Footsteps in the temple (Dan 14:19-14:20)

“But Daniel laughed.

He restrained the king

From going in.

He said.

‘Look at the floor!

Notice

Whose footsteps these are!’

The king said.

‘I see the footsteps

Of men,

Of women,

Of children.’”

Daniel laughed. He kept the king from going into the temple. He told the king to notice the footsteps on the floor among the scattered ashes. The king then said that these footsteps appeared to be that of men, women, and children. How could they have gotten in, if the door was shut and sealed?

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Bel eats and drinks (Dan 14:6-14:7)

“The king said to Daniel.

‘Do you not think

That Bel

Is a living God?

Do you not see

How much he eats,

How much he drinks,

Every day?’

Then Daniel laughed.

He said.

‘Do not be deceived!

O king!

This thing is

Only clay inside,

With bronze,

On the outside.

It never ate

Or drank anything.’”

King Cyrus got into a conversation with Daniel about Bel and his living God. The king maintained that Bel was also a living god, since he was able to eat and drink every day. Then Daniel laughed at him. He told the king not to be deceived. Bel was only made of clay and bronze, so that it was not capable of eating or drinking.

The desolate mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:2-36:3)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

The enemy

Has said of you.

‘Aha!

The ancient heights

Have become

Our possession.’

Therefore,

Prophesy!

Say!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

They made you desolate!

Indeed,

They crushed you

From all sides.

Thus,

You became

The possession

Of the rest

Of the nations.

You became

An object

Of gossip.

You became

An object

Of slander

Among the people.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, reminded the Israelites that their enemies had laughed at them because their ancient high mountains had become their own possessions. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about these mountains, since they were truly desolate and crushed from all sides. They had become the possession of various countries. They had become an object of gossip and slander to all the people.

Against Tyre (Ezek 26:1-26:2)

“In the eleventh year,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Tyre said

Concerning Jerusalem.

‘Aha!

Broken is

The gateway

Of the people.

It has swung open

To me.

I shall be replenished,

Now that is wasted.’”

The time for this oracle to Ezekiel, the son of man, was the 11th year of King Zedekiah, which would have been 587 BCE. The Greek translation has a mention of a month that would put it into 586 BCE. Tyre was a Phoenician costal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon, well known for its maritime trade. Actually, it would have been part of the old Israelite territory of Asher. Here, the people of Tyre seemed to have laughed at Jerusalem when the gates of that city fell. Instead of being an ally of Jerusalem, they turned against them. They took advantage of the bad situation in Jerusalem. Isaiah, also, had a long diatribe against both Tyre and Sidon in chapter 23.

 

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

The vanity of pleasure (Eccl 2:1-2:3)

“I said to myself.

‘Come now!

I will make a test of pleasure.

Enjoy yourself!’

But again,

This also was vanity.

I said of laughter.

‘It is mad.’

I said of pleasure.

‘What use is it?’

I searched with my mind

How to cheer my body with wine.

My mind was still guiding me with wisdom.

How am I am to lay hold of folly?

I wanted to see

What was good for mortals

To do under heaven

During the few days of their life.”

Qoheleth was once again talking to himself. He wanted to enjoy pleasure. However, he found that it too was useless and in vain. He laughed, but it was kind of a mad laughter. What was the use of all this pleasure? He tried to cheer his body with wine, even though he was able to maintain the wisdom in his mind. He wanted to enjoy folly and foolishness. What kind of things can mortals do during their short span of life under the heavens?