The shame of Samaria (Hos 10:5-10:6)

“The inhabitants of Samaria

Tremble

Before the calf of Beth-aven.

Its people shall mourn

For it.

Its idolatrous priests

Shall wail over it.

Its glory

Has departed from it.

The thing itself

Shall be carried

To Assyria,

As tribute

To the great king.

Ephraim

Shall be put to shame.

Israel

Shall be ashamed

Of his idol.”

Hosea said that the people of Samaria would tremble before the idol calf at Beth-aven, the house of wickedness, that was close to Ai and Bethel. Maybe it was Bethel itself. However, the people and its priests would mourn for the soon to be departed glorious calf. What happened to it? Assyrians would take it as a tribute to their great king. Thus, Ephraim and Israel would be ashamed of this lost idol.

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No children for Ephraim (Hos 9:11-9:14)

“Ephraim’s glory

Shall fly away,

Like a bird.

There will be

No birth,

No pregnancy,

No conception!

Even if they bring up children,

I will bereave them

Until no one is left.

Woe to them indeed!

I will depart from them!

Once I saw Ephraim

As a young palm

Planted in a lovely meadow.

But now Ephraim

Must lead out

His children for slaughter.

Give them!

O Yahweh!

What will you give them?

Give them

A miscarrying womb,

With dry breasts.”

Ephraim was singled out, since it was where the capital of northern Israel was. Their glory would simply fly away like a bird. There would be no more births, pregnancies, or even conceptions in Ephraim. If they would bring up children, they would mourn for them, until no one was left. Yahweh was going to leave Ephraim. They would be cursed and on their own. Thus, this young palm tree in a lovely meadow would cease to grow. Ephraim would lead out its children for slaughter. What should you give the people of Ephraim? Yahweh, in very descriptive language, was going to give them miscarrying wombs and dry breasts. No more children for Ephraim.

Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

The restoration in Israel (Ezek 36:9-36:12)

“See now,

I am for you.

I will turn to you.

You shall be tilled.

You shall be sown.

I will multiply

Your population,

The whole house

Of Israel,

All of it.

The towns

Shall be inhabited.

The waste places

Rebuilt.

I will multiply

Human beings,

As well as animals

Among you.

They shall increase.

They shall be fruitful.

I will cause you

To be inhabited,

As in your former times.

I will do more good

To you

Than ever before.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.

I will lead people

Upon you,

My people Israel.

They shall possess you.

You shall be

Their inheritance.

No longer shall you

Bereave their children.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the mountains of Israel that he was for them. He was going to turn their land into a place that was tilled and sown with crops. He was going to multiply the population of the whole house of Israel. The towns would be inhabited and the ruined places rebuilt. Humans and animals would multiply, as the land would be occupied again. Yahweh was going to do more good than ever before. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. There would be new leaders in this inherited land, so that they would no longer mourn for their lost children. His land and his people would be reunited again.

The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.

Yahweh tells Ezekiel how to act after his wife’s death (Ezek 24:15-24:17)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

With one blow

I am about

To take away

The delight of your eyes.

Yet you shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

Your tears shall not run down!

Sigh!

But not aloud!

Make no mourning

For the dead!

Bind on your turban!

Put your sandals

On your feet!

Do not cover

Your upper lip!

Do not nor eat

The bread of mourners!’”

Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, as usual. However, this time he had some bad news for Ezekiel. His wife, the delight of his eyes, was going to die. However, instead of the usual mourning, Yahweh told him not to mourn for his wife. He was not to weep or show any tears. He could sigh, but only in private. There would be no public mourning for his dead wife. He was to put on his turban hat and foot sandals as usual. He was not to cover his upper lip or eat the mourner’s bread. This mourner’s bread must have been some special bread for funerals. In fact, in a small town in South Dakota, a church always serves funeral potatoes, cheesy potatoes, after the funeral burial service. Ezekiel was to suffer the loss of his wife in silence, without any of the usual customary mourning ceremonies.

The distress of everybody (Ezek 7:25-7:27)

“When anguish comes,

They will seek peace.

But there shall be none.

Disaster comes

Upon disaster.

Rumor follows

Rumor.

They shall keep

Seeking a vision

From the prophet.

Instruction shall perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall fail

From the elders.

The king mourns.

The prince shall be

Wrapped in despair.

The hands

Of the people

Of the land

Shall tremble.

According to their way,

I will deal with them.

According to their own judgments

I will judge them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh concluded this oracle or vision to Ezekiel. In these times of trouble, they would seek peace, but there would be none. Disaster would come upon disaster. Rumor would follow rumor. They would keep looking for a vision from their prophets, but none would come. The priests would fail to instruct them. Counsel from the elders would fail. The king would mourn. The princes would be in despair. The hands of the land people would tremble. According to their ways, Yahweh would deal with them. According to their own judgments, Yahweh would judge them. They would know that Yahweh God was in charge. He was Yahweh.