Do not be like your ancestors (Zech 1:4-1:6)

“Do not be like your ancestors!

The former prophets

Cried out

Against them.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Return from your evil ways!

Return from your evil deeds!

But they did not hear.

They did not heed me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your ancestors,

Where are they?

The prophets,

Do they live forever?

But my words,

My statutes,

That I commanded

My servants,

The prophets,

Did they not overtake

Your ancestors?

Thus,

They repented.

They said.

‘Yahweh of hosts

Has dealt with us

According to our ways,

According to our deeds,

Just as he planned to do.’”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, wanted the people of Israel not to be like their ancestors.  They should return from their evil ways and deeds.  Their ancestors had not listened to the former prophets proclaiming the word of Yahweh.  What happened to their ancestors?  Neither they nor these prophets would live forever.  However, the statutes and commands of Yahweh as pronounced by his servants, the prophets, overtook them.  They repented and agreed that Yahweh had treated them fairly according to their ways and deeds.

The presence of wisdom (Wis 9:9-9:12)

“With you is wisdom.

She knows your works.

She was present

When you made the world.

She understands

What is pleasing in your sight.

She understands

What is right

According to your commandments.

Send her forth

From the holy heavens.

From the throne of your glory

Send her!

Thus she may labor at my side.

Thus I may learn what is pleasing to you.

She knows all things.

She understands all things.

She will guide me wisely in my actions.

She will guard me with her glory.

Then my works will be acceptable.

I shall judge your people justly.

I shall be worthy

Of the throne of my father.”

Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) was present with God when he made the world (ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον). She understands what is pleasing and what is right according to the commandments. She was sent from the holy heavens (ἐξ ἁγίων οὐρανῶν) and the throne of glory (θρόνου δόξης σου). Thus she labors on earth. She knows and understands all things. She guides and guards this author. Then the author as King Solomon declared that he would judge his people fairly so that he would be worthy of the throne of his father (θρόνων πατρός μου), presumably David.

Yahweh rules (Ps 96:10-96:13)

“Say among the nations.

‘Yahweh is king!’

The world is firmly established.

It shall never be moved.

He will judge the peoples with equity.’

Let the heavens be glad.

Let the earth rejoice.

Let the sea roar,

With all that fills it.

Let the field exult,

With everything in it.

Then shall all the trees of the forest

Sing for joy

Before Yahweh.

He is coming

To judge the earth.

He will judge the world

With righteousness.

He will judge the peoples

With his truth.”

This psalm ends by proclaiming the universal judging kingship of Yahweh. Yahweh, the universal king of the established world, will judge the people fairly. Heaven and earth will rejoice. The seas and the fields with everything in them, including the trees in the forest, will sing for joy. Yahweh is coming to judge the world with righteousness and truth.

Bad judges (Ps 58:1-58:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Do Not Destroy, a Miktam of David

“Do you indeed

Decree what is right?

You gods!

Do you indeed

Judge people fairly?

No!

In your hearts

You devise wrongs.

Your hands

Deal out violence

On earth.”

Like Psalm 57, Psalm 58 has the melody “Do Not Destroy” to this choral song Miktam of David. However, there is no indication of a particular event in the life of David. David seems to be lamenting against the bad judges on earth. Somehow these judges were acting like mini-gods. They were not decreeing what was right. They were not judging people fairly. In their hearts, they knew that they were wrong. Their hands dealt out violence here on earth.