“When I fed them,
They were satisfied.
They were satisfied,
Their heart was proud.
They forgot me.
I will become
Like a lion to them.
Like a leopard,
I will lurk
Beside the way.
I will fall upon them
Like a bear
Robbed of her cubs.
I will tear open
Of their heart.
I will devour them
Like a lion.
Just like a wild animal
Would mangle them.”
Yahweh, via Hosea, warned the Israelites that he had fed them. Once they were satisfied with food, they had become proud. They forgot all about Yahweh. Thus, he was going to become like a lion or leopard lurking along their paths. He would attack them, like a bear who had been robbed of cubs. He was going to tear open the covering around their hearts. He would devour them like a wild animal would mangle its prey. They had better watch out.
Roll in ashes!
You lords of the flock!
The days of your slaughter
The days of your dispersions
You shall fall
Like a choice vessel.
Flight shall fail the shepherds.
There shall be no escape
For the lords of the flock.
The cry of the shepherds!
The wail of the lords of the flock!
Yahweh is despoiling their pasture.
The peaceful folds are devastated.
Because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.
Like a lion,
He has left his covert.
Their land has become a waste
Because of the cruel sword,
Because of his fierce anger.”
Yahweh continues his diatribe against the rulers in Judah. These leaders or shepherds should cry out and roll in ashes. The days of slaughter have come when they will be dispersed. They are going to fall like a chosen vessel. The shepherds will not be able to flee. The lords of the flock will not escape. Both the shepherds and the lords of the flock will cry out because Yahweh is going to ruin their pasture. These peaceful flocks and folds will be devastated. Yahweh was angry like a lion that has left its covert of little cubs. The land will become a wasteland because of the anger and the sword of Yahweh.
“Evil people seek only rebellion.
A cruel messenger will be sent against them.
Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs,
Than to confront a fool immersed in folly.
Evil will not depart from the house
Of one who returns evil for good.
The beginning of strife is
Like letting out water.
So stop before the quarrel breaks out.
Whoever justifies the wicked,
Whoever condemns the righteous,
Are both alike.
They are an abomination to Yahweh.”
The evil people are rebellious. Therefore the good are in favor of the status quo. A cruel messenger will be sent to evil rebels, perhaps the angel of death. You are better off meeting a mama bear with her cubs than trying to confront a fool in his foolishness. Evil will stay in the house of those who return evil for good. A quarrel or strife is like running water. It is better to stop the quarrel before it breaks out. Whether you justify the wicked or condemn the righteous, you are both alike, an abomination before Yahweh.
Who that was innocent ever perished?
Where were the upright cut off?
As I have seen,
Those who plow iniquity
Those who sow trouble reap the same.
By the breath of God they perish.
By the blast of his anger they are consumed.
The roar of the lion,
The voice of the fierce lion,
The teeth of the young lions are broken.
The strong lion perishes for lack of prey.
The whelps of the lioness are scattered.”
Eliphaz continued to talk about how the innocent and upright ones do not perish. Only the iniquitous or evil ones perish. What you sow is what you reap. The upright ones do not perish. Using beautiful metaphors, the evils one perish by the breath of God and the blast of his anger. The evil people are like fierce lions that have no teeth. They die because of the lack of prey. Meanwhile, their young cubs will scatter. He implied that God only punishes the evil ones not the good ones. The fierce toothless lion dies because he can no longer hunt his prey.