Cannibalism (Ezek 5:10-5:10)

“Surely,

Parents shall eat

Their children

In your midst.

The children shall eat

Their parents.

I will execute judgments

On you.

Any of you

Who survive,

I will scatter

To every wind.”

This ideal of cannibalism in Jerusalem was attested by Jeremiah, chapter 19, and Lamentations, chapters 2 and 4, and now here in Ezekiel. Parents would eat their children, while children would eat their parents in this situation of starvation in Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on those who survived. These survivors would be scattered to the four winds in every direction.

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A description of the four wheels (Ezek 1:15-1:18)

“As I looked

At the living creatures,

I saw a wheel

On the earth

Beside the living creatures.

There was

One wheel for each

Of the four of them.

The appearance

Of the wheels was

Like the gleaming

Of beryl.

The four wheels

Had the same likeness.

Their construction

Was like a wheel

Within a wheel.

When they moved,

They moved in any

Of the four directions,

Without veering

As they moved.

Their rims

Were tall.

Their rims

Were awesome.

The rims

Of all four wheels

Were full

Of eyes all around.”

Ezekiel explained that he saw four wheels laying on the earth for each of the four living creatures. The appearance of these wheels was like gleaming beryl, some kind of emerald or aquamarine crystal. All of the four wheels looked the same, as they seemed to be like wheels within wheels. They could move in any direction without veering away as they moved. They had tall awesome rims. They had eyes or spokes, as if they were an all seeing creatures.

The uncertainty of life (Eccl 11:1-11:3)

“Send out your bread upon the waters.

After many days

You will get it back.

Divide your means seven ways,

Or even eight.

You do not know

What disaster may happen on earth.

When clouds are full,

They empty rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south

Or to the north,

In the place where the tree falls,

There it will lie.”

Qoheleth reminds us of the uncertainty of life itself. He wanted people to put their bread on the waters. He wanted people to take chances because it might return to them with some kind of profit. You should not keep all your eggs in one basket. You should spread out your resources into 7 or 8 places. You never know when some disaster might hit. The clouds could send rain. When a tree falls, no matter in what direction, it will lie there where it fell.

Thanksgiving psalm (Ps 107:1-107:3)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

He is good!

His steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so.

He has redeemed them from trouble.

He has gathered them in from the lands.

He has gathered them from the east.

He has gathered them from the west.

He has gathered them from the north.

He has gathered them from the south.”

Psalm 107 opens the last book of psalms as a thanksgiving psalm with no titles. The psalmist wants to give thanks to Yahweh because he is good and his steadfast love endured forever. This was a very common lovely theme, often repeated. Yahweh has redeemed them from trouble in various lands in every direction, east, west, north, and south. This would seem to indicate a post-exilic psalm since they are all returning from captivity.

Job cannot find God (Job 23:8-23:17)

“If I go forward,

He is not there.

If I go backward,

I cannot perceive him.

On the left, he hides.

I cannot behold him.

I turn to the right.

But I cannot see him.

But he knows the way that I take.

When he has tested me,

I shall come out like gold.

My foot has held fast to his steps.

I have kept his way.

I have not turned aside.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips.

I have treasured in my bosom the words of his mouth.

But he stands alone.

Who can dissuade him?

What he desires,

That he does.

He will complete what he appoints for me.

Many such things are in his mind.

Therefore I am terrified at his presence.

When I consider,

I am in dread of him.

God has made my heart faint.

The Almighty Shaddai has terrified me.

If only I could vanish in darkness,

Thick darkness would cover my face.”

Whether Job went forwards, backwards, left, or right, he could not find God. No matter what direction, east, west, north, or south, he could not see God. Yet he would be like gold when tested. His steps were in line since he followed God’s way and commandments. Here is the problem. He was not a Jew following the Torah. Who could change God? He does what he desires. Whatever he has appointed for him, it will come to pass. Thus Job was terrified in his presence and feared the almighty Shaddai. If he could vanish into darkness that would cover his face, he would be fine.