Crocodile, Serpent, Dragon in the Sea
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 27:1-13
Insight : This is the finale of the ‘Isaiah’s Apocalypse’, speaking of two ending scenarios:
敵神勢力的結局: 上一章既已預言天地的結局, 最後一節說神「刑罰」 世人的罪孽(廿六21), 接著的一節(即本章一節)說神要「刑罰」鱷魚、蛇和大魚, 很自然和合邏輯地推想它們是引人犯罪的罪魁禍首、魔鬼的象徵。
The ending of those against God’s power: The ending of the world had already been prophesied in the previous chapter where the last verse spoke of God punishing the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (26:21). The following verse (the first verse of this chapter) reveals that God will punish the crocodile, the serpent, and the dragon in the sea. Naturally and logically, these monsters are thought of as the culprit that seduced humans into sin, the symbol of the Devil.
雖然傳統的解釋有認為這些怪獸暗指當時威脅以色列人的兩個國家: 亞述和埃及。主要論點有:本章以「到那日……當那日」開始, 提到這些怪獸; 結束也是「到那日……當那日」, 但提到亞述和埃及。舊約有引述神與怪獸之間戰爭的古老神話,(例詩七十四13-14；八十九9-10)。怪獸以不同的名字稱為鱷魚(Leviathan，音譯為利韋亞坦), 拉哈伯(Rahab)、Yam(即希伯來文「海」),Nahar(即河流、洪水之希伯來文)及「海中的大魚」。海怪Yam被視等同為紅海, 而其戰敗則代表出埃及的釋放，其他地方拉哈伯被看作是埃及(例賽三十7), 神在紅海的勝利，結果祂便會永遠作王(出十五18), 正如在古老的神話中一樣。在本段經文的處境中，耶和華對利韋亞坦及海中的大魚的最後勝利，也同樣是代表了對以色列敵人的勝利，故此「在亞述地將要滅亡的……」也能回到錫安(13)。如果拉哈伯是埃及，那麼可把利韋亞坦視為亞述。
Traditionally, these monsters were interpreted as the two nations that threatened the Israelites at the time, Assyria and Egypt. The major arguments for it include: First, this chapter starts with ‘In that day… In that day’ when talking about the monsters, and ends with ‘In that day… in that day’ also, yet mentioning Assyria and Egypt. Second, there are references in the Old Testament regarding the ancient myth of the war between God and monsters (example, Psalm 74:13-14, 89:9-10) with different names – crocodile (Leviathan), Rahab, Yam (sea in Hebrew), Nahar (river or flood in Hebrew), and “dragon in the sea”; sea monster Yam is considered the equivalent of the Red Sea, and its defeat represents the deliverance out of Egypt; in other places, Rahab is thought of as Egypt (example, Isaiah 30:7); as a result of God’s victory in the Red Sea, He reigns forever (Exodus 15:18), exactly as in the ancient myth. In the same way, God’s final victory over Leviathan and the dragon in the sea in the scenario of this chapter symbolizes victory over Israel’s enemies. Therefore, “those who were lost in the land of Assyria…” can also return to Zion (13). If Rahab is Egypt, Leviathan may be looked at as Assyria.
However, Revelation 12:9 says: “The great dragon was thrown down, that serpent, who is called the devil and Satan”. So, without any doubt, the monster represents the evil power against God.
神葡萄園的結局: 2-6節可以說是以賽亞書的第二首葡萄園之歌。這首新葡萄園之歌與舊的那首(五1-7) 截然不同,並且明顯是要來作一比較。 正如第一首歌，本詩也是以葡萄園如何獲得照顧而開始，並以葡萄園等同雅各與以色列作結(6;五7)。另一方面第四節卻是相反觀念, 神並不忿怒；葡園園出產上好的酒(2)；現在再沒有荊棘蒺藜,無需交戰與焚燒。新葡萄園將不但沒有了苦毒與流血，而其特徵將會是保護、和平和成功(5-6)。
The ending of God’s vineyard: Verse 2 – 6 can be regarded as the second song of the vineyard. This new song is strikingly different from the old one (5:1-7), and is obviously here for a comparison. Like the first one, this poem also starts with how the vineyard is taken care of, and ends with the vineyard paralleling Jacob and Israel (6, 5:7). Contrary to the first song, the second song presents the opposite outlook in verse 4 that God is not angry, and the vineyard produces fine wine; now there are no more thorns and briers to battle; not only will there be no more bitterness and blood in the new vineyard, it will be characterized by the protection it receives, as well as its peace and success (5-6).
The prophet expresses his faith, trusting God’s power to overcome sin, enemies, stop droughts and famines, restrain wickedness, and forgive sins. More captivating than this way of expression? This type of prophecy points to Creator who is constantly working in our lives.
耶和華既然作王, 祂的旨意通行化無阻, 那麼「無論是死、是生、是天使、是掌權的，是有能的、是現在的事、是將來的事，是高處的、是低處的、是別的受造之物」(羅八38-39)都不能將他打敗和消除祂對我們的愛。
Because the Lord reigns, His will is accomplished without hindrance. Therefore, “ Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, ” (Romans 8:38-39) will be able to defeat Him or take away His love for us.
每日讀經 by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung