The fifth curse against the Chaldean idols (Hab 2:18-2:20)

“What use is an idol?

Once its maker

Has shaped it,

It is a cast image,

A teacher of lies.

Its maker trusts

In his own creation,

Even though the product

Is only an idol

That cannot speak.

Woe to you!

You say to the wood.

‘Wake up!’

You say to silent stone.

‘Rouse yourself!’

Can it teach?

See!

It is gold plated.

It is silver plated.

There is no breath

In it at all.

But Yahweh is

In his holy temple.

Let all the earth

Keep silence

Before him.”

This final and fifth curse of Habakkuk was against the Chaldean idols, a favorite theme of the prophets.  What good were these idols?  They were handmade human creations, full of lies.  They could not speak.  How foolish they were, when they asked wood and stone to wake up and rouse themselves.  These idols cannot teach anything, since they are gold and silver plated, without any breath in them.  Contrast that with Yahweh in his holy temple, where all the earth keeps silent before him.

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The appearance of Yahweh (Mic 1:2-1:4)

“Hear!

You people!

All of you!

Listen!

O earth!

All that is in it!

Let Yahweh God

Be a witness

Against you!

Yahweh comes

From his holy temple!

Behold!

Yahweh is coming

Out of his place!

He will come down!

He will tread

Upon the high places

Of the earth.

Then the mountains

Will melt under him.

The valleys

Will burst open

Like wax near the fire,

Like waters poured down

A steep place.”

This text is a very colorful opening to the Book of Micah.  Yahweh would make a grand appearance.  As usual for prophets, Micah asked the people to listen.  However, the earth itself was also asked to listen to the prophet Micah.  Yahweh was going to be a witness against the people and the land itself.  Yahweh was going to come out of his holy Temple.  He was going to come down to the high places on earth.  The mountains would melt under him, while the valleys would open up wider.  Then in very descriptive terms, the presence of Yahweh would be like wax near a fire or water pouring down a steep incline.  The powerful heavenly Yahweh was about to make an appearance on earth.

Jonah worshipped the true God (Jon 2:7-2:8)

“As my life

Was ebbing away,

I remembered

Yahweh.

My prayer

Came to you

Into your holy Temple.

Those who worship

Vain idols

Forsake their true loyalty.”

As Jonah was sinking away in the sea, he remembered Yahweh. His prayer came to Yahweh in his holy Temple. Jonah was lucky, since he worshipped a true loyal God. However, those who worshipped vain idols would not have loyalty.

The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

Against the palace next to the Temple (Ezek 43:8-43:9)

“They placed

Their threshold

By my threshold.

They placed

Their doorposts

Beside my doorposts.

There was only a wall

Between me and them.

They were defiling

My holy name

By their abominations

That they committed.

Therefore,

I have consumed them

In my anger.

Now let them put away

Their idolatry

Let them put

The corpses

Of their kings

Far from me.

Then,

I will reside

Among them

Forever.”

Yahweh seemed to be against the old idea that the palace of King David was close to the Temple. Instead, he seemed to imply that there should be a separation for this new, yet unbuilt, Second Temple. Yahweh seemed upset that the old thresholds and doorposts of the Temple were right beside the royal palace. There was only a wall that separated them from his holy Temple. Thus, they defiled his holy name with all their abominations so close to his Temple, one of the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem. He wanted the Israelite kings to put away their idolatrous ways. Their dead bodies were to be far away from the new Temple. If they did this, Yahweh would live among them forever.