異像谷 THE VALLEY OF VISION (以賽亞書 Isaiah 22:1-14)

讀經:  賽廿二1~14

SCRIPTURE READING:   Isaiah 22:1-14

釋義:  「異像谷」指耶路撒冷, 因為耶路撒冷是位於幾個山谷之中, 故在地形上, 便是一個山谷。稱呼「異像谷」, 可能因為以賽亞就在這山谷中得著神啟示他的異像; 更可能的,耶路撒冷是神異像的核心, 所以這山谷稱為「異像的谷」。

INSIGHT:  “The valley of vision” is referring to Jerusalem; because Jerusalem is surrounded by several valleys. So, based on its terrain, it is a valley. Referred to as “the valley of vision”, perhaps it is where Isaiah received the vision from God. But a more likely explanation is that Jerusalem is the core of God’s vision, hence the title “the valley of vision”.

本章所講論的, 主要是指主前七○一年亞述王西拿基立圍攻耶路撒冷城一事。  「積聚下池的水」(9)是希西家造了一個水池與一條隧道, 預備西拿基立圍攻時作持久戰(參王下廿20)。  「修補城牆」(10) 指希西家在代下卅二5記載的防禦工程。

The background of this chapter mainly is the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 BC. “The waters of the lower pool“ (9) is the water brought in by the pool and the conduit built by Hezekiah as preparation for a persistent battle against Sennacherib’s siege (refer to 2 Kings 20:20). “Fortify the wall” (10) refers to Hezekiah’s defense initiative recorded in 2 Chronicles 32:5.

但「那日」(12)也遙指主前五八八至五八六年尼布甲尼撒最後一次圖城, 終於進行全面毀滅。「你們中間被殺的並不是被刀殺,也不是因打仗死亡」(2)預言巴比倫人圍城時, 耶路撒冷人因疾病和饑荒而死。  「長官一同逃跑」指那時西底家與他的軍隊逃離耶路撒冷, 卻在耶利哥附近被俘(王下廿五4-6)。

But “that day” (12) pertains to the prediction of a different event, the final massacre by  Nebuchadnezzar in 588 – 586 BC that results in total destruction of the city. “Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle” (2) prophesies people of Jerusalem dying from diseases and famines during the Babylonian siege. “All your leaders have fled together“ (3) refers to the escape of Zedekiah and his army which, however, ends with their capture near Jericho (2 King 25:4-6).

這段聖經最令人心驚膽戰的是:「萬軍之耶和華親自默示我說:  『這罪孽直到你們死,斷不得赦免!』」(14)以賽亞指出這罪孽的兩方面:不仰望神(11)。  他們寧願仰望逃跑的官長理(3)、林庫的軍器(8) 和企圖用自己力量築城蓄水(10-11), 「卻不仰望做這事的主,也不顧念從古定這事的。」  不投靠救恩, 自然罪不得赦免。頑梗不聽從神的招呼(12-13)。  神叫人哭泣哀號、剃頭、披麻布, 要求人表示為罪痛悔。誰知耶路撒冷城的行徑竟與巴比倫一樣(見廿一5), 危難當頭仍然荒宴玩樂,說:「我們吃喝吧!因為明天要死了。」  神不能拯救自暴自棄的人。

The most frightening thing in this passage is:  ‘The LORD of hosts has revealed Himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”‘ (14) Isaiah points out two aspects of the iniquity:   i) Not looking to God (11) — They would rather look to the fleeing leaders (3) and weapons of the House of the Forest (8); and they use their own strength to attempt to build reservoirs to store water (10-11);  “But you did not look to Him who did it, or see Him who planned it long ago.”   Failure to rely on God’s grace consequently leads to one’s sin unatoned for.  ii) Obstinacy and not following God’s calling (12-13) — God calls for people to weep, mourn, shave their heads, and wear sackcloth to express their repentance of sins. Who would have thought that Jerusalem’s way is no different from Babylon’s (see 21:5)?   Despite imminent calamity, the people of Jerusalem indulge themselves in feasts and revelries, saying, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (13)   God cannot save people who give up on themselves and engage in self-destructive behaviors.

Emil L. Fackenheim 研究猶太人的宗教經驗, 發現在他們歷來遭遇的眾多痛苦中, 唯一支持他們奮鬥下去的, 便是對彌賽亞的盼望。  神曾對他們祖先應許會賜下彌賽亞, 拯救民族脫離苦境, 這是他們的盼望和出路。  他們必須謹守信仰, 在艱難險惡的環境中堅持著, 更不可灰心喪志。  他們必須常存盼望, 因為神命令他們對未來存有盼望。

Emil L. Fackenheim studied the experience of the Jewish religion and found that, in the midst of their painful experiences, the only thing that sustains them is the hope of the Messiah.  God has made a promise to their forefathers to send the Messiah to deliver them from oppression and suffering; and this is their hope and their way out.  They must be faithful, persevere through hardships, and most importantly, must not be discouraged.  They must remain hopeful always, because God commands them to hold out hope for their future.

我們面對試煉和苦難, 即使是犯罪的後果, 總不可放棄回到神的施恩座前求幫助。因為不是罪, 而是自暴自棄令人與神的赦罪隔絕。

When we face trials and sufferings, even as a result of sins, never give up going in front of God’s throne of grace to ask for help.  For it is not sin, but giving up and self-destruction that is cutting us off from the atonement of God.

每日讀經  by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung