The future of Israel (Hos 3:4-3:5)

“The Israelites

Shall remain many days

Without a king

Or a prince.

They shall remain

Without sacrifice

Or pillar,

Without ephod

Or teraphim.

Afterward,

The Israelites

Shall return.

They shall seek

Yahweh,

Their God,

With David

Their king.

They shall come

In awe

To Yahweh,

To his goodness,

In the latter days.”

Hosea that predicted that the Israelites would spend many days without a king, prince, or leader. They also would be without sacrifices, since there would be no temple or pillar to worship at. There would be no high priest who would wear the ephod. There would be no teraphim or household gods, implying that the Israelites had some of these gods as in Genesis, chapter 31. The good news was that these Israelites would eventually seek Yahweh, their God. They would have David or his descendants as their king. In awe, they would return to the good Yahweh in the days to come.

Yahweh will be the good shepherd (Ezek 34:16-34:16)

“I will seek the lost.

I will bring back

The strayed.

I will bind up

The injured.

I will strengthen

The weak.

But I will destroy

The fat.

I will destroy

The strong.

I will feed them

With justice.”

Yahweh was going to seek and bring back the lost sheep along with those who had strayed. He was going to bind up the wounds of these injured sheep. Thus, Yahweh was going to be the good shepherd. However, he was also going to destroy the fat and the strong sheep. He was going to feed them with his justice. There would be no intermediary kings in this new theocracy, since Yahweh himself would hand out justice.

The distress of everybody (Ezek 7:25-7:27)

“When anguish comes,

They will seek peace.

But there shall be none.

Disaster comes

Upon disaster.

Rumor follows

Rumor.

They shall keep

Seeking a vision

From the prophet.

Instruction shall perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall fail

From the elders.

The king mourns.

The prince shall be

Wrapped in despair.

The hands

Of the people

Of the land

Shall tremble.

According to their way,

I will deal with them.

According to their own judgments

I will judge them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh concluded this oracle or vision to Ezekiel. In these times of trouble, they would seek peace, but there would be none. Disaster would come upon disaster. Rumor would follow rumor. They would keep looking for a vision from their prophets, but none would come. The priests would fail to instruct them. Counsel from the elders would fail. The king would mourn. The princes would be in despair. The hands of the land people would tremble. According to their ways, Yahweh would deal with them. According to their own judgments, Yahweh would judge them. They would know that Yahweh God was in charge. He was Yahweh.

The day of retribution for Yahweh (Jer 46:10-46:12)

“That day is

The day of Yahweh!

God of hosts!

A day of retribution

To gain vindication

From his foes!

The sword shall devour!

The sword shall be sated!

The sword shall drink

Its fill of their blood!

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Holds a sacrifice

In the land of the north

By the Euphrates River.

Go up to Gilead!

Take balm!

O virgin daughter Egypt!

In vain,

You have used

Many medicines.

There is no healing for you.

The nations have heard

Of your shame.

The earth is full

Of your cry.

The warrior has stumbled

Against warrior.

They have both fallen together.”

The day of reckoning for Yahweh was the defeat of Egypt. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh are pro-Babylon and anti-Egypt. This will be a day of retribution and vindication against Yahweh’s foes. The sword will devour them and drink their blood, like a sacrifice in this land north of the Euphrates River. This virgin daughter Egypt would find it useless to seek any medicines to cure her. Not even the balms of Gilead would help Egypt. There will be no healing. Everyone would have heard of their shame and their cries. Their warriors have stumbled against each other as they fell.

Protection of Baruch (Jer 45:4-45:5)

“Thus you shall say to him.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

I am going to break down,

What I have built.

I am plucking up

What I planted,

The whole land!

You!

Do you seek great things

For yourself!

Do not seek them!

I am going to bring disaster

Upon all flesh.’

Says Yahweh.

‘But I will give you

Your life

As a prize of war

In every place

To which you may go.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that he was breaking down and plucking up from the sacred Promised Land that he had planted. He did not want Baruch to seek great things for himself. Yahweh was going to bring disaster on all humans. However, he was going to save Baruch. He was going to let him live, wherever he went, as a prize of war.

