The true judgment was delivered (Dan 3:8-3:9)

“Thus,

All that you brought

Upon us,

All that you have done

To us,

You have done

By a true judgment.

You have handed us over

To our enemies,

Lawless,

Hateful rebels.

You have handed us over

To an unjust king,

The most wicked

In all the world.”

Azariah continued his prayer. Due to their sinfulness, God executed a proper and true judgment. He has handed over the Judeans to their enemies, the lawless and hateful rebels of Babylon. They were turned over to an unjust king, the most wicked king in the whole world. Remember, up until this incident of the golden statue, Azariah and his 2 friends were serving this king in his royal court. I could see how this furnace punishment might change their minds.

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Lie with the uncircumcised in Sheol (Ezek 32:19-32:21)

“‘Whom do you surpass

In beauty?

Go down!

Be laid to rest

With the uncircumcised!’

They shall fall

Among those

Who are killed

By the sword.

Egypt has been

Handed over

To the sword.

Carry away

Both it

With its hordes!

The mighty chiefs

Shall speak of them,

With their helpers,

Out of the midst of Sheol.

‘They have come down!

They lie still!

The uncircumcised,

Killed by the sword.’”

This section opens with a sarcastic question about who is more beautiful. The response is that they are to go down and lie with the uncircumcised people and those killed by the sword. Egypt with the multitude of their inhabitants has been handed over to death. The mighty chiefs with their helpers will speak to them in the middle of Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. They will say that the Egyptians have come down to lie quietly with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword, which is the worst place in Sheol.

The death of the cedar tree (Ezek 31:13-31:14)

“All the birds

Of the air

Settle

On its fallen trunk.

All the wild animals

Lodge

Among its boughs.

All this is

In order

That no trees

By the waters

May grow

To a lofty height

Or set their tops

Among the clouds.

No trees

That drink water

May reach up

To them

In height.

All of them

Are handed over

To death,

To the world below.

They will be

With all mortals,

Who go down

To the pit.”

The birds of the air will settle on the fallen trunk of this great cedar tree. Wild animals will be among its loose branches. This would be a warning that no other trees that were near water should grow to lofty heights. No other trees should have their tree tops in the clouds or reach up to those heights. All of them would be handed over to death, to go to the world below, the great pit, where all the other mortals go. This personification of the cedar tree was complete, since it would share the afterlife with other mortals in the underworld pit.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

A reminder for Israel (Bar 4:5-4:8)

“Take courage!

My people!

You perpetuate

Israel’s name!

It was not

For destruction

That you were sold

To the nations.

But you were handed over

To your enemies

Because you angered

God.

You provoked the one

Who made you!

You sacrificed to demons,

Not to God!

You forgot

The everlasting God,

Who brought you up!

You grieved Jerusalem,

Who reared you.”

This reminder for Israel was for the people to have courage, since they were going to perpetuate the name of Israel. These Israelites had been sold to various nations, not to destroy them, but to punish them. They had been handed over to their enemies, because they had angered God. They had provoked their creator by sacrificing to demons, and not God. They had forgotten their everlasting God who brought them up. There was no mention of the name of Yahweh here. They had grieved Jerusalem, the city that had reared them. Once again there is a personification of Jerusalem that can feel pain.

The yoke of sin (Lam 1:14-1:14)

Nun

“My transgressions

Were bound

Into a yoke.

By his hand

They were

Fastened together.

They were

A weight

On my neck.

They were

Sapping

My strength.

Yahweh handed me over

To those whom

I cannot withstand.”

Once again, Jerusalem spoke in the first person in this personal lament. Jerusalem claimed that her own transgressions were like a yoke around her neck. Yahweh had fashioned this yoke by his hand. He then put this weight on Jerusalem so that her strength was sapped. Finally, Jerusalem was handed over to people that it could not defeat, the Babylonians. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The attack on Egypt (Jer 46:22-46:24)

“‘She makes a sound

Like a snake gliding away.

Her enemies march in force.

They come against her

With axes,

Like those who fell trees.

They shall cut down

Her forest.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Even though it is

Impenetrable,

Because they are

More numerous

Than locusts.

They are without number.

Daughter Egypt

Shall be put to shame.

She shall be handed over

To a people from the north.’”

The Egyptians will slitter away like a snake as her enemies shall attack her in full force. They are coming with axes to kill her, as if they were clearing a forest. This enemy is like a large swarm of locusts that is so numerous that cannot be measured. Good daughter Egypt will be put to shame, as she will be handed over to the people from the north.