Yahweh will not have pity (Zech 11:6-11:6)

“Says Yahweh.

‘I will no longer have pity

On the inhabitants

Of the earth.

I will cause

Every one of them

To fall,

Each into the hand

Of a neighbor,

Each into the hand

Of his king.

They shall devastate

The earth.

I will deliver no one

From their hand.’”

Yahweh was clear here.  There would be no pity on any of the inhabitants of the earth.  All of them would fall into the hands of his or her neighbor or king.  If you were the good neighbor, you won, since the others fell into your hand.  The earth would be devastated.  No one would be saved.  Either they died in civil wars or the kings killed them.

Against Moab and Ammon (Zeph 2:8-2:10)

“I have heard

The taunts of Moab.

I have heard

The reviling of the Ammonites.

They have taunted

My people.

They have made boasts

Against their territory.

Says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Therefore,

As I live,

Moab shall become

Like Sodom.

The Ammonites shall become

Like Gomorrah.

They will become

A land possessed

By nettles,

By salt pits,

A waste forever.

The remnant of my people

Shall plunder them.

The survivors of my nation

Shall possess them.

This shall be their lot

In return for their pride.

Because they scoffed.

They boasted

Against the people

of Yahweh of hosts.’”

Next Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked Ammon and Moab, the east bank trans Jordan countries that were the descendants of Lot, via the incest with his two daughters.  Thus, they were to become like Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19.  These countries were taunting and berating Judah and Israel.  However, Yahweh himself decreed that they would become a wasteland with thorny plants and salt pits.  Those surviving and remaining from Yahweh’s people would plunder them and take their possessions.  The Ammonites and Moabites were too proud.  They had scoffed and boasted against the people of Yahweh.  Now it was their turn to be devastated.

The exposed prostitute city of Nineveh (Nah 3:4-3:7)

“Because of the countless

Debaucheries

Of the prostitute,

Her graceful allure

As the mistress of sorcery,

She enslaved nations

Through her debaucheries.

She enslaved people

Through her sorcery.

‘I am against you.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will lift up

Your skirts

Over your face.

I will let nations look

On your nakedness.

I will let kingdoms

Look on your shame.

I will throw filth at you.

I will treat you

With contempt.

I will make you

A spectacle.

Then all who see you

Will shrink from you.

They will say.

‘Nineveh is devastated.

Who will bemoan her?

Where shall I seek comforters

For her?’”

Nahum said that Nineveh had become a prostitute by her actions.  She had been a graceful alluring mistress sorcerer.  She had enslaved people through her debaucheries, her sensual sexual corruption.  Nineveh tricked people with her sorcery.  However, Yahweh said that he was against Nineveh.  He would force her to lift up her skirts over her face, so that all the different countries could see her nakedness.  Everyone would see her shame.  Yahweh was going to throw filth at her.  He was going to treat her with contempt, making a spectacle out of Nineveh.  Then, everyone who saw Nineveh would shrink from her, because they would say that she was devastated.  There would be no one to moan or comfort her.  Nineveh would go away in disgrace.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

The three great men (Ezek 14:14-14:16)

“‘Even if

These three men,

Noah,

Daniel,

Job,

Were in that land,

They would save

Only their own lives

By their righteousness.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘If I send

Wild animals

Through the land,

To ravage it,

Thus it is made desolate,

So that no one

May pass through

Because of the animals.

Even if these three men

Were in that land,

As I live,

They would deliver

Neither sons,

Nor daughters.

They alone

Would be saved.

But the land

Would be desolate.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh seems to single out 3 great men, Noah, Daniel, and Job. Strangely enough, all 3 are not mainstays of Israelite history. Noah, in Genesis, precedes Abraham, thus is pre-Israelite. Daniel is a prophet who lived after the time of Ezekiel, with a book named after him. Job was, of course, not an Israelite in his famous book. They seem like unlikely heroes for the exiles. The point of this oracle was that individuals could not save a country of wicked people. Their righteousness would only save their own lives. Quite often this is used as an example of individual responsibility. However, it can be seen as an example of the limited impact of good people. The land would be devastated by wild animals, despite these 3 good men. They would not even be able to save their own sons or daughters. Only they would be saved since the land would be desolate.

Another country has hit Babylon (Jer 50:3-50:3)

“Out of the north,

A nation has come up

Against her.

It shall make her land

A desolation.

No one shall live in it.

Both human beings

As well as animals

Shall flee away.”

As usual, the attacker is from the north. However, Persia was east of Babylon, not north of it, when it attacked Babylon in 539 BCE. As per usual, the land will be devastated, so that no one would want to live there. All the humans and animals would want to leave this desolate land.

No refuge for the shepherds (Jer 25:34-25:38)

“Wail!

You shepherds!

Cry out!

Roll in ashes!

You lords of the flock!

The days of your slaughter

Have come.

The days of your dispersions

Have come.

You shall fall

Like a choice vessel.

Flight shall fail the shepherds.

There shall be no escape

For the lords of the flock.

Hark!

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.