The rotten plague (Zech 14:12-14:12)

“This shall be the plague

With which Yahweh

Will strike all the people

That waged wars

Against Jerusalem.

Their flesh shall rot,

While they are still

On their feet.

Their eyes shall rot

In their sockets.

Their tongues shall rot

In their mouths.”

Yahweh was going to send a plague on everybody that had waged war on Jerusalem.  Their flesh would rot on their body as they were still standing on their feet.  Their eyes would rot in their sockets, while their tongues would rot in their mouths.  This was a rotten plague.

No uncircumcised foreigners in the sanctuary (Ezek 44:9-44:9)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘No foreigner

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in heart

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in flesh

Shall enter my sanctuary!

None of all the foreigners,

Who are among

The people of Israel,

Shall enter my sanctuary.’”

There was no doubt about what Yahweh wanted. No foreigners were to be allowed to enter into his sanctuary. No one uncircumcised in heart or flesh would be allowed into the sanctuary of Yahweh. This even included the foreigners who were living among the Israelites. Only the circumcised, but more precisely, only the Zadok Levitical priests were allowed into his sanctuary.

The preparation tables for the burnt offerings (Ezek 40:42-40:43)

“There were also

Four tables

Of hewn stone

For the burnt offerings,

One cubit and a half long,

One cubit and a half wide,

One cubit high.

The instruments

Were to be laid there.

These instruments

Were to slaughter

The burnt offerings

As well as the sacrifices.

These were pegs,

One handbreadth long.

They were fastened

All around the inside.

The flesh

Of the offerings

Was to be laid

On the tables.”

There were 4 hewn stone tables for the burnt offerings, that were 1½ cubits long and wide. These tables were a little less than 3 feet square tables. However, these stone tables were only 1 cubit high, about 18 inches high, not very high. The instruments of slaughter for the burnt offerings and sacrifices were these 4-inch-long pegs that were all fastened together. The flesh of the animals was to lay on these stone tables.

The great feast (Ezek 39:17-39:17)

“As for you!

Son of man!

Thus says Yahweh God!

Speak to the birds

Of every sort!

Speak to all

The wild animals!

‘Assemble!

Come!

Gather from all around

To the sacrificial feast

That I am preparing

For you.

This will be

A great sacrificial feast

On the mountains

Of Israel.

You shall eat

Flesh.

You shall drink

Blood.’”

Once again, Yahweh called Ezekiel, the son of man, to speak to the various birds and the wild animals. They were all to gather at a sacrificial feast that Yahweh was preparing on the mountains of Israel, where they would eat flesh and drink blood. Yahweh seemed to imply that the birds and the animals would sacrifice themselves for Yahweh.

 

The living spirit and the dry bones (Ezek 37:5-37:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God

To these bones.

‘I will cause the spirit

To enter you.

You shall live.

I will lay sinews

On you.

I will cause flesh

To come

Upon you.

I will cover you

With skin.

I will put the spirit

In you.

You shall live.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.’”

The oracle of Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was directly to these bones. Yahweh was going to put the spirit or ruah in them. The three ideas of spirit, breath, or wind were encapsulated in this Hebrew word ruah. This ruah was going to enter these dry bones, so that they would live. Yahweh was also going to put muscles, sinews, flesh, and skin on these dry bones. However, it was the ruah, the Spirit of Yahweh, the breath of Yahweh, or the wind of Yahweh that gave them life. Then, of course, they would know that Yahweh was their God.

Eating other humans (Jer 19:9-19:9)

“I will make them eat

The flesh of their sons

As well as the flesh of their daughters.

All shall eat the flesh

Of their neighbors

In the siege,

In their distress.

Their enemies,

Those who seek their life,

Will afflict them.”

Things will be difficult during this siege of the city. They will eat the bodies of their sons and daughters as they become cannibals. They will also eat the flesh of their neighbors in this time of great distress. Their enemies, who were seeking their lives, would afflict them greatly.

Invitation to repent (Sir 17:25-17:32)

“Turn back to the Lord!

Forsake your sins!

Pray in his presence!

Lessen your offenses!

Return to the Most High!

Turn away from iniquity!

He will lead you out of darkness

To the light.

Hate intensely

What he abhors!

Who will sing praises

To the Most High

In Hades?

In place of the living,

Who gives thanks?

From the dead,

As from one who does not exist,

Thanksgiving has ceased.

Those who are alive and well

Sing the Lord’s praises.

How great is

The mercy of the Lord!

His forgiveness is

For those who return to him!

Not everything is within human capability.

Since human beings are not immortal.

What is brighter than the sun?

Yet it can be eclipsed.

Flesh and blood devise evil.

He marshals the host of the height of heaven.

But all human beings are dust.

All human beings are ashes.”

Much like the later John the Baptist, Sirach here is calling for all to repent. Turn to the Lord! Give up sinning! Pray to the Lord! Turn to the Most High! Turn away from iniquity! No one can sing the praises of the Lord from Hades, the home of the dead. Only the living can give thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. The Lord is merciful. He will forgive those who return to him. Humans have limited capacities, since they are not immortal. Even the bright sun gets eclipsed. Flesh and blood humans devise evil because they are mere dust and ashes. However, the Lord has his hosts in the high heavens.

The birth of Solomon (Wis 7:1-7:6)

“I also am mortal.

Like everyone else,

I am a descendant

Of the first-formed child of earth.

In the womb of a mother,

I was molded into flesh,

Within the period of ten months,

Compacted with blood,

From the seed of a man,

Within the pleasure of marriage.

When I was born,

I began to breathe the common air.

I fell upon the kindred earth.

My first sound was a cry,

As is true of all.

I was nursed with care

In swaddling clothes.

No king has had a different beginning of existence.

There is for all

One entrance into life.

There is one common way out.”

This author proclaims the human male mortality (ἄνθρωπος) of Solomon in the first person singular (ειμι). He was a mortal child of the earth like everyone else. He became flesh (σὰρξ) in his mother’s womb (κοιλίᾳ μητρὸς), where he had been 10 months since they used the lunar 28 day month calendar. He came from the seed of a man (ἐκ σπέρματος ἀνδρὸς) within a marriage. After birth, he began to breathe the common air (ἀέρα) that we all breathe. He was on the same ground and nursed in the same swaddling clothes like everyone else. A king (βασιλεὺς) does not come to exist in a different kind of way than everyone else. Everyone has the same entrance (εἴσοδος) and the same exit (ἔξοδός) to life.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 145:21-145:21)

Tav

“My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh.

All flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.”

This psalm ends with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet in italic. David would have his mouth speak praise to Yahweh. He wanted all flesh to bless his holy name forever.

Song of praise for the Temple (Ps 84:1-84:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the Gittith, a psalm of the Sons of Korah

“How lovely is your dwelling place!

Yahweh of hosts!

My soul longs,

Indeed it faints

For the courts of Yahweh.

My heart sings for joy!

My flesh sings for joy!

I sing to the living God!”

Psalm 84 is a choral song of praise for the Temple on Mount Zion. This psalm is part of the series of Korah psalms, the Temple singers, using Gittith, a stringed instrument. This psalmist loves the house of Yahweh as his soul longs for and faints for the courtyards of Yahweh. His heart and flesh sings for joy to the living God.