Oppression (Eccl 5:8-5:9)

“If you see in a province

The oppression of the poor

If you see

The violation of justice,

The violation of rights,

Do not be amazed at the matter.

The high official

Is watched by a higher.

There are yet higher ones

Over them.

But all things considered,

There is an advantage

To a land

To have a king

For a plowed field.”

In a strange sort of remark, Qoheleth says to watch out for oppression. However, he does not seem to ask for any kind of action. If someone is oppressed and there is injustice, just don’t be amazed. Someone is in charge. They have to report to someone else even higher up. It is good to have a bureaucracy. They will take care of things like that. After all, there is an advantage in having a king to rule over cultivated or plowed fields. You can avoid the minor skirmishes that take place.

Oppression (Eccl 4:1-4:3)

“Again I saw all the oppression

That is practiced under the sun.

‘Look!

The tears of the oppressed!

They have no one to comfort them!

On the side of their oppressors

There was power.

There was no one to comfort them.’

I thought that the dead,

Who are already dead,

Are more fortunate

Than the living,

That are still alive.

But better than both

Is the one

Who has not yet been born.

They have not seen

The evil deeds

That are done

Under the sun.”

Qoheleth complained about all the oppression that takes place here on earth under the sun. The oppressed have no one to comfort them. The oppressors have all the power. The dead are more fortunate than those living today. However, even more fortunate are the people not yet born, because they will have a brighter future. The unborn have not seen all the evil that is here under the sun in this world.

Yahweh helped the weak (Ps 107:39-107:43)

“When they are diminished,

When they are brought low,

Through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

He pours contempt upon the princes.

He makes them wander in trackless wastes.

However he raises up the needy out of distress.

He makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it.

They are glad.

All the wickedness keeps its mouth shut.

Let those who are wise,

Give heed to these things.

Let them

Consider the steadfast love of Yahweh.”

This psalm ends with something that looks like it was added on. All of a sudden there are princes that are brought low and diminished with oppression, trouble, and sorrow. Yahweh had contempt for the princes wandering in some waste land. On the other hand, he raised up the needy or the poor out of their distress. He made them fruitful like flocks of birds. The upright, those with a right heart, were glad because wickedness never came out of their mouth. The wise person paid attention to these things. They always remembered the steadfast love of Yahweh.

Care for the poor (Ps 72:12-72:14)

“He delivers

The needy when they call.

He delivers

The poor.

He delivers

Those who have no helper.

He has pity on the weak.

He has pity on the needy.

He saves the lives of the needy.

From oppression and violence

He redeems their life.

Precious is their blood in his sight.”

This ideal king helps the needy when they ask for help. He delivers the poor and those who have no one to help them. He has pity on the weak and the needy. He saves them from oppression and violence as he redeems their lives. Their blood is precious in his sight.

The wicked city (Ps 55:8-55:11)

“‘I would hurry to find a shelter for myself,

From the raging wind and tempest.’

Confuse them!

Yahweh!

Confound their speech!

I see violence and strife in the city.

Day and night they go around it

On its walls.

Iniquity and trouble are within it.

Ruin is in its midst.

Oppression and fraud

Do not depart from its marketplace.”

David wanted to find a shelter for himself in the wilderness that would protect him from the raging wind and stormy rain.  At the same time, he wanted Yahweh to confuse the speech of those in the city.  Like today, he said that there was so much violence and strife in the city.  Does that sound like the good old days?  Violence in the cities has been around for over 2,500 years.  So what is new?  There was iniquity and trouble within the city both day and night, around the walls of the city.  Ruin was coming to them because of the oppression and fraud of their marketplace.  Those old fashioned business men were cheating in the marketplace.  Wow!  That is strange to hear.

Elihu maintains that Job speaks out of ignorance (Job 35:9-35:16)

“Because of the multitude of oppressions

People cry out.

They call for help

Because of the arm of the mighty.

But none says.

‘Where is God my Maker?

Where is one who gives strength in the night?

Where is one who teaches us more than the animals of the earth?

Where is one who makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’

There they cry out,

But he does not answer,

Because of the pride of evildoers.

Surely God does not hear an empty cry.

Nor does the Almighty Shaddai regard it.

How much less when you say

That you do not see him.

The case is before him.

You are waiting for him!

Now because his anger does not punish,

He does not greatly heed transgression.

Job opens his mouth in empty talk.

He multiplies words without knowledge.”

Elihu said that people are always crying out because of oppression. However, God does not hear the empty cry of the evil doer. The almighty God does not hear because of the pride of the evil doer. Job claimed that he was waiting for a reply to the transgressions against him. However, the problem was that of Job since he used empty talk without any knowledge.

Ezra tells the Exodus history of Israel (Neh 9:9-9:15)

“You saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt.

You heard the cry at the Red Sea.

You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,

And all his servants and all the people of his land.

You knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors.

You made a name for yourself,

That remains to this day.

You divided the sea before them.

They passed through the sea on dry land.

You threw their pursuers into the depths,

Like a stone into mighty waters.

You led them by day with a pillar of cloud.

You led them by night with a pillar of fire.

You gave them light on the way in which they should go.

You did come down upon Mount Sinai.

You spoke with them from heaven.

You gave them right ordinances and true laws,

You gave them good statutes and commandments.

You made known your holy Sabbath to them.

You gave them commandments and statutes.

You gave them a law through your servant Moses.

You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger.

You brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst.

You told them to go possess the land that you swore to give them.”

Ezra then told the story of how Yahweh had protected the Israelites from the time of their oppression in Egypt until they took possession of the Promised Land. He heard that cry against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He performed signs and wonders as they crossed the sea without getting wet. He led them through the desert with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. He spoke to them at Mount Sinai. He gave them ordinances, statutes, laws, and commandments. He gave them the Sabbath also through Moses. He fed them with bread and provided water for them. He helped them get to the Promised Land.