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21 And when you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
'This is the way, walk in it'
22 Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images.
You will scatter them like filthy rags;
you will say to them,
'Away with you!'
1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear,
for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name,
you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
from Brueggemann (2)
pp 52, 53
'The oracle is sounded around the double "Do not fear" of verses 1 and 5, an assurance designed to overcome Israel's sense of exilic abandonment.
…"I have called you by name" is perhaps an adoption formula.'
and on page 54: Claus Westermann comments on this remarkable imagery:
"A tiny, miserable and insignificant band of uprooted men and women are assured that they — precisely they — are the people to whom God has turned in love; they, just as they are, are dear and precious in his sight. And think who says this — the lord of all powers and authorities, of the whole of history and of all creation! (Isaiah 40-66, 118)"