三國誌 RECORDS OF THREE KINGDOMS (以賽亞書 Isaiah 17:1-14)

讀經:  賽十七1~14

SCRIPTURE READING:  Isaiah 17:1-14

釋義:  本章的標題是論大馬色的默示(1),內容卻包括以法蓮(3;指以色列國)及雅各(4;指猶大國), 所以本章預言涉及三個接鄰的國家。

INSIGHT:  The title of this chapter is an oracle concerning Damascus (1); yet the contents include Ephraim (3; refers to the kingdom of Israel) and Jacob (4; refers to the kingdom of Judah); so the prophecy of this chapter involves three neighboring nations.

這三個小國位於兩個古代近東強國之間(地中海南的埃及和米所波大米兩河流域的亞述/巴比倫),經常受到它們的侵犯和欺壓,所以政治游移不定,有時一國靠攏某強國而排擠他邦, 有時卻與另一國組成聯盟以抗衡霸權。以賽亞發表本章預言時,應是主前七三五至七三三年間, 乃亞蘭與以法蓮同盟危機的時期。當時亞蘭(首都大馬色)與以色列結為聯盟反對猶大(參上文七至八章)。一至三節(特別是第三節)對亞蘭和以色列的預言, 在先知宣講後不久應驗:亞蘭果於主前七三三年被亞述王提拉毘列色三世所滅。而在主前七二二年,以色列亡於亞述王撒珥根(王下17:6)手上。

These three small nations were located between two powerful countries in ancient Near East (Egypt, south of the Mediterranean; and Assyria/Babylon, along Mesopotamia within the Tigris-Euphrates river system). They were often invaded and oppressed by them, and therefore in constant political turmoil. At times one nation joined with another to push the other out; other times one allied with another to challenge the hegemony.  Isaiah proclaimed the prophecy, around 735 – 733 BC, in the midst of the crisis of the alliance between Aram and Ephraim.  At that time, Aram (capital Damascus) and Israel formed an alliance to resist Judah (reference previous notes on chapter 7 – 8).  The prophecy regarding Aram and Israel in verse 1 – 3 (especially verse 3) was fulfilled not long after the prophet proclaimed it – Aram was conquered by Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 BC; and in 722 BC, Israel fell to Assyrian king Sargon (2 King 17:6).

第四節開始, 預言對象轉到雅各(猶大)。雖然本章開始時提到大馬色(即亞蘭國)和以法蓮(以色列國)的遭遇, 但本章預言主體(4-14)卻是講論猶大國運。她與亞蘭/以色列聯盟國有類似的情況: 城邑被撇棄 (1-2,9);各自提及「剩下」的人(3,6)和「榮耀」(3,4)。她們被神責罰的原因極清楚:「因你忘記救你的神,不記念你能力的磐石」(10)。

Starting from verse 4, the subject of the prophecy switches to Jacob (Judah). Although the beginning of the chapter mentions the fate of Damascus (Aram) and Ephraim (the kingdom of Israel), the main body of the prophecy (4-14) is about the fate of the kingdom of Judah. Her situation is similar to the Aram/Israel alliance – The cities are deserted (1-2, 9); each of their “remnant” (3,6) and “glory” (3,4) are mentioned.  The reason for them to be punished by God is clear: “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge” (10).

先知突顯猶大與其他國家不同的遭遇: 亞蘭、所有列邦、甚至以色列, 他們的結局是「消滅、不再有、沒有了」(3,14); 但猶大雖然受罰遭擊打至體無完膚, 卻不致滅沒。先知用三個比喻(4-6)來形容這審判:身體日益消瘦的比喻;收穫的比喻;打橄欖樹的比喻。雖然這個審判極其嚴厲,但不會使以法蓮完全滅絕,從「在儘上的枝梢上,只剩兩三個果子」和「在多果樹的旁枝上,只剩四五個果子」這兩句話中,可以看出先知再次提醒神要保留餘民的神學主題。說明「然而你大發憐憫,不全然滅絕他們,也不丟棄他們;因為你是有恩典、有憐憫的神。」(尼九31)

The prophet then points out the difference between the fate of Judah and that of other nations – For Aram, all other nations, even Israel, their ending is described as  “disappear“  and  “no more” (3, 14); yet Judah, though punished severely, will not be destroyed completely. The prophet uses three metaphors (4-6) to describe the judgment:  i) the body slimming down;  ii) harvesting the ears;  iii) beating an olive tree.  Although the judgment is harsh, he will not annihilate Judah.  From these two phrases, “two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree”, we can see that the prophet reminds us that God will leave a remnant, making clear that “Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:31)

人為什麼會忘恩負義?

Why are people ungrateful?

只消對什麼事物失去了興趣, 就會把它忘記。  歌德,《格言和感想集》

“When you lose interest in anything, you also lose the memory for it.”  — Goethe, Maxims and Reflections

如果一個人深入思考所讀課文的內容, 那麼雖然他並沒有努力去記住材料, 而材料卻能很容易地印入並牢固地保持在記憶裡。  贊科夫,《和教師的談話》

“If a person thinks through the content of the text he read, although he has not tried

hard to memorize the material, yet the material can easily be imprinted and stored in

the memory.” — Zankov, Conversations with Teachers

請你立願:「我永不忘記你的訓詞,因你用這訓詞將我救活了。」(詩一一九93)

Please pledge, “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me

life.”  — (Psalm 119:93)

每日讀經  by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung