The nets of the enemy (Hab 1:14-1:17)

“You have made people

Like the fish of the sea,

Like crawling things

That have no ruler.

The enemy brings

All of them up

With a hook.

He drags them out,

With his net.

He gathers them

In his seine.

Thus,

He rejoices.

He exults.

Therefore,

He sacrifices

To his net.

He makes sacrifices

To his seine.

His portion is lavish

By them.

His food is rich.

Is he then to keep on

Emptying his net?

Will he keep destroying nations

Without mercy?”

This enemy would keep devouring the people.  Yahweh has made people like fish in the sea, since they have no ruler, much like crawling things.  Thus, this enemy has a hook with a net.  He has dragged the people out of the sea, as if they were fish in a net.  He has gathered them in his seine, which is a great big net.  Thus, this enemy is happy and exulted about his big catch of humans, much like a proud fisherman.  Then, this enemy would sacrifice offerings to his big nets, because they have contributed to his lavish life style with rich food.  He has become wealthy by catching all these humans in his big fish nets.  Thus, he kept emptying his nets and catching more humans in them.  He continued to destroy nations and countries without any mercy for anyone.  His evil ways just went on and on.

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The bloody city of Nineveh (Nah 3:1-3:3)

“O!

City of bloodshed!

Utterly deceitful!

Full of booty!

There is

No end to their plunder.

There are

The cracks of the whip,

The rumble of the wheel,

The galloping horse,

The bounding chariots,

The horsemen charging,

The flashing swords,

The glittering spears,

The piles of dead people,

The heaps of corpses,

The dead bodies without end.

They stumble over the bodies!”

Nahum continued with his vivid descriptions of the chaos in Nineveh, truly a city of bloodshed.  They had become very deceitful with lots of stolen booty, since they had plundered everywhere.  However, now there were whips cracking, wheels rumbling, horses galloping, chariots bouncing, and charging cavalry with flashing swords and glittering spears.  Of course, there were a lot of dead people all over the place also.  There were piles and heaps of dead corpses without end.  These dead bodies were so numerous that people stumbled over them in the streets.

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 holy city is in disgrace (Dan 9:15-9:16)

“Now!

O Lord!

Our God!

You brought

Your people

Out of the land

Of Egypt

With a mighty hand.

You have made

Your name

Renowned

Even to this day.

We have sinned.

We have done wickedly.

O Lord!

In view of your righteous acts,

Let your anger,

Let your wrath,

We pray,

Turn away

From your city Jerusalem,

Your holy mountain.

Because of our sins,

Because of the iniquities

Of our ancestors,

Jerusalem

With your people

Have become a disgrace

Among all our neighbors.”

Daniel continued with this prayer to God, reminding him how he had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. His name was renowned. However, they had sinned and done wicked things. Thus, God, the Lord, had a righteous anger and wrath. Daniel wanted God to turn away from the holy mountain, the city of Jerusalem, because it had become a disgrace to all its neighbors. Their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors have brought disgrace to Jerusalem and its people.

A very destructive king (Dan 8:23-8:25)

“At the end of their rule,

When the transgressions

Have reached

Their full measure,

A king of bold countenance,

Skilled in intrigue,

Shall grow strong in power.

He shall cause

Fearful destruction.

He shall succeed

In what he does.

He shall destroy

The powerful,

The people of the holy ones.

By his cunning,

He shall make

Deceit prosper

Under his hand.

In his own mind,

He shall be great.

Without warning,

He shall destroy many.

He shall even rise up

Against the Prince of princes.

But he shall be broken,

But not by human hands.’”

Gabriel continued his explanation of the vision. He pointed out that one of the last rulers would be skilled in intrigue and grow strong in power. The obvious allusion is to King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He would successfully destroy others by getting rid of powerful people, even the holy ones, without warning. His cunning would make deceit prosper. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, goes into great detail about this king. In his own mind, he would be great. He would even go against the Prince of princes. Finally, God, not human hands, would break him.

Daniel falls into a trance (Dan 8:18-8:18)

“As Gabriel

Was speaking

To me,

I fell into a trance,

Face to the ground.

Then he touched me.

He set me

On my feet.”

Daniel continued his first person singular recounting of this story. As the archangel Gabriel was speaking to him, he fell into a trance or deep sleep with his face to the ground. Then Gabriel touched him, as if to wake him. Then Gabriel put him on his feet.

The little horn takes over the sanctuary (Dan 8:11-8:12)

“The little horn

Acted arrogantly,

Even against

The Prince

Of the host.

It took

Regular burnt offering

Away from him.

It overthrew

The place

Of his sanctuary.

Because of wickedness,

The host

Was given over

to it,

Together

With the regular burnt offering.

It cast truth

To the ground,

It kept prospering

In what it did.”

Thus, this King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the little horn, conquered Palestine and violated the sanctuary of God, the Prince of the hosts around 167 BCE. He acted arrogantly against God, by taking away the regular burnt offerings from the sanctuary. This little horn was successful in taking over the host or people of the Temple as well as doing away with the regular offerings to God. He cast truth to the ground, while he continued to prosper and do whatever he wanted to do.