The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

Against Kedar (Jer 49:28-49:29)

“Concerning Kedar

With the kingdoms of Hazor

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Defeated.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Rise up!

Advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!

Take their tents!

Take their flocks!

Take their curtains!

Take all their goods!

Carry off their camels

For yourselves!

A cry shall go up.

‘Terror is all around!’”

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.

The terror in Moab (Jer 48:43-48:46)

“‘Terror!

Pit!

Trap!

They are before you!

O inhabitants of Moab!’

Says Yahweh.

‘Everyone

Who flees from the terror

Shall fall into the pit.

Everyone who climbs

Out of the pit

Shall be caught in the trap.

I will bring these things

Upon Moab,

In the year of their punishment.’

Says Yahweh.

In the shadow of Heshbon,

Fugitives stop exhausted.

A fire has gone out

From Heshbon,

A flame from

The house of Sihon.

It has destroyed

The forehead of Moab,

The scalp of the people

Of tumult.

Woe to you!

O Moab!

The people of Chemosh

Have perished.

Your sons

Have been taken captive.

Your daughters

Have been taken into captivity.”

There would be terror to hit Moab, like the terror of the apocalypse judgment day of Isaiah, chapter 24. Terror was all around with pits and snares to catch people. If they fled, they would fall into a pit. Even if they crawled out of the pit, they would be caught in a trap. There was no escape. They tried to flee to Heshbon, the capital of Ammon, the country north of Moab. However, they were surprised to learn that Heshbon was also on fire. This was the capital city of King Sihon, or house of Sihon, dating back to the days of Joshua, chapter 21. The Moabites would have problems with their foreheads and scalps. They would be cursed, and then perish. The people with their god Chemosh would lose their sons and daughters to captivity.

The crying and mourning (Jer 9:17-9:19)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Consider!

Call for the mourning women to come!

Send for the skilful women to come!

Let them quickly raise a dirge over us!

Thus our eyes may run down with tears.

Thus our eyelids flow with water.

A sound of wailing is heard from Zion.

‘How we are ruined!

We are utterly shamed!

We have left the land!

They have cast down our dwellings.’”

Yahweh seems to be calling for professional mourners for the people of Judah and Jerusalem. He wanted these skilful mourning women to recreate a funeral like atmosphere. Thus the others would be encouraged to cry with water and tears running from their eyes. They should wail in Jerusalem about how they were ruined and ashamed. They were going to lose their land and all its dwellings.

The Israelite captives will be set free (Isa 49:24-49:26)

“Can the prey be taken from the mighty?

Can the captives of a tyrant be rescued?

But thus says Yahweh.

‘Even the captives of the mighty

Shall be taken.

The prey of the tyrant

Shall be rescued.

I will contend with those

Who contend with you.

I will save your children.

I will make your oppressors

Eat their own flesh.

They shall be drunk

With their own blood

As with wine.

Then all flesh shall know

That I am Yahweh!

Your Savior!

Your Redeemer!

The Mighty One of Jacob!’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh proclaim that the mighty ones and the tyrants will lose their prey and their captured ones. He was going to take on those who had caused problems for the Israelites. He was going to save their children. In colorful language, he explained what he was going to do to these oppressors. They would eat their own flesh and drink their own blood as if they were drunkards drinking wine. Everyone would then know the great Yahweh with his many titles. He was clearly the savior, the redeemer, and the mighty one of Jacob.

Babylonian false sense of security (Isa 47:8-47:9)

“Now therefore hear this!

You lover of pleasures!

You sit securely!

You say in your heart.

‘I am.

There is no one besides me!

I shall not sit as a widow.

I shall not know the loss of children.’

Both these things shall come upon you!

In a moment!

In one day!

The loss of children,

As well as widowhood,

Shall come upon you

In full measure,

In spite of your many sorceries,

In spite of the great power of your enchantments.”

Yahweh seems to call Babylon a lover of pleasures. As always, there is a call to listen, as if they were not listening. The Babylonians have a false sense of security, since they think that they are like Yahweh, with no one like them. They believe that they will not lose children or become widows. However, Yahweh responded that this is exactly what is going to happen to them, very suddenly and unexpected. They will lose their children despite all their powerful sorcery and enchantment charms.

Prayer of thanksgiving (Isa 38:16-38:20)

“O Lord!

By these things

People live.

In all these is

The life of my spirit.

Restore me to health!

Make me live!

Surely it was for my welfare

That I had great bitterness.

But you held back my life

From the pit of destruction.

You have cast all my sins

Behind your back.

Sheol cannot thank you.

Death cannot praise you.

Those who go down to the pit

Cannot hope for your faithfulness.

The living,

The living,

They thank you,

As I do this day.

The father makes known to the children

Your faithfulness.

Yahweh will save me.

We will sing to stringed instruments

All the days of our lives,

At the house of Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has King Hezekiah happy that his ordeal is over. However, he recognized that these difficulties are part of life. Once restored to health and life, he realizes that these things happened for his own good, even if he was a little bitter. Yahweh had his back, so that he never met the pit of destruction. All his sins were forgotten. Sheol and death were not able to grab him because there he would not have been able to praise or give thanks to Yahweh. There they lose all hope and faithfulness. However, it is the living ones who give praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh, as he did this day. Children learn from their fathers about faithfulness, so too Yahweh has saved him. Thus he and his friends will sing with stringed instruments at the house of Yahweh all the days of their lives.