The visions will happen (Ezek 12:23-12:25)

“‘But say to them!

The days are near!

The fulfillment

Of every vision

Is near!

There shall no longer be

Any false vision

Or flattering divination

Within the house of Israel.

But I,

Yahweh,

Will speak

The word

That I speak!

It will be fulfilled.

It will no longer

Be delayed.

But in your days,

O rebellious house!

I will speak

The word.

I will

Fulfill it.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel the days of fulfillment of every vision was near. There would be no more false visions or flattering remarks within the house of Israel. Yahweh was going to speak a word that was going to come to pass. Nothing would be delayed for this rebellious house. Yahweh would speak and it would happen. Yahweh was clear.

Against Edom (Lam 4:21-4:21)

Shin

“Rejoice!

Be glad!

O daughter Edom!

You live

In the land of Uz!

But to you also

The cup shall pass!

You shall

Become drunk!

You shall

Strip yourself bare!”

This poem ends with a swipe at Judah’s southern neighbor Edom. With an ironic twist, this author told Edom to rejoice and be glad because they lived in Uz, the place where Job lived. However, there was a warning that the cup of anger would pass to them. They would become drunk and naked. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.

Oracle on the desert animals (Isa 30:6-30:7)

“An oracle concerning

The animals of the Negeb.

Through a land

Of trouble,

Of distress,

Of the lioness.

Of the roaring lion,

Of the viper,

Of the flying serpent,

They carry their riches

On the backs of donkeys.

They carry their treasures

On the humps of camels,

To a people

That cannot profit them.

Egypt’s help is worthless.

Their help is empty.

Therefore I have called her

‘Rahab who sits still.’”

This seems to be an oracle by Yahweh about the animals in the Negeb desert, south of Israel. The messengers of the King of Judah were going to pass by these animals as they went with their riches on the backs of donkeys and treasures on the camel humps on their way to Egypt. Along the way, they would suffer trouble and distress. They would see many animals, like lioness, lions, vipers, and flying serpents. However, Isaiah says that their mission was worthless and empty. It was a waste of time since the Egyptians could not help them. In fact, Isaiah calls Egypt a useless sitting still ‘Rahab,’ a mythological sea monster like the Leviathan monster.

The bad behavior of the rich (Sir 13:3-13:7)

“A rich person does wrong.

A rich person even adds insults.

A poor person suffers wrong.

A poor person must add apologies.

A rich man will exploit you,

If you can be of use to him.

But if you are in need,

He will forsake you.

If you own something,

He will live with you.

He will drain your resources

Without a qualm.

When he needs you,

He will deceive you.

He will smile at you.

He will encourage you.

He will speak to you kindly.

He will say.

‘What do you need?’

He will embarrass you with his delicacies,

Until he has drained you

Two or three times.

Finally he will laugh at you.

Should he see you afterwards,

He will pass you by.

He will shake his head at you.”

Sirach warns that rich will do bad things to you and then insult you. If a poor person does something wrong, they have to apologize. Not so for the rich. They will exploit you if you can be helpful to them. However, if you need anything, they will leave quickly. The rich will use what you have and thus drain your resources. If the rich need you, they will deceive you with smiles and kindly words. They will encourage you by asking what they can do for you. They will provide embarrassing delicacies, until you are drained a couple of times over. Then they will laugh at you. If you see them later, they will pass you by and shake their heads at you. Do not be fooled by the rich and their false kindness.

 

These false worshipers are seeking something (Wis 13:6-13:9)

“These people are little to be blamed.

Perhaps they go astray.

But they were seeking God.

They desired to find him.

As they live among his works,

They keep searching.

They trust in what they see.

Because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again,

Not even they are to be excused.

If they had the power to know so much

That they could investigate the world,

How did they fail to find sooner

the Lord of these things?”

This writer seems to give these nature idol worshipers a pass. They were at least seeking God (πλανῶνται Θεὸν). They were trying to find him in his works (τοῖς ἔργοις). They kept searching in this beautiful world. However, since they were so smart, they should have investigated further to find the creator of all this beauty. They are not to be totally excused because they should have found the maker and creator (δεσπότην) of all these things. This is an argument against nature worshippers who fail to see through to the divine maker of nature.

Avoid the wicked (Prov 4:14-4:17)

“Do not enter the path of the wicked.

Do not walk in the way of evildoers.

Avoid it!

Do not go on it!

Turn away from it!

Pass on!

They cannot sleep

Unless they have done wrong.

They are robbed of sleep

Unless they have made some one stumble.

They eat the bread of wickedness.

They drink the wine of violence.”

This father maintains that they should not enter the path of the wicked. They were not to walk with evildoers. They were to avoid them, turn away, and pass them by. These evildoer wicked people cannot sleep until they have done something wrong or made someone stumble. They eat wicked bread and drink violent wine. These metaphors tend to emphasis the evil nature of these people. Their very eating and drinking leads them further into evil ways.

Cosmic praise of Yahweh (Ps 148:1-148:6)

“Praise Yahweh!

Praise Yahweh from the heavens!

Praise Yahweh in the heights!

Praise him!

All his angels!

Praise him!

His entire host!

Praise him!

Sun and moon!

Praise him,

All you shining stars!

Praise him!

You highest heavens!

Praise him!

You waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of Yahweh!

He commanded.

Thus they were created.

He established them forever and ever.

He fixed their bounds.

They cannot be passed.”

Psalm 148 is another “praise Yahweh” psalm, another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This time all created things are to praise Yahweh, not just Israelites or other humans. Everything and everyone was to praise Yahweh. In particular the highest heavens are to praise Yahweh. All the angels and hosts of armies of Yahweh were to praise him. The sun, the moon, and the stars in the skies were to praise Yahweh. The highest heavens with the water that was to fall on the earth were to praise Yahweh. This is truly a cosmic praise of Yahweh. However, all theses heavenly angels and sky were created at the command of Yahweh. He established them forever with a certain boundary that they cannot pass.

Yahweh and the Exodus (Ps 136:10-136:15)

“Yahweh struck Egypt through their first-born.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He brought Israel out from among them.

His steadfast love endures forever.

With a strong hand,

With an outstretched arm,

His steadfast love endures forever.

He divided the Red Sea in two.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made Israel pass through the midst of it.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,

His steadfast love endures forever.”

Once again, the congregational refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever” is repeated after every verse. Just as in the preceding psalm, Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt. He clearly struck down the first-born of humans and animals. He led them out with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. He divided the Red Sea into two parts so that the Israelites were able to pass through in the middle of it. Finally, he destroyed Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Throughout it all they realized that his steadfast love endures forever.