Jerusalem and Judah (Zech 1:12-1:14)

“Then the angel of Yahweh

Said.

‘O Yahweh of hosts!

How long will you

Withhold your mercy

From Jerusalem?

How long will you

Withhold your mercy

From the cities of Judah?

You have been angry

These seventy years.’

Yahweh replied

With gracious words,

With comforting words,

To the angel

Who talked with me.

Then the angel

Who talked with me,

Said to me.

‘Proclaim this message!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

I am very jealous

For Jerusalem,

For Zion.’”

Now the angel of Yahweh spoke about the problems of Jerusalem and Judah.  Why had Yahweh been angry at these places for 70 years?  This was approximately the time between the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE and then 520 BCE.  However, Yahweh replied to the angel with gracious and comforting words.  Then the angel of Yahweh turned to Zechariah.  He told him to proclaim a message that Yahweh of hosts was jealous about Jerusalem and Zion.  They were not going to be abandoned.

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Yahweh was going to destroy Gog and his army (Ezek 38:3-38:4)

“Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

I will turn you around!

I will put hooks

Into your jaws.

I will lead you out

With all your army,

Horses,

Horsemen,

All clothed

In full armor,

A great company,

All of them

With bucklers,

With shields,

Wielding swords.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to give Gog a message. How he was going to do this is not clear. Nevertheless, Yahweh God was against Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Yahweh was going to turn back Gog and put hooks into his jaws. This was not only going to happen to him, but also his whole army, their horses, their cavalry, their armored soldiers, and those with bucklers, shields, and swords. No one would be spared.

The comparisons of a fool (Prov 26:4-26:12)

“Do not answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise you will be a fool yourself.

Answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise they will be wise in their own eyes.

To send a message by a fool is

Like cutting off one’s foot,

Like drinking down violence.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like legs of a disabled person that hang limp.

To give honor to a fool is

Like binding a stone in a sling.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like a thorn bush brandished

By the hand of a drunkard.

Whoever hires a passing fool is

Like an archer who wounds everybody

Whoever hires a drunkard is

Like an archer who wounds everybody.

A fool that reverts to his folly is

Like a dog that returns to its vomit.

Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?

There is more hope for fools than for them.”

This passage begins with two contradictory phrases about treating fools. The first sentence says not to answer them, but the second says to answer them. In the first instance you become a fool, while in the second case the fools will appear to become wise in their own eyes. If you send a message with a fool, you are like cutting your own foot. You are drinking violence. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like the limp leg of a disabled person or a thorn bush in the hand of a drunkard. If you honor a fool, you are like tying a stone in a sling. If you hire a passing fool or a drunkard, you are like an archer wounding everyone in sight. Notice that the fool and the drunkard are almost equivalent. The fool reverts to his folly like a dog to its vomit. Anyone who thinks that they are wise in their own eyes is worse than a fool.