Sunday, December 03, 2023

Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts (Isaiah 4)

Isaiah chapter four is short, but there's some meaty stuff in these six verses. The very first verse says that the women of Judah will be so desperate that seven women will grab one man and beg him to marry them, just so they can say they are married. I assume this means a few things, such as that so many men will have been killed that the population will be seven adult women for each adult man, and there is something shameful for these women to be unmarried. I don't know if the latter is just cultural shame of not being married, or if it has something to do with whatever shamed them in chapter three (which of course would probably also be cultural). Of course in that patriarchal society, it would be largely uncommon for a woman to support herself her whole life, and would be expected to have a son who would grow up and support her.

Isaiah once again switches quickly from bad times to good times and speaks of a day when food will be plentiful and God's presence will be in the Temple as it was in the Tabernacle in Moses's day. (The imagery of a cloud of smoke by day and fire by night calls back to Exodus, when the Israelites followed such a cloud in the desert.) God will have purified Jerusalem and Mount Zion and made everyone there holy. Is only God holy? In Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, God is not just described as holy, but, "Holy, holy, holy"! These two verses are, to my understanding, the only places in the Bible where a word or phrase is repeated three times. While there is a contradiction on the face of what Revelation 15:4 says against the numerous verses listed on this contradiction page, I believe the idea behind this verse is to say that the level of "holy" that God is is essentially incomparable to anything else.

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