Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

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Yahweh will reconcile with Israel (Hos 2:14-2:15)

“‘Therefore,

I will now allure her.

I will bring her

Into the wilderness.

I will speak tenderly

To her.

From there,

I will give her

Her vineyards.

I will make

The Valley of Achor

A door of hope.

There she shall respond

As in the days

Of her youth,

As at the time.

When she came out

Of the land of Egypt.’”

Now Yahweh was going to lure her back into the wilderness. He was going to speak tenderly to her. Her vineyards would be returned. The Valley of Achor, near Jericho, would be a door of hope for her, instead of a place of sin. Then Israel would respond, as in the days of her youth in the wilderness, after she left Egypt.

The end of Jerusalem’s lewdness in Egypt (Ezek 23:27-23:28)

“‘So I will put an end

To your lewdness.

I will put an end

To your prostitution activities

That you brought

From the land of Egypt.

You shall not long for them.

You shall not remember

Egypt anymore.’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those whom you hate.

I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those from whom

You turned in disgust.’”

Yahweh was going to put an end to the prostitution activities and lewdness of Jerusalem that she had brought from Egypt. Jerusalem had longed for and remembered her youth in Egypt. Yahweh was now going to deliver Jerusalem into the hands of those who had hated her. He was going to give her over to those former lovers from whom she had turned away from in disgust.

The Assyrian conquerors (Ezek 23:8-23:10)

“She did not give up
Her prostitution activities.
She had practiced them
Since her days
In Egypt.
In her youth,
Men had lain
With her.
They had fondled
Her virgin bosom.
They had poured out
Their lust
Upon her.
Therefore I delivered her
Into the hands
Of her lovers,
Into the hands
Of the Assyrians.
She had lusted
After them.
These Assyrians
Uncovered her nakedness.
They seized her sons.
They seized her daughters.
They killed her
With the sword.
Judgment was executed
Upon her.
She became a byword
Among women.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the story of Samaria, Oholah. She had practiced prostitution since her youth, when she had played the whore with Egypt. She slept and had sex with the Egyptians. She let them fondle her virgin breasts, so that they poured out their lust on her. Thus Yahweh decided to deliver Oholah into the hand of her Assyrian lovers, since she had lusted after them. Thus Assyria uncovered her nakedness. Then they seized her sons and daughters. Finally, they killed her with the sword, as judgment was executed upon her. She became a byword among women. This is obviously an allusion to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria in 724, when the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered and took over northern Israel. Thus the kingdom of Israel at Samaria came to an end.

Jerusalem did not remember (Ezek 16:43-16:43)

“‘You have not remembered

The days of your youth.

But you have enraged me

With all these things.

Therefore,

I have returned

Your deeds

Upon your head.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘Have you not

Committed lewdness

Beyond all

Your abominations?’”

Jerusalem did not remember the days of her youth when Yahweh was kind and compassionate towards her. Instead Jerusalem enraged Yahweh with her wicked actions. Thus Yahweh has returned these deeds back on her. Jerusalem has committed many lewd deeds, beyond all her abominations. Yahweh is portrayed as ungrateful man because his lover Jerusalem has left him for other lovers.

The sacrificed children (Ezek 16:20-16:22)

“You took your sons.

You took your daughters.

You had borne them

To me.

You sacrificed them

To be devoured.

As if being a whore

Was not enough?

You slaughtered

My children.

You delivered them up

As an offering

To them.

In all your abominations,

In all your acts

Of prostitution,

You did not remember

The days of your youth,

When you were naked,

When you were bare,

Flailing about

In your blood.”

There is little doubt that this young girl Jerusalem and Yahweh bore children together. Yahweh clearly says that their mutual sons and daughters had been sacrificed to these false gods. This woman Jerusalem had slaughtered their children. Was it not bad enough that she was a prostitute? Did she have to sacrifice their children too? They were delivered to these strange gods as a death offering. In all her abominations and various prostitute ways, she never remembered her youth when she was naked, lying in blood. She was not grateful for all that Yahweh had done for her.