Punishment for forgetting Yahweh (Hos 13:6-13:8)

“When I fed them,

They were satisfied.

They were satisfied,

So that

Their heart was proud.

Therefore,

They forgot me.

So,

I will become

Like a lion to them.

Like a leopard,

I will lurk

Beside the way.

I will fall upon them

Like a bear

Robbed of her cubs.

I will tear open

The covering

Of their heart.

I will devour them

Like a lion.

Just like a wild animal

Would mangle them.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, warned the Israelites that he had fed them. Once they were satisfied with food, they had become proud. They forgot all about Yahweh. Thus, he was going to become like a lion or leopard lurking along their paths. He would attack them, like a bear who had been robbed of cubs. He was going to tear open the covering around their hearts. He would devour them like a wild animal would mangle its prey. They had better watch out.

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The great pride of the king (Dan 4:28-4:30)

“All this came

Upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of twelve months,

He was walking

On the roof

Of the royal palace

Of Babylon.

The king said.

‘Is this not magnificent Babylon?

I have built it

As a royal capital

By my mighty power.

I have built it

For my glorious power.’”

It is not clear if anything ever happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. However, some Jewish writings talk about his son, King Nabonidus (556-539 BCE), having some mental problems for 7 years. Anyway, this writing simply said that all this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. One day, a year later after the interpretation of Daniel, the king was walking on his roof, looking out at his beautiful magnificent Babylon. He had built this mighty powerful capital for his own glorious power. He was really proud of what he had accomplished.

The fall of the tall cedar tree (Ezek 31:10-31:12)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The cedar tree

Towered high.

It set its top

Among the clouds.

Its heart

Was proud

Of its height.

I will give it

Into the hand

Of the prince

Of the nations.

He has dealt

With it,

As its wickedness deserves.

I have cast it out.

Foreigners,

From the most terrible

Of the nations,

Have cut it down.

They have left it.

Its branches

Have fallen

On the mountains.

In all the valleys.

Its boughs

Lie broken

In all the watercourses

Of the land.

All the people

Of the earth

Went away

From its shade.

They left it.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that this great cedar tree towered high, with its tree top in the clouds. This tree was proud in its heart of its height. Yahweh gave it to the prince of the nations, probably the king of Babylon, who dealt with it because of its wickedness. Yahweh was going to cast it out. Foreigners from the worst nations came and cut it down. They left it lying on the mountains and in the valleys. The fallen broken branches were on the ground and in small streams of water. Everybody went away from its shade, as they left this fallen tree alone.

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 pride of Moab (Jer 48:28-48:30)

“‘Leave the towns!

Live on the rocks!

O inhabitants of Moab!

Be like the dove

That nests On the sides

Of the mouth

Of a gorge!

We have heard

Of the pride of Moab.

He is very proud

Of his loftiness.

Of his pride,

Of his arrogance,

Of the haughtiness

Of his heart.

I myself know

His insolence.’

Says Yahweh.

‘His boasts are false.

His deeds are false.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, wants them to leave their towns and go live in the rocks and gorges. They should be like doves with their nests on the sides of mountains. The Moabites were very proud and arrogant, much like in Isaiah, chapter 16. They were, in fact, proud of their loftiness and haughtiness of heart. Yahweh personally knew about their insolence. They had both false boasts and false deeds.

The threat of the imminent exile (Jer 13:15-13:17)

“Hear!

Give ear!

Do not be haughty!

Yahweh has spoken.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before he brings darkness.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before your feet stumble

On the mountains at twilight.

While you look for light

He turns it into gloom.

He makes it deep darkness.

But if you will not listen,

My soul will weep in secret

For your pride.

My eyes will weep bitterly.

Tears will run down my cheeks

Because Yahweh’s flock

Has been taken captive.”

Jeremiah talks about an imminent captivity. They seem to have one last chance to listen to the words of Yahweh and not be proud. They would have to give glory to Yahweh, their God. Otherwise their feet would stumble as if they were on a mountain at twilight. The light was soon going to turn to darkness and gloom. If they did not listen to God, then Jeremiah would weep in secret because of their pride. He would weep bitterly with tears running down his cheeks, because they were going to be taken into captivity.

The rhetorical questions (Isa 10:15-10:15)

“Shall the axe vaunt itself

Over the one who wields it?

Can the saw magnify itself

Against the one who handles it?

Can the rod

Raise the one who lifts it up?

Can the staff

Lift the one who is not wood?”

Isaiah asks a series of rhetorical questions about the proud King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE) of Assyria. The axe cannot wield itself. Someone, like Yahweh, has to wield the axe, who is the king. A saw, like the king, will not work unless someone is making it work, like Yahweh. The rod by itself, the king, is useless unless Yahweh lifts it up for punishment. Can a staff of wood do anything without someone controlling it like Yahweh. Yahweh is controlling this proud king, but he thinks that he is in charge.