The destruction of the lions’ den of Assyria (Nah 2:11-2:13)

“What became

Of the lions’ den?

What became

Of the cave

Of the young lions?

There the lion goes.

There his cubs were,

With none to disturb them.

The lion has torn enough

For his whelps.

He strangled prey

For his lionesses.

He has filled his caves

With prey.

He has filled his dens

With torn flesh.

‘See!

I am against you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I will burn

Your chariots

In smoke.

The sword shall devour

Your young lions.

I will cut off

Your prey

From the earth.

The voice

Of your messengers

Shall be heard no more.’”

Assyria was considered a lion or a destroyer.  Nahum wanted to know what had happened to this proud lion’s den or his cave.  There his young cubs would be undisturbed.  He had gathered enough prey for these lionesses, as well as their cubs.  This lion of Assyria had filled his caves and dens with torn flesh.  All this would be gone.  Yahweh has issued an oracle against Assyria.  Yahweh would burn their chariots as they would go up in smoke.  Their young lions would die by the sword.  They would lose all their prey.  The voice of their messengers would not be heard anymore.  The end of Nineveh and Assyria was near.

Advertisements

Yahweh against the prophetess’s activities (Ezek 13:20-13:21)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh God.

‘I am against

Your bands

With which you hunt lives.

I will tear them

From your arms.

I will let the lives

Go free

Like the lives

That you hunt down

Like birds.

I will tear off

Your veils.

I will save my people

From your hands.

They shall no longer

Be prey

In your hands.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh was opposed to the activities of the prophetesses. He was against their so-called magical arm bands. He was going to tear them off their arms. He was going to let free, those whom they were hunting. How they were hunting them was not clear. Perhaps, it was some kind of voodoo. These people would be set free like birds. He was also going to tear off their veils or kerchiefs. Yahweh was going to save his people from them, so that they would not be prey in their hands anymore. They would learn to know that he was God, Yahweh.

The healing reversal (Jer 30:16-30:17)

“Therefore all who devour you

Shall be devoured.

All your foes,

Every one of them,

Shall go into captivity.

Those who plundered you

Shall be plundered.

All who preyed on you,

I will make a prey.

I will restore health to you.

I will heal your wounds.

Says Yahweh!

Because they have called you

An outcast.

‘It is Zion.

No one cares for her!’”

Yahweh seems to reverse himself, saying that he will heal and cure the incurable wounds that Israel had. Instead, those who were devouring Israel will be devoured. All of their enemies will go into captivity. Those who plundered them will be plundered themselves. Yahweh was going to prey on anyone who preyed on them. He was going to heal all the wounds that Israel had. He was upset that others had called them, Zion, an outcast that no one cared about.

The servant in prison (Isa 42:22-42:25)

“But this is a people robbed.

This is a people plundered.

All of them are trapped in holes.

They are hidden in prisons.

They have become a prey,

With no one to rescue them.

They have become a spoil,

With none to say.

‘Restore!’

Who among you will give heed to this?

Who will attend for the time to come?

Who will listen for the time to come?

Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler?

Who gave up Israel to the robbers?

Was it not Yahweh?

They have sinned against him.

They would not walk in his ways.

They would not obey his law.

So he poured upon him

The heat of his anger.

He poured upon him

The fury of war.

It set him on fire all around.

But he did not understand.

It burned him.

But he did not take it to heart.”

In this section of Second Isaiah, it talks about the people and the individual servant together. The Israelite servants were robbed and plundered, and then put into prison holes. No one would rescue them as they were prey and a spoil to others. No one wanted to restore them to their former ways. No one paid attention. Yahweh made Jacob or Israel fall to these robbers and spoilers. This happened because they had sinned against Yahweh. They would not walk in his ways or follow his laws. Thus Yahweh poured out his heat and anger on his servant with the fury of a war. He set his servant on fire, but he still does not understand what was happening. He got burned, but he did not take it to heart.

Forgiveness for all (Isa 33:23-33:24)

“Your riggings hangs loose.

It cannot hold the mast firm in its place.

It cannot keep the sail spread out.

Then prey in abundance will be divided.

Spoil in abundance will be divided.

Even the lame will fall to plundering.

No inhabitant will say.

‘I am sick.’

The people who live there

Will be forgiven their iniquity.”

Isaiah remarks that despite the fact that the ship is not in good shape since the riggings are loose, the mast is not firm, and the sail is not spread out, you will not have to worry. There will be enough prey to be divided up. There will be so much spoil that even the lame will be able to plunder the area. No one will be sick in this utopian time. In fact, all their iniquity will be forgiven so that they do not have to be anxious or troubled.

False justice (Isa 10:1-10:4)

“Woe to you

Who make iniquitous decrees!

Woe to you

Who write oppressive statutes!

You turn aside

The needy from justice!

You rob the poor of my people

Of their right!

Widows may be your spoil!

You make the orphans your prey!

What will you do

On the day of punishment?

What will you do

In the calamity

That will come from afar?

To whom will you flee for help?

Where will you leave your wealth?

Will you crouch among the prisoners?

Will you fall among the slain?

For all this

His anger has not turned away.

His hand is still stretched out.”

Isaiah then curses those who practice injustice, those who make evil decrees and oppressive statutes. He was against those who took away justice and robbed the poor people of their rights. These unjust people took stuff from the widows and the orphans as if they were taking spoil after a war or prey for an animal. What were they going to do on the punishment day? In troubles, who would help them? Where were they going to leave their wealth? They might end up as a prisoner or get killed. Once again, this little section ends with the refrain that the angry hand of Yahweh has not turned away, since it is still stretched out today.

Justice (Sir 27:8-27:10)

“If you pursue justice,

You will attain it.

Wear it

Like a glorious robe.

Birds roost

With their own kind.

Thus honestly comes home

To those who practice it.

A lion lies in wait

For prey.

So does sin come

For the workers of iniquity.”

Sirach says that if you pursue justice, you will attain it. He makes it sound easy. If you have justice, you should wear it like a glorious robe. Just as birds of a kind flock together, so too honestly comes home to those who practice it. On the other hand, the workers of iniquity sin just like a lion lies in wait for its prey. Good begets good and sin begets sin.