The Zadok Levitical priests (Ezek 44:15-44:16)

“‘But the Levitical priests,

The descendants of Zadok,

Who kept the charge

Of my sanctuary,

When the people of Israel

Went astray

From me,

Shall come near

To me

To minister

To me.

They shall attend me

To offer me

The fat

With the blood.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They shall enter

My sanctuary.

They shall approach

My table.

They shall

Minister

To me.

They shall

Keep my charge.’”

It was a different story for the Zadok Levitical priests, as mentioned in the previous chapter. These Levitical priests from the family of Zadok came from a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. This Zadok aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, this Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Zadok Levitical priests had been loyal to Yahweh, when the other Levites went astray. They were the ones who could come near to Yahweh to minister to him. They would offer the fat and the blood. They would enter Yahweh’s sanctuary and approach his table. They would be in charge and directly minister to Yahweh.

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The wicked scoundrels (Jer 5:26-5:29)

“‘Wicked scoundrels are

Found among my people.

They take over

The goods of others.

They lurk

Like fowlers,

They set a trap.

They catch human beings.

Like a cage full of birds,

Their houses are full of treachery.

Therefore they have become great.

They have become rich.

They have grown fat.

They have become sleek.

They know no limits

In their deeds of wickedness.

They do not judge

With justice

The cause of the orphans,

To make them prosper.

They do not defend

The rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, justifies his stance against the Israelites. This time he cites the wicked scoundrels in the land among his own people. They actually take the goods of others like robbers. They are like bird trappers, but they set their traps for their fellow humans. They are full of tricks that have made them great, rich, fat, and sleek. They have no limits to their wickedness. When they judge, they judge without justice, especially in the cases of orphans and the needy. Why shouldn’t Yahweh punish them? Why shouldn’t he bring retribution on this whole nation?

The sword of Yahweh on Edom (Isa 34:5-34:7)

“When my sword has drunk

Its fill in the heavens,

It will descend upon Edom.

My sword will descend

Upon the people I have doomed.

Yahweh has a sword.

It is sated with blood,

With the blood of lambs,

With the blood of goats.

It is gorged with fat,

With the fat of the kidneys of rams.

Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah.

There was a great slaughter

In the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall fall with them.

Young steers shall fall with them.

Mighty bulls shall fall with them.

Their land shall be soaked with blood.

Their soil made rich with fat.”

Isaiah has Yahweh talk about his sword that was going to descend on the country of Edom, southeast of Judah, where the twin brother of Jacob, Esau, had settled as in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh’s heavenly sword would fall upon the doomed country of Edom. This sword would be full of blood from goats and rams as well as fat from their kidneys. There was going to be a great sacrificial slaughter in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom. There was going to be such a sacrifice of oxen, steers, and bulls that the land would be soaked with blood and fat so that the soil would become rich.

The value of the law (Ps 119:65-119:72)

Tet

“Yahweh!

You have dealt well with your servant,

According to your word.

Teach me good judgment.

Teach me knowledge.

I believe in your commandments.

Before I was humbled,

I went astray.

But now I keep your word.

You are good.

You do good.

Teach me your statutes!

The arrogant smear me with lies.

But with my whole heart

I keep your precepts.

Their hearts are fat.

Their hearts are gross.

But I delight in your law.

It is good for me that I was humbled.

Thus I might learn your statutes.

The law of your mouth is better to me

Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”

This psalmist says that Yahweh has dealt with him according to his word. He wanted to learn good judgment and knowledge. He believed in Yahweh’s commandments. Before he was humbled, he had gone astray. Now, however, he keeps the word of Yahweh. After all Yahweh, God is good and does good. Remember removing the “o” in good can become God. He wanted, as usual throughout this psalm, to learn more about the statutes of God. Once again, the arrogant were smearing his name. The arrogant ones had a fat and gross heart. However, he kept the precepts of Yahweh with his whole heart as he delighted in the law. He had been humbled so that he might learn about the statutes of Yahweh. These laws in his mouth were worth more than thousands of gold and silver pieces. The spiritual value of the law was so much greater than any gold or silver. So ends this section on the ninth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tet.

Ezra explains the landing in the Promised Land (Neh 9:22-9:25)

“You gave them kingdoms and peoples.

You allotted to them every corner.

They took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon.

They took possession of the land of King Og of Bashan.

You multiplied their descendants like the stars of heaven.

You brought them into the land

That you had told their ancestors to enter and possess.

The descendants went in and possessed the land.

You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites.

You gave them into their hands,

With their kings and the peoples of the land.

Thus they might do with them as they pleased.

They captured fortified cities and a rich land.

They took possession of houses filled with all sorts of goods.

They took possession of hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards

And fruit trees in abundance.

They ate.

They were filled.

They became fat.

They delighted themselves in your great goodness.”

Our ancestors got to the Promised Land. They took possession of the kingdoms of Heshbon and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan. Their descendents became as numerous as the stars. They took over the land and the people inhabited by the Canaanites. They captured the fortified cities and the rich land. They took possession of the cisterns, the vineyards, and the olive trees already there. They ate and became fat. They delighted themselves with the great goodness that they had received.