The death of the two elders (Dan 13:60-13:62)

“Then the whole assembly

Raised a great shout.

They blessed God,

Who saves those

Who hope in him.

They took action

Against the two elders.

Out of their own mouths,

Daniel had convicted them

Of bearing false witness.

They did to them

As they had wickedly planned

To do to their neighbor.

Acting in accordance

With the law of Moses,

They put them to death.

Thus,

Innocent blood

Was spared

That day.”

The whole assembly of the Israelites at Joakim and Susanna’s house raised a great shout to bless God who always saved those who hoped in him. Then, they took action against these two elders. Their own words, about the two different trees for the intimate embrace, had convicted them of lying and bearing false witness against their neighbor. Thus, according to the Law of Moses, they were to be put to death. In the meantime, the innocent blood of Susanna had been saved on that day.

The glory and judgment of Yahweh (Ezek 39:21-39:21)

“I will display

My glory

Among the nations.

All the nations

Shall see

My judgment

That I have executed.

They shall see

My hand

That I have laid

On them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, seemed very happy. He was going to show his glory to all the countries of the world. Everyone would see his judgment in action. They would realize his power when his hand would be put on them.

The explanation of the two sticks (Ezek 37:18-37:19)

“Your people will

Say to you.

‘Will you not show us

What you mean by these?’

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am about to take

The stick of Joseph,

That is

In the hand of Ephraim,

With the tribes of Israel

Associated with it.

I will put

The stick of Judah

Upon it.

I will make them

One stick.

Thus,

They may be

One

In my hand.’”

Of course, there was a simple explanation to this action of Ezekiel. When the people would ask Ezekiel what all this meant, he was to explain to them that the sick of Joseph that included Ephraim was the northern tribes associated with him. This stick was to be put on the stick of Judah. Thus, instead of two sticks, there would only be one stick in the hand of Ezekiel. The north was going to be once again connected to the south, Judah.

 

Yahweh will do what he says (Ezek 24:14-24:14)

“‘I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!

The time is coming!

I will act!

I will not refrain!

I will not spare!

I will not relent!

According to your ways,

According to your doings,

I will judge you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, has spoken. The time for action was coming. He was not going to hold back, spare anyone, or relent. Each one would be judged according to their deeds. Yahweh was clear that there were no favorites.

Go into exile with your baggage (Ezek 12:4-12:6)

“You shall bring out

Your baggage,

By day,

In their sight,

As baggage for exile.

You shall go out yourself

At evening,

In their sight,

As those do

Who go into exile.

Dig through the wall

In their sight.

Carry the baggage

Through it.

In their sight

You shall lift

The baggage

On your shoulder.

You shall carry it out

In the dark.

You shall cover

Your face.

Thus you may not see

The land.

I have made you

A sign

For the house of Israel.”

There is a great emphasis on the baggage during this symbolic exilic story, since it assumes that Ezekiel was still in Jerusalem. Everything was to be done in plain sight of everyone. Thus the baggage was prepared during the day so that everyone could see him getting ready to leave. However, Ezekiel was to leave in the evening, but in plain sight. He was to dig a hole in the wall, reminiscent of what King Zedekiah had done. He was to carry his baggage on his shoulder in the dark through the hole in the wall. He had to cover his face, so that he could not see the land he was leaving. Thus his action would become a sign for the house of Israel to see.

The wisdom of the Lord (Sir 15:18-15:20)

“Great is the wisdom of the Lord.

He is mighty in power.

He sees everything.

His eyes are on those who fear him.

He knows every human action.

He has not commanded any one to be wicked.

He has not given anyone permission to sin.”

The Lord God has great wisdom and mighty power. He sees everything as he watches over those who fear him. He knows their every action. He definitely has not commanded us to be wicked. He has never given anyone permission to sin.

Oppression (Eccl 5:8-5:9)

“If you see in a province

The oppression of the poor

If you see

The violation of justice,

The violation of rights,

Do not be amazed at the matter.

The high official

Is watched by a higher.

There are yet higher ones

Over them.

But all things considered,

There is an advantage

To a land

To have a king

For a plowed field.”

In a strange sort of remark, Qoheleth says to watch out for oppression. However, he does not seem to ask for any kind of action. If someone is oppressed and there is injustice, just don’t be amazed. Someone is in charge. They have to report to someone else even higher up. It is good to have a bureaucracy. They will take care of things like that. After all, there is an advantage in having a king to rule over cultivated or plowed fields. You can avoid the minor skirmishes that take place.

God will defeat his enemies (Ps 68:21-68:23)

“God will shatter the heads of his enemies.

God will shatter the hairy crown

Of those who walk in their guilty ways.

Yahweh said.

‘I will bring them back from Bashan.

I will bring them back from the depths of the sea.

Thus you may bathe your feet in blood.

The tongues of your dogs

May have their share from the foe.’

After the rousing praise for God, now we turn to the action of God. He was going to shatter the heads of his enemies. He would smash the hairy crowns of the guilty ones. He would bring them back from the mountains of Bashan, the Golan Heights, and from the depths of sea. Why would he bring his foes? Then the Israelites could bathe their feet in the blood of their enemies. After that the dogs could have a portion of their bodies. This was a gruesome description of the guilty enemies of God.

Yahweh must help (Ps 17:13-17:14)

“Rise up!

Yahweh!

Confront them!

Overthrow them!

By your sword

Deliver my life from the wicked!

Deliver me from mortals!

By your hand!

Yahweh!

Deliver me from those mortals

Whose portion in life is in this world!

May their bellies be filled

With what you have stored up for them!

May their children have more than enough!

May they leave something over to their little ones.”

It was not good enough to pray to Yahweh, the psalmist wanted action. He wanted Yahweh to rise up and fight on his behalf. He wanted Yahweh to confront and overthrow them. He wanted his life protected from the wicked with a sword. He wanted Yahweh to deliver him from the hands of mortals. On top of that he wanted Yahweh to fill their bellies with what Yahweh had stored up for them. Not only his enemies, but their children and their little ones should be filled with the terrible things that Yahweh had in store for them.