The bad rulers (Mic 3:1-3:3)

“I said.

‘Listen!

You officials

Of Jacob!

You rulers

Of the house of Israel!

Should you not know justice?

You hate the good!

You love the evil!

You tear the skin

Off my people!

You tear the flesh

Off their bones!

You eat the flesh

Of my people!

You flay their skin

Off them!

You break their bones

In pieces!

You chop them up

Like meat in a kettle,

Like flesh in a caldron!’”

Micah has a bitter rebuke concerning the savage behavior of the leaders in Israel and Jacob.  Yahweh, via Micah, used descriptive language to explain what these leaders were doing to their people, treating them like cattle.  Micah wanted them to listen to what he had to say.  They hated the good things, but loved the evil things.  They were skinning the people, tearing off their flesh, and eating them like cannibals.  They were breaking their bones and chopping them up to boil them like meat in a kettle.  This was despicable behavior.

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Daniel was mourning (Dan 10:2-10:3)

“In those days,

I,

Daniel,

Had been mourning

For three weeks.

I had eaten

No rich food.

I had eaten

No meat.

No wine

Had entered

My mouth.

I had not anointed myself

At all,

For the full three weeks.”

Daniel, once again, assumed the first-person singular to talk about this vision.   He had been in mourning for 3 weeks, but there is no indication on why he was mourning. Nevertheless, he had not eaten any rich food or meat. He had not taken any wine. Finally, he had not anointed or cleaned himself for the full 3 weeks.

The response of Yahweh (Ezek 33:25-33:26)

“Therefore,

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You eat flesh

With the blood!

You lift up

Your eyes

To your idols!

You shed blood!

Shall you then

Possess the land?

You depend

On your swords.

You commit

Abominations.

Each of you

Defiles

His neighbor’s wife.

Shall you then

Possess the land?’”

Yahweh, their God, as usual, did not take kindly to anyone questioning him. He told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that they had not behaved well. They had been eating flesh or meat with the blood still in it. They had lifted up their eyes to their own idols. They had shed blood by killing others. How would they then deserve to possess the promised land of Abraham? They had depended on their swords and committed many abominations. Many of them had defiled their neighbor’s wife. How then could they expect to possess the land of Abraham?

The allegory of the boiling pot of meat (Ezek 24:3-24:5)

“Utter an allegory

To the rebellious house!

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Set on the pot!

Set it on!

Pour in water also!

Put in it

The pieces!

Put in it

All the good pieces!

The thigh!

The shoulder!

Fill it

With choice bones!

Take the choicest one

Of the flock!

Pile the logs

Under it!

Boil its pieces!

Seethe also its bones

In it.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to proclaim an allegory to the rebellious house of Jerusalem. However, he was already exiled in Babylon. This allegory was about a boiling pot of meat. Ezekiel was to put water in the pot with good pieces of meat, especially the thigh and shoulder from the best in the flock. He was also to include the choice bones from this animal. Then he was to pile logs under the pot. Finally, he was to let the meat and the bones boil in this pot.

The judgment at the border (Ezek 11:10-11:12)

“You shall fall

By the sword.

I will judge you

At the border of Israel.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.

This city shall not

Be your pot.

You shall not

Be the meat inside it.

I will judge you

At the border of Israel.

Then you shall know

That I am Yahweh.

You have not followed

My statutes.

You have not kept

My ordinances.

But you have acted

According to the ordinances

Of the nations

That are around you.”

Yahweh was going to judge them at the border of Israel. They would die by the sword if they were not captured. They all would know that he was Yahweh, since that was repeated twice in this short section. They would no longer be the meat in the pot in Jerusalem. The judgment at the border was because they had not followed and kept Yahweh’s statutes and ordinances. Instead, they had followed the ordinances of the countries around them. This seems strange but true.

The caretakers of the idol gods (Bar 6:26-6:28)

“Those who serve

These idol gods

Are ashamed.

If any of these gods

Fall to the ground,

They themselves

Must pick them up.

If anyone sets them upright,

These gods

Cannot move themselves.

If they are tipped over,

They cannot straighten themselves.

Gifts are placed

Before them

Just as before the dead.

The priests sell

The sacrifices

That are offered

To these gods.

They use the money themselves.

Their wives likewise

Preserve some of the meat

With salt.

But they give none of it

To the poor

Or the helpless.”

Next this author attacks those who take care of these idol gods. These caretakers were themselves ashamed. If any of these gods fell to the ground, they must pick them up. They have to set these gods upright since they cannot move themselves. If these idols are tipped over, they cannot up right themselves. In other words, there has to be someone around these false idol gods, because if anything happens to them, these caretakers have to straighten things out. Gifts are placed before these images, just like gifts for the dead. However, these caretaker priests often sell the sacrifices that were offered to these gods. Then they would use the money for themselves. Their wives likewise would preserve some of the meat with salt. However, they gave none of it to the poor or the helpless.

Noah (Sir 44:17-44:18)

“Noah was found perfect.

Noah was righteous.

In the time of wrath,

He kept the human race alive.

Therefore a remnant

Was left on the earth

When the flood came.

Everlasting covenants

Were made with him.

Thus all flesh should never again

Be blotted out by a flood.”

Now Sirach praises Noah, a more popular hero today, with his famous ark as in Genesis, chapters 6-10. In fact, there was a feature movie called Noah released in 2014. Noah was found to be perfect as a righteous man. Obviously then he was considered an ideal famous holy man. He kept humans going with the second creation after the flood. Here there is a mention of a remnant, those few who were loyal to God. Noah formed a series of covenants with God that there would never be another flood to blot out humankind. As part of these rainbow agreements, humans would not eat meat with the blood in it. They also should not kill each other. Humans, as the image of God, would then dominate the earth with all its creatures.