Judah has been unfaithful (Mal 2:11-2:12)

“Judah has been faithless.

An abomination

Has been committed

In Israel,

As well as in Jerusalem.

Judah has profaned

The sanctuary of Yahweh

That he loves.

He has married

The daughter of a foreign god.

May Yahweh cut off

From the tents of Jacob

Anyone who does this!

May Yahweh cut off

Anyone who witnesses,

Who answers,

Who brings an offering

To Yahweh of hosts!”

Yahweh, via Malachi, noted that Judah had not been faithful.  There was an abomination in Jerusalem itself.  Judah had profaned the sanctuary of Yahweh.  Judah had married the daughter of a foreign god.  Perhaps this indicates a non-Jewish woman.  Thus, Yahweh was going to cut them off from the tents of Jacob.  Anyone involved in any kind of false worship of a foreign god would be cut off from being a witness or bringing offerings to Yahweh.  They should be excommunicated.

Against the commercial traders (Zeph 1:10-1:11)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

A cry will be heard

From the Fish Gate.

A wail will be heard

From the Second Quarter.

A loud crash will be heard

From the hills.

The inhabitants

Of the Mortar

Wail.

All the traders

Have perished.

All who weigh out

Silver

Are cut off.’”

Yahweh was clear about the consequences on the Day of Yahweh.  A cry would come from the north Fish Gate and the Second Quarter of Jerusalem, probably the entrance and the market place of business near this gate.  The Jerusalem traders may have sold fish there.  The northern hills around Jerusalem would also cry out, as would the wailing people of Mortal, those in the valley.  They would all wail and cry because of the lack of commerce.  All the traders would die.  Anyone involved with the weighing of silver would be wiped out.

Bad behavior (Am 5:10-5:13)

“They hate him

Who reproves

At the gate.

They abhor him

Who speaks the truth.

Therefore,

You trample

On the poor.

You take from them,

Levies of grain.

You have built houses

Of hewn stone.

But you shall not live

In them.

You have planted

Pleasant vineyards.

But you shall not drink

Their wine.

I know how many are

Your transgressions.

I know how great are

Your sins.

You afflict the righteous.

You take a bribe.

You turn aside

The needy

At the gate.

Therefore,

The prudent will keep silent

In such a time.

It is an evil time.”

Next, Amos listed all the bad behavior that the northern Israelites were involved with. They did not like any reprimanding at the city judgment gate. They did not like anyone who told the truth. They trampled the poor people, as they took away their grain. They had built beautiful stone houses, but they were not going to live in them. They had planted wonderful vineyards, but they would not drink the wine from them. Amos and Yahweh knew all about their various transgressions and how great their sins were. They took bribes, mistreated the righteous, and turned away the needy at the gate. The prudent people kept silent during this evil time.

Against Israel (Am 2:6-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Israel,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they sell

The righteous

For silver.

They sell the needy

For a pair of sandals.

They trample

The head of the poor

Into the dust

Of the earth.

They push the afflicted

Out of the way.

A father

With his son

Goes into the same girl.

So,

My holy name

Is profaned.

They lay themselves down

Beside every altar,

On garments

Taken in pledge.

In the house

Of their god,

They drink

The wine

Bought with fines

They imposed.”

Finally, Yahweh issued a diatribe against Israel itself. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language or literary form as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Israelites were, also involved in the slave trade, as they sold the righteous ones for silver. At the same time, they sold the needy for a pair of shoes or sandals. They trampled the heads of the poor into the dust of the earth. Both father and son would have sex with the same temple female prostitute. They profaned the holy name of Yahweh, as they laid down at any altar, with garments that they had taken as interest down payments. They drank wine in the houses of their gods bought with the fines that they had imposed on the poor people. They had committed serious crimes.

The problem of Ephraim (Hos 4:17-4:19)

“Ephraim is joined

To idols.

Let him alone!

When their drinking

Is ended,

They indulge

In sexual orgies.

They love lewdness

More than their glory.

A wind has wrapped them

In its wings.

They shall be ashamed,

Because of their altars.”

The people of the Ephraim territory in the northern kingdom of Israel were stuck to their idols. Hosea wanted them to leave these idols alone. When they were not drinking heavily, they were involved with sexual orgies. They loved their lewd lifestyle more than the glory of righteousness. A wind had gotten ahold of them. They would be ashamed because of their many idol altars.

Daniel was the companion of King Cyrus (Dan 14:2-14:2)

“Daniel was

A companion

Of the king.

He was the most honored

Of all his friends.”

Daniel was certainly in Babylon. How he was involved with the Persian Cyrus before he took over Babylon is not clear. Thus, this might be after the Persians had taken over Babylon. Certainly, Daniel was considered a companion and an honored friend of the king. Daniel was once again like Joseph in Egypt.

The terrible king (Dan 11:21-11:21)

“In his place,

Shall arise

A contemptible person.

Royal majesty

Had not been conferred on him.

He shall come in

Without warning.

He shall obtain

The kingdom

Through intrigue.”

Now we have the real villain, probably a contemporary of the writer of this Book of Daniel, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BCE), who took over from his brother, King Seleucus IV. He was the one mentioned earlier in thus work, about the famous little horn in chapter 7, in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. Gabriel, the angel, described him as a contemptible person, claiming that the royal majesty was not conferred on him. King Antiochus IV was involved in some kind of intrigue that kept the son of King Seleucus from being king. However, he was the younger brother of the king and his father had been king, so that he some legal standing.