by Larry Fyffe
King Ahaz makes a deal with the Assyrians, already occupiers of parts of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in order to protect Judah from foes trying to conquer the southern kingdom; pays the Assyrians gold and silver, allows worship of their idols (David be the lusty King who spies Bathseba bathing on the roof of his palace).
The Judean/Assyrian alliance lasts sixteen years before it falls apart:
Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign And he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem And did not that which was right in the the sight Of the Lord his God, like David his father (II Kings 16: 2)
In the song lyrics below, the historical biblical times under which Isaiah lives are alluded to.
The prophet foretells of the coming invasion of Judah by the Assyrian Empire,
"and the stretching out of his wings"(Isaiah 8:8)
Sixteen years, sixteen Banners united over the field While the good shepherd grieves Desperate men, desperate women, divided Spreading their wings 'neath the falling leaves (Bob Dylan: Changing Of The Guards)
Prophet Isaiah foretells of the coming invasion of Judah by the Assyrian Empire, “and the stretching out of his wings” (Isaiah 8:8)
Isaiah figuratively interprets God’s message that’s delivered unto him ~ Yahweh expects any servant of His to follow His command as when to open the door to the coffers, and when to close it; symbolic of doing so with the door of Heaven.
Most importantly, it’s God decision alone to make, and the decision rendered is completely at His pleasure:
And the key to the House of David Will I lay upon his shoulder So he shall open, and none shall shut And he shall shut, and none will open (Isaiah 22: 22)
The narrator in the song lyrics below is really happy he receives a favorable judgement as to whether or not he can enter the door to Heaven ~ the door is open wide.
Rhetorically, he asks the Creator what He’d like in return; i.e., the narrator knows the answer is “love”:
Pulled me out of bandage And You made me renewed inside Filled up a hunger that had always been denied Opened up a door no man can shut And You opened it up so wide And You've chosen me to be among the few "What can I do for You?" (Bob Dylan: What Can I Do For You)
At least according to the opponents of the later rebellious prophet John Calvin (opponents like John Wesley who holds it a duty on the part of all faithful followers of God to please Him)’ Calvin insists that God’s already made up his mind who’ll be among the “chosen few”; rather mischievous is this Protestant Calvinist God ~ supposed repentance certainly not good enough to gain salvation, but God keeps his followers guessing as to exactly what is.
I Contain Multitudes (Part 6)
As already conjectured, the “Immanuel” referred to by prophet Isaiah might be the son of King Azah of Judea.
King Hezekiah does his best to undo the damage caused by his father’s alliance with the Assyrians; he fortifies the capital, smashes foreign idols, and closes the door to Judah’s coffers.
The Assyrians ferociously attack, but are unable to take Jerusalem.
Isaiah writes, or has it written down, that the Hebrew God is pleased, and so He casts a devastating plague upon the invading army led by King Sannacherib of Assyria.
Yahweh reverses His decision to severely punish the southern kingdom for its misdeeds.
Below, a poem by one of Bob Dylan’s favorite Romantics:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown Thar host on the morrow lay withered and strown (George Byron: The Destruction Of Sennacherib)
The Judeans are uplifted:
Spreading their wings 'neath falling leaves (Bob Dylan: Changing Of The Guards)
The song by the singer/songwriter/musician might be considered a codified biblical narrative concerning Isaiah’s prophecies ~ Judah portrayed as feminine when ruled by Apollo-like Ahaz; as masculine when ruled by his Jupiter-like son Hezekiah.
She's caught betwixt and between Apollo and Jupiter.
King Hezekiah is first compared to tough-minded Jove; there’s trouble behind; now there’s trouble ahead ~ the Babylonians are moving in next door.
The Judean king begins to look more like Apollo, the lyre-playing Sun-God, than he-man Jupiter:
She wakes him up Forty-eight hours later, the sun is breaking Near the broken chains, mountain laurels, and rolling rocks She's begging to know what measures he now will be taking He's pulling her down, and she's clinging onto his long golden locks (Bob Dylan: Changing Of The Guards)
Judah, personified as feminine, gets captured by Jupiter archetype King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon: he holds tightly the key that bolts her in Captivity.
An Apollo archtype Persian King Cyrus unbolts the door, and lets the Hebrews go back home to Judah.
Jupiter archetypes Roman Emperor Constantine and his wife make Christianity the state religion; a political tool to hold the Empire together without resorting to war.
Peace will come with splendor on the wheels of fire But will bring us no reward when her false idols fall A cruel death surrenders with its pale ghost retreating Between the King and Queen of Swords (Bob Dylan: Changing Of The Guards)
In the New Testament, Jesus gets painted the whitish colour of the Moon, the twin sister of mythological Apollo:
His head and his hairs were white like wool As white as snow And His eyes were as a flame of fire (Revelations 1:I4)
Obviously, the crucified Christ is no moon to be fooled with.
Jesus boasts that He doesn’t have the keys to the treasury, but says, “I” am eternally eternal:
“And have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).
As noted previously, Friedrich Nietzsche criticizes Christianity for its focus on death, and on what happens to us mere mortals in the Afterlife.