make your shade like night
at the height of noon;
hide the outcasts,
do not betray the fugitive;
let the outcasts of
settle amongst you;
be a refuge to them
from the destroyer.”
~Isaiah 16:3-4 (NRSV).
Words of comfort, out of the judgment of God. These are difficult words to exegete indeed; that is, even scholars find deciphering these verses impossible with complete surety.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t dwell inside this tortuous word to glean good meaning.
For what we read is tremendous empathy, and that’s only appropriate. Despite the history of the Moabite, the forlorn and contrite spirit—bereft of home—compels us to comfort them.
The destitute traveller is often quite close to home—so far as coming before God’s Presence is concerned. When we’re desperate, then we reach for God in our midst.
It is the grandest feature of the Lord Almighty, and mirrored by righteous royalty through the ages, that the poor, maimed, spiritually bankrupt are cared for, because their means cannot manage it. That is resplendent
The Faint Hopes of the Genuine Refugee Must Be Heard
There are different kinds of refugees. The one in sight here is the one in real need; the one looking for solace and prepared to accept whatever mercy is coming, in thankfulness. (The refugee not in sight here is the barbaric one.)
Again, the heart is shut up against the priory of submitting fear, and only grace can release it.
The actual interpretation of the first five verses of Isaiah 16—despite its interpretative difficulties—is
We see this in our day too.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Derek Kidner, “Isaiah” in New Bible Commentary (Inter-Varsity Press, 1953, 1954, 1970, 1994), p. 644.
J. Alec Moyter, The Prophesy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993), pp. 151-52.