Day and night bless God (Dan 3:47-3:48)

“Bless the Lord!

Nights!

Days!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Light!

Darkness!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

Both the night and the day, the light and darkness blessed the Lord. They sang praises to him and exalted him forever. God controlled the day of light and the night of darkness.

Personal distress (Lam 3:4-3:6)

Beth

“Yahweh has made

my flesh waste away.

He has made

My skin waste away.

He has broken

My bones.

He has besieged me.

With bitterness.

He has enveloped me

With tribulation.

He has made me

Sit in darkness

Like the dead

Of long ago.”

Almost like the sufferings of Job, this author complains about his own personal suffering. His flesh and his skin are wasting away, since his bones are broken. He has been besieged and enveloped in bitterness and tribulation, sitting in darkness like a person dead for a long time. Throughout this poem, these three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Beth. Each three verse section after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this personal acrostic poem.

Personal suffering (Lam 3:1-3:3)

Aleph

“I am the one

Who has seen affliction

Under the rod

Of God’s wrath.

He has driven me.

He has brought me

Into darkness

Without any light.

Against me alone

He turns his hand

Again and again

All day long.”

These three short verses, instead of one verse, start with the Hebrew consonant letter Aleph. Each section after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this personal acrostic poem or psalm. Using the first person singular, this author proclaims that he has seen a lot of suffering. He has seen affliction, due to the rod or stick of God’s wrath. God drove him into darkness, without any light. God has turned his hand against him alone, over and over again, all day long. He was in great pain.

The threat of the imminent exile (Jer 13:15-13:17)

“Hear!

Give ear!

Do not be haughty!

Yahweh has spoken.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before he brings darkness.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before your feet stumble

On the mountains at twilight.

While you look for light

He turns it into gloom.

He makes it deep darkness.

But if you will not listen,

My soul will weep in secret

For your pride.

My eyes will weep bitterly.

Tears will run down my cheeks

Because Yahweh’s flock

Has been taken captive.”

Jeremiah talks about an imminent captivity. They seem to have one last chance to listen to the words of Yahweh and not be proud. They would have to give glory to Yahweh, their God. Otherwise their feet would stumble as if they were on a mountain at twilight. The light was soon going to turn to darkness and gloom. If they did not listen to God, then Jeremiah would weep in secret because of their pride. He would weep bitterly with tears running down his cheeks, because they were going to be taken into captivity.

The rebellious people (Jer 2:29-2:32)

“‘Why do you complain against me?

You have all rebelled against me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘In vain

I have struck down your children.

They accepted no correction.

Your own sword devoured your prophets

Like a ravening lion.

You!

O generation!

Behold the word of Yahweh!

Have I been a wilderness to Israel?

Have I been a land of thick darkness?

Why then do my people say?

‘We are free.

We will come to you no more.’

Can a girl forget her ornaments?

Can a bride forget her attire?

Yet my people have forgotten me.

They have done so for days without number.’”

The Israelites had rejected Yahweh. They complained and rebelled against him. Their children would not take any kind of correction. They killed his prophets with a sword. Was Yahweh a wilderness or darkness to the Israelites? Why did they say that they were free? They no longer came to Yahweh. How could this happen? Would a girl forget her jeweled ornaments? Would a bride forget her clothing attire? Yet these people have forgotten Yahweh for many unnumbered days.

The ingratitude of their ancestors (Jer 2:5-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘What wrong did your ancestors

Find in me?

They went far from me.

They went after worthless things.

They became worthless themselves.

They did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?

He brought us up

From the land of Egypt.

He led us in the wilderness.

He led us in a land of deserts.

He led us in a land of pits.

He led us in a land of drought.

He led us in a land of deep darkness.

He led us in a land that no one passes through.

He led us in a land where no man dwells.’

I brought you into a plentiful land.

I brought you to eat its fruits.

I brought you to eat its good things.

But when you entered,

You defiled my land.

You made my heritage an abomination.

The priests did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?’

Those who handle the law

Did not know me.

The rulers transgressed against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal.

They went after things that do not profit.”

Jeremiah has Yahweh complain about their ancestors. Why did they go far from Yahweh, going after worthless things, so that they themselves became worthless? They seem to have forgotten that Yahweh led them out of Egypt through the desert wilderness with its pits, drought, and darkness. Very few people were able to make it through the lifeless wilderness. He brought them into a wonderful plentiful land that had many fruits to eat. However, as soon as they entered the land, they defiled it and made his heritage an abomination. The priests did not know Yahweh and follow his laws. The rulers transgressed the laws of Yahweh. The prophets used prophecies by the pagan gods of Baal. They all went after unprofitable and unproductive things.

The glory of Yahweh at Jerusalem (Isa 60:1-60:3)

“Arise!

Shine!

Your light has come!

The glory of Yahweh

Has risen upon you.

Darkness shall cover the earth.

A thick darkness shall cover the people.

But Yahweh will arise above you.

His glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come

To your light.

Kings shall come

To the brightness of your dawn.”

Now here are a series of poems that are reminiscent of Second Isaiah and the Book of Consolation. The theme is the restoration of Jerusalem in all its glory. The glory of Yahweh has Jerusalem wake up and shine. Although darkness will cover the earth and its entire people, Yahweh will make his light shine. Thus nations and kings will come to Jerusalem because of its bright dawn light.