
    like the fire of incense at sacrifice;
Like a vessel of hammered gold,
    studded with all kinds of precious stones;
10 Like a luxuriant olive tree heavy with fruit,
    a plant with branches abounding in oil;
11 Wearing his glorious robes,
    and vested in sublime magnificence,
As he ascended the glorious altar
    and lent majesty to the court of the sanctuary.
12 When he received the portions from the priests
    while he stood before the sacrificial wood,
His sons stood round him like a garland,
    like young cedars on Lebanon;
And like poplars by the brook they surrounded him,
13     all the sons of Aaron in their glory,
With the offerings to the Lord in their hands,
    in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel.
14 Once he had completed the service at the altar
    and arranged the sacrificial hearth for the Most High,
15 And had stretched forth his hand for the cup,
    to offer blood of the grape,
And poured it out at the foot of the altar,
    a sweet-smelling odor to God the Most High,
16 Then the sons of Aaron would sound a blast,
    the priests, on their trumpets of beaten metal;
A blast to resound mightily
    as a reminder before the Most High.
17 All the people with one accord
    would fall with face to the ground
In adoration before the Most High,
    before the Holy One of Israel.

18 Then hymns would re-echo,
    and over the throng sweet strains of praise resound.
19 All the people of the land would shout for joy,
    praying to the Merciful One,
As the high priest completed the service at the altar
    by presenting to God the fitting sacrifice.
20 Then coming down he would raise his hands
    over all the congregation of Israel;
The blessing of the Lord would be upon his lips,
    the name of the Lord would be his glory.
21 The people would again fall down
    to receive the blessing of the Most High.

22 And now, bless the God of all,[b]
    who has done wonders on earth;
Who fosters growth from the womb,
    fashioning it according to his will!
23 May he grant you a wise heart
    and abide with you in peace;
24 May his goodness toward Simeon last forever;
    may he fulfill for him the covenant with Phinehas
So that it may not be abrogated for him
    or his descendants while the heavens last.

Epilogue

25 My whole being loathes two nations,
    the third is not even a people:[c]
26 The inhabitants of Seir[d] and Philistia,
    and the foolish people who dwell in Shechem.

27 Wise instruction, appropriate proverbs,[e]
    I have written in this book—
I, Yeshua Ben Eleazar Ben Sira—
    as they poured forth from my heart’s understanding.
28 Happy those who meditate upon these things;
    wise those who take them to heart!
29 If they put them into practice, they can cope with anything,
    for the fear of the Lord is their lamp.

Footnotes:

  1. 50:1–21 Son of Jochanan: Simeon II, in whose time as high priest (219–196 B.C.) great works were accomplished for the benefit of public worship and welfare (vv. 1–4). Ben Sira, a contemporary, describes detailed liturgical action, perhaps pertaining to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, cf. Lv 16).
  2. 50:22–24 Ben Sira urges the reader to praise and bless God for his wondrous works and then invokes a blessing on all that they may enjoy peace and gladness of heart and the abiding goodness of the Most High.
  3. 50:25 Not even a people: the Samaritans.
  4. 50:26 Seir: Mount Seir in the territory of the Edomites. Shechem: a city in Samaria.
  5. 50:27 This colophon may have been the original ending of the book. It is unusual for a biblical writer to append his name.

Sirach Chapter 49 (Bible Marathon Day 383)

Ben Sira 49New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 49

Josiah and the Prophets[a]

The name Josiah is like blended incense,
    made lasting by a skilled perfumer.
Precious is his memory, like honey to the taste,
    like music at a banquet.
For he grieved over our betrayals,
    and destroyed the abominable idols.
He kept his heart fixed on God,
    and in times of lawlessness practiced virtue.
Except for David, Hezekiah, and Josiah,
    they all were wicked;
They abandoned the Law of the Most High,
    these kings of Judah, right to the very end.
So he gave over their power to others,
    their glory to a foreign nation
Who burned the holy city
    and left its streets desolate,
As foretold by Jeremiah. They mistreated him
    who even in the womb had been made a prophet,
To root out, pull down, and destroy,
    and then to build and to plant.
Ezekiel beheld a vision
    and described the different creatures of the chariot;
He also referred to Job,
    who always persevered in the right path.
10 Then, too, the Twelve Prophets
    may their bones flourish with new life where they lie!—
They gave new strength to Jacob
    and saved him with steadfast hope.

