“Thus said Yahweh my God.
‘Be a shepherd
For the flock doomed to slaughter!
Those who buy them,
They go unpunished.’
Those who sell them say.
‘Blessed be Yahweh!
I have become rich!’
Their own shepherds
Have no pity on them.’”
Yahweh, via Zechariah, seems to say that this flock of sheep was doomed to slaughter. The people who bought the sheep, killed them, but they would go unpunished. Meanwhile, the sellers of the sheep were praising Yahweh, because they had become rich. The original shepherds had no pity on the sheep. Sheep by their very nature would be killed for eating, but not before their wool was sheared. This may be an allusion to the Ptolemaic rule (305-275 BCE) with their Israelite appointees.
The time is surely coming.
When I will punish
The wounded shall groan
Through all her land.
Though Babylon should
Mount up to heaven,
Destroyers would come
Though she should fortify
her strong heights,
Destroyers would come
Yahweh was going to destroy Babylon and her idols. The time was coming when Yahweh would destroy all their idols throughout the country. The wounded ones would groan. Even if Babylon would mount prayers to heaven, her destroyers would come upon her from Yahweh. Even if she would fortify herself with strong high walls, these destroyers from Yahweh would descend upon her. Babylon and her idols were doomed. Yahweh was sending his destroyers.
“Why do we sit still?
Let us go into the fortified cities!
We will perish there!
Yahweh our God
Has doomed us to perish.
He has given us poisoned water to drink.
Because we have sinned against Yahweh.
We look for peace.
But we find no good.
We look for a time of healing,
But there is terror instead.”
Here Jeremiah presents the views of the people of Judah. They were sitting together, before they went to their fortified cities. There they expected to perish because Yahweh had doomed them to die. He gave them poisoned water to drink, which was the wrath of God. They finally admitted that they had sinned against Yahweh. They wanted peace, but there was none. They looked for healing, but there was only terror instead.
‘You have rebelled
Have brought this
This is your doom.
It is bitter.
It has reached
Your very heart.’”
Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they had rebelled against him. Their ways and actions brought this destruction upon themselves. They were doomed because this bitterness had reached their hearts.
They are like stubble.
The fire consumes them.
They cannot deliver themselves
From the power of the flame.
This is no coal for warming oneself!
This is no fire to sit before!
Such to you are
Those with whom you have labored.
You have trafficked with them
From your youth.
They all wander about
In their own paths.
There is no one to save you.”
Babylon will become like stubble that a fire consumes. They cannot save themselves from the powerful flames that are not like a warming fire or a fire to sit around and talk. They have worked with these people from their youth. They wander all around. No one is there to save them. Babylon is doomed.
Let the earth hear
With all that fills it!
Let the world hear
With all that comes from it!
Yahweh is enraged
Against all the nations.
He is furious
Against all their hoards.
He has doomed them.
He has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out.
The stench of their corpses shall rise.
The mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away.
The skies shall roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall wither
Like a leaf withering on a vine,
Like fruit withering on a fig tree.”
Once again Isaiah has this important call to listen. This time it is not merely to the people of Israel who should listen, but this is a more universal call to all the nations, all the people, the whole world, and the earth itself. Yahweh is mad at the whole world, everybody, all the countries. He has destined and doomed them for slaughter. There will be so many killed that the stench of their dead bodies will rise up, while the mountains will flow with blood. This is quite a gruesome scene. On top of that, all the hosts of heaven or the false gods will dry up and wither away like a leaf on a vine or a fruit on a tree.
“Let this be recorded for a generation to come.
Thus a people yet unborn may praise Yahweh.
He looked down from his holy height.
Yahweh looked at the earth.
He heard the groans of the prisoners.
He set free those who were doomed to die.
Thus the name of Yahweh may be declared in Zion.
His praise may be declared in Jerusalem.
Peoples will gather together to worship Yahweh.
Kingdoms will worship Yahweh.”
This was to be recorded for posterity so that future generations would praise Yahweh. He looked down from heaven, his holy high place, on earth. He heard the groans of the prisoners and those doomed to die. He wanted the name of Yahweh declared on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Various people and kingdoms will gather in the future to worship Yahweh.
“How great are your works!
Your thoughts are very deep!
The dullard cannot know this.
The stupid cannot understand this.
The wicked sprout like grass.
All evildoers flourish.
They are doomed to destruction forever.
But you are on high forever!
Your enemies shall perish.
All evildoers shall be scattered.”
The works of Yahweh are great. His thoughts are very deep. The dullards and stupid people do not know and understand this. The wicked and the evildoers are flourishing like grass. However, they are doomed to eternal destruction. Yahweh is on high forever and thus his enemies will perish. All the evildoers will be scattered.
“Let the groans of the prisoners come before you!
According to your great power
Preserve those doomed to die!
Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors
The taunts with which they have taunted you!
Then we your people,
The flock of your pasture,
Will give thanks to you forever.
From generation to generation
We will recount your praise.”
This psalm ends with the request to listen to their prayers. The Israelites considered themselves as prisoners who were doomed to die. Indeed the psalmist wanted God to preserve them. He wanted God to return sevenfold the taunts that had been delivered to them. They were his people, his flock. They would give thanks forever so that generation after generation would praise him.