The final judgment for humans (Zeph 1:17-1:18)

“I will bring

Such distress

Upon the people

That they shall walk

Like the blind.

They have sinned

Against Yahweh.

Their blood

Shall be poured out

Like dust.

Their flesh

Shall be

Like dung.

Neither their silver,

Nor their gold,

Shall be able

To save them

On the day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.

In the fire

Of his passion,

The whole earth

Shall be consumed.

He will make

All the inhabitants

Of the earth

A full end,

A terrible end.”

Very clearly the end was coming.  There would be so much distress among humans that they would be walking around as if they were blind.  They had sinned against Yahweh, so that their blood would be poured out like dust, while their bodies would be like smelly dung.  Their silver and gold would not save them from Yahweh’s day of wrath, because Yahweh’s angry passion would consume the whole world, including all the people living on it.  The end times was near.

The distressed city of Nineveh (Nah 2:6-2:9)

“The river gates

Are opened.

The palace trembles.

It is decreed

That the city

Be exiled.

Its slave women were

Led away,

Moaning

Like doves,

Beating their breasts.

Nineveh is

Like a pool

Whose waters

Run away.

‘Halt!

Halt!’

They cry.

But no one turns back.

Plunder the silver!

Plunder the gold!

There is no end

Of treasure.

There is an abundance

Of every precious thing.

Devastation!

Desolation!

Destruction!

Hearts faint!

Knees tremble!

All loins quake!

All faces grow pale!”

Nahum painted this picture of chaos in Nineveh.  He said that the river gates were opened, so that the palace and the people in it were trembling.  The people of this city were going to go into exile.  The slave women were led away, moaning like doves and beating their breasts.  The whole city of Nineveh had become like an overflowing pool.  People were saying stop, but no one was listening.  No one turned back as they keep on fleeing.  Meanwhile, there was a great plunder of their treasures of gold, silver, and the other abundant precious things.  Everywhere there was devastation, desolation, and destruction in this great city.  Hearts were fainting, while kneels were trembling.  Their faces grew pale as their loins shook.

The fraudulent traders (Am 8:4-8:6)

“Hear this!

You trample

On the needy!

You bring to ruin

The poor of the land!

Saying!

‘When will the new moon

Be over?

Then we may sell grain.

When will the sabbath

Be over?

Then we may offer wheat

For sale.

We will make the ephah

Small.

We will make the shekel

Great.

We will practice deceit

With false balances.

We will buy

The poor

For silver.

We will buy

The needy

For a pair of sandals.

We will sell

The sweepings

Of the wheat.’”

This was a very strong indictment against the commercial traders in Israel.  These traders trampled on the needy and ruined the poor people.  They complained about the new moon and Sabbath services, since these worship services interfered with their trading activities.  They wanted these services to be over so that they could continue selling their grain and wheat.  They used false balances or deceptive scales, as they made the ephah smaller and the shekel greater.  They would buy poor people with silver to make them slaves.  They would even buy the needy people with a pair of sandals.  They also sold the left-over wheat sweepings to make even more money.

Against Israel (Am 2:6-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Israel,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they sell

The righteous

For silver.

They sell the needy

For a pair of sandals.

They trample

The head of the poor

Into the dust

Of the earth.

They push the afflicted

Out of the way.

A father

With his son

Goes into the same girl.

So,

My holy name

Is profaned.

They lay themselves down

Beside every altar,

On garments

Taken in pledge.

In the house

Of their god,

They drink

The wine

Bought with fines

They imposed.”

Finally, Yahweh issued a diatribe against Israel itself. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language or literary form as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Israelites were, also involved in the slave trade, as they sold the righteous ones for silver. At the same time, they sold the needy for a pair of shoes or sandals. They trampled the heads of the poor into the dust of the earth. Both father and son would have sex with the same temple female prostitute. They profaned the holy name of Yahweh, as they laid down at any altar, with garments that they had taken as interest down payments. They drank wine in the houses of their gods bought with the fines that they had imposed on the poor people. They had committed serious crimes.

