Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

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Elihu turns on the three wise men (Job 34:1-34:9)

“Then Elihu continued and said.

‘Hear my words!

You wise men!

Give ear to me!

You who know!

The ear tests words,

As the palate tastes food.

Let us choose what is right.

Let us determine among ourselves what is good.

Job has said.

‘I am innocent.

God has taken away my justification.

In spite of being right,

I am counted a liar.

My wound is incurable.

I am without transgression.’

Who is there like Job?

Who drinks up scoffing like water?

Who goes in company with evildoers?

Who walks with the wicked?

He has said.

‘It profits one nothing to take delight in God.’”

Elihu turned to the 3 friends of Job, the 3 wise comforters. Elihu wanted them to listen to what he had to say. Listening was a skill like tasting food. You had to acquire the skill of listening. He had asked what is right and good, a great philosophical question. Job claimed that he was innocent. God had taken away his rightful justification. Others have called him a liar, which is an incurable wound. He claimed that he had not done anything wrong. He has absorbed the mocking of others like he was drinking water. Who is in the company of the wicked and the evil doers? Job had said that there is no advantage in delighting in God. Somehow Elihu believes that he will settle this issue.

Sanballat mocks the Jews of Jerusalem (Neh 4:1-4:2)

“Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged. He mocked the Jews. He said in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria. ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, including the burned ones?’”

There is some difficulty in whether this is the end of chapter 3 or the beginning of chapter 4. It will resolve itself at the beginning of chapter 5. I will follow the Oxford numbering. Now we begin to see the opposition to building this wall that first surfaced in Ezra, chapter 4. Sanballat had already appeared as mocking this work in chapter 2 of this work. He continues to mock the Jews in Jerusalem in front of his friends and the Samaritan army. How are these feeble Jews going to restore this wall in a single day? Will they work and sacrifice by using the old burnt out stones in the rubble heap? Clearly this royal official was opposed to this project.