The new slaves (Joel 3:7-3:8)

“‘But now,

I will rouse them up

To leave the places

To which you have

Sold them.

I will turn your deeds

Upon your own heads.

I will sell your sons,

With your daughters,

Into the hands

Of the people of Judah.

They will sell them

To the Sabeans,

To a nation far away.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

Yahweh was going to arouse the sold Judean slaves in faraway places to return home. Then Yahweh was going to turn this around. The new slaves would be the sons and daughters of these coastal people. They would be given to the Judeans, who in turn would sell them to the faraway southern Arabian Sabeans. This matter was settled because Yahweh had spoken.

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The wealth of Joakim (Dan 13:4-13:4)

“Joakim was very rich.

He had a fine garden,

Adjoining his house.

The Jews used to come

To him,

Because he was

The most honored

Of them all.”

Obviously, despite being a captive in Babylon, some Jews prospered.  This story does not say how or why Joakim grew wealthy.  Nevertheless, he was very rich.  He also had a wonderful garden that was right next to his house.  Many of the Jews, since they are no longer called Israelites or Judeans, would come to his spacious house.  They also honored him, probably because he had so much wealth.  Thus, this Joakim was a big shot among the well to do exiled Israelites in Babylon.

Praise of the Most High God (Dan 4:2-4:3)

“I am pleased

To recount The signs,

The wonders,

That the Most High God

Has worked for me.

How great

Are his signs!

How mighty

His wonders!

His kingdom is

An everlasting kingdom!

His sovereignty is

From generation to generation.”

King Nebuchadnezzar now praised the Most High God that the 3 Judeans had worshipped. This most high God had worked signs and wonders for them and him. He was eager to let everyone know about them. He insisted that God’s signs were great and his wonders were mighty. The Most High God ruled an everlasting kingdom that has and will last for generations. This king almost sounds like one of the prophets in his praise of the Israelite God. This looks like a complete conversion for King Nebuchadnezzar.

The rewards for Daniel and his friends (Dan 2:48-2:49)

“Then the king

Promoted Daniel.

He gave him

Many great gifts.

He made him ruler

Over the whole province

Of Babylon.

He became

The chief prefect

Over all the wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel made a request

Of the king.

He appointed

Shadrach,

Meshach,

With Abednego,

Over the affairs

Of the province

Of Babylon.

But Daniel remained

At the king’s court.”

Much like Joseph in Egypt in Genesis, chapters 40-41, Daniel received a reward in the government of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar made him the ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as the chief prefect in charge of all the wise men in Babylon. In other words, Daniel was running Babylon. He then had his 3 companions, named to the various Babylonian provinces. This was a complete takeover of the Babylonian government by these 4 Judeans. However, they may have lost some of their beliefs, since they now had the 3 Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that were given to them, not their Judean names. Notice that Daniel stayed at the king’s court.

The end of the vision in Babylon (Ezek 11:24-11:25)

“The Spirit lifted me up.

The Spirit brought me

In a vision

By the Spirit of God

Into Chaldea,

To the exiles.

Then the vision

That I had seen

Left me.

I told the exiles

All the things

That Yahweh

Had showed me.”

Ezekiel concluded this vision by saying that he was lifted up by the Holy Spirit of God back into Babylon, among the Chaldeans and the other exiled Israelites and Judeans. The vision left him. Then he told the Israelite exiles there all about the things that Yahweh had shown him.

The failure to follow the statutes (Bar 4:13-4:16)

“The Judeans

Had no regard

For his statutes.

They did not walk

In the ways

Of God’s commandments.

They did not tread

The paths

That his righteousness

Showed them.

Let the neighbors of Zion

Come!

Remember

The capture of my sons,

The capture of my daughters!

The Everlasting One

Brought this upon them.

He brought

A distant nation

Against them.

This was

A ruthless nation,

With a strange language.

They had no respect

For the aged.

They had no pity

For a child.

They led away

The widow’s beloved sons.

They bereaved the lonely woman

Of her daughters.”

This author points out that the Judeans in Jerusalem had no regard for God’s statutes. They did not walk in the ways of God’s commandments, since they did not tread the paths of disciple and righteousness. Zion’s neighbors should come and remember the capture of the sons and daughters of Jerusalem. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, brought this upon them, since he brought a distant ruthless nation with a strange language to attack Jerusalem. These attackers had no respect or pity for the old people and the children. Thus they took the sons and daughters of the lonely widows into captivity.

The failure to serve the king of Babylon (Bar 2:21-2:23)

“Thus says the Lord.

‘Bend your shoulders!

Serve

The king of Babylon!

You will then

Remain in the land

That I gave

To your ancestors.

But if you will not obey

The voice of the Lord,

If you will not serve

The king of Babylon,

I will cease

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

From the towns of Judah,

As well as from the region

Around Jerusalem.

The whole land

Will be a desolation

Without inhabitants.’”

The Lord via the prophets had told the Judeans to bend their shoulders and serve the king of Babylon. If they did that, they would remain in the land that the Lord had given to their ancestors. However, if they did not obey the voice of God, and not serve the king of Babylon, then God would cease to have any sounds of mirth or gladness from the brides or the bridegrooms from the towns of Judah as well as the region around Jerusalem. The whole land would become a desolation without inhabitants. They had a clear choice, obey the Lord and the king of Babylon, or suffer the consequences. They were already in exile, because they had not obeyed the king of Babylon. As usual, Jeremiah and Baruch were pro-Babylonian.