No more pity for Jerusalem (Jer 15:6-15:9)

“Says Yahweh.

‘You have rejected me!

You are going backward.

I have stretched out my hand

Against you.

I destroyed you.

I am weary of relenting.

I have winnowed them

With a winnowing fork

In the gates of the land.

I have bereaved them.

I have destroyed my people.

They did not turn from their ways.

I have made their widows

More numerous than the sand of the seas.

I have brought

Against the mothers of young men

A destroyer at noonday.

I have made anguish fall on her suddenly.

I have made terror fall on her suddenly.

She who bore seven has languished.

She has swooned away.

Her sun went down

While it was yet day.

She has been shamed.

She has been disgraced.

The rest of them

I will give to the sword

Before their enemies.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they have rejected and turned against him. Thus Yahweh stretched out his hand and destroyed them. He was tired of forgiving them. He tried to winnow them out to find the good ones. He made them sad by destroying them. They would not turn away from their evil ways. Thus they may have more widows than all the sand in the seas. That is quite a big hyperbolic number. The destroyer came at noon against young mothers. Even strong women who had 7 children were fainting. The sun was setting before the day was done since they were ashamed and disgraced. Anyone left over would suffer the hardship of the deadly sword.

The arrogance of Moab (Isa 16:6-16:7)

“We have heard

Of the pride of Moab.

How proud he is!

We have heard

Of his arrogance.

We have heard

Of his pride.

We have heard

Of his insolence.

His boasts are false.

Therefore let Moab wail!

Let everyone wail for Moab!

Mourn!

It is utterly stricken.

They cry for

The raisin-cakes of Kir-hareseth.”

Isaiah here assumes the first person plural “we,” instead of the first person singular, “I.” Now the tone is not as forgiving. They have heard of the pride, the arrogance, and insolence of Moab. Those Moabites make false boasts. Therefore, let them cry. Let everyone wail away, because they have been decimated. They cry out for their raisin cakes from Kir-hareseth. The raisin cakes were made from the grapes that dried up. These must have been some good bakery cakes from the town of Kir or Kerak in Moab, the probable names for Kir-hareseth.

Past history (Sir 2:10-2:11)

“Consider the generations of old.

See the generations of old.

Has anyone who trusted in the Lord been disappointed?

Has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord been forsaken?

Has anyone who called upon him been neglected?

The Lord is compassionate.

The Lord is merciful.

He forgives sins.

He saves in time of distress.”

See what happened to your ancestors, the generations of old. Has anyone who trusted in the Lord been disappointed?   Has anyone been forsaken who preserved in the fear of the Lord? Has anyone been neglected who called upon the Lord? After all, the Lord is compassionate, merciful, and forgiving. He will save you in the time of distress.

Yahweh answers (Ps 99:8-99:9)

“Yahweh!

Our God!

You answered them.

You were a forgiving God to them.

But you were an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Extol Yahweh!

Our God!

Worship at his holy mountain!

Yahweh!

Our God is holy!”

This psalm ends with the consolation that Yahweh answered their ancestors. He was forgiving to them although he was an avenger of their wrongdoings. Therefore they should extol Yahweh. They should then worship him at his holy mountain where Yahweh, their God is holy.

Personal prayer to Yahweh (Ps 86:1-86:7)

A Prayer of David

“Incline your ear!

Yahweh!

Answer me!

I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life!

I am devoted to you.

Save your servant who trusts in you!

You are my God!

Be gracious to me!

Yahweh!

I cry to you all day long.

Gladden the soul of your servant!

Yahweh!

I lift up my soul to you!

Yahweh!

You are good.

You are forgiving,

You abound in steadfast love

To all who call on you.

Give ear to my prayer!

Yahweh!

Listen to my cry of supplication!

In the day of my trouble,

I call on you.

You will answer me.”

Psalm 86 seems like a personal prayer of David. There is no other indication in the title. David wanted Yahweh to listen to him by giving him his ear. He wanted an answer since he was poor and needy. He wanted to preserve his life since he was devoted to Yahweh. He trusted in Yahweh as a servant. All day long he cried to Yahweh, his God. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and gladden his soul. He knew that Yahweh was good and forgiving due to his steadfast love. David wanted Yahweh to hear him in the times of his trouble. He called and expected an answer.

Ezra tells of the disobedience of Israel in the wilderness (Neh 9:16-9:21)

“They and our ancestors acted presumptuously.

They stiffened their necks.

They did not obey your commandments.

They refused to obey.

They were not mindful of the wonders you performed among them.

They stiffened their necks.

They determined to return to their slavery in Egypt.

You are a God ready to forgive.

You are gracious and merciful.

You are slow to anger.

You abound in steadfast love.

You did not forsake them.

Even when they cast an image of a calf for themselves,

They said.

‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt.’

They had committed great blasphemies.

You in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness.

The pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them day.

The pillar of fire gave them light on the way by which they should go.

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.

You did not withhold your manna from their mouths.

You gave them water for their thirst.

Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness.

They lacked nothing.

Their clothes did not wear out.

Their feet did not swell.”

Despite the great love of God, the Israelites would not obey him. They actually wanted to return to Egypt. However, God was forgiving, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. He was steadfast in his love so that he did not forsake our ancestors. Even though they were blasphemous and created a golden calf, in his mercy he did not forsake our ancestors. He sent a pillar of cloud and fire to guide them. He gave his Spirit to instruct them. He gave them manna and water to sustain them in the wilderness. They lacked nothing as their clothes did not wear out nor their feet swell.