The false wicked prophets (Ezek 22:28-22:28)

“The Jerusalem prophets

Have smeared

Whitewash,

On their behalf.

They saw false visions.

They divined lies

For them.

Saying!

‘Thus says Yahweh God.’

When Yahweh

Has not spoken.”

The prophets of Jerusalem were liars. They smeared whitewash, saying that everything was okay with them. They saw false visions and forecast lies. They would often say ‘Thus spoke Yahweh God,’ when in fact Yahweh had not spoken. These prophets were misleading the people.

Do not listen to false predictions (Jer 27:9-27:11)

“‘Therefore

You must not listen

To your prophets,

To your diviners,

To your dreamers,

To your soothsayers,

To your sorcerers.

If they are saying to you.

‘You shall not serve

The king of Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

The result will be

That you will be removed

Far from your land.

I will drive you out.

You will perish. But any nation

That will bring its neck

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

Thus serve him,

I will leave on its own land.

They will till it.

They will live there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has an oracle of Yahweh about the false prophets who are telling the people not to obey the king of Babylon. Whether it is a prophet, a diviner, a dreamer, a soothsayer, or a sorcerer, who tell them not to serve the king of Babylon, they are prophesying lies. If they listened to these liars, Yahweh was going to drive them out of their land, so that they would perish. However, if any country was to put on the yoke of Babylon and serve its king, Yahweh was going to let them stay on their own land, live there, and till the soil. There is no doubt that Yahweh was on the side of the King of Babylon, as presented here.

 

The deceitful neighbors (Jer 9:4-9:6)

“‘Beware of your neighbors!

Put no trust in any of your relatives!

All your relatives are liars.

Every neighbor goes around

Like a slanderer.

They all deceive their neighbors.

No one speaks the truth.

They have taught their tongues

To speak lies.

They commit iniquity.

They are too weary to repent.

Oppression upon oppression!

Deceit upon deceit!

They refuse to know me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has another oracle of Yahweh about watching out for your neighbors and their deceitfulness. Not only are they to be aware of their neighbors, but also their own relatives and next of kin. They were not to trust them because they were liars, hoping to take their place. Neighbors are going around slandering them. No one was speaking the truth because they all had taught their tongues to lie. When they did something wrong, they were too weary to repent. Thus there was oppression piled on oppression, deceit after deceit. They all refused to know Yahweh.

The power of Yahweh (Isa 44:24-44:28)

“Thus says Yahweh,

Your Redeemer!

He formed you in the womb.

‘I am Yahweh!

I made all things!

I alone stretched out the heavens!

I by myself spread out the earth!

Who was with me?

Who frustrates the omens of liars?

Who makes fools of diviners?

Who turns back the wise?

Who makes their knowledge foolish?

Who confirms the word of his servant?

Who fulfills the predictions of his messengers?

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be inhabited.’

Who says of the cities of Judah?

‘They shall be rebuilt.

I will raise up their ruins.’

Who says to the deep?

‘Be dry!

I will dry up your rivers.’

Who says of Cyrus?

‘He is my shepherd.

He shall carry out my purpose.’

Who says of Jerusalem?

‘It shall be rebuilt.’

Who says of the temple?

‘Your foundations shall be laid.’”

Second Isaiah ends this chapter the way it began, stressing the redeeming power of Yahweh among the Israelites who had been formed by Yahweh in their mother’s womb. Yahweh has stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth by himself. He has frustrated liars. He has made fools of false prophets. He has made the wise people look foolish with all their knowledge. However, he has fulfilled his word to his servants and the predictions of his messengers. He said that Jerusalem would be inhabited and the cities of Judah would be rebuilt from their ruins. He dried up the rivers. He also made Cyrus his shepherd, a very strong term for this Persian leader from 559-530 BCE. Cyrus was to carry out Yahweh’s purposes as the destroyer mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. Jerusalem would be rebuilt with the foundations of the temple laid out.

Liars (Sir 20:24-20:26)

“A lie is an ugly blot

On a person.

It is continually

On the lips of the ignorant.

A thief is preferable

To a habitual liar.

But the lot of both

Is ruin.

A liar’s way

Leads to disgrace,

His shame is

Ever with him.”

A lie is like an ugly blot on a person. Ignorant people continually lie. A thief is better than a habitual liar, although both are headed to ruin. The way of a liar will lead to disgrace, because his shame is always with him.

Fear of the Lord and wisdom (Sir 15:1-15:8)

“Whoever fears the Lord

Will do this.

Whoever holds to the law

Will obtain wisdom.

Wisdom will come to meet him

Like a mother.

She will be

Like a young bride.

She will welcome him.

She will feed him

With the bread of learning.

She will give him

The water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her.

He will not fall.

He will rely on her.

He will not be put to shame.

She will exalt him

Above his neighbors.

She will open his mouth

In the midst of the assembly.

He will find gladness.

He will find a crown of rejoicing.

He will inherit an everlasting name.

The foolish will not obtain her.

Sinners will not see her.

She is far from arrogance.

Liars will never think of her.”

Anyone who fears the Lord will have a chance at wisdom. They must hold firmly and follow the law in order to get wisdom. Then wisdom will come to meet them like a mother or a young bride. Clearly wisdom is feminine as a mother or wife. The food and drink of the wise person will be the bread of learning and the water of wisdom. These people can lean on wisdom so that they will not fall or be put to shame. They will be exalted above their neighbors because they will open their mouths in the assembly of the elders. They will find gladness with a rejoicing crown and an everlasting name. The foolish and the sinners cannot obtain or see wisdom. Wisdom stays away from arrogance. Liars never think about wisdom, since she is reserved for those who fear the Lord.