The forgotten happiness (Lam 3:16-3:18)

Vav

“Yahweh has made

My teeth grind

On gravel.

He made me

Cower in ashes.

My soul is bereft

Of peace.

I have forgotten

What happiness is.

So I say.

‘Gone is my glory,

All that I had hoped for

From Yahweh.’”

This suffering person proclaims that Yahweh has made him grind his teeth on gravel, which is not a pretty thought. Yahweh made him cower or be afraid with ashes on him, as if in mourning. His soul had no peace. He had forgotten what happiness was. All the glory that he had hoped for from Yahweh was gone. He was almost in despair. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav in this acrostic poem.

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Do not be afraid (Jer 30:10-30:11)

“Yahweh says.

‘As for you!

Have no fear!

My servant Jacob!

Do not be dismayed!

O Israel!

I am going to save you

From far away.

I will save your offspring

From the land

Of their captivity.

Jacob shall return.

They shall have quiet.

They shall have ease.

No one shall make them afraid.

I am with you!

I will save you!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make an end

Of all the nations

Among whom

I have scattered you.

But of you,

I will not make an end.

I will chastise you

In just measure.

I will by no means

Leave you unpunished.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that Israel or Jacob did not have to fear or be dismayed. Yahweh was going to save them and their offspring from their captivity, even though he was far away. They would return and have peace and quiet. No one would make them afraid, because Yahweh was with them. He was going to bring an end to all the nations where the Israelites had been scattered. These countries would come to an end, but the Israelites would not come to an end. The Israelites were going to be chastised, but in a just measure, since they would not escape unpunished.

Do not be afraid (Isa 10:24-10:24)

“Therefore Yahweh

God of hosts,

Says.

‘O my people!

Who live in Zion!

Do not be afraid of the Assyrians!

Do not be afraid

When they beat you

With a rod!

Do not be afraid

When they lift up

Their staff against you

As the Egyptians did.’”

Apparently this oracle was when an attack of the Assyrians was imminent, as Yahweh issued his oracle via Isaiah. He told the people of Zion not to be afraid of the Assyrians. Even if they beat them with a rod or staff like the Egyptians had done to their ancestors, they should not be afraid.

The prophet Isaiah responds to the consultants of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:5-19:7)

“When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them. ‘Say to your master. Thus says Yahweh. Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land. I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”

Here we have the first intervention of the great prophet Isaiah, whose influence, due to his writings of the book of Isaiah will have a great impact on future Israelite life. The response of Isaiah is quite remarkable. Because the servants of the king of Assyria had reviled Yahweh, he was going to retaliate against him. Yahweh said that he would spread a rumor that would make the army return to its own land where the king would be killed at home in Assyria. The fact is that King Sennacherib of Assyria did return home without capturing Jerusalem. He was then killed by his sons. It is what it is.

 

Jezebel wants to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-19:3)

“King Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done. He told her how Elijah had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying. ‘So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then Elijah was afraid. He got up and fled for his life. He came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah. He left his servant there.”

King Ahab went and told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done, especially the fact that he had killed all her prophets of Baal. She immediately said that she planned to put Elijah to death by the same time tomorrow because of what he had done to her Baal prophets. Elijah was afraid so that he fled for his life by going south to Judah. There he left his servant at Beer-sheba, which was about 130 miles south of Samaria. All of a sudden, Elijah is not so brave.