The wicked people of the land (Ezek 22:29-22:30)

“The people of the land

Have practiced extortion.

They committed robbery.

They have oppressed

The poor.

They have oppressed

The needy.

They have extorted

From the aliens

Without redress.

I sought

For anyone

Among them

Who would repair

The wall.

I sought

For anyone

To stand

In the breach

Before me

On behalf

Of the land.

Thus I would not

Destroy it.

But I found no one.”

Not only were the officials, leaders, priests, and prophets wicked, but the people of the land themselves also practiced extortion and committed robberies. They oppressed both the poor and the needy. They extorted things from the aliens who had no judicial redress. Yahweh was looking for someone to repair the wall. He wanted someone to stand near the hole in the wall. He wanted to find someone to defend the land, so that he would not destroy it. However, he could not find anyone among the people of the land. He found no one willing to help him.

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The purge (Ezek 20:36-20:38)

“‘As I entered

Into judgment

With your ancestors

In the wilderness

Of the land of Egypt,

So I will enter

Into judgment

With you.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘I will make you pass

Under the staff.

I will bring you

Within the bond

Of the covenant.

I will purge out

The rebels

Among you.

I will purge out

Those who transgress

Against me.

I will bring them out

Of the land

Where they reside,

As aliens.

But they shall not

Enter

The land of Israel.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he had judged their ancestors in the Egyptian wilderness. Now, he was going to judge them. They would have to pass under the staff of the shepherd who counted sheep. He was going to bring them under the covenant again. He was going to purge out the rebels among them, anyone who had transgressed against him. He was going to go to all the countries where they had lived as aliens. Although he was going to take them out of these countries, they were not guaranteed a place in Israel. They had to know that he was Yahweh.

The punishments (Lam 5:1-5:2)

“Remember!

Yahweh!

What has befallen us!

Behold!

See our disgrace!

Our inheritance

Has been

Turned over

To strangers.

Our homes

Have been

Turned over

To aliens.”

This fifth lament has 22 verses also, but it is not an acrostic poem, since the opening lines do not use the Hebrew alphabet. However, it clearly is a personal lament about Jerusalem, usually attributed to Jeremiah himself. He wanted Yahweh to remember this situation. He wanted Yahweh to see their disgrace. Their inheritance has been given to strangers and aliens who live in their houses.

The dishonor of Jerusalem (Jer 51:50-51:51)

“You survivors

Of the sword!

Go!

Do not linger!

Remember Yahweh

In a distant land!

Let Jerusalem

Come into your mind!

We are put to shame!

We have heard insults!

Dishonor has covered

Our face!

Aliens have come

Into the holy places

Of Yahweh’s house.”

Those who have survived the sword should not linger. They should remember Yahweh in Jerusalem. They should not be put to shame, even though they hear insults. Their dishonor has covered their faces, since aliens now have come into their holy places, especially the house of Yahweh, the Temple in Jerusalem.

The commands of Yahweh (Jer 22:3-22:3)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Act with justice!

Act with righteousness!

Deliver from the hand of the oppressor

Anyone who has been robbed!

Do no wrong!

Do no violence to the alien!

Do no wrong to the orphan!

Do no violence to the widow!

Do not shed innocent blood in this place!’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, lays out his demands to the king as in the preceding chapter. The king had to act with justice and righteousness. He was to help those who had been robbed from those oppressive robbers. He was to do no wrong or violence to the aliens, orphans, and widows. He was not to shed blood in his kingdom.

Oracle about the captivity (Isa 52:3-53:6)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘You were sold for nothing.

You shall be redeemed without money.’

Thus says Yahweh God.

‘Long ago,

My people went down into Egypt

To reside there as aliens.

The Assyrian also

Has oppressed them without cause.

Now therefore what am I doing here?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Why are my people taken away

Without cause?

Their rulers howl.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Continually,

All day long,

My name is despised.

Therefore my people shall know

My name.

Therefore in that day,

They shall know

That it is I who speak.

Here am I.’”

Second Isaiah has a series of oracles from Yahweh about the captivity. First, there was no money exchange in the capture of the Israelites. Thus there will be no ransom paid either. The Israelites were oppressed as aliens in Egypt a long time ago. Now they are oppressed by the Assyrians without any good cause. Continually all day long, the name of Yahweh is despised. They ought to know the name of Yahweh. They ought to know who is speaking to them. Clearly it is Yahweh.   He is there, as he says “Here am I.”

The return from the Exile (Isa 14:1-14:2)

“Yahweh will have compassion

On Jacob.

He will again choose Israel.

He will set them

In their own land.

Aliens will join them.

They will attach themselves

To the house of Jacob.

The nations will take them.

They will bring them

To their place.

The house of Israel

Will possess these nations,

As male and female slaves,

In Yahweh’s land.

They will take captive

Those who were their captors.

They will rule over

Those who oppressed them.”

Obviously this oracle assumes that the Israelites were in Exile, which did not happen during the life of Isaiah. Yahweh was going to have compassion on Jacob, the Israelites. He was going to set them in their own land with the help of other nations. Other non-Israelites would join them, the so called aliens or strangers. Then the house of Israel would have its own male and female slaves from the other countries. In fact, their former captors would become their captives. Thus they would rule over those who oppressed them. I am not so sure whether this last part ever happened. They were allowed to have slaves and other countries helped them. Those aliens in Israel would have to follow the Israelite law if they wanted to stay in Israel.