These false gods and robbers (Bar 6:57-6:58)

“Gods made of wood,

Overlaid

With silver

Or gold,

Are unable

To save themselves

From thieves

Or robbers.

Anyone,

Who can,

Will strip them

Of their gold

Or silver.

They will strip them

Of the robes

They wear.

They will go off

With this booty.

These gods

Will not be able

To help themselves.”

This author says that these wooden gods, overlaid with silver or gold, are unable to save themselves from thieves or robbers. Anyone can strip away their gold or silver. Anyone can take the robes that these gods wear. These robbers can vandalize and take things from these gods, because they are not able to help themselves.

Security in the foreign temples (Bar 6:18-6:19)

“Just as the gates

Are shut

On every side

Against anyone

Who has offended a king,

As though under sentence

Of death,

So the priests make

Their temples secure

With doors,

With locks,

With bars,

So that they may not be

Plundered

By robbers.

They light more lamps

For them

Than they light for themselves,

Even though their gods

Can see none of them.”

In an interesting bit of irony, this author points out that the foreign temples have a lot of security, as if the temples were in prison. These temples are like someone who has offended a king. They have gates on all sides of them, as if they are awaiting a death sentence. Their temple priests have secured their temples with doors, locks, and bars because they are afraid that robbers will come into the temple and steal things from it. They have so much light in the temple for themselves, rather than for their gods who cannot see anything anyway, with or without light.

The useless gods (Bar 6:12-6:18)

“These gods

Cannot save themselves

From rust.

They cannot save themselves

From corrosion.

When they have been dressed

In purple robes,

Their faces are wiped

Because the dust

From the temple

Is thick upon them.

One of them

Holds a scepter

Like a district judge.

But he is unable

To destroy

Anyone who offends him.

Another has a dagger

In his right hand.

Another has an axe.

But these gods cannot

Defend themselves

From war

Or robbers.

From this,

It is evident

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!

Just as someone’s dish

Is useless

When it is broken,

So are their gods

When they have been

Set up in the temples.

Their eyes are full

Of the dust

Raised by the feet

Of those who enter.”

This author says that these gods cannot save themselves from rust or corrosion. Even when they have been dressed in purple robes, someone has to wipe their faces because of the thick dust from the temple. If they have a scepter like a district judge, they are unable to destroy anyone who offends them. If they have a dagger or an axe, they cannot defend themselves from war or robbers. It is quite evident that these useless colorful idols are not gods at all. So there is nothing to fear from them. They are like useless broken dishes.

The wicked scoundrels (Jer 5:26-5:29)

“‘Wicked scoundrels are

Found among my people.

They take over

The goods of others.

They lurk

Like fowlers,

They set a trap.

They catch human beings.

Like a cage full of birds,

Their houses are full of treachery.

Therefore they have become great.

They have become rich.

They have grown fat.

They have become sleek.

They know no limits

In their deeds of wickedness.

They do not judge

With justice

The cause of the orphans,

To make them prosper.

They do not defend

The rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, justifies his stance against the Israelites. This time he cites the wicked scoundrels in the land among his own people. They actually take the goods of others like robbers. They are like bird trappers, but they set their traps for their fellow humans. They are full of tricks that have made them great, rich, fat, and sleek. They have no limits to their wickedness. When they judge, they judge without justice, especially in the cases of orphans and the needy. Why shouldn’t Yahweh punish them? Why shouldn’t he bring retribution on this whole nation?

The servant in prison (Isa 42:22-42:25)

“But this is a people robbed.

This is a people plundered.

All of them are trapped in holes.

They are hidden in prisons.

They have become a prey,

With no one to rescue them.

They have become a spoil,

With none to say.

‘Restore!’

Who among you will give heed to this?

Who will attend for the time to come?

Who will listen for the time to come?

Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler?

Who gave up Israel to the robbers?

Was it not Yahweh?

They have sinned against him.

They would not walk in his ways.

They would not obey his law.

So he poured upon him

The heat of his anger.

He poured upon him

The fury of war.

It set him on fire all around.

But he did not understand.

It burned him.

But he did not take it to heart.”

In this section of Second Isaiah, it talks about the people and the individual servant together. The Israelite servants were robbed and plundered, and then put into prison holes. No one would rescue them as they were prey and a spoil to others. No one wanted to restore them to their former ways. No one paid attention. Yahweh made Jacob or Israel fall to these robbers and spoilers. This happened because they had sinned against Yahweh. They would not walk in his ways or follow his laws. Thus Yahweh poured out his heat and anger on his servant with the fury of a war. He set his servant on fire, but he still does not understand what was happening. He got burned, but he did not take it to heart.

Job responds with sarcasm (Job 12:1-12:6)

“Then Job answered.

‘No doubt you are the voice of the people.

Wisdom will die with you.

But I have understanding as well as you.

I am not inferior to you.

Who does not know such things as these?

I am a laughingstock to my friends.

I, who called upon God,

God answered me.

A just and blameless man,

I am a laughingstock.

In the thought of one who is at ease,

There is contempt for misfortune.

They are ready for those whose feet slip.

The tents of robbers are at peace.

Those who provoke God are secure.

They bring their god in their hand.’”

Job responded that they have wisdom, but he too had understanding. He was not inferior to them even though right now he was a laughing stock to his friends. Job had called God. God had answered him because he was a just and blameless man. Now while he was a laughingstock, those with an easy life do not care about his misfortune. However, the tents of robbers are at peace. The people who provoke God are secure. They think that they control God with their own idol gods in their hands. Job hits back at them since they have a false security.