The curse on Jerusalem (Zeph 3:1-3:2)

“Woe to the soiled city!

Woe to the defiled city!

Woe to the rebellious city!

Woe to the oppressing city!

She has listened to no voice.

She has accepted no correction.

She has not trusted

In Yahweh.

She has not drawn near

To her God.”

Jerusalem, the city itself, was to be cursed because it was a soiled, defiled, rebellious, and oppressing city.  Jerusalem would not listen to any voice or accept any correction.  She had not trusted in Yahweh, nor drawn near to her God.  Jerusalem was in bad shape.

The bad harvest (Hab 3:17-3:17)

“The fig trees

Do not blossom.

There is no fruit

On the vines.

The produce

Of the olive tree fails.

The fields yield

No food.

The flock is cut off

From the fold.

There is no herd

In the stalls.”

These farmers have hit bad times.  The fig trees were not blossoming, while there were no fruits of grapes on the vines in the vineyard.  The fields were not yielding any kind of food.  The flocks were running aimlessly, while the herd was not in its stalls.  Things were in bad shape.

Oracle of restoration (Mic 7:11-7:13)

“This is a day

For the building

Of your walls!

In that day,

The boundary

Shall be far extended.

In that day,

They will come

To you,

From Assyria to Egypt,

From Egypt to the River,

From sea to sea,

From mountain to mountain.

But the earth

Will be desolate,

Because of its inhabitants,

For the fruit of their doings.”

This is a post-exilic call to restore Israel.  They would build walls around their buildings.  They would have an extended boundary for their country.  The Israelites would all return from Assyria to Egypt, from the Nile River to the Euphrates River, from sea to sea, and mountain to mountain, from everywhere.  However, the earth would be desolate, because of what the living people were doing.  The fruit of their activity left them in bad shape, desolate.

Wakeup call to Jerusalem (Isa 51:17-51:20)

“Rouse yourself!

Rouse yourself!

Stand up!

O Jerusalem!

You have drunk

At the hand of Yahweh

The cup of his wrath.

You have drunk to the dregs

The bowl of staggering.

There is no one to guide her

Among all the children

She has borne.

There is no one to take her

By the hand

Among all the children

She has brought up.

These two things have befallen you.

Who will grieve with you

In this devastation with destruction?

Who will grieve with you

In this famine?

Who will grieve with you

Because of the sword?

Who will comfort you?

Your children have fainted.

They lie at the head of every street

Like an antelope in a net.

They are full of the wrath of Yahweh.

They are full of the rebuke of your God.”

Second Isaiah has a wakeup call for Jerusalem. They had suffered enough, since they were drunk from the cup of Yahweh’s wrath. They drank so much wrath that they were staggering around. No one was guiding them. No one was taking them by the hand, among all the children of Israel. They had been struck by more than two things, devastation, destruction, famine, and the sword. Who would comfort them? Their children have fainted on the streets, like they were antelopes caught in nets. They were filled with Yahweh’s anger and rebuke. They were in bad shape.

The lamentation (Isa 33:7-33:9)

“Listen!

The valiant cry in the streets!

The envoys of peace weep bitterly!

The highways are deserted!

The travelers have quit the road!

The treaty is broken!

Its cities are despised!

Its obligations are disregarded!

The land mourns.

The land languishes.

Lebanon is confounded.

Lebanon withers away.

Sharon is like a desert.

Bashan shakes off their leaves.

Carmel shakes off their leaves.”

Now we have a lamentation. Things are in bad shape. Once again, there is the continual plea to listen. The valiant ones are crying in the streets. The peace envoys are also weeping. The highways are deserted, since no travelers are going any place. The treaties have been broken. The city is despised since no one keeps their obligations. The land itself mourns and languishes. Even the northern neighbor Lebanon is confused and withering away. Sharon and Carmel on the west and Bashan on the southeast are like dying trees in a desert. Everybody is having troubles.

The enemy is after David (Ps 143:3-143:4)

“The enemy has pursued me.

He has crushed my life to the ground.

He has made me sit in darkness

Like those long dead.

Therefore my spirit faints within me.

My heart within me is appalled.”

The situation of David is described as being pursued by his enemies. He seems like he has been crushed to the ground. He sat in darkness as if he were dead. His spirit was fainting as mentioned above. His heart was appalled. He was in bad shape.

At the doorstep of death (Ps 88:3-88:7)

“My soul is full of troubles.

My life draws near to Sheol.

I am counted

Among those who go down to the Pit.

I am like

Those who have no strength.

I am like

Those forsaken among the dead.

I am like

Those slain that lie in the grave.

I am like

Those whom you remember no more.

Thus they are cut off from your hand.

You have put me

In the depths of the Pit.

You have put me

In the regions dark and deep.

Your wrath lies heavy upon me.

You overwhelm me with all your waves.”

Selah

This psalmist is in bad shape, near death. He was full of troubles. He was counted as dead already. He was like a dead man with no one to help him. He was like a forsaken dead person that nobody cared about. No one remembered him. He sounds a little like Job. He was cut off from the hand of God as if he were already in the deepest pit in some dark area. God’s wrath had come upon him as he was overwhelmed with the waves. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.