Jeremiah wants to go to the palace jail (Jer 37:20-37:21)

“‘Now please hear me!

My lord king!

Be good enough

To listen to my plea!

Do not send me

Back to the house

Of the secretary Jonathan

To die there.’

So King Zedekiah gave orders.

They committed Jeremiah

To the court of the guard.

A loaf of bread

Was given him daily

From the bakers’ street,

Until all the bread of the city

Was gone.

So Jeremiah remained

In the court of the guard.”

Jeremiah did not want to go back to the dungeon cell in the house of the secretary Jonathan. Thus he pleaded with the king to get out of there. King Zedekiah granted his request. He was going to be kept in a semi-house arrest in the court of the guard, a real prison attached to the royal palace. There he would get a fresh loaf of bread from the common baker’s street area daily, until there were no more provisions in the city. Thus Jeremiah got better living conditions, if not released.

Breaking the covenant agreement (Jer 34:17-34:18)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh!

‘You have not obeyed me

By granting a release

To your neighbors,

As well as to your friends.

I am going to

Grant a release to you,

A release to the sword,

A release to pestilence,

A release to famine.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you a horror

To all the kingdoms

Of the earth.

Those who transgressed

My covenant,

Those who did not

Keep the terms

Of the covenant

That they made before me,

I will make them

Like the calf

When they cut it in two.

As they passed

Between its parts.’”

The people of Jerusalem had not obeyed Yahweh about freeing up their Hebrew slaves. Now Yahweh was going to free them to the sword, pestilence, and famine, the common formula of Jeremiah for destruction. They would become a horror for all the countries in the world. They had broken their covenant with Yahweh. They had not kept the terms of the covenant agreement, since they had re-enslaved the freed Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. The ancient practice of cutting or sacrificing an animal into two pieces was a way of ratifying an agreement, as can be seen in Genesis, chapter 15. Then the two people would walk between the two pieces of the calf to indicate that if they broke the agreement, they too would be killed. Thus these disobedient ones who broke the covenant were subject to death, just as the calf had been killed and cut up.

Remembering Moses (Isa 63:11-63:14)

“Then he remembered the days of old.

He remembered Moses his servant.

Where is the one

Who brought them up out of the sea?

Where are the shepherds of his flock?

Where is the one

Who put within them His Holy Spirit?

Who caused his glorious arm

To march at the right hand of Moses?

Who divided the waters before them?

Who made for himself an everlasting name?

Who led them through the depths?

Who was like a horse in the desert

So that they did not stumble?

Like cattle that go down into the valley,

The Spirit of Yahweh gave them rest.

Thus you led your people

To make for yourself a glorious name.”

Despite all their unfaithful actions, Yahweh kept his people safe as in the days of his servant Moses. In a series of questions, he reminds them of the good things in the past. He brought them out of the sea depths as he divided the waters with his mighty arms. Yahweh gave them the Holy Spirit to lead his flock like a shepherd. He was like a horse leading in the desert so that they would not stumble. He protected them like cattle in the valleys that finally got rest. He made his name glorious.

The making and the worship of the wooden idol (Isa 44:15-44:17)

“The carpenter also makes a god.

He worships it.

He makes this carved image.

He bows down before it.

He burns half of it in the fire.

Over this half,

He roasts meat.

He eats it.

He is satisfied.

He also warms himself.

He says.

‘O!

I am warm!

I can feel the fire!’

He makes the rest of it

Into a god,

His idol.

He bows down to it.

He worships it.

He prays to it.

He says.

‘Save me!

You are my god!’”

Second Isaiah has this carpenter carve a god out of his wood and then worship it. He takes this carved image and bows down to it. With the left over wood he starts a fire, so that he was able to cook a piece of meat that he ate with great satisfaction. This fire also kept him warm. However, the rest of this wood was used to make his idol god. After he had completed his carving, he bowed down to it, worshipped it, and prayed to it. He said that his carved idol was his god, so that he wanted this own carved idol to save him. In other words, he made a god to save him.

Silence (Sir 20:1-20:8)

“There is a rebuke

That is untimely.

There is also the person

Who is wise enough to keep silent.

How much better it is to rebuke

Than to fume.

Whoever admits his fault

Will be kept from failure.

Like a eunuch’s lusting

To violate a girl,

Is the person who does right

Under compulsion.

Some people keep silent.

They are thought to be wise.

Others are detested

For being too talkative.

Some people keep silent

Because they have nothing to say.

Others keep silent

Because they know

When to speak.

The wise remain silent

Until the right moment.

But boasting fools

Miss the right moment.

Whoever talks too much

Is detested.

Whoever pretends to authority

Is hated.”

Although some criticisms are at the wrong time, there are people wise enough to keep silent. However, it is much better to criticize than to stay fuming about something. If you admit your faults, you will be kept from future failure. Anyone who is forced to do the right thing is like a castrated male eunuch lusting to violate a young girl. There is no reward for this action. Some people who keep silent are considered wise, while others are detested for talking too much. Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, while the wise ones are just waiting for the right moment to speak. The boasting fools miss the right moment. Some people do not like those who talk too much, while others hate those who pretend to have authority.

