Justice and sacrificial offerings (Mic 6:6-6:8)

“‘With what shall I come

Before Yahweh?

Shall I bow myself

Before God on high?

Shall I come before him

With burnt offerings?

Shall I come before him

With calves a year old?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With thousands of rams?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I give

My first-born

For my transgression?

Shall I give

The fruit of my body

For the sin of my soul?’

O mortal!

He has showed you

What is good!

What does Yahweh

Require of you?

But you are

To do justice,

To love kindness,

To walk humbly

With your God!”

Yahweh, via Micah, once again showed the relationship between worship and justice.  Much like the written prophets, Amos, chapter 5, Hosea, chapter 2, and Isaiah, chapters 7 and 30, the emphasis was on justice over sacrificial gifts.  Micah asked what kind of gifts he should bring to Yahweh, the high God.  Would Yahweh be happy with burnt offerings of one-year old calves?  Would 1,000 rams please him?  Would 10,000 rivers of oil be enough for Yahweh?  Should he offer up his firstborn son to save his soul?  Micah pointed out what Yahweh required.  Yahweh wanted them to do justice and love kindness.  Very simply, they were to walk humbly with their God, Yahweh.

The spiritual worship (Dan 3:16-3:17)

“Yet with a contrite heart,

With a humble spirit,

May we be accepted,

As though it were

With burnt offerings

Of rams,

Of bulls,

With tens of thousands

Of fat lambs!

Such may our sacrifice be

In your sight,

Today!

May we unreservedly

Follow you!

No shame

Will come

To those

Who trust in you!”

Thus, Azariah pointed out that their religion must become more spiritual than cultic, without a Temple to offer sacrifices. With a contrite heart and humble spirit, Azariah asked that his attitude might take the place of the cultic burnt offerings of rams, bulls, and lambs. He wanted his attitude to be the equivalent of ritual sacrifices. He did not want shame to come to those who trusted in God and followed his commandments. This is a clear movement away from the ritual temple worship.

Eat and drink well (Ezek 39:18-39:20)

“‘You shall eat

The flesh

Of the mighty!

You shall drink

The blood

Of the princes

Of the earth!

You shall eat

Rams,

Lambs,

Goats,

Bulls,

All of them fatlings

Of Bashan.

You shall eat fat

Until you are filled.

You shall drink blood

Until you are drunk.

I am preparing

This sacrificial feast

For you.

You shall be filled

At my table

With horses,

With charioteers,

With warriors,

With all kinds of soldiers.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What were they going to do at this great festival? Yahweh God said that they were going to eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the earthly princes in some symbolic way. However, they were also going to have some real food with rams, lambs, goats, and bulls from the great grazing land on the east side of the Jordan River in Bashan. They were going to eat until they were full and drink until they were drunk. Gluttony and drunkenness was not a problem since Yahweh was preparing this sacrificial feast for them. With them at the table would be horses, charioteers, warriors, and all kinds of soldiers. However, I don’t know why.

Arabia (Ezek 27:21-27:21)

“Arabia,

With all the princes

Of Kedar,

Were your favored dealers

In lambs,

Rams,

Goats.

They did business

With you

In these things.”

The princes of the Arabian Peninsula were the favorite trading partners of Tyre as regards livestock, especially lambs, rams, and goats. The princes of Kedar referred to those dark skinned Arabs who were descendants of Ishmael that lived in the northwestern section of the Arabian Peninsula.

The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:38-51:40)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

The vengeance on Babylon (Jer 51:34-51:37)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

 

The sword of Yahweh on Edom (Isa 34:5-34:7)

“When my sword has drunk

Its fill in the heavens,

It will descend upon Edom.

My sword will descend

Upon the people I have doomed.

Yahweh has a sword.

It is sated with blood,

With the blood of lambs,

With the blood of goats.

It is gorged with fat,

With the fat of the kidneys of rams.

Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah.

There was a great slaughter

In the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall fall with them.

Young steers shall fall with them.

Mighty bulls shall fall with them.

Their land shall be soaked with blood.

Their soil made rich with fat.”

Isaiah has Yahweh talk about his sword that was going to descend on the country of Edom, southeast of Judah, where the twin brother of Jacob, Esau, had settled as in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh’s heavenly sword would fall upon the doomed country of Edom. This sword would be full of blood from goats and rams as well as fat from their kidneys. There was going to be a great sacrificial slaughter in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom. There was going to be such a sacrifice of oxen, steers, and bulls that the land would be soaked with blood and fat so that the soil would become rich.