Lectionary Year B
April 20, 2003
Isaiah 25:6-9

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) This passage's theological pivotal point is the God who prepares the feast, clears away the covering that hides the nations from the truth being revealed, destroys death's power, wipes away tears, obliterates insults, saves people, speaks and appears to be present. Other significant matters include the all-powerfulness of the deity, all the nations and the peoples' rejoicing and gladness. These observations leave as minor elements in these lines to be the menu, the figurative covering, the tears and insults and whatever caused them and, perhaps, the waiting for that God.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 6 And the Yahweh of hosts will make for all the people/nations on this hill/mountain a fabulous feast/banquet of (metaphorical) fatness/fruitful lands/valleys. It will be like a feast/banquet of wines of the best sorts and will be full of substance. It will be remembered to be a feast of refining purifications. 7 And is blown away in this mountain the face of the figurative thing enveloping tightly upon all the people/nations as a veil/covering cast over upon all the people/nations. 8 It is to be obliterating the power of death to transform it into everlastingness. And the Lord is about to wipe away all tears from all the faces of all the people. Furthermore, no more disgrace will ever harm His people, rather God shall cause to depart/be turned aside all insults from upon all the land, for thusly Yahweh speaks. 9 And we will be saying in that day, "Behold our God, this One, for whom we have been waiting, will deliver/save us. Yea, for this Yahweh for whom we wait to (come) to us we rejoice/exult celebrating His delivering/saving us.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) "10 April 1944, I sometimes feel appalled at the thought of the sum total of human misery all over the world at the present moment: the millions parted, fretting, wasting in unprofitable days - quite apart from torture, pain, death, bereavement, injustice. If anguish were visible, almost the whole of this benighted planet would be enveloped in a dense dark vapor, shrouded from the amazed vision of the heavens! And the products of it all will be mainly evil - historically considered. But the historic version is, of course, not the only one. All things and all deeds have a value in themselves, apart from their "causes" and "effects." No man can estimate what is really happening sub specie aeternitatis. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success - in vain: preparing always the soil for unexpected good to sprout in. - from "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien". Okay, is this last hope what Isaiah 25:6-9 is announcing to people who have experienced what the whole rest of Tolkien's paragraph describes?

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