The humble poor of Israel (Zeph 3:11-3:13)

“On that day,

You shall not

Be put to shame,

Because of the deeds

By which you have rebelled

Against me.

Then I will remove

From your midst

Your proudly exultant ones.

You shall no longer

Be haughty

On my holy mountain.

I will leave

In the midst of you

A humble people,

A lowly people.

They shall seek refuge

In the name of Yahweh.

The remnant of Israel

Shall do no wrong.

They shall utter no lies.

A deceitful tongue

Shall not be found

In their mouth.

They shall pasture.

They shall lie down.

No one shall make them

Afraid.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, said that the Israelites would not be put to shame.  The reason was fairly simple.  Yahweh was going to remove all those rebellious ones that proudly exulted themselves.  Thus, there would be no more haughty ones in their midst.  Instead, all the people left would be humble and lowly people, who took refuge in Yahweh.  These were the remnant of Israel, who would not do anything wrong or utter any lies with a deceitful tongue.  They would be able to lie down in their pastures, since no one was going to make them afraid.

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The new covenant (Hos 2:18-2:18)

“On that day,

I will make

For you

A covenant

With the wild animals,

The birds of the air,

The creeping things

Of the ground.

I will abolish

The bow,

The sword,

War from the land.

I will make you

Lie down in safety.”

On that day to come, Yahweh said that he was going to make a new covenant with the wild animals, the birds, and the creeping things. He was going to abolish the bow, the sword, and even fighting in general. War would be no more. This futuristic peace time would mean that they could lie down in safety. Was this the messianic age to come with worldwide peace?

Yahweh returns them to the good pastures of Israel (Ezek 34:13-34:15)

“‘I will bring them

Out from the various people.

I will gather them

From the various countries.

I will bring them

Into their own land.

I will feed them

On the mountains

Of Israel.

They will be

By the water fountains,

In all the inhabited places

Of the country.

I will feed them

With good pasture.

The mountain heights

Of Israel

Shall be their pasture.

They shall lie down there

In good grazing land.

They shall feed

On rich pasture

On the mountains

Of Israel.

I myself

Will be the shepherd

Of my sheep.

I will make them

Lie down.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Somewhat reminiscent of Psalm 23 about the good shepherd, Yahweh, their God, said that he was going to bring all his lost sheep together from the various countries where they had been. They were going to go back to their own land. Yahweh was going to feed them on the mountains of Israel with flowing water in all the inhabited places of their country. He was going to feed them from the good pastures in the mountain heights of Israel. There they would lie down in this good grazing land. They would eat from the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. Yahweh was going to be their shepherd, the good shepherd of his sheep. He was going to make them lie down in great green pastures.

The explanation of the allegory of the cedar tree (Ezek 31:18-31:18)

“Which among the trees

Of Eden

Was like you

In glory,

Or in greatness?

Now you shall be

Brought down

With the trees

Of Eden

To the world below.

You shall lie

Among the uncircumcised.

You shall lie

With those who were killed

By the sword.

‘This is Pharaoh

With his entire hoard.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God revealed the meaning of the big cedar tree. There is very little suspense, since it is Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and the multitude of his people with him. The other trees were those kings and people associated with Egypt that relied on him for their existence. Once again, there was a comparison of this great cedar tree with the trees from the Garden of Eden. Which was more glorious or great? The great cedar tree would be brought down with the trees from the Garden of Eden to the world below. Thus, they would lie down with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword.

The new Exodus (Isa 43:16-43:19)

“Thus says Yahweh.

He makes a way

In the sea.

He makes a path

In the mighty waters.

He brings out chariots.

He brings out horses.

He brings out armies.

He brings out warriors.

They lie down.

They cannot rise.

They are extinguished.

They are quenched like a wick.

Do not remember the former things!

Do not consider the things of old!

I am about to do a new thing.

Now it springs forth.

Do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness.

I will make rivers in the desert.”

Second Isaiah seems to have Yahweh imply that there will be second Exodus. Yahweh would make a way for them through the sea and the mighty warriors. Despite the fact that chariots, horses, armies, and warriors will come after them, these armies will lie down and not rise again. They will be extinguished like a candle wick. They should not remember the former past old things because there will be a new way in the wilderness. They should be able to see it, since there will be rivers in the desert.

The importance of paternal commandments (Prov 6:20-6:22)

“My child!

Keep your father’s commandment!

Do not forsake your mother’s teaching!

Bind them upon your heart always!

Tie them around your neck!

When you walk,

They will lead you.

When you lie down,

They will watch over you.

When you awake,

They will talk with you.

The commandment is a lamp.

The teaching is a light.

The reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”

Now we are back at parental advice and the importance of fatherly commandments and motherly teachings. The opening phrases are a repeat from chapters 1 and 3 of these Proverbs. You were to keep these commandments in your heart. You were to tie them around your neck. Thus whenever you were walking, these teachings would lead you. When you would lie down, these teachings would watch over you. When you were awake, these teachings would speak with you. These commandments would be a constant reminder in your life, whether you were awake or not, whether you were moving or not. The paternal commandment was like a lamp, while the maternal teaching was like a light. Both of them lit up your life. They provided you the corrective discipline to guide you in your way of life.

Keep wisdom (Prov 3:21-3:26)

“My child!

Do not let this escape from your sight!

Keep sound wisdom!

Be prudent!

They will be life for your soul.

They will be an adornment for your neck.

Then you will walk on your way securely.

Your foot will not stumble.

If you sit down,

You will not be afraid.

If you lie down,

Your sleep will be sweet.

Do not be afraid of a sudden panic!

Do not be afraid of the wicked attack!

Yahweh will be your confidence.

He will keep your foot from being caught.”

Once again, we are back at a parental admonition. We are to keep sound wisdom and prudence. Never let them out of your sight because they are the life of your soul. They are the decorations for your neck. You will then walk securely and not stumble. If you sit down, you will not be afraid. If you lie down, you will have a sweet sleep. Do not be afraid of a sudden panic or a wicked attack. Have confidence in God because he will keep your foot from getting caught in a trap.