The closed special eastern outer gate (Ezek 44:1-44:3)

“Then Yahweh

Brought me back

To the outer gate

Of the sanctuary,

That faced east.

It was shut.

Yahweh said to me.

‘This gate shall

Remain shut.

It shall not be opened.

No one shall enter

By it.

Yahweh,

The God of Israel,

Has entered

By it.

Therefore,

It shall remain shut.

Only the prince,

Because he is a prince,

May sit in it

To eat food

Before Yahweh.

He shall enter

By way

Of the vestibule

Of the gate.

He shall go out

By the same way.’”

Yahweh brought Ezekiel back to the closed outer eastern gate. He told Ezekiel that this gate was to remain closed and never opened, because Yahweh, the God of Israel, had come through that gate. Thus, no one else was going to be allowed to use this eastern gate. The only exception was that of a prince, who, being a prince, could sit and eat food in the vestibule of that gate. However, he was not to enter or leave through that gate, because that was Yahweh’s special gate.

The destruction of the various Egyptian city idols (Ezek 30:13-30:16)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will destroy

The idols.

I will put an end

To the images

In Memphis.

There shall no longer

Be a prince

In the land of Egypt.

Thus I will put fear

Into the land of Egypt.

I will make Pathros

A desolation.

I will set fire

To Zoan.

I will execute

Acts of judgment

On Thebes.

I will pour my wrath

Upon Pelusium,

The stronghold of Egypt.

I will cut off

The hordes of Thebes.

I will set fire

To Egypt.

Pelusium shall be

In great agony.

Thebes shall be

Breached.

Memphis will face

Adversaries by day.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to destroy the idols and images of the city of Memphis, the capital of lower Egypt. They would face daily adversaries. There would be no longer a prince in Egypt. Yahweh was going to put fear into the people of Egypt. He was going to decimate Pathros and set a fire in Zoan, that later became known as Tanis, in the northeast Delta area. He was going to execute his judgment on Thebes, current day Karnak, by getting rid of the multitude of people there, when the walls would be broken down. He was going to pour out his wrath on the stronghold of Pelusium that was east of Zoan, so that it would be in great agony.

 

Honor (Sir 10:19-10:25)

“Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are worthy of honor?

Those who fear the Lord.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Human offspring.

Whose offspring are unworthy of honor?

Those who break the commandments.

Among family members

Their leader is worthy of honor.

Those who fear the Lord

Are worthy of honor in his eyes.

The rich find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

The eminent find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

The poor find their glory

In the fear of the Lord.

It is not right to despise

An intelligent poor person.

It is not proper

To honor a sinful person.

The prince is honored.

The judge is honored.

The ruler is honored.

But none of them is greater

Than the one who fears the Lord.

Free citizens will serve

A wise servant.

An intelligent person will not complain.”

Sirach poses a series of questions and answers about honor. Humans are worthy of both honor and dishonor. Those who fear the Lord are worthy of honor, but those who do not follow the commandments are worthy of dishonor. The leader in a family is worthy of honor, but so are those who fear the Lord. Whether you are rich, eminent, or poor, your glory is in the fear of the Lord. You should not despise intelligent poor people, but you should not honor sinners. You may honor a prince, a judge, or a ruler, but none of them is greater than the one who fears the Lord. Free citizens may serve a wise servant, so that the intelligent people will not complain.

Love prologue (Song 1:2-1:4)

Female lover

“Let him kiss me

With the kisses of his mouth!

Your love is better than wine.

Your anointing oils are fragrant.

Your name is perfume poured out.

Therefore the maidens love you.

Draw me after you.

Let us make haste.

The king has brought me

Into his chambers.

We will exult in you.

We will rejoice in you.

We will extol your love

More than wine.

Rightly do they love you.”

The opening prologue to this poetic love song is uttered by the female lover. These few verses are assigned to a female writer. This woman longs for her male lover. She wants him to kiss her on the mouth. His love is greater than wine. His oils are fragrant, sweet smelling. His name is like a poured out perfume. Obviously then, many maidens love him. However, she wants him to hurry up and bring her to his royal chambers because he seems to be the king or at least a prince. Together they would exult and rejoice in him. Once again, his love was greater than wine. It was obvious why the young girls loved him. This romantic love tale has been interpreted as an allegorical love between Yahweh and Israel, or later by the Christians as Christ and his church. However, the basic story is what it is.