Yahweh will be a guard (Zech 9:8-9:8)

“Then I will encamp

At my house

As a guard.

Thus,

No one shall march to and fro.

No oppressor

Shall again overrun them.

Now I see

With my own eyes.”

Yahweh was going to be the guard of his house.  People would not be able to move around or overtake it.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to a visit of Alexander the Great to Jerusalem on some of his exploits.  He obviously spared the city.  Thus, no oppressor would be able to overrun them.  Yahweh was going to see all this with his own eyes.

Sinners will die (Am 9:9-9:10)

“I will command!

I will shake

The house of Israel

Among all the nations,

As one shakes

With a sieve.

But no pebble

Shall fall

To the ground.

All the sinners

Of my people

Shall die

By the sword.

They say.

‘Evil shall not overtake

Or meet us.’”

Yahweh was going to command and shake the house of Israel among all the countries in the world.  He was going to shake them like a sieve.  However, no pebble would fall to the ground.  All the sinners among his people would die by the sword.  Who were these sinners?  These were the ones who said that evil would not overtake or meet them.

The punishment for going to Egypt (Jer 42:15-42:17)

“Then hear

The word of Yahweh!

O remnant of Judah!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘If you are determined

To enter Egypt,

Go settle there!

Then the sword

That you fear

Shall overtake you there,

In the land of Egypt.

The famine

That you dread

Shall follow close after you

Into Egypt.

There you shall die!

All the people

Who have determined

To go to Egypt

To settle there

Shall die

By the sword,

By famine,

By pestilence.

They shall have

No remnant,

No survivor

From the disaster

That I am bringing upon them.’”

Jeremiah repeats the words of Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel. If they are determined to go to Egypt and settle there, they will die there. The famine that they dread so much will overtake them in Egypt. They will die there by any of the 3 famous ways of sword, famine, or pestilence. They will be no survivors there, nobody to carry on their name. Yahweh would bring disaster on them in Egypt.

Yahweh the savior (Isa 43:1-43:3)

“But now thus says Yahweh.

‘He who created you!

O Jacob!

He who formed you!

O Israel!

Do not fear!

I have redeemed you.

I have called you by name.

You are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you.

When you pass through the rivers,

They shall not overwhelm you.

When you walk through fire,

You shall not be burned.

The flame shall not consume you.

For I am Yahweh!

Your God!

The Holy One of Israel!

Your Savior!’”

Here in Second Isaiah, Yahweh speaks directly to the Israelites. He has created and formed them. They are not to be afraid, because Yahweh has redeemed them also. He has also called them by name, Israel and Jacob. They are his. If they pass through waters, he will be with them. If they go through rivers, it will not overtake them. If they are in fire, they will not get burned with a consuming fire. They only have to remember that Yahweh is their God. He is the Holy One of Israel and their savior. Otherwise there is nothing to worry about.

The day of the exaltation of God (Isa 2:9-2:11)

“People are humbled.

Everyone is brought low.

Do not forgive them!

Enter into the rocks

From the terror of Yahweh!

Hide in the dust

From the glory of his majesty!

The haughty eyes of people

Shall be brought low.

The pride of everyone

Shall be humbled.

Yahweh alone

Will be exalted On that day.”

Isaiah warned that there would come a day when Yahweh, the Lord would be exalted. Then on that day the people would be humbled and brought low. Their sins would not be forgiven. They might try to hide behind rocks or in the ground, but the terror of Yahweh would find them. The glory of his majesty would overtake them. The haughty eyes of everyone would be humbled. Only Yahweh would remain alone and exalted.

Relax (Sir 11:10-11:11)

“My child!

Do not busy yourself

With many matters!

If you multiply activities,

You will not be held blameless.

If you pursue,

You will not overtake.

By fleeing,

You will not escape.

There are those

Who work,

Who struggle,

Who hurry,

But they are

So much the more in want.”

Sirach has some advice for those who are busy, relax! Do not be busy with lots of things. If you try to overtake someone, you probably will not. If you try to escape, you probably will not. Just look at those who are working so hard. They are struggling. They are in a hurry. However, if you look at them, they are still needy. Much hard work does not guarantee success.

Wise sayings (Sir 7:1-7:3)

“Do no evil!

Then evil will never overtake you.

Stay away from wrong!

Then it will turn away from you.

My child!

Do not sow in the furrows of injustice!

Then you will not reap a sevenfold crop.”

Sirach then gives a short series of wise sayings. Avoid evil and sin. Then they will not overtake you. Stay away from wrong things. Then they will stay away from you. Do not sow your crops in unjust fields. If you do, there will be no reward for you.