The curse against Ephraim (Hos 7:13-7:13)

“Woe to them!

They have strayed from me!

Destruction to them!

They have rebelled against me!

I would redeem them,

But they speak lies

Against me.”

Yahweh was going to curse Ephraim. They had strayed from him. Thus, destruction was coming to them. They had rebelled against Yahweh. They had spoken lies about Yahweh. He would have helped them, but instead they lied.

Yahweh will be the good shepherd (Ezek 34:16-34:16)

“I will seek the lost.

I will bring back

The strayed.

I will bind up

The injured.

I will strengthen

The weak.

But I will destroy

The fat.

I will destroy

The strong.

I will feed them

With justice.”

Yahweh was going to seek and bring back the lost sheep along with those who had strayed. He was going to bind up the wounds of these injured sheep. Thus, Yahweh was going to be the good shepherd. However, he was also going to destroy the fat and the strong sheep. He was going to feed them with his justice. There would be no intermediary kings in this new theocracy, since Yahweh himself would hand out justice.

They have strayed from Yahweh (Ezek 11:14-11:15)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Your kinsfolk,

Your own relatives,

Your fellow exiles,

The whole house of Israel,

All of them,

Are those of whom

The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have said.

‘They have gone far

From Yahweh.

To us

This land is

Given for a possession.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel. He reminded him that all his relatives, his household, his fellow exiles, and the whole house of Israel had strayed from Yahweh. However, there is an unusual twist as the people left in Jerusalem said that since these others had sinned, they would take possession of the land and the property of those who had died or were taken captive.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

The languishing vines of Moab (Isa 16:8-16:11)

“The fields of Heshbon languish.

The vine of Sibmah languishes.

Those clusters once made drunk

The lords of the nations.

They reached to Jazer.

They strayed to the desert.

Their shoots once spread abroad.

They crossed over the sea.

Therefore I weep

With the weeping of Jazer

For the vines of Sibmah.

I drench you

With my tears.

O Heshbon!

O Elealeh!

The shout over your fruit harvest

Has ceased.

The shout over your grain harvest

Has ceased.

Joy is taken away,

Gladness is taken away

From the fruitful field.

In the vineyards,

No songs are sung.

No shouts are raised.

No one treads out wine

In the presses.

The vintage shout is hushed.

Therefore my soul throbs

Like a lyre for Moab.

My very soul throbs

For Kir-heres.”

Heshbon was in the northern part of Reuben or the northern part of Moab. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. Elealeh was a town about a mile outside of Heshbon, also part of Reuben and Moab. The grapes from this vine at Sibmah made many various great leaders drunk. There is a special mention of Jazer, a Levitical city near Gilead that was given to Gad in Joshua, chapter 21. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Now Isaiah was also crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape or grain harvest time. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing at harvest time, because there was no harvest. There was no one to tread the wine presses because there were no grapes. Therefore Isaiah was like a lyre or harp throbbing for Moab and the folks at Kir, on the main road, about 10 miles from the Dead Sea, as mentioned earlier.

The response of the unjust (Wis 5:3-5:8)

“They will say.

‘These are persons

Whom we once held in derision.

We made them a byword of reproach.

We were fools!

We thought that their lives were madness.

Their end was without honor.

Why have they been numbered

Among the children of God?

Why is their lot among the saints?

So it was we

Who strayed from the way of truth.

The light of righteousness did not shine on us.

The sun did not rise upon us.

We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness.

We took our fill of the paths of destruction.

We journeyed through trackless deserts.

But the way of the Lord

We have not known.

What has our arrogance profited us?

What good has our boasted wealth brought us?’”

The unjust laid out their complaint. They said that they derided and reproached these people. They thought that their lives were madness and without honor. It turns out that they are the fools, because the righteous are numbered among the sons or children of God (υἱοῖς Θεοῦ), the holy ones (ἁγίοις), not them. The unjust suddenly realized that they had strayed from the truth (ἀληθείας). The light of righteousness and the sun were not going to shine on them. They had followed the path of lawlessness and destruction through trackless deserts. They did not know the way of the Lord (ὁδὸν Κυρίου). Their arrogance and wealth became useless.

I do not forget the law (Ps 119:105-119:112)

Nun

“Your word is a lamp to my feet.

Your word is a light to my path.

I have sworn an oath.

I have confirmed it.

I will observe your righteous ordinances.

I am severely afflicted.

Give me life!

Yahweh!

According to your word!

Accept my offerings of praise!

Yahweh!

Teach me your ordinances!

I hold my life in my hand continually.

But I do not forget your law.

The wicked have laid a snare for me.

But I do not stray from your precepts.

Your decrees are my heritage forever.

They are the joy of my heart.

I incline my heart to perform your statutes,

Forever,

To the end.”

The word of Yahweh is a lamp and a light so that the psalmist might walk in the right path. He had sworn an oath to observe the righteous ordinances. Despite his sufferings, he would continue to offer praise. He wanted to be taught about the ordinances since he never forgot the law. Even when the wicked set a snare for him, he never forgot the law. He never strayed from the precepts of Yahweh. They were his heritage forever, the joy of his heart. He would follow the statutes of Yahweh forever, even to the bitter end. Thus this section on the fourteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Nun, came to an end.