雙城記 A TALE OF TWO CITIES (以賽亞書 Isaiah 26:1-21)

讀經:  以賽亞書 廿六1~21

SCRIPTURE READING:                       Isaiah 26:1-21

釋義:  這篇詩歌是廿五章的延續和對比。上一章重複題說外邦強暴人的堅固城的敗落, 本章則介紹另一座供義人棲身的堅固城。除此以外, 以賽亞進一步將義人和惡人作比較, 解釋兩者有不同結果的原因。  

INSIGHT:         This song is a continuation and a contrast of chapter 25.   The previous chapter repeatedly spoke of the fall of the fortified city of the ruthless nation; whereas this chapter presents a fortified city for the righteous.  Apart from these, Isaiah goes one step further to compare the righteous and the wicked, explaining the reasons for the different endings.

兩座堅固城 — 以賽亞用幾乎與上一章完全相同的詞句來描述那座傾倒的城(5-6):「高城」(廿五12「高臺」同字根);「一併敗落」(廿五11); 「拆平直到塵埃」(廿五12); 「被踐踏」(廿五10)。至於另一座城(1-4), 是得救的預表。救恩為城牆和外郭, 意即進入裡面的就是得救的人。進入的條件是「守信」,先知隨即解釋信就是倚賴和倚靠。因為耶和華是永久磐石, 所以倚靠祂的人必定愁苦不動搖。

TWO FORTIFIED CITIES  – Isaiah uses almost the exact wording as in the previous chapter to describe the city that falls (5-6):   “lofty city” (25:12 same word root as  “the high fortifications of his walls”);  “lay low… together” (25:11);  “cast to the ground, to the dust” (25:12);  “be trampled down” (25:10).  As for the other city (1-4), it is the symbol of being saved.  “Salvation as walls and bulwarks” signifies that those who enter will be saved, and the condition for entry is “keeping faith”, which the prophet explains right away that it means staying on and trusting God.  For the Lord is an everlasting rock; those who trust Him will not be sad and will not sway.

義人和惡人 —  義人並非沒有瑕疵或不犯罪。他們雖倚靠神, 仍然「在你以外曾有別的主管轄我們」(13)、在神的「審判」(8)中受「懲罰」(16)、「在地上未曾行甚麼拯救的事(使人得救恩的善行或在救恩中應有的行為)」(18)。但義人勝過惡人的是他們保持一顆渴求神和救恩的心: 他們「等候」(8)、羨慕神的名(8,9)、「裡面的靈切切尋求」(9, 16)、「傾心吐膽禱告」(16)和「學習公義」(10)。  相對地, 惡人固然「行事不義」(10), 最可惡的還是剛愎自用、寧死不屈、堅拒神的拯救: 「以恩惠待惡人,他仍不學習公義……也不注意耶和華的威嚴」(10)、神「的手高舉,他們仍然不看」(11)。

THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED – The righteous are not without flaws or do not sin.  Although they trust God, yet “other lords besides you have ruled over us” (13);  they are “disciplined” (16) in God’s judgments (8), and  “we have not brought salvation to the earth (the good works for salvation or the behaviors that are worthy of salvation)” (18).  The righteous are better than the wicked in the sense that their hearts long for God and His salvation:  they “wait for” (8), and desire God’s name in their soul (8,9), “my spirit within me earnestly seeks you” (9,16), “pour out a whispered prayer” (16), and “learn righteousness” (10).  On the contrary, the wicked surely “deal corruptly” (10), but the most detestable is actually being stubborn, self-centered, and refusing to accept God’s deliverance:  “If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness… and does not see the majesty of the Lord.” (10);  “O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it.” (11).  

本章特別的神學教訓也承接廿五章的思想。上文預言基督受死, 「吞滅死亡直到永遠」, 先知在這裡接續這個觀念: 「死人要復活,屍首要興起。睡在塵埃的啊,要醒起歌唱!」這是舊約少數明確講論死後復活的經文(參結卅七11-12;但十二2)。

This chapter’s special theological teaching also follows the thoughts of chapter 25.  The previous chapter prophesized the death of Christ, “swallow up death forever”; the prophet carries on with this concept: “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.  You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!”  This is one of the few Old Testament scriptures that talk about resurrection explicitly (refer to Ezekiel 37:11, Daniel 12:2). 

「沒有渴望的人民是怯懦和愚笨的, 它不會有力量, 不會有勇氣, 不會有魄力, 不會有決心, 也不會有熱情。」    德薩米: 《公有法典》

“A nation without desires is cowardice and stupid.  It would not have strength; it would not have courage; it would not have energy; it would not have determination; nor would it have enthusiasm.”   –  Theodore Dezamy, Code de la Communaute

我們可以加上信仰的觀點: 沒有渴望神和得著恩典的心, 屬靈生命就 變得枯燥乏味。巴不得能夠像詩人那樣: 「神啊,我的心切慕你,如鹿切慕溪水。」(詩四二1)

We may interpret the above quote from a faith perspective:  A heart without the desires for God and His grace would make our spiritual life dry and boring.  How I long to be like the poet:  “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.“ (Psalm 42:1)

每日讀經 by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung