The spoils of plunder (Ezek 38:13-38:13)

“Sheba,

Dedan,

The merchants of Tarshish,

With all its young warriors,

Will say to you.

‘Have you come

To seize spoil?

Have you assembled

Your troops

To carry off plunder?

Do you want

To carry away

Silver,

Gold,

Cattle,

With other goods?

Do you want

To seize

Great spoil?’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, now suddenly has the trading partners of Tyre from Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish, as found in chapter 27, show up in here. They realized that there would be a lot of things to plunder in Israel and Jerusalem. Tarshish had both merchants and warriors to gather up things. They wanted to know if Gog was there to plunder Israel? Would he take away its silver, gold, cattle, and other precious items? Would there be a great amount of stuff to take?

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The coastland towns are upset (Ezek 27:33-27:36)

“When your wares

Came from the seas,

You satisfied

Many people.

You enriched

The kings of the earth

With your abundant wealth,

With your merchandise.

Now you are wrecked

By the seas,

In the depths

Of the waters.

Your merchandise,

With all your crew,

Have sunk with you.

All the inhabitants

Of the coastlands

Are appalled at you.

Their kings

Are horribly afraid.

Their faces

Are convulsed.

The merchants

Among the people

Hiss at you.

You have come

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more

Forever.”

Many people benefited from the various goods that Tyre brought from the different towns on the Mediterranean Sea. Their wealth and merchandise enriched many kings. Now they have been wrecked by the deep sea. Both the merchandise and the crew are gone. Now all the inhabitants of the coastland towns were appalled at Tyre. In fact, their kings were horribly afraid as their faces convulsed. The merchants from these towns now hissed at the name of Tyre because they had come to a dreadful end. Tyre would not exist anymore.

Things not to ashamed of (Sir 42:1-42:8)

“You should not be ashamed of the following things.

Do not sin to save face!

Do not be ashamed of the law of the Most High!

Do not be ashamed of his covenant!

Do not be ashamed of rendering judgment to acquit the ungodly!

Do not be ashamed of keeping accounts with a partner!

Do not be ashamed of keeping accounts with traveling companions!

Do not be ashamed of dividing the inheritance of friends!

Do not be ashamed of accuracy with scales!

Do not be ashamed of accuracy with weights!

Do not be ashamed of acquiring much!

Do not be ashamed of acquiring little!

Do not be ashamed of profit from dealing with merchants!

Do not be ashamed of frequent disciplining of children!

Do not be ashamed of drawing blood

From the back of a wicked servant!

Where there is an untrustworthy wife,

A seal is a good thing.

Where there are many hands,

Lock things up!

When you make a deposit,

Be sure it is counted!

Be sure it is weighed!

When you give put it all in a written record!

When you receive put it all in a written record!

Do not be ashamed to instruct the stupid!

Do not be ashamed to instruct the foolish!

Do not be ashamed to instruct the aged

Who are guilty of sexual immorality!

Then you will show your sound training.

You will be approved by all.”

Here Sirach points out the things that you should not be ashamed to do. However, in this listing, he shows his prejudice against strangers, slaves, women, and children. He has kind but cautious words for commerce and profit. You should not sin to save face. Obviously, you should not be ashamed of the law of the Most High God and his covenant. You should render judgment against the ungodly. You can keep accounts with your partners and traveling companions. You can divide the inheritance of your friends. You should not be ashamed of your balanced scales or making money with merchants. You should not be afraid to discipline your children, your wicked slaves, and your untrustworthy wife. Be careful when many people are around. When you make a deposit, make sure that everything is counted and weighed. Keep a written record of your dealings. Do not be ashamed to correct the stupid, foolish, or the immoral old guys. Thus you will show your good training. You will get approval from everyone.

Hard working wife (Prov 31:24-31:25)

Samek

“She makes linen garments.

She sells them.

She supplies the merchants with sashes.

Ain

Strength and dignity are her clothing.

She laughs at the time to come.”

Not only does this good wife make fine linen garments for herself, she also sells these sashes to the various merchants. Because she has such strength and dignity, she is not afraid of the future. She can laugh about things to come.

The flight of Nicanor (2 Macc 8:34-8:36)

“The thrice-accursed Nicanor had brought one thousand merchants to buy the Jews. He was now humbled with the help of the Lord by opponents whom he regarded as of the least account. He took off his splendid uniform. He made his way alone like a runaway slave across the country until he reached Antioch. He had succeeded chiefly in the destruction of his own army! Thus he who had undertaken to secure tribute for the Romans by the capture of the people of Jerusalem proclaimed that the Jews had a Defender. Therefore the Jews were invulnerable, because they followed the laws ordained by him.”

Nicanor comes in for a heavy dismissal since he was cursed 3 times. He was the one who brought 1,000 merchants to buy the Jews for slavery. He was humbled by his opponents with the help of the Lord. However, he took off his wonderful uniform, and fled across the countryside like a runaway slave until he reached Antioch. His only success was that he had destroyed his own army. He now claimed that the Jews were invulnerable as long as they followed the laws of their almighty defender. Nicanor will appear again later in this book.

Close the gates during the Sabbath (Neh 13:19-13:22)

“When it began to be dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut. I gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. I set some of my servants over the gates to prevent any burden from being brought in on the Sabbath day. Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem, once or twice. But I warned them. I said to them.

‘Why do you spend the night in front of the wall?

If you do so again I will lay hands on you.’

From that time on, they did not come on the Sabbath. I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves. They should come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy.

‘Remember this

Also in my favor,

O my God,

Spare me

According to the greatness of thy steadfast love.’”

Apparently Nehemiah must have some royal authority. He ordered that the gates of the city be closed during the Sabbath, from the sunset of Friday to the sunset on Saturday. He even put guards on the gates. The merchants stayed outside the gates in the hopes that they could conduct business just outside the gates. He scared off the merchants by saying that he was going to lay hands on them. He then commanded the Levites to stand guard at the gates during the Sabbath to keep it holy. Then he once again uttered a prayer to God to spare him out of his great love.