What is the meaning of a remote context and how can it be delineated? Are there clues for demarcating an immediate context? Once the boundaries of the text are defined, do we have elements in the text that can help one determine the literary genre?
This solution will focus on the literary aspects of the passage. The large context of Isa 30 will be studied in order to delimit its remote context, and afterward we will isolate verses 18-26 from the rest of chapter.
We will also consider the form with which the prophet transmitted the text thus examining its stylistic feature. We will try to frame the passage thereby using a thematic method of outlining. This will help us trace the themes contained in the passage.
The whole of Isaiah 30 is based on a pattern of a judgment speech pronounced by the prophet and that of a salvation speech equally. In the first part of the chapter we have an oracle of judgment, and then the oracle of salvation full of hope follows.
Even though the text of Isa 30:18-26 is part of the background of lamentation, it differs from the rest of the context for its high tone of consolation. It starts with a gracious tenor quite different from the former pericope and it also ends with a consoling sentence. The following text (verses 27-33) starts with a tone of anger. Verses 18-26 can be considered an oracle since the whole of chapter 30 bears the nature of an oracle.
1. The Context
Isa 30 is situated in the so-called part of requiem for the kingdom of Judah. Chapters 28-33 are characterized by the onomatopoeic "hoy" (i.e. an exclamation that includes pity or sympathy which is generally translated as "woe") of lamentation (cf. 28:1; 29:1,15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1). The "hoy" distinguishes these chapters from other surrounding material and they also focus on Jerusalem and on Assyrian threat.
a) The Remote Context
The text of Isa 30 can be divided into three parts: verses 1-17; 18-26; 27-33. The first part starts with "hoy" to the rebellious children. And it then states the motive of the "hoy": they appealed to Egypt for help during the Assyrian disturbance. Since the people themselves did not appeal for help but the rulers, the "hoy" is especially for the governing system. They did not give heed to the instructions of the Holy One, for this they will be punished. In verse 15 the Lord gives them a chance: "in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength". Even this assurance they refused and preferred human alliance.
Then comes the second part. Notwithstanding the rebellion and refusal, the Lord longs to be gracious to his people and promises them a future salvation which will have cosmological effects. The third part starts with God's anger and his manifestation on his ...
This solution intends to give a detailed literary analysis of Isa 30:18-26. Since a text could be well understood only if the context is delimited and the division well done, I intend to give the students an idea of how to solve some literary difficulties that some passages present. We will find the remote context of the text and also the immediate context. This will help us find the right structure for the pericope. The literary genre of the passage will not be neglected.