The exposed prostitute city of Nineveh (Nah 3:4-3:7)

“Because of the countless

Debaucheries

Of the prostitute,

Her graceful allure

As the mistress of sorcery,

She enslaved nations

Through her debaucheries.

She enslaved people

Through her sorcery.

‘I am against you.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will lift up

Your skirts

Over your face.

I will let nations look

On your nakedness.

I will let kingdoms

Look on your shame.

I will throw filth at you.

I will treat you

With contempt.

I will make you

A spectacle.

Then all who see you

Will shrink from you.

They will say.

‘Nineveh is devastated.

Who will bemoan her?

Where shall I seek comforters

For her?’”

Nahum said that Nineveh had become a prostitute by her actions.  She had been a graceful alluring mistress sorcerer.  She had enslaved people through her debaucheries, her sensual sexual corruption.  Nineveh tricked people with her sorcery.  However, Yahweh said that he was against Nineveh.  He would force her to lift up her skirts over her face, so that all the different countries could see her nakedness.  Everyone would see her shame.  Yahweh was going to throw filth at her.  He was going to treat her with contempt, making a spectacle out of Nineveh.  Then, everyone who saw Nineveh would shrink from her, because they would say that she was devastated.  There would be no one to moan or comfort her.  Nineveh would go away in disgrace.

The righteous man (Ezek 18:5-18:9)

“If a man is righteous,

He does what is lawful.

He does what is right.

He does not eat

Upon the mountains,

He does not lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not defile

His neighbor’s wife.

He does not approach a woman

During her menstrual cycle.

He does not oppress anyone.

But he restores

To the debtor

His pledge.

He commits no robbery.

He gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He does not take advantage.

He does not accrue interest.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He executes true justice

Between contending parties.

He follows my statutes.

He is careful to observe

My ordinances.

He acts faithfully.

Such a one is righteous.

He will surely live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Ezekiel outlined how the righteous man acts. First, he does what is lawful and right. He does not eat upon the mountains, the places of idol worship. He does not lift up his eyes to these Israelite idols. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He also does not approach a woman during her menstrual cycle. He does not oppress anyone. However, he pays off his loans. He does not rob people. He gives his bread to the hungry people. He clothes the naked. He does not take advantage of anyone. He does not accrue interest. He stays away from iniquity. He executes true justice. He judges between contending parties. He follows the statutes and ordinances faithfully. This righteous one will surely live.

The proclamation of guilt (Lam 3:40-3:42)

Nun

“Let us test

Our ways!

Let us examine

Our ways!

Let us return

To Yahweh!

Let us lift up

Our hearts!

Let us lift up

Our hands To God

In heaven!

We have transgressed!

We have rebelled!

You have not

Forgiven us.”

This author admits his sinfulness. He wanted to examine and test all their ways of doing things. He and his friends wanted to return to Yahweh. Thus everyone should lift up their hearts and hands to the heavenly God. He and his comrades had transgressed and rebelled against Yahweh, their God in heaven. Thus Yahweh had not yet forgiven them. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh is not listening (Jer 11:14-11:14)

“As for you,

Do not pray for this people!

Do not lift up a cry!

Do not lift up a prayer

On their behalf!

I will not listen

When they call to me

In the time of their trouble.”

Yahweh told Jeremiah not to waste his time praying or crying out for these people. He was not to lift up a prayer for them. Yahweh was not going to listen when they called him if they were in trouble.

The hope for Zion (Isa 62:10-62:12)

“Go through!

Go through the gates!

Prepare the way for the people!

Build up!

Build up the highway!

Clear it of stones!

Lift up an ensign

Over the people!

Yahweh has proclaimed

To the ends of the earth.

Say to daughter Zion!

‘See!

Your salvation comes!

His reward is with him!

His recompense is before him.’

They shall be called.

‘The holy people!

The redeemed of Yahweh!’

You shall be called.

‘Sought out!

A city not forsaken.’”

Here we have a summary of all that had proceeded. The Israelites were to go through the gates in order to prepare a way for the others to come. They were to build up the highway and clear it of stones so that it would be a level road to walk on. They were to lift up a symbolic sign over the people. Yahweh has proclaimed to the ends of the earth that his daughter Zion will be saved. Zion was to receive their rewards and compensation. They were to be called the holy people, the people redeemed by Yahweh. They would be a city sought out and not forsaken. Jerusalem would be restored as a shining city on a hill.

The happy reunion (Isa 60:4-60:5)

“Lift up your eyes!

Look around!

They all gather together.

They come to you.

Your sons

Shall come from far away.

Your daughters

Shall be carried on their nurse’s arms.

Then you shall see.

You shall be radiant.

Your heart shall thrill.

Your heart shall rejoice.

Because the abundance of the sea

Shall be brought to you.

The wealth of the nations

Shall come to you.”

Jerusalem should lift up its eyes. They should look around and see all the people coming together. Their sons were coming from far away. Their daughters were being carried by their nurses. There will be rejoicing because of the abundance of the sea and the wealth that they are bringing back to Jerusalem.

The sinful rebellious nation (Isa 58:1-58:2)

“Shout out!

Do not hold back!

Lift up your voice

Like a trumpet!

Announce to my people

Their rebellion!

Announce to the house of Jacob

Their sins!

Yet they seek me daily.

They delight to know my ways,

As if they were a nation

That practiced righteousness,

As if they did not forsake

The ordinance of their God.

They ask of me

Righteous judgments.

They delight to draw near to God.”

Third Isaiah wants the house of Jacob to shout out and not hold back. They should lift up their voices, as if it was like a trumpet. However, the announcement was that they were a sinful rebellious people. They have pretended to act righteously. They profess daily that they delight in God’s ways. Meanwhile, they are a nation that has forsaken the ordinances of God. They want righteous judgments. They say that they want to draw near to God, but they do not follow his laws.