Mute Zechariah (Lk 1:20-1:20)

“Now,

You will become mute!

You will be

Unable to speak

Until the day

That these things

Will happen!

You did not

Believe my words!

They will be fulfilled

In their due time!”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα, ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου, οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν

 

Luke pointed out that Zechariah would receive a punishment, because he doubted that he and his wife would have a son, as in verse 18.  Thus, the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that he would become silent or mute (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν).  He would not be able to speak (καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι) until the day when all these things would happen (ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα).  This was his punishment for not believing the words of the angel Gabriel (ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου).  He did not believe that they would come to pass or be fulfilled in the right or correct season or time (οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν).  He would be punished, but not with a permanent punishment or death penalty.  Zechariah would be mute for a short period of time.

 

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Against the Philistines (Am 1:6-1:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Gaza,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they carried

Into exile

Entire communities,

To hand them over

To Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Gaza.

It shall devour

Its strongholds.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From Ashdod.

I will cut off

The one who holds

The scepter

From Ashkelon.

I will turn my hand

Against Ekron.

The remnant

Of the Philistines

Shall perish.’

Says Yahweh

God.”

The Philistines had 5 major cities along the Mediterranean coast, west of Judah. The only city not mentioned here was Gath that had been wiped out by the Syrian King Hazael. Otherwise, Yahweh was going to punish the other 4 cities. Gaza was cited as the worst, since the numbering iniquities were about 3 and 4 things, just like the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30. Yahweh was not going to revoke his punishment against them. They were involved in the slave trade with Edom that sent whole communities into exile. Although fire would come to Gaza, Yahweh reminded them that Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron would also suffer. All the remaining Philistines would perish or die. This was clearly an oracle of Yahweh.

Panic in the land (Jer 10:19-10:21)

“Woe is me!

Because of my hurt,

My wound is severe.

But I said.

‘Truly this is my punishment.

I must bear it.’

My tent is destroyed.

All my cords are broken.

My children have gone from me.

They are no more.

There is no one

To spread my tent again,

There is no one

To set up my curtains.

The shepherds are stupid.

They do not inquire of Yahweh.

Therefore they have not prospered.

All their flock is scattered.”

Jeremiah presents this lamentation about what was happening to him personally. He has been hurt and wounded. He understood that this was his punishment and that he had to bear it. His tent was destroyed with all its cords. In this sense, it is also like Second Isaiah. His children have left him. There was no one to help him with his tent and its curtains. The idea of the stupid shepherds is a reference to their rulers. They never inquired of Yahweh, so that they have not prospered. Their flocks have scattered all over the place.