The naked Jerusalem (Ezek 23:29-23:30)

“They shall deal

With you

In hatred.

They shall take away

All the fruit

Of your labor.

They shall leave you

Naked.

They shall leave you

Bare.

The nakedness

Of your prostitution activities

Shall be exposed.

Your lewdness

Has brought this

Upon you.

Your prostitution activities

Have brought this

Upon you.

Because you played

The whore

With the nations,

You polluted yourself

With their idols.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem would be exposed. Everyone would see their nakedness. Her former angry and hateful lovers were going to take away all the fruits of her labor. She would be left naked and bare, as her sexual prostitution actions would be seen by all. Her lewd behavior would be out in the open. She had played the whore with all these different nations. She had polluted herself with all their idols.

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They did not obey (Bar 2:24-2:26)

“But we did not obey

Your voice.

We did not serve

The king of Babylon.

You have carried out

Your threats

That you spoke

By your servants,

The prophets.

The bones of our kings,

The bones of our ancestors

Would be brought out

Of their resting place.

Indeed

They have been

Thrown out

To the heat of day

And the frost of night.

They perished

In great misery,

By famine,

By sword,

By pestilence.

You have made

The house

That is called

By your name

As it is today,

Because of the wickedness

Of the house of Israel,

Of the house of Judah.”

However, they did not obey the voice of the Lord to serve the Babylonian king. Then God carried out the threats that he spoken through his prophetic servants. Thus the bones of their kings and their ancestors were brought out from their graves. They were exposed to the elements of the weather, the heat of day and the frost at night. Meanwhile, they all perished in great misery by either of the 3 famous ways of dying in Jeremiah, the famine, the sword, or the pestilence.  The Temple or the house of God was torn down because of the wickedness in the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

The blow of the tongue (Sir 28:17-28:21)

“The blow of a whip

Raises a welt.

But a blow of the tongue

Crushes the bones.

Many have fallen

By the edge of the sword.

But not as many as have fallen

Because of the tongue.

Happy is the one

Who is protected from it.

Happy is the one

Who has not been exposed to its anger.

Happy is the one

Who has not borne its yoke.

Happy is the one

Who has not been bound

With its fetters.

Its yoke is

A yoke of iron.

Its fetters are

Fetters of bronze.

Its death is an evil death.

Hades is preferable to it.”

A blow of the tongue is worse than a blow from a whip because the blow from the tongue crushes your bones, not merely a welt on your skin. This blow of the tongue is something that somebody has said that ruins your life. More people have fallen from this blow of the tongue than from the sword. You will be happy if you are protected from this blow from the tongue. If you have not been exposed to its anger or yoke, consider yourself happy. The blow of the tongue is like being put in bronze chains with an iron yoke on your neck. Hades would be preferable to the slow evil death from a blow of the tongue. Be careful when you say things about others.

Watch your tongue (Prov 26:23-26:28)

“Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel

Are smooth lips with an evil heart.

An enemy dissembles in speaking,

While harboring deceit within.

When an enemy speaks graciously,

Do not believe it.

There are seven abominations concealed within.

Their hatred is covered with guile.

Their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Whoever digs a pit

Will fall into it.

A stone will come back

On the one who starts it rolling.

A lying tongue hates its victims.

A flattering mouth works ruin.”

Watch your lips and the smooth lips of your enemies. Watch what they say. Smooth lips with an evil heart are the glaze that makes a glossy vessel shiny. Watch out for the enemy who has deceit in his heart while speaking to you. When an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe them since they are concealing 7 abominations. They cover their hatred with guile, but it will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever starts to dig a pit, will fall into it. If you start to roll a stone, it will come back on you. Lying tongues hate their victims. Flattery will only bring you to ruin.

The murder of the high priest Onias (2 Macc 4:30-4:34)

“While such was the state of affairs, it happened that the people of Tarsus and of Mallus revolted because their cities had been given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. So the king went hurriedly to settle the trouble. He left Andronicus, a man of high rank, to act as his deputy. But Menelaus, thinking he had obtained a suitable opportunity, stole some of the gold vessels of the temple. He gave them to Andronicus. As it happened, he had sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring cities. When Onias became fully aware of these acts he publicly exposed them. He had first withdrawn to a place of sanctuary at Daphne near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, urged him to kill Onias. Andronicus came to Onias. Resorting to treachery, he offered him sworn pledges and gave him his right hand. He persuaded Onias, though still suspicious, to come out from the place of sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him out of the way.”

When there was a revolt in Tarsus and Mallus because of a present to his concubine, King Antiochus IV had to go there to settle the problem. He left Andronicus as his deputy in charge. Menelaus then stole some gold vessels from the Temple and gave them to Andronicus. Menelaus then sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring seacoast towns. When deposed high priest Onias III heard about this he first went to an Apollo sanctuary in Daphne about 5 miles from Antioch. There he publically exposed the actions of Menelaus. Menelaus then persuaded the deputy of the king, Andronicus, to kill Onias. Andronicus tricked Onias when he swore not to hurt him, but when he came out of the sanctuary, he killed him. There was no regard for justice.