Isaiah 60 – The Dawn of Zion’s Glory & The Offering of King Ashyahu

ThinkingYesterday we talked about why Jesus prayed and fasted when He had never sinned and of course He didn’t have to confess about anything.  Yet, even though He never sinned, He was human and even He needed help from God:

1 Sheba The Ancient Empire
Sheba: The Ancient Empire
Sheba is a kingdom mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Quran. Sheba features in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, particularly Ethiopian Christian, traditions. It was the home of the biblical “Queen of Sheba”, who is left unnamed in the Bible, but receives the names Makeda in Ethiopian and Bilqīs in Arabic tradition.

The predominant scholarly view is that the biblical narrative about the kingdom of Sheba was based on the ancient civilization of Saba in South Arabia, in contradiction to several local traditions from different countries. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman write that “the Sabaean kingdom began to flourish only from the eighth century BCE onward” and that the story of Solomon and Sheba is “an anachronistic seventh-century set piece meant to legitimize the participation of Judah in the lucrative Arabian trade.”

The British Museum states that there is no archaeological evidence for such a queen but that the kingdom described as hers was Saba, “the oldest and most important of the South Arabian kingdoms”. Kenneth Kitchen dates the kingdom to between 1200 BCE until 275 CE with its capital, Ma’rib.

The kingdom fell after a long but sporadic civil war between several Yemenite dynasties claiming kingship, resulting in the rise of the late Himyarite Kingdom.

“And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt 17:16-21).

1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

“Hear shall fear and be enlarged” – or “heart shall be in new and enlarged with joy”; positive, not negative – the joy and thrill of experiencing God’s blessing.

6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.

7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.

11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

2 Bukit Batu Pahat temple
The Bukit Batu Pahat Temple is from the ancient Hindu-Buddhist Malay Kingdom on the grounds of Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum in Merbok, Kedah. The site is home to Malaysia’s oldest civilisations dating back to more than 1,500 years.

14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15 Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

“Suck the breast of kings” – Jerusalem will receive the very best nourishment, the “forces (wealth) of the Gentiles” (v. 5).

17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

3 Kedah Sultante
Kedah Sultanate
The Kedah Sultanate is a Muslim dynasty located in the Malay Peninsula. Originally an independent state, it became a British Protectorate in 1909. Its monarchy was abolished after it was added to the Malayan Union but was restored and added to the Malayan Union’s successor, the Federation of Malaya.

The information regarding the formation of this sultanate and the history before and after its creation comes from the “Kedah Annals”. The Kedah Annals were written in the eighteenth century, over a millennium after the formation of the Kedah Kingdom.

It describes the first king of Kedah as arriving on the shores of Kedah as a result of an attack by a mythical gigantic beast. It states that the nation was founded by the offspring of Alexander the Great; who maintained ties with Rome throughout his reign (oddly two centuries after the decline of the Roman Empire due to sacks by the Visigoths and Vandals in 410 and 455).

“Sun…moon” – according to Rev 21:13; 22:5 their light will no longer be needed in the new Jerusalem since the Lamb will be the everlasting “light.”

20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

“Sun shall no more go down” – there will be no night there (Rev 22:5) but only the light of joy and salvation.

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

“People…shall be all righteous” – only the redeemed will be there (Rev 21:27).

22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.

The Offering of King Ashyahu

Isaiah 60:9 describes the expectation that one day the ships of Tarshish would come bringing silver and gold to honor the God or Israel.  “Tarshish” may have been either in Spain or in Sardinia, and the “hammered silver…brought from Tarshish” (Jer 10:9) was imported silver of high value.

An ostracon dated through paleography to around the time of King Josiah (640-609 B.C.) reads, “So King Ashyahu has commanded you to give by the agency of Zakaryahu silver of Tarshish for the house of the LORD: three shekels.  “But who was Ashyahu?

The names of Hebrew kings sometimes had elements inverted.  For example, the name Ahaziah (2 Kgs 8:25) was inverted to Jehoahaz in 2 Chr 21:7

Both names mean “Yahweh holds,’ but in Ahaziah the word for “holds” is first and “Yahweh” is second (in the ending “-iah”), while in Jehoahz “Yahweh” is first (as “Jeho-“) and “holds” (“-ahaz”) comes second.

Ashyahu could be an inverted form of Joash, king of Judah (640-609 B.C.).  Zakaryahu was probably the Zechariah of 2 Chr 35:8, a temple administrator in Josiah’s reign, and the ostracon seems to be a receipt for the offering.

When Isaiah prophesied that one day Gentiles would bring the silver of Tarshish to Yahweh’s temple he was alluding to a means of honoring God that was already being practiced in his own day by his own people.

From what I’ve read in the Bible and talking to You it’s quite clear that only You can forgive sin. But the Catholics are telling everyone that they can forgive sin too, they even say that it is better if people confess their sins to them instead of to You.  I want to talk about that tomorrow?

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