The importance of Zerubbabel (Hag 2:21-2:23)

“‘Speak to Zerubbabel,

The governor of Judah,

Saying.

‘I am about

To shake the heavens.

I am about

To shake the earth.

I am about

To overthrow

The throne of kingdoms.

I am about

To destroy

The strength

Of the kingdoms

Of the nations.

I am about

To overthrow

The chariots,

With their riders.

The horses,

With their riders,

Shall also fall.

Everyone shall fall

By the sword of a comrade.’

‘On that day,’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will take you,

O Zerubbabel,

My servant,

The son of Shealtiel.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you

Like a signet ring.

I have chosen you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh said that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, would have a special role in the new kingdom of Israel.  Yahweh was going to shake up heaven and earth.  He was going to overthrow all the kingdoms and countries on the earth.  All the chariots, with their riders, as well as the cavalry with their horses would all fall.  Zerubbabel, the servant of Yahweh, would have a signet ring because Yahweh had chosen him.  His grandfather would have been a king as part of the Davidic lineage

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Darius the Mede takes over (Dan 5:31-5:31)

“Darius,

The Mede,

Received

The kingdom.

He was about

Sixty-two years old.”

There is a lot of conjecture about this Darius, the Mede. The Medes joined with the Babylonians to overthrow the Assyrians. They came under Persian power around 550 BCE. Cyrus of Persia was the real power that conquered Babylon in 539 BCE. This Darius appears to be based on Darius I (522-486 BCE), the third Persian Emperor, not a contemporary of Cyrus or Daniel. Nevertheless, this was the end of the great Babylonian empire. Thus, ends the story of the great dinner party that finished in a disaster for the king, because he had dared to drink wine from the sacred vessels of the Jerusalem Temple.

Yahweh consecrates Jeremiah (Jer 1:9-1:10)

“Then Yahweh put out his hand.

He touched my mouth.

Yahweh said to me.

‘Now I have put my words

In your mouth.

See!

Today I appoint you

Over nations.

Today I appoint you

Over kingdoms.

You will pluck up.

You will pull down.

You will destroy.

You will overthrow.

You will build.

You will plant.’”

Yahweh then consecrated Jeremiah by putting out his hand and touching his mouth. He told Jeremiah that he was going to put his words into his mouth. Jeremiah would be over many nations and kingdoms. His task was to pluck up and pull down, destroy, and overthrow. Yet at the same time he was also going to build and plant. Jeremiah had a unique but difficult task as a prophet of God.

Friendly enemies (Sir 12:8-12:12)

“A friend is not known in prosperity.

An enemy is not hidden in adversity.

One’s enemies are friendly

When one prospers.

But in adversity,

Even one’s friends disappear.

Never trust your enemy.

Like corrosion in copper,

So is his wickedness.

Even if he humbles himself,

Even if he walks bowed down,

Watch yourself!

Take care to be on your guard

Against him.

Be to him

Like one who polishes a mirror.

Make sure that

It does not become completely tarnished.

Do not put him next to you.

He may overthrow you.

He may take your place.

Do not let him sit

At your right hand.

Otherwise he may try

To take your own seat.

At last,

You will realize

The truth of my words.

You will be stung

By what I have said.”

You cannot tell who is a friend or an enemy when you have prosperity or adversity. Do not trust your wicked enemy since he is like corrosive copper. Watch out even when he humbles himself before you. Treat him like a mirror that always needs polishing. Do not put him next to you, because he will overthrow you and take your place. Listen to these words of Sirach. You will realize how true they are when you are stung by your enemies.

The Lord’s actions against pride (Sir 10:13-10:18)

“Therefore the Lord brings upon them

Unheard of calamities.

He destroys them completely.

The Lord overthrows

The thrones of rulers.

He enthrones

The lowly in their place.

The Lord plucks up

The roots of the nations.

He plants the humble

In their place.

The Lord lays waste

The lands of the nations.

He destroys them

To the foundations of the earth.

He removes some of them.

He destroys them.

He erases the memory of them

From the earth.

Pride was not created

For human beings.

Violent anger was not

For those born of women.”

There will be consequences for pride because the Lord will act. The prideful ones will have many afflictions and unheard of calamities. The Lord will destroy them completely. He will overthrow the proud rulers and put humble ones in their place. He will root out nations and have humble ones replace them. He will lay waste to the lands of the proud, destroying them to their foundations. He will remove some and destroy others. Their memory will be erased from this earth. Humans were not created for pride or violent anger.

The reprimands (Sir 1:28-1:30)

“Do not disobey the fear of the Lord!

Do not approach him with a divided mind!

Do not be a hypocrite before others!

Keep watch over your lips!

Do not exalt yourself!

Otherwise you may fall.

You may bring dishonor upon yourself.

The Lord will reveal your secrets.

He will overthrow you

Before the whole congregation.

You did not come

In the fear of the Lord.

Your heart was full of deceit.”

Now we have a series of reprimands. You were not to disobey the fear of the Lord. You should not have a divided mind. You should not be hypocrites. You should watch your lips. You should not exalt yourself. If you fall, you bring dishonor to yourself. The Lord would reveal your secrets. He would overthrow you before the whole congregation. If your heart is deceitful, you did not come with the fear of the Lord.

City life (Prov 11:10-11:14)

“When it goes well with the righteous,

The city rejoices.

When the wicked perish

There is jubilation.

By the blessing of the upright,

A city is exalted.

But the city is overthrown

By the mouth of the wicked.

Whoever belittles another

Lacks sense.

But an intelligent person remains silent.

A gossip goes about telling secrets.

But one who is trustworthy in spirit

Keeps a confidence.

Where there is no guidance,

A nation falls.

But in an abundance of counselors

There is safety.”

The city dwellers are happy with the righteous. They rejoice when all goes well with them. However, they are just as happy when the wicked perish. The city dwellers exalt at the blessings of the upright. However, the words of the wicked can overthrow a city. Anyone who belittles another lacks sense because the intelligent person keeps silent. You cannot trust gossips that go about telling secrets because they are not trustworthy. If there is no guidance, a city or country will fall. It is much better when there are many counselors, since they will keep the city or country safe.