In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run. – Isaiah 7:18-25
I am struggling a bit with Isaiah. I am not sure why. I have missed a few days of my daily walk with water. For some reason Isaiah is hard, but and I have been missing my time “on the water” so I am putting my boat back in the water. My paddling feels a little shaky and I am unsure of the proper line, but it is better to be on the river, and uncertain, than waiting on the shore.
This passage again finds the Lord whistling, which is still an odd word picture. In this instance God is whistling for flies and bees rather than followers from the ends of the earth. Metaphorically God is calling on the Assyrians from the north to get the attention of the incalcitrant Israelites. The “bees” and “flies” from the north will descend and fill every crevice and will inhabit the Israelites “water holes”.
The “razor” God is employing to “shave” the proud Israelites is the king of Assyria from beyond the Euphrates. This would be near modern day Iraq and Iran. The shaving that God describes is not a gentle trim from a careful barber, but a wholesale removal of all the hair from the Israelites heads, private parts, and beards. Hair and beards were a metaphor for power in the eyes of the Isrealites. Their hair was their pride and strength, Samson was a case in point (judges 13-16). In Judges Samson’s hair was cut by delilah and he lost his strength. His hair grew while he was in prison and he eventually pulled a “Rhambo” with a donkey’s jawbone and routed the Philistines.
Then the passage turns to a part which I am not sure I understand. Those that remain under the siege and keep alive “a young cow and two goats” will have abundant curds and honey to eat. The vines and vineyards will be devastated, turned into briers and thorns. There seems to be a distinction being drawn here between those who have invested in vines and vineyards and those who keep animals (specifically a cow and two goats). Perhaps there is a cultural context here that I am missing. Maybe God is rebuking the Isrealites for their reliance on vines and vineyards (wealth) rather than Him. Perhaps this will become more clear further down the river.
Prayer: God our strength comes from You rather than vines, vineyard, or our hair. Help us to trust You for our “curds and honey”.
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