Yahweh hates divorces (Mal 2:14-2:16)

“You ask.

‘Why does he not?’

Because Yahweh was

A witness

Between you

And the wife of your youth.

You have been faithless

To her.

She is your companion.

She is your wife by covenant.

Did not one God make her?

Both flesh and spirit are his.

What does the one God desire?

Godly offspring.

Thus,

Look to yourselves

Do not let anyone

Be faithless

To the wife of his youth!

I hate divorce.’

Says Yahweh,

The God of Israel.

‘Do not cover

One’s garment

With violence!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Thus,

Take heed to yourselves!

Do not be faithless!’”

Yahweh warned them that he was a witness to the marriage of an Israelite to the bride of his youth.  If he was not faithful to her, Yahweh would not accept his sacrifices.  The bride of his youth was his companion and wife, since God made her, both flesh and spirit.  God’s desire was offspring.  He reminded the Israelites to look at themselves.  They should be faithful to the bride of their youth.  Yahweh hated divorce.  They should not cover their garment or wife in violence.  They were to remain faithful to God and their wife.

Question for the priests about holiness (Hag 2:11-2:12)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Ask the priests

For a ruling.

If one carries

Consecrated meat

In the fold

Of one’s garment,

Then if the fold

Of his garment,

Touches

Bread,

Or stew,

Or wine,

Or oil,

Or any kind of food,

Does it become holy?’

The priests answered.

‘No.’”

Haggai gave an example of what Yahweh was talking about.  Haggai was to ask the priests about holiness.  If someone was carrying consecrated holy meat in the fold or cover of his garment and it touched bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other kind of food, would that food then become holy by touching it?  That was the dilemma.  How could holiness be passed on?  The priests answered negatively, by saying no, because these things could not become holy by merely touching a holy thing accidently.

The destruction of Samaria (Hos 10:7-10:8)

“Samaria’s king

Shall perish,

Like a twig

On the face

Of the waters.

The high places of Aven,

The sin of Israel,

Shall be destroyed.

Thorn

With thistle

Shall grow up

On their altars.

They shall say

To the mountains.

‘Cover us!’

They shall say

To the hills.

‘Fall upon us!’”

The king of Samaria, the northern king of Israel, would perish like a twig floating on water. The idol high places at Beth-aven, near Bethel, would be destroyed. These idol worship places were the real sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles would grow on these false idol altars. The people and these altars would cry to have the mountains and the hills fall on them and cover them up. There would be great destruction in northern Israel, especially around the various idol worship altars and shrines.

The necessities of life (Hos 2:8-2:9)

“She did not know

That it was I

Who gave her

The grain,

The wine,

The oil.

I lavished upon her

Silver,

With gold,

That they used for Baal.

Therefore,

I will take back

My grain,

In its time.

I will take back

My wine,

In its season.

I will take away

My wool,

With my flax,

That were to cover

Her nakedness.

The prophet Hosea, like Yahweh, had given Gomer, like Israel, grain, wine, and oil. Silver and gold also came from him. Then they, the Israelites, like Gomer, used these precious metals on Baal. Therefore, he was going to take back his grain and wine at the right time in the season. He also was going to take back his wool and flax that she had used as clothing to cover her naked body. It was a sign of reproach to have a naked body.

The darkening of the skies (Ezek 32:7-32:8)

“‘When I blot you out,

I will cover

The heavens.

I will make

Their stars dark.

I will cover

The sun

With a cloud.

The moon shall

Not give its light.

I will darken

Above you

All the bright lights

Of the heavens.

I will put darkness

On your land.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to blot out the Pharaoh. He was going to close off the heavens also. He was going to make the stars dark and cover the sun with a cloud. Meanwhile, the moon would not give any light. All the bright lights of the heavens would go dark over the land of Egypt.

The end of Tyre (Ezek 26:19-26:21)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will make you

A city laid waste,

Like the cities

That are not inhabited.

I will bring up

The deep over you.

I will bring up

The great waters

To cover you.

Then I will thrust you

Down with those

Who descend

Into the pit,

To the people

Of long ago.

I will make you

Live in the world below,

Among primeval ruins,

With those who go down

To the pit.

