The conversation about measuring Jerusalem (Zech 2:2-2:5)

“Then I said.

‘Where are you going?’

He answered me.

‘To measure Jerusalem!

To see what is its width!

To see what is its length!’

Then the angel,

Who talked with me,

Came forward.

Another angel

Also came forward

To meet him.

He said to him.

‘Run!

Say to that young man!

Jerusalem shall be inhabited

Like villages without walls,

Because of the multitude

Of people,

As well as animals

In it.’

‘I will be

A wall of fire

All around it.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will be the glory

within it.’”

Zechariah then questioned the man with the measuring cord in his hand.  He responded that he was going to measure Jerusalem to find out its width and length.  The angel that had been talking to Zechariah heard from another angel that the new Jerusalem would not need walls, because so many people and animals would be there.  Instead, Yahweh would provide protection with a wall of fire all around it, like a ring of fire.  Yahweh was going to bring glory to Jerusalem, because he was going to bring his glory to Jerusalem.

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 defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:3-51:4)

“Let not the archer

Bend his bow!

Let him not array himself

In his coat of mail!

Do not spare

Her young men!

Utterly destroy

Her entire army!

They shall fall down slain

In the land

Of the Chaldeans,

Wounded

In her streets.”

In this battle with Babylon, the Babylonian archers with their bows and arrows would be useless. Those who put on armored coats of mail would also find little protection. The invaders were to utterly destroy the young men and the army of the Babylonians. They were to defeat the Chaldeans in their own streets, even letting the wounded ones lay there.

Johanan asks Jeremiah for help (Jer 42:1-42:3)

“Then all the commanders

Of the forces,

With Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

Also with Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

All the people,

From the least

To the greatest,

Approached

The prophet Jeremiah.

They said to him.

‘Be good enough

To listen

To our plea!

Pray to Yahweh!

Your God!

For us!

For all this remnant!

There are only a few

Of us left

Out of the many,

As you can see.

Let Yahweh

Your God

Show us

Where we should go!

What we should do!’”

Apparently this small group of Judeans, with the leaders Johanan and Azariah decided to approach Jeremiah. As he had been released to the protection of Governor Gedaliah, he probably was at Mizpah while the attack of Ishmael had taken place. Thus he was with the freed group at Gibeon. Interesting enough, they referred to Yahweh as Jeremiah’s God not their God. They wanted Jeremiah to intercede for them with Yahweh, as Moses had done centuries earlier. They were only a small group or remnant of what had been many people. They wanted to know where they should go and what to do. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 49 and 50, not chapter 42 as here.

The shame of Israel (Jer 2:26-2:28)

“As a thief is shamed when caught,

So the house of Israel shall be shamed.

Their kings shall be shamed.

Their princes shall be shamed.

Their priests shall be shamed.

Their prophets shall be shamed.

Who says to a tree?

‘You are my father.’

Who says to a stone?

‘You gave me birth.’

They have turned their backs to me.

They have not turned their faces to me.

But in the time of their trouble,

They say.

‘Arise!

Save us!’

But where are your gods

That you made for yourself?

Let them come!

See if they can save you

In your time of trouble.

You have as many gods

As you have towns!

O Judah!”

Jeremiah says that the house of Israel should be shamed like a thief who gets caught. This shame includes their kings, officials, priests, and prophets. Think of this, these people were saying to a tree, you are my father. They were saying to a stone that they were born from a stone. They turned their backs on Yahweh, since they would not show their face to him. However, whenever there was a problem, they would come running to Yahweh, asking him to come and save them. Where were their gods that they had made? Let them come and save them. However, they had as many gods as there were towns. Each town in Judah had their own little god image for protection.

The weapons of the new Jerusalem (Isa 54:16-54:17)

“‘See!

It is I!

I have created the smith

Who blows the fire of coals.

He produces a weapon

Fit for its purpose.

I have also created the ravager

To destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned

Against you

Shall prosper.

You shall confute every tongue

That rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh

Their vindication is from me.’

So says Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh explain his position about the arms and protection of Jerusalem. Yahweh has created the blacksmiths who stand before the blast furnaces creating these weapons of destruction. He has also created the people who oppose them. No weapon will be successful against the Israelites. They will also have to fight off verbal aggression that would arise against them. These servants of Yahweh are his heritage, so that he will vindicate them.

Against the messengers sent to Egypt (Isa 30:1-30:5)

“‘Woe to you!

Rebellious children!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You carry out a plan,

But it is not mine.

You make an alliance,

But it is against my will.

You are adding sin to sin!

You set out to go down to Egypt,

Without asking for my counsel!

You want to take refuge

In the protection of Pharaoh!

You want to seek shelter

In the shadow of Egypt!

Therefore the protection of Pharaoh

Shall become your shame.

The shelter in the shadow of Egypt

Shall become your humiliation.

Even though his officials are at Zoan,

Even though his envoys reach Hanes,

Everyone will come to shame.

They are a people

That cannot profit them.

They can bring

Neither help nor profit.

They can only bring shame and disgrace.’”

This is an oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, against sending messengers to Egypt to ask for help against Assyria around 703-701 BCE. These messengers were not from Yahweh. They were in fact rebelling against the will of Yahweh, so that they were only adding sin to sin. They went to Egypt without seeking the guidance of Yahweh, since they wanted to take refuge under the shadow and protection of the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, this protections will become their shame and humiliation. Even though these messengers are in the 2 Egyptian delta cities of Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, everyone will be shamed. They will not get help, profit, or protection, but only shame and disgrace for this action.