Parental wisdom teaching (Prov 4:1-4:9)

“Children!

Listen to a father’s instruction!

Be attentive!

Thus you may gain insight into truth.

I give you good precepts.

Do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son with my father,

I was tender.

I was my mother’s favorite.

He taught me.

He said to me.

‘Let your heart hold fast my words.

Keep my commandments.

Thus you will live.

Get wisdom!

Get insight!

Do not forget!

Do not turn away from the words of my mouth!

Do not forsake her!

She will keep you.

Love her!

Thus she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this.

Get wisdom!

Whatever else you get,

Get insight!

Prize her highly!

Thus she will exalt you.

She will honor you

If you embrace her.

She will place on your head

A fair garland.

She will bestow on you

A beautiful crown.’”

Once again, we have paternal instruction. This father wanted his children to be attentive so that they could gain some insight. He wanted them not to forget his good teaching, since he was only doing what his father had done to him. He had been the favorite of his mother. He believed that he should follow his father’s words and commands. If they did the same, they would have a good life. In a tautology, he said that the beginning of wisdom is to get wisdom. Wow! They were to get wisdom and insight, first and foremost. They were not to forsake lady wisdom. If they kept her, she would keep them. If they loved wisdom, she would protect them. If they prized her, she would exalt them. If they embraced her, she would honor them. Thus they would have a wonderful Roman garland and a beautiful crown.

The upright man (Prov 2:20-2:22)

“Therefore walk in the way of good people.

Keep to the paths of the just.

The upright will inhabit the land.

The innocent ones of integrity will remain in it.

But the wicked will be cut off from the land.

The treacherous will be rooted out of it.”

The young people were to walk in the way of the good people. Thus they would become upright and righteous as they kept to the path of the just ones. The upright will then inherit, inhabit, and abide in the land. The innocent ones who live with integrity will remain on the land. However, the wicked ones will be cut off from the land. The liars and the treacherous infidels will be rooted out of the land. Notice that the big reward and punishment is the land.

My time in the womb (Ps 139:13-139:18)

“You formed my inward parts.

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you!

I am fearfully made.

I am wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works!

I know them very well.

My frame was not hidden from you.

I was being made in secret.

I was intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.

In your book were written

All the days that was formed for me,

When none of them as yet existed.

How weighty to me are your thoughts!

O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them,

They are more than the sand.

I come to the end.

I am still with you.”

In beautiful colorful language, David, the psalmist, describes his life in the womb, and how he came to be. He was knit together in the womb of his mother by Yahweh. Thus pregnancy is time of knitting. He was made in secret as Yahweh intricately wove him in the depths of the womb. Earth was like the womb. He praised Yahweh for the wonderful work he had become, even as an unformed substance in the womb of his mother. Yahweh had this book of life where he kept track of his future days here on earth. The thoughts of Yahweh are so vast and deep that they cannot be counted because they are like the sands of the seashore. Even now, that his life is now ending, he still was with Yahweh. This is a masterful section about the womb as a place where Yahweh was knitting and weaving the human before his birth. What a powerful argument against abortion.

My cry for help (Ps 119:145-119:152)

Qoph

“With my whole heart

I cry.

Answer me!

Yahweh!

I will keep your statutes.

I cry to you.

Save me!

Thus I may observe your decrees.

I rise before dawn.

I cry for help.                                                                              

I put my hope in your words.

My eyes are awake before each watch of the night.

Thus I may meditate on your promise.

In your steadfast love,

Hear my voice!

Yahweh!

In your justice,

Preserve my life!

Those who persecute me with evil purpose,

Draw near.

They are far from your law.

You are near.

Yahweh!

All your commandments are true.

Long ago

I learned from your decrees.

You have established them forever.”

This psalmist cried for help to Yahweh from his heart. He wanted to be saved because he kept the statutes of Yahweh. He rose before dawn with his crying prayer to Yahweh. In the middle of the night, he would get up and meditate on the promises of Yahweh. He wanted the steadfast love of Yahweh in his justice to preserve his life. He was being persecuted with an evil purpose by those who were far from Yahweh’s law. He wanted Yahweh near him because his commandments were true. He had long ago learned from Yahweh’s decrees that had been established forever. So ends this section on the nineteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Qoph.

Yahweh was faithful to his covenant (Ps 106:44-106:46)

“Nevertheless Yahweh regarded their distress,

When he heard their cry.

For their sake,

He remembered his covenant.

He showed compassion

According to the abundance of his steadfast love.

He caused them to be pitied

By all those who held them captive.”

Despite the many incidents when Israel turned against their leaders and Yahweh himself, he always kept his covenant with them. Whenever they cried to Yahweh, he heard their cry. He remembered his covenant and showed compassion out of his abundant steadfast love. Even those who captured them had pity on them.