Reading Isaiah After the Immolation of the Celtic Tiger I

Last night I heard of the deal done to bail out Ireland. No wonder EU officials were delighted with the deal. Not in them any conscience for the vulnerable who will bear the brunt of paying for the deal – money that no doubt they will borrow for considerably less than they charge us. I’m also reading the prophet Isaiah, and found chapter three to be painfully familiar.

So this week, in my frustration ad anger, I want to reproduce the chapter here with one or two contemporary comments for Ireland. I can be fairly accused of doing this too late. Isaiah had the foresight to read the signs of his times and warn. I only reflect in hindsight. But maybe if we read the prophet in this way, his writing that brought hope to Israel may also be of significance for us in what lies ahead. So what follows is a walk through chapter three and, if I can work up the energy and the hope, maybe a similar walk through a different chapter next week.

Chapter three is the sign of the collapse of a society. Elsewhere we will find resources for the restructuring of the same society. So here we go.

Isaiah 3

1 See now, the Lord,

the LORD Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
both supply and support:

Here is the warning given at the beginning of the collapse of a society. It is the work of God to give but also to take. All supply and support, how interesting is that in the context of recent weeks when the supply of money and the ‘support’ of the EU and the IMF has been such a focus for the nation. Interesting too that in the context of what is to follow, ‘supply and support’ and the masculine and feminine forms of the same word. It heralds a judgment that falls on men and women alike.

all supplies of food and all supplies of water,

Ours is a more sophisticated society I guess. We don’t fear famine or drought in this crisis. The supplies we worry about are lines of credit. Those making decisions on our behalf see money supply as the real problem. It echoes the initial lie on the evening back in September 2008 when the banks said their difficult was a problem of cash flow and not solvency. Now, whilst supplies haven’t disappeared they come at such a price that they may as well be.

Instead of Yahweh taking all supplies, the great god Market has shut us out of the bond bazaar.

One of the results is that undoubtedly some in Ireland will go without supplies of food and supplies of water. Indeed many have, and in many places, particularly in the West, the infrastructure has been unable to cope with the demands of unrestrained develop. Don’t drink the water is, shamefully, a command all too commonly heard in recent years.

2 the hero and the warrior,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

4 “I will make mere youths their officials;
children will rule over them.”

Not only a crisis of supply, but a crisis of leadership. Forget about national heroes, the country even lacks ordinary warriors to defend national sovereignty.

There is no-one to do justice and practice righteousness.

There is no local wisdom or local government.

No local labour to be relied on. Not even any cute hoor entrepreneurs.

Only those utterly unsuited to leadership assume positions of responsibility.

5 People will oppress each other—
man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the nobody against the honored.

The result is a society based on survival, even if that means progressing by climbing on the back of your neighbour. There is no longer any respect for the old or the wise among us. A woman or man of integrity is opposed at every turn.


1 thought on “Reading Isaiah After the Immolation of the Celtic Tiger I

  1. Excellent.

    “Not only a crisis of supply, but a crisis of leadership”.

    Ryan Tubridy said the other day that, after 100s of radio interviews with people what they were desperate for and wanted most was leadership.

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