“‘Wicked scoundrels are
Found among my people.
They take over
The goods of others.
They set a trap.
They catch human beings.
Like a cage full of birds,
Their houses are full of treachery.
Therefore they have become great.
They have become rich.
They have grown fat.
They have become sleek.
They know no limits
In their deeds of wickedness.
They do not judge
The cause of the orphans,
To make them prosper.
They do not defend
The rights of the needy.
Shall I not punish them for these things?’
‘Shall I not bring retribution
On a nation such as this?’”
Yahweh, via Jeremiah, justifies his stance against the Israelites. This time he cites the wicked scoundrels in the land among his own people. They actually take the goods of others like robbers. They are like bird trappers, but they set their traps for their fellow humans. They are full of tricks that have made them great, rich, fat, and sleek. They have no limits to their wickedness. When they judge, they judge without justice, especially in the cases of orphans and the needy. Why shouldn’t Yahweh punish them? Why shouldn’t he bring retribution on this whole nation?
“It is the first of the great acts of God.
Only its Maker can approach it with the sword.
The mountains yield food for it.
It is there where all the wild beasts play.
Under the lotus plants it lies.
It lies in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh.
The lotus trees cover it for shade.
The willows of the brook surround it.
Even if the river is turbulent
It is not frightened.
It is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth.
Can one take it with hooks?
Can one pierce its nose with a snare?”
Clearly this monster has limits since it was the work of God. Only God the maker can kill it. It lives in the mountains where all the wild beasts play. It lies under a lotus tree for shade in the reeds, willows, and marshes. Even when the Jordan River is turbulent, it is not worried. No one can catch it with hooks or snares. This sure sounds like a large hippo! It is not clear if there is more than one of these large beasts.
“Who shut in the sea with doors?
When it burst forth from the womb?
When did I make the clouds as a garment?
When did I make thick darkness its swaddling band?
When did I prescribe bounds for it?
When did I set bars and doors?
‘Thus far shall you come!
Here shall your proud waves be stopped.”
Yahweh wanted to know where Job was when he set the limits on the seas. Yahweh had told the water to go no further. Thus the waves stopped at a certain point. What did Job have to do with any of this. The answer was nothing. Clearly the waters of the world had defined limits. To go beyond these limits they needed Yahweh’s approval. Once again this is a static view of the earth’s water system.