Under what tree did all this take place (Dan 13:54-13:55)

“Now then,

If you really saw

This woman,

Tell me this.

Under what tree

Did you see them

Being intimate

With each other?’

He answered.

‘Under a mastic tree.’

Daniel said.

‘Very well!

This lie

Has cost you

Your head.

The angel of God

Has received

The sentence

From God.

He will immediately cut you

In two.’”

Then Daniel asked this old judge under what tree did Susanna and the young man have this famous intimate embrace. This elder answered that it was under the mastic tree, a small sweet evergreen tree. Daniel immediately responded that this was a lie, without any indication of why he felt this way. Daniel was very forceful in his response to this elder. Daniel told him that he would lose his head. An angel of God was going to deliver a sentence on him, by cutting him into two pieces. This was a Greek play on words, since the Greek word for mastic tree (σχϊνος) was close to the Greek word to cut (σχισει).

The fourth kingdom (Dan 7:23-7:23)

“This is what

He said.

‘As for the fourth beast,

There shall be

A fourth kingdom

On earth.

It shall be different

From all the other kingdoms.

It shall devour

The whole earth.

It shall trample it down.

It shall break it

To pieces.’”

It is not clear who the “he” speaking here is. It could be the Ancient One or that attendant who was standing around, but it is not Daniel. The 4th beast would have a kingdom, unlike any other kingdom. This kingdom would devour the whole earth, trample it down, and finally break it into pieces. This could be a reference to Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) and the large Greek kingdom that he established.

Why was the fourth beast different? (Dan 7:19-7:19)

“Then I desired to know

The truth concerning

The fourth beast.

It was different

From all the rest.

It was exceedingly terrifying.

It had teeth

Of iron.

It had claws

Of bronze.

It devoured.

It broke in pieces.

It stamped

The residue

With its feet.”

Daniel wanted to know the truth about why the 4th beast was so different. It was more terrifying. It had great iron teeth that devoured and tore to pieces anything it wanted to. It also had claws of bronze, which was not mentioned in the earlier description. It even stamped on whatever was left over with its feet.

Daniel’s accusers were put in the lion’s den (Dan 6:24-6:24)

“The king

Gave a command.

Those men,

Who had accused Daniel,

Were brought to him.

He threw them

Into the den of lions.

He not only threw them,

But their children,

With their wives.

Before they reached

The bottom

Of the den,

The lions

Overpowered them.

The lions broke

All their bones

Into pieces.”

In a reversal of fortunes, which is common among the biblical writings, like in Esther, chapter 6, the conspirators and their families were put into the lion’s den. Before they hit the bottom of the den, the lions had overpowered them, their children, and their wives. All their bones were broken into pieces. The moral of the story is not to be a conspirator.

The physical punishment of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:40-16:42)

“They shall bring up

A mob

Against you.

They shall stone you.

They shall cut you

To pieces

With their swords.

They shall burn

Your houses.

They shall execute

Judgments on you

In the sight

Of many women.

I will stop you

From playing the whore.

You shall also make

No more payments.

So I will satisfy

My fury

On you.

My jealousy

Shall turn away

From you.

I will be calm.

I will be angry

No longer.”

Yahweh said that he was going to bring a mob against Jerusalem. They would follow the common practice of stoning an adulterous woman. They would cut her into pieces with their swords. They would burn down her houses. They were going to execute judgments on her in the sight of many women. Jerusalem would no longer play the whore. She would not give any gifts. Yahweh would satisfy this fury and jealousy. He would then become calm and not angry any longer.

Description of the false female prophetesses (Ezek 13:18-13:19)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

Say to them!

‘Woe to the women

Who sew bands

On all wrists!

Woe to the woman

Who make veils

For the heads of persons

Of every height,

In the hunt for human lives!

Will you hunt down lives

Among my people?

Will you maintain

Your own lives?

You have profaned me

Among my people

For handfuls of barley,

For pieces of bread.

You put to death

Persons

Who should not die.

You keep alive

Persons

Who should not live,

By your lies

To my people,

Who listen to lies.’”

Yahweh said to Ezekiel that these prophetesses should be cursed. Then he went into a description of their activities. One group of these female prophetesses sewed bands on the wrists of people. What exactly was that? Most commentators are not sure. It was some kind of band, pillow, or lucky charm on the arm by the wrist, elbow, or armpit. They also made veils or kerchiefs for the head. How they were hunting down human lives is not clear.   However, they were profaning Yahweh with their lies. Apparently, they received a few handfuls of barley or pieces of bread for their activities. More serious is the fact that these women were sometimes asked to be judges. They would judge the innocence or guilt of a person, leading to their free life or the death penalty of a person, perhaps wrongly as indicated in this passage. Whatever their lies, the people of Israel were listening to them.

Bad times ahead (Jer 48:12-48:12)

“‘Therefore,

The time is

Surely coming.’

Says Yahweh,

‘I shall send

To him

Decanters

To decant him.

They will empty

His vessels.

They will break

His jars in pieces.’”

Yahweh warns, via Jeremiah, that he was going to send decanters to Moab soon. Decanters are those who move wine from one delicate container to another. However, these decanters were going to empty out his jars and break them into pieces to make them useless.

Breaking the covenant agreement (Jer 34:17-34:18)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh!

‘You have not obeyed me

By granting a release

To your neighbors,

As well as to your friends.

I am going to

Grant a release to you,

A release to the sword,

A release to pestilence,

A release to famine.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you a horror

To all the kingdoms

Of the earth.

Those who transgressed

My covenant,

Those who did not

Keep the terms

Of the covenant

That they made before me,

I will make them

Like the calf

When they cut it in two.

As they passed

Between its parts.’”

The people of Jerusalem had not obeyed Yahweh about freeing up their Hebrew slaves. Now Yahweh was going to free them to the sword, pestilence, and famine, the common formula of Jeremiah for destruction. They would become a horror for all the countries in the world. They had broken their covenant with Yahweh. They had not kept the terms of the covenant agreement, since they had re-enslaved the freed Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. The ancient practice of cutting or sacrificing an animal into two pieces was a way of ratifying an agreement, as can be seen in Genesis, chapter 15. Then the two people would walk between the two pieces of the calf to indicate that if they broke the agreement, they too would be killed. Thus these disobedient ones who broke the covenant were subject to death, just as the calf had been killed and cut up.

The power of Yahweh’s word (Jer 23:28-23:29)

“‘Let the prophet

Who has a dream

Tell the dream.

But let the one

Who has my word,

Speak my word faithfully.

What has straw

In common with wheat?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like fire?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like a hammer

That breaks

A rock in pieces?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issued a series of oracles about the power of his word. If a prophet had a dream, let him tell that dream. However, anyone who had the word of Yahweh should also speak the word faithfully. Straw is dried up and useless, but wheat or grain is full of nourishment. The word of Yahweh was like fire or a hammer that could break any rock into pieces.