The plunder of the city of Tyre (Ezek 26:12-26:14)

“They will plunder

Your riches.

They will loot

Your merchandise.

They will break down

Your walls.

They will destroy

Your fine houses.

They will cast

Into the water

Your stones,

Your timber,

Your soil.

I will silence

The music

Of your songs.

The sound

Of your lyres

Will be heard

No more.

I will make you

A bare rock.

You shall be a place

For spreading nets.

You shall never

Be rebuilt.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to have the Babylonians plunder their riches and loot the merchandise of the city of Tyre. These Babylonian invaders were going to break down their walls and destroy the fine houses of Tyre. These invaders were going to throw the local stones, timber, and soil of Tyre into the water. There would be no more music or songs. Yahweh would silence the sounds of the lyres or harps. Tyre would become a bare rock or a place for spreading fishing nets. It would never be rebuilt again. Yahweh, God, had spoken.  Actually, the siege of Tyre lasted 12 years and then they settled things. Alexander the Great in 332 BCE also captured Tyre. This ancient Phoenician island city still exists in southern Lebanon today with about 100,000 people.

Yahweh tells Ezekiel how to act after his wife’s death (Ezek 24:15-24:17)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

With one blow

I am about

To take away

The delight of your eyes.

Yet you shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

Your tears shall not run down!

Sigh!

But not aloud!

Make no mourning

For the dead!

Bind on your turban!

Put your sandals

On your feet!

Do not cover

Your upper lip!

Do not nor eat

The bread of mourners!’”

Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, as usual. However, this time he had some bad news for Ezekiel. His wife, the delight of his eyes, was going to die. However, instead of the usual mourning, Yahweh told him not to mourn for his wife. He was not to weep or show any tears. He could sigh, but only in private. There would be no public mourning for his dead wife. He was to put on his turban hat and foot sandals as usual. He was not to cover his upper lip or eat the mourner’s bread. This mourner’s bread must have been some special bread for funerals. In fact, in a small town in South Dakota, a church always serves funeral potatoes, cheesy potatoes, after the funeral burial service. Ezekiel was to suffer the loss of his wife in silence, without any of the usual customary mourning ceremonies.

The mourning in Jerusalem (Lam 2:10-2:10)

Yod

“The elders

Of daughter Zion

Sit on the ground

In silence.

They have thrown dust

On their heads.

They have put on

Sackcloth.

The young girls

Of Jerusalem

Have bowed

Their heads

To the ground.”

There is a change in tone here. No longer was Yahweh with his anger the main point. The emphasis now shifts to those left in the city of Jerusalem itself. The elders, who were left in Jerusalem, were sitting on the ground in silence. They were grieving, as they threw dust on their heads and put sackcloth on. The young girls of Jerusalem also bowed their heads to the ground. Obliviously not everyone was killed or taken captive. These old men and young women left in Jerusalem were in a state of shock and mourning. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Yod. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Oracle about the sentinel watching from Mount Seir (Isa 21:11-21:12)

“The oracle concerning Dumah.

One is calling to me

From Seir.

‘Sentinel!

What of the night?

Sentinel!

What of the night?’

The sentinel says.

‘Morning comes!

Also the night!

If you will inquire,

Inquire!

Come back again.’”

Dumah means silence and may be a symbolic name for Edom. Apparently Isaiah or Yahweh presented an oracle about Edom that was south of Moab, in modern day southern Jordan. The Edomites had been part of the uprising against Assyria. Someone was calling from Seir, a mountainous region in Edom. Once again, it is the lookout, the watchman, or the sentinel who gives the cry. The question is what is happening. Apparently there will there will a night like destruction, not merely once, but twice, and then again. In between, there will be a nice morning.

 

Silence (Sir 20:1-20:8)

“There is a rebuke

That is untimely.

There is also the person

Who is wise enough to keep silent.

How much better it is to rebuke

Than to fume.

Whoever admits his fault

Will be kept from failure.

Like a eunuch’s lusting

To violate a girl,

Is the person who does right

Under compulsion.

Some people keep silent.

They are thought to be wise.

Others are detested

For being too talkative.

Some people keep silent

Because they have nothing to say.

Others keep silent

Because they know

When to speak.

The wise remain silent

Until the right moment.

But boasting fools

Miss the right moment.

Whoever talks too much

Is detested.

Whoever pretends to authority

Is hated.”

Although some criticisms are at the wrong time, there are people wise enough to keep silent. However, it is much better to criticize than to stay fuming about something. If you admit your faults, you will be kept from future failure. Anyone who is forced to do the right thing is like a castrated male eunuch lusting to violate a young girl. There is no reward for this action. Some people who keep silent are considered wise, while others are detested for talking too much. Some people keep silent because they have nothing to say, while the wise ones are just waiting for the right moment to speak. The boasting fools miss the right moment. Some people do not like those who talk too much, while others hate those who pretend to have authority.

The powerful word of God (Wis 18:14-18:16)

“While gentle silence enveloped all things,

Night in its swift course was now half gone.

Your all powerful word leaped from heaven.

He leaped from the royal throne,

Into the midst of the land that was doomed.

He was a stern warrior.

He carried the sharp sword of your authentic command.

He stood.

He filled all things with death.

He touched heaven

While standing on the earth.”

That night in silence, the all powerful word of God (ὁ παντοδύναμός σου λόγος) leapt from heaven (ἀπ᾿ οὐρανῶν). In the original Exodus story in chapters 11-12, it is God, Yahweh himself, who kills the infants at midnight. Here it is the word of God who came from his royal throne (ἐκ θρόνων βασιλειῶν) as a stern warrior with a sharp sword. He was the one who killed all the first born children while still touching heaven (οὐρανοῦ) here on earth (γῆς).

Trust in God (Ps 62:5-62:8)

“For God alone

My soul waits in silence.

My hope is from God.

He alone is my rock.

He alone is my salvation.

He alone is my fortress.

I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance.

On God rests my honor.

My mighty rock is God.

My refuge is God.

Trust in God

At all times!

O people!

Pour out your heart before him!

God is a refuge for us!”

Selah

These first few verses repeat the first few verses of this psalm. David placed all his trust in God alone. He waited in silence. He knew that God was his salvation, his rock, and his fortress. He would not be shaken in his ways. God gave him deliverance and honor. God was his mighty rock and refuge. He wanted all the people to trust in God at all times. He wanted them to pour out their hearts to God because he was the refuge for all of them. This section concluded with a musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.