No more festivals (Hos 9:5-9:6)

“What will you do

On the day

Of the appointed festival?

What will you do

On the day

Of the festival

Of Yahweh?

Even if they escape

Destruction,

Egypt shall gather them.

Memphis shall bury them.

Nettles shall possess

Their precious things

Of silver.

Thorns shall be

In their tents.”

There will be no more festivals for Yahweh. Even if they are not destroyed, Egypt would take them away. They would be buried in the southern capital of Egypt, Memphis. Nettles were stinging plants that would be all over their precious metal silver objects. Their tents would have thorns in them. They would have a very unpleasant life.

Israelite idolatry (Hos 8:4-8:6)

“They made kings,

But not through me.

They set up princes,

But without my knowledge.

With their silver,

With their gold,

They made idols

For their own destruction.

Your calf is rejected!

O Samaria!

My anger burns

Against them.

How long

Will they be incapable

O innocence?

It is from Israel

That an artisan made it.

It is not God.

The calf of Samaria

Shall be broken into pieces.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, was upset about the idolatry in northern Israel, Samaria. They had their own kings, who killed each other to be kings. Thus, these kings did not come from Yahweh. They set up their own officials and princes, without consulting Yahweh. Most important of all, they made idols made of silver and gold that led to their own destruction. The golden calf of Samaria was to be rejected. Yahweh was burning with anger against them, since they were incapable of being innocent. Local Israelite artisans made these idols, not God. Therefore, the Samarian calf would be broken into pieces.

The necessities of life (Hos 2:8-2:9)

“She did not know

That it was I

Who gave her

The grain,

The wine,

The oil.

I lavished upon her

Silver,

With gold,

That they used for Baal.

Therefore,

I will take back

My grain,

In its time.

I will take back

My wine,

In its season.

I will take away

My wool,

With my flax,

That were to cover

Her nakedness.

The prophet Hosea, like Yahweh, had given Gomer, like Israel, grain, wine, and oil. Silver and gold also came from him. Then they, the Israelites, like Gomer, used these precious metals on Baal. Therefore, he was going to take back his grain and wine at the right time in the season. He also was going to take back his wool and flax that she had used as clothing to cover her naked body. It was a sign of reproach to have a naked body.

Unfulfilled prophecies about Egypt (Dan 11:42-11:43)

“He shall stretch out his hand

Against the countries.

The land of Egypt

Shall not escape.

He shall become ruler

Of the treasures

Of gold,

Of silver,

All the precious things

Of Egypt.

The Libyans.

The Ethiopians,

Shall follow in his train.”

Next Gabriel talked about another war against Egypt that King Antiochus IV would win. He would then become the ruler of all the gold, silver, and precious things in Egypt. He would then go and capture Libya and Ethiopia. In fact, nothing like this ever took place. That might indicate the date of this writing as before the end of the life of King Antiochus IV.

The power of foreign gods (Dan 11:38-11:39)

“He shall honor

The god of fortresses,

Instead of these,

A god whom his ancestors

Did not know.

He shall honor

With gold,

With silver,

With precious stones,

With costly gifts.

He shall deal

With the strongest fortresses

By the help

Of a foreign god.

Those who acknowledge him,

He shall make more wealthy.

He shall appoint them

As rulers over many.

He shall divide

The land

For a price.”

Gabriel went on to tell Daniel about how King Antiochus IV worshiped foreign gods, probably the Greek gods of Jupiter at Olympus, not the Syrian gods of his ancestors. Apparently, King Antiochus IV had more respect for these Greek gods. Jupiter was a god of strength. His ancestors knew nothing about these Greek gods. However, he honored them with gold, silver, precious stones, and costly gifts. He relied on these foreign gods to maintain his stronghold positions. King Antiochus made people wealthy, if they agreed with him. In fact, he may have practiced a form of bribery, by dividing up the land for a price.

The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.