The reason for Yahweh’s judgment (Jer 16:11-16:13)

“Then you shall say to them.

Says Yahweh.

‘It is because your ancestors

Have forsaken me.

They have gone after other gods.

They have served them.

They have worshiped them.

They have forsaken me.

They have not kept my law.

However you have behaved worse

Than your ancestors.

Here you are,

Every one of you,

Following your stubborn evil will.

You refuse to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you

Out of this land,

Into a land

That neither you,

Nor your ancestors,

Have known.

There you shall serve other gods

Day and night.

I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah received his explanation of why this disaster was to come from Yahweh. The problem was twofold, their ancestors and they themselves. First of all, their ancestors had forsaken Yahweh, since they served and worshipped other gods. They did not keep Yahweh’s law. However, the current Israelites were even worse than their ancestors. Jeremiah’s contemporaries refused to listen to him. Instead they followed their own stubborn evil ways. The result of this was that the current people of Judah and Jerusalem would be thrown out of this Promised Land into another country. There they would serve other gods, day and night, in a land that was foreign to them and their ancestors. Yahweh was in no mood to show any favors.

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Wake up Zion (Isa 52:1-52:2)

“Awake!

Awake!

Put on your strength!

O Zion!

Put on your beautiful garments!

O Jerusalem!

The holy city!

The uncircumcised

Shall enter you no more!

The unclean

Shall enter you no more!

Shake yourself from the dust!

Rise up!

O captive Jerusalem!

Loose the bonds from your neck!

O captive daughter of Zion!”

Second Isaiah has a stirring call from Yahweh for Mount Zion, Jerusalem, to wake up. They had to put their strength on. They had to put on their beautiful garments. No longer would those foreign unclean and the uncircumcised people enter into Jerusalem. They had to shake off their dust and remove the chains around their necks. They were to rise up because they were no longer captives.

The prayer for deliverance from foreign countries (Sir 36:1-36:12)

“Have mercy upon us!

O Lord!

God of all!

Put all the nations

In fear of you!

Lift up your hand

Against foreign nations!

Let them see your might!

As you have used us

To show your holiness to them,

So use them

To show your glory to us.

Then they will know,

As we have known,

That there is no God but you.

O Lord!

Give new signs!

Work other wonders!

Make your hand glorious!

Make your right arm glorious!

Rouse your anger!

Pour out your wrath!

Destroy the adversary!

Wipe out the enemy!

Hasten the day!

Remember the appointed time!

Let people recount

Your mighty deeds!

Let survivors be consumed

In the fiery wrath!

May those who harm your people

Meet destruction!

Crush the heads of hostile rulers

Who say.

‘There is no one but ourselves.’”

Sirach directs his prayer for deliverance directly to God, the Lord of all. He wanted God to put his fear into all the nations of the world, but especially those foreign nations. Thus they might understand the might, the holiness, and the glory of the Lord, just as they had known the Lord. He wanted new signs and wonders so that others could see the glorious arm and hand of the Lord. He wanted the Lord to get angry and show his wrath against his enemies. They should be wiped out and destroyed. He wanted this to happen soon. He wanted his enemies crushed, especially those proud rulers who thought that they could exist by themselves without God.

Everything was clean (Neh 13:30-13:31)

“Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign. I established the duties of the priests and the Levites, each in his work. I provided for the wood offering, at appointed times, and for the first fruits.

‘Remember me,

O my God, for good.’

Nehemiah on this second trip had accomplished his task. He had cleansed Jerusalem from everything foreign. He had reestablished the priests and Levites in their work. There would be sacrifices in the Temple at the appointed times. He wanted God to remember him for all the good that he had done.