Thank you for the valuable insight and commentary you presented in this article. I have long believed that people who interpret the phrase you discussed as referencing the Lord’s mercy are reading Isaiah with rose-colored glasses instead of clear vision.
There are however several ideas pertinent to the discussion that were completely overlooked. The first and most important is that the Lord is not a vindictive emotion-driven individual who delights in punishing people because he’s angry. The headlined phrase was correctly identified as a synonymous parallelism, indicating that anger and hand are synonymously parallel elements. However, these elements were not correctly identified as metaphorical pseudonyms for the Lord’s agents who actually carry out His punitive directive. Isa 8:6-7 and Isa 10:5-7 identify the King of Assyria as the type of the agent who delivers the punishment to “these people” which is the disparaging concept Isaiah uses to identify the Lord’s disloyal people. That the headlined phrase is iterated five times indicates the severity and duration of the action.
Secondly, the Lord’s disobedient disloyal people are not the only objects of His wrath. Chapters 13-23 outline the destruction of elements of society identified as Babylon, a word which collectively identifies all the wicked people of the earth.
Thirdly, Isaiah’s prophesied destruction is a type of what will occur during the Lord’s apocalyptic Day of Judgment.
Thank you. I have often wondered what that expression meant.
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