Get some wood (Hag 1:7-1:8)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Consider how you have fared.

Go up to the hills!

Bring wood!

Build the house!

Thus,

I may take pleasure

In it.

I will be honored.’

Says Yahweh.”

Once again there was an oracle of Yahweh, via Haggai.  This time there were suggestions on what to do.  They were to go up into the hills or mountains around Jerusalem.  There, they would get some wood to build the house that Yahweh wanted.  Then, Yahweh would take pleasure in it by being honored and glorified.

Repent (Ezek 18:30-18:32)

“Repent!

Turn

From all your transgressions!

Otherwise iniquity

Will be your ruin!

Cast away

From you

All the transgressions

That you have committed

Against me!

Get yourselves

A new heart!

Get yourselves

A new spirit!

Why will you die?

O house of Israel!

I have no pleasure

In the death

Of anyone.

Turn then !

Live!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh had a simple solution. They were to repent and turn away from all their transgressions. Otherwise their iniquity would be their ruin. They had to cast away all the transgressions that they had committed against Yahweh. They needed a new heart and a new spirit. Why would they want to die? Yahweh told the house of Israel that he took no pleasure in killing people. They simply had to turn away from their evil ways. Then they would live.

The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 18:21-18:23)

“But if the wicked ones

Turn away

From all the sins

That they have committed,

They shall surely live.

If they keep

All my statutes,

They shall not die.

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the transgressions

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They shall live

Because of the righteousness

That they have done.

‘Have I any pleasure

In the death

Of the wicked?

I would rather

That they should turn

From their ways.

Then they would live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What happens if wicked people turn away from all the sins that they have committed? They would live, if they kept all the statutes of Yahweh. If they did what was lawful and right, they would not die. None of their former transgressions would be remembered against them. They would live because of their righteousness. Yahweh did not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked ones. He would rather that they should turn from their evil ways, so that they would be able to live.

All the lovers in one place (Ezek 16:35-16:37)

“Therefore!

O whore!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Your lust

Was poured out.

Your nakedness

Was uncovered

In your prostitution activities

With your lovers.

All your idols

Were laid bare.

The blood

Of your children

That you gave them

Was poured out.

Therefore,

I will gather

All your lovers,

With whom

You took pleasure.

I will gather

All those you loved.

I will gather

All those you hated.

I will gather them

Against you

From all around.

I will uncover

Your nakedness

To them.

Thus they may see

All your nakedness.’”

Yahweh clearly called Jerusalem a whore who was going to listen to his word. Jerusalem’s lust was apparent in her nakedness. She had revealed herself with her prostitution activities with all her lovers. Her idols were laid bare. The blood of her children was poured out. Yahweh was going to gather all her lovers with whom she had pleasure. He would gather the ones that she loved and as well as those she hated from all over. Then when they were all gathered together, Yahweh was going to embarrass her by uncovering her nakedness. Thus everyone could see the naked Jerusalem.

They do not listen to the warning (Jer 6:9-6:11)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Glean thoroughly

As a vine

The remnant of Israel.

Like a grape-gatherer,

Pass your hand again

Over its branches.’

To whom shall I speak?

To whom shall I give warning?

Who might hear?

See!

Their ears are closed

Their ears are uncircumcised.

They cannot listen.

See!

The word of Yahweh is to them

As an object of scorn.

They take no pleasure in it.

But I am full of the wrath of Yahweh.

I am weary of holding it in.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they should glean the vineyards looking for those grapes of the holy remnant of Israel. They should go behind the pickers to find these precious grapes. Who was going to listen to these warnings from Yahweh? Their ears were closed like uncircumcised ears. They could not listen. The word of Yahweh had become an object of scorn. They did not take any pleasure in the word of God. The wrath of God could not be held in any longer.

Three likes and dislikes (Sir 25:1-25:2)

“I take pleasure in three things.

They are beautiful

In the sight of God,

And in the sight of mortals.

They are

Agreement between brothers,

Friendship between neighbors,

And a wife and a husband

Who live in harmony.

I hate three kinds of people.

I loathe their manner of life.

They are

A poor man who boasts,

A rich person who lies,

And an old fool

Who commits adultery.”

Sirach has another one of these numerical proverbs, like in Proverbs. He took pleasure in 3 things and he hated 3 kinds of people. The 3 pleasurable things that were beautiful in the sight of God and man were the harmonious relationships among brothers, neighbors, and spouses. The 3 kinds of people whose life style he hated were poor boastful people, rich liars, and old adulterous fools.

The miser (Sir 14:3-14:10)

Riches are inappropriate

For a small minded person.

What use is wealth to a miser?

What he denies himself,

He collects for others.

Others will live in luxury on his goods.

If one is mean to oneself,

To whom will one be generous?

He will not enjoy his own riches.

No one is worse

Than one who is grudging to himself.

This is the punishment for their meanness.

If ever they do good,

It is my mistake.

In the end,

They reveal their meanness.

The miser is an evil person.

They turn away.

They disregard people.

The eye of the greedy person

Is not satisfied with their share.

Greedy injustice withers the soul.

A miser begrudges bread.

Thus it is lacking at his table.”

Sirach reminds us of the miser or the stingy greedy person. Wealth is wasted on these people. These misers deny themselves the pleasure of their own wealth. In fact, others live in luxury on the goods that they collected. If you are mean to yourself, how will you be generous to others. You should enjoy your own riches. The misers are punished for their meanness by themselves and their begrudging ways. If misers ever do anything good, it is by mistake, because they are evil people. They turn away and disregard other people. These greedy people are never satisfied with their share. They never share their bread with anyone.