The terrible situation in the land (Hos 4:2-4:3)

“There is swearing.

There is lying.

There is murder.

There is stealing.

Adultery breaks out.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore,

The land mourns.

All who live in it

Languish.

The wild animals,

Together with

The birds of the air,

Even the fish of the sea,

Are perishing.”

Hosea explained how bad the situation was in Israel. First, the place was full of sin with swearing, lying, murder, and stealing. Adultery was all over the place, with bloodshed everywhere. Thus, the land and its people mourned. Everyone who lived there was languishing. The wild animals, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea were perishing or dying. Death was in the air.

The death of the two elders (Dan 13:60-13:62)

“Then the whole assembly

Raised a great shout.

They blessed God,

Who saves those

Who hope in him.

They took action

Against the two elders.

Out of their own mouths,

Daniel had convicted them

Of bearing false witness.

They did to them

As they had wickedly planned

To do to their neighbor.

Acting in accordance

With the law of Moses,

They put them to death.

Thus,

Innocent blood

Was spared

That day.”

The whole assembly of the Israelites at Joakim and Susanna’s house raised a great shout to bless God who always saved those who hoped in him. Then, they took action against these two elders. Their own words, about the two different trees for the intimate embrace, had convicted them of lying and bearing false witness against their neighbor. Thus, according to the Law of Moses, they were to be put to death. In the meantime, the innocent blood of Susanna had been saved on that day.

The king insists that they should know the dream (Dan 2:8-2:9)

“The king answered.

‘I know with certainty

That you are trying

To gain time.

You see

That I have firmly

Decreed it.

If you do not

Tell me the dream

There is but one verdict

For you.

You have agreed

To speak lying words

To me.

You have agreed

To speak misleading words

To me,

Until things take a turn.

Therefore,

Tell me the dream!

Then I shall know

That you can give me

Its interpretation.’”

The king would not budge. He responded to the Chaldeans that they were only trying to gain time. They had to tell him the dream first. Otherwise, they might come up with some lying and misleading words. He wanted them to tell him his dream or else they would die. Then, after they explained the dream, he might be willing to accept their interpretation.

The fall of the tall cedar tree (Ezek 31:10-31:12)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The cedar tree

Towered high.

It set its top

Among the clouds.

Its heart

Was proud

Of its height.

I will give it

Into the hand

Of the prince

Of the nations.

He has dealt

With it,

As its wickedness deserves.

I have cast it out.

Foreigners,

From the most terrible

Of the nations,

Have cut it down.

They have left it.

Its branches

Have fallen

On the mountains.

In all the valleys.

Its boughs

Lie broken

In all the watercourses

Of the land.

All the people

Of the earth

Went away

From its shade.

They left it.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that this great cedar tree towered high, with its tree top in the clouds. This tree was proud in its heart of its height. Yahweh gave it to the prince of the nations, probably the king of Babylon, who dealt with it because of its wickedness. Yahweh was going to cast it out. Foreigners from the worst nations came and cut it down. They left it lying on the mountains and in the valleys. The fallen broken branches were on the ground and in small streams of water. Everybody went away from its shade, as they left this fallen tree alone.

The false visions (Ezek 13:5-13:7)

“‘You have not gone up

Into the breaches.

You have not

Repaired a wall

For the house of Israel.

Thus it might stand

In battle

On the day

Of Yahweh.

They have envisioned

Falsehood

With lying divinations.

They say.

‘Says Yahweh,’

When Yahweh

Has not sent them.

Yet they wait

For the fulfillment

Of their word.

Have you not seen

A false vision?

Have you not uttered

A lying divination?

You have said.

‘Says Yahweh,’

Even though,

I did not speak.’”

Once again, Yahweh showed a strong opposition to these false prophets who had not repaired any of the walls for the house of Israel. They had not helped Israel prepare for a battle. These prophets have issued false prophetic “so called” divine words. They claimed that they were speaking oracles in the name of Yahweh, when Yahweh had not sent them. They waited for responses from these false visions. They kept lying by saying that Yahweh said this or that, even though Yahweh had not spoken to them.

The four wheels (Ezek 10:9-10:13)

“I looked.

There were four wheels

Beside the cherubim.

One beside each cherub.

The appearance of the wheels

Was like gleaming beryl.

As for their appearance,

The four looked alike.

They were something

Like a wheel

Within a wheel.

When they moved,

They moved

In any

Of the four directions

Without veering

As they moved.

