The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

The wonderful Jerusalem princes (Lam 4:7-4:7)

Zayin

“The princes of Jerusalem

Were purer

Than snow.

They were whiter

Than milk.

Their bodies were

More ruddy

Than coral.

Their hair was

Like sapphire.”

This author paints a glowing picture of the princes of Jerusalem. They were purer than snow and whiter than milk. They had a ruddy coral like body. Their hair was like a sapphire jewel. These were good looking dudes. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin in this acrostic poem.

Invitation to the banquet (Isa 55:1-55:2)

“O!

Everyone who thirsts!

Come to the waters!

You that have no money!

Come!

Buy!

Eat!

Come!

Buy wine!

Buy milk!

But without money!

But without a price!

Why do you spend your money

For that which is not bread?

Why do you labor

For that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me!

Eat what is good!

Delight yourselves in rich food!”

This seems to be a concluding hymn of joy. Second Isaiah has an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat without any price on the products. They can have water, wine, and milk. They should save their money for bread. Why are they working at jobs that they do not like? Eat good food, even rich food. Enjoy yourself at this banquet!

The blessings of the Lord (Sir 39:22-39:27)

“His blessing covers the dry land

Like a river.

His blessing drenches it

Like a flood.

But his wrath drives out

The nations.

He has turned a watered land

Into salt.

To the faithful,

His ways are straight.

But they are full of pitfalls

For the wicked.

From the beginning,

Good things were created

For the good.

But for the sinners,

Bad things.

The basic necessities of human life are

Water,

Fire,

Iron,

Salt,

Wheat flour,

Milk,

Honey,

The blood of the grape,

Oil,

And clothing.

All these are good

For the godly.

But for the sinners,

They turn into evils.”

Sirach remarks that the Lord’s blessing is a like a river on dry land or a drenching flood. However, he drives out countries with his wrath, as he has turned watered land into salt. The ways of the faithful are straight, but the wicked have all kinds of obstacles that they fall into. God created the good things, but the sinners get bad things. Then Sirach explained the basic necessities of life. I wonder if we would name all the same stuff. He had water, fire, iron, salt, wheat flour, milk, honey, grapes, oil, and clothing. These were good for the godly but evil for the sinners. In other words, you attitude towards them made them either good or bad.

His response (Song 5:1-5:1)

Male lover

“I come to my garden.

My sister!

My bride!

I gather my myrrh

With my spice.

I eat my honeycomb

With my honey.

I drink my wine

With my milk.

Eat!

Friends!

Be drunk

With love.”

The male lover came to the garden of his bride. He gathered his myrrh and spice. He ate the honey in his honeycomb. He drank milk with wine. That does not sound good. He or someone else asked him and his friends to eat and be drunk with love. Surely this is a love poem.

His love (Song 4:9-4:11)

Male lover

“You have ravished my heart!

My sister!

My bride!

You have ravished my heart

With a glance of your eyes,

With one jewel of your necklace.

How sweet is your love!

My sister!

My bride!

How much better is your love

Than wine!

The fragrance of your oils is better

Than any spice!

Your lips distil nectar!

My bride!

Honey and milk are under your tongue.

The scent of your garments is

Like the scent of Lebanon.”

This male lover than goes into a praise of her wonders. He calls her a bride and a sister. Sister is a term of endearment in Egyptian poetry. Bride is used as an aspiration term, what he wants to happen. She has ravished his heart. She has stolen his heart with her glancing eyes and jeweled necklace. Her love is sweet and better than wine. Her fragrance is better than any spices. Her lips are like fruity nectar. She seems to have milk and honey under her tongue just like the Promised Land was always full of milk and honey. Her garments smelt like Lebanon. I assume that this was a good smell of cedar wood.

Self discipline (Prov 30:32-30:33)

“If you have been foolish,

Exalting yourself,

Put your hand on your mouth.

If you have been devising evil,

Put your hand on your mouth.

Pressing milk produces curds.

Pressing the nose produces blood.

Pressing anger produces strife.”

This numerical interlude ends with a warning about being foolish without self discipline. If you tried to exalt yourself, put a hand to your mouth to stop talking. If you have been devising evil, put a hand to your mouth so that evil does not come out of your mouth. Pressing or suppressing things may have evil consequences. If you press milk you end up with curds. If you press your nose, it will bleed. If you press your anger, it will produce strife.