The king was angry (Mt 22:7-22:7)

“The king was angry.

He sent his troops.

He destroyed

Those murderers.

He burned

Their city.”

 

ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ὠργίσθη, καὶ πέμψας τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ ἀπώλεσεν τοὺς φονεῖς ἐκείνους καὶ τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν ἐνέπρησεν.

 

Well, yeah, the king was enraged and angry.  First, he invited them to his son’s wedding feast.  Then they would not come after two specific invitations.  Finally, they mistreated and killed his own slaves.  In the equivalent Luke parable, nobody died.  But Matthew has a different story.  Jesus said that he wanted revenge for the death of this king’s slaves.  This king was very angry, provoked, and irritated (ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ὠργίσθη).  He sent his army of troops (καὶ πέμψας τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ) to destroy those murderers (ἀπώλεσεν τοὺς φονεῖς ἐκείνους).  Then he burned down their city (καὶ τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν ἐνέπρησεν).  This destruction of the city may have been a veiled reference to the fall of Jerusalem.  Don’t mess with the king and his slaves!

Disaster for their ancestors (Zech 8:14-8:14)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Just as I purposed

To bring disaster upon you,

When your ancestors

Provoked me to wrath,

I did not relent.’”

Yahweh wanted to send disaster upon the present-day inhabitants of Jerusalem, because their ancestors had provoked him to anger.  Then he did not stop, because of their evil deeds.

The idol sacrifices in high places (Ezek 20:28-20:29)

“I had brought them

Into the land

That I swore

To give them.

Then wherever they saw

Any high hill

Or any leafy tree,

There they offered

Their sacrifices.

They presented

The provocation

Of their offering.

There they sent up

Their pleasing odors.

There they poured out

Their drink offerings.

I said to them.

What is the high place

To which you go?

It is called Bamah

To this day.”

Now Yahweh reminded them, via Ezekiel, that when he brought them into the land that he swore to give to their ancestors, they ran to every high hill or leafy tree. There they set up altars of sacrifice. They provoked Yahweh with their sacrifices. They presented their offerings with sweet smelling incense and drink offerings. This may have been some sort of Canaanite or Egyptian fertility rite, since they had not given up their old ways. There is a play on words as Yahweh wanted to know what this high place was called. Bamah meant a high place of worship that had been used by the Canaanites, but still existed at the time of Ezekiel.

The warnings against these abominations (Ezek 8:17-8:18)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Have you seen this?

O son of man!

Is it not bad enough

That the house of Judah

Commits the abominations

Done here?

Must they fill the land

With violence?

Must they provoke

My anger further?

See!

They put the branch

To their nose.

Therefore I will act

In wrath!

My eye will not spare!

I will not have pity!

Although they cry

In my hearing

With a loud voice,

I will not listen to them.’”

Then Yahweh warned Ezekiel again. Had he seen enough? The house of Judah committed all these abominations. On top of that, they filled the land with violence. They had provoked the anger of Yahweh. They even put branches in their noses as some kind of worship activity. Yahweh was going to act against them in his anger. He was not going to spare them or show any pity. Even if they cried very loudly, Yahweh was not going to listen to them. Their actions spoke louder than their words.

 

A reminder for Israel (Bar 4:5-4:8)

“Take courage!

My people!

You perpetuate

Israel’s name!

It was not

For destruction

That you were sold

To the nations.

But you were handed over

To your enemies

Because you angered

God.

You provoked the one

Who made you!

You sacrificed to demons,

Not to God!

You forgot

The everlasting God,

Who brought you up!

You grieved Jerusalem,

Who reared you.”

This reminder for Israel was for the people to have courage, since they were going to perpetuate the name of Israel. These Israelites had been sold to various nations, not to destroy them, but to punish them. They had been handed over to their enemies, because they had angered God. They had provoked their creator by sacrificing to demons, and not God. They had forgotten their everlasting God who brought them up. There was no mention of the name of Yahweh here. They had grieved Jerusalem, the city that had reared them. Once again there is a personification of Jerusalem that can feel pain.

The disaster in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:2-44:3)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You yourselves have seen

All the disaster

That I have brought

On Jerusalem,

As well as on all the towns

Of Judah.

Look at them!

Today they are a desolation.

No one lives in them.

Because of the wickedness

That they committed,

They provoked me to anger.

They went

To make offerings.

They served other gods

That they had not known,

Neither they,

Nor you,

Nor your ancestors.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Jeremiah, reminded them of the disaster in Jerusalem and Judah. They saw with their own eyes. No one lives there anymore because of the wickedness of the people who had lived there before. They had committed evil that provoked Yahweh to anger. They had made offerings and served other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors had ever known. Their big sin was offering and serving gods other than Yahweh.

The fault of the Israelites (Jer 32:30-32:33)

“‘The people of Israel!

The people of Judah!

They have done nothing

But evil

In my sight

From their youth.

The people of Israel

Have done nothing

But provoke me to anger

By the work of their hands.’

Says Yahweh.

‘This city has aroused

My anger,

My wrath,

From the day it was built

Until this day.

Thus I will remove it

From my sight.

Because of all the evil

Of the people of Israel,

Of the people of Judah.

They provoked me to anger.

This includes

Their kings,

Their officials,

Their priests,

Their prophets,

The citizens of Judah,

The inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They have turned

Their back to me.

They have not turned

Their face to me.

Even though

I have taught them persistently,

They would not listen.

They would not accept correction.’”

Yahweh includes both Israel and Judah in this diatribe against all the Israelites, since they have done nothing but evil since their youth. By the work of their hands, they have provoked Yahweh to anger. The city of Jerusalem also aroused his anger, since the day that it was built. Yahweh was going to remove it because of all the evil that they had done. No one would be exempt, since their kings, officials, priests, prophets, citizens, and inhabitants of both Judah and Jerusalem had turned their backs on Yahweh, not their faces to Yahweh.  He had tried to teach them persistently, but they would not listen and accept correction.