Yahweh controls nature (Zech 10:1-10:3)

“Ask rain from Yahweh

In the season

Of the spring rain!

Yahweh makes

The storm clouds.

He gives

Showers of rain

To you.

He gives

The vegetation in the field

To everyone.

The teraphim

Utter nonsense.

The diviners

See lies.

The dreamers

Tell false dreams.

They give

Empty consolation.

Therefore,

The people wander

Like sheep.

They suffer

For lack of a shepherd.

My anger is hot

Against the shepherds.

I will punish the leaders.

Yahweh of hosts

Cares for his flock.”

Yahweh is in charge of the world.  If you want rain, ask Yahweh for spring rains, since he controls storm clouds and rain showers.  He provides the vegetation for the fields.  However, there are various people like teraphim, some kind of diviners or dreamers, who have lied and uttered nonsense.  They provided false dreams and empty consolations.  Thus, the people suffer like sheep who wander around, because they have no shepherd to lead them.  Yahweh was angry at his shepherd leaders, so that he was going to punish them, because they did not care for his flock.

Against the seduction of idolatry (Deut 13:1-13:18)

“If prophets, or those who divine by dreams appear among you, promise you omens or portents, and the omens or portents declared by them takes place. Then they say, ‘Let us follow other gods,’ whom you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams. Yahweh your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love Yahweh your God with all your heart and soul. Yahweh your God you shall follow. Him alone you shall fear. His commandments you shall keep. His voice you shall obey. Him you shall serve. To him you shall hold fast. But those prophets or those that divine by dreams shall be put to death for having spoken treason against Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery. They want to turn you from the way in which Yahweh your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Beware of the false prophets and dreamers who might lead you astray to other gods. Dreams were a very important way that God communicated with humans. Even if they worked miracles, idolatry was very serious. Yahweh alone should be loved, feared, obeyed, and served. You had to get rid of those leading to false gods by purging them from your community.

“If anyone secretly entices you, even if is your brother, your father’s son or your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend saying, ‘Let us go worship other gods,’ whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them. Your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people. Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Then all Israel shall hear, and be afraid, and never again do any such wickedness.”

Be careful with your family and friends, who might lead you astray. You must be the first to condemn and kill them if they lead you to false unknown gods. Stoning is the preferred way to kill someone because it is a communal act to get rid of someone rather than a personal vendetta. This will put fear into others because Yahweh has brought you out of Egyptian slavery.

“If you hear it said about one of the towns that Yahweh your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods,’ whom you have not known, then you shall inquire and make a thorough diligent investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you, you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it, even putting its livestock to the sword. All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square. Then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to Yahweh your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt. Do not let anything devoted to destruction stick to your hand, so that Yahweh may turn from his fierce anger and show you compassion. In his compassion he will multiply you, as he swore to your ancestors. If you obey the voice of Yahweh your God, and keep all his commandments that I am commanding you today, you will do what is right in the sight of Yahweh your God.”

If a town turns to another god, destroy all the people in it, if it turns away from Yahweh. Make an investigation first. If it is true, then put everyone to the sword, including the livestock. Finally, burn the entire town with all its spoil and leave it as a ruined town. Do not let Yahweh’s anger come upon you. Obey the voice of Yahweh and his commandments.