The call to God (Joel 2:17-2:17)

“Between the vestibule

And the altar,

Let the priests,

The ministers of Yahweh,

Weep!

Let them say!

‘Spare your people!

O Yahweh!

Do not make your heritage

A mockery!

Do not let it be

A byword among the nations!

Why should it be said

Among the people?

‘Where is their God?’”

Joel wanted the temple priests, the minister of Yahweh, to deliver a prayer to Yahweh between the altar and the vestibule, in the open court. They were to weep and ask God to spare them. They did not want the heritage of Yahweh to be a mockery or a byword among the various countries. There should never be a question about their God. Yahweh should show himself during this time of the locust plagues.

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Do not take the idols to heart! (Ezek 14:7-14:8)

“Any one of the house of Israel,

Or of the aliens

Who reside in Israel,

Who separate themselves

From me,

By taking their idols

Into their hearts,

Place their iniquity

As a stumbling block

Before them.

Yet they come

To a prophet

To inquire of me

By him.

I,

Yahweh,

Will answer them

Myself.

I will set my face

Against them.

I will make them

A sign,

A byword.

I will cut them off

From the midst

Of my people.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh repeated himself. He left no doubt about his feelings. Anyone from the house of Israel, or those foreigners living in Israel who followed the Israelite law, who separated themselves from Yahweh, would receive a direct response from Yahweh. Their iniquity or wickedness of putting idols before Yahweh would be a stumbling block in their relationship. Why had they come to see the prophet? Yahweh would speak directly with them. They would become a sign and a byword, as they would be separated from the Israelite community. They would be cast out and shunned, because they would be cut off from the other Israelites. They should soon realize that Yahweh was God, and no one else.

Job proclaims his terrible situation (Job 17:6-17:10)

“He has made me a byword of the peoples.

I am one before whom men spit.

My eye has grown dim from grief,

All my members are like a shadow.

Upright men are appalled at this.

The innocent men stir themselves up against the godless.

Yet the righteous men hold to their way.

They that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.

But you,

Come back now.

All of you,

I shall not find a sensible person among you.”

Job has become a byword, a fable, or a symbol for the people. People spit at him. His eyes are failing. His body is a shadow of what it once was. Upright people are appalled at him. The innocent and righteous people hold their own, as their clean hands grow stronger each day. However, among the friends of Job, he could not find a sensible man.