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.

Take off the crown (Ezek 21:25-21:27)

“As for you!

Vile!

Wicked prince

Of Israel!

Your day has come!

The time

Of final punishment!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Remove the turban!

Take off the crown!

Things shall not remain

As they are!

Exalt

That which is low!

Abase

That which is high!

A ruin!

A ruin!

A ruin!

I will make it!

Such has never occurred!

Until he comes

Whose right it is.

To him

I will give it.’”

Yahweh then turned to the wicked vile prince of Jerusalem. The day had come for the time of his final punishment. The king of Judah was going to remove his turban and take off his crown. Things were about to change. The lowly would be exalted, while the high people would be put to shame. Everything would be ruined. It would be like it never was or will be again until the right one comes along.

Pride (Prov 16:18-16:21)

“Pride goes before destruction.

A haughty spirit happens before a fall.

It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Among the poor

Than to divide the spoil

With the proud.

Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper.

Happy are those who trust in Yahweh.

The wise of heart are called perceptive.

Pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.”

Being proud was not a good idea since it led to destruction. A haughty or proud spirit usually came before someone stumbled or fell. It is much better to be a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide up the spoils of victory with the proud people. If you are attentive to small matters you will prosper. If you trust in Yahweh, you will be happy. The wise ones are called perceptive. Pleasant speech will make it easier to be persuasive.

A hymn of praise to Yahweh (Ps 138:4-138:6)

“All the kings of the earth shall praise you!

Yahweh!

They have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of Yahweh.

Great is the glory of Yahweh.

Even though Yahweh is high,

He regards the lowly.

However he perceives the haughty

From far away.”

All the kings on earth should praise Yahweh. They have heard Yahweh’s words. Therefore they should sing about the ways of Yahweh. Yahweh’s glory is great. Despite his high position, he still regards the lowly. On the other hand, he perceives the haughty or proud of this world from far away.

Help the weak and needy (Ps 82:3-82:4)

“Give justice to the weak.

Give justice to the orphan.

Maintain the right of the lowly.

Maintain the right of the destitute.

Rescue the weak.

Rescue the needy.

Deliver them

From the hand of the wicked.”

The Temple prophet or priest spoke for God, saying that they should give justice to the weak and the orphans, a common theme in Israel. They had to maintain the lowly and the destitute. They had to rescue the weak and the needy from the hands of the wicked, which seemed to take advantage of them.

Asking Yahweh to help (Ps 79:8-79:10)

“Do not remember against us

The iniquities of our ancestors.

Let your compassion come speedily to meet us.

We are brought very low.

Help us!

O God of our salvation!

For the glory of your name!

Deliver us!

Forgive our sins!

For your name’s sake!

Why should the nations say?

‘Where is their God?’

Let the avenging of the outpoured blood

Of your servants

Be known among the nations

Before our eyes!”

Their ancestor’s iniquities should not cause a problem today. God should not remember them, rather he should have compassion on the present day lowly Israelites. The glory of God’s name should deliver them. Their sins should be forgiven for God’s name. Why should the nations say that their God is gone? He should avenge the outpoured blood on the other nations, right before their eyes.

Eliphaz has confidence in an almighty God (Job 5:8-5:16)

“As for me,

I would seek God.

I would commit my cause to God.

He does great things.

He does unsearchable marvelous things without number.

He gives rain upon the earth.

He sends waters upon the fields.

He sets on high those who are lowly.

Those who mourn are lifted to safety.

He frustrates the devices of the crafty.

Thus their hands achieve no success.

He takes the wise in their own craftiness.

The schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

They meet with darkness in the daytime.

They grope at noonday as in the night.

He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth.

He saves the needy from the hand of the mighty.

Thus the poor have hope.

Injustice shuts its mouth.”

Eliphaz explained his belief about God. This is a universalistic God, not the God of Israel, Yahweh. This indicates the time of the captivity when the God of the universe became prominent among the Israelites in the 6th century BCE. This is a God who does great marvelous innumerable deeds. The classic concept of God had him bring rain to the fields. He also helped those who were lowly and mourning. However, he also frustrated the crafty, the wise, and the wily. They meet with darkness during the day. He also saved the needy, gave hope to the poor, and did away with injustice. Thus this is a powerful God who controls the life of men here on earth. This God gives hope to the poor and those who are suffering injustice.