Prayer to Yahweh (Hab 1:12-1:13)

“Are you not from of old?

O Yahweh!

My God!

My Holy One!

You shall not die!

O Yahweh!

You have marked them

For judgment.

You!

O Rock!

Have you established them

For punishment?

Your eyes are too pure

To behold evil!

You cannot look

On wrongdoing!

Why do you look

On the treacherous ones?

Why are you silent

When the wicked swallow

Those more righteous

Than they?”

Habakkuk has a prayer to Yahweh that seems to question some of his behavior.  Yahweh, the holy one, his God, who would not die, has marked all these violent men for judgment.  Yahweh, his rock, has set them up for punishment.  Yahweh’s eyes were too pure to see evil, so that he could not look at any wrongdoing.  Then Habakkuk wanted to know why Yahweh was so silent about these treacherous ones, when these wicked ones seem to be swallowing up the righteous ones?  Habakkuk wanted Yahweh to act against these wicked people now, not tolerate them for a later punishment.

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The end is near (Am 8:2-8:3)

“Yahweh said.

‘Amos!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘A basket of summer fruit.’

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘The end has come

Upon my people Israel.

I will never again

Pass by them.

The songs of the temple

Shall become wailings

In that day.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘The dead bodies

Shall be many.

They shall be cast out

In every place.

Be silent!’”

Yahweh asked Amos to tell him what he saw.  Amos responded that he saw a basket of summer fruit, not the first fruits.  Yahweh said that these late ripening fruits indicated that the end of the Israelite people was near.  Yahweh said that he was not going to pass by them again.  The songs in their temple would turn to mourning wailing.  Yahweh God added that there would be many dead bodies cast out all over the place.  However, they were to be silent.

Bad behavior (Am 5:10-5:13)

“They hate him

Who reproves

At the gate.

They abhor him

Who speaks the truth.

Therefore,

You trample

On the poor.

You take from them,

Levies of grain.

You have built houses

Of hewn stone.

But you shall not live

In them.

You have planted

Pleasant vineyards.

But you shall not drink

Their wine.

I know how many are

Your transgressions.

I know how great are

Your sins.

You afflict the righteous.

You take a bribe.

You turn aside

The needy

At the gate.

Therefore,

The prudent will keep silent

In such a time.

It is an evil time.”

Next, Amos listed all the bad behavior that the northern Israelites were involved with. They did not like any reprimanding at the city judgment gate. They did not like anyone who told the truth. They trampled the poor people, as they took away their grain. They had built beautiful stone houses, but they were not going to live in them. They had planted wonderful vineyards, but they would not drink the wine from them. Amos and Yahweh knew all about their various transgressions and how great their sins were. They took bribes, mistreated the righteous, and turned away the needy at the gate. The prudent people kept silent during this evil time.

The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

The defeat of the various Philistine cities (Jer 47:5-47:7)

“Baldness has come

Upon Gaza.

Ashkelon is silenced.

O remnant of their power!

How long

Will you gash yourselves?

O!

Sword of Yahweh!

How long

Until you are quiet?

Put yourself

Into your scabbard!

Rest!

Be still!

How can it be quiet?

Yahweh has given it

A charge

Against Ashkelon,

Against the seashore.

There he has appointed it.”

This short chapter on the Philistines ends with the mention of a couple of the five main Philistine cities, mentioned from the time of Joshua, chapter 13. Ashkelon and Gaza were still standing, but as defeated cities, as Jeremiah mentioned here. Gaza was bald and Ashkelon was silent, since they were only a remnant of their former power. How long would they be in mourning? Would Yahweh put his sword away? These seaside cities were in ruin. Gath and Ashdod were not mentioned here, because they were completely destroyed by the Egyptians in the 7th century BCE.

God knows about their unfaithfulness (Isa 65:6-65:7)

“See!

It is written before me!

‘I will not keep silent.

But I will repay.

I will indeed repay into their laps

For their iniquities

With their ancestor’s iniquities together.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Because they offered incense

On the mountains,

They reviled me on the hills.

I will measure into their laps

Full payment for their actions.’”

Their actions have not gone unnoticed. Yahweh saw what was happening since it was written before him. He was not going to be silent. He wanted them to pay back for what they did. They would not only have to pay for their own sins and iniquities, but also repay for the sins of their ancestors. They have offered incense on the mountains and reviled Yahweh in the hills. He was going to measure out for them the full payment for their actions.

Prayer to end the desolation (Isa 64:10-64:12)

“Your holy cities

Have become a wilderness.

Zion has become a wilderness.

Jerusalem has become desolation.

Our holy beautiful house,

Where our ancestors praised you,

Has been burned by fire.

All our pleasant places

Have become ruins.

After all this,

Will you restrain yourself?

O Yahweh!

Will you keep silent?

Will you punish us so severely?”

This prophet wanted an end to the desolation in Jerusalem. The holy city had become a wilderness. Zion or Jerusalem was desolate. The beautiful house that his ancestors had worshipped in had been burned by fire, so that it lay in ruins with many other pleasant places. He wanted Yahweh to act and not be silent. Why had he punished them so severely?