The fifth beatitude on mercy (Mt 5:7-5:7)

“Blessed are

The merciful!

They shall receive mercy.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται.

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who were merciful.  Along with justice, one of Yahweh’s two great attributes was mercy.  Matthew just said that people who hungered and thirsted after righteousness or justice would be holy or blessed.  Now, you would be emulating God, if you showed mercy.  Not only that, if you were merciful (οἱ ἐλεήμονες), you would receive mercy (ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται).  God would be merciful to you, just as in Psalm 145:8-9.  Yahweh, God the Father, was gracious and merciful, slow to anger, in his abundant steadfast love.  Yahweh was good to all the people, because he had compassion and mercy over all that he had made.

Advertisements

Yahweh would not accept these gifts (Mal 1:9-1:10)

“‘Now implore

The favor of God!

Thus,

He may be gracious to us.

The fault is yours.

Will he show favor

to any of you?’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Oh!

That someone among you

Would shut the temple doors!

Thus,

You would not kindle fire

Upon my altar in vain!

I have no pleasure in you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will not accept

An offering

From your hand.’”

Yahweh wanted them to implore God’s favor, so that he might be gracious to them.  However, it was their own fault.  Why should Yahweh show favor to any of them?  They might as well shut the doors to the Temple, because they have lit fires on his altar in vain.  Yahweh was not pleased with these priests.  He was not going to accept any offerings from their hands.

Jerusalem and Judah (Zech 1:12-1:14)

“Then the angel of Yahweh

Said.

‘O Yahweh of hosts!

How long will you

Withhold your mercy

From Jerusalem?

How long will you

Withhold your mercy

From the cities of Judah?

You have been angry

These seventy years.’

Yahweh replied

With gracious words,

With comforting words,

To the angel

Who talked with me.

Then the angel

Who talked with me,

Said to me.

‘Proclaim this message!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

I am very jealous

For Jerusalem,

For Zion.’”

Now the angel of Yahweh spoke about the problems of Jerusalem and Judah.  Why had Yahweh been angry at these places for 70 years?  This was approximately the time between the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE and then 520 BCE.  However, Yahweh replied to the angel with gracious and comforting words.  Then the angel of Yahweh turned to Zechariah.  He told him to proclaim a message that Yahweh of hosts was jealous about Jerusalem and Zion.  They were not going to be abandoned.

Jonah’s justifying prayer to Yahweh (Jon 4:2-4:2)

“Jonah prayed

To Yahweh.

He said.

‘O Yahweh!

Is this not what I said

While I was still

In my country?

That is why I fled

To Tarshish

At the beginning.

I knew that

You are a gracious God.

You are merciful.

You are slow to anger.

You are abounding

In steadfast love.

You are ready

To relent from punishing.’”

Jonah in his prayer to Yahweh tried to justify his former actions.  He claimed that Yahweh was so gracious and merciful that he would not have inflicted any damage on Nineveh.  Jonah gave that as his reason for originally trying to flee to Tarshish.  He knew that Yahweh was slow to anger and abounding with steadfast love.  Thus, he knew that Yahweh was eager and ready to not punish the people of Nineveh.

Exhortation to seek good (Am 5:14-5:15)

“Seek good!

Do not seek evil!

Thus,

You may live!

So,

Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

Will be with you,

Just as you have said.

Hate evil!

Love good!

Establish justice

At the gate!

It may be

That Yahweh,

The God of hosts,

Will be gracious

To the remnant

Of Joseph.”

The Israelites were to seek good and not evil, so that they could live. Yahweh, the God of the heavenly hosts or armies, was going to be with them. They were to hate evil and love good things. They should establish justice at the gate proceedings. Then Yahweh might be gracious to the remnant of Joseph, the remaining people of Ephraim and the northern kingdom.

A gracious God (Joel 2:13-2:14)

“Return to Yahweh!

Your God!

He is gracious!

He is merciful!

He is slow to anger!

He is abounding

In steadfast love!

He relents

From punishing.

Who knows

Whether he will not turn?

Who knows

Whether he will not relent?

Leave a blessing

Behind him!

Leave a grain offering!

Leave a drink offering

For Yahweh!

Your God!”

Joel continued with the same theme. They should return to Yahweh. Joel used the ancient words about God as gracious and merciful, since Yahweh was slow to get angry. He was abounding in steadfast love. He did not punish easily. Will he return? Will he relent? Your best shot was to leave a blessing, like a grain or drink offering for Yahweh, their God. Clearly, Joel was tied to the Temple, since he considered the grain and drink offering as a blessing.

The great deeds of Yahweh (Isa 63:7-63:7)

“I will recount

The gracious deeds of Yahweh.

I will recount

The praiseworthy acts of Yahweh.

Because of all that

Yahweh has done for us.

Because he has done

Great favors to the house of Israel.

He has shown them

According to his mercy.

He has shown them

According to the abundance

Of his steadfast love.”

Now the prophet breaks into a psalm about the great deeds of Yahweh. He was going to tell everybody about Yahweh’s gracious deeds and praiseworthy acts, since he had done do much for them. He had granted so many favors to the house of Israel. He has shown them mercy and abundant steadfast love.