No food for humans or animals (Joel 1:17-1:18)

“The seed shrivels

Under the clods.

The storehouses

Are desolate.

The granaries

Are ruined,

Because the grain has failed.

How the animals groan!

The herds of cattle

Wander about.

They are perplexed

Because there is no pasture

For them.

Even the flocks of sheep

Are dismayed.”

The devastation of the grasshopper locust plague has left seeds shriveled up. The storehouses and granaries are ruined and desolate. The grain harvests have all failed. The farm animals groan. The cattle herds wander around looking for a grass pasture. They and the flocks of sheep are perplexed and dismayed. Both humans and animals lack food.

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The God of creation (Jer 51:15-51:16)

“He made

The earth

By his power.

He established

The world

By his wisdom.

By his understanding,

He stretched out the heavens.

When he utters

His voice

There is a tumult of waters

In the heavens.

He makes the mist rise

From the ends of the earth.

He makes lightning

For the rain.

He brings forth

The wind

From his storehouses.”

This is exactly the same, word for word from chapter 10 about the power of Yahweh. Jeremiah proclaimed that Yahweh was all powerful. He made the earth by his power. Thus he established the world by his wisdom. He stretched out the heavens by his understanding, so that when he uttered his voice, the waters in the heaven could create a mist from the ends of the earth. He made lightning in the rain. He also brought wind from his various wind storehouses. Thus you can see this author’s cosmology about the powerful God, Yahweh, who has control of the world and its climate.

 

The wonders of weather (Sir 43:13-43:17)

“By the Lord’s command,

He sends the driving snow.

He speeds the lightning

Of his judgment.

Therefore the storehouses

Are opened.

The clouds fly out

Like birds.

In his majesty,

He gives the clouds

Their strength.

The hailstones

Are broken in pieces.

The voice of his thunder

Rebukes the earth.

When he appears,

The mountains shake.

At his will,

The south wind blows.”

Sirach, like many of the ancient people, including the Israelites, believed that God completely controlled the weather. In fact, we still have some farming communities that pray to God for rain. Today’s TV weather forecast would be that God is sending us rain and a cool temperature, with nothing about a cold front. God’s command sent snow and lightning. The storehouses in the clouds would be opened up by the Lord to let rain, snow, and hailstones fall to earth like birds tumbling out of the sky. Thus precipitation from the sky was like the thunderous voice of God that shock up the mountains. The Lord was also responsible for the south mild winds also.

Yahweh is great (Ps 135:5-135:7)

“I know that Yahweh is great.

Our Yahweh is above all gods.

Whatever Yahweh pleases he does

In heaven and on earth.

Whatever Yahweh pleases he does

In the seas and all depths.

He makes the clouds rise

At the end of the earth.

He makes lightning

For the rain.

He brings forth the wind

From his storehouses.”

Yahweh is great, above all gods. He does whatever he pleases in heaven, on earth, and in the seas, no matter how deep they are. He makes the clouds rise, lightning for rain, and brings the winds out of his storehouses. The assumption was that Yahweh stored up his winds and then released them as he saw fit.

Yahweh created the world (Ps 33:6-33:7)

“By the word of Yahweh,

The heavens were made.

Their entire host came to be,

By the breath of his mouth.

He gathered the waters of the sea

As in a bottle.

He put the deep areas in storehouses.”

The heavens came to be with the simple word of Yahweh, the creator God. All that exists, the hosts of things, were created by the breath of Yahweh. Yahweh gathered all the seas and waters as if he poured it out of a bottle. He had storehouses for the depths of the seas. In very colorful anthropomorphic language, Yahweh speaks, breathes, and gathers water in a bottle as the creator of the world.

The Levites and singers (Neh 13:10-13:14)

“I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them. Thus the Levites and the singers, who had conducted the service, had gone back to their fields. So I remonstrated with the officials. I said.

‘Why is the house of God forsaken?’

I gathered them together. I set them in their stations. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses the priest Shelemiah, the scribe Zadok, and Pedaiah of the Levites. I appointed as their assistant Hanan son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were counted faithful. Their duty was to distribute to their associates.

‘Remember me,

O my God,

Concerning this.

Do not wipe out my good deeds

That I have done

For the house of my God

And for his service.’”

Next Nehemiah found out that the Levites were not offering praise and singing in the Temple. They had gone back to tending their fields because no one was offering their tithes. Nehemiah then reestablished the tithing. He wanted the services in the Temple reinstituted. He put new people in charge of collecting the tithes and making sure that they got to where they should be. Then he prayed to God to not wipe out the good deeds that he had done for the house of God.