The great fast proclamation (Jon 3:7-3:9)

“The king had a proclamation

Made in Nineveh.

‘By the decree

Of the king

With his nobles.

No human being,

No animal,

No herd,

No flock,

Shall taste anything.

They shall not feed them.

They shall not drink water.

Human beings,

With animals,

Shall be covered

With sackcloth.

They shall cry mightily

To God.

All shall turn

From their evil ways.

They shall turn

From the violence

That is in their hands.

Who knows?

God may yet relent.

God may change

His mind.

He may turn

From his fierce anger.

Thus,

We may not perish.’”

This king of Nineveh sent out a proclamation from the capital city.  No humans or animals should eat or drink anything, a total fast.  Both the humans and animals should be covered in sackcloth.  They all should cry out to God.  They were to turn from their evil violent ways.  His thought was that maybe God would change his mind about the future destruction of Nineveh.  Perhaps God would not be angry with them.  Thus, they would not die.

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The useless sacrifices (Hos 9:4-9:4)

“They shall not pour

Drink offerings

Of wine

To Yahweh.

Their sacrifices

Shall not please him.

Such sacrifices shall be

Like mourners’ bread.

All who eat of it

Shall be defiled.

Their bread

Shall be

For their hunger only.

It shall not come

To the house

Of Yahweh.”

Hosea told them that in their captivity, they will not be able to pour out drink offerings of wine to Yahweh. Their sacrifices would not please God. These sacrifices would be like the defiled bread of mourners who have had contact with the dead. The only reason to eat this bread would be because they were hungry. There will be no more symbolic bread, since they will no longer have contact with the house of Yahweh.

The sorrow of the exile (Hos 9:1-9:3)

“Do not rejoice!

O Israel!

Do not exult

As other nations do!

You have played

The prostitute!

You departed from

Your God!

You have loved

A prostitute’s pay

On all the threshing floors.

Threshing floor

With wine vat

Shall not feed them.

The new wine

Shall fail them.

They shall not remain

In the land of Yahweh.

But Ephraim shall return

To Egypt.

They shall eat

Unclean food

In Assyria.”

Hosea told the people of Israel, perhaps at a harvest festival, that they would no longer rejoice and exalt like other countries. They had prostituted themselves. They had departed from their God. They had accepted the prostitute’s pay on the threshing floor. No longer would grain and wine feed them, as the new wine would fail. They were not going to remain in the land of Yahweh. They would be sent to Egypt and Assyria, where they would eat unclean food.

Against the false exterior cult (Hos 8:11-8:13)

“When Ephraim

Multiplied altars

To expiate sin,

They became to him

Altars for sinning.

Although I write

For him

The multitude

Of my instructions,

They are regarded

As a strange thing.

Although they offer

Choice sacrifices,

Yahweh does not accept them.

Although they eat

Sacrificed offerings,

Yahweh does not accept them.

Now he will remember

Their iniquity.

He will punish

Their sins.

They shall return

To Egypt.”

The territory of Ephraim, in the northern Israelite kingdom, multiplied the number of altars to ask for forgiveness of sins. In the eyes of Yahweh, they were actually altars of sinning. Yahweh had given them plenty of instructions, but they regarded them as strange sayings, ignoring them. They tried to offer choice sacrifice offerings and eat them. However, Yahweh would not accept them. Instead, he remembered their iniquity. He wanted to punish them for their sins. One of the punishments was to send them back to Egypt.

The prostitution of Israel (Hos 4:10-4:12)

“They shall eat,

But not be satisfied.

They shall play the prostitute,

But not multiply.

They have forsaken

Yahweh

To cherish prostitution.

Wine,

With new wine,

Takes away

Understanding.

My people consult

A piece of wood.

Their divining rod

Gives them oracles.

A spirit of prostitution

Has led them astray.

They have left

Their God

To play the prostitute.”

These northern Israelites would eat, but not be satisfied or full. They played the prostitute. They did not increase or multiply. They have cherished prostitution rather than Yahweh. All kinds of wine, new and old, take away understanding. Thus, the Israelite people consult with pieces of wood, the wooden idol gods. Their oracles or sayings come from their magical divining rods or sticks. This concept of prostitution has led them astray. They have left God to be prostitutes to other gods. Obviously, this was an allusion to the prostitution fertility rites and the fact that they were turning to other wooden idol gods, rather than being faithful to Yahweh.

Daniel in the lion’s den (Dan 14:31-14:32)

“They threw Daniel

Into the lions’ den.

He was there

For six days.

There were seven lions

In the den.

Every day,

They had been given

Two human bodies,

With two sheep.

But now

They were given nothing.

Thus,

They would devour Daniel.”

Once again, Daniel is in the lion’s den as in chapter 6 of this book. This time, the duration is 6 days, instead of one night. There was an explicit mention of 7 lions in the den, instead of the earlier vague den of lions. Normally, these lions feasted on 2 human bodies and 2 sheep each day. During the time that Daniel was there, they were not given their normal diet, so that they might want to eat Daniel.

Daniel feeds the dragon (Dan 14:27-14:27)

“Then Daniel took

Pitch,

Fat,

With hair.

He boiled them together.

He made cakes.

Then he fed them

To the dragon.

The dragon ate them.

The dragon

Burst open.

Then Daniel said.

‘See!

What you have been worshiping!’”

Once again, the theme of food appeared. First, Daniel would not eat the royal food in chapter 1. Then there was the great feast where they drank out of sacred vessels in chapter 5. Earlier in this chapter, there was the problem of the idol god Bel or his priests eating the sacrificial food. Now here, Daniel prepares a meal for the dragon that will make him burst open. Once again, Daniel put down and destroyed an object of pagan worship. This time, it was this mysterious dragon.