Against Israel (Am 2:6-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Israel,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they sell

The righteous

For silver.

They sell the needy

For a pair of sandals.

They trample

The head of the poor

Into the dust

Of the earth.

They push the afflicted

Out of the way.

A father

With his son

Goes into the same girl.

So,

My holy name

Is profaned.

They lay themselves down

Beside every altar,

On garments

Taken in pledge.

In the house

Of their god,

They drink

The wine

Bought with fines

They imposed.”

Finally, Yahweh issued a diatribe against Israel itself. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language or literary form as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Israelites were, also involved in the slave trade, as they sold the righteous ones for silver. At the same time, they sold the needy for a pair of shoes or sandals. They trampled the heads of the poor into the dust of the earth. Both father and son would have sex with the same temple female prostitute. They profaned the holy name of Yahweh, as they laid down at any altar, with garments that they had taken as interest down payments. They drank wine in the houses of their gods bought with the fines that they had imposed on the poor people. They had committed serious crimes.

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The second campaign against Egypt (Dan 11:29-11:31)

“At the time appointed,

He shall return.

He shall come

Into the south.

But this time,

It shall not be

As it was before.

The ships of Kittim

Shall come against him.

He shall lose heart.

He shall withdraw.

He shall be enraged.

He shall take action

Against the holy covenant.

He shall turn back.

He shall give heed

To those who forsake

The holy covenant.

Forces sent by him

Shall occupy the temple.

They shall profane

The temple.

They shall occupy

The fortress.

They shall abolish

The regular burnt offering.

They shall set up

The abominations

That make it desolate.”

The second time that King Antiochus IV attacked Egypt, he was not as successful as the first time. The ships of Kittim, or the ships of the Romans, came against him. Kittim was the name for Cyprus and thus applied to all western troops. Once again, on his way home, in 167 BCE, he attacked Jerusalem. This time, there was a clear explanation of what he did. He turned against the people of the covenant. He even helped those who had forsaken the covenant, taking sides in a dispute there as explained in 2 Maccabees, chapters 3 and 4. He occupied the Temple and the fortress citadel in Jerusalem. He even profaned the Temple by abolishing the regular burnt offerings. These invaders even set up abominations in the Temple to make it a desolation.

They did not protect the sanctuary (Ezek 44:6-44:8)

“Say to the rebellious house!

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘O house of Israel!

Let there be an end

To all your abominations!

You admitted

Foreigners,

The uncircumcised in heart,

The uncircumcised in flesh,

To be in my sanctuary.

You profaned

My temple

When you offer to me

My food,

The fat,

With the blood.

You have broken

My covenant,

With all your abominations.

You have not kept charge

Of my sacred offerings!

But you have appointed

Foreigners

To act for you

In keeping my charge

In my sanctuary.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel about the past failures of the rebellious house of Israel. They had failed to protect his sanctuary. Yahweh wanted an end to all their abominations. They had been letting uncircumcised foreigners into his sanctuary. They had profaned Yahweh’s Temple, since they offered fat food with blood. They had broken his covenant with all their abominations. They even appointed foreigners to be in charge of the sacred offerings in his sanctuary.

The holy name of Yahweh (Ezek 39:7-39:7)

“‘I will make known

My holy name

Among my people Israel.

I will not let

My holy name

Be profaned anymore.

The nations

Shall know

That I am Yahweh,

The Holy One

In Israel.’”

There is no doubt that Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted to protect and make known this holy name, especially among the people of Israel, but also among the various nations. He did not want his holy name profaned anymore. In case there was any doubt, he was Yahweh, the holy one of Israel.

The protection of the holy name of Yahweh (Ezek 36:22-36:23)

“Therefore,

Say to

The house of Israel.

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘It is not for your sake,

O house of Israel!

That I am about to act,

But for the sake

Of my holy name.

You have profaned it

Among the nations

To which you came.

I will sanctify

My great name.

You have profaned it

Among the nations.’

Says Yahweh God!

‘The nations will know

That I am Yahweh,

When through you,

I display my holiness

Before their eyes.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, explained to the house of Israel that he was acting to protect his own name. It was not for their own sake, but for his good reputation that he was about to bring them back from wherever they were scattered. Yahweh was going to sanctify his great name that had been profaned among the various nations. These various countries would know that he was Yahweh God, when he displayed his great holiness through the Israelites.

Exposed iniquities of the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:17-28:19)

“Your heart was proud

Because of your beauty.

You corrupted

Your wisdom

For the sake

Of your splendor.

I cast you

To the ground.

I exposed you

Before kings,

To feast their eyes

On you.

By the multitude

Of your iniquities,

In the unrighteousness

Of your trade,

You profaned

Your sanctuaries.

Thus I brought out fire

From within you.

It consumed you.

I turned you

To ashes

On the earth,

In the sight

Of all who saw you.

All who know you

Among the people

Are appalled at you.

You have come

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more

Forever.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had a strong condemnation of Tyre and its king. The king of Tyre had become proud because of his beauty. His great trade wisdom had become corrupt. Yahweh cast them down, despite their splendor. He exposed them before other kings and people. Everyone was able to see the multitude of their iniquities and their unrighteous trade practices. Tyre had profaned their own sanctuaries. Yahweh then brought fire to consume them. He turned them into ashes on the ground in the sight of everyone, so that everyone was appalled at the dreadful end of Tyre, who would not exist anymore. However, Tyre did continue to exist.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.