Against Edom (Mal 1:3-1:5)

“‘But I have hated Esau.

I have made

His hill country

A desolation.

I have made

His heritage

A desert for jackals.’

If Edom says.

‘We are shattered,

But we will rebuild the ruins.’

Yahweh of hosts says.

‘They may build,

But I will tear down,

Until they are called

The wicked country.

Yahweh is angry forever

With those people.’

Your own eyes shall see this.

You shall say.

‘Great is Yahweh,

Beyond the border of Israel!’”

Edom was considered the land where Esau had settled.  Thus, Yahweh hated Edom.  He had made their hill country a desolation.  Their heritage was like a desert of wild jackals.  Even if they wanted to rebuild their ruins, Yahweh would tear it down, because they were a wicked country.  Yahweh was angry with them forever.  Their own eyes had seen that Yahweh was great, even beyond the borders of Israel.

Advertisements

Rebuild the ruined house (Hag 1:3-1:4)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came

By the prophet Haggai.

‘Is it a time

For you yourselves

To live

In your paneled houses,

While this house

Lies in ruins?’”

Yahweh, via Haggai, asked the question about the right time to rebuild the house of Yahweh, the Temple.  He wanted to know why they were so happy in their own paneled houses when the Temple was still in ruins since 587 BCE.

Restoration of the people of Israel (Am 9:13-9:15)

“Says Yahweh.

‘The time is surely coming

When the one who plows

Shall overtake

The one who reaps.

When the one who treads grapes

Shall overtake

The one who sows the seed.

The mountains shall drip

Sweet wine.

All the hills

Shall flow with it.

I will restore

The fortunes

Of my people Israel.

They shall rebuild

The ruined cities.

They shall

Inhabit them.

They shall

Plant vineyards.

They shall

Drink their wine.

They shall

Make gardens.

They shall

Eat their fruit.

I will plant them

Upon their land.

They shall never again

Be plucked up

Out of the land

That I have given them.’

Says Yahweh

Your God.”

This later oracle of Yahweh assumed that the Israelites had been taken from their land in captivity.  However, in this restoration, those plowing would be greater than those reaping.  Those who treaded the grapes would be more than those sowing the seeds.  There would be abundance and hope all around.  The mountains and hills would drip and flow with abundant sweet wine.  The Israelites would have their fortunes restored, so that they would rebuild their cities and inhabit them.  They would plant vineyards and drink wine.  They would plant gardens with lots of fruit.  These Israelites would be planted on their own land, never to be plucked away again.

The restoration of fortunes (Jer 30:18-30:21)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to restore the fortunes

Of the tents of Jacob.

I have compassion

On their dwellings.

The city shall be rebuilt

Upon its mound.

The citadel shall set on

Its rightful site.

Out of them shall come

Songs of thanksgiving,

With the sound of merrymakers.

I will multiply them.

They shall not be few.

I will make them honored.

They shall not be disdained.

Their children shall be as of old.

Their congregation

Shall be established before me.

I will punish all

Who oppress them.

Their prince

Shall be one of their own.

Their ruler

Shall come from their own midst.

I will make him draw near.

They shall approach me.

Who would otherwise dare

To approach me?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will restore the fortunes of the Israelites, the tents of Jacob. He was going to have compassion on their buildings and their cities. Thus, they would rebuild over the original rubble, which was the custom at that time. Then they would be able to come with songs of thanksgiving and voices of merrymakers. The Israelites would flourish. They would become numerous and honored, not disdained. Their children would be like in the good old days. Their congregation would hold Yahweh as special. Thus, anyone who oppressed them, Yahweh would punish. They would have their own princes and rulers from their own groups, not outsiders or foreigners telling them what to do. They would be near and approach Yahweh. Let the good times roll!

Foreigners building Jerusalem (Isa 60:10-60:12)

“Foreigners shall build up your walls.

Their kings shall minister to you.

In my wrath,

I struck you down.

But in my favor,

I have had mercy on you.

Your gates shall always be open.

Day and night,

They shall not be shut.

Thus nations shall bring you

Their wealth.

Their kings will lead in procession.

The nation that will not serve you

Shall perish.

The kingdom that will not serve you

Shall perish.

Those nations

Shall be utterly laid waste.”

Apparently, Jerusalem will be so rich that foreigners will build or rebuild Jerusalem. Kings would minister to them. Just as Yahweh struck down Jerusalem in his anger, so in his favor he had mercy on them. The gates of Jerusalem were to be open all the time, both day and night. Everyone would bring their wealth to Jerusalem with the various kings leading the processions there. However, those nations and kings that were not going to serve Jerusalem would be utterly wiped out and perish. Cooperate or die!

Good conduct (Isa 58:9-58:12)

“If you remove the yoke

From among you,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you remove the pointing of the finger,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you stop speaking of evil,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you offer your food to the hungry,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

If you satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

Then your light shall rise in the darkness.

Your gloom will be

Like the noonday.

Yahweh will guide you continually.

He will satisfy your needs in parched places.

He will make your bones strong.

You shall be

Like a watered garden,

Like a spring of water,

Whose waters do not fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt.

You shall raise up

The foundations of many generations.

You shall be called

The repairer of the breach,

The restorer of streets to live in.”

Third Isaiah points out how the Israelites could become the light in the darkness. They had to remove the yoke from those around them. They had to stop pointing their fingers in a derisive contemptuous way. They had to stop speaking evil. Instead they should offer their food to the hungry and help the afflicted. Gloom could be turned to a noonday sun. Yahweh would guide them continually as their needs would be satisfied. Their bones would grow strong. They would become like watered gardens or unfailing spring waters. They were to rebuild the ancient ruins, thus becoming the foundation for many generations to come. They will be known as those who repaired the streets after the Exile in Jerusalem.

The vengeance of Yahweh against Israel (Isa 9:8-9:12)

“Yahweh has sent a word

Against Jacob.

It fell on Israel.

All the people knew it.

Ephraim with the inhabitants of Samaria

In pride with arrogance of heart,

They said.

‘The bricks have fallen.

But we will build

With dressed stones.

The sycamores have been cut down.

But we will put cedars in their place.’

Thus Yahweh raised adversaries

Against them.

He stirred up their enemies.

The Syrians were on the east.

The Philistines were on the west.

They devoured Israel

With an open mouth.

For all this,

His anger has not turned away.

His hand is still stretched out.”

This poem shows how Israel in the north is being devastated by the Philistines on the west coast and Syrians to the northeast. Yahweh sent his word of vengeance on them via these invaders. The people of Samaria and the whole territory of Ephraim knew it was coming. Nevertheless their pride and their arrogance told them not to worry. Although bricks of ordinary houses were falling and sycamores were chopped down, they contended that they would rebuild with fine stones and fine cedar wood in place of them, so that the new houses would be more like palaces. Yahweh, the Lord, stirred up their enemies so that they devoured the northern territory of Israel. Yahweh had stretched out his hand against them and he continued to do so up to the present time. This refrain will be repeated twice more in the next few sections. The various 8th century BCE disputes between Judah and Israel, as well as between Israel with the Syrians can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 14-17, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 25-28.