The cooking chambers in the court (Ezek 46:21-46:24)

“Then he brought me out

To the outer court.

He led me past

The four corners

Of the court.

In each corner

Of the court,

There was another court.

In the four corners

Of the court

Were small courts,

Forty cubits long,

Thirty cubits wide.

The four were

Of the same size.

On the inside,

Around each

Of the four courts,

Was a row of masonry?

They had hearths

Made at the bottom

Of the rows,

All around.

Then he said to me.

‘These are the kitchens

Where those who serve

At the temple

Shall boil

The sacrifices

Of the people.’”

The bronze man brought Ezekiel to the Temple outer court. There were four corners in this court. In each corner of the court, there was another court. There were 4 small courts about 40 by 30 cubits, about 70 feet by 50 feet, all the same size. Around the inside of each of these 4 courts was a mason hearth with rows all around it. Then the bronze man told Ezekiel that these were the kitchens where those who served at the Temple boiled the sacrifices for the people. Ezekiel, thus, had a first-hand look at the workings inside the Temple.

The other countries (Ezek 30:4-30:5)

“A sword shall come

Upon Egypt.

Anguish shall be

In Ethiopia.

When the slain

Fall

In Egypt,

Its wealth

Will be carried away.

Its foundations

Will be torn down.

Ethiopia,

Put,

Lud,

All Arabia,

Libya,

The people

Of the allied lands

Shall fall

With them

By the sword.”

When the sword or battle would come to Egypt, the anguish would also come to Ethiopia, which is south of Egypt. The wealth of the dead people in Egypt would be carried away. The foundations of Egypt would be shaken and torn down. However, the neighboring countries and those allied with Egypt would also suffer. Besides Ethiopia, there were the people from Put and Lud, who had also served in the army of Tyre, as mentioned earlier in chapter 27. However, those affected by this invasion were also the people from Libya, west of Egypt, as well as all the Arabian tribes and those people allied with Egypt. They would all fall by the sword.

The enemies of Jerusalem (Bar 4:30-4:35)

“Take courage!

O Jerusalem!

The one who named you

Will comfort you.

Wretched will be

Those who mistreated you!

They rejoiced at your fall.

Wretched will be

The cities

That your children

Served as slaves!

Wretched will be

The city

That received your offspring!

She rejoiced

At your fall.

She was glad

For your ruin.

Now she will be grieved

At her own desolation.

I will take away her pride

In her great population.

Her insolence

Will be turned to grief.

Fire will come upon her

from the Everlasting One

For many days.

For a long time,

She will be inhabited

By demons.”

Now there is a turn, as this author speaks directly to Jerusalem instead of Jerusalem herself complaining. Jerusalem was encouraged to be courageous. She would be comforted. However, those who mistreated her and rejoiced at her fall will be miserable. The cities where the children of Jerusalem served as slaves would be miserable also. The city of Babylon, that received the children of Jerusalem, rejoiced and was glad at the downfall and ruin of Jerusalem. Now they will be grieved at their own desolation. The pride of those people and their insolence will be turned to grief. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, will bring fire upon it for many days. For a long time it will be inhabited by demons.

The failure to serve God (Bar 2:19-2:20)

“It is not because

Of any righteous deeds

Of our ancestors,

Or our kings

That we bring

Before you

Our prayer

For mercy.

O Lord our God!

You have sent

Your anger

With your wrath

Upon us.

You declared

By your servants

The prophets.”

They had not served God. Their ancestors, their kings, and they themselves had not done righteous deeds. However, they were willing to bring their prayer for mercy to their Lord God. They knew that he had sent his anger and wrath upon them through his servants and prophets.

We were sinners also (Bar 1:21-1:22)

“We did not listen

To the voice

Of the Lord,

Our God,

In all the words

Of the prophets

Whom he sent to us.

But all of us followed

The intent

Of our own wicked hearts

By serving other gods,

Doing what is evil

In the sight

Of the Lord,

Our God.”

Following the bad example of their ancestors, the Israelites and Judeans did not listen to the voice of the Lord, their God, even when he sent his prophets to tell them about their wicked hearts. They all followed their own wicked ways, instead of following the Lord. They served other gods. They did evil right in front of the Lord, their God.

