8 Jerusalem staggers,
Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the LORD,
defying his glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces testifies against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They have brought disaster upon themselves.
There is no-one to blame but ourselves. Our own choices have caused us to stagger and fall. And we can no longer hide it. And now we defy Yahweh by our actions, making the poor pay for the greedy actions of the unimaginably wealthy.
10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
How difficult it is to hold on to this promise in the midst of calamity, while the whole nation receives the fruit of their deeds. Can we really say that righteous deeds will bring their own fruit? They have to, for there is nothing else bearing fruit to enjoy.
11 Woe to the wicked!
Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back
for what their hands have done.
Is this true in Ireland today? Is it? Are not the wicked getting away with what their hands have done? Have many senior bankers are in prison? How many have even lost their jobs? What about our politicians? Is the lack of justice and fairness in our solutions not a hint that our solutions should be questioned?
12 Youths oppress my people,
women rule over them.
Recognising that Isaiah was writing to a strongly patriarchal society, this fact was a cause of deep shame. The men squabbled, no-one would take responsibility (v6), so they were led by women and children. Leaving aside contemporary sensibilities on gender roles, we know what it is to have leaders who are a source of national shame.
With no heroes or warriors worth their salt (v2), and no captains of fifty or men of rank (v3) mere callow youths could oppress a nation. Today it’s nameless and faceless investors and bond holders, and we have no heroes.
My people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path.
No surprise there for anyone in Ireland!