The terrible times (Zech 8:10-8:10)

“Before those days,

There were no wages

For people.

There were no wages

For animals.

There was no safety

From the foe

For those who went out

Or came in.

I set them all

Against one another.”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, explained their terrible situation.  There were no wages for humans or animals, since they were not compensated for their work.  No one was safe coming or going out of their homes.  Yahweh had set them all against each other.

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The conversation about measuring Jerusalem (Zech 2:2-2:5)

“Then I said.

‘Where are you going?’

He answered me.

‘To measure Jerusalem!

To see what is its width!

To see what is its length!’

Then the angel,

Who talked with me,

Came forward.

Another angel

Also came forward

To meet him.

He said to him.

‘Run!

Say to that young man!

Jerusalem shall be inhabited

Like villages without walls,

Because of the multitude

Of people,

As well as animals

In it.’

‘I will be

A wall of fire

All around it.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will be the glory

within it.’”

Zechariah then questioned the man with the measuring cord in his hand.  He responded that he was going to measure Jerusalem to find out its width and length.  The angel that had been talking to Zechariah heard from another angel that the new Jerusalem would not need walls, because so many people and animals would be there.  Instead, Yahweh would provide protection with a wall of fire all around it, like a ring of fire.  Yahweh was going to bring glory to Jerusalem, because he was going to bring his glory to Jerusalem.

The drought (Hag 1:10-1:11)

“Therefore,

The heavens above you

Have withheld

The dew.

The earth has withheld

Its produce.

I have called

For a drought

On the land,

On the hills,

On the grain,

On the new wine,

On the oil,

On what the soil produces,

On human beings,

On animals,

On all their labors.’”

Haggai said that Yahweh was punishing them with a drought.  The heavens were withholding their dew from the high skies, while the earth was withholding its products from below the ground.  Yahweh had called for a drought on practically everything, including the land, the hills, the grain, the new wine, the oil, and whatever the soil produced, even on human beings and animals, including their work.

Yahweh will sweep away everything (Zeph 1:2-1:3)

“‘I will utterly sweep away

Everything

From the face

Of the earth.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will sweep away

Humans.

I will sweep away

Animals.

I will sweep away

The birds of the air.

I will sweep away

The fish of the sea.

I will make the wicked

Stumble.

I will cut off

Humanity

From the face of the earth.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that he was going to undo his creation.  He was going to sweep away everything on the face of the earth.  He was going to do away with all humans and animals, as well as all the birds in the air and the fish in the sea.  The wicked would stumble, as all humanity would be wiped out.

The fourth curse against the Chaldean drunkards (Hab 2:15-2:17)

“Woe to you!

You make your neighbors drink!

You pour out your wrath,

Until they are drunk,

In order to gaze

On their nakedness!

You will be sated

With contempt,

Instead of glory!

Drink!

You yourself!

Stagger!

The cup

In Yahweh’s right hand

Will come around to you.

Shame will come upon

Your glory!

The violence done

To Lebanon

Will overwhelm you.

The destruction

Of the animals

Will terrify you,

Because of human bloodshed

With the violence to the earth,

To the cities,

To all who live in them.”

Habakkuk then cursed the Chaldean drunkards.  They made their neighbors drunk so that they would become naked.  They themselves would drink until they staggered around.  They used alcohol as a weapon and as a form of feasting.  Their glory would turn to shame.  They had been violent to Lebanon.  The destruction of animals would terrify them.  They had committed violence that led to bloodshed in the various cities that they had taken over.

Yahweh responds to Jonah (Jon 4:9-4:11)

“But God

Said to Jonah.

‘Is it right

For you

To be angry

About the bush?’

Jonah said.

‘Yes,

Angry enough to die.’

Yahweh said.

‘You are concerned

About the bush

For which you did not labor.

You did not grow it.

It came into being

In a night.

It perished

In a night.

Should I not be concerned

About Nineveh,

That great city,

In which there are more

Than a hundred

And twenty thousand persons,

Who do not know

Their right hand

From their left hand.

There are also many animals.”

Thus, the story of Jonah ends with a reprimand for Jonah.  Jonah continued to argue that he had the right to be mad.  At times, he sounded like Job and his complaints.  God, not Yahweh, asked him if he had a right to be angry.  Jonah insisted that he was so angry that he was willing to die.  Then Yahweh asked him about the bush.  It appeared one day and was gone the next day.  Jonah did nothing to make it grow, so why was he so angry about the dead bush.  On the other hand, Yahweh was concerned about the great city of Nineveh with 120,000 people and lots of animals.  Yet, there was a parting shot at the people of Nineveh.  Apparently, they were so dumb that they could not tell their right hand from their left hand.

The great fast proclamation (Jon 3:7-3:9)

“The king had a proclamation

Made in Nineveh.

‘By the decree

Of the king

With his nobles.

No human being,

No animal,

No herd,

No flock,

Shall taste anything.

They shall not feed them.

They shall not drink water.

Human beings,

With animals,

Shall be covered

With sackcloth.

They shall cry mightily

To God.

All shall turn

From their evil ways.

They shall turn

From the violence

That is in their hands.

Who knows?

God may yet relent.

God may change

His mind.

He may turn

From his fierce anger.

Thus,

We may not perish.’”

This king of Nineveh sent out a proclamation from the capital city.  No humans or animals should eat or drink anything, a total fast.  Both the humans and animals should be covered in sackcloth.  They all should cry out to God.  They were to turn from their evil violent ways.  His thought was that maybe God would change his mind about the future destruction of Nineveh.  Perhaps God would not be angry with them.  Thus, they would not die.