Against Edom (Am 1:11-1:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Edom,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he pursued

His brother

With the sword.

He cast off all pity.

He maintained

His anger perpetually.

He kept his wrath forever.

So,

I will send a fire

On Teman.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Bozrah.’”

Edom was southeast of Judah and south of the Dead Sea. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, and Tyre. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, like in Proverbs, chapter 30. Edom was considered a brother of Israel, because its founder was Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Edom had tried to kill the Israelites with a sword. They had no pity, since they were perpetually angry. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Teman, either a tribe or small village in Edom. He was also going to devour the fortress in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom, in present day Jordan.

The names are reversed (Hos 2:1-2:1)

“Say to your brother!

‘Ammi!”

My people!

Say to your sister!

‘Ruhamah!

Pity!”

In a play on words, the Hebrew text drops the “Lo” or “not” in front of the names of the brother and sister. Lo-ammi has become Ammi. Lo-ruhamah has become Ruhamah. Jezreel remained the same. Thus, the brother and sister now represent pity, love, and my people, instead of the negative connotation, as in the first chapter. Now, all is well.

The explanation of Yahweh about this killing (Ezek 9:8-9:10)

“While they were killing,

I was left alone.

I fell prostrate

On my face.

I cried.

‘Ah Yahweh God!

Will you destroy

All who remain

Of Israel

As you pour out

Your wrath

Upon Jerusalem?’

Then he said to me.

‘The guilt

Of the house of Israel

As well as

The house of Judah

Is exceedingly great.

The land is full

Of bloodshed.

The city is full

Of perversity.’

They say.

‘Yahweh has forsaken

The land.

Yahweh does not see.’

As for me,

My eye will not spare.

I will not have pity.

But I will bring down

Their deeds

Upon their heads.’”

Ezekiel was all shook up with all this killing going on. He was alone, so he prostrated his face. He cried to God. He wanted to know if everyone of the remaining Israelites would be destroyed. Would anybody remain in Jerusalem? Then Yahweh explained to him that the guilt of the house of Israel as well as the guilt of the house of Judah was exceedingly great. The land was full of bloodshed. The city was full of perversity. Those remaining had said that Yahweh had forsaken the land. He would not see what they were doing. However, Yahweh was clear. He was not going to spare them or have pity on them. Their own deeds brought this on their heads. Thus the annihilation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem continued.

The warnings against these abominations (Ezek 8:17-8:18)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Have you seen this?

O son of man!

Is it not bad enough

That the house of Judah

Commits the abominations

Done here?

Must they fill the land

With violence?

Must they provoke

My anger further?

See!

They put the branch

To their nose.

Therefore I will act

In wrath!

My eye will not spare!

I will not have pity!

Although they cry

In my hearing

With a loud voice,

I will not listen to them.’”

Then Yahweh warned Ezekiel again. Had he seen enough? The house of Judah committed all these abominations. On top of that, they filled the land with violence. They had provoked the anger of Yahweh. They even put branches in their noses as some kind of worship activity. Yahweh was going to act against them in his anger. He was not going to spare them or show any pity. Even if they cried very loudly, Yahweh was not going to listen to them. Their actions spoke louder than their words.

 

The end of the land of Israel is near (Ezek 7:1-7:4)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘You!

O son of man!

Thus says Yahweh God

To the land of Israel!

An end!

The end has come

Upon the four corners

Of the land.

Now the end is

Upon you.

I will let loose

My anger

Upon you.

I will judge you

According to your ways.

I will punish you

For all your abominations.

My eye

Will not spare you.

I will have no pity.

I will punish you

For your ways,

While your abominations

Are among you.

Then you shall know

That I am Yahweh.’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh in this oracle told Ezekiel that the end of the land of Israel was coming soon. His anger was going to be let loose on them. He was going to judge them according to their ways. He was going to punish them for their abominations. He would not spare them. He would not have pity on them. By punishing them for their evil ways, they would come to recognize that Yahweh was in charge. He was the God Yahweh.

