The salvation of Yahweh (Hab 3:12-3:13)

“In fury,

You trod the earth.

In anger,

You trampled nations.

You came forth

To save your people.

You came forth

To save your anointed.

You crushed

The head

Of the wicked house.

You laid it bare

From its foundation

To its roof.”

Selah

Yahweh in his fury and anger would trample the various countries on earth.  Yahweh was going to come forward to save his people and their anointed one, the king.  He was going to crush the head of the wicked house, destroying it completely from its foundations to its roof.  Yahweh would save his people and their king by destroying their enemies.  Once again, we have a meditative pause in this canticle with a Selah.

The dark day of Yahweh (Am 5:18-5:20)

“Woe to you!

You who desire

The day of Yahweh!

Why do you want

The day of Yahweh?

It is darkness,

Not light.

It is like

As if someone fled

From a lion,

But a bear met him.

It is like

Someone went into the house.

They then rested

Their hand

Against the wall.

Then a serpent bit him.

Is not

The day of Yahweh

Darkness,

Not light?

It is gloom

With no brightness in it.”

The day of Yahweh meant many different things to the ancient Israelites. For some, it was a favorable intervention of Yahweh. For others, as here, it was a day of Yahweh’s anger. After the exile, it was considered a day of hope that the anger of Yahweh would turn on Israel’s oppressors. Then this day of Yahweh became a day of judgment, as a triumph for the righteous. Finally, there were cosmic signs that would accompany this day of Yahweh. Here, Amos wanted to know why anyone would want the day of Yahweh to come, because it was a time of darkness, not light. In fact, he wanted to curse them for wishing the day of Yahweh to come. This day of Yahweh was more like a person fleeing from a lion, only to run into a bear. It was like going into a house, and then resting your arm on the wall, only to be bit by a snake. For Amos, the day of Yahweh was a time of darkness, not light, a time of gloom and not brightness.

The new leader (Dan 11:19-11:20)

“Then he shall turn back

Toward the fortresses

Of his own land.

But he shall stumble.

He shall fall.

He shall not be found.

Then shall arise

In his place,

One who shall send

An official

For the glory

Of the kingdom.

But within a few days,

He shall be broken,

But not in anger,

Nor in battle.”

King Antiochus III turned back to Syria. However, he stumbled and fell. In other words, he died. Then, his son, Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE), took over as king of Syria and Babylon. However, he sent one of his officials, Heliodorus, to take money from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. However, this official was not successful. He died, not in anger or battle, but was a broken man. Actually, Heliodorus assassinated King Seleucus IV in 175 BCE.

The little horn beast was killed (Dan 7:11-7:11)

“I watched then

Because of the noise

Of the arrogant words

That the horn

Was speaking.

And as I watched,

The beast

Was put to death.

Its body destroyed.

It was given over

To be burned

With fire.”

Daniel watched as the noisy arrogant little horn beast was killed. His body was burned and destroyed. There seemed to be a lot of anger at this little horn, the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), perhaps indicating the date of this work. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

Yahweh will be king (Ezek 20:33-20:33)

“As I live!

Says Yahweh God!

Surely with a mighty hand,

With an outstretched arm,

With wrath poured out,

I will be king

Over you!”

Yahweh left no doubt what his position was. Yahweh was the God who stretched out his mighty hand and arm. Anger would pour out of him. He was going to be king over them, no questions asked.

The transplanted vine (Ezek 19:12-19:14)

“But the vine

Was plucked up

In fury.

It was cast down

To the ground.

The east wind

Dried it up.

Its fruit

Was stripped off.

Its strong stem

Was withered.

The fire

Consumed it.

Now it was transplanted

Into the wilderness,

Into a dry,

Thirsty land.

The fire has gone out

From its stem.

It has consumed

Its branches.

It has consumed

Its fruit.

Thus there remains

In it

No strong stem.

There is no scepter

For ruling.

This is a lamentation.

It is used

As a lamentation.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel continued this allegory. The good mother vine was plucked up in anger. It was cast down to the ground. The east wind dried it up. Its fruit was stripped off. The strong stem was withered. Fire consumed it. Then they transplanted it into the wilderness, the desert, a dry thirsty land. A fire consumed its stem, branches, and fruit. There no longer was a strong stem for a ruling scepter. This is a reference that Judah no longer had a ruler. Thus this was a useful lamentation.

Prostitution with the Egyptians (Ezek 16:26-16:26)

“You also played

The whore

With the Egyptians,

Your lustful neighbors.

You multiplied

Your prostitution

To provoke me

To anger.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem played the whore with her lustful neighbors, the Egyptians. He felt that she multiplied her prostitute ways in order to provoke Yahweh to anger.  This was an indication about the intention of the king of Judah to form a foreign alliance with Egypt against the Babylonians.

No pity (Ezek 7:8-7:9)

“Soon now,

I will pour out

My wrath

Upon you.

I will spend

My anger

Against you.

I will judge you

According to your ways.

I will punish you

For all your abominations.

My eye

Will not spare you.

I will have no pity.

I will punish you

According to your ways,

While your abominations

Are among you.

Then you shall know

That it is I,

Yahweh,

Who strikes.”

This is exactly the same as the opening verses of this chapter. Yahweh’s anger was going to be let loose on them. He was going to judge them according to their ways. He was going to punish them for their abominations. He would not spare them. He would not have pity on them. By punishing them for their evil ways, they would come to recognize that Yahweh was in charge. He was the God Yahweh who was striking them. They better not forget this.

The impenetrable Yahweh (Lam 3:43-3:45)

Samek

“You have wrapped yourself

With anger.

You have pursued us.

You have killed us

Without pity.

You have wrapped yourself

With a cloud.

Thus no prayer

Can pass through.

You have made us filth.

You have made us rubbish.

Among the people.”

This author turns in an unanswered prayer towards Yahweh, addressing him in the second person singular. Yahweh had wrapped himself in anger and a cloud. He had pursued this author and his friends, killing them without pity. Their prayers to Yahweh could not penetrate through the clouds. They had become filth and rubbish among all people as they were forsaken and downtrodden. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

The ruined walls of Jerusalem (Lam 2:8-2:8)

Heth

“Yahweh determined

To lay in ruins

The wall

Of daughter Zion.

He stretched

The line.

He did not withhold

His hand

From destroying it.

He caused ramparts

To lament.

He caused the wall

To lament.

They languish together.”

Yahweh himself determined that the walls of Zion should be made a ruin. He stretched out the measuring line, like a surveyor, to determine how to do this. He did not restrain his hand from this work. He has caused the walls and ramparts of Jerusalem to lament and languish together. It seems that Yahweh is portrayed as personally overseeing the destruction of the Jerusalem walls because of his anger at them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.