The role of Yahweh (Prov 16:5-16:9)

“All the arrogant are an abomination to Yahweh.

Be assured!

They will not go unpunished.

By loyalty and faithfulness

Iniquity is atoned for.

By the fear of Yahweh

One avoids evil.

When the ways of people please Yahweh,

He causes even their enemies

To be at peace with them.

Better is a little with righteousness

Than large income with injustice.

The human mind plans the way.

But Yahweh directs the steps.”

What does God do to the arrogant? They are an abomination to Yahweh. Don’t worry since they will not go unpunished. You can atone for their iniquity by being loyal and faithful. If you fear Yahweh, you will avoid evil. To those people who please Yahweh, he will make their enemies be at peace with them. It is better to be righteous than have a large income, but be unjust. The human mind makes plans, but Yahweh directs their steps. In other words, man proposes but God disposes.

The righteous have wisdom (Ps 37:30-37:31)

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“The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom.

Their tongues speak justice.

The law of their God is in their hearts.

Their steps do not slip.”

The righteous ones utter wise statements since they are wise. They speak justice with their tongues because the law of God is in their hearts. Thus their steps never slip or fail.

Job remembers the good old days (Job 29:1-29:6)

“Job again took up his discourse.

He said.

‘O that I were as in the months of old.

As in the days when God watched over me,

When his lamp shone over my head,

By his light I walked through darkness.

As I was in my prime,

When the friendship of God was upon my tent,

When the Almighty Shaddai was still with me,

When my children were around me,

When my steps were washed with milk,

The rock poured out for me streams of oil!’”

Now it is back to the old complaining Job. Once again this is a solemn discourse, not a mere complaint with his friends. This time he was reminiscing about the “good old days.” God was watching over him as his head had something like a lamp around it. Job was able to walk through darkness because God liked him in his tent. He was in the prime years of his life. The friendship of the almighty Shaddai was still with him. His children were all around him. His steps were washed with milk, while oil gushed out of rocks. In other words, these were metaphors for the fact that he was prosperous and happy.

Job speaks about Sheol (Job 14:13-14:17)

“O that you would hide me in Sheol!

O that you would conceal me until your wrath is past!

O that you would appoint me a set time!

O that you would remember me!

If mortals die,

Will they live again?

All the days of my service

I would wait until my release should come.

You would call me.

I would answer you.

You would long for the work of your hands.

Then you would not number my steps.

You would not keep watch over my sin.

My transgression would be sealed up in a bag.

You would cover over my iniquity.”

Job wanted to hide in Sheol, or the underworld of the dead, what we often call hell. He wanted to stay there until the wrath of God against him had subsided. He wanted a set time. He wanted to know if mortals lived after their death. Job was willing to wait in Sheol if he had a release date. He would answer if called. He wanted God to remember that he was the work of God. He wanted him to remember his steps. He wanted his sins and transgressions covered up in a sealed bag. He wanted Sheol or hell to be transitory, not permanent.

Judas Maccabeus prays for success against Timothy (2 Macc 10:24-10:26)

“Timothy, who had been defeated by the Jews before, gathered a tremendous force of mercenaries. He collected the cavalry from Asia in no small number. He came on, intending to take Judea by storm. As he drew near, Judas Maccabeus and his men sprinkled dust on their heads. They girded their loins with sackcloth, in supplication to God. Falling upon the steps before the altar, they implored God to be gracious to them. They wanted him to be an enemy to their enemies and an adversary to their adversaries, as the law declares.”

Timothy, the head of the Ammonites, had been defeated before in chapter 8 of this work and in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. This time he had a large cavalry from Asia and a tremendous mercenary force. However, Judas Maccabeus and his troops put dust on their heads and sackcloth on their loins. They prayed to God before his altar in Jerusalem. They asked God to be gracious to them. He wanted God to be the enemy of his enemies and the adversary of his adversaries. This he proclaimed what the law said. God was with his people and against the others. This is the great cry of all wars. “God is on our side.”