No food for humans or animals (Joel 1:17-1:18)

“The seed shrivels

Under the clods.

The storehouses

Are desolate.

The granaries

Are ruined,

Because the grain has failed.

How the animals groan!

The herds of cattle

Wander about.

They are perplexed

Because there is no pasture

For them.

Even the flocks of sheep

Are dismayed.”

The devastation of the grasshopper locust plague has left seeds shriveled up. The storehouses and granaries are ruined and desolate. The grain harvests have all failed. The farm animals groan. The cattle herds wander around looking for a grass pasture. They and the flocks of sheep are perplexed and dismayed. Both humans and animals lack food.

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The king of Babylon will scatter the Egyptians (Ezek 30:23-30:26)

“I will scatter the Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Throughout the lands.

I will strengthen

The arms

Of the king of Babylon.

I will put my sword

In his hand.

But I will break

The arms of Pharaoh.

He will groan

Before him

With the groans

Of one mortally wounded.

I will strengthen

The arms

Of the king of Babylon.

But the arms of Pharaoh

Shall fall.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh

When I put

My sword

Into the hand

Of the king of Babylon.

He shall stretch it out

Against the land of Egypt.

I will scatter

The Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Throughout the countries.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh was going to scatter and disperse the Egyptians among the various nations. He was going to strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon with his own sword. At the same time, he was going to break the arms of the Pharaoh who would groan, as if he were mortally wounded. Then Yahweh repeated himself. He was going to strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but break the arms of Pharaoh, who would fall. Then everyone would know that Yahweh was God. The king of Babylon would stretch out his hand with the sword of Yahweh against Egypt. The king of Babylon would scatter and disperse these Egyptians among the various nations.

 

The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.

The sufferings in Zion (Lam 1:4-1:4)

Daleth

“The roads to Zion

Mourn.

No one comes

To the appointed feasts.

All her gates

Are desolate.

Her priests

Groan.

Her young girls

Grieve.

Her lot is bitter.”

Zion is another name for Jerusalem. Any and everyone on the roads to Jerusalem are in mourning. No one comes to the feast day celebrations. Her torn down gates are desolate. The few priests, and the young girls left in town, groan and grieve since Jerusalem is a very bitter place. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Daleth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh would destroy Babylon (Jer 51:52-51:53)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore,

The time is surely coming.

When I will punish

Her idols.

The wounded shall groan

Through all her land.

Though Babylon should

Mount up to heaven,

Destroyers would come

Upon her,

From me.

Though she should fortify

her strong heights,

Destroyers would come

Upon her,

From me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was going to destroy Babylon and her idols. The time was coming when Yahweh would destroy all their idols throughout the country. The wounded ones would groan. Even if Babylon would mount prayers to heaven, her destroyers would come upon her from Yahweh. Even if she would fortify herself with strong high walls, these destroyers from Yahweh would descend upon her. Babylon and her idols were doomed. Yahweh was sending his destroyers.

The righteous stand tall (Wis 5:1-5:3)

“Then the righteous

Will stand with great confidence

In the presence of those

Who have afflicted them.

They will stand

In the presence of those

Who make light of their labors.

When the unrighteous see them,

They will be shaken with dreadful fear.

They will be amazed

At the unexpected salvation of the righteous.

They will speak to one another

In repentance.

In anguish of spirit

They will groan.”

The righteous (δίκαιος) will stand with great confidence against those that afflicted them and made light of their labors. The unrighteous will see this. They will be shaken with a dreadful fear. They will be amazed at how the righteous are saved (σωτηρίας). They will begin to repent to one another because their spirits will be in anguish. Then they will groan.

The righteous in charge (Prov 29:1-29:4)

“One who is often reproved,

Yet remains stubborn,

Will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

When the righteous are in authority,

The people rejoice.

But when the wicked rule,

The people groan.

A child who loves wisdom

Makes a parent glad.

But to keep company with prostitutes

Is to squander one’s substance.

By justice,

A king gives stability to the land.

But one who makes heavy exactions

Ruins the land.”

If someone corrects you and you remain stubborn, you will be broken beyond repair. When the righteous are in control, the people are happy. When the wicked are in charge, the people groan. If a child loves wisdom, their parents are happy. If you keep company with prostitutes, you are squandering your life substances. When a king rules with justice, the land is stable. However, if a king tries to exact too much from the people, the land will be ruined.