Punishment for forgetting Yahweh (Hos 13:6-13:8)

“When I fed them,

They were satisfied.

They were satisfied,

So that

Their heart was proud.

Therefore,

They forgot me.

So,

I will become

Like a lion to them.

Like a leopard,

I will lurk

Beside the way.

I will fall upon them

Like a bear

Robbed of her cubs.

I will tear open

The covering

Of their heart.

I will devour them

Like a lion.

Just like a wild animal

Would mangle them.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, warned the Israelites that he had fed them. Once they were satisfied with food, they had become proud. They forgot all about Yahweh. Thus, he was going to become like a lion or leopard lurking along their paths. He would attack them, like a bear who had been robbed of cubs. He was going to tear open the covering around their hearts. He would devour them like a wild animal would mangle its prey. They had better watch out.

The punishment for Israel (Hos 2:13-2:13)

“‘I will punish her

For the festival days

Of the Baals.

There she burned

Incense to them.

She decked herself

With her ring,

With jewelry.

She went after

Her lovers.

She forgot me.’

Says Yahweh.”

The “her” here is clearly Israel in this oracle of Yahweh. Israel had prostituted itself by running to the false idol Baal gods. Yahweh was going to punish the people of Israel, because they were burning incense to these gods on the festival days of Baal. Israel, like Gomer, decked herself out with a ring and jewelry. When she sought her idol lovers, she forgot Yahweh.

The secret passionate elders (Dan 13:8-13:12)

“Everyday,

The two elders

Used to see Susanna,

Going in,

Walking about.

They began

To lust for her.

They suppressed

Their consciences.

They turned away

Their eyes

From looking

To heaven,

Or remembering

Their duty

To administer justice.

Both were overwhelmed

With passion for her.

But they did not tell

Each other

Of their distress.

They were ashamed

To disclose

Their lustful desire

To seduce her.

Day after day,

They watched eagerly,

To see her.”

Now the plot thickens. The scene has been set. These two elderly judges have a passion for Susanna, the wife of Joakim, in whose house they conduct their trials. She normally went for a walk in the garden, after everyone had left. These two elders saw Susanna go in and out for her walk. They began to lust after her, as they suppressed their consciences. They forgot about their duty to administer justice, as they turned their eyes away from heaven. Even though they were overwhelmed with passion for Susanna, neither elder told the other, because they were ashamed to let the other one know about their lustful desires to seduce Susanna. They were secret sexual lovers of Susanna, as they watched her every day.

The anger of Yahweh (Lam 2:1-2:1)

Aleph

“How Yahweh,

In his anger,

Has humiliated

Daughter Zion!

He has thrown down

From heaven

To earth

The splendor of Israel.

He has not remembered

His footstool

In the day

Of his anger.”

The anger of Yahweh is the theme of this second lamentation. Yahweh has humiliated his favorite daughter Zion. The splendor of Israel has been cast aside from heaven to earth. Yahweh even forgot his footstool, the Temple, because he was so angry. This first verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Aleph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh is righteous (Ps 119:137-119:144)

Cade

“You are righteous!

Yahweh!

Your judgments are right.

You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.

You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.

My zeal consumes me.

Because my foes forget your words.

Your promise is well tried.

Your servant loves it.

I am small.

I am despised.

Yet I do not forget your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.

Your law is the truth.

Trouble has come upon me.

Anguish has come upon me,

However your commandments are my delight.

Your decrees are righteous forever.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may live.”

The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.

I do not forget the law (Ps 119:105-119:112)

Nun

“Your word is a lamp to my feet.

Your word is a light to my path.

I have sworn an oath.

I have confirmed it.

I will observe your righteous ordinances.

I am severely afflicted.

Give me life!

Yahweh!

According to your word!

Accept my offerings of praise!

Yahweh!

Teach me your ordinances!

I hold my life in my hand continually.

But I do not forget your law.

The wicked have laid a snare for me.

But I do not stray from your precepts.

Your decrees are my heritage forever.

They are the joy of my heart.

I incline my heart to perform your statutes,

Forever,

To the end.”

The word of Yahweh is a lamp and a light so that the psalmist might walk in the right path. He had sworn an oath to observe the righteous ordinances. Despite his sufferings, he would continue to offer praise. He wanted to be taught about the ordinances since he never forgot the law. Even when the wicked set a snare for him, he never forgot the law. He never strayed from the precepts of Yahweh. They were his heritage forever, the joy of his heart. He would follow the statutes of Yahweh forever, even to the bitter end. Thus this section on the fourteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Nun, came to an end.

The golden calf (Ps 106:19-106:23)

“They made a calf in Horeb.

They worshiped a cast image.

They exchanged the glory of God

For the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God!

Their Savior!

He had done great things in Egypt.

He had done wondrous works in the land of Ham.

He had done awesome things by the Red Sea.

Therefore he said

That he would destroy them.

But Moses,

His chosen one,

Stood in the breach before him.

He wanted God

To turn away his wrath

From destroying them.”

This is a sanitized version of the story in Exodus, chapter 32. While Moses was at the top of the Sinai Mountain with Yahweh, Aaron and the Israelites built a golden calf at Horeb or Sinai as it is called. They then worshipped this golden ox as they turned away from Yahweh. They forgot how he had saved them in Egypt and the all the deeds that he done for them in the land of Ham, Egypt, and the Red Sea. Yahweh wanted to destroy them all. However, Moses interceded with God to turn his anger away so that he did not destroy them.