Forgiveness (Mt 6:14-6:15)

“If you forgive

Other men

Their trespasses,

Your heavenly Father

Will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive

Other men

Their trespasses,

Neither will your Father

Forgive your trespasses.”

 

Ἐὰν γὰρ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν, ἀφήσει καὶ ὑμῖν ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οὐδὲ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.

 

This saying about forgiveness seems similar to Mark, chapter 11:25.  Basically, your heavenly Father will forgive you (ἀφήσει καὶ ὑμῖν ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος) if you have forgiven others for their missteps or trespasses (Ἐὰν γὰρ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν).  What are these trespasses?  The Greek word “τὰ παραπτώματα” means to fall away after being close, a lapse, a deviation from the truth, an error, a slip up, relatively unconscious, or non-deliberate.  Apparently, this is not a serious offense, something like daily implied insensitive insults.  On the other hand, if you do not forgive others (ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις), your heavenly Father will not forgive you your trespasses (οὐδὲ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.).  You can see how the idea of trespasses instead of debtors came to be part of the “Our Father.”

Locusts ate the vegetation (Am 7:2-7:3)

“When they had finished

Eating the grass

Of the land,

I said.

‘O Yahweh God!

Forgive!

I beg you!

How can Jacob stand?

He is so small!’

Yahweh relented

Concerning this.

‘It shall not be.’

Said Yahweh.”

Amos was able to persuade Yahweh not to send any more locusts, after they had finished eating the grass of the land. The term grass probably indicates all vegetation. Amos asked God to forgive them, since Jacob was so small that it could not stand. His begging worked, since Yahweh said okay.

Against Tyre (Am 1:9-1:10)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Tyre,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they delivered

Entire communities

Over to Edom.

They did not remember

The covenant of brotherhood.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Tyre.

This fire shall devour

Its strongholds.’”

Tyre was the northern port city in the old Israelite territory of Asher. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as against Damascus and the Philistines. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, that was in Proverbs, chapter 30. He was not going to forgive. The city of Tyre, like the city of Gaza, was involved in the slave trade with Edom. They did not understand the universal covenant or treaty of all people who are really brothers or somehow related. They abused other humans as slaves. Thus, Yahweh was going to send a fire, just like that at Gaza, to devour their strongholds.

The daughter was called Lo-ruhamah (Hos 1:6-1:6)

“Gomer conceived again.

She bore a daughter.

Then Yahweh said to Hosea.

‘Name her Lo-ruhamah!

I will no longer

Have pity

On the house

Of Israel!

I will no longer

Forgive them.’”

Gomer once again became pregnant. This time she bore a daughter. Yahweh spoke directly with Hosea. This daughter was to be named Lo-ruhamah, another symbolic name that means not pitied or not loved anymore. Then Yahweh explained that he was not going to have pity on the house of Israel any more. He was not going to forgive them for what they had done.

Do not delay (Dan 9:17-9:19)

“Now therefore!

O our God!

Listen to the prayer

Of your servant!

Listen to his supplications!

For your own sake!

O Lord!

Let your face

Shine upon

Your desolated sanctuary!

O my God!

Incline your ear!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

Look at our desolation!

Look at the city

That bears your name!

We do not present

Our supplications

Before you

On the ground

Of our righteousness,

But on the ground

Of your great mercies.

O Lord!

Hear!

O Lord!

Forgive!

O Lord!

Listen!

Act!

Do not delay!

For your own sake,

O my God,

Because your city,

Your people,

Bear your name.”

Daniel finished up this prayer with a demand that the Lord God act right away and not delay. He wanted God to see and listen to his prayers and supplications, not because of their righteousness, but for the sake of his name and his great mercy. He wanted God to see their desolated sanctuary. He wanted God to see what was happening to the city that bore his name. He wanted God to see, hear, listen, forgive, act, and not delay.

Remember the covenant (Ezek 16:61-16:63)

“‘Then you will remember

Your ways.

You will be ashamed

When I take

Your sisters,

Both your elder

As well as your younger.

I will give them

To you

As daughters,

But not on account

Of my covenant

With you.

I will establish

My covenant

With you.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Thus you may remember.

Thus you may be confounded.

Never open

Your mouth again

Because of your shame!

I will forgive you

All that you have done.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told Jerusalem that she would remember her wicked ways. She should be ashamed. Yahweh was going to give her younger and older sister, Samaria and Sodom, as daughters to her, but not because of a covenant. Yahweh was going to establish his covenant with Jerusalem. She would know that he was Yahweh. She would remember that and be confounded. Jerusalem was never again to open her mouth because of her shame. Yahweh was going to forgive her for all that she had done.

The restoration of Israel (Jer 50:19-50:20)

“‘I will restore Israel

To its pasture.

It shall feed on Carmel.

It shall feed in Bashan.

It shall feed on the hills of Ephraim.

It shall feed in Gilead.

Its hunger shall be satisfied.’

Says Yahweh.

‘In those days,

At that time,

The iniquity of Israel

Shall be sought.

None shall be found.

The sins in Judah,

Shall be sought.

None shall be found.

I will pardon

The remnant

That I have spared.’”

Both Israel and Judah would be restored. In the former northern Israelite kingdom, there would be plenty of satisfying food as four specific places are mentioned here, the Mediterranean costal Carmel area, the Bashan area on the east side of the Jordan River, the Ephraim territory north of the Benjamin territory, and the east bank area of the Gilead in the former Gad and Manasseh territory. No longer would there be any iniquity or sins found in Israel or Judah, even though people would look for them. Yahweh would forgive the sins of the remnant that was spared. All would be good again.