Sound the alarm trumpet (Hos 8:1-8:3)

“Set the trumpet

To your lips!

A vulture is over

The house of Yahweh.

They have broken

My covenant.

They have transgressed

My law.

Israel cries to me!

‘My God!

We!

Israel!

Know you!’

Israel has spurned

The good.

The enemy

Shall pursue him.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, told the Israelites to sound the alarm with a trumpet. The vulture or the Assyrian army was coming to the house of Yahweh. These Israelites had broken his covenant. They had transgressed his law. Yet they came crying to him, since they knew Yahweh. However, it was too late. They knew that they had turned away from the good Yahweh. Now their enemy, the Assyrians, would pursue them.

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The confession of sins (Dan 9:4-9:6)

“I prayed

To the Lord!

My God!

I made a confession.

I said.

‘O Lord!

Great God!

Awesome God!

You keep the covenant!

You have a steadfast love

With those

Who love you,

With those

Who keep your commandments!

We have sinned!

We have done wrong!

We have acted wickedly!

We have rebelled!

We have turned away

From your commandments,

From your ordinances!

We have not listened

To your servants,

The prophets,

Who spoke

In your name,

To our kings,

To our princes,

To our ancestors,

To all the people

Of the land.’”

Daniel personally prayed to God with this first-person singular confession of sins. However, he quickly reverted to the first-person plural “we” from the singular “I.” God was great and awesome. He had kept his covenant with a steadfast love to those who loved him and kept his commandments. However, they had sinned and done wrong. They had acted wickedly. They had rebelled and turned away from his commandments and ordinances. They had not listened to their prophets, kings, princes, ancestors, or even the people of the land.

They did not protect the sanctuary (Ezek 44:6-44:8)

“Say to the rebellious house!

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘O house of Israel!

Let there be an end

To all your abominations!

You admitted

Foreigners,

The uncircumcised in heart,

The uncircumcised in flesh,

To be in my sanctuary.

You profaned

My temple

When you offer to me

My food,

The fat,

With the blood.

You have broken

My covenant,

With all your abominations.

You have not kept charge

Of my sacred offerings!

But you have appointed

Foreigners

To act for you

In keeping my charge

In my sanctuary.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel about the past failures of the rebellious house of Israel. They had failed to protect his sanctuary. Yahweh wanted an end to all their abominations. They had been letting uncircumcised foreigners into his sanctuary. They had profaned Yahweh’s Temple, since they offered fat food with blood. They had broken his covenant with all their abominations. They even appointed foreigners to be in charge of the sacred offerings in his sanctuary.

The useless Pharaoh cannot help (Ezek 17:17-17:18)

“Pharaoh,

With his mighty army,

With his great company,

Will not help him

In war.

When ramps are cast up

With siege walls built

To cut off many lives,

It is difficult.

Because he despised

The oath.

He broke the covenant.

Because he gave

His hand.

Yet he did

All these things.

He shall not escape.”

If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.

The covenant about future kings and Levites (Jer 33:19-33:22)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘If any of you could break

My covenant with the day,

If any of you could break

My covenant with the night,

So that day and night

Would not come

At their appointed time,

Only then could

My covenant

With my servant David

Be broken.

Thus he would not

Have a son

To reign on his throne.

My covenant is

With my ministers,

The Levites.

Just as the host of heaven

Cannot be numbered,

Just as the sands of the sea

Cannot be measured,

So I will increase

The offspring

Of my servant David.

I will increase

The Levites

Who minister to me.’”

Once again this is an oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah. Yahweh seems to say that if you can make day and night not appear at the correct time, then he would break his covenant with David. Otherwise, David would have a son to reign on his throne. It was very clear that no one could become king without a Davidic background. He also includes the Levite ministers, when he compares the numerous heavenly hosts and the immeasurable sands of the sea that cannot be measured or counted. Thus there would be offspring of David and Levites to minister to him.

The people plead their case (Jer 14:19-14:22)

“Have you completely rejected Judah?

Does your heart loathe Zion?

Why have you struck us down?

Why is there is no healing for us?

We look for peace.

But we find no good.

We look for a time of healing.

But there is terror instead.

We acknowledge our wickedness!

O Yahweh!

We acknowledge the iniquity of our ancestors!

We have sinned against you!

Do not spurn us!

For your name’s sake,

Do not dishonor your glorious throne!

Remember!

Do not break your covenant with us!

Can any idols of the nations bring rain?

Can the heavens give showers?

Is it not you,

O Yahweh!

Our God?

We set our hope on you.

You do all this.”

Once again, Jeremiah presents the people of Judah pleading their case for God’s mercy. They wanted to know how God could reject Judah and loath Zion, Jerusalem. Why were they stricken? Why was there no healing? They looked for peace, but there was none. Instead of healing, there was more terror. They acknowledged their own wickedness that they shared with their ancestors. They had sinned against Yahweh, God. However, they did not want to be spurned by Yahweh, because that would dishonor his name. They wanted Yahweh to remember his covenant and not break it with them. Then they pointed out that Yahweh could bring rain and showers, but the idols of other nations could not do that. They still had their hope in Yahweh, despite everything, because Yahweh was all powerful.

Yahweh accepts the proselyte foreigners (Isa 56:6-56:8)

“Foreigners join themselves to Yahweh.

They minister to him.

They love the name of Yahweh.

They want to be his servants.

They keep the Sabbath.

They do not profane it.

They hold fast to my covenant.

‘I will bring these to my holy mountain.

I will make them joyful

In my house of prayer.

Their burnt offerings,

With their sacrifices

Will be accepted on my altar.

My house shall be called

A house of prayer

For all people.’

Thus says Yahweh God!

He gathers the outcasts of Israel.

‘I will gather others to them,

Besides those already gathered.’”

Third Isaiah keeps the universal theme alive. He has Yahweh extend a hand to the proselytes, those people who were not originally Israelites but joined their religious community. In pre-exilic times, they would have been excluded from the community. These foreigners are the ones who have joined themselves to Yahweh, the Lord. They have ministered to him and want to be his servants. They love the name of Yahweh and hold fast to his covenant. Yahweh will bring them to his holy mountain where they will be joyful in his house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on his altars. No longer is the Temple a place for clean Israelites, but all the people are invited to Yahweh’s house of prayer. Yahweh, the Lord God, has gathered all the outcasts of Israel, but he has also gathered other believers who were not Israelites.