Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Queerying Narrative Lectionary 111

ID: Evgeniy Vuchetich's "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares" sculpture at the United Nations headquarters in New York. To the right of the image is a green box with the following text: "Narrative Lectionary/Year 1-November 20 2022/Swords into Plowshares/Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7, Isaiah 2:1-4" followed by the logo.
Pace Warfield-May queeries the Narrative Lectionary readings.

Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7; then Isaiah 2:1-4
36:1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria rose up against all the defended cities of Judah and captured them all. 2The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish with a massive army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He stood waiting by an entry to the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 3And Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, all came out to him.


13Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, ‘Hear the words of the great king of Assyria! 14Thus says the king: “Do not let your lowly King Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Becoming One by saying, The Becoming One will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 15Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: “Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will be free to eat the fruits of your labor and till your own land and drink your own water, 17until I colonize your land and take you instead to a land like your own land, but my land, but do not worry, it will still be abundant in fruit and fields and water. 18Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, the Becoming One will save us. Have any of the gods of the other nations I've colonized saved their land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20Who among all the gods of these countries have saved their countries and kept them out of my hand, that the Becoming One you worship should save Jerusalem out of my hand?”’


37:1When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Becoming One, (which was a thing people apparently did in this time period to show humility before the Becoming One, like, this wasn't just Hezekiah having strange vibes). And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all of them covered with their matching sackcloth aesthetic, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children are about to be born, and yet there is no strength leftover to raise them. 4It may be that the Becoming One the Divine heard the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Becoming One the Divine has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’
5When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, ‘Say to your master, “Thus says the Becoming One: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7I myself will put a defeating spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and while there, I will cause him to be taken out by the sword in his own land.”’


2:1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2In the days to come
the mountain of the Becoming One's house
shall be made to be the highest of all the mountains
and shall be raised above the hills,
and all the nations shall be like a river running toward it.

3Many people will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Becoming One,
to the house of the God of Jacob, Rebecca, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah,
that Xe may teach us Xyr ways
and that we may journey along Xyr paths."
For the law shall flow out from Zion,
and the word of the Becoming One shall pour out from Jerusalem.

4The Divine shall judge between the nations,
and provide guidance between people for all disputes;
all people will beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation will no longer fight against nation,
and nations will learn war no more.

Queeries for the text:
What is this building on? What is missing from this passage? Why was it left out and why the strange ordering?
What is the companion text?
Where is this headed?
What does it mean for children to be born with no strength left to raise them?
How is water important for the future of Zion?
What would a future without war look like?

What are your queeries?

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