The disaster in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:2-44:3)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You yourselves have seen

All the disaster

That I have brought

On Jerusalem,

As well as on all the towns

Of Judah.

Look at them!

Today they are a desolation.

No one lives in them.

Because of the wickedness

That they committed,

They provoked me to anger.

They went

To make offerings.

They served other gods

That they had not known,

Neither they,

Nor you,

Nor your ancestors.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Jeremiah, reminded them of the disaster in Jerusalem and Judah. They saw with their own eyes. No one lives there anymore because of the wickedness of the people who had lived there before. They had committed evil that provoked Yahweh to anger. They had made offerings and served other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors had ever known. Their big sin was offering and serving gods other than Yahweh.

The cause of the punishment for Jerusalem (Jer 22:8-22:9)

“Many nations

Will pass by this city.

All of them

Will say to one another.

‘Why has Yahweh dealt

This way

With this great city?’

They will answer.

‘Because they abandoned

The covenant of Yahweh

Their God.

They worshiped

Other gods.

They served

Other gods.”

If anyone was to pass by this destroyed city of Jerusalem, they might ask why Yahweh had dealt with this great city in this way. The answer was simple. These people had abandoned the covenant that they had with Yahweh, their God. They worshipped and served other gods. Thus they were disloyal to their God Yahweh.

The reason for Yahweh’s judgment (Jer 16:11-16:13)

“Then you shall say to them.

Says Yahweh.

‘It is because your ancestors

Have forsaken me.

They have gone after other gods.

They have served them.

They have worshiped them.

They have forsaken me.

They have not kept my law.

However you have behaved worse

Than your ancestors.

Here you are,

Every one of you,

Following your stubborn evil will.

You refuse to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you

Out of this land,

Into a land

That neither you,

Nor your ancestors,

Have known.

There you shall serve other gods

Day and night.

I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah received his explanation of why this disaster was to come from Yahweh. The problem was twofold, their ancestors and they themselves. First of all, their ancestors had forsaken Yahweh, since they served and worshipped other gods. They did not keep Yahweh’s law. However, the current Israelites were even worse than their ancestors. Jeremiah’s contemporaries refused to listen to him. Instead they followed their own stubborn evil ways. The result of this was that the current people of Judah and Jerusalem would be thrown out of this Promised Land into another country. There they would serve other gods, day and night, in a land that was foreign to them and their ancestors. Yahweh was in no mood to show any favors.

The bones of the dead people (Jer 8:1-8:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘At that time,

The bones of the kings of Judah,

The bones of its officials,

The bones of the priests,

The bones of the prophets,

The bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall be brought out of their tombs.

They shall be spread

Before the sun,

Before the moon,

Before all the host of heaven.

They have loved these heavenly bodies.

They have served them.

They have followed them.

They have inquired after them.

They have worshiped them.

Their bones shall not be gathered.

Their bones shall not be buried.

They shall be

Like dung

On the surface of the ground.

Death shall be preferred

To life

By all the remnant

That remains of this evil family

In all the places

Where I have driven them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, speaks in ironic terms about the bones of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The bones of all the people, whether they were the kings, the officials, the priests, the prophets, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought out their tombs. These bones would be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the hosts of heavens. They had followed, loved, served, and worshiped these heavenly bodies. Thus their bones would not be buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. People would prefer death over life. This also refers to all the remaining people of this evil family, no matter where they have been driven to. Thus Yahweh has spoken about the disgrace of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Comfort for the people (Isa 40:1-40:2)

“‘Comfort!

Comfort my people!’

Says your God.

‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem!

Cry to her!

She has served her term.

Her penalty is paid

That she has received

From Yahweh’s hand,

Double for all her sins.’”

This section of Isaiah is often referred to as the Book of Consolation. Sometimes people refer to this section as Deutero-Isaiah or Second Isaiah because it is separated from the preceding chapters by style and setting. There is a more universal outlook, perhaps from a disciple of Isaiah, some few hundred years later. However, even some parts of the preceding chapters may have been from this time also. Apparently this time setting is near the end of the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE. God speaks and comforts the Israelites because they have served their punishment time. They have paid the double penalty that they received from Yahweh’s hand.