A call to repent (Isa 55:6-55:7)

“Seek Yahweh

While he may be found!

Call upon him

While he is near!

Let the wicked forsake their ways!

Let the unrighteous forsake their thoughts!

Let them return to Yahweh!

Thus he may have mercy on them.

Let them return to our God!

Thus he will abundantly pardon them.”

Second Isaiah wants people to seek and call upon the Lord, Yahweh, because he is still near and can be found. The wicked and the unrighteous should give up their evil ways and thoughts. They should return to the Lord because he is merciful and pardons abundantly.

The book of Yahweh (Isa 34:16-34:17)

“Seek the book of Yahweh!

Read from the book of Yahweh!

Not one of these shall be missing.

None shall be without its mate.

The mouth of Yahweh has commanded.

His Spirit has gathered them.

He has cast the lot for them.

His hand has portioned it out to them

With the line.

They shall possess it forever.

From generation to generation,

They shall live in it.”

It is not clear what the book of Yahweh is. Is this the Torah or is it the oracles of Isaiah? Isaiah wants you to seek it out and read from it. Nothing will be missing from it. Everything will have a mate. The mouth of Yahweh has commanded this as his Spirit has gathered them. He has gambled for them and protected them. He has given them their portion that will last forever from generation to generation. Perhaps this is a reference to the Israelites.

Put wisdom into practice (Sir 51:26-51:30)

“I resolved to live

According to wisdom.

I was zealous for the good.

I shall never be disappointed.

My soul grappled with wisdom.

In my conduct

I was strict.

I spread out my hands

To the heavens.

I lamented my ignorance of her.

I directed my soul to her.

In purity

I found her.

With her,

I gained understanding

From the first.

Therefore I will never be forsaken.

My heart was stirred to seek her.

Therefore I have gained a prize possession.

The Lord gave me my tongue

As a reward.

I will praise him with it.”

Sirach or this author wanted to live according to wisdom, to put wisdom into practice. He was zealous for the good things, so that he was never disappointed. He was strict in his conduct, as his soul wrestled with wisdom. He admitted in prayer that he was ignorant of wisdom, but he tried to purify his soul to find out more. Finally, he gained the understanding that he would never be abandoned by God. His heart was stirred to seek her even more. The result was a prize possession, the Lord gave him a speaking tongue so that he could praise the Lord even much more.

Good counselors (Sir 37:12-37:15)

“Associate with a godly person!

Associate with

Someone you know

To be a keeper

Of the commandments!

Associate with

Someone who is like minded

With yourself!

Associate with

Someone who will grieve

With you,

If you fail!

Heed the counsel

Of your own heart!

No one is more faithful

To you than it is.

Our own mind sometimes

Keeps us better informed

Than seven watchmen

Sitting high on a watchtower.

But above all,

Pray to the Most High!

Thus he may direct

Your way in truth.”

Sirach has some positive advice on who to associate with, mainly the godly person who keeps the commandments. In other words, seek counsel and give counsel with those who are like minded people. They will grieve with you if you fail. You should follow your heart, since no one is more faithful to you than your own heart. Your mind is better informed than any guards around the tower. However, the most important thing to do is pray to the Most High God so that he can direct your way truthfully. In the end, the best consultation is between you and God.

The negative power of gold (Sir 31:5-31:7)

“Whoever loves gold

Will not be justified.

Whoever pursues money

Will be led astray by it.

Many have come to ruin

Because of gold.

Their destruction has met them

Face to face.

It is a stumbling block

To those who are avid for it.

Every fool

Will be taken captive by it.”

Sirach warns that those who love gold will not be justified. Pursuing money will simply lead you astray. A lot of lives have been ruined over gold. Destruction has come to many, since gold is a stumbling block for those who seek it. Every fool seems to be captivated by a gold rush or the search for gold. Don’t fall in love with gold since it will take hold of you.