Yahweh controls nature (Zech 10:1-10:3)

“Ask rain from Yahweh

In the season

Of the spring rain!

Yahweh makes

The storm clouds.

He gives

Showers of rain

To you.

He gives

The vegetation in the field

To everyone.

The teraphim

Utter nonsense.

The diviners

See lies.

The dreamers

Tell false dreams.

They give

Empty consolation.

Therefore,

The people wander

Like sheep.

They suffer

For lack of a shepherd.

My anger is hot

Against the shepherds.

I will punish the leaders.

Yahweh of hosts

Cares for his flock.”

Yahweh is in charge of the world.  If you want rain, ask Yahweh for spring rains, since he controls storm clouds and rain showers.  He provides the vegetation for the fields.  However, there are various people like teraphim, some kind of diviners or dreamers, who have lied and uttered nonsense.  They provided false dreams and empty consolations.  Thus, the people suffer like sheep who wander around, because they have no shepherd to lead them.  Yahweh was angry at his shepherd leaders, so that he was going to punish them, because they did not care for his flock.

Yahweh’s people (Zech 9:16-9:17)

“On that day,

Yahweh their God

Will save them.

They are the flock

Of his people.

Like the jewels

Of a crown,

They shall shine

On his land.

What great goodness is his!

What great beauty is his!

Grain shall make

The young men flourish.

New wine shall make

The maidens flourish.”

There was no doubt that Yahweh, their God, would save the Israelites.  They were his flock.  They would shine like jewels on a crown in his land.  There was no limit to the goodness and beauty of God.  Grain and new wine would help the young men and the young maidens to flourish.

The response of Amos (Am 7:14-7:15)

“Then Amos answered Amaziah.

‘I am no prophet.

I am not a prophet’s son.

But I am a herdsman.

I am a dresser

Of sycamore trees.

Yahweh took me

From following the flock.

Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Prophesy to my people Israel!’”

Amos responded that he was not a professional prophet, nor the son of a prophet, nor part of any prophetic group. He was a simple shepherd or herdsman. He loved to take care of sycamore trees. Yahweh had taken him away from his flock and told him to prophesize to the people of Israel. Remember that King David was also a shepherd. Obviously, that was considered a badge of honor to be a lowly shepherd, something that Jesus of Nazareth would also mention.

The future good shepherds (Jer 23:3-23:4)

“‘Then I myself

Will gather the remnant

Of my flock

Out of all the lands

Where I have driven them.

I will bring them back

To their fold.

They shall be fruitful.

They shall multiply.

I will raise up

Shepherds over them.

They will shepherd them.

They shall not fear any longer.

They shall not be dismayed.

None shall be missing.’

Says Yahweh.”

At some future time, Yahweh will gather the remnant of his flock from all the countries that they were driven into. He is going to bring them back into the fold where they will be fruitful and multiply. Moreover, he will then put good shepherd leaders over them. They will no longer fear or be dismayed. No one will be missing. Thus the future good times would have good leaders.

The bad shepherds (Jer 23:1-23:2)

“‘Woe to the shepherds

Who destroy

The sheep of my pasture!

Woe to the shepherds

Who scatter

The sheep of my pasture!’

Says Yahweh.

Therefore thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

Concerning the shepherds

Who shepherd my people.

‘It is you

Who have scattered my flock.

You have driven them away.

You have not attended to them.

So I will attend to you

For your evil doings.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, condemns the bad shepherds or the bad leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. Yahweh blames them for destroying and scattering the sheep of his pasture, his people, the Israelites. There is no question in the mind of Yahweh that that it was these leaders who scattered and drove away his flock. They had not attended to them. Instead, they went on their evil ways. Now Yahweh will attend to their evil actions. This oracle of Yahweh is clearly pointing the blame on the leaders.

Remembering Moses (Isa 63:11-63:14)

“Then he remembered the days of old.

He remembered Moses his servant.

Where is the one

Who brought them up out of the sea?

Where are the shepherds of his flock?

Where is the one

Who put within them His Holy Spirit?

Who caused his glorious arm

To march at the right hand of Moses?

Who divided the waters before them?

Who made for himself an everlasting name?

Who led them through the depths?

Who was like a horse in the desert

So that they did not stumble?

Like cattle that go down into the valley,

The Spirit of Yahweh gave them rest.

Thus you led your people

To make for yourself a glorious name.”

Despite all their unfaithful actions, Yahweh kept his people safe as in the days of his servant Moses. In a series of questions, he reminds them of the good things in the past. He brought them out of the sea depths as he divided the waters with his mighty arms. Yahweh gave them the Holy Spirit to lead his flock like a shepherd. He was like a horse leading in the desert so that they would not stumble. He protected them like cattle in the valleys that finally got rest. He made his name glorious.

The appearance of God (Isa 40:9-40:11)

“Get you up to a high mountain!

O Zion!

Herald of good tidings!

Lift up your voice with strength!

O Jerusalem!

Herald of good tidings!

Lift it up!

Fear not!

Say to the cities of Judah!

‘Here is your God!’

See!

Yahweh God comes with might.

His arm rules for him.

His reward is with him.

His recompense is before him.

He will feed his flock

Like a shepherd.

He will gather the lambs in his arms.

He will carry them in his bosom.

He will gently lead the mother sheep.”

Somehow, Second Isaiah was going to present the people with God. God had been unknown, but now he wants to reveal himself. Isaiah, and then Mount Zion, and finally Jerusalem were to go to a high mountain. They were to be the herald of good tidings. They were to announce in a loud voice to the cities of Judah that God was there to be seen. How they would be heard is not clear, but they were not to be afraid. Yahweh would come with his might to rule and to reward. He was going to be like a good shepherd feeding his flock, gathering and carrying the lambs, while gently leading the pregnant sheep.