The wicked deeds of Ephraim and Samaria (Hos 7:1-7:2)

“When I would heal Israel,

The corruption of Ephraim

Is revealed.

The wicked deeds

Of Samaria

Is revealed.

They deal falsely.

The thief breaks in.

The bandits raid without.

But they do not consider

That I remember

All their wickedness.

Now their deeds

Surround them.

They are before my face.”

Even after Israel would be healed, the corruption of Ephraim and the wickedness of Samaria would be revealed. Samaria had been the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom across the border from Ephraim in the Manasseh tribal territory. They dealt with each other falsely. The thieves would break into houses. The robbers would raid those who were passing by. They did not think that Yahweh would remember all their wicked deeds. Now their bad deeds surrounded them. Yahweh always remembered.

The new fertile land (Ezek 36:34-36:36)

“The land

That was desolate

Shall be tilled.

Instead of being

The desolation

That it was

In the sight of all

Who passed by.

Now they will say.

‘This land

That was desolate

Has become

Like the garden of Eden.

The wasted towns,

The desolate towns,

The ruined towns,

Are now inhabited.

They are fortified.’

‘Then the nations

That are left

All around you

Shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have rebuilt

The ruined places.

I have replanted

That which was desolate.

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.

I will do it.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the desolate land would be tilled. Everyone passing by would notice the difference. The former desolation would be gone. Now they will say that this land is like the Garden of Eden, as in Genesis, chapter 3. All those wasted, desolate, and ruined Israelite towns would be inhabited and fortified. All the nations and countries around Israel would know that Yahweh had rebuilt and replanted these various ruined and desolate places. What Yahweh had spoken about, he would actually do.

The derision of Jerusalem (Lam 2:15-2:15)

Samek

“All who pass

Along the way

Clap their hands

At you.

They hiss.

They wag their heads

At the daughters

Of Jerusalem.

‘Is this the city

That was called

The perfection

Of beauty?

Is this the city

That was called The joy

Of all the earth?’”

This author talks about the people passing by Jerusalem, the outsiders, who deride this once beautiful city. They clap their hands as a sign of derision. They hiss at this city. They shake their heads in astonishment at the daughters of Jerusalem. What happened to this beautiful city that was a joy to all people on earth? Destruction is what happened. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The horror of Edom (Jer 49:17-49:18)

“‘Edom shall become

An object of horror.

Everyone who passes by it

Will be horrified.

They will hiss

Because of all its disasters.

As when Sodom,

With Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

Were overthrown,

No one shall live there.

No one shall settle in it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Edom would become an object to horror because everyone passing by it would be horrified. They will hiss at it because of the disasters there. Edom would become like the famous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. Here there is also a mention of their neighboring towns. The same results will happen to Edom. No one would want to live or settle in Edom.

The foolish woman (Prov 9:13-9:18)

“The foolish woman is loud.

She is ignorant.

She knows nothing.

She sits at the door of her house.

She takes a seat at the high places of the town.

She calls to those who pass by.

They go straight on their way.

‘You who are simple,

Turn in here!’

To those without sense,

She says.

‘Stolen water is sweet.

Bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’

But they do not know that the dead are there.

Her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”

Now we are back to the foolish woman. She is the loud, ignorant, and stupid woman who sits at her door or at the high places in town. She tries to get those passing by her to turn into her house. However, they go straight past her. Her sales pitch is that stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. This is a subtle form of seduction. Thus this first introduction to the proverbs ends with this admonition to avoid the evil ladies, as if men had nothing to do with it, as if men were not interested in sex without this enticement.