The weakness of his enemies (Nah 1:8-1:8)

Kaph

“Yahweh will make a full end

Of his adversaries.

He will pursue

His enemies

Into darkness.”

According to the last of these Hebrew letters, Kaph, Yahweh would not be kind to his enemies.  He would put an end to them and pursue them until they lived in darkness, presumably death.

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Micah would rise again (Mic 7:8-7:10)

“Do not rejoice over me!

O my enemy!

When I fall,

I shall rise.

When I sit in darkness,

Yahweh

Will be a light for me.

I will bear the indignation

Of Yahweh,

Because I have sinned

Against him.

I wait

Until he takes

My side.

I wait

Until he executes judgment

For me.

He will bring me out

To the light.

I shall see

His vindication.

Then my enemy

Will see.

Shame will cover her

Who said to me.

‘Where is Yahweh

Your God?’

My eyes will see

Her downfall.

Now she will be trodden down,

Like the mire

Of the streets.”

Micah did not want his enemies to rejoice because he was going to rise again, just like Israel itself.  When Micah was in darkness, Yahweh was his light.  He was suffering the judgment of Yahweh, because of his sins.  However, Yahweh was going to vindicate him.  At that point, his enemies would be put to shame.  Those who had taunted him about his God Yahweh, would be stamped on in the streets, like stinky mud or mire.

Against the lying prophets (Mic 3:5-3:7)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the prophets,

Who lead my people astray.

‘They cry

‘Peace!’

When they have something

To eat.

But they declare war

Against those who put

Nothing into their mouths.

Therefore,

It shall be night to you,

Without vision.

It shall be darkness to you,

Without revelation.

The sun shall go down

Upon the prophets.

The day shall be black

Over them.

The seers shall be disgraced.

The diviners put to shame.

They shall all cover their lips.

There is no answer

From God.’”

This was another bitter rebuke of the prophetic leaders in Israel and Jacob.  These prophets had led Yahweh’s people astray.  They had cried peace to those who give them something to eat, but they declared war on those who did not give them anything to eat.  Thus, they would live in a night like condition without any vision.  There would be darkness, without any revelation.  The sun would go down on these evil prophets, so that their days would be pitch dark all around them.  The seers would be disgraced, while the diviners would be ashamed.  They would have nothing to say, because God would not answer them.

The dark day of Yahweh (Am 5:18-5:20)

“Woe to you!

You who desire

The day of Yahweh!

Why do you want

The day of Yahweh?

It is darkness,

Not light.

It is like

As if someone fled

From a lion,

But a bear met him.

It is like

Someone went into the house.

They then rested

Their hand

Against the wall.

Then a serpent bit him.

Is not

The day of Yahweh

Darkness,

Not light?

It is gloom

With no brightness in it.”

The day of Yahweh meant many different things to the ancient Israelites. For some, it was a favorable intervention of Yahweh. For others, as here, it was a day of Yahweh’s anger. After the exile, it was considered a day of hope that the anger of Yahweh would turn on Israel’s oppressors. Then this day of Yahweh became a day of judgment, as a triumph for the righteous. Finally, there were cosmic signs that would accompany this day of Yahweh. Here, Amos wanted to know why anyone would want the day of Yahweh to come, because it was a time of darkness, not light. In fact, he wanted to curse them for wishing the day of Yahweh to come. This day of Yahweh was more like a person fleeing from a lion, only to run into a bear. It was like going into a house, and then resting your arm on the wall, only to be bit by a snake. For Amos, the day of Yahweh was a time of darkness, not light, a time of gloom and not brightness.

The cosmic power of Yahweh (Am 5:8-5:9)

“He made

The Pleiades,

The Orion.

He turns deep darkness

Into the morning.

He darkens the day

Into night.

He calls for the waters

Of the sea.

He pours them out

On the surface

Of the earth.

Yahweh is his name.

He makes destruction

Flash out

Against the strong.

Thus destruction

Comes upon the fortress.”

Once again, Amos has a praise for the all-powerful cosmic God, Yahweh, as in chapter 4. Yahweh has made the star constellations of the Pleiades, or 7 stars, as well as the Orion, the hunter star constellation. Notice that these ancient prophets were aware of the night sky. Yahweh was able to turn darkness into morning light. At the same time, he was able to darken the day until it became night. Clearly, Yahweh or God controlled the day and night lights. Yahweh also controlled the waters of the sea that could be poured out on the earth. He also was able to bring destruction to the strongest fortresses that they had. Yahweh was a truly powerful cosmic God.

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.