Reading Isaiah After the Immolation of the Celtic Tiger II

6 A man will seize one of his brothers
in his father’s house, and say,
“You have a cloak, you be our leader;
take charge of this heap of ruins!”

This is an interesting feature of the end. What is going on here? A man seizes his brother in his father’s house which is already a place of ruins.

Is this a son usurping the generational respect supposed to be afforded to his father?

A man is ‘seized’ for leadership, is this desperation for anyone to lead?

The only qualification for leadership is the possession of a cloak. Is this because it was a society who measured a person by what they possessed? Again this prefigures what will come later in the chapter.

The family home may be in ruins, but a pretence of wealth and responsibility can still be maintained because he has a coat.

How does the father feel, sitting in his heap of ruins, watching his sons wrestle over who can throw off responsibility? Is he immobilised by shame? By guilt that he and his generation has brought the nation to this state? Or the pain of watching his hapless children fail to cope with their roles?

Is this family scene being repeated at all levels of the nation?

7 But in that day he will cry out,
“I have no remedy.
I have no food or clothing in my house;
do not make me the leader of the people.”

There is no remedy. The man seized for leadership claims that despite the fact that he possesses a fine cloak he can’t feed his family. The cloak simply covers a deceit, a pretence that all is well. If he cannot, despite appearances, provide for his own family, don’t make him a leader of the nation.


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