The rotten plague (Zech 14:12-14:12)

“This shall be the plague

With which Yahweh

Will strike all the people

That waged wars

Against Jerusalem.

Their flesh shall rot,

While they are still

On their feet.

Their eyes shall rot

In their sockets.

Their tongues shall rot

In their mouths.”

Yahweh was going to send a plague on everybody that had waged war on Jerusalem.  Their flesh would rot on their body as they were still standing on their feet.  Their eyes would rot in their sockets, while their tongues would rot in their mouths.  This was a rotten plague.

The useless false wooden gods (Bar 6:70-6:73)

“Like a scarecrow

In a cucumber bed,

That guards nothing,

So are their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver.

In the same way,

Their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are

Like a thorn bush

In a garden,

On which every bird perches.

They are

Like a corpse

Thrown out in the darkness.

From the purple

Or the linen

That rot upon them,

You will know

That they are not gods.

They will finally

Be consumed themselves.

They will be a reproach

In the land.

Better,

Therefore

Is someone upright.

Such a person

Will be far above reproach.”

This letter of Jeremiah found as the last chapter in this book of Baruch ends with a comparison of these false wooden gods covered with gold and silver. The author compared them to a scarecrow in a cucumber bed that guarded nothing. They were compared to a thorn bush in a garden where birds sat on it. They were compared to a dead corpse in the dark. All of these useless items were like these useless idol gods. Even with purple or linen on them, they would still rot. They would be finally consumed and become a reproach to all. It was much better to be an upright person beyond reproach than any of these gods. So ends the letter of Jeremiah in the Book of Baruch.

How can you compare God with idols? (Isa 40:18-40:20)

“To whom then will you liken God?

What likeness compares with him?

An idol?

A workman casts it.

A goldsmith overlays it with gold.

He casts for it silver chains.

As a gift,

One chooses mulberry wood.

Wood that will not rot.

He seeks out a skilful artisan

To set up an image

That will not topple.”

Second Isaiah wants to know how you can compare God to false idols. Now a workman casts the idol and puts gold and silver over it. Or he may choose a mulberry bush wood that would not rot. He then carves an image and makes it so that it will not fall. How are these things comparable to the one true God? This is a fairly common theme in the second half of Isaiah, so that it might have been a serious problem.