Ezekiel leaves Jerusalem (Ezek 12:7-12:7)

“I did

As I was commanded.

I brought out

My baggage

By day,

As baggage for exile.

In the evening

I dug through the wall

With my own hands.

I brought it out

In the dark,

Carrying it

On my shoulder

In their sight.”

Ezekiel said that he did what Yahweh had asked him to do.   He got his luggage ready during the day, clearing indicating that it was exile baggage. Then when the evening came, he dug a hole in the wall with his own hands. Next, in the sight of everyone, even though it was dark, he put his baggage on his shoulder. He then went through the hole in the wall.

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Destroy the enemies (Lam 3:64-3:66)

Taw

“Pay them back

For their deeds!

O Yahweh!

According to the work

Of their hands,

Give them anguish

Of heart!

May your curse

Be on them!

Pursue them

In anger!

Destroy them

From under Yahweh’s heavens!”

This personal lament ends with a plea to Yahweh to destroy his enemies. This author was very clear. He wanted his enemies paid back for what they had done. Yahweh was to use his own hands and his own anger. They were to receive an anguished heart. They should be cursed, pursued, and destroyed. They should be wiped out from under God’s heavens. These three verses start with the final Hebrew consonant letter Taw, since this is the last section of this acrostic poem.

The day of destruction for the Philistines (Jer 47:3-47:4)

“At the noise

Of the stamping

Of the hoofs

Of his stallions,

At the clatter

Of his chariots,

At the rumbling

Of their wheels,

The parents do not

Look back

For children.

Their hands are so feeble.

The day is coming

To destroy

All the Philistines.

They will be cut off

From Tyre and Sidon,

From every helper

That remains.

Yahweh is destroying

The Philistines,

The remnant

Of the coastland

Of Caphtor.”

The Philistines were going to hear the hoofs of the stallions of these invaders. They would hear the noise of the rumbling chariot wheels. Parents would not turn back to save their children, because their own hands would be too weak. The Philistines would be destroyed, since they were cut off from any help from the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon. Yahweh was going to destroy the remnant of the coastal people, who may have come from the island of Caphtor or Crete.

The questions for the Judeans (Jer 44:7-44:8)

“Now thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Why are you doing

Such great harm

To yourselves?

Why are you cutting

Yourself off from

Men,

Women,

Infants,

As well as children

From the midst of Judah?

Why are you

Leaving yourself no remnant?

Why do you provoke me

To anger

With the works of your hands?

Why are you making offerings

To other gods

In the land of Egypt

Where you have come to settle?

Will you be cut off?

Will you become

An object of cursing?

Will you become a ridicule

Among all the nations

Of the earth?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, has a series of questions for these immigrant Judeans. Why were they harming themselves? Why were they cutting themselves off from the other Judeans, the men, women, children, and infants? If they continued in this way, there would be no remnant left. Why were they provoking Yahweh to anger with their own hands? Why were they already making offerings to other gods in Egypt, where they wanted to settle? Are they going to become an object of cursing and ridicule among all the other countries of the world? These are good questions for the new Judean immigrants to Egypt.

The message of Yahweh’s prophets (Jer 25:5-25:7)

“They said.

‘Every one of you!

Turn now

From your evil ways!

Turn now

From wrong doings!

You will remain

Upon the land

That Yahweh has given

To you

As well as your ancestors

From of old

And forever.

Do not go

After other gods

To serve them,

To worship them!

Do not provoke me to anger

With the work of your hands!

Then I will do you no harm.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Yet you did not listen to me.

Thus you have provoked me

To anger

With the work of your hands

To your own harm.’”

Jeremiah says that Yahweh’s prophets had told all of them to turn away from their evil ways and wicked doings. If they had done that, they would remain in the land that Yahweh gave to them and their ancestors forever. However, they were not to go after other gods, serving and worshipping them. Thus they should not provoke Yahweh to anger with their own hands. Yahweh was not going to harm them. However, they did not listen. They had to provoke him to anger with the works of their own hands that only brought harm to them.

The end of idolatry (Isa 17:7-17:8)

“On that day

People will regard their Maker.

Their eyes will look

To the Holy One of Israel.

They will not have regard

For the altars,

The work of their own hands.

They will not look

To what their own fingers have made,

Either the sacred poles

Or the altars of incense.”

The end of idolatry and the turning to the Holy One of Israel will take place on this day of destruction. On that day, they will turn away from the altars that they made with their own hands. They will not look at the idols that they made with their own fingers.   They will turn away from the sacred or holy poles or sticks, like totem poles, and the altars with incense on them. Idolatry will become a thing of the past.

Repay the wicked (Ps 28:3-28:5)

“Do not drag me away

With the wicked!

Do not drag me away

With those who are workers of evil!

Do not drag me away

With those who speak peace with their neighbors,

While mischief is in their hearts!

Repay them according to their work!

Repay them according to the evil of their deeds!

Repay them according to the work of their hands!

Render them their due reward!

They do not regard the works of Yahweh!

They do not regard the work of his hands!

He will break them down.

He will build them up no more.”

David wanted to be separated from the wicked evildoers. He was against those who did evil or pretended to be peaceful but were mischievous in their hearts. He wanted these evildoers to be repaid in full according to the evil works of their own hands. They never regarded the works of Yahweh and his hands. Therefore Yahweh should break them down and not build them up any more.