Against Edom (Mal 1:3-1:5)

“‘But I have hated Esau.

I have made

His hill country

A desolation.

I have made

His heritage

A desert for jackals.’

If Edom says.

‘We are shattered,

But we will rebuild the ruins.’

Yahweh of hosts says.

‘They may build,

But I will tear down,

Until they are called

The wicked country.

Yahweh is angry forever

With those people.’

Your own eyes shall see this.

You shall say.

‘Great is Yahweh,

Beyond the border of Israel!’”

Edom was considered the land where Esau had settled.  Thus, Yahweh hated Edom.  He had made their hill country a desolation.  Their heritage was like a desert of wild jackals.  Even if they wanted to rebuild their ruins, Yahweh would tear it down, because they were a wicked country.  Yahweh was angry with them forever.  Their own eyes had seen that Yahweh was great, even beyond the borders of Israel.

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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 disaster in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:2-44:3)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You yourselves have seen

All the disaster

That I have brought

On Jerusalem,

As well as on all the towns

Of Judah.

Look at them!

Today they are a desolation.

No one lives in them.

Because of the wickedness

That they committed,

They provoked me to anger.

They went

To make offerings.

They served other gods

That they had not known,

Neither they,

Nor you,

Nor your ancestors.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Jeremiah, reminded them of the disaster in Jerusalem and Judah. They saw with their own eyes. No one lives there anymore because of the wickedness of the people who had lived there before. They had committed evil that provoked Yahweh to anger. They had made offerings and served other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors had ever known. Their big sin was offering and serving gods other than Yahweh.

A reproach against conceit (Isa 5:21-5:21)

“Woe to you

Who are wise

In your own eyes!

Woe to you

Who are shrewd

In your own sight!”

Isaiah is simple and clear. Woe to you if you think you are wise and shrewd. You believe this with your own eyes and sight in your own conceited wisdom and shrewdness.

The righteous (Prov 28:11-28:13)

“The rich are wise in self-esteem.

But an intelligent poor person

Sees through the pose.

When the righteous triumph,

There is great glory.

But when the wicked prevail,

People go into hiding.

No one who conceals his transgressions

Will prosper.

Whoever confesses them,

Whoever forsakes them,

Will obtain mercy.”

The rich people pretend to be wise in their own eyes with great self-esteem. However, the smart poor people can see through this. Whenever the righteous triumph, there is great glory. On the other hand, when the wicked prevail, everyone goes into hiding. You will not prosper if you hide your transgressions. However, if you confess your transgressions and give them up, you will obtain mercy.

The comparisons of a fool (Prov 26:4-26:12)

“Do not answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise you will be a fool yourself.

Answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise they will be wise in their own eyes.

To send a message by a fool is

Like cutting off one’s foot,

Like drinking down violence.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like legs of a disabled person that hang limp.

To give honor to a fool is

Like binding a stone in a sling.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like a thorn bush brandished

By the hand of a drunkard.

Whoever hires a passing fool is

Like an archer who wounds everybody

Whoever hires a drunkard is

Like an archer who wounds everybody.

A fool that reverts to his folly is

Like a dog that returns to its vomit.

Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?

There is more hope for fools than for them.”

This passage begins with two contradictory phrases about treating fools. The first sentence says not to answer them, but the second says to answer them. In the first instance you become a fool, while in the second case the fools will appear to become wise in their own eyes. If you send a message with a fool, you are like cutting your own foot. You are drinking violence. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like the limp leg of a disabled person or a thorn bush in the hand of a drunkard. If you honor a fool, you are like tying a stone in a sling. If you hire a passing fool or a drunkard, you are like an archer wounding everyone in sight. Notice that the fool and the drunkard are almost equivalent. The fool reverts to his folly like a dog to its vomit. Anyone who thinks that they are wise in their own eyes is worse than a fool.

Disputes with neighbors (Prov 25:7-25:10)

“What your eyes have seen

Do not hastily bring into court.

What will you do in the end?

What if your neighbor puts you to shame?

Argue your case with your neighbor directly.

Do not disclose another’s secret.

Or else someone who hears you

Will bring shame upon you.

Your ill repute will have no end.”

Do not be hasty to bring your neighbor to court, even if you have seen the offense with your own eyes. What will be the gain for you if you are put to shame by your neighbor? Settle the dispute with your neighbor directly. Do not reveal any secrets because someone might hear them. They might bring shame to you and lead to a bad reputation for you.