The explanation of Yahweh about this killing (Ezek 9:8-9:10)

“While they were killing,

I was left alone.

I fell prostrate

On my face.

I cried.

‘Ah Yahweh God!

Will you destroy

All who remain

Of Israel

As you pour out

Your wrath

Upon Jerusalem?’

Then he said to me.

‘The guilt

Of the house of Israel

As well as

The house of Judah

Is exceedingly great.

The land is full

Of bloodshed.

The city is full

Of perversity.’

They say.

‘Yahweh has forsaken

The land.

Yahweh does not see.’

As for me,

My eye will not spare.

I will not have pity.

But I will bring down

Their deeds

Upon their heads.’”

Ezekiel was all shook up with all this killing going on. He was alone, so he prostrated his face. He cried to God. He wanted to know if everyone of the remaining Israelites would be destroyed. Would anybody remain in Jerusalem? Then Yahweh explained to him that the guilt of the house of Israel as well as the guilt of the house of Judah was exceedingly great. The land was full of bloodshed. The city was full of perversity. Those remaining had said that Yahweh had forsaken the land. He would not see what they were doing. However, Yahweh was clear. He was not going to spare them or have pity on them. Their own deeds brought this on their heads. Thus the annihilation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem continued.

The famine in Jerusalem (Ezek 5:16-5:17)

“I will let loose

Against you

My deadly arrows

Of famine.

These are the arrows

For destruction.

I will let them loose

To destroy you.

I will bring more and more

Famine upon you.

I will break your staff

Of bread.

I will send famine.

I will send wild animals

Against you.

They will rob you

Of your children.

Pestilence

With bloodshed

Shall pass

Through you.

I will bring the sword

Upon you.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!”

Yahweh said that he was going to let loose his deadly arrows against Jerusalem. He was going to hit them with the arrows of famine. This would destroy them. He was going to bring more and more famine to them. He was going to break their staff of bread, their basic staple food. He was going to send wild animals against them and their children. Pestilence and bloodshed would pass through them like a sword. There was no question, Yahweh had spoken.

The curses (Jer 48:10-48:10)

“Cursed be

The one

Who is slack

In doing

The work of Yahweh!

Cursed be

The one

Who keeps back

The sword

From bloodshed.”

Jeremiah seems to indicate here that you should not be slack in doing the work of Yahweh. Since the work of Yahweh here is killing the Moabites, holding back your sword from bringing bloodshed would mean that you would be cursed also.

Stay inside your house (Isa 26:20-26:21)

“Come!

My people!

Enter your chambers!

Shut your doors

Behind you!

Hide yourselves

For a little while

Until the wrath is past!

Yahweh comes

From his place

To punish the inhabitants

Of the earth

For their iniquity.

The earth will disclose

The bloodshed on it.

The earth

Will no longer

Cover its slain.”

This section indicates that Isaiah wants everybody to stay inside their houses with their doors closed. They were to hide until the anger of the Lord had passed, much like the prototype Passover. Yahweh was going to come out of his place to punish the iniquitous inhabitants of this earth. There would be bloodshed everywhere. Dead people would lie all over the place uncovered. This would be a gruesome scene.

Yahweh’s vineyard (Isa 5:7-5:7)

“The vineyard of Yahweh of hosts

Is the house of Israel.

The people of Judah

Are his pleasant planting.

He expected justice.

But he saw bloodshed!

He expected righteousness.

But he heard a cry!”

Isaiah is clear about explaining this song of the vineyard. This vineyard is the house of Israel, and in particular the people of Judah. Yahweh was expecting justice and righteousness from his pleasant planting in the vineyard. However, all he saw and heard was bloodshed and crying. These wild grapes were very disconcerting.

Problems caused by sinful humans (Sir 40:8-40:11)

“With all human creatures,

With all animal creatures,

But with sinners seven times more,

Come many problems.

There is death.

There is bloodshed.

There is strife.

There is the sword.

There are calamities.

There are famines.

There are afflictions.

There are ruins.

There are plagues.

All these were created

For the wicked.

On their account,

The flood came.

All that is of earth

Returns to earth.

What is from above,

Returns above.”

