The repentance in the exile (Bar 2:32-2:35)

“‘The Israelites

Will praise me

In the land

Of their exile.

They will remember

My name.

They will turn

From their stubbornness.

They will turn

From their wicked deeds.

They will remember

The ways of their ancestors,

Who sinned

Before the Lord.

I will bring them again

Into the land

That I swore

To give to their ancestors,

To Abraham,

To Isaac,

To Jacob.

They will rule

Over it.

I will increase them.

They will not be diminished.

I will make

An everlasting covenant

With them

To be their God.

They shall be my people.

I will never again

Remove

My people Israel

From the land

That I have given them.’”

Baruch recounts what Yahweh via Moses said to the people about their repentance during the exile. The Israelites would praise him in their exile country as they would remember the name of Yahweh. They would turn from their stubbornness and wicked deeds. They would remember how their ancestors had sinned. Yahweh was going to again bring them into the land that he promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There they would rule in this land as they increased, not diminished, with an everlasting covenant. He would be their God. They would be his people.  He would never again remove them from the land that he had given them. We will see how that works out.

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.

Yahweh predicts the death of Hananiah (Jer 28:16-28:16)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to send you

Off the face of the earth.

Within this year

You will be dead.

Because you have spoken

Rebellion

Against Yahweh.’”

Yahweh was clear. He told Hananiah that he was going to remove him from the face of the earth during the next year. Hananiah was going to die, because he had spoken about rebelling against Yahweh, a very serious crime.

The return to Yahweh (Jer 4:1-4:2)

“‘If you return!

O Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘If you return to me!

If you remove your abominations

From my presence!

If you do not waver!

If you swear!

‘As Yahweh lives!’

In truth,

In justice,

In uprightness,

Then nations shall be blessed

By him.

They shall boast

By him.’”

Would Israel return to Yahweh? Yahweh sets down some conditions. They would have to remove their abomination idol statues from his presence. They would have to not waver. They had to swear that Yahweh lives. If this was done in truth, justice, and uprightness, then the nations would be blessed by him. Then they could boast in Yahweh.

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.

Jacob will be forgiven (Isa 27:6-27:9)

“In days to come,

Jacob shall take root.

Israel shall blossom.

Israel shall put forth shoots.

They will fill the whole world

With fruit.

Has he struck them down

As he struck those

Who struck them?

Or have they been killed

As their killers

Were killed?

By expulsion,

By exile,

You struggled against them.

He removed them

With his fierce blast

In the day of the east wind.

Therefore by this

The guilt of Jacob will be expiated.

This will be the full fruit

Of the removal of his sin.

When he makes all the stones of the altars

Like chalkstones

Crushed to pieces.

No sacred poles will remain standing.

No incense altars will remain standing.”

In some future date, not specified, Jacob or Israel will take root and blossom with many sprouts so that its fruits will be all over the world. Yahweh has struck down and killed those who had struck and killed the Israelites. Thus this appears to be a post-exilic comment. However, the punishment for Israel had been merely banishment or exile via the powerful wind of the Near Eastern powers. That punishment was enough for them to remove the guilt of their sins. Now, however, he was going to remove all those sacred poles and stone altars of incense to the false idol gods. These worship places were to be crushed to pieces like stones or chalk.

The ruin of the vineyard (Isa 5:5-5:6)

“Now I will tell you

What I will do

To my vineyard.

I will remove its hedge.

It shall be devoured.

I will break down its wall.

It shall be trampled down.

I will make it a waste.

It shall not be pruned.

It shall not be hoed.

It shall be overgrown

With briers.

It shall be overgrown

With thorns.

I will also command the clouds

That they rain no rain upon it.”

Now Isaiah carries this metaphor forward. What should he do with this wild grape vineyard? He decided to remove the hedges and walls that protected this vineyard from other animals and wild growth. He wanted this vineyard to be devoured and trampled on, so that it would go to waste. He was not going to prune or hoe it. He wanted it to be overgrown with wild briers and thorns. He even was going so far as to command the clouds not to rain on this vineyard. That was a stretch.

The loss of many people at Jerusalem (Isa 3:1-3:3)

“Now

The Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts,

Takes away from Jerusalem

Support.

He takes away from Judah

Staff.

He takes away

All support of bread.

He takes away

All support of water.

He takes away

The warrior,

The soldier,

The judge,

The prophet,

The diviner,

The elder,

The captain of fifty,

The dignitaries,

The counselor,

The skilful magician,

And the expert charmer.”

Isaiah talks about the day when Jerusalem will lose many of its people. Yahweh will take away from Jerusalem and Judah all its support and staff, as well as its bread and water. He will take away all the important people of Jerusalem. Thus Yahweh will remove the warriors, the soldiers, the judges, the prophets, the elders, the captains of the fifty, the counselors, and the dignitaries. Interesting enough, there must have been some of those dreaded people like the diviners, the skilful magicians, and the expert charmers, since he was going to remove them also.

The Lord’s actions against pride (Sir 10:13-10:18)

“Therefore the Lord brings upon them

Unheard of calamities.

He destroys them completely.

The Lord overthrows

The thrones of rulers.

He enthrones

The lowly in their place.

The Lord plucks up

The roots of the nations.

He plants the humble

In their place.

The Lord lays waste

The lands of the nations.

He destroys them

To the foundations of the earth.

He removes some of them.

He destroys them.

He erases the memory of them

From the earth.

Pride was not created

For human beings.

Violent anger was not

For those born of women.”

There will be consequences for pride because the Lord will act. The prideful ones will have many afflictions and unheard of calamities. The Lord will destroy them completely. He will overthrow the proud rulers and put humble ones in their place. He will root out nations and have humble ones replace them. He will lay waste to the lands of the proud, destroying them to their foundations. He will remove some and destroy others. Their memory will be erased from this earth. Humans were not created for pride or violent anger.

Job thought that God was too busy for the poor (Job 24:1-24:9)

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty Shaddai?

Why do those who know him never see his days?

The wicked remove landmarks.

They seize flocks and pasture them.

They drive away the donkey of the orphan.

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

They thrust the needy off the road.

The poor of the earth all hide themselves.

Like wild asses in the desert

They go out to their toil.

They scavenge in the wasteland food for their young.

They reap in a field not their own.

They glean in the vineyard of the wicked.

They lie all night naked,

Without clothing.

They have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the rain of the mountains.

They cling to the rock for want of shelter.”

Job seemed to imply that God was too busy to care about the poor. Job contrasted the ways of the rich and the poor. The day of the Lord never seemed to come. Instead the wicked remove landmarks or steal land, steal flocks, drive away with donkeys and oxen. They were stealing property from others. The poor are sent into hiding. They have to scavenge for their children’s food, work in other people’s fields, and glean or pick up the left over harvest items in the vineyard. They have no clothing to protect them from the cold and the wet. Their housing was rocks and caves.