You will not be inhabited.

You will not have a place

In the land

Of the living.

I will bring you

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more.

Though sought for,

You will never be found again.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God was going to put an end to Tyre. It would be laid waste, like an uninhabited city. Yahweh was going to cover it over with great waters from the deep sea. He was going to send Tyre and its inhabitants into the pit with the people who had lived a long time ago. They would live in this underworld pit among the ruins. They would no longer have a place in the land of the living, but rather enter the land of the dead. Yahweh was going to bring them to a dreadful end. They would be no more. People would look for them, but they would never be found again.

The powerful Babylonian horses (Ezek 26:10-26:11)

“King Nebuchadnezzar’s horses

Shall be so many

That their dust

Shall cover you.

Your very walls

Shall shake

At the noise

Of the cavalry,

At the noise

Of the wheels,

At the noise

Of the chariots.

He enters

Your gates

Like those entering

A breached city.

With the hoofs

Of his horses,

He shall trample

All your streets.

He shall put

Your people

To the sword.

Your strong pillars

Shall fall

To the ground.”

The king of Babylon had a lot of horses, so many that the dust from these galloping horses would cover them up. The cavalry would make such a loud noise that the walls would shake. The noisy wheels of the chariots, driven by horses, would enter their gates as if there were no gates there. The hoofs of their horses would trample all their streets. Their people would be killed. Their large pillars would be crushed to the ground. In very colorful language, there would be a lot of horses with cavalry and chariots attacking Tyre.

Yahweh tells Ezekiel how to act after his wife’s death (Ezek 24:15-24:17)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

With one blow

I am about

To take away

The delight of your eyes.

Yet you shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

Your tears shall not run down!

Sigh!

But not aloud!

Make no mourning

For the dead!

Bind on your turban!

Put your sandals

On your feet!

Do not cover

Your upper lip!

Do not nor eat

The bread of mourners!’”

Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, as usual. However, this time he had some bad news for Ezekiel. His wife, the delight of his eyes, was going to die. However, instead of the usual mourning, Yahweh told him not to mourn for his wife. He was not to weep or show any tears. He could sigh, but only in private. There would be no public mourning for his dead wife. He was to put on his turban hat and foot sandals as usual. He was not to cover his upper lip or eat the mourner’s bread. This mourner’s bread must have been some special bread for funerals. In fact, in a small town in South Dakota, a church always serves funeral potatoes, cheesy potatoes, after the funeral burial service. Ezekiel was to suffer the loss of his wife in silence, without any of the usual customary mourning ceremonies.

The covenant with Yahweh (Ezek 16:8-16:8)

“‘I passed by you again.

I looked upon you.

You were at the age

For love.

I spread the edge

Of my cloak

Over you.

I covered

Your nakedness.

I pledged myself

To you.

I entered

Into a covenant

With you.

You became mine.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh once again saw the young Jerusalem growing up. He realized that she was at the age or time for love. However, she was still naked. Thus Yahweh spread his cloak over her to cover her nakedness. Then he entered into a covenant or agreement with Jerusalem. She was to become his. It is hard to tell if this is some kind of marital relationship or not.

Go into exile with your baggage (Ezek 12:4-12:6)

“You shall bring out

Your baggage,

By day,

In their sight,

As baggage for exile.

You shall go out yourself

At evening,

In their sight,

As those do

Who go into exile.

Dig through the wall

In their sight.

Carry the baggage

Through it.

In their sight

You shall lift

The baggage

On your shoulder.

You shall carry it out

In the dark.

You shall cover

Your face.

Thus you may not see

The land.

I have made you

A sign

For the house of Israel.”

There is a great emphasis on the baggage during this symbolic exilic story, since it assumes that Ezekiel was still in Jerusalem. Everything was to be done in plain sight of everyone. Thus the baggage was prepared during the day so that everyone could see him getting ready to leave. However, Ezekiel was to leave in the evening, but in plain sight. He was to dig a hole in the wall, reminiscent of what King Zedekiah had done. He was to carry his baggage on his shoulder in the dark through the hole in the wall. He had to cover his face, so that he could not see the land he was leaving. Thus his action would become a sign for the house of Israel to see.