The destruction of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:6-25:7)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘You have clapped

Your hands.

You have stamped

Your feet.

You have rejoiced

With all the malice

Within you

Against the land of Israel.

Therefore,

I have stretched out

My hand

Against you.

I will hand you over

As plunder

To the nations.

I will cut you off

From the people.

I will make you

Perish

Out of the countries.

I will destroy you.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the Ammonites had maliciously clapped their hands and stamped their feet in rejoicing over the bad situation of Israel. Thus Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against these Ammonites. He was going to make them plunder for the various nations, since they would be cut you off from all the other countries. They were going to perish because Yahweh was going to destroy them. Thus they would finally realize that Yahweh was God. Unlike Jeremiah, there was no mention of a future restoration for Ammon.

The return of the exiles (Bar 5:5-5:9)

“Arise!

O Jerusalem!

Stand upon the height!

Look toward the east! See your children

Gathered from the west,

Gathered from the east, At the word

Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing

That God has remembered them. They went out from you

On foot.

They were led away

By their enemies.

But God will bring them

Back to you.

They will be carried in glory

As on a royal throne.

God has ordered

That every high mountain

With the everlasting hills

Will be made low.

The valleys will be filled up

To make level ground.

Thus Israel may walk safely

In the glory of God.

The woods

With every fragrant tree

Have shaded Israel

At God’s command.

God will lead Israel with joy,

In the light of his glory,

With the mercy,

With the righteousness

That comes from him.”

This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.

The return of the exiles (Bar 4:36-4:37)

“Look toward the east!

O Jerusalem!

See the joy

That is coming

To you

From God!

Look!

Your children

Are coming!

Those you sent away

Are coming.

They are gathered

From the east,

From the west,

At the word

Of the Holy One,

Rejoicing

In the glory

Of God.”

Jerusalem was to look to the east to see the joy of those coming back to Jerusalem. The children, who were sent away, are now returning to this holy city. They are being gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, not Yahweh. They are rejoicing in the glory of God.

The taunt against Babylon (Jer 50:11-50:13)

“‘Though you rejoice,

Though you exult,

O plunderers of my heritage,

Though you frisk about

Like a heifer

On the grass,

Though you neigh

Like stallions,

Your mother

Shall be utterly shamed.

She who bore you

Shall be disgraced.

O!

She shall be

The last of the nations,

A wilderness,

A dry land,

A desert.

Because of the wrath

Of Yahweh,

She shall not be inhabited.

But she shall be

An utter desolation.

Everyone who passes

By Babylon

Shall be appalled.

They will hiss

Because of all her wounds.”

Then Yahweh via Jeremiah taunted Babylon, by indicating how they thought that they were superior with their plundering and rejoicing. They were like young heifers and stallions doing whatever they wanted to do. Now their mothers will be shamed and disgraced. They will become the last of the countries, as their land will become a wilderness, a dry land, like a desert. The wrath of Yahweh will not be held back. Babylon will be deserted and become an utter desolation. Everyone who passes by her will be appalled. They will hiss at all the wounds that they would see.

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

The happy reunion (Isa 60:4-60:5)

“Lift up your eyes!

Look around!

They all gather together.

They come to you.

Your sons

Shall come from far away.

Your daughters

Shall be carried on their nurse’s arms.

Then you shall see.

You shall be radiant.

Your heart shall thrill.

Your heart shall rejoice.

Because the abundance of the sea

Shall be brought to you.

The wealth of the nations

Shall come to you.”

Jerusalem should lift up its eyes. They should look around and see all the people coming together. Their sons were coming from far away. Their daughters were being carried by their nurses. There will be rejoicing because of the abundance of the sea and the wealth that they are bringing back to Jerusalem.

The son replaces the father (Sir 30:4-30:6)

“When the father dies,

He will not seem to be dead.

Because he has left behind him

One like himself.

While alive

He was looked upon

With joy.

At death,

There is no grief.

He has left behind him

An avenger

Against his enemies.

He has left behind him

One to repay

The kindness of his friends.”

When the father dies, it will not seem like he died, since his son will be like him. Although there was rejoicing in life, there is no grief at death. His son will be an avenger of his enemies and be kind to his friends. Once again Sirach has this repeated theme of friends and enemies.