The outside occupation of the land (Ezek 7:22-7:24)

“I will avert

My face

From them.

Thus they may profane

My treasured place.

The violent ones

Shall enter it.

They shall profane it.

Make a chain!

The land is

Full of bloody crimes.

The city is

Full of violence.

I will bring

The worst

Of the nations

To take possession

Of their houses.

I will put an end

To the arrogance

Of the strong.  

Their holy places

Shall be profaned.”

Outsiders will occupy Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to turn his face away from the inhabitants of the holy city. Thus these outsiders would profane the treasured places of Jerusalem. Violent wicked people would enter the holy city and desecrate it. The people of Jerusalem would be captured. They would be forced to make a chain, and to be put in chains. The land would be full of bloody crimes. The city would be full of violence. Yahweh was going to bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. Yahweh was going to put an end to the arrogant and strong ones of the city, while their holy places would be profaned.

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The enemies of Jerusalem (Lam 2:16-2:16)

Phe

“All your enemies

Open their mouths

Against you.

They hiss,

They gnash

Their teeth.

They cry.

‘We have devoured her!

O!

This is the day

We longed for!

At last,

We have seen it!’”

Once again, this author portrays the words and attitudes of outsiders, the enemies of Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. They have opened their mouths against Jerusalem. They have hissed and gnashed their teeth. They have proclaimed that they had now devoured Jerusalem. The day that they longed for had arrived as they saw it with their own eyes. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Phe. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The restoration of fortunes (Jer 30:18-30:21)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to restore the fortunes

Of the tents of Jacob.

I have compassion

On their dwellings.

The city shall be rebuilt

Upon its mound.

The citadel shall set on

Its rightful site.

Out of them shall come

Songs of thanksgiving,

With the sound of merrymakers.

I will multiply them.

They shall not be few.

I will make them honored.

They shall not be disdained.

Their children shall be as of old.

Their congregation

Shall be established before me.

I will punish all

Who oppress them.

Their prince

Shall be one of their own.

Their ruler

Shall come from their own midst.

I will make him draw near.

They shall approach me.

Who would otherwise dare

To approach me?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will restore the fortunes of the Israelites, the tents of Jacob. He was going to have compassion on their buildings and their cities. Thus, they would rebuild over the original rubble, which was the custom at that time. Then they would be able to come with songs of thanksgiving and voices of merrymakers. The Israelites would flourish. They would become numerous and honored, not disdained. Their children would be like in the good old days. Their congregation would hold Yahweh as special. Thus, anyone who oppressed them, Yahweh would punish. They would have their own princes and rulers from their own groups, not outsiders or foreigners telling them what to do. They would be near and approach Yahweh. Let the good times roll!

The revolt against Aaron (Sir 45:18-45:22)

“Outsiders conspired against Aaron.

They envied him in the wilderness.

There was Dathan with his followers.

There was Abiram with his followers.

There was the company of Korah.

They were filled with wrath and anger.

The Lord saw it.

He was not pleased.

In the heat of his anger

They were destroyed.

He performed wonders against them.

He consumed them in a flaming fire.

He added glory to Aaron.

He gave him a heritage.

He allotted to him

The best of the first fruits.

He prepared bread of first fruits

In abundance.

They eat the sacrifices of the Lord.

He gave it to him

And his descendants.

But in the land of the people

He has no inheritance.

He has no portion

Among the people.

The Lord himself

Is his portion

The Lord himself

Is his inheritance.”

In this section Sirach is relying on Numbers, chapter 16, about a revolt of some Levi tribe members, particularly Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram from the tribe of Reuben. It was not clear why Sirach called them outsiders since there were about 250 of those Israelites in the desert who actually revolted against Moses and Aaron. This uprising was put down, when Moses called for an incense face-off. Then Yahweh made the ground catch fire and split up so that this fire swallowed up these trouble makers. Aaron was then given more glory. This is why he and his descendants receive the best of the first fruits of the harvest. However, the Levites were not given any territory in the new Promise Land like the other tribes. Their portion was the Lord himself. That was their inheritance. Once again, this was an attempt to explain the situation of the later Levitical priests.

Jacob goes to Egypt (Ps 105:23-10:25)

“Then Israel came to Egypt.

Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.

Yahweh made his people very fruitful.

He made them stronger than their foes.

He turned their hearts to hate his people.

Thus they dealt cunningly with his servants.”

Once again, this is a condensed version of the story in Genesis, chapters 46-47. Israel or Jacob came to Ham, because Ham supposedly settled in Egypt, at the request of Joseph, who had an important position in the Egyptian government. Then the sons of Jacob or the Israelites, as they came to be called, were very fruitful in Egypt. They grew stronger but the hearts of the Egyptians turned to hate them. They began to treat them cunningly. They became a treath to the immigrant Israelites since the Egyptians considered them as outsiders.