But in whatever direction,

The front wheel faced,

The others followed

Without veering

As they moved.

Their entire body,

Their rims,

Their spokes,

Their wings,

The wheels

Were full

Of eyes all around.

The wheels

Of the four of them

Were called,

In my hearing.

‘The wheelwork.’”

This seems to be a description just like in chapter 1 of this work. Ezekiel explained that he saw four wheels beside the cherubim, but they were not lying on the earth as in chapter 1. These wheels appeared like gleaming beryl, some kind of emerald or aquamarine crystals. All the four wheels looked the same, as they seemed to be like wheels within wheels. They could move in any direction without veering away as they moved. They had awesome rims with eyes or spokes, as if they were an all seeing God. However, here they are given a specific name the ‘wheelwork.’

Yahweh causes the death of many in Jerusalem (Lam 2:21-2:21)

Shin

“The young

With the old

Are lying

On the ground

In the streets.

My young women

With my young men

Have fallen

By the sword.

In the day

Of your anger,

You have killed them,

Slaughtering

Without mercy.”

Suddenly, the author switches to the first person singular as Jerusalem itself laments the death of its people. Both the young and the old people were lying in the streets dead. Both the young men and the young women were killed by the sword. Now this author, speaking as Jerusalem, blames all of this on Yahweh. He claimed with a very strong accusation that on the day of his anger, Yahweh killed and slaughtered the people of Jerusalem without mercy. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

They refuse to accept the words of Jeremiah (Jer 43:1-43:3)

“Thus Jeremiah finished speaking

To all the people

All these words

Of Yahweh their God,

With which Yahweh their God

Had sent him to them.

Then Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the other insolent men,

Said to Jeremiah.

‘You are telling a lie.

Yahweh our God

Did not send you

To say.

‘Do not go to Egypt

To settle there!’

But Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Is inciting you

Against us.

He wants to hand us over

To the Chaldeans.

Thus they may kill us.

Or they may take us

Into exile in Babylon.’”

During the 10 days that Jeremiah waited for Yahweh, there must have been a change of heart in the camp. Some people think that this section should have been in the preceding chapter. This chapter equivalent in the Greek Septuagint is chapter 50, not chapter 43 as here. So once that Jeremiah had finished speaking the words that Yahweh, their God, gave him, both the leaders of this insolent remnant group, Azariah and Johanan, called into question Jeremiah’s veracity. They said that Jeremiah was lying. Yahweh did not say to him that they should not settle in Egypt. It must have been his secretary Baruch who incited Jeremiah against the main group. They said that Baruch wanted them to be captured or killed by the Chaldeans, if they stayed in this Judean territory. They might he sent into captivity in Babylon, if they were caught there. Basically, it was a fight between the interests of Egypt versus the interests of Babylon.

Do not listen to the false prophets (Jer 27:14-27:15)

“‘Do not listen

To the words

Of the prophets

Who are telling you

Not to serve

The king of Babylon.

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

I have not sent them.’

Says Yahweh.

‘But they are prophesying falsely

In my name.

The result is

That I will drive you out.

You will perish,

You,

With the prophets

Who are prophesying to you.’”

Once again, Yahweh repeats his warning about the false prophets. Anyone who is telling them not to serve the king of Babylon is lying. The king of Judah and his people were not to listen to these false prophets and their prophecies because Yahweh had not sent them. If they listen to these lying prophets, then Yahweh will drive them out. They will perish along with these false prophets.

Do not listen to false predictions (Jer 27:9-27:11)

“‘Therefore

You must not listen

To your prophets,

To your diviners,

To your dreamers,

To your soothsayers,

To your sorcerers.

If they are saying to you.

‘You shall not serve

The king of Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

The result will be

That you will be removed

Far from your land.

I will drive you out.

You will perish. But any nation

That will bring its neck

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

Thus serve him,

I will leave on its own land.

They will till it.

They will live there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has an oracle of Yahweh about the false prophets who are telling the people not to obey the king of Babylon. Whether it is a prophet, a diviner, a dreamer, a soothsayer, or a sorcerer, who tell them not to serve the king of Babylon, they are prophesying lies. If they listened to these liars, Yahweh was going to drive them out of their land, so that they would perish. However, if any country was to put on the yoke of Babylon and serve its king, Yahweh was going to let them stay on their own land, live there, and till the soil. There is no doubt that Yahweh was on the side of the King of Babylon, as presented here.