Yahweh controls nature (Zech 10:1-10:3)

“Ask rain from Yahweh

In the season

Of the spring rain!

Yahweh makes

The storm clouds.

He gives

Showers of rain

To you.

He gives

The vegetation in the field

To everyone.

The teraphim

Utter nonsense.

The diviners

See lies.

The dreamers

Tell false dreams.

They give

Empty consolation.

Therefore,

The people wander

Like sheep.

They suffer

For lack of a shepherd.

My anger is hot

Against the shepherds.

I will punish the leaders.

Yahweh of hosts

Cares for his flock.”

Yahweh is in charge of the world.  If you want rain, ask Yahweh for spring rains, since he controls storm clouds and rain showers.  He provides the vegetation for the fields.  However, there are various people like teraphim, some kind of diviners or dreamers, who have lied and uttered nonsense.  They provided false dreams and empty consolations.  Thus, the people suffer like sheep who wander around, because they have no shepherd to lead them.  Yahweh was angry at his shepherd leaders, so that he was going to punish them, because they did not care for his flock.

The priests of Bel (Dan 14:10-14:13)

“Now there were seventy priests

Of Bel,

Besides their wives,

With their children.

The king went

With Daniel

Into the temple

Of Bel.

The priests Of Bel said.

‘See!

We are going outside.

You!

Yourself!

O king!

Set out the food!

Prepare the wine!

Shut the door!

Seal it with your signet!

When you return

In the morning,

If you do not find

That Bel has eaten it all,

We will die.

Otherwise,

Daniel will die.

He is telling lies

About us.’

They were unconcerned,

Because beneath the table,

They had made

A hidden entrance,

Through which

They used to go in regularly.

They would consume

The provisions.”

There were 70 priests of Bel, with their wives and children. The king went with Daniel into the Bel temple. The priests then said to them that they were going outside. They wanted the king to set out the food and the wine. Then he should shut and seal the door with his signet. If the next morning he returned, and the god Bel had not eaten the provisions, they should be killed. However, if the god Bel had eaten the food, then Daniel, who had lied against them, should be killed. They were unconcerned, because beneath the table they had made a hidden entrance. They used this secret passageway to regularly consume the provisions set out for the idol god Bel.

The confession of sins (Isa 59:12-59:15)

“Our transgressions before you are many.

Our sins testify against us.

Our transgressions indeed are with us.

We know our iniquities.

We have transgressed Yahweh.

We have denied Yahweh.

We have turned away

From following our God.

We talk oppression.

We talk revolt.

We conceive lying words.

We utter them from our hearts.

Justice is turned back.

Righteousness stands at a distance.

Truth stumbles in the public square.

Uprightness cannot enter.

Truth is lacking.

Whoever turns from evil is despoiled.”

Third Isaiah seems to have a community confession or acknowledgement of sins. They have committed many transgressions, since their sins will testify against them. They know that they have denied God. They have tried to turn away from him, as they wanted to revolt. They lied from their hearts. They have turned back justice since righteousness is now far away. There is no truth in the public squares, no uprightness. Anyone who turns from evil is attacked.

Against idolaters (Isa 57:11-57:13)

“Whom did you dread?

Whom did you fear?

Thus you lied.

You did not remember me.

You did not give me a thought.

Have I not kept silent?

Have I not closed by eyes?

Thus you do not fear me.

I will concede your righteousness.

I will concede your works.

But they will not help you.

When you cry out,

Let your collection of idols

Deliver you!

The wind will carry them off.

A breath will take them away.

Whoever takes refuge in me

Shall possess the land.

They shall inherit

My holy mountain.”

Third Isaiah warns in the first person singular what Yahweh has done with these idolaters. They no longer dreaded or feared Yahweh. They had lied to him. They did not remember or give him any thought. Yahweh had been silent and closed his eyes, so that they no longer feared him. Even though they might have been righteous and done some good things, these actions would no longer help them. If they had a problem, let them call their collection of idols to help them. The wind will carry away their useless idols. On the other hand, anyone who takes refuge in Yahweh will possess the land. They will inherit his holy mountain.

Downfall of the wicked (Ps 101:7-101:8)

“No one who practices deceit

Shall remain in my house.

No one who utters lies

Shall continue in my presence.

Morning by morning

I will destroy

All the wicked in the land.

I will cut off

All evildoers

From the city of Yahweh.”

This psalm ends with the downfall of the wicked ones. Anyone who practiced deceit would not remain in his house. Anyone who lied would no longer continue in his presence. Each morning he would destroy the wicked in the land. He would cut off all the evildoers from the city of Yahweh. Jerusalem, the city of David would be free from wicked evildoers.

The false repentance (Ps 78:34-78:37)

“When he killed them,

They sought him.

They repented.

They sought God earnestly.

They remembered

That God was their rock,

That the Most High God was their redeemer.

But they flattered him with their mouths.

They lied to him with their tongues.

Their heart was not steadfast toward him.

They were not true to his covenant.”

After some of the Israelites died in the desert, others claimed to repent. They sought God earnestly as they remembered that God was their rock. The Most High God was their redeemer. They tried to flatter God with their mouths as they lied with their tongues. Their heart was not in it. They were not true to the covenant.

Job maintains that he has not been fraudulent (Job 31:5-31:8)

“If I have walked with falsehood,

If my foot has hastened to deceit,

Let me be weighed in a just balance!

Let God know my integrity!

If my step has turned aside from the way,

If my heart has followed my eyes,

If any spot has clung to my hands,

Then let me sow!

Let another eat!

Let what grows for me be rooted out!”

The first question is falsehood. Has Job lied? Has Job cheated people? Job maintained that he had not deceived people. He had always used a just weight scale in his transactions. God knew his integrity. He had never turned from God’s way. If he has done anything wrong, let him be the sower and another person can eat of his crop. If he has been false and deceitful, whatever he has planted and grown should be rooted out.