Sunday, January 14, 2024

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? (Isaiah 27)

Isaiah chapter 27 seems to be more end times prophecy, and may be a continuation of the last chapter. It opens with mention of Leviathan and "the dragon that is in the sea" (probably the same) just to make sure we've mentioned all mythological beasts in this one book, I guess. I don't think that anyone really knows what "Leviathan" refers to, whether it's a mythological creature or a forgotten word for a sea creature that we do know today by a different name. (Actually, studying the Hebrew, I just found something interesting; while my study guide says that the KJV always translates לִוְיָתָן as simply "Leviathan" it turns out that's not accurate, as the Hebrew word appears a seventh time in Job 3:8, where it's translated "their mourning"! Go figure. I can't find another translation that does this.) Anyway, the SAB marks this verse with absurdity and science, I suppose because Leviathan and dragons are not known to exist, but despite the description in Job 41 that includes fire breathing, it's entirely possible that Leviathan is simply something like a whale that the author of Job got hyperbolic about. Also, the Hebrew word translated "dragon" in the KJV is generally translated "monster" in modern translations, because once again, it's not really clear what it means, other than it's some kind of scary animal.

Does God ever get furious? This is an easy one; the answer is yes. I think the SAB is reading too much into verse four here; although God says, "Fury is not in me," that's him speaking "In that day" (v. 2) i.e. in the time that this prophecy is fulfilled, God will not be furious, but before that day, sure.

Verse eleven is a bit of a strange one in the midst of all the general talk of peace here. It's not real clear who is being talked about here, nor what form the lack of mercy and favor are supposed to take. The SAB paraphrases this verse as, "God created people who don't understand. Therefore he won't have mercy on them or show them favor." which is not wrong, but it makes it sound like God caused their lack of understanding, when it may be that they were intentionally ignorant (at least, that sounds likely to me). It was probably a lack of understanding of God and/or morality, I would assume. Anyway, in the end, the Jews of the world will be gathered to Jerusalem.

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