Yahweh will remove the plague of locusts (Joel 2:20-2:20)

“I will remove

The northern army

Far from you.

I will drive it

Into a parched land.

I will drive it

Into a desolate land.

Its front will be

In the eastern sea.

Its rear will be

In the western sea.

Its stench

Will rise up.

Its foul smell

Will rise up.”

Joel said that Yahweh was going to remove this northern army of locusts. He was going to drive them into a parched and desolate land. The grasshopper front would be in the eastern sea, the Dead Sea, while its rear would be in the western sea, the Mediterranean Sea. There would be a terrible smell coming from these dead locusts.

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The evil in Gilgal (Hos 9:15-9:15)

“Every evil

Of theirs

Began at Gilgal.

There I began

To hate them.

Because of the wickedness

Of their deeds,

I will drive them

Out of my house.

I will love them

No more.

All their officials

Are rebels.”

Gilgal was the original west bank camping grounds, east of Jericho, in Joshua, chapters 4-5. There Saul was also anointed king in 1 Samuel, chapter 11, despite the fact that Samuel was opposed to him. Gilgal was, nevertheless, the home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 2. Yahweh, via Hosea, said that all the evil things began here at Gilgal, as they entered the promised land. Yahweh began to hate the Israelites there, because of their wicked deeds. Yahweh was going to drive them out of his house, because he was not going to love them anymore. All their officials were rebels against Yahweh.

Against Gog (Ezek 39:1-39:2)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy against Gog!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal!

I will turn you around!

I will drive you forward!

I will bring you up

From the remotest parts

Of the north!

I will lead you

Against the mountains

Of Israel!’”

As if one chapter were not enough, Ezekiel has another chapter about Gog.   Yahweh God, as usual, came to the prophet Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, he wanted Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, who is now called the prince of Meshech and Tubal and not from Magog. Like in the last chapter, Gog was clearly an enemy of Yahweh. Yet Yahweh used him for his own purposes. Yahweh was going to turn Gog around and drive him forward from the remotest parts of the northern area. In fact, Yahweh was going to lead Gog against the mountains of Israel. The only possible historical basis for this Gog, might be the supposedly chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, two 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor of Turkey.

Do not listen to the false prophets (Jer 27:14-27:15)

“‘Do not listen

To the words

Of the prophets

Who are telling you

Not to serve

The king of Babylon.

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

I have not sent them.’

Says Yahweh.

‘But they are prophesying falsely

In my name.

The result is

That I will drive you out.

You will perish,

You,

With the prophets

Who are prophesying to you.’”

Once again, Yahweh repeats his warning about the false prophets. Anyone who is telling them not to serve the king of Babylon is lying. The king of Judah and his people were not to listen to these false prophets and their prophecies because Yahweh had not sent them. If they listen to these lying prophets, then Yahweh will drive them out. They will perish along with these false prophets.

Do not listen to false predictions (Jer 27:9-27:11)

“‘Therefore

You must not listen

To your prophets,

To your diviners,

To your dreamers,

To your soothsayers,

To your sorcerers.

If they are saying to you.

‘You shall not serve

The king of Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

The result will be

That you will be removed

Far from your land.

I will drive you out.

You will perish. But any nation

That will bring its neck

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

Thus serve him,

I will leave on its own land.

They will till it.

They will live there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has an oracle of Yahweh about the false prophets who are telling the people not to obey the king of Babylon. Whether it is a prophet, a diviner, a dreamer, a soothsayer, or a sorcerer, who tell them not to serve the king of Babylon, they are prophesying lies. If they listened to these liars, Yahweh was going to drive them out of their land, so that they would perish. However, if any country was to put on the yoke of Babylon and serve its king, Yahweh was going to let them stay on their own land, live there, and till the soil. There is no doubt that Yahweh was on the side of the King of Babylon, as presented here.

 

The failure of the Egyptian magicians (Wis 17:7-17:10)

“The delusions of their magic art lay humbled.

Their boasted wisdom was scornfully rebuked.

Those who promised to drive off

The fears of a sick soul,

Those who promised to drive off

The disorders of a sick soul,

Were sick themselves

With ridiculous fear.

Even if nothing disturbing frightened them,

Yet scared by the passing of wild animals,

Scared by the hissing of serpents,

They perished in trembling fear.

They refused to look even at the air,

though it nowhere could be avoided.”

Here we have a specific reference to the magicians (μαγικῆς) in Egypt as in Exodus, chapters 7-9. These magicians were humbled. They had promised to drive away the fears and ills of the Egyptians, who remain unnamed here. These magicians were sick with a ridiculous fear themselves. They were afraid of the wild animals and the serpents. They perished in their own fear. Once again we have an embellishing of the original story to add a more dramatic effect.

Death and the fool (Prov 27:20-27:22)

“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied.

Human eyes are never satisfied.

The crucible is for silver.

The furnace is for gold.

A person is tested by being praised.

Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle.

Crush him along with crushed grain.

But his folly will not be driven out.”

First we have the insatiable appetite of death, Sheol and Abaddon, the shadowy underworld where people go after they die. This is compared to human eyes that are never satisfied, always looking for new things. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. But instead as in chapter 17, here it is praise and not Yahweh that tests the humans. You can try to get the folly out of a fool by putting him in mortar or crushed grain. A pestle is some kind of grinding machine. However, it will be to no avail. You cannot drive the foolishness out of a fool.