Yahweh protects you with his angels (Ps 91:11-91:13)

“He will command his angels

Concerning you.

His angels will guard you

In all your ways.

On their hands

They will bear you up.

Thus you will not dash your foot

Against a stone.

You will tread

On the lion.

You will tread

On the adder.

You will trample under foot

The young lion.

You will trample under foot

The serpent.”

Yahweh will send his angels to protect you. They will guide you in his ways so that you will not stub your foot on a stone. Actually you will be able to tread on a lion or an adder, a poisonous snake. You will be able to stamp on a young lion or a serpent. It might be difficult to trample a young lion, while the snake might not be so difficult.

Yahweh questions Job about hawks (Job 39:26-39:30)

“Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars?

Is it by your wisdom that it spreads its wings toward the south?

Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up?

Is it your command that makes its nest on high?

It lives on the rock.

It makes its home in the fastness of the rocky crag.

From there it spies the prey.

Its eyes see it from far away.

Its young ones suck up blood.

Where the slain are,

There it is.”

Yahweh asked Job if his wisdom made the hawks soar. Did he guide them south for winter hibernation? Did he make the eagle nests on the high mountains? The eagle hawks live in the rocky crags of the mountains so that they can spy on their prey from a long distance. Their young suck up blood. They are the first to arrive when anyone is killed. So we end these questions to Job about the heaven, the earth, and the animals that live in it. These must have been the most important animals and stars at the time of this biblical writing.

The questioning of Tobit (Tob 5:11-5:14)

“Then Tobit said to him.

‘Brother, of what family are you?

From what tribe are you?

Tell me, brother.’

He answered.

‘Why do you need to know my tribe?’

However, Tobit said.

‘I want to be sure, brother.

Whose son are you?

What your name is?’

He replied.

‘I am Azariah the son of the great Hananiah.

He is one of your relatives.’

Then Tobit said to him.

‘Welcome!

God save you, brother.

Do not feel bitter towards me, brother.

I wanted to be sure about your ancestry.

It turns out that you are a kinsman, of good and noble lineage.

I knew Hananiah and Nathan, the two sons of Shemaiah.

They used to go with me to Jerusalem.

They worshiped with me there.

They were not led astray.

You kindred are good people.

You come of good stock.

Hearty welcome!’”

Tobit wanted to know about his family and tribe. However, Raphael was indignant. Like a modern Human Resource person, was he over stepping the bounds? What did his family have to do with being a guide for his son? Then the angel Raphael replied that that he was Azariah the son of the great Hananiah, Tobit was satisfied. Besides over 25 biblical people with that name, there was a King Azariah of Judah (781-740 BCE). Hananiah was a captain in the army of King Azariah, so that he might have been named after a king. Of course, it is the angel Raphael who is misleading Tobit. Then Tobit said that he along with Hananiah and Nathan, the sons of Shemaiah, would go together to worship at Jerusalem. He commended Azariah for coming from good stock. He gave him a hearty welcome. Anyway, Tobit was satisfied with this guide for his son Tobias.

 

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.

 

The cloud guides the Israelites (Ex 40:36-40:38)

“Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey.   But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not go out until the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of Yahweh was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.”

Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey.  If the cloud stayed, they did not move.  By day it was a cloud, but at night there was fire in the cloud.  They continued their journey in stages.  At the end of this book they have not reached the Promised Land.