Yahweh is your God (Ezek 20:19-20:20)

“I,

Yahweh,

Am your God!

Follow my statutes!

Be careful

To observe my ordinances!

Hallow my Sabbath!

Thus it may be

A sign

Between me

And you.

Thus you may know

That I,

Yahweh,

Am your God!”

Here there is no doubt as Ezekiel has Yahweh begin and end with this phrase that he, Yahweh, is their God. Therefore they have to follow his statutes, his observances, and keep his Sabbath. The Sabbath has become the sign between Yahweh and his people.

One heart and a new spirit (Ezek 11:18-11:21)

“‘When they come there,

They will remove

From Jerusalem

All its detestable things,

All its abominations.

I will give them

One heart.

I will put

A new spirit

Within them.

I will remove

The heart of stone

From their flesh.

I will give them

A heart of flesh.

Thus they may follow

My statutes.

They will keep

My ordinances.

They will obey them.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God.

But as for those

Whose heart goes after

Their detestable things,

Their abominations,

I will bring their deeds

Upon their own heads.’

Says Yahweh God.”

The returning Israelites should remove all the detestable abominations from Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to give them one heart with a new spirit. He was going to remove their heart of stone. Instead, he was going to replace or transplant it with a heart of flesh. Thus they would follow the statutes. They would keep Yahweh’s ordinances. They would obey Yahweh. They would adhere to his commandments. They were going to be his people. He was going to be their God. However, those who still went after these detestable things and abominations would find that their very wicked deeds would fall upon their own heads. Thus ends the oracle of Yahweh, their God.

The futile activities of these temple priests (Bar 6:33-6:35)

“The priests

Take some

Of the clothing

Of their gods

To clothe

Their wives

Or their children.

Whether one does

Evil

To them

Or good,

They will not be able

To repay it.

They cannot

Set up a king.

They cannot

Depose a king.

Likewise

They are not able

To give

Either wealth

Or money.

If one makes a vow

To them,

Then does not

Keep it,

They will not

Require it.”

These priests of the temple take some of the clothing from their gods to give to their wives and children. Whether anyone does good or evil to them, they are not able to return the favor or resist. They are unable to set up or depose a king as the God of Israel can. They seem to have no control over wealth or money. If someone makes a vow, they do not require them to keep their vows.

Jeremiah responds to all the Judeans (Jer 44:24-44:25)

“Jeremiah said

To all the people

Including all the women.

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

All you Judeans

Who are in the land of Egypt!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You

With your wives

Have accomplished in deeds,

What you declared in words,

Saying.

‘We are determined

To perform the vows

That we have made.

We will make offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.’

By all means,

Keep your vows!

Make your libations!’”

Jeremiah addressed all the people of Judah and then added all the women, as if they were not people. Jeremiah wanted them to hear the word of Yahweh that he was interpreting. He said that they and their wives had accomplished what they said that they were going to do. They were going to make offerings and libations to the “Queen of heaven,” the Canaanite goddess of fertility, Astarte. Jeremiah’s response to them was to go ahead and keep your vows with your sacrifices and drinks. Just see what happens to you!

The good results if you observe the Sabbath (Jer 17:24-17:25)

“Yahweh says.

‘But if you listen to me,

If you bring in no burden

By the gates of this city

On the Sabbath day.

But rather keep the Sabbath day holy

By doing no work on it,

Then there shall enter

By the gates of this city

Kings who will sit

On the throne of David,

Riding in chariots,

Riding on horses.

They with their officials,

The men of Judah,

As well as the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall enter the gates.

This city shall be inhabited forever.”

Yahweh says that good things will happen if they observe the Sabbath. They had to bring no burdens through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. They also were to keep the Sabbath holy by doing no work at all on that day. If they did these things, then kings would sit on the throne of David with chariots and horses. There would be officials along with the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem going through the gates. All would be able to enter the gates of Jerusalem. Thus the city would be inhabited forever.

The reason for Yahweh’s judgment (Jer 16:11-16:13)

“Then you shall say to them.

Says Yahweh.

‘It is because your ancestors

Have forsaken me.

They have gone after other gods.

They have served them.

They have worshiped them.

They have forsaken me.

They have not kept my law.

