Purifying the priests for the offerings (Mal 3:3-3:4)

“Yahweh will sit

As a refiner.

Yahweh will sit

As he purifier

Of silver.

He will purify

The descendants of Levi.

He will refine them

Like gold,

Like silver,

Until they present offerings

To Yahweh

In righteousness.

Then the offerings

Of Judah,

The offerings

Of Jerusalem

Will be pleasing

To Yahweh,

As in the days of old,

As in former years.”

Yahweh was going to purify the priests or the descendants of Levi, like people refined gold and silver.  Thus, they would be able to present righteous offerings for Judah and Jerusalem.  Then these offerings would be like the good old days of former years.

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Divine appeal (Mic 7:18-7:20)

“Who is a God

Like you?

You pardon iniquity.

You pass over

The transgressions

Of the remnant

Of your possessions.

He does not retain

His anger forever,

Because he delights

In showing clemency.

He will again have compassion

Upon us.

He will tread

Our iniquities

Under foot.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness

To Jacob.

You will show

Unswerving loyalty

To Abraham,

As you have sworn

To our ancestors,

From the days of old.”

This Book of Micah ends with this psalm of praise to Yahweh, while asking for his mercy.  There is no other God like Yahweh, who has pardoned iniquity.  He has let go of the transgressions of his people.  His anger was short lived, because he delighted in granting clemency, since he had compassion for them.  He has stamped on and thrown out all their sins.  He has shown faithfulness and loyalty to Jacob and Abraham, just as he did to all their ancestors in the good old days.  Notice the change from the descriptive “he” to the more intimate “you”.

Prayer for Yahweh’s protection (Mic 7:14-7:15)

“Shepherd your people

With your staff.

Shepherd the flock

That belongs to you.

They live alone

In a forest,

In the midst

Of a garden land.

Let them feed

In Bashan,

In Gilead,

As in the days of old.

As in the days

When you came out

Of the land of Egypt,

Show us

Marvelous things.”

Micah wanted Yahweh to use his shepherd’s staff to protect his people that belonged to him.  However, they were now living in a forest that was in the middle of some wonderful garden land.  They wanted to feed on the plains of Bashan and Gilead, like in the good old days, when they first came out of Egypt.  They wanted to see all these wonderful things, as they began their restoration after the exile.

The ode to Bethlehem (Mic 5:2-5:2)

“But you!

O Bethlehem of Ephrathah!

You are one of the little clans

Of Judah.

From you,

Shall come forth

For me

One who is

To rule in Israel.

His origin is from of old,

From ancient days.”

This is a very complicated passage that was used by the New Testament gospels of Matthew, chapter 2, and John, chapter 7, as a prediction of where the Messiah would be born.  Micah directed this ode directly to Bethlehem, a town about 6 miles south of Jerusalem.  The ancient name was apparently Ephrathah, similar to the name of the territory of Ephraim, but a small clan of people.  King David was from this small town of Bethlehem.  Thus, this new ruler of Israel would be from this same place or part of the Davidic bloodline.  There is confusion about the little phrase “from me.”  Was this new ruler to be from God or Bethlehem?  Would he be like the ancient good old days of David?

Restoration of the Davidic rule (Am 9:11-9:12)

“On that day,

I will raise up

The booth of David

That is fallen.

I will repair

Its breaches.

I will raise up

Its ruins.

I will rebuild it

As in the days of old.

Thus,

They may possess

The remnant of Edom.

They may possess

All the nations

Who are called

By my name.’

Says Yahweh

Who does this.”

This oracle of Yahweh might be a later addition.  However, it asked for the restoration of the Davidic rule.  Yahweh wanted the fallen booth or tent of David to be restored, since it needed to be repaired.  Yahweh was going to raise up the ruins of that dynasty, so that it would be like the good old days.  Then Israel would possess whatever was left over of Edom.  Just like at the time of David, the other neighbors of Israel would come under the rule of Israel.  Thus, there was an allusion to the other countries who were called by the name of Yahweh.  Yahweh had said this, now he was going to do it.

The restoration (Lam 5:21-5:22)

“Restore us

To yourself!

O Yahweh!

Thus we may be

Restored!

Renew our days

As of old!

Unless you have

Utterly rejected us?

Are you angry

With us

Beyond measure?”

While this author pleads for restoration, there is an element of doubt at the end. They wanted to be restored to Yahweh like in the good old days. But then the element of doubt crept in. They were asking for mercy, but has Yahweh utterly rejected them? Is God so angry that it cannot be measured? Have the Judeans gone too far against Yahweh? Thus this lamentation does not have a happy ending, but a more existential angst that maybe there will be no restoration at all.

Jerusalem remembers (Lam 1:7-1:7)

Zayin

“Jerusalem remembers

In the days

Of her affliction,

In the days

Of her wandering,

All the precious things

That were hers

In the days of old.

When her people fell

Into the hand

Of the foe,

There was no one

To help her.

The foe looked on,

Mocking over

Her downfall.”

Jerusalem remembered what happened. There were the days of affliction and wandering. She had many precious things in the good old days. However, her people fell into the hands of their foe. No one was there to help them as her enemies mocked her over her downfall. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.