Divine punishment towards Egypt (Wis 11:15-11:20)

“In return for their foolish thoughts,

In return for their wicked thoughts,

Which led them astray

To worship irrational serpents,

To worship worthless animals,

You sent upon them

A multitude of irrational creatures

To punish them.

Thus they might learn

That one is punished

By the very things

By which one sins.

Your all-powerful hand,

Which created the world out of formless matter,

Did not lack the means to send upon them

A multitude of bears,

Or bold lions,

Or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,

Or such as breathe out fiery breath,

Or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,

Or flash terrible sparks from their eyes.

Not only could the harm they did destroy people,

But the mere sight of them could kill by fright.

Even apart from these,

People could fall at a single breath

When pursued by justice.

They could be scattered by the breath of your power.

But you have arranged all things by measure.

You have arranged all things by number.

You have arranged all things by weight.”

The divine plague punishments could have been much worse for the Egyptians in Exodus, chapters 9-11. In fact, this author implies that God was mild with his punishments because the Egyptians had foolish and wicked thoughts that led them to worship serpents and animals. God very kindly sent them only irrational creatures like frogs, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats to punish them. He could have sent them a multitude of bears or bold lions. He might have sent them unknown beasts full of rage that would breathe out fire and belch out smoke, with flashing terrible sparks in their eyes that could have killed them with fright. God could have made them fall with a single breath or scattered them through the world, but he carefully arranged all this according to his measure, number, and weight.

Beautiful daughter (Ps 45:10-45:13)

“Hear!

O daughter!

Consider!

Incline your ear!

Forget your people!

Forget your father’s house!

The king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord,

Bow to him.

The people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts.

The richest of the people,

With all kinds of wealth,

Will come to you.”

This psalmist scribe asks that the daughter listen carefully and consider her words. She was to forget her people and her father’s house. She was to go forward to the king, her new lord. She was to bow to him. She would become powerful and rich with this marriage. These are like the words of encouragement to a reluctant bride before a marriage. Clearly she is to be subject to her new husband, the king. The consequences of this marriage will be enormous power and wealth. There is an interesting note about the new queen coming from Tyre. She may have been a Phoenician or a Philistine, the mortal enemy of David.

Job wants God to listen to him (Job 13:17-13:28)

“Listen carefully to my words!

Let my declaration be in your ears!

I have indeed prepared my case.

I know that I shall be vindicated.

Who is there that will contend with me?

Then I would be silent and die.

Only grant two things to me!

Then I will not hide myself from your face.

Withdraw your hand far from me!

Do not let dread of you terrify me!

Then call!

I will answer.

Let me speak!

You reply to me.

How many are my iniquities?

How many are my sins?

Make me know my transgression and my sin.

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you count me as your enemy?

Will you frighten a windblown leaf?

Will you pursue dry chaff?

You write bitter things against me.

You make me reap the iniquities of my youth.

You put my feet in the stocks.

You watch all my paths.

You set a bound to the soles of my feet.

One wastes away like a rotten thing.

One wastes away like a garment that is moth-eaten.”

Job pleads his case before God. He wanted him to listen carefully to his words. He has prepared his case well. He knew that he would be vindicated. He wanted to know who would oppose him. He wanted God not to hide his face and he would not hide his face. He wanted to go face to face with God. He wanted God not to scare him, but to call him. He wanted to reply to the many sins and iniquities of his youth. He wanted to know why God had him as an enemy. Why were bitter things written about him? This is almost saying that God had a face with a voice, and was able to hear and write things down with his hands. In this anthropomorphic view of God, he has a human face, ears, voice, and hands. God wanted him to be chained in a stockade, to waste away like a rotten garment that was moth-eaten. Certainly this was colorful language to use against a vindictive God.