The portion for the prince (Ezek 45:7-45:8)

“To the prince

Shall belong

The land

On both sides

Of the holy district.

This shall be

Alongside

The property of the city,

Both on the west side

As well as on the east side.

This shall correspond

In length

To one of the tribal portions,

Extending from the western

To the eastern boundary

Of the land.

It is to be

His property

In Israel.

My princes shall

No longer oppress

My people.

But they shall

Let the house of Israel

Have the land

According to their tribes.”

The prince would no longer have a close proximity to the Temple. However, he would have the land on both sides of the holy district, on the east and west side. This prince would get the equivalent in land as much as a tribal portion. This new prince would no longer oppress Yahweh’s people. The rest of the tribes of Israel would also have their land according to their tribes.

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The righteous man (Ezek 18:5-18:9)

“If a man is righteous,

He does what is lawful.

He does what is right.

He does not eat

Upon the mountains,

He does not lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not defile

His neighbor’s wife.

He does not approach a woman

During her menstrual cycle.

He does not oppress anyone.

But he restores

To the debtor

His pledge.

He commits no robbery.

He gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He does not take advantage.

He does not accrue interest.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He executes true justice

Between contending parties.

He follows my statutes.

He is careful to observe

My ordinances.

He acts faithfully.

Such a one is righteous.

He will surely live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Ezekiel outlined how the righteous man acts. First, he does what is lawful and right. He does not eat upon the mountains, the places of idol worship. He does not lift up his eyes to these Israelite idols. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He also does not approach a woman during her menstrual cycle. He does not oppress anyone. However, he pays off his loans. He does not rob people. He gives his bread to the hungry people. He clothes the naked. He does not take advantage of anyone. He does not accrue interest. He stays away from iniquity. He executes true justice. He judges between contending parties. He follows the statutes and ordinances faithfully. This righteous one will surely live.

Amend your ways (Jer 7:5-7:7)

“If you truly amend your ways,

If you truly amend your doings,

If you truly execute justice,

One with another,

If you do not oppress the alien,

If you do not oppress the orphan,

If you do not oppress the widow,

If you do not shed innocent blood

In this place,

If you do not go after other gods

To your own hurt,

Then I will dwell

With you

In this place,

In the land that I gave of old

To your ancestors forever.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will dwell with them if they amend their ways. This was very conditional. It depended on them being just with one another. They were not to oppress the aliens, the orphans, and the widows. They were not to shed innocent blood. They were not to go after others gods. If they did all this, Yahweh would remain with them forever in this land that he gave to their ancestors.

The motivation for fasting (Isa 58:3-58:5)

“Why do we fast?

You do not see it.

Why humble ourselves?

You do not notice it.

Look!

You serve your own interest

On your fast day.

You oppress all your workers.

Look!

You fast only to quarrel!

You fast only to fight!

You fast to strike with a wicked fist.

Such is the fasting

That you do today.

It will not make your voice

Heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose?

Is this a day to humble oneself?

Is it to bow down the head

Like a bulrush?

Is it to lie in sackcloth?

Is it to lie in ashes?

Will you call this a fast?

Will you call this

A day acceptable to Yahweh?”

Third Isaiah points out the hypocrisy of those who are fasting. Why are they fasting? God does not seem to notice them since they serve their own interests when they are fasting. While fasting, they oppress their workers, quarrel with others, and fight with strong fists. What kind of fast is that? This kind of fasting will get them nowhere. How will they be able to make their voice heard on high with these actions? They are not humble with this kind of fasting. Are they like a bulrush marsh plant? What about sackcloth and ashes? How can they call this acceptable to the Lord? This is a strong condemnation of useless unmotivated fasting.

Anarchy at Jerusalem (Isa 3:4-3:8)

“I will make boys

Their princes.

Babes shall rule

Over them.

The people will be oppressed.

Everyone will oppress another person.

Everyone will oppress his neighbor.

The youth will be insolent

To the elders.

The base fellows will be insolent

To the honorable ones.

Someone will even seize a relative,

A member of their clan.

Saying.

‘You have a cloak.

You shall be our leader.

This heap of ruins

Shall be under your rule.’

But the other will cry out.

Saying.

‘I will not be a healer.

In my house,

There is

Neither bread

Nor cloak.

You shall not make me

Leader of the people.’

Jerusalem has stumbled.

Judah has fallen.

Because their speech was

Against Yahweh.

Their deeds were

Against Yahweh.

They defied his glorious presence.”

Jerusalem will become a place of anarchy. Boys will be princes. Babies will be rulers. Everyone will oppress their neighbors with violence and civil unrest. The young people will not listen to their elders. Low life people will be insolent to the honorable ones. They will try to make leaders from their own clans. However, no one will want to be a leader because they do not have anything to eat or wear. Jerusalem has stumbled.  Judah has fallen. This is obviously the time of the Exile. All this has happened because their speech and deeds were against Yahweh. They defied his glorious presence among them.

Wicked actions (Wis 2:10-2:11)

“Let us oppress the righteous poor man!

Let us not spare the widow!

Let us not regard the gray hairs of the aged!

But let our might be our law of right!

What is weak proves itself to be useless.”

Unlike Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes, this author believed that the impious would do wicked deeds. These impious ones wanted to oppress the righteous poor people (πένητα δίκαιον), take advantage of the widows (χήρας), and not respect the aged (πρεσβύτου) with their gray hair. For them, might and strength was only the law (νόμος) to prove who was right. The weak were useless. Only the strong survive.

Just ruler (Prov 28:2-28:5)

“When a land rebels

It has many rulers.

But with an intelligent ruler

There is lasting order.

A ruler who oppresses the poor

Is like a beating rain that leaves no food.

Those who forsake the law

Praise the wicked.

But those who keep the law

Struggle against them.

The evil people

Do not understand justice.

But those who seek Yahweh

Understand it completely.”

The problem with a revolution is that that there are too many leaders and no one ruler. An intelligent ruler will bring lasting order. If you oppress the poor people, you are like a heavy torrential rain that destroys crops. Anyone who forsakes the law praises the wicked ones. Those who keep the law struggle against them. The evil people do not understand justice, while the Yahweh seekers completely understand the law.