Sirach points out that all creatures, human and animals, have problems, but the sinners have 7 times as many problems as the non-sinners. What are these problems? They are death, bloodshed, strife, the sword, calamities, famines, ruin, and plagues. The reason that we have all these problems is due to the wicked ones who caused God to send the flood. In other words, we might have been okay except for the sinful humans who brought all these problems to our earthly existence. The things of this earth return to this earth, while the things from above return to above.

Quarrels (Sir 28:8-28:12)

“Refrain from strife.

Your sins will be fewer.

The hot tempered kindle strife.

The sinner disrupts friendships.

The sinner sows discord

Among those who are at peace.

In proportion to the fuel,

So will the fire burn.

In proportion to the obstinacy,

So will strife increase.

In proportion to a person’s strength,

So will be his anger.

In proportion to his wealth,

So he will increase his wrath.

A hasty quarrel kindles a fire.

A hasty dispute sheds blood.

If you blow on a spark,

It will glow.

If you spit on it,

It will be put out.

Yet both come out of your mouth.”

Sirach reminds us of the problems with quarrels and arguments. If you refrain from conflicts, your sins will be less. Usually it is the hot tempered people who start disputes. Sinners disrupt friendships. They sow discord among peacemakers. Then Sirach has a number of proportional examples. The more fuel you have, the more the fire burns. The more stubborn you are, the more disagreements you create. The stronger you are, the more you will be angry. The more wealth that you have, the more fury you will have. Sometimes it is a hasty quarrel that starts a fire that leads to bloodshed. However, you have control with your mouth. You can either blow on the spark to increase the flame or spit on the spark to put it out. The choice is yours, spit or blow on the spark of a fire to increase or decrease the argument.

Conversations among fools (Sir 27:11-27:15)

“The conversation of the godly

Is always wise.

But the fool changes

Like the moon.

Among stupid people,

Limit your time.

But among thoughtful people

Linger on.

The talk of fools

Is offensive.

Their laughter

Is wantonly sinful.

Their cursing or swearing

Makes one’s hair stand on end.

Their quarrels make

Others stop their ears.

The strife of the proud

Leads to bloodshed.

Their abuse

Is grievous to hear.”

Sirach talks about the conversations of fools. Certainly, the conversations of the godly are always wise. However, the fools change their mind like the changes in the moon. You should stay away from stupid people, but linger with thoughtful people. If you listen to the talk of fools, you will see that it is offensive, with their random sinful cursing and swearing that will make your hair stand on end. You should not listen to their quarrels. The arguments of these proud fools will lead to bloodshed. It is very difficult to listen to these foolish conversations.

Trusting friendly neighbors (Sir 22:23-22:26)

“Gain the trust of your neighbor

In his poverty.

Thus you may rejoice with him

In his prosperity.

Stand by him

In time of his distress.

Thus you may share with him

In his inheritance.

One should not always despise

Restricted circumstances.

One should not admire

A rich person who is stupid.

The vapor of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

The smoke of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

Thus insults precede bloodshed.

I am not ashamed

To shelter a friend.

I will not hide from him.

But if harm should come to me

Because of him,

Whoever hears of it

Will beware of him.”

Friendship happens in good times as well as bad times. If you trust your neighbor in his poverty, you can rejoice with him in his prosperity. If you stand by him in his distress, you can share with him in his good times. On the other hand, you should not admire a rich stupid person or despise those in poverty. Where there is a smell and smoke, there surely will be a fire. So too, insults often precede bloodshed. So be careful! Sirach was not ashamed to shelter a friend. However, if any harm came to him because of that friend, this would be a reminder to others to be wary about what his friend had done. Even this friendship is a little shaky, so that you should always be on guard against false friends.

Nicanor sends friendly emissaries (2 Macc 14:18-14:19)

“Nevertheless Nicanor heard about the valor of Judas Maccabeus and his troops as well as their courage in battle for their country. He shrank from deciding the issue by bloodshed. Therefore he sent Posidonius, Theodotus, and Mattathias to give and receive pledges of friendship.”

Nicanor realized that Judas Maccabeus and his troops were courageous. He decided not to solve the issue by war. In 1 Maccabees, chapter 7, it clearly said that Nicanor was trying to deceive Judas Maccabeus. Here that is not said as 3 Seleucid military leaders, who were not mentioned in 1 Maccabees, were sent as friendly emissaries to Judas Maccabeus. One of them even has the name of Judas’ father, Mattathias.