Luke indicated that Jesus continued to pick on his dinner guests, the Pharisees. Jesus cursed these Pharisees without naming them. He said woe to them (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) because they were like unmarked graves (ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα) that people or men would walk over without realizing it (καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν). There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:27, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes. There was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their false hearts. They were like whitewashed tombs, that looked outwardly beautiful. However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things. Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others. However, on the inside, in their hearts, they were full of hypocrisy, iniquity, and lawlessness. Matthew went into more detail than Luke did here, sitting with them at dinner. Have you ever complained directly to people at a dinner party?
There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:44. Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, 15 and 25. The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses. Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)! Scribes (γραμματεῖς)! Woe to you! Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)! Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)! There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees. This time it was a continuation against the false hearts of the Pharisees. They were like whitewashed tombs (ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις), that looked outwardly beautiful (οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι). However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας). Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι). However, on the inside of them, in their hearts, they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity or lawlessness (ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας).
Next this angel revealed the 7th vision to Zechariah. He told Zechariah to look up. He asked him what he saw. Zechariah responded that he saw a basket coming towards him. The angel explained that the basket was full of iniquity from the whole land. Then the lead cover of the basket was lifted to show a woman sitting in this basket, as if iniquity came from women.
Habakkuk issued his 3rd woe or curse against the Chaldeans, because they built their towns with bloodshed and founded their cities on iniquity. They forced the people into building their cities with free labor. However, the flames of a fire would come to destroy them. They were wasting their time, because these towns and cities would not last. The end result was that the earth would be filled with the knowledge and glory of Yahweh, just as water covered the sea.
This Book of Micah ends with this psalm of praise to Yahweh, while asking for his mercy. There is no other God like Yahweh, who has pardoned iniquity. He has let go of the transgressions of his people. His anger was short lived, because he delighted in granting clemency, since he had compassion for them. He has stamped on and thrown out all their sins. He has shown faithfulness and loyalty to Jacob and Abraham, just as he did to all their ancestors in the good old days. Notice the change from the descriptive “he” to the more intimate “you”.
The iniquity of the territory of Ephraim, in the northern kingdom of Israel, has bound and tied them up. They have kept their own sins stored up. When the pangs of childbirth came for him, he was an unwise son. He failed to present himself at the mouth of the womb for childbirth. In other words, Ephraim refused to come out of the womb, a strange concept for us today.
The various idol worship places in Gilead and Gilgal will become useless. Their iniquity will amount to nothing. The altars where they sacrificed bulls in Gilgal will become like heaps of stone in a furrowed field.
Hosea declared that the day of punishment and compensation has come to Israel. Meanwhile, the Israelites cried out that the prophets were fools. They said that the spiritual men were mad. All of this great iniquity happened, because their hostility was so great.
Once again, Yahweh, via Hosea, reminded the people of the northern kingdom of Israel that the more that they grew larger, the more that they sinned against him, Yahweh. They had changed their glory into shame. Their food was sin itself. They were greedy for iniquity. Both the priests and the people shared the blame, so that Yahweh was going to punish them both together. He was going to repay them for their sinful deeds.
In a diatribe against the Levitical priests who had served idols in the high places, Yahweh was upset. However, his punishment was merely lowly menial tasks in the Temple, not a drastic death sentence. These Levites had sinned because they had led Israel astray with their idol worshipping. They made Israel stumble into iniquity. Thus, they were to be punished. They would only have oversight at the gates to the Temple, not in the sanctuary. They also would slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices. They would continue to minister to Yahweh and his people, but only in the more pedestrian roles. This seems like a mild form of punishment for idol worship and leading the Israelites astray.