Caring for the young (Lam 4:3-4:3)

Gimel

“Even the jackals

Offer their breast.

They nurse

Their young.

But my people

Have become cruel,

Like the ostriches

In the wilderness.”

How do you care for the young children and infants? This author points out that even the wild jackals nurse their young infants. However, his people, meaning those left in Jerusalem, have become cruel. They are more like the ostriches in the desert wilderness. Somehow ostriches were considered cruel. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel in this acrostic poem.

Prosperity (Isa 66:12-66:14)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I will extend prosperity to her

Like a river.

The wealth of the nations shall be

Like an overflowing stream.

You shall nurse.

You shall be carried on her arm.

You shall be dandled on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,

So I will comfort you.

You shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

You shall see.

Your heart shall rejoice.

Your bones shall flourish

Like the grass.

It shall be known

That the hand of Yahweh is

With his servants.

His indignation is

Against his enemies.’”

The prophet proclaims that Yahweh, in the first person singular, will bring prosperity to Jerusalem like an overflowing river. Yahweh will nurse and carry them in his arms. He will rock them on his knees, as Yahweh assumes the anthropomorphic feminine role of a nurturing mother. He will be like a comforting mother as he comforts Jerusalem. They will see and rejoice as their bodies flourish like wild grass. Yahweh’s hand is with his servants, but his indignation is against his enemies.

Rejoice with Jerusalem (Isa 66:10-66:11)

“Rejoice with Jerusalem!

Be glad for her!

All you who love her!

Rejoice with her in joy!

All you who mourn over her!

That you may nurse!

That you be satisfied

From her consoling breasts!

Thus you may drink deeply

With delight

From her glorious bosom!”

Everyone was to rejoice with Jerusalem. Everyone who loved her was to be glad for her, even those who mourned for her. They would all nurse and be satisfied from the consoling breasts and glorious bosom of Jerusalem. They would all drink deeply with great delight.