The Heroes After the Exile

11 How to extol Zerubbabel?[b]
    He was like a signet ring on the right hand,
12 And Jeshua, Jozadak’s son?
    In their time they rebuilt the altar
And erected the holy temple,
    destined for everlasting glory.
13 Exalted be the memory of Nehemiah!
    He rebuilt our ruined walls,
Restored our shattered defenses,
    and set up gates and bars.

The Earliest Patriarchs

14 Few on earth have been created like Enoch;[c]
    he also was taken up bodily.
15 Was ever a man born like Joseph?
    Even his dead body was provided for.
16 Glorious, too, were Shem and Seth and Enosh;
    but beyond that of any living being was the splendor of Adam.

Footnotes:

  1. 49:1–10 Ben Sira’s praise of King Josiah (vv. 1–3) and of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the minor prophets (vv. 7–10) derives from their spirit of fidelity to the Lord and his Law (vv. 4–6, 10).
  2. 49:11–13 The rebuilding of the Temple and the repair of the walls of the Holy City led to a restoration of religious worship and civil authority.
  3. 49:14–16 The patriarchs here mentioned were glorious because of their spirit of religion, i.e., their profound reverence for God and obedience to him. The splendor of Adam: suggests his direct origin from God (Gn 1:26–27; 2:7).

Sirach Chapter 48 (Bible Marathon Day 382)

Ben Sira 48New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 48

Until like fire a prophet appeared,
    his words a flaming furnace.
The staff of life, their bread, he shattered,
    and in his zeal he made them few in number.
By God’s word he shut up the heavens
    and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah!
    Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead body back to life
    from Sheol, by the will of the Lord.
You sent kings down to destruction,
    and nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai,
    at Horeb avenging judgments.
You anointed the agent of these punishments,
    the prophet to succeed in your place.
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind,
    in a chariot with fiery horses.
10 You are destined, it is written, in time to come
    to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord,
To turn back the hearts of parents toward their children,
    and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.
11 Blessed is the one who shall have seen you before he dies![a]

12     When Elijah was enveloped in the whirlwind,
Elisha was filled with his spirit;[b]
He worked twice as many marvels,
    and every utterance of his mouth was wonderful.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
    nor was anyone able to intimidate his will.
13 Nothing was beyond his power;
    and from where he lay buried, his body prophesied.[c]
14 In life he performed wonders,
    and after death, marvelous deeds.
15 Despite all this the people did not repent,
    nor did they give up their sins,
Until they were uprooted from their land
    and scattered all over the earth.

Judah

But Judah remained, a tiny people,
    with its ruler from the house of David.
16 Some of them did what was right,
    but others were extremely sinful.

Hezekiah and Isaiah[d]

17 Hezekiah fortified his city
    and had water brought into it;
With bronze tools he cut through the rocks
    and dammed up a mountain site for water.[e]
18 During his reign Sennacherib led an invasion
    and sent his adjutant;
He shook his fist at Zion
    and blasphemed God in his pride.
19 The people’s hearts melted within them,
    and they were in anguish like that of childbirth.
20 But they called upon the Most High God
    and lifted up their hands to him;
He heard the prayer they uttered,
    and saved them through Isaiah.
21 God struck the camp of the Assyrians
    and routed them with a plague.
22 For Hezekiah did what was right
    and held fast to the paths of David,
As ordered by the illustrious prophet
    Isaiah, who saw truth in visions.
23 In his lifetime he turned back the sun
    and prolonged the life of the king.
24 By his powerful spirit he looked into the future
    and consoled the mourners of Zion;
25 He foretold what would happen till the end of time,
    hidden things yet to be fulfilled.

