Walk in the ways of Yahweh (Zech 3:6-3:7)

“Then the angel of Yahweh

Assured Joshua.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

If you will walk

In my ways,

If you keep my requirements,

Then you shall rule

My house.

You will have charge

Of my courts.

I will give you

The right of access

Among those who are standing here.’”

Then the angel of Yahweh reassured Joshua, the high priest.  The angel said that Yahweh of hosts had said that he would be in charge of the courts and have access to the Temple courts, if he walked in the ways of Yahweh.  If he kept all his requirements and commandments, he would rule the house of Yahweh, the Temple.  Thus, Joshua was reestablished as the actual high priest of the new Temple, but he would have to follow all of Yahweh’s commands.

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Against the strange false idol gods (Zeph 1:4-1:6)

“I will cut off

From this place

Every remnant of Baal.

I will cut off

The name

Of the idolatrous priests.

They bow down

On the roofs

To the host

Of the heavens.

They bow down.

They swear

To Yahweh,

But also swear

To Milcom.

They have turned back

From following Yahweh.

They do not seek Yahweh.

They do not inquire of him.”

In Jerusalem and Judah, Yahweh was going to cut off every last remains of the Canaanite god Baal, a very popular Semitic god, who was in charge of fertility and storms as the lord of all.  Thus, the use of the term lord might indicate Baal as well.  Apparently, there were some idolatrous priests in Judah or Jerusalem who worshiped Baal on the roofs of their houses.  On top of that, there was the cult or worship of Milcom or Moloch.  Generally, people would offer up their children as sacrifices to Milcom or Moloch.  Thus, some people were swearing by Yahweh, but also swearing by Milcom at the same time.  In other words, they were not true monotheists.  They had turned away from Yahweh.  They were no longer seeking Yahweh or inquiring about him.

Daniel the president of the whole kingdom (Dan 6:2-6:3)

“There were

Three presidents

Over these satraps.

Daniel was one of them.

The satraps

Gave account

To these presidents.

Thus,

The king

Might suffer no loss.

Soon

Daniel distinguished himself

Above all the other presidents,

Above all the other satraps.

Because an excellent spirit

Was in him.

The king planned

To appoint him

Over the whole kingdom.”

Daniel seemed to have a unique role. He already had an important role under King Belshazzar (550-539 BCE) of Babylon, as indicated at the end of the last chapter. Here, he took on a bigger role as president of the whole country. However, Daniel would be an old man at this time. First, he was 1 of the 3 presidents. Then the king decided to put in charge of everything because of his excellent spirit. Thus, this Judean exile Daniel was in charge in Persia and Babylon, just under the king.

Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.

The accusations against his Jewish appointees (Dan 3:12-3:12)

“‘There are certain Jews

Whom you have appointed

Over the affairs

Of the province

Of Babylon,

Shadrach,

Meshach,

Abednego.

These pay no heed

To you.

O king!

They do not serve

Your gods.

They do not worship

The golden statue

That you have set up.’”

These Chaldeans were more specific. They accused the 3 companions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were in charge of the provinces of Babylon, of not listening to the king. They were not serving the gods of Babylon. They even did not worship the golden statue that the King had set up. Thus, these Babylonian officials, although Jewish, were not following the king’s orders.

The response of Daniel (Dan 2:14-2:16)

“Then Daniel responded

With prudence,

As well as discretion,

To Arioch,

The king’s chief executor.

Arioch had gone out

To execute

The wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel asked Arioch,

The royal official.

‘Why is the decree

Of the king

So severe?’

Then Arioch explained

The matter

To Daniel.

Thus,

Daniel went in

To see the king.

He requested

That the king

Give him time.

He would tell the king

The interpretation.”

Daniel was less confrontational, since he was prudent and discrete. He met the king’s chief executor, Arioch, the royal official in charge of the execution of these wise men. Daniel wanted to know what was going on. Why was the king so severe to these wise men of Babylon? After Arioch explained the situation to Daniel, Daniel decided to go to see the king himself. He told the king that he needed more time, but that he would provide an interpretation for the king’s dream.

The Zadok Levitical priests (Ezek 44:15-44:16)

“‘But the Levitical priests,

The descendants of Zadok,

Who kept the charge

Of my sanctuary,

When the people of Israel

Went astray

From me,

Shall come near

To me

To minister

To me.

They shall attend me

To offer me

The fat

With the blood.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They shall enter

My sanctuary.

They shall approach

My table.

They shall

Minister

To me.

They shall

Keep my charge.’”

It was a different story for the Zadok Levitical priests, as mentioned in the previous chapter. These Levitical priests from the family of Zadok came from a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. This Zadok aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, this Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Zadok Levitical priests had been loyal to Yahweh, when the other Levites went astray. They were the ones who could come near to Yahweh to minister to him. They would offer the fat and the blood. They would enter Yahweh’s sanctuary and approach his table. They would be in charge and directly minister to Yahweh.