The response of Yahweh (Hab 2:2-2:3)

“Yahweh answered me.

He said.

‘Write the vision!

Make it plain

On tablets!

Thus,

A runner

May read it.

There is still a vision

For the appointed time.

It speaks of the end.

It does not lie.

If it seems slow,

Wait for it!

It will surely come.

It will not delay.’”

Yahweh did answer Habakkuk.  He told him to write down the vision on a plain tablet, so that a runner or messenger could read it.  This vision had a specific time for the end times that would not lie.  It might seem slow, but Habakkuk was to wait for it, because it would surely come without any great delay.

A gracious God (Joel 2:13-2:14)

“Return to Yahweh!

Your God!

He is gracious!

He is merciful!

He is slow to anger!

He is abounding

In steadfast love!

He relents

From punishing.

Who knows

Whether he will not turn?

Who knows

Whether he will not relent?

Leave a blessing

Behind him!

Leave a grain offering!

Leave a drink offering

For Yahweh!

Your God!”

Joel continued with the same theme. They should return to Yahweh. Joel used the ancient words about God as gracious and merciful, since Yahweh was slow to get angry. He was abounding in steadfast love. He did not punish easily. Will he return? Will he relent? Your best shot was to leave a blessing, like a grain or drink offering for Yahweh, their God. Clearly, Joel was tied to the Temple, since he considered the grain and drink offering as a blessing.

Death would be better than famine (Lam 4:9-4:9)

Tet

“Happier were those

Pierced by the sword

Than those

Pierced by hunger.

Their life

Drains away.

They are deprived

Of the produce

Of the field.”

This author points out that famine or starvation is worse than death by a sword. Starvation leads to the draining of life since they were deprived of the products of the field. This brings up the question of whether a quick death or a slow painful death is better. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Tet in this acrostic poem.

Restoration of Zion (Isa 33:3-33:6)

“At the sound of tumult,

People flee.

Before your majesty,

Nations scattered.

Spoil was gathered

As the caterpillar gathers.

As locusts leap,

They leaped upon it.

Yahweh is exalted.

He dwells on high.

He will fill Zion with justice.

He will fill Zion with righteousness.

He will be

The stability of your times,

The abundance of salvation,

The wisdom,

The knowledge.

The fear of Yahweh

Is Zion’s treasure.”

Clearly Yahweh was in charge. People and nations were fleeing before his majesty and the sound of tumult. They were gathering the spoils of the fleeing people like caterpillars, slow but sure. They were like locusts over everything. Yahweh was exalted on Mount Zion because of justice and righteousness. Yahweh brought stability to Mount Zion. There was an abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. There was a final emphasis on the fear of the Lord as the great treasure at Mount Zion.

The weak (Sir 11:12-11:13)

“There are others

Who are slow.

They need help.

They lack strength.

They abound in poverty.

However,

The eyes of the Lord

Look kindly upon them.

He lifts them out of

Their lowly condition.

He raises up their heads.

Thus many are amazed.”

On the other hand, there are those who are weak and slow. They need help since they lack strength and live in poverty. The Lord sees this so he looks kindly on them. He lifts them up out of their lowly conditions. He makes them raise their heads, so that many people are amazed.

False presumption (Sir 5:4-5:7)

“Do not say.

‘I sinned.

Yet what has happened to me?’

The Lord is slow to anger.

Do not be so confident of forgiveness.

Thus you add sin to sin.

Do not say.

‘His mercy is great.

He will forgive the multitude of my sins.’

Both mercy and wrath are with him.

His anger rests on sinners.

Do not delay

To turn back to the Lord.

Do not postpone it from day to day.

Suddenly the wrath of the Lord

Will come upon you.

At the time of punishment,

You will perish.”

Here are some more directives about false presumption. Do not say that you have sinned and nothing has happened to you. Remember that the Lord is slow to anger. You should not be overconfident of his forgiveness because you are only adding to your sinful state. Do not say that he is merciful and therefore he will forgive a multitude of sins. He has both mercy and anger, especially towards sinners. Do not delay your return to the Lord. Do not put it off because the wrath of the Lord will come upon you suddenly. You may perish as a punishment.

Royal power (Prov 19:10-19:12)

“It is not fitting

For a fool to live in luxury.

Much less it is not fitting

For a slave to rule over princes.

Those with good sense are slow to anger.

It is their glory to overlook an offense.

A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion.

But his favor is like dew on the grass.”

A fool should not live in luxury. A slave should not rule over princes. There were clear social class distinctions. Those who are slow to anger show good sense. However, watch out for the senseless king who is angry, growling like a lion. His favor, on the other hand, is like the morning dew on the grass.