Footnotes:

  1. 48:11 Verse 11b is not extant in the Hebrew; it is represented in the Greek tradition by “for we too shall certainly live.” But this can hardly be the original reading.
  2. 48:12–16 Elisha continued Elijah’s work (vv. 12–14), but the obstinacy of the people eventually brought on the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the dispersion of its subjects. Judah, however, survived under the rule of Davidic kings, both good and bad (vv. 15–16).
  3. 48:13 The reference in v. 13b seems to be to 2 Kgs 13:21 where it is related that a dead man, thrown into Elisha’s grave, came back to life.
  4. 48:17–25 The fidelity of King Hezekiah (vv. 17, 22), the zeal of the prophet Isaiah, and the prayer of the people (v. 20) were effective. The Assyrian oppressors under Sennacherib withdrew (vv. 18–19, 21). The king’s life was prolonged. The people were consoled by Isaiah’s words about the future (vv. 23–25); the “consolations” refer to Is 40–66.
  5. 48:17 The reference is to the famous Siloam tunnel in present-day Jerusalem.

Sirach Chapter 47 (Bible Marathon Day 382)

Chapter 47

Nathan, David, and Solomon

After him came Nathan[a]
    who served in David’s presence.
Like the choice fat of sacred offerings,
    so was David in Israel.
He played with lions as though they were young goats,
    and with bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he struck down the giant
    and wiped out the people’s disgrace;
His hand let fly the slingstone
    that shattered the pride of Goliath.
For he had called upon the Most High God,
    who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
    and establish the might of his people.
Therefore the women sang his praises
    and honored him for “the tens of thousands.”
When he received the royal crown, he battled
    and subdued the enemy on every side.
He campaigned against the hostile Philistines
    and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
    to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole heart he loved his Maker
    and daily had his praises sung;
10 He added beauty to the feasts
    and solemnized the seasons of each year
09 With string music before the altar,
    providing sweet melody for the psalms
10 So that when the Holy Name was praised,
    before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
11 The Lord forgave him his sins
    and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
    and established his throne in Israel.

12 Because of his merits he had as successor[b]
    a wise son, who lived in security:
13 Solomon reigned during an era of peace,
    for God brought rest to all his borders.
He built a house to the name of God,
    and established a lasting sanctuary.
14 How wise you were when you were young,
    overflowing with instruction, like the Nile in flood!
15 Your understanding covered the whole earth,
    and, like a sea, filled it with knowledge.
16 Your fame reached distant coasts,
    and you were beloved for your peaceful reign.
17 With song and proverb and riddle,
    and with your answers, you astounded the nations.
18 You were called by that glorious name
    which was conferred upon Israel.[c]
Gold you gathered like so much iron;
    you heaped up silver as though it were lead.
19 But you abandoned yourself to women
    and gave them dominion over your body.
20 You brought a stain upon your glory,
    shame upon your marriage bed,
Wrath upon your descendants,
    and groaning upon your deathbed.
21 Thus two governments came into being,
    when in Ephraim kingship was usurped.
22 But God does not withdraw his mercy,
    nor permit even one of his promises to fail.
He does not uproot the posterity of the chosen,
    nor destroy the offspring of his friends.
So he gave to Jacob a remnant,
    to David a root from his own family.

Rehoboam and Jeroboam

23 Solomon finally slept with his ancestors,
    and left behind him one of his sons,
Broad[d] in folly, narrow in sense,
    whose policy made the people rebel.
Then arose the one who should not be remembered,
    the sinner who led Israel into sin,
Who brought ruin to Ephraim
24     and caused them to be exiled from their land.

Elijah and Elisha

25 Their sinfulness grew more and more,
    and they gave themselves to every evil[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 47:1–11 An idealized portrait of David; cf. 1 Chronicles.
  2. 47:12–24 The standard view of Solomon is echoed by Ben Sira, but he affirms the divine promise (v. 22) to David’s line.
  3. 47:18 Cf. 2 Sm 12:25, where Solomon is called Jedidiah, “beloved of the Lord.” A similar term is used of Israel in Jer 11:15.
  4. 47:23 Broad: the name Rehoboam means “the people is broad, or expansive,” that is, widespread. The sinner: Jeroboam; cf. 1 Kgs 12:1, 20, 26–32.
  5. 47:25–48:11 The prophetic ministry of Elijah amid widespread idolatry is here described as a judgment by fire (48:1). Through his preaching, marvels, and acts of vengeance against God’s enemies, he succeeded for a time in restoring faith in and worship of the Lord (vv. 2–8). His mysterious departure from this life gave rise to the belief that he did not die but would return before the day of the Lord. Cf. Mal 3:23–24; Mt 17:9–13.