However you have behaved worse

Than your ancestors.

Here you are,

Every one of you,

Following your stubborn evil will.

You refuse to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you

Out of this land,

Into a land

That neither you,

Nor your ancestors,

Have known.

There you shall serve other gods

Day and night.

I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah received his explanation of why this disaster was to come from Yahweh. The problem was twofold, their ancestors and they themselves. First of all, their ancestors had forsaken Yahweh, since they served and worshipped other gods. They did not keep Yahweh’s law. However, the current Israelites were even worse than their ancestors. Jeremiah’s contemporaries refused to listen to him. Instead they followed their own stubborn evil ways. The result of this was that the current people of Judah and Jerusalem would be thrown out of this Promised Land into another country. There they would serve other gods, day and night, in a land that was foreign to them and their ancestors. Yahweh was in no mood to show any favors.

The blessed ones of Yahweh (Isa 61:8-61:9)

“I,

Yahweh,

Love justice.

I hate robbery.

I hate wrongdoing.

I will faithfully give them

Their recompense.

I will make an everlasting covenant

With them.

Their descendants

Shall be known among the nations.

Their offspring

Shall be among the people.

All who see them

Shall acknowledge

That they are a people

Whom Yahweh has blessed.”

Yahweh, speaking in the first person singular, says that he loves justice. He hates robbery and all wrongdoing. He will keep his everlasting covenant with his people. He will faithfully compensate them. They will have well known descendants among the various nations and people. Everybody who sees them will realize that they are a people that Yahweh has blessed.

The folly of a block of wood (Isa 44:18-44:20)

“They do not know anything.

They do not comprehend.

Their eyes are shut.

Thus they cannot see.

Their minds are shut.

Thus they cannot understand.

No one considers this.

No one has knowledge.

No one has discernment to say.

‘I burned half of it in the fire.

I also baked bread on its coals.

I roasted meat.

I have eaten meat.

Shall I make the rest of it an abomination?

Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’

He feeds on ashes.

A deluded mind has led him astray.

He cannot save himself.

He cannot say.

‘Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?’”

Second Isaiah explains the moral of this tale of the idol carpenter maker. These idol makers do not know or understand what they are doing. Their eyes and minds are shut, so that they cannot see or understand. These carpenters do not consider that they used part of their precious wood to make a fire to keep them warm and cook on. They then made their abominable wooden idol out of the rest of this wood. Do they not realize that they are bowing down to a block of wood? They have deluded minds. They have been led astray. They eat ashes. They do not understand that what they have made with their right hand is a fraud.

Preserve the oracles of Isaiah (Isa 30:8-30:8)

“Go now!

Write it before them on a tablet!

Inscribe it in a book!

Thus it may be for the time to come.

Let this be a witness forever!”

Isaiah wanted them to preserve his oracles. He wanted them to write these oracles on a tablet. Then they were to keep them on a scroll in some kind of book. Thus they would become a lasting witness about things to come in the future. Apparently, this was done.

Declaration of Isaiah to his disciples (Isa 8:16-8:20)

“Bind up the testimony!

Seal the teaching

Among my disciples!

I will wait for Yahweh,

Who is hiding his face

From the house of Jacob.

I will hope in him.

See!

I am a sign.

The children

Whom Yahweh has given me

Are portents in Israel

From Yahweh of hosts.

He dwells on Mount Zion.

Now if people say to you.

‘Consult the wizard ghosts!

Consult with the familiar spirits

Who chirp and mutter!’

Should not a people consult their gods?

Should they not consult the dead

On behalf of the living

For teaching,

For instruction?

Surely those who speak like this

Will have no dawn.”

Isaiah wanted his disciples to have and keep his testimony. He wanted his teachings to be put aside and bound up his works. This is probably why we have so many oracles of Isaiah. He was waiting on Yahweh, the Lord, who was hiding his face from the house of Jacob. However, Isaiah had hope because he and his children were signs or omens of good things to come. He knew that Yahweh lived on Mount Zion. He then warned his disciples not to be fooled when people told them to consult with various idol gods, ghosts, mediums, wizards, or spirits to find out what to do. Why would you want to consult with the dead to find out instructions on how to live? As he points out, people like this probably will not see the dawn, since they are destined for death.