The dome overhead (Ezek 1:22-1:23)

“Over the heads

Of the living creatures

There was something

Like a dome,

Shining

Like crystal,

Spread out

Above their heads.

Under the dome,

Their wings

Were stretched out straight,

One toward another.

Each of the creatures

Had two wings

Covering its body.”

There was a shining dome like a crystal chandelier over the heads of these creatures. This dome was reminiscent of the dome or firmament in the creation story of Genesis, chapter 1. Under this dome, the wings of these creatures were stretched out straight, facing each other. Each of these 4 creatures had 2 wings covering their bodies. Now, in some places there is a mention of each creature having 4 wings, as if 2 wings reached out to others.

The Moses speech (Bar 2:29-2:31)

“‘If you will not obey

My voice,

This very great multitude

Will surely turn

Into a small number

Among the nations,

Where I will scatter them.

I know that they will not

Obey me.

They are a stiff-necked people.

But in the land of their exile

They will come to themselves.

They will know

That I am

The Lord their God.

I will give them

A heart

That obeys.

I will give them

Ears that hear.’”

This is reminiscent of the end of chapter 28 in Deuteronomy. There was no explicit mention of an exile in that chapter. However in chapter 30, there was a call to return from the scattered countries. The Israelites were to obey the voice of Yahweh. Otherwise this great multitude would become a small number of people among many nations, since they were going to be scattered. Moses and Yahweh knew that the Israelites would not obey the Mosaic Law because they were a stiff-necked people. However, they would discover themselves in the land of their exile. This happens a lot. When separated from their basic culture, people tend to re-discover all the great things of their original culture that they had overlooked. The Israelites would come to realize that Yahweh was their true God. Thus Yahweh would give them an obeying heart and hearing ears so that they would be more attentive to him.

The lost hunted one (Lam 3:52-3:54)

Cade

“My enemies,

Without cause,

Have hunted me

Like a bird.

They flung me

Alive

Into a pit.

They hurled stones

On me.

Water closed

Over my head.

I said.

‘I am lost.’”

This personal story continues. The author’s enemies have hunted him down like a bird, even though there was no reason to do so. They have flung him alive into a pit and threw stones over him. Then water closed over his head in this pit. He finally said that he was lost with no way out. This is reminiscent of Jeremiah in the cistern well under King Zedekiah in Jeremiah, chapter 38. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Cade in this acrostic poem.

Jeremiah in the muddy cistern (Jer 38:6-38:6)

“Thus the officials

Took Jeremiah.

They threw him

Into the cistern of Malchiah,

The king’s son.

This was

In the court of the guard.

They let Jeremiah down

By ropes.

There was no water

In the cistern,

But only mud.

Thus Jeremiah sank

In the mud.”

These officials, with the blessing of the king, went and took Jeremiah. They threw him down into a well or cistern that was called Malchiah, after the name of some king’s son. There is no indication that it was the son of King Zedekiah. However, this well was in the court of the guard, or where this royal prison was. They then let Jeremiah down into the cistern with ropes, instead of throwing him down. This indicates that there were no steps or ladder to get up. They probably meant for him to starve to death. This is somewhat reminiscent of the brothers of Joseph who wanted to throw him into a well in Genesis, chapter 37, so that they would not have his blood on their hands. This well, however, had very little if any water. It really was a mud hole that Jeremiah sank into.

The horrible city (Jer 19:8-19:8)

“I will make this city

A horror,

A thing to be hissed at.

Everyone who passes by it

Will be horrified.

They will hiss

Because of all its disasters.”

This is somewhat reminiscent of chapter 18. Their city would become horrible. People would shake their heads and hiss, as they pass by, because of all the disasters there.

The glory of Yahweh at Jerusalem (Isa 60:1-60:3)

“Arise!

Shine!

Your light has come!

The glory of Yahweh

Has risen upon you.

Darkness shall cover the earth.

A thick darkness shall cover the people.

But Yahweh will arise above you.

His glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come

To your light.

Kings shall come

To the brightness of your dawn.”

Now here are a series of poems that are reminiscent of Second Isaiah and the Book of Consolation. The theme is the restoration of Jerusalem in all its glory. The glory of Yahweh has Jerusalem wake up and shine. Although darkness will cover the earth and its entire people, Yahweh will make his light shine. Thus nations and kings will come to Jerusalem because of its bright dawn light.

The Qumran prayer of thanksgiving (Sir 51:13-51:20)

“Give thanks to the good Lord!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of praises!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the guardian of Israel!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who formed all things!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the redeemer of Israel!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who gathers the dispersed of Israel!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who rebuilt his city and sanctuary!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who makes a horn to sprout

For the house of David!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who had chosen the sons of Zadok

To be priests!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the shield of Abraham!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the rock of Isaac!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the mighty one of Jacob!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to him who has chosen Zion!

His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the King of the kings of kings!

His mercy endures forever.

He has raised up a horn for his people.

Praise for all his loyal ones.

The children of Israel praise the Lord!

The people close to him praise the Lord!”

This is called the Qumran hymn of thanksgiving because this Hebrew hymn was found in a Qumran cave there, but not in the Greek text. It is very reminiscent of Psalm 136, with the repeated chant of “his mercy endures forever.” However, they are thankful for other things than in Psalm 136. Obviously the Lord is good and merciful. The Lord is the guardian and redeemer of Israel who formed all things. However, he now has gathered the dispersed Israelites. He has rebuilt the Temple and the sanctuary. He has protected the royal sprout of David, but also the priestly sons of Zadok. The Lord also gave the shield of Abraham, the rock of Isaac, and the mighty Jacob. He chose Zion for the king of kings. He raised up a horn of plenty for his people and those loyal to him. Thus the children of Israel and those close to him should praise the Lord.