Sirach Chapter 46 (Bible Marathon Day 381)

Ben Sira 46New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 46

Joshua, Caleb, the Judges, and Samuel

Valiant warrior was Joshua,[a] son of Nun,
    aide to Moses in the prophetic office,
Formed to be, as his name implies,
    the great savior of God’s chosen ones,
To punish the enemy
    and to give to Israel their heritage.
What glory was his when he raised his hand,
    to brandish his sword against the city!
Who could withstand him
    when he fought the battles of the Lord?[b]
Was it not by that same hand the sun stopped,
    so that one day became two?
He called upon the Most High God
    when his enemies beset him on all sides,
And God Most High answered him
    with hailstones of tremendous power,
That rained down upon the hostile army
    till on the slope he destroyed the foe;
That all the doomed nations might know
    the Lord was watching over his people’s battles.
He was indeed a devoted follower of God
    and showed himself loyal in Moses’ lifetime.
He and Caleb,[c] son of Jephunneh,
    when they opposed the rebel assembly,
Averted God’s anger from the people
    and suppressed the wicked complaint.
Because of this, these two alone were spared
    from the six hundred thousand infantry,
To lead the people into their heritage,
    the land flowing with milk and honey.
The strength God gave to Caleb
    remained with him even in old age
Till he won his way onto the summits of the land;
    his family too received a heritage,
10 That all the offspring of Jacob might know
    how good it is to be a devoted follower of the Lord.

11 The Judges,[d] each one of them,
    whose hearts were not deceived,
Who did not abandon God—
    may their memory be ever blessed!
12 May their bones flourish with new life where they lie,
    and their names receive fresh luster in their children!
13 Beloved of his people, dear to his Maker,
    pledged in a vow from his mother’s womb,
As one consecrated to the Lord in the prophetic office,
    was Samuel, the judge who offered sacrifice.
At God’s word he established the kingdom
    and anointed princes to rule the people.
14 By the law of the Lord he judged the congregation,
    and visited the encampments of Jacob.
15 As a trustworthy prophet he was sought out
    and his words proved him to be a true seer.
16 He, too, called upon the mighty Lord
    when his enemies pressed him on every side,
    and offered up a suckling lamb.
17 Then the Lord thundered from heaven,
    and the tremendous roar of his voice was heard.
18 He brought low the rulers of the enemy
    and destroyed all the lords of the Philistines.
19 When Samuel neared the end of life,
    he testified before the Lord and his anointed prince,
“No bribe or secret gift have I taken from anyone!”
    and no one could accuse him.
20 Even after death his guidance was sought;
    he made known to the king his fate.
From the grave he spoke in prophecy
    to put an end to wickedness.

Footnotes:

  1. 46:1–6 Joshua: whose name means “the Lord is savior” (v. 1), was the instrument through which God delivered his people in marvelous ways (vv. 2–6) by destroying their enemies, whose land he gave to the Israelites as a heritage (v. 1).
  2. 46:3 The battles of the Lord: cf. Jos 6–11.
  3. 46:7–10 Caleb: with Joshua he advised Moses to enter Canaan, despite the counsel of their companion scouts and the rebellion of the people. He led the next generation of Israelites into the promised land. He received a portion of land which he himself had conquered; cf. Jos 15:13–14.
  4. 46:11–20 Of the judges praised and blessed for their fidelity to God in opposing idolatry, Samuel was the greatest (vv. 11–13, 19). He was judge, prophet, and priest. Through his sacrificial offering he obtained victory over the Philistines. He established the kingdom, anointed kings (vv. 13–18), and even after his death foretold the king’s fate (v. 20).