The three separate disasters for the people of Jerusalem (Ezek 5:11-5:12)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely as I live,

Because you have defiled

My sanctuary

With all your detestable things,

With all your abominations,

Therefore I will cut you down.

My eye will not spare.

I will have no pity.

One third of you

Shall die

Of pestilence,

Or be consumed

By famine among you.

One third of you

Shall fall

By the sword

Around you.

One third of you,

I will scatter

To every wind.

I will unsheathe

The sword

After them.”

The God Yahweh was mad at the people of Jerusalem. They had defiled his sanctuary. They had brought in all those detestable abominations into the Temple. Thus Yahweh was not going to spare them, but cut them down. He was not going to show any pity. Using language similar to Jeremiah, there were three main options for dying. However, Ezekiel was more precise. One third of them would die from pestilence or famine. Another third would fall by the sword. The final third would be scattered to the winds in every direction. Yahweh was going to let his sword loose on them.

The weakness of these false idol gods (Bar 6:36-6:40)

“These gods cannot

Save anyone

From death.

They cannot rescue

The weak

From the strong.

They cannot

Restore sight

To the blind.

They cannot

Rescue anyone

Who is in distress.

They cannot

Take pity

On a widow.

They cannot

Do good

To an orphan.

These things

Made of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are like stones

From the mountain.

Those who serve them

Will be put to shame.

Why then must

Anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

This diatribe against false gods continued with an attempt to show how impotent these gods are, since they cannot save anyone from death. They cannot rescue the weak from the strong. They cannot restore sight to the blind. They cannot rescue anyone in distress. They cannot take pity on a widow nor do any good for an orphan. They are made of wood, covered with gold or silver, like stones from a mountain. They cannot help those who worship them. They will be put to shame. How can anyone think that they are gods or call them gods? They are useless.

The failure to follow the statutes (Bar 4:13-4:16)

“The Judeans

Had no regard

For his statutes.

They did not walk

In the ways

Of God’s commandments.

They did not tread

The paths

That his righteousness

Showed them.

Let the neighbors of Zion

Come!

Remember

The capture of my sons,

The capture of my daughters!

The Everlasting One

Brought this upon them.

He brought

A distant nation

Against them.

This was

A ruthless nation,

With a strange language.

They had no respect

For the aged.

They had no pity

For a child.

They led away

The widow’s beloved sons.

They bereaved the lonely woman

Of her daughters.”

This author points out that the Judeans in Jerusalem had no regard for God’s statutes. They did not walk in the ways of God’s commandments, since they did not tread the paths of disciple and righteousness. Zion’s neighbors should come and remember the capture of the sons and daughters of Jerusalem. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, brought this upon them, since he brought a distant ruthless nation with a strange language to attack Jerusalem. These attackers had no respect or pity for the old people and the children. Thus they took the sons and daughters of the lonely widows into captivity.

The impenetrable Yahweh (Lam 3:43-3:45)

Samek

“You have wrapped yourself

With anger.

You have pursued us.

You have killed us

Without pity.

You have wrapped yourself

With a cloud.

Thus no prayer

Can pass through.

You have made us filth.

You have made us rubbish.

Among the people.”

This author turns in an unanswered prayer towards Yahweh, addressing him in the second person singular. Yahweh had wrapped himself in anger and a cloud. He had pursued this author and his friends, killing them without pity. Their prayers to Yahweh could not penetrate through the clouds. They had become filth and rubbish among all people as they were forsaken and downtrodden. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

A cry to Yahweh for help (Lam 2:20-2:20)

Resh

“Look!

Yahweh!

Consider!

To whom have

You done this?

Should women

Eat their offspring?

Should they eat

The children

That they have borne?

Should priests

With prophets

Be killed In the sanctuary

Of Yahweh?”

This author continued to remind people to turn to Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to consider what was happening there. Yahweh should have pity on the left over people in Jerusalem. Women were so hungry that they were eating their new born children, practicing cannibalism. This was also mentioned in Jeremiah, chapter 19. Priests and prophets were being killed in the sanctuary of Yahweh. However, the sanctuary was already destroyed. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Resh. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.