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.

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Drought and wild animals in Babylon (Jer 50:38-50:40)

“‘A drought

Against her waters!

Thus they may be dried up!

It is a land of images.

They go mad

Over idols.

Therefore,

Wild animals

Shall live

With hyenas

In Babylon.

Ostriches

Shall inhabit her.

She shall never again

Be inhabited

For all generations.

As when God overthrew

Sodom and

Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

So no one

Shall live there.

No one

Shall settle there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was clear. He was going to make Babylon an abandoned desert. The waters of the land would dry up and leave a drought. It is hard to believe that he meant the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. He wanted their images and idols destroyed.   Thus wild animals, hyenas, and ostriches would live in Babylon. No humans would live or settle in Babylon. It would become like the ancient destroyed cites of Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19, a desolation.

The coming destruction of Babylon (Isa 13:17-13:22)

“See!

I am stirring up the Medes

Against them.

They have no regard for silver.

They do not delight in gold.

Their bows

Will slaughter the young men.

They will have no mercy

On the fruit of the womb.

Their eyes will not pity children.

Babylon,

The glory of kingdoms,

The splendor of the Chaldeans,

The pride of the Chaldeans,

Will be like Sodom and Gomorrah

When God overthrew them.

It will never be inhabited.

No one will live in for all generations.

Arabs wills not pitch their tents there.

Shepherds will not make their flocks

Lie down there.

But wild animals will

Lie down there.

Its houses

Will be full of howling creatures.

Ostriches will live there.

Goat demons will dance there.

Hyenas will cry in its towers.

Jackals will be in the pleasant palaces.

Its time is close at hand.

Its days will not be prolonged.”

Very clearly, this is all about the destruction of the city of Babylon. Yahweh will get the people of Medes, an area northwest of Persia, who don’t care about gold and silver, to come and slaughter the young men and the children of Babylon. The glorious Babylon, the pride of the Chaldeans, who were the southern Babylonians, would become like the people in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapters 18-19. There seems to be a fascination with these 2 biblical towns. After this defeat, the city of Babylon would never be inhabited again. Neither wandering Arabs nor shepherds would go there. Only wild animals and howling creatures, like goats, ostriches, hyenas, and jackals would live there in those great buildings. The time of their destruction was at hand. You would not have to wait a long time.

Yahweh questions Job about ostriches (Job 39:13-39:18)

“The ostrich’s wings flap proudly.

Its pinions lack plumage.

It leaves its eggs to the earth.

It lets them be warmed on the ground.

It forgets that a foot may crush them.

A wild animal may trample them.

It deals cruelly with its young.

It treats them as if they were not its own.

Even though its labor be in vain,

It has no fear.

Because God has made it forget wisdom.

God has given it no share in understanding.

When it spreads its plumes aloft,

It laughs at the horse and its rider.”

Somehow Yahweh wanted Job to know about ostriches. Its wings do not have feathers. It seems to be stupid since it leaves its eggs on the ground for anyone to trample on them. It is kind of cruel to its young. Ostriches seem to lack wisdom and understanding. However, it still laughs at horses and riders. It seems strange that Yahweh should be so interested in ostriches.

Job’s lament (Job 30:24-30:31)

“Surely one does not turn against the needy.

When in disaster they cry for help.

Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

But when I looked for good,

Evil came.

When I waited for light,

Darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil.

They are never still.

Days of affliction come to meet me.

I go about in sunless gloom.

I stand up in the assembly.

I cry for help.

I am a brother of jackals.

I am a companion of ostriches.

My skin turns black.

My skin falls from me.

My bones burn with heat.

My lyre is turned to mourning.

My pipe is turned to the voice of those who weep.”

This is Job’s final summary lament. The so-called patient Job was upset about his situation. Job had tried to help the needy and the poor when they needed help. However, no one heard his cry for help. He was looking for good things, but all he got was evil things. He wanted light and all he got was darkness. His stomach was upset with various afflictions that had come to him. Every day was a cloudy day. He was like a brother to wild dogs and ostriches. His skin was turning black and falling off. His whole body felt like it was burning up. His musical instruments only played mourning and weeping songs. This was the Job who did not like his situation. This was the distressed impatient Job pleading with God.