The distressed sheep (Ezek 34:7-34:8)

“Therefore,

You shepherds!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!

Says Yahweh God!

‘As I live!

My sheep

Have become

A prey.

My sheep

Have become

Food

For all the wild animals.

Because there was

No shepherd.

Because my shepherds

Have not searched

For my sheep.

But the shepherds

Have fed themselves.

They have not fed

My sheep.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted those Israelite shepherds to listen. Yahweh’s sheep, the Israelites, had become a prey and food for all the wild animals of the foreign countries. There was no shepherd or leader. Thus, Yahweh’s sheep had been scattered, but no one searched for them. These shepherds or so-called leaders fed themselves, but they never fed Yahweh’s sheep.

The missing lover (Song 5:6-5:7)

Female lover

“I opened to my beloved.

But my beloved had turned away.

He was gone.

My soul failed me

When he spoke.

I sought him.

But I did not find him.

I called him.

But he gave no answer.

Making their rounds in the city,

The sentinels found me.

They beat me.

They wounded me.

They took away my mantle.

These were the sentinels of the walls.”

This is a lot like chapter 3, where this female lover went searching in the streets to find her lover. Instead of her lover being at the door, he had left. Her soul was faint. Once again, like in chapter 3, she called for him, but her lover gave no answer. However, when she searched the city, the result here was more brutal. The sentinels or watchmen guards of the town, instead of helping her, beat her up, wounded her, and took her coat or mantle.

Triumph of the pro-Syrian party (1 Macc 9:23-9:27)

“After the death of Judas, the renegades emerged in all parts of Israel. All wrongdoers reappeared. In those days a very great famine occurred. The country went over to their side. Bacchides chose the godless renegades. He put them in charge of the country. They made inquiries and searched for the friends of Judas. They brought them to Bacchides. He took vengeance on them. He made sport of them. Thus there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that the prophets ceased to appear among them.”

Once Judas Maccabeus was gone, the renegade pro-Syrians Hellenized Jews emerged in all parts of Israel. However, a famine also occurred so that most of the people went to the side of the Hellenizing Syrians since there was no resistance. Bacchides, the Syrian general and governor, put these godless renegades in charge of the country. They sought out all of Judas’ old comrades in order to take vengeance on them by making sport of them. There was great distress in Israel, something like the time when the prophets ceased to exist in Israel, probably referring to the 5th century BCE.